I’m still thinking about how to run Roanoke Station, my dark low-tech sci-fi RPG. I went to the RPG.net forums to get suggestions for a ruleset to use. I had originally been considering d20 Future, because my gaming group is pretty familiar with the d20 rules. However I’m a little concerned that the “flashy” elements of d20 (feats, etc.) might overshadow or convolute the psychological horror aspects of the game. I want the PC’s to be constantly feeling a bit of dread, like the situation is just a little bit bigger than they are, and that they are getting by on borrowed time.
The suggestions so far have ranged from the obvious to the less-so. Traveller is a good low-tech game with a strong focus on skills, and appeals to the “old school gamer” in me. Alternity was sort of the roundabout bridge between second and third edition D&D, sort of a “dX” system, rather than just a d20 (so much so that the Star*Drive setting appears in d20 Future). Some sci-fi suggestions are a little more obscure, like Blue Planet, which oddly enough I own, or Jovian Chronicles (which uses a variant of the R. Talsorian ruleset, if I remember correctly).
Other people eschewed the entire sci-fi genre completely and focussed on the horror aspect of the game. Suggestions included more contemporary-era games like All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Conspiracy X. It is an interesting notion–shows like Firefly proved you didn’t need a lot of high-tech paraphenalia to have a believable and effective saga.
Finally, a few universal systems popped up: Savage Worlds (which I think shows up in most RPG.net threads), HERO, and something called Nemesis. On a side note, I actually own all the gamesystems mentioned, except All Flesh Must Be Eaten.
Postscript (and justifying the “terrain” tag): I bought a new digital camera today. As soon as it arrives, I’ll get the pics of the Gothic Descent set posted.