Are you looking for a new sci-fi RPG to sink your teeth into? If you’re tired of the Starfinder, fear not! There are plenty of alternatives out there that offer unique and exciting experiences. From space opera to cyberpunk, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best sci-fi RPGs out there, including their key features, strengths, and weaknesses. So whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just starting out, get ready to explore the vast universe of sci-fi RPGs!
What is Starfinder?
Overview of the game
Starfinder is a science fiction role-playing game created by Paizo Inc. and first released in 2017. It is based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system, which itself is derived from the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition. The game is set in the future of the Pathfinder universe, where players take on the roles of a variety of alien races and embark on epic adventures in space.
At its core, Starfinder is a tabletop RPG that emphasizes character customization, exploration, and combat. Players work together with their gamemaster to create unique characters, explore new worlds, and engage in battles with various creatures and foes. The game’s mechanics are built around a 20-sided die (d20) and utilize a class and level system similar to that of traditional fantasy RPGs.
In Starfinder, players can choose from a wide range of alien races, each with their own unique abilities and traits. These races include humans, androids, lizardfolk, and more, and players can further customize their characters by selecting from a variety of classes such as fighter, rogue, and wizard. As players progress through the game, they gain experience points and increase in level, unlocking new abilities and options for their characters.
Overall, Starfinder offers a rich and immersive sci-fi RPG experience, combining elements of traditional fantasy gaming with modern science fiction themes and mechanics. However, for those looking for alternatives to Starfinder, there are many other sci-fi RPGs available that offer unique gameplay experiences and settings.
Why it’s popular
Starfinder is a science fiction tabletop role-playing game (RPG) created by Paizo Inc. in 2017. It is a space-faring game that uses the same rules as the popular Pathfinder RPG, which was itself an adaptation of the 3.5 edition of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) game. The game has gained a significant following for several reasons:
- Unique Setting: Starfinder is set in a future where humanity has spread out among the stars, forming a diverse and vibrant interstellar society. This provides a rich and dynamic backdrop for players to explore, filled with a variety of alien races, planets, and cultures.
- Easy to Learn: For those familiar with the D&D system, Starfinder is relatively easy to pick up and play. Its streamlined mechanics make it accessible to both new and experienced players, allowing them to quickly dive into the game without being overwhelmed by complex rules.
- Extensive Customization: Starfinder offers a wide range of character customization options, including multiple races, classes, and archetypes. This allows players to create unique and personalized characters that suit their individual playstyles.
- Scalability: The game can accommodate a variety of group sizes, from a single player and game master (GM) to large groups of players. This makes it an ideal choice for different sized gaming groups and social settings.
- Compatibility with Pathfinder: As Starfinder uses the same rules as Pathfinder, players can easily switch between the two games. This allows for greater flexibility and creativity in gameplay, as well as the potential for cross-over adventures and campaigns.
- Active Community: Starfinder has a large and active community of players and fans who regularly share their experiences, create homebrew content, and provide support for new and existing players. This makes it easy for players to find resources, advice, and fellow enthusiasts to share their passion for the game.
Popular Alternatives to Starfinder
Overview of Traveller
Traveller is a science fiction tabletop role-playing game that was first published in 1977. It is one of the oldest and most popular sci-fi RPGs, and has gone through several editions over the years. The game is set in a vast, detailed universe where players can explore the stars, encounter alien races, and engage in epic adventures.
Why it’s a good alternative to Starfinder
One of the main reasons why Traveller is a good alternative to Starfinder is because of its emphasis on exploration and discovery. In Traveller, players are encouraged to explore the universe and discover new worlds, rather than simply completing a series of predetermined missions. This makes the game much more open-ended and allows for a greater sense of player agency.
Another reason why Traveller is a good alternative to Starfinder is because of its complex and detailed universe. The game has a vast array of different star systems, each with their own unique characteristics and challenges. This makes the game much more immersive and allows players to really get lost in the setting.
Finally, Traveller is a good alternative to Starfinder because of its emphasis on player choice. The game offers a wide range of different character options, including different careers, skills, and talents. This allows players to customize their characters to suit their own playstyle, and ensures that no two games of Traveller will be exactly the same.
Overview of Space Opera
Space Opera is a science fiction role-playing game that takes place in a vast, epic universe where players can explore the cosmos, engage in high-stakes battles, and interact with a variety of alien species. The game is designed to be fast-paced and action-packed, with a focus on cinematic storytelling and thrilling combat.
- Versatility: Space Opera offers a wide range of character options, from human-like species to strange and exotic aliens, allowing players to customize their characters to fit their preferred playstyle.
- Streamlined mechanics: Space Opera uses a simple and intuitive dice system, making it easy for new players to jump into the game and for experienced players to quickly resolve conflicts.
- Emphasis on storytelling: Space Opera places a strong emphasis on narrative, giving players the opportunity to explore complex characters and engage in deep, emotional storylines.
- Modular design: Space Opera is designed to be easily adapted to fit any campaign setting, allowing players to create their own unique adventures in the stars.
