Wed. May 29th, 2024

Welcome to a thrilling adventure that explores the fascinating world of Science Fiction Dungeons and Dragons (SCI-FI D&D). SCI-FI D&D is a unique and captivating experience that combines the best of both worlds, offering players an opportunity to immerse themselves in a universe filled with fantasy, magic, and technology.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the exciting world of SCI-FI D&D, exploring its origins, key features, and the differences between traditional Dungeons and Dragons and its sci-fi counterpart. We will also provide tips and tricks for players looking to embark on their own intergalactic adventures, as well as highlighting some of the most popular SCI-FI D&D campaigns and settings.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newcomer to the world of tabletop gaming, this guide has something for everyone. So buckle up, grab your dice, and get ready to blast off into the cosmos of SCI-FI D&D!

What is the Sci-Fi Version of D&D?

The Concept of Sci-Fi RPGs

Defining Science Fiction Role-Playing Games

Science fiction role-playing games (RPGs) are a subgenre of tabletop games that incorporate elements of science fiction into their gameplay. These games typically involve a group of players who assume the roles of characters in a fictional universe, often set in the future or in space. Players collaborate to explore the world, solve problems, and overcome challenges using their characters’ unique abilities and skills.

Characteristics of Sci-Fi RPGs

Some key characteristics of science fiction RPGs include:

  1. Futuristic settings: Science fiction RPGs often take place in the future or in alternate timelines, featuring advanced technology, alien worlds, and futuristic societies.
  2. Science and technology: Science and technology play a significant role in science fiction RPGs, with characters often utilizing advanced gadgets, weapons, and vehicles to solve problems and overcome obstacles.
  3. Exploration and discovery: In science fiction RPGs, players often embark on voyages of discovery, exploring new worlds, and uncovering the mysteries of the universe.
  4. Innovative rules and mechanics: Science fiction RPGs often have unique rules and mechanics that reflect the futuristic settings and technologies featured in the game.

Popular Examples of Sci-Fi RPGs

Some popular examples of science fiction RPGs include:

  1. Star Wars Roleplaying Game: This RPG is set in the Star Wars universe and allows players to assume the roles of characters from the iconic space opera.
  2. Traveller: This classic science fiction RPG focuses on space exploration and trade, with players navigating the vast reaches of space and encountering a variety of alien races.
  3. Cyberpunk 2020: This RPG is set in a dystopian future, where players take on the roles of characters in a cyberpunk world filled with advanced technology and a corrupt society.
  4. Mekton Z: This anime-inspired RPG focuses on giant mechs known as “Mekton,” with players piloting these powerful machines to defend the earth from alien invaders.

The Appeal of Sci-Fi RPGs

The appeal of science fiction RPGs lies in their ability to transport players to fantastical worlds filled with limitless possibilities. These games offer a unique opportunity for players to explore the depths of their imagination, collaborate with friends, and engage in thrilling adventures in the far reaches of space and time.

Differences Between Fantasy and Sci-Fi RPGs

  • Setting:
    • Fantasy RPGs typically take place in a medieval or mythical setting, with elements such as magic, mythical creatures, and a focus on sword and sorcery.
    • Sci-Fi RPGs, on the other hand, are set in a futuristic or science-fiction universe, with technological advancements, space travel, and extraterrestrial life.
  • Mechanics:
    • Fantasy RPGs often rely on magic and character abilities, with a focus on spellcasting and combat.
    • Sci-Fi RPGs focus on technology and scientific principles, with a greater emphasis on technology, weapons, and vehicles.
  • Themes:
    • Fantasy RPGs often explore themes of good vs. evil, heroism, and questing for treasure or knowledge.
    • Sci-Fi RPGs explore themes of technology, artificial intelligence, and the future of humanity.
  • Playstyle:
    • Fantasy RPGs tend to be more combat-oriented, with a focus on defeating monsters and bosses.
    • Sci-Fi RPGs often involve more problem-solving and exploration, with a focus on discovering new technologies and uncovering hidden secrets.

