Top 10 Space Opera RPGs for Cosmic Adventures

In the vast expanse of the universe, amidst the twinkling constellations and swirling nebulae, lie stories of epic space adventures, grand galactic politics, and heroes who defy the cosmos. Space opera RPGs transport us to these grand narratives, where spaceships aren’t just modes of transportation but extensions of characters’ very identities, and the backdrop of stars sets the stage for some of the most enthralling tales in gaming. From the intrigue of decaying empires to the exhilaration of spacefaring merchants, these games offer an escape like no other. In this list, we’ll embark on a journey through the top 10 space opera RPGs that are bound to take your breath away and fuel your interstellar imagination.

Traveller 2022 RPG cover highlighting a grand space odyssey

1. Traveller

Traveller is often hailed as the granddaddy of space opera RPGs, and for good reason. With its first edition hitting the shelves in the late 1970s, it’s one of the pioneers in the genre. The game’s comprehensive universe-building tools allow players to dive deep into interstellar exploration, trade, and combat. Yet, what truly sets Traveller apart is its legendary character creation system. A character’s backstory is developed through a series of career choices, events, and sometimes even misadventures before play even begins. This leads to a rich tapestry of backgrounds that can add layers to any campaign. Whether you’re a seasoned spacefaring RPG player or new to the cosmos, Traveller is a must-have for any collection. Get the Traveller Core Rulebook (Update 2022) on DriveThruRPG.

Cover image for Starfinder RPG

2. Starfinder

From the renowned creators of Pathfinder comes Starfinder, a space-faring spin-off that takes high fantasy to the stars. Starfinder marries the depth and complexity fans expect from the Pathfinder system with futuristic settings, alien species, and high-tech weaponry. Set in the Pact Worlds, players can be anything from android assassins to ratfolk mechanics. Navigate a universe filled with political intrigue, ancient mysteries, and interstellar conflict. The game’s integration of magic and technology offers a fresh twist to the space opera genre. If you’ve ever wanted to cast spells in zero-gravity combat or pilot a spaceship with your trusty enchanted sword by your side, Starfinder is your ticket to such adventures. Explore the Starfinder Universe here.

Rogue Trader RPG

3. Rogue Trader

Step into the grimdark universe of Warhammer 40,000 with Rogue Trader. While many might be familiar with the tabletop wargame’s battles, Rogue Trader offers a unique perspective within the setting. That of the spacefaring merchants navigating the treacherous cosmos in pursuit of wealth and power. As the eponymous Rogue Trader, you’ll command a vast starship. Make or break deals with alien civilizations, and confront both the external and internal threats that beset your dynasty. With the wealth of the Warhammer 40k lore as its backdrop, this RPG offers deep narrative potential, whether you’re exploring uncharted star systems or navigating the dangerous politics of the Imperium of Man. Get the Rogue Trader Core Rulebook and the Game Master’s Kit on DriveThruRPG.

Stars Without Number RPG cover featuring a celestial map

4. Stars Without Number

Stars Without Number seamlessly combines classic spacefaring themes with contemporary game mechanics, giving players a sandbox space opera RPG like no other. You can be an explorer mapping uncharted stars, a mercenary caught in interstellar conflict, or a psionic trying to find their place in the galaxy. The game offers a vast universe of possibilities. Known for its faction-based metagame and toolkit approach, GMs will find it a breeze to craft unique worlds, political dynamics, and adventure seeds. This game’s modular nature ensures that no two campaigns are alike, providing endless opportunities for spacefaring adventures. Journey into the Stars Without Number on DriveThruRPG.

Atmospheric cover image for Coriolis RPG

5. Coriolis – The Third Horizon

If you ever dreamed of an “Arabian Nights in space,” Coriolis – The Third Horizon makes that dream a reality. The game is set against the backdrop of a richly detailed universe with influences from Middle Eastern culture and folklore. Players find themselves navigating a cosmos of ancient mysteries, political intrigue, and dark gods. With its unique setting, Coriolis offers a fresh take on the space opera genre. Intricate politics and deep-seated cultural traditions play as significant a role as spaceship battles. Whether you’re chasing myths in the depths of space or brokering deals in bustling spaceports, Coriolis ensures every session is steeped in atmospheric storytelling. Embark on Your Coriolis Adventure on DriveThruRPG.

cover art for Scum and Villainy RPG

6. Scum and Villainy

Fans of “Blades in the Dark” will feel right at home with Scum and Villainy, a game that captures the essence of space opera heists, chases, and cons. Players can adopt the roles of galactic bounty hunters, daring pilots, or cunning criminals in a universe filled with dangerous syndicates and oppressive empires. Scum and Villainy offers a narrative-focused experience. It has mechanics designed to support dynamic heist planning, ship-to-ship combat, and the bonds forged (or broken) between crew members. If you’ve ever wanted to lead a crew of misfits on daring escapades in the vastness of space, this game delivers in spades. Dive into the World of Scum and Villainy on DriveThruRPG.