Overview of Numenera
Numenera is a science fiction tabletop role-playing game (RPG) that was created by Monte Cook, the co-creator of the popular RPG, Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. The game is set in the Ninth World, a far-future Earth where advanced technology has been replaced by magic and mysterious artifacts. The players take on the roles of explorers, trying to uncover the secrets of the Ninth World and discover its ancient technologies.
Numenera offers a unique setting that is different from Starfinder’s space-faring adventures. The Ninth World is full of mystery and intrigue, with ancient technologies and magic that can be both powerful and dangerous. The game’s focus on exploration and discovery makes it a great choice for players who want to immerse themselves in a world of wonder and discovery.
Additionally, Numenera’s rules are designed to be easy to learn and quick to play, making it a great choice for players who want to jump into a game without having to spend too much time on rules and mechanics. The game also has a strong emphasis on storytelling and character development, making it a great choice for players who want to focus on creating a rich and immersive narrative.
Overview of Eclipse Phase
Eclipse Phase is a science fiction role-playing game that is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been forced to flee Earth and rebuild their society in the stars. The game is highly customizable, allowing players to create their own characters and storylines, and is known for its deep and complex lore.
One of the main reasons that Eclipse Phase is a good alternative to Starfinder is its focus on player choice and customization. Unlike Starfinder, which has a set universe and storyline, Eclipse Phase allows players to create their own characters and storylines, giving them a much greater sense of control over their gaming experience. Additionally, Eclipse Phase has a much more detailed and complex lore than Starfinder, making it a great choice for players who want a more immersive and challenging game. Finally, Eclipse Phase has a strong emphasis on cooperative play, making it a great choice for players who enjoy working together to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
Overview of Savage Worlds
Savage Worlds is a science fiction role-playing game that has been around since 2005. It was created by Shane Hensley and is published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. The game is designed to be fast-paced and action-packed, with a focus on storytelling and character development. It uses a simple dice mechanic that is easy to learn and provides a lot of flexibility for players and game masters.
Savage Worlds is a great alternative to Starfinder for several reasons. First, it is a much simpler game to learn and play, which makes it a good choice for players who are new to role-playing games or who want a quick and easy game to play. Second, it is highly customizable, with a variety of settings and rules that can be used to create a wide range of science fiction games. Finally, it has a strong focus on storytelling and character development, which makes it a good choice for players who want a more narrative-driven game.
Beyond the Core
Overview of Beyond the Core
Beyond the Core is a science fiction tabletop role-playing game that offers a unique experience for players looking for an alternative to Starfinder. This game was created by Kevin Kulp and published by Bloat Games in 2019. Beyond the Core is designed to be a rules-light game, focusing more on storytelling and character development than complex mechanics. The game uses a d20 system, which is familiar to many players who have experience with games like Dungeons & Dragons.
Beyond the Core offers several advantages over Starfinder, making it an attractive alternative for players. Firstly, the game’s rules-light system allows for a more streamlined and accessible experience, making it easier for new players to jump into the game. Additionally, the game’s focus on storytelling and character development allows players to create more unique and personalized characters, providing a more immersive experience.
Another advantage of Beyond the Core is its modular design. The game’s core rules are accompanied by a variety of supplements, each with its own unique setting and rules, allowing players to tailor their experience to their specific interests. This also allows the game to be easily adapted to fit different genres or playstyles.
Finally, Beyond the Core offers a more modern and diverse take on science fiction, featuring a diverse cast of characters and a focus on exploration and discovery. This makes the game more accessible to a wider audience and allows players to explore new ideas and perspectives in a science fiction setting.
Making the Switch
Considerations before switching
When considering alternatives to Starfinder, it’s important to evaluate your priorities and determine what aspects of the game are most important to you. Here are some factors to consider before making the switch:
- Game mechanics: Consider the game mechanics of the alternative game and how they compare to Starfinder. Do they use a different dice system or combat system? How do character abilities and powers work?
- Setting: The setting of the game can greatly impact your gaming experience. Consider whether the new game’s setting aligns with your personal preferences and whether it offers a unique or familiar experience.
- Character customization: Starfinder offers a wide range of character customization options, including race, class, and background. Consider whether the alternative game provides similar or greater customization options and whether the character creation process is intuitive and enjoyable.
- Campaign length and structure: Starfinder campaigns can range from short one-shots to long, ongoing campaigns. Consider whether the alternative game’s campaign length and structure align with your playstyle and schedule.
- Playstyle: Finally, consider your personal playstyle and whether the alternative game aligns with your preferences. Do you prefer fast-paced combat or intricate roleplaying scenarios? Does the game prioritize exploration or social encounters?
How to make the transition smoothly
If you’ve decided to explore alternatives to Starfinder, making the transition smoothly is crucial for a seamless gaming experience. Here are some tips to help you make the switch:
- Familiarize yourself with the new system: Before you start playing a new RPG, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the system’s rules and mechanics. This will help you understand how the game works and make it easier to play.
