NowhereMan
 member, 224 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 20:52
Military Sci-Fi
I'm thinking of running a military sci-fi game in the near-ish future. Are there any resources you'd recommend for such a thing? I'm currently planning on using either Savage Worlds, Traveler, or some kind of d20 for the system, but I'm more interested in idea fodder than system recommendations.
TookyG
 member, 79 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 22:28
Military Sci-Fi
Idea fodder?  How about drawing from Battlefield 2142?  More than a little bit in the future but it could be toned down.

If you go d20 try Blood & Guts v2.
NowhereMan
 member, 225 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 22:31
Military Sci-Fi
Whoops, allow me to clarify. I plan to run the game in the near future. The setting will likely be fairly far future. I plan on a technology level around that of Starship Troopers, Alien, or Halo.
TookyG
 member, 80 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 22:35
Military Sci-Fi
Then 2142 is probably about right.  The good news is you have a plethora of options for a setting.
badpenny
 member, 381 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 22:36
Military Sci-Fi
White Star and its Companion are PWYW on DTRPG.  You could check over the books seeing if it's a fit for your system as well as mine it for ideas.

While you didn't mention Fate as a system, there are also several books on DTRPG for the Fate system that could just be mined for ideas, e.g. Ghost Planets.  Some of the other books are more pulpy, e.g. Three Rocketeers.  Nevertheless, you could always mine it for ideas and just put a harder edge to it.

This message was last edited by the user at 19:10, Sun 15 July.

TookyG
 member, 81 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 22:38
Military Sci-Fi
Oh, and B&G wouldn't really fit a garage future game.  Maybe d20 future.  I'd go Savage Worlds myself.
NowhereMan
 member, 226 posts
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 22:50
Military Sci-Fi
I won't play any FATE products and will not pay for anything that filters back to Fred Hicks.
Danger Man
 member, 1 post
Sun 15 Jul 2018
at 13:27
Military Sci-Fi
Surprised no one has mentioned 3:16 yet. Its simple system seems ideal for online play. Far easier to run than Traveller or D20.

http://www.drivethrurpg.com/pr.../56768/Three-Sixteen

This message had punctuation tweaked by the user at 19:37, Sun 15 July.

Retias
 member, 210 posts
Sun 15 Jul 2018
at 18:08
Military Sci-Fi
There's also Rogue Trader or Stars Without Number perhaps.
Hendell
 member, 110 posts
Sun 15 Jul 2018
at 19:26
Military Sci-Fi
For a fairly simple and direct system that works well enough Stars Without Number is very good.

A bit more complex, and plays with some more crunch Savage Worlds with both Sci Fi and Rifts updates is probably your best bet.

For something comfortable to D20 players with a lot of complexity but still manageable I would suggest Starfinder.
NowhereMan
 member, 227 posts
Mon 16 Jul 2018
at 00:50
Military Sci-Fi
Thanks for the system recommendations, but again I'm not really looking for systems, but settings and supplements to mine for ideas.
Hunter
 member, 1451 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Mon 16 Jul 2018
at 04:08
Military Sci-Fi
For sci-fi settings?   You're going to be hard pressed to find one more developed than Palladium's Rifts.
GhostShipBlue
 member, 107 posts
 Punk rock joy!
 Molotovs in stemware.
Mon 16 Jul 2018
at 05:02
Military Sci-Fi
Rifts is richly detailed but borders on fantasy at every turn. The Hammer's Slammers supplement for Traveller is a good place to start and I highly recommend the novels as well. 3:16, while the system is worth a look too, does offer some interesting setting ideas as well. Necropolis 2350 for Savage Worlds is another source for a military based on religious dogma without the lifestyle commitment of 40K. The novel Armor by John Steakley is a brilliant take on power armor, warfare and redemption. If you can find it, the Living Steel RPG by Leading Edge was fantastically well thought out and richly detailed. Much though I hate to admit it, Final Blackout is a far better novel than Hubbard should have been able to write. Dune, while not exclusively military science fiction, offers great insight into the reasons wars get fought, what kind of planning g and sacrifice go into asymmetrical warfighting, and elite forces. The Dorsai novels may be the final word on the subject.
Alyse
 member, 642 posts
 Pretty, witty, and gay
 (married since 2011!)
Mon 16 Jul 2018
at 05:30
Military Sci-Fi
Redemption is a game I often recommend to people wanting ideas for military SF.  I also second GhostShipBlue's recommendation of the Traveller sourcebook for Hammer's Slammers. Another good Traveller product is Spica Publishing's Field Manual.
horus
 member, 522 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 17 Jul 2018
at 03:53
Military Sci-Fi
If you are seriously considering Traveller, you might look at Traveller Plus.  It contains a point-based character creation system and a combat system called Caliber that might work for you (I find Caliber to be a bit too complex, actually, but that's just me...)

Traveller Plus has the virtue of being freely available for download.
GhostShipBlue
 member, 109 posts
 Punk rock joy!
 Molotovs in stemware.
Wed 18 Jul 2018
at 07:05
Military Sci-Fi
To drill down on your original post:

What constitutes near-ish future?

