Trying Dragon Rampant for Sci-Fi

I’ve been looking, on and off, for a set of platoon-level rules for 15mm Sci-fi gaming for some time. I’ve written a set or two of my own in that time, but never really hit the target for what I was after (or at least what I thought I was after). With Dragon Rampant and some terrain in front of me recently, it occurred to me to look at this as a possibility. I won’t be the first person to think of this, and there are probably already people out there doing excellent things converting this ruleset for Sci-fi!

I started off with an assumption that lots would need changing and only a few unit types and upgrades/special rules would be applicable. After thinking through this for a while I found that more and more could be retained without alteration, until I concluded that, for me at least, the rules could pretty much be used exactly as they are for Sci-fi. Even the spells available to Spellcasters – I reckon every one can be used as a command and control-type ability by a force commander. Other special rules can cover equipment, skill or high-tech upgrades for units and it’s then just a matter of fitting figures to troop types and coming up with a force. The rules for undead might not be that much use however.

HQ Squad (reduced figure ‘Light Foot’ unit including command vehicle):

Alternative HQ squad, with some Mech protection:

The key difference as I see it is that for my Sci-fi games most units would have a ranged fire capability, which would alter the feel (and possibly balance) of the standard game. Only having reasonably comparable human military forces in my collection, this is probably not too big a deal as any effects will even themselves out. I am toying with the idea of an increase to the the firing distances (and possibly movement too) that I’ve been using for Fantasy 15mm (where I’m simply halving all standard distances in the rules) to make shooting feel a bit more ‘realistic’ and long range.

Most units will be 6 man squads – reduced figure units in the rules, with 2 Strength Points each. This keeps the number of figures down and will help it look like more of a firefight skirmish than a clash of hand-to-hand mobs. Most will be Light or Heavy Missile troop types. Command squads will have the Spellcaster ability, or the lesser Wizardling ability for forces with lower capabilities/training, etc.

A ‘Light Riders’ unit, with 12 Strength Points:

From there it’s all very flexible. Mechs can be pretty much anything, from Greater Warbeasts to Elite Foot (optionally with the missile weapon upgrade), or Light Riders for scouting machines. There are chariot rules for vehicles, The ‘Wall of Spears’ rules for Light or Heavy Foot can represent personal force shields, and so on.

Armoured infantry (good old Laserburn Imperials), probably counting as ‘Light Missiles’ plus the effect of the Pavises rule from Lion Rampant to give them an armour upgrade:

A sneaky sniper in an elite squad – ‘Light Missiles’ with Sharpshooter upgrade:

Support squad as ‘Heavy Missiles’:

Game in progress:

I’m in the middle of this first game, just trying things out. Naturally it’s the same game as before, but just having the different type of figures in play makes it seem different. I’ll definitely want some raiding missions/scenarios and will probably try a few more playtests and report back.