How to play NASA's first tabletop role-playing game

NASA recently released its first tabletop role-playing game module. Lost Universe is compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition and easily converts to Pathfinder, D&D 3.5, Star Explorer, or any RPG ruleset with combat, traps, and characters system. You can download Lost Universe for free from the NASA website.

"Lost Universe" was designed by Christina Mitchell, senior production specialist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. It is an independent adventure game in which players will play as NASA scientists and be transported to a fantasy universe. , where someone or something stole the Hubble Space Telescope from our reality. This 43-page module details the integration of Dungeons and Dragons with science, as wizards and elves on the planet Exlaris use dark energy as a form of magic and borrow data from the Hubble Telescope as part of their research.

NASA press director Rob Garner said NASA's release of the D&D module complied with the legal directive that established the agency in 1958. “NASA is responsible for sharing the results of its work with the broadest practical audience,” Garner wrote in an email. "With more gamers on the team, we chose to spend some time developing this idea to present NASA's research to a new audience in a fun way."

Strictly from a gameplay perspective, this module is an impressive piece of world-building. Mitchell and other NASA staff members building the Lost Universe sketched out a planet where the pursuit of knowledge was more important than the pursuit of gold, and kept it open enough that creative DMs could follow suit as needed. Fill in the details. NASA says its modules are suitable for 4 to 7 characters in grades 7-10, but you can easily adapt the outline to any group at any level. With a little ingenuity, you can also use this as a side mission to an existing campaign.

As written, The Lost Universe can be completed in a single four-hour adventure, but if your players have grown attached to the magical science world of Exlaris, there's enough raw material here to use it as a larger backdrop, heaven forbid. Battle of Base. If you're new to D&D, check out our guides on how to make your first character and how to play D&D online with friends.