In summary, the main differences between fantasy and sci-fi RPGs are in their setting, mechanics, themes, and playstyle. While both types of RPGs offer unique and exciting experiences, understanding these differences can help players choose the best game for their preferences and playstyle.

The Most Popular Sci-Fi RPGs

Key takeaway: Science fiction role-playing games (RPGs) are a subgenre of tabletop games that incorporate elements of science fiction into their gameplay. They often involve a group of players who assume the roles of characters in a fictional universe, often set in the future or in space. The appeal of sci-fi RPGs lies in their ability to transport players to fantastical worlds filled with limitless possibilities, offering a unique opportunity for players to explore the depths of their imagination, collaborate with friends, and engage in thrilling adventures in the far reaches of space and time.

Dungeon World

Dungeon World is a tabletop role-playing game that combines elements of fantasy and science fiction. It is based on the Dungeon World system, which is a popular and flexible ruleset that can be adapted to many different genres. In Dungeon World, players take on the roles of characters in a post-apocalyptic world, where they must survive against mutants, robots, and other dangers.

One of the unique features of Dungeon World is its focus on storytelling and player agency. The game’s mechanics are designed to encourage players to make choices that drive the story forward, rather than simply following a set of pre-determined rules. This allows for a high degree of creativity and customization, as players can shape the world and its story according to their own desires.

Another key aspect of Dungeon World is its use of “moves.” Moves are special abilities or actions that characters can use to interact with the world and solve problems. These moves are based on the character’s class, background, and other characteristics, and they can be used to perform a wide range of tasks, from hacking computers to persuading NPCs.

Overall, Dungeon World is a highly versatile and customizable game that can be adapted to many different types of sci-fi settings. Its focus on storytelling and player agency makes it a popular choice for players who want to create their own unique worlds and adventures.


Numenera is a science fiction tabletop role-playing game that takes place in the Ninth World, a far-future Earth. It was created by Monte Cook, who was one of the designers of the popular game, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

Numenera combines elements of science fiction and fantasy to create a unique setting that is both mysterious and full of wonder. The game focuses on exploration, discovery, and the struggle for power and survival in a world that is both ancient and advanced beyond our understanding.

In Numenera, players take on the roles of explorers, adventurers, and scientists who are seeking to uncover the secrets of the Ninth World. They can choose from a variety of character types, including the Nano-Assembler, the Jack, and the Mystic. Each character type has its own unique abilities and focuses, allowing players to customize their characters to suit their playstyle.

The game mechanics in Numenera are based on a d20 system, similar to D&D, but with some significant differences. For example, instead of traditional classes and levels, Numenera uses the term “types” to describe a character’s abilities and focus. Additionally, the game emphasizes player creativity and problem-solving, encouraging players to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to challenges.

One of the most interesting aspects of Numenera is its focus on the “numenera,” a catch-all term for the advanced technology and magic that pervades the Ninth World. The numenera is both a blessing and a curse, offering incredible power and capabilities but also causing unpredictable effects and dangers. Players must navigate this complex world carefully, balancing the benefits of the numenera with the risks it poses.

Overall, Numenera is a highly engaging and imaginative sci-fi RPG that offers a unique blend of science fiction and fantasy. Its focus on exploration, discovery, and creative problem-solving makes it a great choice for players who enjoy a mix of action, adventure, and mystery in their games.

Eclipse Phase

Eclipse Phase is a popular sci-fi RPG that has gained a dedicated following among gamers. The game is set in a future where humanity has spread out among the stars, and players take on the role of agents working for a secret organization known as Firewall. Firewall’s mission is to protect humanity from threats both internal and external, and players must navigate a complex web of political intrigue and alien danger to achieve their goals.

