At first blush in a sci-fi or sci-fantasy setting it might seem like the idea of a classic dungeon crawl is no longer relevant. Nothing could be further than the truth. Not only are there potential dungeons everywhere, we can find inspiration for several in classic sci-fi movies. Here are 5 possibilities.
Be warned, there are going to be some spoilers here, but everything on this list is at least 10 years old.
Pandorum – the players are on a massive transport vessel, but something goes wrong in the Drift. They wake up unsure how much time is passed, only to find the vessel is running on emergency power, and is overrun with crazed cannibals that may have been the former passengers and crew. Is the condition of the crew the result of an infection, contamination in the environmental systems, or something more sinister? They will have to fight their way to the bridge to figure out what happened and how to escape.
Alien Resurrection – The players have been hired to bring some kind of salvage to a research vessel out in the Vast. They arrive, deliver the the payload, and stay a bit to resupply before heading back out. While they are there something goes wrong – perhaps an NPC that is with them engaged in some sabotage? Whatever the cause, the biological weapons that the vessel was researching are loose now. Couple that with an incomplete crew evacuation that leaves hostile forces on board, automated defenses, and rapidly worsening conditions on the ship as the monsters wreck more and more of the vessel, and the players are going to have a real adventure lined up for them to escape.
The Black Hole – there is just something about research vessels out in the Vast… The players are out on a routine scouting mission when they discover a deep space research vessel long thought lost. Hailing the vessel they are answered by the captain / lead scientist and invited aboard. All seems fine at first, but they soon discover that the mad captain and his massive cyborg enforcer have enslaved the crew, turning them into cyborg drones, and intend to take the vessel into the singularity they have been investigating (or planar gate, or some other portal or stellar anomaly). In fact, they have already started the process. The players must fight their way out past robots, the former crew, and the captain’s terrifying enforcer in order to escape before it is too late.
Pitch Black – A routine trip through the Drift goes wrong and the ship the players are on is shunted out into the material plane above an unknown planet that they immediately crash onto. Emerging from the wreckage they discover an abandoned mining colony and hints that something horrible happened here. A stellar event is nigh that will plunge the planet into a deep night for undetermined amount of time, which is when the planets subterranean native life emerge to bred, feed, and essentially destroy all life on the surface. The players must race against time and battle unending hordes of hungry aliens to secure some means of escape from the planet. Darkvision or some form of blindsense is going to be key.
Westworld – Who doesn’t like a vacation? The players are taking some much needed time off in a robot manned themed park. But something goes wrong. Is it a glitch, sabotage, or an emergent sentient AI trying to break free from it’s shackles? Whatever the case, the players must fight panicked guests, homicidal robots, and the park’s own security forces to escape this vacation turned disaster or seek out the source of the problem and somehow shut it down.
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