Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Five Old School Science Fiction Resources For Your Old School Campaigns

When I was growing up I loved & still do trips to book stores. Loved looking through the various large science fiction art books & whatnot. Especially what could be used to furnish the various games that I was running.
Here are five old school resources that can be used with a huge variety of games:
  1. Di Fate's Catalog Of Science Fiction Hardware ~ Lavishly illustrated by the maestro of science fictional illustration this is one hell of a heart stopper that came out back in the '70s. Its all here from Captain Nemo's sub to the armor of  Star Ship Troopers

    If you get no other book then get this one it includes everything to run a complete science fiction camapaign in one place. Awesome book & one incredible illustrator
  2. Tomorrow and Beyond : Masterpieces of Science Fiction Art by Ian Summers 

Tomorrow and Beyond : Masterpieces of Science Fiction Art
This is a great collection of Science Fictional & fantasy illustrations that appeared in the 70s when the golden age of science fantasy artwork was at its height. There's enough material here to inspire 13 campaigns alone.
The book is divided in sections like "Aliens", "Fantasy", "Barbarians", "Spacecraft", "Other Worlds", etc. The artwork is top notch with some of the artists from the seventies in evidence. Great book whose credit isn't recognized these days 

3. Tour Of The Universe Malcom Edwards 
Tour of the Universe: The Journey of a Lifetime: The Recorded Diaries of Leio Scott and Caroline Luranski

What can I say about this book? This one came out back in the 80s & its filled with a cool over the top future science fiction feel that you just don't get today. The book has a story that we've through a couple winning a lottery & then shifts to a thin cold war style galactic tour of a universe filled with time /space mishaps & incredible visuals that go with the book's story. Just a simply great book for the science fiction gamer! 

4. Galactic Tours By Bob Shaw 
Galactic Tours: Thomas Cook Out of This World Vacations
 They don't get any better then this one!
From alien races, weird holidays, complete tours, baby sitting services, aliens did I mention aliens & much more .There are enough things here to keep a game going for years. This is one top notch book filled to the brime with incredibly cool illustrations. Very well done! This book could keep a campaign going for years! Perfect book for a game looking to happen! 

5. Alien World: The Complete Illustrated Guide by Steven Eisler
Alien World: The Complete Illustrated Guide

Got 15 minutes before your players show up but you need an alien race fast? Look no further. This is a fantastic resource. Another one of those '70s science fiction eye feasts this is one that actually has a very detailed galactic history & backdrop to plunder & use for interesting back stories.  Details a whole intergalactic universe rich in history. 

The Bottomline of the Books 

Many of the books that were just featured are available used for way under $10 & as the cheap bastard I'm that's one of the sticking points for this post.  Steven Eisler was a machine when it came to these books during the 70s.. Time after time the man was putting out one fantastic book with Chris Foss or another science fiction illustrator. The work that he did was killer & his books are now only starting to be recognized for their contribution to the illustration & publishing of the time. 
Gaming wise bottom line is that these are great resources & any DM running a science fiction or fantasy campaign can pull a ton of material from them. 
I've avoided using the Terran Trade Authority books because they're well known & I wanted to feature some of the lesser works that don't seem to ever get mentioned on Rpg Blogs. 
Happy Gaming 


  1. What about Barlowe's Guide to Extra-Terrestrials, and Expedition (both by Wayne D. Barlowe)?

  2. Barlowe is a legend in Science Fiction illustration & awesome. Many Traveler & D&D players the world over know his works. I'd hazard to guess that if you mention Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood end it would be his illustration that comes to mind.
    Don't forget Barlowe's Guide To Fantasy which is the standard for many OD&D players.
    No I haven't forgotten him. I was going to feature him in an upcoming blog entry! He really deserves a place of his own.
    As I said the man is a legend

  3. After Man, a zoology of the future is a favorite of mine. Lots of weird stuff.

  4. O Ho! Great topic. I'm going to kick in my favourite of the genre, Allen Frank's Galactic Aliens. Perfection.

    Di Fate's Catalog Of Science Fiction Hardware & The Alien World would definitely make my top 5.

  5. Thanks Ancient Vaults for the comment
    After Man is a classic Ancient & one of the best of the new breed of science fiction books to come! Awesome series by Mr.D Dixon especially Man After Man.

    Rain Swept Galactic Aliens is perfect.. Tonight I'm doing an introduction to DiFate's Catalog in tonight's game!


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