A look at some noteworthy sci-fi tabletop RPGs about migratory star-fleets seeking a new home or refugee, much like in the Homeworld RTS.
Long-time fans of the Homeworld franchise who’ve grown restless waiting for Homeworld 3 can always whet their appetite by playing earlier Homeworld titles or thematically similar space strategy video games like Stellaris or Crying Suns. Alternately, they can draw on the rich potential of science fiction tabletop RPGs to tell their own Homeworld-style stories. The following RPG systems are particularly fitting for such an endeavor, featuring settings about wandering space fleets in a vast and dangerous cosmos and mechanics about desperate survival and exodus.
A people on a dying desert world discover an ancient FTL drive, coupled with a star chart showing the way to their true, original home. Unified in purpose, they build and launch a massive colony ship to reach their planet of origin, hyperspace-jumping across the galaxy as the star-fleets of an ancient enemy pursue them. Homeworld 1 presents this story in a stark, simple way that matches its slow, stately gameplay cycle of exploring a three- dimensional map, harvesting asteroids and space dust to construct a new ship, and protecting the mothership with increasingly vast fleets of starships. These factors, combined with the game’s slick visual design and soundtrack, make players feel like they’re on a truly epic, grueling journey.
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The science fiction tabletop RPGs featured below, like Homeworld, are about star fleets of wandering exiles, searching for a new home while fending off the enemies who took their old home. Like Homeworld, these RPGs support their narrative premise with on-point game mechanics, letting their players create heroes who would fit right into sci-fi dramas such as Battlestar Galactica and tell stories worthy of ancient sagas like the Odyssey, the March of the Ten Thousand, or the Exodus from Egypt.
Space Opera Tabletop RPG – Last Fleet
Last Fleet, published by Black Armada, is a “Powered By The Apocalypse” science fiction RPG centered around a star fleet populated by the last survivors of an interplanetary commonwealth, desperately fleeing from a ravenous life-form invading reality from hyperspace called The Corax. Through special “Playbook” character sheets themed around the constellations of the Zodiac, players portray the commanders, pilots, diplomats, and tacticians fighting to keep the last of the human race alive. The Corax, a twisted fungal life-form that consumes and assimilates the lifeforms it encounters, is thematically very similar to The Beast antagonist encountered in the spin-off RTS game Homeworld: Cataclysm.
Space Opera Tabletop RPG – Diaspora
Diaspora, a science-fiction space opera RPG built around the FATE system, has no official setting, but instead contains a set of storytelling principles and world-building tools for telling stories of space travel, discovery, and transcendence. In a Diaspora campaign, player characters voyage through star systems filled with ancient ruins left behind by civilizations that reached peaks of technological achievement before either collapsing or ascending to different planes of existence.
Aesthetically, Diaspora is a great fit for telling Homeworld-style stories about explorers investigating or repurposing the ruined space stations, derelict spacecraft, and ancient megastructures left behind by long-gone civilizations. The Diaspora SRD also contains several detailed yet intuitive tactical games for simulating space battles with realistic physics along the lines of Kerbal Space Program.
Space Opera Tabletop RPG – Storm Furies
Storm Furies, available on itch.io, is a science fiction hack of the Paragon ruleset, a game system crafted by game designer John Harper for his Agon mythic fantasy RPG. Instead of being Odyssey-style demigod heroes trying to sail home, the players of Storm Furies take on the role of star fighter pilots from the legendary Fury Squadron, departing on missions to protect the remnants of humanity from the synthetic lifeforms trying to exterminate them.
As with Homeworld, the original Battlestar Galactica and its 2003 remake are huge sources of inspiration for the Storm Furies RPG. This tabletop game makes salvage missions for fuel and provisions just as important a task as space combat against the Forged.
Space Opera Tabletop RPG – Homeworld: Revelations
Games looking for a Homeworld 3-style tabletop RPG should definitively keep checking for updates on Homeworld: Revelations, an official roleplaying game adaption currently being developed by Modiphius Entertainment. Featuring the same 2d20 ruleset used in the official Modiphius Star Trek Adventures RPG, Homeworld Revelations focuses on the timeline of events seen in Homeworld 1, where the Kushan Fleet journeys toward the long-lost world of Hiigara while clashing with the forces of the Taiidan Empire.
Like the spin-off series Star Trek: Lower Decks, Homeworld: Revelations will tell stories about the rank-and-file crew members of the Kushan and explore cultural/historical details of the Homeworld universe that the official video games glossed over.
Next: Homeworld 3’S Breathtaking Concept Art (And The New Gameplay It Hints At)
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