Science Fantasy

There are a number of Science fantasy settings. I grew up with He-Man, Thundercats, and Krull so thats my default vibe.
There are the Barsoom Clones (BX Mars, Warriors of the Red Planet)
Operation Unfathomable and Anomalous Subsurface Environment for Labyrinth Lord,
Carcosa for LotFP, and Gathox Vertical Slum by the Hydra Cooperative.
Troika and some of the above lean closer to what Id call Acid Fantasy, the kind of setting that goes on psychedelic rock album covers.

Id like a setting with Gamma World fused with D&D. Mutant Future had a few pages at the end to discuss the unholy fusion with labyrinth lord they call Mazes and Mutants but they didnt give it much space to breathe. Mostly advice on keeping the rules consistent.

What are some Ive missed? What would you like to see in a science fantasy game?


I wrote a thing called Wundar which is basically exactly this. I am updating it at the moment for WHITEFRANK. Since WHITEFRANK doesn’t have a traditional fantasy world absolutely baked in it already has Lost Astronaut class and animals as player characters. Wundar had the planetary romance stuff. It never did very well (I am a micro publisher in the first place) with WHITEFRANK is more popular and most of the rules I wrote for Wundar are system independent anyway- modular since the setting was so unusual.

What I added to Wundar was the strong storyline - one big Skeletor / Ming baddie, his unique lieutenants and so you go around trying to unite the rest of the weird and wonderful regional people together to fight him.

Sort of Flash He-Man and the Masters of the Dark Sun I guess. :slight_smile:

Anyway it will be a lot better done for WHITEFRANK than it ever was for its original book. If you’re interested let me know and I will send you Wundar. Or just wait for the WHITEFRANK updated improved version. :slight_smile:

I am interested. I also only heard of Whitefrank today and had a look. You can be a duck. Imagining Ducks in a Dungeon.

There’s also Mutant Crawl Classics (looks a lot like Gamma World), Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, Ultraviolet Grasslands (has Moebius vibes).

I’d want to play in a science fantasy game that’s like Taarna from Heavy Metal (the movie). Not something I’d be great at game mastering, because I find that genre kinda hard to imagine adventures for.

Dark Sun is also very attractive to me! I’m not sure if it has guns, but I’d add some rare lasers for sure.

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Taarna (Moebius) and Den of Earth (Richard Corben) are exactly the right flavor. Orbs that corrupt a village, Slime worshiping wizards, dragonfly steeds, mutant henchmen,
Ultraviolet is by Luka Rejec who has certainly cultivated some spectacular Moebius Vibes.
Solar Blades is by Diogo Noguieria and he has a lust for this content too.
I like Mutant Crawl Classics. Its got cool adventures, including one that rips off Zardoz.


Duck, Dog, Bear, Rabbit, Princess, Knight, and so on. In the CLASSES book as will be seen when it drops soon, there are a lot more apparently offbeat things to come.

But playing an animal - there are so many animal characters, animal companions and animal heroes especially in fairy tales and children’s books I am always stunned more attention is not paid to them. It’s one of the first things some small children ask to play. Along with the Hulk and Spider-Man.

There are a few Sword and Planet ones that are pulpy. Leopard Women of Venus, Jarkoon, and Dungeon Planet.


A well-timed post! I’ve just been watching Thundarr the Barbarian. There’s also Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, a Hack of the Black Hack with a very Thundarr vibe.


I love that game.
There’s also Tekumel, Skyrealms of Jorune, and Talislanta. Although none of these are really OSR.


Tekumel is so weird, I don’t mean the actual setting, because in some respects if you get past the obstructive language Barker invented it is very vanilla, I mean how in truth it is one of the very first RPGs, so it should be OSR, but I guess lack of popularity has held it back all this time. And yet the actual first role-playing game people all played it, and in some cases love it.


Personally, what I like about games like Gamma World where it has the mix of science fiction and fantasy is just the absolute zaniness that comes out of the mixture of the two. When I ran a One-shot centered around pizza delivery men dropping off boxes of Pizza to different villages around a “Famine in Fargo” like area. Ended up working for a Weasel who had wings and a unicorn horn while wearing a pizza uniform.

Something I would like to see more in Science Fantasy is more space centric settings. Like I know there is there is Mars as depicted in the Barsoom series and the Star Wars Galaxy, but it would be cool to see something where you can have planet hopping adventures and space battles without overly intricate rules or anything.

Something else I would like to see are more Power Fantasy Style rules or games, stuff like what you would hear in a power metal album by the likes of Gloryhammer or similar bands. Goofy, strange but absolutely wild and filled with energy.

I might be rambling now but I feel like the genre of Science Fantasy should just go wild.


Again, the very first monster book, ever, had things from album covers, science fantasy books, and so on, to be used as “typical” monsters in “dungeons & dragons”. The pope of gaming approach did so much damage by filtering that stuff out. All the original Minnesota games had …whatever… in them, King Kong, Barsoomian monsters, whatever, I think for some gamers it is just the natural way to go, and back then it was a side effect of having limited miniatures and plenty of cheap plastic weird stuff from the local corner stores :slight_smile:


Oh yes, the original games that occurred during the Pre-D&D age of gaming was something different. I might need to take a trip to my local Dollar General and raid for it’s little plastic miniatures to use in my games when I get to play in person with my group again. Maybe paint them up so they look nice on the table.

Point of order- those games aren’t pre-D&D, that WAS D&D. It got turned into something else by one of the early adopters but the original D&D was a direct part of the Braunstein - Brownstone - Blackmoor sequence. It’s where gaming should have stayed because it disposes of so much of the rules lawyering hateful nonsense. :slight_smile:


True and you’re right about that, it was D&D in purest sense, but D&D is also the three little brown books, the Box sets and the AD&D books that came after the Blackmoor. The final arbiter is not the rulebook, but the GM and the Group who uses them and what they want to do with them.

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100% true and why I wrote WHITEFRANK. The problem became that too many people, in such a creative and imaginative activity, surrendered their freedom to other people’s rulebooks. I understand why but still, the spark of weirdness was lost for a long time. People sort of gloss over Appendix N and so on but taken in totality, those books are not eclectic they are the common currency of the original role-players. And in the California sessions some of the most active players were published science fiction and science fantasy authors so it was right there fundamentally at ground zero. :slight_smile:

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Wow, once in a blue moon that I check my OSR pit digest and it’s a topic dear to my heart.
Coincidentally, I just published a rules light/OSR system for playing Darksun-like games: Sword & Planet/Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy.
It’s called Crimson Sun. It’s on
Happy to send you a copy if you’re interested.

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how about we swap? I’ll send you WHITEFRANK in return :slight_smile:

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For a sword & planet vibe I recommend Planet Eris


One more rec: Xuhlan, which uses the aforementioned Warriors of the Red Planet as its foundation.

Edit: I’m also a bit surprised Carcosa wasn’t mentioned yet.