Chris Foss Hardware sci-fi adventure generator

Chris Foss - Hardware cover

I finally got around to buying Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss. It’s a fantastic book, with tons of great art at an absurdly low price. Just flipping through it once gave me so many RPG-able ideas, I had to go back through and write them all down. In the end I came up with an even 100 seeds or elements: 28 beings, 35 vehicles, and 37 places. Roll d100 to get anything on the list, roll a bunch of times to get ideas to mash together, or, if you just need a single being, vehicle, or place, roll 3 or 4 d10s (and add 29 or 64 to the result for the latter two categories).

Foss’s sketches and paintings are complex and most admit to more than one interpretation. In this list, you’re getting what each picture made me think was going on. The humanoid figures in #17 are probably not actually supposed to be a funeral procession–but I thought it would be interesting if they were. Naturally you should replace my interpretations with better ones wherever possible.

Have fun!



1. Survivors of crash have degenerated to a primitive state (p14)
2. Feudal lord is dressed unironically as normally comical animal (p17)
3. God-king descends from flying throne (p27)
4. Spacesuited figures explore a vast toroidal space (p27)
5. Multi-trunked tree turns out to be ambulatory alien, or vice versa (p38)
6. Derelict vehicles provide shelter and raw materials for postapocalyptic tribes (p49)
7. Seemingly normal people are oblivious to Visitors From Beyond (why?) (p62)
8. Group of robots cannibalizes vehicle (p65)
9. Threatening-looking monster is actually peaceful, wise, and ancient (p88)
10. Explorer encounters giant mechanical totems (p88)
11. Pilot ejects as ship goes down in flames over mist-shrouded world (p90)
12. Feudal warriors duel among massive ruins of previous civilization (p106)
13. Humanoid with jetpack approaches unsuspecting starship (p115)
14. Armored figure takes dangerous object outside ship prior to detonation (p115)
15. Tiny toy gun turns out to be immensely powerful weapon (p121)
16. Pilgrims approach a colossal artifact from a more advanced race (p122)
17. Funeral procession from grounded starship to ancient ruin (p127)
18. Normally tiny animal grown to vast size under mysterious conditions (p129)
19. Athletes compete on floating platform (p132)
20. Seemingly innocent young person transports frozen head (p132)
21. Missile hidden inside a monster (p136)
22. Mummified pilot drifts in derelict ship (p140)
23. Humanoid-headed worms attack ground transport (p153)
24. Techno-priests sail to island temple (p155)
25. Living cloud approaches floating city (p185)
26. Spiderweb strung between two skyscrapers (p202)
27. Deceased villain reanimated as cyborg (p225)
28. Allegedly sub-sentient alien assembles facsimile of human face from found objects (p228)



29.  A starliner docks with a mile-high boarding tower (p12)
30.  A rotund freighter full of clouds of valuable vapor (p19)
31.  Cargo spills from a shot-up pirate ship (p21)
32.  A bulky ground vehicle turns out to be a disguised starship (p22)
33.  Formerly sleek spaceship encrusted with added-on equipment (p33)
34.  Hovering bomber hoists up huge explosive device from underground bunker (p37)
35.  Advanced ships suffer surprise attack from laughably primitive vessel (p57)
36. Huge tug pulls a string of icebergs (or asteroids, or comets, or….) (p59)
37. Ominous fleet approaches unsuspecting habitats (p79)
38. Flying machine or spaceship grabbed by giant claw (p83)
39. High-tech ship hovers over crumbling, vegetated ruins (p85)
40. Walking city in the shape of a humanoid robot (p99)
41. Spaceship is caught in the fronds or branches of titanic plant (p107)
42. Sleek spaceship spills a cloud of seedpods (p109)
43. Small ship trails larger one from behind an asteroid (p110)
44. Escape pod makes unannounced exit from larger ship (p112)
45. New ship design is tandem version of old ship design (p113)
46. City-sized walking tank looms over skyscrapers (p114)
47. Previously-buried ships blast off from hidden underground bases (p118)
48. Massive starship unexpectedly breaks up into numerous independent modules (p125)
49. Vast ship prepares to leave hovering drydock (p141)
50. Immense ark blasts off from dying planet (p142)
51. Huge gas-scooper skims atmosphere of gas giant (p151)
52. Ship flying over wasteland is tracked by automated turret (p158)
53. Ice breaks underneath ground crawler (p163)
54. Armored attack ship punches right through its target (p167)
55. Fighters strafe alien pods (why?) (p170)
56. Ship blasts off from alien ruins with giant relic in tow (p176)
57. Escape pods depart as giant ship is sucked into black hole (p178)
58. Mining ship lifts exotic meteorite from surface of alien planet (p188)
59. Otherwise sleek ship is armed with giant mechanical claw (p188)
60. Mobile cities run on massively parallel rails (p194)
61. Exploratory pod hovers over black hole (p206)
62. Submarine -> surface vessel -> hydrofoil -> starship (p217)
63. Sleek police ship swoops down out of nowhere at the worst possible time (p221)



64. A rusting tower at the top of a cliff (p6)
65. A double line of monoliths on a deserted planet (p16)
66. City built on and among giant crystals (p28)
67. Giant ominous structure: refinery? Idol? Both? (p29)
68. Flooded city (p31)
69. Causeway lined with turrets leads to towering fortress (p34)
70. Vast iceberg with oceangoing ships frozen inside drifts through space (p43)
71. Rusting war machines litter beach after a battle (p45)
72. Dense, three-dimensional minefield (p53)
73. A legendary derelict emerges from a field of dunes (p58)
74. Ancient ruins on floating island or asteroid (p78)
75. Vultures fly from abandoned tower in rust-colored wasteland (p85)
76. Asteroid is actually disguised vessel or lair (p93)
77. Remote observatory is last outpost of civilization (p103)
78. Dark planet is covered by black spires (p105)
79. Two mutually hostile species meet peacefully at remote station (p131)
80. Salvagers work at spaceship graveyard (p133)
81. Explorers witness the birth of a new star (p135)
82. City towers mimic colossal fungi (why–aesthetics? defense?) (p140)
83. Artificial habitats orbit tiny star (p144)
84. Isolated towers dot unnaturally smooth plain under green sun (p155)
85. Arcology tower topples (p154)
86. Forested hill is actually abandoned, overgrown city (p173)
87. Techno-ruin covered with pictograph circuitry (p191)
88. Vast grotto is home to titanic fungi–and a wrecked ship (p192)
89. Ancient site of power has become center of bustling spaceport (p204)
90. Collection of entire cities frozen in amber (p207)
91. Natural terrain feature lifts up to reveal huge hidden weapon (p209)
92. Derelict ship and cloud of wreckage orbit dying star (p215)
93. Abandoned space station drifts far from home star cluster (p215)
94. Group of asteroids with dome cities (p218)
95. Seemingly ancient ruins are recent fakes (p226)
96. Alien landscape is something familiar seen extremely close-up (p228)
97. Comet is harbinger of doom after all (p230)
98. Bizarre landforms are frozen–or dormant–aliens (p231)
99. Crust fractures and cities topple just before the end of a world (p233)
100. Crazy-looking clouds are actually distant landforms shrouded in mist (p238)

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