Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rogue Space RPG Review

I picked up Rogue Space, an independent, sci-fi rpg, a couple of weeks back but wanted to hold off on a review until we actually got it out for a test drive. To quote its summary it "is an easy to learn and flexible Role Playing Game. It requires two six sided dice, two players, paper, pencil, and imagination. A flexible system allows you to create the game you want to play!"

Shortly after our decision to jump into the 'making our own RPG' ocean I began looking for other 'garage level' sci-fi RPGs out there. I didn't have to look far, Christopher Brandon has hit the nail on the head with this one. It's got an old-school RPG feel to it but handles overly complicated tasks such as starship combat with the same simple elegance as is found in the rest of the book.

For an amazingly low eight bucks you get a 64-page "workbook" sized game in black and white. The original artwork within, drawn by the author's wife and seen at the top of this post, is really cool and stylish, and interestingly enough a mix of public domain art within also adds to an overall pulpy sci-fi feel. Examples are given throughout, plenty of tables, GMing advice, sample setting, and more pack those 64 pages full of material.

Reading through character creation it became apparent to me that this is the kind of game that gets you stuck in your adventures right away with little time wasted on the minutia of the character itself. Throughout the book acronyms cleverly spell out sections of rules such as your character's attributes (FASER): fighting, acquiring, scientific, empathy, and repairing. The names pretty much describe what they do and that's the bulk of your character in a nutshell.

I wanted to actually play the game before posting my impressions, and the Minions and I did that very thing. Just as the author intended, the rules form an open sandbox to create your own worlds and adventures. My gameplan here was a simple one; put the game smack in the middle of the Mass Effect universe. With more hours than I care to admit invested in Mass Effect over the last three videogames it's something I can run easily without reinventing the wheel. And with the Rogue Space rules, I can facilitate it all into a seamless package.

I'll post more on converting Mass Effect staples into the Rogue Space system later, such as NPC and adversary stats, and I'll throw in a little on my overall conversion thoughts as well. As for the Rogue Space rules themselves, well you'd be hard pressed to find a better, open-ended sci-fi RPG under ten bucks. I can see this as a quick, low-prep pickup RPG for downtime and one-shots, or alternatively, it has the legs to run for campaign length adventures.

Our first Rogue Space foray can be found here, remember this is explicit material and not safe for work or children. The game itself can be bought here at Lulu, and the official site is here. For a little more thorough review, especially in the mechanics department, you might want to check out A Susurrus in Carcosa. This won't be the last you've heard of Rogue Space here. Until next time, enjoy!


  1. Thanks for the review, and the podcast was great! Love the Mass Effect conversion, my wife is a Mass Effect JUNKIE and was over the moon with your conversion work, really looking forward to the conversion rules as a pdf or blog post. Thanks again!

    1. We've had fun with them for sure, and this is just the beginning, we'll be playing out the whole first Mass Effect arc in the very least. Some big tweaks off the bat were to do up rules for biotics and engineer 'powers' as well as statting up the Geth!

  2. Can't wait to see you your posts with the big tweaks! If you;d like I am still putting together the first Rogue Space magazine "Rogue transmissions" if you;d like to submit some tweaks and changes, I'd love to put them in the magazine!

    1. Thanks! It's just a matter of writing up the posts, the material's already done. I'll contact you about Rogue Transmissions, that sounds cool!