NASA launches its 1st official tabletop roleplaying game campaign (video)

NASA is full of surprises.

Perhaps the last thing RPG enthusiasts would expect out of the serious engineers and scientists at the storied space agency is a fun table-top fantasy adventure game.

Yet the geeky folks at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have devised a compelling new amusement centered around a cosmic mystery and the Hubble Space Telescope that space fans can download today free of charge.

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NASA's "The Lost Universe," a free role-playing game, is available now. (Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Here's the complete call to adventure:

"It's time to gather your party and your favorite tabletop role-playing game system.

"A dark mystery has settled over the city of Aldastron on the rogue planet of Exlaris. Researchers dedicated to studying the cosmos have disappeared, and the Hubble Space Telescope has vanished from Earth's timeline. Only an ambitious crew of adventurers can uncover what was lost. Are you up to the challenge?

"This adventure is designed for a party of 4-7 level 7-10 characters and is easily adaptable for your preferred tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) system.

"NASA's first TTRPG adventure invites you to take on a classic villain (while also using and learning science skills!) as you overcome challenges and embark on an exciting quest to unlock more knowledge about our universe. Download your game documents below and get ready to explore Exlaris!"

Promo art for "The Lost Universe." (Image credit: Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center)

This is what results when ambitious game creators take the foundational structure of classic "Dungeons & Dragons" and overlay it with an engaging narrative featuring the disappearance of the Hubble Space Telescope and a black hole-affected exoplanet that is home to a technology-stealing dragon.

Developed in collaboration with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, this educational sci-fi fantasy release was crafted by video producer Christina Mitchell and graphic designer Michelle Belleville in conjunction with the Hubble Space Telescope team and Earth Science Outreach.

"The Lost Universe's" 44-page gameplay instructions and medieval map of Aldastron can be downloaded for free on NASA's website.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.