One of the key features of Eclipse Phase is its focus on the consequences of death. In many RPGs, death is simply a setback that can be overcome with a few dice rolls. In Eclipse Phase, however, death is a permanent condition. When a character dies, they are uploaded into a digital afterlife known as the ego-OS. From there, they can continue to participate in the game as an “ex-surgent,” a being composed of both biological and digital components.

This mechanic adds a whole new layer of complexity to the game, as players must weigh the risks of physical and digital existence. It also allows for the possibility of “cloning” oneself to avoid death, although this too comes with its own set of risks and consequences.

Another notable feature of Eclipse Phase is its focus on transhumanism. The game is set in a future where humanity has evolved beyond its current form, with abilities and technologies that would be considered magical in other RPGs. Players can choose to augment their characters with a variety of enhancements, from cybernetic implants to genetic modifications. This allows for a wide range of character customization options, and adds to the game’s overall sense of sci-fi intrigue.

Overall, Eclipse Phase is a unique and engaging sci-fi RPG that offers a lot of depth and complexity for players to explore. Its focus on transhumanism and the consequences of death make it stand out from other games in the genre, and its richly detailed setting offers a wealth of opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Creating Your Own Sci-Fi RPG Campaign

Choosing a System

When it comes to creating your own sci-fi RPG campaign, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing a system. There are a variety of different systems to choose from, each with their own unique mechanics and features. Here are a few popular options to consider:

Option 1: Cyberpunk 2020

Cyberpunk 2020 is a tabletop RPG that takes place in a dystopian future, where players can take on the roles of hackers, corporate spies, and other characters in a gritty, cyberpunk world. The game is based on the Forgotten Realms system, which is also used in Dungeons & Dragons, but has been modified to fit the cyberpunk setting. Some of the unique features of the Cyberpunk 2020 system include:

  • The ability to hack into computer systems and manipulate them to your advantage
  • The use of cybernetic implants to enhance your character’s abilities
  • A variety of weapons and gadgets that can be used in combat or to solve puzzles

Option 2: Starfinder

Starfinder is a sci-fi RPG that takes place in space, where players can take on the roles of alien races and explore new planets. The game is based on the Pathfinder system, which is also used in the fantasy RPG Pathfinder, but has been modified to fit the sci-fi setting. Some of the unique features of the Starfinder system include:

  • The use of starships for travel and combat
  • A variety of alien races to choose from, each with their own unique abilities and traits

Option 3: Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds is a generic RPG system that can be used for a variety of settings, including sci-fi. The system is known for its fast-paced, action-oriented gameplay, and its ability to be customized to fit a variety of settings. Some of the unique features of the Savage Worlds system include:

  • A simple, streamlined system for resolving combat and skill checks
  • A variety of settings and adventure modules available for purchase
  • The ability to customize your character’s abilities and equipment

Option 4: GURPS

GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System) is a generic RPG system that can be used for a variety of settings, including sci-fi. The system is known for its high level of customization and flexibility, allowing players to create characters and settings to fit their own unique vision. Some of the unique features of the GURPS system include:

  • A detailed system for creating custom character races and species
  • A variety of rules for different types of combat and adventure, including vehicle combat and social encounters

Ultimately, the choice of system will depend on your personal preferences and the style of game you want to play. Consider factors such as the level of customization, the complexity of the mechanics, and the type of adventure you want to have when making your decision.

Creating a Setting

When creating a sci-fi RPG campaign, the setting is a crucial element that must be carefully crafted. The setting is the backdrop against which the players will explore, interact with characters, and experience the story. To create a compelling sci-fi RPG setting, consider the following elements:

Choosing a Universe

The first step in creating a sci-fi RPG setting is to choose a universe. There are several options to choose from, including:

  • A post-apocalyptic world where humanity is struggling to survive after a catastrophic event.
  • A space-faring civilization with multiple planets and species.
  • A dystopian society where the players must fight against an oppressive government.
  • A future where technology has advanced beyond our current understanding.

Choose a universe that inspires you and fits the tone and theme of your story.