Fading Suns Second Edition RPG

7. Fading Suns

In a universe where the once-great galactic empire is on the brink of collapse, Fading Suns thrusts players into a world of political intrigue, hidden agendas, and ancient mysteries. Noble houses vie for power, heretics challenge dogmatic faiths, and dark beings from the void threaten all of humanity. The choices players make can either herald a new dawn or accelerate the impending dusk. Fading Suns provides a rich setting, combining elements of science fiction, gothic horror, and feudal politics, making for a deeply immersive space opera experience. Delve into the Intricacies of Fading Suns on DriveThruRPG.

Classic cover for SpaceMaster 2nd Edition RPG

8. SpaceMaster

From the minds behind the legendary Rolemaster system comes SpaceMaster, a comprehensive space opera RPG that promises epic interstellar adventures. You can play a cybernetically augmented soldier battling extraterrestrial threats or a psychic diplomat navigating the intricacies of alien politics. SpaceMaster offers detailed mechanics and an expansive universe for it all. With separate books catering to Game Masters, players, and tech enthusiasts, it provides an extensive toolkit for those looking to craft a personalized space saga. You can get the SpaceMaster GM Book the Player Book and the Tech Book all on DriveThruRPG.

Cover image of Ashen Stars RPG

9. Ashen Stars

Ashen Stars introduces a gritty galaxy where players take on the roles of spacefaring detectives, investigating mysteries, solving crimes, and dealing with the fallout of an interstellar war. With an emphasis on moral dilemmas and intricate plots, this game offers a noir-tinted lens to the space opera genre. As the galaxy’s laser-wielding gumshoes, players will need to piece together clues, interrogate witnesses, and confront unspeakable horrors. Unravel the Mysteries of Ashen Stars on DriveThruRPG.

Vibrant cover art for Bulldogs! RPG

10. Bulldogs!

For those yearning for a pulpy, action-packed space opera experience, look no further than Bulldogs!. Utilizing the Fate system, this RPG captures the essence of daring spaceship chases, larger-than-life adversaries, and high-octane adventures in the cosmos. Whether you’re a disgraced space captain looking for redemption, a roguish smuggler avoiding the law, or a mysterious alien with an agenda, Bulldogs! ensures every session is filled with fun and excitement. Blast Off with Bulldogs! on DriveThruRPG.

Honourable Mentions for Space Opera RPs

While our top 10 list showcases some of the most illustrious space opera RPGs out there, the galaxy of tabletop role-playing is vast and filled with hidden gems. Here are a few honourable mentions that you won’t want to miss:

Eclipse Phase RPG cover showcasing a transhumanist future

Eclipse Phase: This RPG plunges players into a transhumanist future where the boundaries of consciousness and identity are constantly being tested. With the ability to transfer minds between bodies, players can explore far-flung corners of the galaxy, dive into intricate conspiracies, and confront the philosophical implications of their newfound powers. An intense, cerebral experience awaits those brave enough to venture into the world of Eclipse Phase. Venture into the Transhumanist Frontier of Eclipse Phase on DriveThruRPG.

Mindjammer RPG cover with a focus on cosmic exploration

Mindjammer: The universe is vast, and ancient cultures lie waiting on distant worlds for the New Commonality of Humankind to rediscover them. Using the Fate system, Mindjammer crafts a space opera narrative that intertwines the exploration of lost civilizations with a transhumanist future. Discover the Depths of Mindjammer on DriveThruRPG.

Nova Praxis RPG cover showcasing a fusion of organic and digital

Nova Praxis: Transhumanism meets the Savage Worlds system in this innovative RPG. Nova Praxis paints a future where technology has reshaped society and the boundaries of human potential. Players will navigate advanced AI, cybernetic augmentations, and socio-political intrigue using the fast-paced Savage Worlds system. Dive into the World of Nova Praxis on DriveThruRPG.

Each of these titles brings a unique spin to the space opera genre, ensuring that players have a galaxy of options to explore.


Space opera RPGs are more than just games; they are gateways to universes brimming with possibilities. Whether you’re navigating the political minefields of a galactic empire or exploring the moral quandaries of a transhumanist future, these games promise boundless adventures. While our list highlights some of the brightest stars in the genre, the beauty of roleplaying is crafting your own narrative. So, gather your crew, prep your ship, and set coordinates for the unknown. The vast cosmos of storytelling awaits!

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