Choosing A Game to GM

My wife, and a few friends, have asked me to run another RPG campaign.  The request is to run a Science Fiction game, as opposed to Fantasy, though “space fantasy” could also work.

I did consider running a Star Wars campaign, but I’ve done that.  The most successful was a three-year campaign set during the Yuuzhan-Vong war.  That was a great game, but I want something different now.

But I’d like something with both technology and some kind of magic, either of the usual fantasy variety, or techno-magic, or both.  And I can’t find any kind of system for that I like in Traveller, which is a shame, because I love the system.

I’m considering Starfinder, the Paizo game that is basically Pathfinder set thousands of years later, but using only the rules.  I’d create my own setting.

A third alternative is the Mindjammer universe, using their Traveller variant.  I love the setting, but the FATE-based game rules confused me.  The Traveller rules version seems easier to handle.

It’s also possible I might go with something new and different, such as The Strange, or Numenara, which has a “science fantasy” feel.

Any suggestions of systems I should check out?

My Love/Hate Relationship with Elite: Dangerous

I’m a space opera junkie.  Give me starships, interstellar governments, and complex politics any day of the week.  So when I discovered that Elite: Dangerous now had a Mac client, and that my computer is more than capable of running it, I snapped it up.  After all, a game that is basically a simulation of being a starship pilot, where you can do pretty much whatever you want, is right up my alley.

In ED, there are three major governments, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses.  There’s not a ton of story in the game, at least not that players are railroaded down–much of the plotline happens in the background, and you can get yourself involved as much or as little as you like.

The strength of ED is that, literally, you can do anything you want–and can afford to do.  It’s a simulation, so you need to work your way up from the basic ship you get in the beginning.  I’ve earned enough to get a few ships, but my crowning glory was my Type 6 freighter.  It’s got a ton of cargo space, which I’ve been using to build up credits by trading rare goods across the galaxy.

In a lot of games, you can have a freighter that handles like a fighter and is well-nigh indestructible.  Not so in ED.  Now, on the one hand, I love this–My fighter flies like a demon and has amazingly powerful guns, while my freighter handles like a pregnant yak, and her guns are not terribly useful in a fight.  In short, she’s a freighter, not a fighter.  On the other hand, I hate that, because it leads to things like what happened to me last night.

I was running the Lave-Coquim trade route.  I’d filled my hold with all sorts of valuable, rare cargo, and I was in the Coquim system, 20 light-seconds from the station on which I was going to sell it all for a nice profit, which would go towards buying a better fighter down the road.

And that’s when an NPC, computer-controlled pirate interdicted me (by which I mean he pulled me out of “FTL”) and destroyed me.  In 15 seconds.

That difficulty curve drives me insane.

I had enough in my accounts to replace the ship, but the cargo, and the 1.5 hours of work it took to get all that cargo?  Gone, along with several million credits of profit.  Which, OK, it’s a video game, who cares?  But still.  Games affect us, or we wouldn’t play them, right? The thrill of doing something right in a game is real, but so is the dejection when the game nails you to the wall.

But right now, I can’t say if I’ll start the trade route over, or jump in a fighter and go kill some bad guys for bounties. And a little stress relief.