Defining the Factions

Once you have chosen a universe, it’s time to define the factions that will play a role in the story. Factions can include governments, corporations, alien species, or even rival adventuring parties. Consider the following when defining factions:

  • What are their goals and motivations?
  • What resources do they control?
  • How do they interact with each other and the players?
  • What is their relationship with the setting’s central conflict?

Defining the factions will help create a more immersive and complex setting for your players to explore.

Establishing the Technology

Science fiction is all about technology, so it’s important to establish the technological advancements in your setting. Consider the following when establishing the technology:

  • What are the most advanced technologies in your setting?
  • How do they work and what are their limitations?
  • What are the social and political implications of these technologies?
  • How do the players interact with this technology?

Establishing the technology will help create a more believable and engaging setting for your players.

Crafting the Story

Finally, it’s time to craft the story that will take the players on a journey through your sci-fi RPG setting. Consider the following when crafting the story:

  • What is the central conflict that drives the story?
  • What are the stakes for the players and the setting?
  • How do the factions and technology play a role in the story?
  • What challenges and obstacles will the players face?

Crafting a compelling story is the key to creating a memorable and enjoyable sci-fi RPG campaign.

Building Characters

When it comes to building characters in a sci-fi version of D&D, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, consider the setting of your campaign. Is it set in the future, with advanced technology and interstellar travel? Or is it set in a different universe entirely, with alien races and strange, otherworldly environments? This will help inform the types of characters that you allow players to create.

Once you have a sense of the types of characters that are appropriate for your campaign, you can start thinking about the character creation process itself. In D&D, character creation typically involves rolling dice to determine a character’s stats, such as strength, dexterity, and intelligence. In a sci-fi version of D&D, you may want to adjust these stats to better fit the types of characters that you are allowing. For example, you may want to add a stat for “technology” or “computer skills” to reflect a character’s ability to operate advanced machinery.

Another important aspect of character creation is choosing a character’s race and species. In traditional D&D, this often involves choosing from a list of established races such as elves, dwarves, and humans. In a sci-fi version of D&D, you may want to create your own unique races, such as genetically engineered beings or aliens from other planets. Be sure to consider the implications of these races on the setting and story of your campaign.

Finally, consider the character’s background and personality. This can help shape their motivations and goals within the campaign, and make them feel like a fully-realized character rather than just a collection of stats and abilities. Encourage players to think about their character’s history, their relationships with other characters, and their own personal desires and fears.

Overall, building characters in a sci-fi version of D&D requires a balance of creativity and attention to detail. By considering the setting, adjusting the character creation process, creating unique races, and developing the character’s background and personality, you can create a rich and immersive world for your players to explore.

Adapting D&D for a Sci-Fi Setting

Converting D&D Mechanics to Sci-Fi

Aligning Character Classes with Sci-Fi Archetypes

One of the essential steps in converting D&D mechanics to a sci-fi setting is to align the character classes with sci-fi archetypes. Traditional D&D classes like the fighter, wizard, and rogue can be adapted to fit within a sci-fi universe. For example, a fighter can become a mech pilot, a wizard can become a technomancer, and a rogue can become a hacker.

Modifying Ability Scores

Ability scores in D&D represent a character’s aptitude in different areas, such as strength, dexterity, and intelligence. In a sci-fi setting, these ability scores can be modified to reflect the technology and science of the universe. For instance, instead of having a high strength score, a character might have a high technology score, representing their proficiency in using futuristic gadgets and devices.

Replacing Spells with Sci-Fi Tech

In D&D, spells are magical incantations that can imbue characters with various abilities, such as shooting fireballs or casting invisibility spells. In a sci-fi setting, these spells can be replaced with sci-fi tech, such as energy weapons or cloaking devices. For example, a fireball spell can be replaced with a plasma rifle that shoots bolts of superheated plasma.

Adapting Combat Mechanics

Combat mechanics in D&D involve rolling dice to determine the outcome of attacks and damage. In a sci-fi setting, these mechanics can be adapted to incorporate technology and science. For example, instead of using a traditional attack roll, a character might use a laser gun that deals damage based on the weapon’s power setting.

