Free League Publishing is currently crowdfunding a new edition of its Coriolis science-fiction RPG­ – Coriolis: The Great Dark. The new edition is based on the updated Year Zero Engine, which powers their RPGs based on licensed properties: AlienBlade RunnerThe Walking Dead, etc. Unlike those games, Coriolis is their own IP, their own setting.

I discovered its predecessor, Coriolis: The Third Horizon (ironically, its second edition) when seeking science-fiction modules for my Impulse Drive campaign. While I’ve never used its game engine, I did find the setting to be invaluable for prep and adventures. Billed as “Arabian Nights…IN SPAAACE,” it offers great illustrations, schematics, and NPCs.

Although I purchased quite a few more Coriolis modules than hit the table, these were the ones I used or adapted in some way:

  • Aram’s Secret – This module’s description of a luxury moon inspired me enough to flesh it out further. It became the primary base for our NPCs through the first two-thirds of the campaign.
  • Corilios: The Third Horizon – Quickstart – I always appreciate rule sets that include a sample adventure (going back to the sample dungeon in Holmes Basic). “Dark Flowers,” the adventure included here, became the first assigned heist for my crew, who had to try and find out what happened to an archaeological team that was investigating a recently rediscovered derelict space station. A rolling firefight through the station became one of my favorite combats ever.
  • Hamurabi – (Spelled like the BASIC program, not like the king.) This space station was an important destination in the early campaign; I loved its schematics and its NPCs. Asal Harub, a bureaucrat the players unaffectionately nicknamed Asshole Harub, became one of my favorite antagonists. He exemplified my take on the old saying: “Power corrupts. Petty power corrupts pettily.” The list of NPCs also inspired a murder mystery arc that I ran (although I made the mistake of having too many suspects).
  • The Mahanji Oasis – A refuge on a desert planet, this setting became the scene of one of the crew’s many heists. (Famous among my players because, for the first and only time, everything went exactly according to plan!)
  • The Dying Ship – I already had imagined ice freighters carrying ice asteroids to a planet that was being terraformed. This module had illustrations and schematics for such an ice hauler, along with a creepy mission that freaked out my players. Probably my favorite Coriolis module.
  • Light Flower, Dark Leaf – The space port from Episode 3 of this module became an important location for a series of adventures near the end of our campaign, though I ended up fleshing it out with new PCs and locations inspired by prior events.
  • Coriolis Atlas Compendium – This provided an extensive collection of random tables, which were useful for spurring my creativity.

Some of the other modules I used to pitch potential gigs, jobs, and heists to my PCs, but they chose other ones instead. It was still valuable to have those in my back pocket.

If you’re running or thinking of running a science-fiction TTRPG, I encourage you to check out Coriolis for inspiration.