System suggestion for limited run, deeply weird scifi game?

Since my group has an excessive amount of time at home, we’re going to run a limited-event side campaign. I could use some help with system suggestions that meet the following criteria:

  • No more than 3-5 sessions, but not a oneshot either.
  • Genre is lighthearted weird scifi. All characters, settings, and plots must be inspired by something from this amazing 70’s Scifi Art tumblr.
  • Something with a little crunch would be good.
  • Explicit mechanics to support both players and GM introducing setting & narrative would be nice (I’m imagining some of the tools that Scum & Villainy provides players via flashbacks, etc)
  • Playable with basically no GM prep at all.

If Troika’s classes were less Fantasy-ish, I’d frankly just run that. I suspect what I’m looking for is Troika, but in space. I know of a few scifi systems (Coriolis, Eclipse Phase, etc) but I think I’d have to shoehorn them into the gonzo feel I’m going for.

Any pointers?

Thanks!

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I don’t know why I think this but for some reason it seems like a re-skin of Polaris would work really well here. I’m not even sure what the re-skin would be. Something feels like the conversation mechanics of Polaris would work really well with weird sci-fi. Maybe not lighthearted though. Dunno if it qualifies as having a little cruch.

Dungeons and Bananas would actually work quite well for a oneshot :smiley: and has suggestions for “campaign” play. Does not really have “a little crunch”.

Microscope and its brethren? Not full of player-characters, but easily works in setting.

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Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn?

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Dead Halt might fit the bill! OSR weird sci-fi meant to plug into literally any module. Can get zany, but doesn’t have to be.

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Games that are lightheart sci-fi, and can lead itself into weird territory are:

In the Light of a Ghost Star - this one is the lightest scifi system I know, but can get really weird, especially when you run the starting adventure in it.
Offworlders - simple but strong mechanics for scifi games, generic enough to twist into any direction
Vultures - space cadets off to heroic missions, but Mother dear has things under sleeve…
Mothership - classic scifi-horror game, but can switch those panic checks into bewilderment moments

below are more sword-and-planet/science fantasy, but fits the 70s scifi vibe

Warriors of Eternity - this one is inspired by Masters of the Universe, so more heroic vibe
Solar Blades and Cosmic Spells - a bit the same as above, but can go gritty sword-and-planet, or fantastic Star Wars-like adventures

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There’s a mammoth of a game called Mindjammer, its Fate Core based and it’s very modular in the sense you can take parts of the game out and it still works. You could reskin the parts you want to use and play. The main book in paper has 497 pages full of rules for different kind of things. You can make it as rule light or as crunchy as you like.

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Wow, thanks everyone for so many suggestions! There’s a lot of reading I have to do. Based on this, right now my shortlist is…

  • Offworlders
  • Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells (this looks like exactly the tone I’m going for. OSR gives me pause, but apparently they sprinkle in some storygame goodness)

Further research also turned up a couple of “Dungeon World but scifi” games like Infinite Worlds that also sound interesting.

There’s a lot of game suggestions in here that sound fantastic, but would require a fair amount of reskinning to make it work. Normally that kind of thing is my jam, but since one of my key goals is laziness I’ll have to hold off on that. (A shame - Mindjammer looks neato)

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You mentioned Troika. The Troika community produces backgrounds at a frenzied pace, often in groupings for specific modules or settings. Check out this set of “Baroque Space” backgrounds by Trey from Sorcerer’s Skull:

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Pro tip:
Use the Troika character generator linked below and mash the generate character button until you see a background that matches the aesthetic you’re going for. The generator typically links to the source for third party backgrounds, and you may discover a whole set of backgrounds that suit your needs.

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Thanks! I’m not using Troika for this (I want something more explicitly scifi) but these are great resources nonetheless.