D&D in space. It’s an idea that has been around for a long while in the form of TSR/WotC’s Spelljammer.
However, a few years ago, Fantasy Flight Games produced an OGL supplement for a new kind of science-fantasy game. Thus was born the Dragonstar universe.
In a nutshell, the known galaxy, which theoretically includes any and all fantasy game worlds, is ruled by a council of dragons. These are the standard dragons of D&D fame, the Chromatic and Metallic breeds, and they follow the same alignment guidelines. The chromatics are generally evil, and the metallics are generally good.
Each breed takes a turn at ruling the Dragon Empire, alternating between the two factions. At the time the game is set, the Red Dragon Emperor is assuming the throne, and a dark era is descending.
Dragonstar has many strengths and few weaknesses. First of all, it is based on the 3E/3.5 edition of D&D, so the huge amount of official and OGL supplements for D&D are all compatible with Dragonstar.
Prestige classes, feats, races, etc., are all usable with little to no extra work. And characters from existing campaigns set in traditional fantasy game worlds can be easily transported to a Dragonstar campaign.
Perhaps one of the biggest strengths is the flexibility. A Dragonstar game can include traditional fantasy, space opera, hard science-fiction, horror, or any other adventure type you can think of (my own highly successful campaign was a blend of Firefly and D&D).
You could even make Dragonstar characters and take them to a high-fantasy world, and have them have to adapt their advanced knowledge to an archaic society.
With magic, monsters and deities existing alongside science, super-science and technology, the options are just about endless. Whether the characters adventure on a planet where they fly on griffins or in dirigibles, or they travel the void in magic-powered starships, the galaxy is vast and open, presenting dangers and adventure at every turn.
Fantasy Flight Games put out several books for use with Dragonstar, creating a rich and detailed universe to explore. The only real weakness (barring a distaste for all things d20) is that the game is out of print.
The company has moved beyond RPGs in general, focusing on card games, board games and miniatures.
So, the Dragonstar license appears to be languishing in a musty old vault, long-forgotten by its creators, with no future publications on the horizon beyond fan creations (of which there are plenty on the net).
However, the game materials can still be found in used book stores and online, at Amazon.com for instance. And because they were produced when d20 was the Next Big Thing in RPGs, their prices are pretty reasonable. Especially in this age of $40 rulebooks.
So, if you still have all of your 3E books, and nothing to do with them, or if you want to expand your 3E/3.5 game beyond the traditional fantasy, I highly recommend giving this set of suplements a go.
You can get started easily with just the Starfarer’s Handbook (a sort of Player’s Guide), as it has all of the pertinent information you need. I picked mine up at Half Price Books for about $10.
Tom Doolan has fought hordes of zombies, infiltrated Imperial strongholds, and is raising three children. Clearly he laughs in the face of danger. To read more about his inane, yet socially responsible thoughts and adventures, visit his blog at http://tomdoolan.blogspot.com/