X-Com-alike pen and paper game?

Mist

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#1
Anyone ever try to run an aliens-attack-earth style pen and paper RPG? I've been thinking of trying to run a sort of X-Com-meets-Independence Day style RPG. I've got a pretty good campaign plot mapped out but not much in the way of systems. I was thinking it could be d20-based since I figure there would be a lot of combat but I want to keep it fast and fun, but unfortunately, the d20/pathfinder modern systems seem like they leave a lot to be desired.

Also, wondering if it would be better to have people try playing as themselves (I feel like this is a dumb trope that could somehow be just dumb enough for this type of game) or if they should make up characters?
 

Harshaw

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#2
Robotech? I played that a lot back in the day. Also we did something similar with the Palladium system and using books like Ninjas and Superspies, Heroes/Aliens Unlimited, and Beyond the Supernatural. The Palladium system is wonky, but workable. I am sure there is a bunch of D20 stuff you can probably pull from to run a game like that though.

"Play yourself" campaigns can be pretty fun. I played in 2 when I was younger. The only problem is figuring out stats and skills. We did this by having the other players fill out each others stats and stuff.
 

Angerz

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#3
the SPEW system from Outbreak undead is pretty good for playing yourself. I ran a one shot of it at gen con that was really successful. Pretty sure I butchered up the rules when we played (some intentionally, some unintentionally), but everyone had a good time. I think they have a space ruleset as well (Hunter's books).
 

Mist

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#4
Playing yourself seems like a fun trope for a one-shot but this wouldn't be a one-shot campaign which makes me think I shouldn't go that route.
 

Harshaw

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#5
You could also just make a pool of characters with backstories and let the players pull from them. I used to make double the amount of characters then players giving them some choice.

Although if you are planning a long campaign, you are probably better off letting the players deal with all that and make their own.
 

Vaclav

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#6
IIRC, it's been eons - but I believe that Twilight 2000 RPG did have a sci-fi spin off along such lines.
 

ronne

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#7
The latest edition of Shadowrun might work for what you're trying to do. Replace any one of the major factions or zaibatsu with aliens and you're almost good to go. Game system works good, has a vehicle combat system that doesn't suck (for alien ships etc), already but pretty hard sci-fi settings. If you don't want magic you could just scrap all that without much trouble.
 

Funkor

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#8
Conspiracy X - Conspiracy X - Wikipedia
The Regiment - The Mighty Atom
First Contact: X-Corps - Only War (Warhammer 40k rpg) - https://www.amazon.com/Only-Core-Rulebook-Warhammer-Roleplay/dp/1616614692
Cyberpunk 2020 - Cyberpunk 2020 - Wikipedia
Delta Green (re-flavor from Cthulhu to Aliens) - Delta Green - Wikipedia
Contact - CONTACT - Tactical Alien Defense Role-Playing Game - Clockwork Publishing | DriveThruRPG.com
Infinity RPG - INFINITY RELEASES
Savage X-Com (Savage Worlds adaptation) - Savage XCom
Torchbearer (Colonial Marines variant) - Downloads | Torchbearer
 

Hatorade

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#9
If you want fast I suggest savage worlds or warhammer d10s for dice rolls.
 

Gavinmad

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#10
Did First Contact: X-Corps finally get translated to English? Took so long I stopped paying attention.
 

Ratina

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#11
Didn't they just do a space version of Pathfinder? Could help with the framework, but you would need to build out a lot to get what you are looking for.

I always felt the OWOD (never played New) system was great to represent 'modern day average working man' as a character.
 

Arden

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#12
Didn't they just do a space version of Pathfinder? Could help with the framework, but you would need to build out a lot to get what you are looking for.

I always felt the OWOD (never played New) system was great to represent 'modern day average working man' as a character.
Starfinder is the sci-fi Pathfinder setting. Haven't played it, but if it's as well put together his Pathfinder, it's probably pretty good.

Fading Suns is a pretty close match to Xcom. Even has psy stuff.

As someone else suggested, Shadowrun could pretty easily be made to fit the Xcom setting.
 

Mist

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#13
I didn't even know Starfinder was a thing.

I mean, I know no space RPG will ever beat The World of Synnibarr, but I should at least peruse its contents.
 

Gavinmad

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#14
After some looking into it, it appears that the studio that published First Contact: X-Corps is a bunch of scammers. Shame.
 

Hatorade

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#15
Starfinder just came out, I would wait a bit for more content that and they really kept up the mathfinder bit.
 

Mist

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#16
D20-based games are the only games I've ever known how to run so Starfinder is probably the most worth looking at. Almost everything will have to be custom anyway so it's really just picking a starting point.
 

Hatorade

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#17
D20-based games are the only games I've ever known how to run so Starfinder is probably the most worth looking at. Almost everything will have to be custom anyway so it's really just picking a starting point.
Ah OK, Starfinder is fun, combat is slow, and it will crawl if people aren't good with modifiers. As in your player wants to talk shit and you say roll bluff they say 13!.... plus.....my modifier of....7...13 plus 7 is.........(this can get really long if they suck at math)..21!

Instead of D10 system where skill is 6 so they roll 6 D10s 8+ is a pass need one pass to succeed, can literally glance at everything and resolve. Savage worlds is middle and IMO best of both for speed and complexity.
 

Gavinmad

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#18
I've always liked Conspiracy X but it's somewhere in between X-Files and X-Com rather than being an actual X-Com alike.
 

Mist

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#19
There might be some investigative-style adventures, so it would need to be a system with some support for non-combat skills, but mainly it would be more in the military science fiction genre. It would not be of the horror/paranormal/lovecraftian weird sci-fi genre, though now that we mention it, that sounds awesome too.