Integrating Sci-Fi Themes and Elements

Finally, when converting D&D mechanics to a sci-fi setting, it’s important to integrate sci-fi themes and elements throughout the game. This can include incorporating futuristic technology, exploring new worlds, and encountering alien species. By doing so, players can fully immerse themselves in a sci-fi setting and experience the thrill of adventure in a whole new way.

Using D&D Settings in a Sci-Fi Setting

One of the key elements of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is its ability to be adapted to fit a wide range of settings and genres. In this section, we will explore how D&D can be used to create a sci-fi setting.

D&D settings are typically fantasy-based, with players taking on the roles of wizards, warriors, and other fantasy archetypes. However, with a little creativity, these settings can be easily adapted to fit a sci-fi setting.

Here are a few tips for using D&D settings in a sci-fi setting:

  1. Update the technology: In a sci-fi setting, the technology is likely to be more advanced than in a fantasy setting. This means that weapons, armor, and other gear will need to be updated to fit the new setting. For example, instead of swords and shields, players might use laser rifles and energy shields.
  2. Adjust the races: Many D&D settings include a variety of fantasy races, such as elves, dwarves, and orcs. These races can be easily adapted to fit a sci-fi setting by giving them advanced technology or unique abilities. For example, elves might have enhanced speed and agility due to their advanced biology, while dwarves might have built-in weapons or exoskeletons.
  3. Rethink the magic system: In a sci-fi setting, magic is often replaced by advanced technology or psionics. This means that players will need to come up with new ways to use their abilities or powers. For example, instead of casting spells, players might use technology to create force fields or teleport themselves.
  4. Create new creatures: Many D&D settings include a variety of fantasy creatures, such as dragons and demons. These creatures can be adapted to fit a sci-fi setting by giving them advanced technology or unique abilities. For example, a dragon might have a weaponized plasma breath attack, while a demon might have the ability to manipulate technology.

By using these tips, players can easily adapt D&D settings to fit a sci-fi setting. This allows players to explore new worlds and take on new challenges, all while using the familiar rules and mechanics of D&D.

The Future of Sci-Fi RPGs

Emerging Trends in Sci-Fi RPGs

Integration of Virtual Reality

One of the most exciting trends in sci-fi RPGs is the integration of virtual reality (VR) technology. With VR, players can fully immerse themselves in the game world, interacting with their surroundings and other characters in real-time. This provides a more engaging and immersive experience, allowing players to truly feel like they are a part of the game.

Increased Focus on Storytelling

Another emerging trend in sci-fi RPGs is a greater focus on storytelling. Many games are now designed with a strong narrative focus, incorporating complex characters, intricate plotlines, and moral dilemmas that players must navigate. This allows players to explore themes and ideas that go beyond simple combat and exploration, making for a more thought-provoking and engaging experience.

Collaborative Play

Finally, there is a growing trend towards collaborative play in sci-fi RPGs. Many games are now designed to encourage players to work together, whether it’s through cooperative missions or multiplayer gameplay. This encourages communication and teamwork, creating a more social and engaging experience for players.

Overall, these emerging trends are helping to push the boundaries of what is possible in sci-fi RPGs, creating more immersive, engaging, and thought-provoking experiences for players. Whether you’re a fan of classic tabletop RPGs or the latest VR experiences, there has never been a better time to explore the world of sci-fi RPGs.

Predictions for the Future of Sci-Fi RPGs

Increased Popularity of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Sci-Fi RPGs

As technology continues to advance, it is expected that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will play a significant role in the future of sci-fi RPGs. VR and AR have the potential to provide players with an immersive experience that goes beyond traditional tabletop gaming. By integrating these technologies into sci-fi RPGs, players can explore virtual worlds and interact with their characters and the environment in a more realistic way.

