Return to the Stars

Return to Stars an optimistic science fiction roleplaying game that helps you tell stories of exploration and adventure.   To celebrate the Return being prominently featured in the Polygon essay on Hopepunk games, it we’re running a flash sale–check out our award nominated game!

The Stellar Beacon is a gaming ‘zine that’s also interested in the broader culture. Check out the latest issue!

A Fun Time At Con is a story creation game that celebrates gathering with other fans. Get the free print and play edition.


Running the numbers: What happens when a tiny indie RPG hits the front page of Polygon?

So, I had a bit of good fortune, my optimistic space opera TTRPG Return to the Stars was prominently featured in an article called “The Future of Tabletop Role-Play is Hope”  on Polygon, one of the largest gaming sites on the web.  Like most tiny indie publishers, that’s a bit a outside my realm of …

Two Science Fiction films, and a documentary

A few SF film recommendations from screenings at IFFBoston: The Pod Generation an amiable satire about technology, nature, parenting and relationships. A high performing manager (Emilia Clarke) receives a promotion, and a benefit–access to The Womb Center, where you have a kid without burden or stress marks, thanks to portable artifical wombs called pods. While …

Return to the Stars: Science Fiction Roleplaying Game

In dark times, games can fill us with joy and hope.

Return to the Stars, a tabletop science fiction role playing game, helps players create their own stories in an optimistic space opera setting.

To celebrate  Return being prominently featured in the Polygon essay on Hopepunk games, it we’re running a flash sale–check out our award nominated game!

Return to the Stars is designed to allow the creation of characters that evoke the best elements of geek culture. In the far future hyperspace travel gave easy access to countless worlds, and humanity sorted itself into like-minded communities.  One such society was the Convention Authority, founded to celebrate the now classical arts of science fiction, fantasy, and gaming.

One day, without warning, the stellar beacon that illuminated hyperspace went silent rendering galactic travel impossible. The systems of the Convention Authority stayed connected thanks to a replica fleet of early starships. Now, after more than a century of effort, a long-range exploration craft has been built. Its purpose: to return to the stars and reconnect with lost civilizations of humanity.

ship_bridge (1)

The players of Return to the Stars are a new generation of geeks — makers, cosplayers, scientists, and pop culture enthusiasts setting out on an adventure of exploration and discovery.

Easy to Learn, Simple to Play

Return to the Stars is powered by the popular Fate Core SRD, an indie game system that helps you tell rich stories without a lot of preparation or calculation.

Return to the Stars comes with an adventure specially designed to teach the core concepts of the game.  In playtests at many different conventions, new players have been up and running and having a good time after ten minutes of explanation.

Our goal: if you love anime or games or science fiction or cosplay, and have thought about trying roleplaying games, you can get Return to the Stars, read it, and play.

itch Core Game cover

Cool New Tools
If you already love games powered by Fate, we’ve added some fun new subsystems that you can enjoy in Return, or adapt to your existing games and settings.

Character Arcs
Often in fiction a protagonist has a problematic way of interacting with the world. It kinda works for them, but its shadow side takes a cost. Eventually, they learn they need to change and grow. Character arcs are a structured way to spotlight how someone grows past their Trouble.

Competitions are a type of contest in which the drama comes as much from trying to perform at the limits of your ability as it does from overcoming the opposition.

Downtime Tinkering
Creative options that players can have fun with between sessions to make the game richer for everyone, getting minor in-game benefits. Equally inspired by the Amber and Pendragon RPGs

Return to the Stars is a game about who people are not about the stuff they carry. Still, loot makes players happy. Props are gear that you can have fun collecting but which are only used a single for a dramatic effect. Like an intriguing prop in a well-made science fiction movie it provides a moment of cool that shakes thing up and advances the story, and then you don’t see it again.

Space Opera Skills and Stunts
Skills tailored to tell science fiction stories—play as a scientist or an academic rather than someone with “lore”. Hack into computer systems, change your genetics on the fly. Skills can be varied with over 100 fun stunts, including many novel templates you can repurpose for other settings.


If you enjoy tales filled with optimism and hope, where players can paint a better future in bold primary colors, then you should prepare to Return to the Stars!​

About Festive Ninja
Festive Ninja is based in Somerville, MA. We create innovative role playing games that make is easy for you to tell amazing stories. Return to the Stars, our tabletop science fiction role playing game, was released in the Winter of 2019.