- Communicate with your group: It’s essential to communicate with your gaming group about the change. Make sure everyone is on board with the decision and discuss any concerns or questions they may have.
- Start small: If you’re making a significant change, such as switching from Starfinder to a different system, it’s a good idea to start small. Try incorporating elements of the new system into your existing campaign before fully transitioning.
- Plan ahead: When making a major change, it’s important to plan ahead. This includes creating new characters, writing new adventures, and adjusting your group’s expectations.
- Keep an open mind: It’s important to keep an open mind when making the transition. Be willing to try new things and embrace the differences between the systems. With a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, you’ll be able to make the transition smoothly and enjoy your new sci-fi RPG.
Tips for enjoying your new game
Switching to a new RPG can be an exciting experience, but it can also be daunting. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your new game:
- Take your time: Don’t feel like you need to rush through the game. Take your time to explore the world, get to know the characters, and understand the mechanics.
- Be open-minded: Don’t expect your new game to be exactly like your old one. Embrace the differences and try new things.
- Ask for help: If you’re having trouble understanding something or need help with a particular aspect of the game, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many RPGs have active communities that are happy to assist.
- Have fun: Remember, this is a game. Don’t take it too seriously and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the experience and have fun.
Recap of the alternatives
There are a plethora of role-playing games (RPGs) in the sci-fi genre, each with its own unique style and mechanics. Some notable alternatives to Starfinder include:
- Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition): While traditionally associated with fantasy settings, the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons offers a wealth of sci-fi possibilities through its flexible rules and the “Rockin’ the RPG” setting, which allows players to create a unique space opera experience.
- Traveller: With its vast universe and customizable character creation system, Traveller is a sandbox-style RPG that offers a high degree of freedom for players to explore and shape their own narrative.
- Savage Worlds: This RPG system features a flexible and streamlined mechanic, making it easy to adapt to various sci-fi settings. The “Savage Rifts” setting, for example, allows players to explore a post-apocalyptic world filled with cyberpunk and supernatural elements.
- Eclipse Phase: This RPG is set in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has transcended the physical and now exists as digital beings. With its focus on transhumanism and exploration of the far reaches of the universe, Eclipse Phase offers a unique take on the sci-fi genre.
- Numenera: Set in the Ninth World, a far-future Earth filled with advanced technology and mysterious relics of past civilizations, Numenera is a RPG that emphasizes storytelling and character development.
These are just a few examples of the many sci-fi RPGs available to players looking to explore different settings and mechanics beyond Starfinder.
Final thoughts on choosing the right game for you
When it comes to choosing the right sci-fi RPG for you, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, think about what kind of experience you’re looking for. Do you want a game that focuses on exploration and discovery, or one that’s more combat-heavy? Are you looking for a game with a strong narrative, or one that lets you create your own story?
Another important factor to consider is the system itself. Different games have different mechanics, and some may be more intuitive or easier to learn than others. Take some time to research the rules and mechanics of each game, and consider whether they align with your playstyle and preferences.
Additionally, consider the community and support for each game. Some games have larger communities and more resources available for players, while others may be more niche and have fewer options. Think about whether you want to be part of a larger community, or if you prefer a more intimate gaming experience.
Ultimately, the right sci-fi RPG for you will depend on your personal preferences and playstyle. Take some time to research and try out different games, and don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. With so many great options available, there’s sure to be a game out there that’s perfect for you.
1. What is Starfinder?
Starfinder is a science fiction role-playing game set in the same universe as the popular Pathfinder game. It combines classic RPG gameplay with science fiction themes and mechanics, allowing players to explore the stars and uncover mysteries of the galaxy.
2. Why would someone want an alternative to Starfinder?
While Starfinder is a great game, some players may be looking for something different or prefer a different style of gameplay. Additionally, some players may be looking for a game that better fits their specific interests or group dynamics.
3. What are some alternatives to Starfinder?
There are many science fiction RPGs that can serve as alternatives to Starfinder, including:
Traveller is a classic science fiction RPG that has been around since the 1970s. It offers a sandbox-style gameplay experience, allowing players to explore a vast and detailed universe.
2. Eclipse Phase
Eclipse Phase is a post-apocalyptic science fiction RPG that takes place in a future where the Earth has been destroyed. Players must explore the galaxy and uncover the secrets of the past in order to rebuild civilization.
Numenera is a science fiction RPG that focuses on exploration and discovery. Players must uncover the secrets of a strange and mysterious world filled with advanced technology and ancient mysteries.
4. Space Opera
Space Opera is a science fiction RPG that focuses on epic space battles and political intrigue. Players must navigate the complex politics of the galaxy while battling against rival factions and alien threats.
4. How do I choose the right alternative to Starfinder for my group?
Choosing the right alternative to Starfinder for your group will depend on your specific interests and group dynamics. Consider factors such as the style of gameplay, the tone of the game, and the level of complexity when making your decision. Additionally, it can be helpful to read reviews and try out demos of different games before making a final decision.