Continued Evolution of AI and Machine Learning in Sci-Fi RPGs

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in sci-fi RPGs is expected to continue to evolve in the future. These technologies can provide players with a more dynamic and interactive experience by creating non-player characters (NPCs) that behave and react in a more realistic way. Additionally, AI can be used to generate unique and customized storylines based on player choices, providing a more personalized gaming experience.

Greater Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion in Sci-Fi RPGs

As society becomes more diverse and inclusive, it is expected that sci-fi RPGs will follow suit. This means that game designers will need to create characters and storylines that reflect a broader range of experiences and perspectives. By incorporating diverse characters and storylines, sci-fi RPGs can become more accessible and appealing to a wider audience.

Increased Focus on Sustainability and Environmentalism in Sci-Fi RPGs

As environmental concerns continue to rise, it is expected that sci-fi RPGs will begin to incorporate themes of sustainability and environmentalism into their storylines. This could involve exploring the consequences of human actions on the environment and highlighting the importance of conservation and responsible resource management. By incorporating these themes, sci-fi RPGs can help raise awareness about important social and environmental issues.

Recap of Key Points

  • Introduction to the sci-fi version of D&D
  • Overview of the key features and mechanics of the game
  • Comparison with traditional fantasy D&D and other sci-fi RPGs
  • Exploration of the unique opportunities and challenges presented by the sci-fi setting
  • Tips for running a successful sci-fi campaign
  • Recommendations for further reading and resources for those interested in delving deeper into the world of sci-fi D&D.

Final Thoughts on Sci-Fi RPGs

In conclusion, the future of sci-fi RPGs is bright and full of endless possibilities. The combination of science fiction and role-playing games provides a unique gaming experience that allows players to explore different worlds, meet new characters, and experience exciting adventures.

With the increasing popularity of sci-fi RPGs, game developers are continuously working on new games and improving existing ones to provide a more immersive and exciting experience for players. Additionally, advancements in technology, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, have the potential to revolutionize the gaming experience and make sci-fi RPGs even more immersive and realistic.

Furthermore, the sci-fi RPG genre has a large and dedicated fan base, and it continues to grow as more people discover the excitement and possibilities that these games offer. This fan base is passionate about the genre and is always eager for new games and experiences to enjoy.

In summary, the future of sci-fi RPGs is exciting and full of potential. With the continuous development of new games and advancements in technology, this genre is poised for continued growth and success.


1. What is the sci-fi version of D&D called?

The sci-fi version of D&D is called “Starfinder.” It is a science fiction themed tabletop role-playing game that was released in 2017 by Paizo Inc. and is compatible with the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition rules.

2. What is the setting of Starfinder?

The setting of Starfinder is a future where Earth is no longer the center of the universe. Instead, the galaxy is ruled by a variety of alien races and factions, all vying for power and control. The players take on the roles of characters exploring this galaxy, uncovering ancient technologies, and battling powerful enemies.

3. How does Starfinder differ from traditional D&D?

Starfinder differs from traditional D&D in several ways. First, the setting is science fiction rather than fantasy. Second, the game includes new rules for space combat and travel, as well as new character options such as starships and starfighters. Finally, the game uses a different dice mechanic than traditional D&D, with a custom 20-sided die (d20) being used for ability checks and attack rolls.

4. Can I play Starfinder if I don’t have any sci-fi RPG experience?

Yes, you can play Starfinder even if you don’t have any experience with science fiction role-playing games. The game includes a detailed rulebook and player-friendly explanations of the rules and mechanics. Additionally, many of the core concepts of D&D are still present in Starfinder, so if you have experience with traditional D&D, you will be familiar with many of the gameplay elements.

5. Where can I find more information about Starfinder?

You can find more information about Starfinder on the official Paizo website, as well as on various online forums and discussion groups dedicated to tabletop RPGs. Additionally, there are many fan-made resources and adventures available online that can help you get started with the game.

How to play SCI-FI D&D 5e | DM Tips

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