50 or a hundred years from now might offer some interesting issues. The wealth gap creates interesting asymmetrical wars as either revolutions, terrorist actions, or wealthy vs poor nations. Extrapolating from current trends in warfighting automation the use of drones, remote tanks, AI control of realtime battlefield data being driven out to troops on the ground (if VR controlled proxy drones don't replace human grunts). Looking at it through that lens, it might be more interesting to look at the opposition as player characters.

A Martian colonial revolution seems like it might work well for that, although thin air and cold are going to make drones a far greater advantage. Perhaps some kind of indentured human with surgical/genetic/cybernetic modifications to adapt them for life on Mars? Alternatively a more classic local rebels fighting the small, wealthy and remote Earth based government or corporation? Both of those ideas need a lot of work - the whole augment thing feels like it doesn't jive with the rest of the technology. Why develop all this augmentation when you have perfectly good proxies? Evil overlords just feels done to death. With some work either might be made much more satisfying. One ting that might be particularly cool is leave out the augmentations and let you rebels have to be brave, desperate and smart. Push them right to the wall and squeeze.

Dragging it farther into the future than that can raise the interesting post- or trans- human questions. What kind of combat sleeves get built, what becomes of troops as you keep dumping them back into new, synthetic frames? What's there to fight about? In a world where completely digital people are a possibility, what's cyberwarfare look like? Things like Rogue Trooper fit well in this kind of setting.
NowhereMan
 member, 228 posts
Wed 18 Jul 2018
at 08:17
Military Sci-Fi
The near-ish future part was a reference to when I planned to run it, not when it was set.

As far as the when, I'm thinking a technology level similar to Starship Troopers, Alien, and Halo. There were some decent ideas in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare that I think deserve better treatment than the game they were attached to, especially related to drones and AI.

I have Rifts, but I agree with GSB that it's probably a bit too fantasy for what I'm wanting. I might have Hammer's Slammers sitting around on a hard drive somewhere, so I'll look into that.

I've not heard of Redemption, so that'll go on the list of stuff to look at.

Regarding Traveler, I'll probably stick with Mongoose if I go that direction. I just like it too much.
GhostShipBlue
 member, 110 posts
 Punk rock joy!
 Molotovs in stemware.
Wed 18 Jul 2018
at 12:55
Military Sci-Fi
The technology in Starship Troopers varies wildly. Because I respect NWM, I'm going to assume he means the novel. Which, with Halo and the Spartans, kind of implicates power armor. Aliens opts out of that. Power armor creates some issue in terms of game mechanics. Savage Rifts handled it pretty well under the SW rules - so that might be worth a look.

Are we looking at drop ship assaults per ST and Halo or the sort of ballistic delivery (or teleportation from some other power armor novels) we see in Starship Troopers? I'm not sure how much difference it makes, but I could see it figuring in how missions are structured and the larger questions of tactical concerns.

I confess to being a Hammer's Slammers fan-boy - but it operates on a model very like high tech modern warfare, where small scale assaults are needed to secure landing zones for men and materiel. Then you can move in combat cars, hover tanks and platoons of power gun-toting troops. The technology makes sense though, fits together in a cohesive whole and retains a hard-science feel. I am also a huge fan of power guns and the very real limitations (and hugely destructive capacity) Drake gave them.

Another core question is who are the opposition? Other human factions? Starship Troopers, Halo and Alien all presuppose aliens of some variety. The Aliens universe offers a wide variety of possibilities on that front. With the old Leading Edge Aliens RPG, the Predator cross overs and a rich canon there's a lot going on there.

For me I might look at that universe and some combination of Starship Troopers style power armor and Hammer's Slammers use of tanks and energy weapons.
pdboddy
 member, 629 posts
 EST/EDT [GMT-5/GMT-4]
Wed 18 Jul 2018
at 14:27
Military Sci-Fi
I think a game based on the Expanse could be quite good.  It's near-ish future and pretty hard sci-fi.
GhostShipBlue
 member, 111 posts
 Punk rock joy!
 Molotovs in stemware.
Wed 18 Jul 2018
at 18:55
Military Sci-Fi
In reply to pdboddy (msg # 19):

Given what NWM has already been referencing, I think The Expanse - as good as it is - may not be quite what he's looking at.

The Expanse does offer some interesting possibilities - the Martian troops (which tie kind of nicely into my earlier thoughts) and boarding actions are probably top in my book. The hassle with that is the only way to handle boarding actions and stay loyal to the hard science of the series (both novels and show) is to deal with vectored thrust ship combat.
horus
 member, 525 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Thu 19 Jul 2018
at 00:31
Re: Military Sci-Fi
NowhereMan:
Regarding Traveler, I'll probably stick with Mongoose if I go that direction. I just like it too much.


Traveller Plus is compatible with Mongoose Traveller (from what I've seen, Mongoose is close enough to Classic that it would work), but allows much greater flexibility in character creation, which is why I mentioned it.

http://crucible.cc/traveller/tplus.htm if you're interested.  It's free.