NASA releases an official tabletop adventure that's brave enough to ask: what would Earth be like if a dragon kidnapped a bunch of D&D wizards and stole the Hubble Space Telescope

An image of a large dragon flying towards the Hubble Space Telescope.
(Image credit: NASA)

I am pleased beyond belief that the sentence: "There is an official NASA D&D adventure that's just an Isekai anime with scientists" is verifiably true. Titled The Lost Universe, this system-agnostic adventure is free to download and most certainly worth a read.

Here's the central thrust: a dragon kidnapped a bunch of alien wizards and forced them to rip the Hubble Telescope out of our reality. Yes, really. 

"Eirik linked to the Hubble Space Telescope after learning of its observations that have propelled understanding of black holes and dark energy (similar to the energy of the vacuum) on Earth … this drew the attention of a young dragon, Isilias, who stole the spell Eirik created, as well as Eirik himself and his fellow researchers, in order to steal Hubble itself so Isilias alone would possess its knowledge."

Rather than simply confusing a bunch of NASA scientists on Earth, this actually caused the Hubble to be removed from reality entirely. The adventure depicts a group of faintly-baffled researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland: "A subtle ache lives in your mind, insisting that you’re forgetting something, but it’s always just out of reach. The more you try to remember, the worse the pain gets." Then you all black out and wake up as D&D characters.

It sounds like I'm poking fun here—but it's the exact kind of earnest silliness that makes for a good game of tabletop. It's also reminiscent of the classic D&D cartoon from the 80s, wherein a group of teenagers are magically transported to a fantasy land at the behest of a disturbing-looking dungeon master.

While the game is technically system-agnostic, the adventure itself recommends a "party of 4-7 level 7-10 characters". Though if we're going with the adventure's suggested protagonist (a young green dragon from D&D 5e) a party of level 10 characters would make mincemeat of Isilias in a few rounds. There's ultimately quite a bit of homebrew the DM will need to bring in, in order to this to make it all click with their table.

But there's some genuinely fun fantasy concepts at work here, too. Wizard Planet (Exlaris, by its proper name) is a rogue world that drifted out of orbit, protected from the ravages of space with an artificial magic atmosphere—which is a neat setting idea to run with, even if you don't want to play NASA Isekai. If you do, however, the adventure's sprinkled with educational tidbits that'll teach you plenty of scientific history.

Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.