Thinky request. Pirates...IN SPACE!



Hail shield wall!

Just wrapped up my first campaign as a DM, in fact first campaign ever DM or not! Me and all my friends are brand new to the hobby, and it was a blast. Ran a homebrew fantasy setting. Hobbit with ent powers, a bard inspired by phantom of the opera, pyromancers, shape-shifting herbalists, and more were all part of the cast. Over about 12 sessions, the great evil of Draz (big bad) was destroyed, and each enjoyed a sunset moment with some genuine emotion.

We sat and I asked what next? I could see in their eyes more fantasy wasn’t lighting the fire of fun, then someone mentioned the movie Treasure Planet and they all lit up. They all loved the movie, so that theme will be inspiration for what’s next.

So in a few months, a “space pirates” campaign will kicked off. I am going to really embrace “one night at a time” prep, so I am just gathering pieces for later. I am new to this hobby, so not sure where to look.

Any good resources or ideas you would like to recommend for the mixture of sci-fi and pirates?

Thanks guys and gals, excited to join the conversation here on the forums!


I think WARP SHELL from CORE/WORLDS is definitely a good place to start. That’s going to give you a lot of Sci-Fi flexibility. Especially with the mods provided in the new QUICKSTART 2e. From there, you could also look into @Kindred 's AURORA setting for inspiration. It’s set in the classic days of Piracy, mixed with Fantasy but it’s super compatible with a DIY mindset and wouldn’t take much to reskin most of it for Pirates in Space.


Congrats on the campaign, amigo! :herocoin:

For some inspiration for the Space Pirate game I definitely agree with Kane for the sources he mentioned. I would also suggest checking out some additional media, a few shows to watch to get that spirit of the game. Obviously rewatch Treasure Planet, but also check out Pirates of Dark Water (animated) and the old 80’s classic Ice Pirates (if you can find it). They both have some fun flavor that could help with some ideas.

Pirates of Dark Water has loads of wild stuff going on, a quick switch from islands to planets and you’ve got a whole slough of potential locations.

You could also rewatch Firefly and check out Dark Matter on Netflix. Both can be farmed for ideas for space piracy. :wink:

Happy gaming!


This definitely seems like a premise ripe for SPELLJAMMER or PLANESCAPE, which have a lot of published and homebrew material of all types associated with them, not to mention countless fiction spinoffs. Apparently HF’s next RPG mainframe is about SPELLJAMMER, so if you can, tune into that, it’ll probably be packed with useful stuff for you.

Other than that, get your hands on as much early historical cosmology as you can, from any culture or any source, hell, even fictional. The ether, platonic solid orbitals, geocentrism, crystal spheres, world serpents, sift through as much as you can and put together an interesting base universe for the players to explore with fantastical rules and locales. Lean into the universe as a magical and foreign place, subvert the PC’s expectations and create wonder through the twisting of these archetypes.

I’m excited to see where this goes! I do hope you keep us updated on this setting.


For movie, may I suggest Threasure Planet from Disney? Boats in space, it’s fun!


Thanks for pointing out spelljammer, it looks hopelessly complex and totally original! I am very interested to see what the mainframe will talk about, as HF does have a way at distilling down to some great nuggets. I am gathering lots of pieces at the moments.

@JDStirling I am currently working through firefly and have re watched treasure planet. The others will have to wait for now.

@KaneDriscol Warpshell has been so fun to read about, the wackiness of the characters and possible hybrid with fantasy characters has me really excited (to the point I want to be a player in this world as much as GM it). I will check out @Kindred’s work when the hobby budget allows another purchase.

Ideas request:
I am wanting to have an “anti-magic” front as part of the makeup of the world building, some sort of techno-hungry force slowly turning themselves more and more machine. I want to avoid the trope of “inquisitors,” any fun ideas for what this force could look like?

I am thinking something like the Eragon series, which had a dark religion that as you progressed you lost more limbs in dedication. So could change that to the low level guys just have a few machine parts, but the elites of the this front would be barely human, mostly cyborg/machine.

Thanks so much for the input, I am hoping this thread can help others out for gathering inspiration too.


It’s not necessarily mechanically focused, but you should look up the Bondsmages from Lies of Locke Lamora.

Essentially, they are a faction of magic users who eliminated all other factions of magic and developed a monopoly on magic.


For the anti-magic trope, it could be an unwitting invasion. Nanobots that invade a person’s system and kill the not-midichlorians, slowly rendering the universe impotent to magic, making room for the cyborg conquers from another dimension to swoop in and convert your reality. (Perhaps a twist could be that the plague is sent by a race of hyper-powerful sorcerers- making a universe mechanical and coming through with magic that seems godlike is an easy way to spread.)

Or perhaps it’s something else. A transhumanist political movement, quickly gaining support. The problem is, its leadership, relative moderates, are falling to infighting from a radical group who seek to cannibalize the living flesh into iron machines. The whole movement is sympathetic, but the radicals and the computer virus they’ve built is a threat to the security of the galaxy.

Point is, if you want to invert the trope, the easiest thing to flip is the bombast of a mage-killing galactic order into a very quiet, subtle influence, or even one that has many upsides or benefits. Erase the line between good and bad, blend it, create shades of menace and mystery to make the threat into a puzzle instead of something to be blown up. That’ll differentiate it and make it more gameable to boot.


Inspiration for a pirates game in space: Guardians of the Galaxy. Take five unlikely heroes, put them in a cool spaceship, and propel them against a threat to the entire universe. You can’t fail with that premise.


Also, congratulations on completing your first game! Killer!!!


I feel like your response and @SunderedWorldDM’s right next to each other show the runehammer community at its best: “Here’s a deep think about the nuance of political infighting” alongside “Just have fun with heroes, bad guys, and a cool space ship.” Both valid and good points! I love how I felt welcome to splash around in the warm kiddie pools of RPG/DM basic fun, but there is a whole ocean of things to learn and get better at.

By the way, I found a great deal on some Starfinder material at Bundle of Holding’s website (Running until December). Just got my first monster manual as part of the deal, first time seeing the value of all the inspiration they can hold! Also, reading through Starfinder material makes me appreciate the more simple nature of ICRPG, can’t imagine holding all that stuff in my head!