Star Frontiers was a strange sci-fi RPG from TSR. It started out with one design goal, and the whole theme of the game was switched mid-stream so the final product is a nice simple system that had an even simpler “introduction” rule book included. Very much a beginner’s Space Opera RPG. It caught a lot of flack initially for having no space ship rules in the main game (those were added with the Knight Hawks expansion later), but the races have stuck with us for years after, turning up most recently in the d20 Future book.
While the game book covers promoted the flying-squirrel-ape race (the Yazirians), the fan favourite race in the game is definitely the amoeba-like Dralasites. The basic campaign assumption is that the characters are Star Law operatives working basically freelance on the Frontier worlds.
My first hard decision comes with the race for my character. I scratch off human right away since I want to showcase the game a bit better than that, and since I mentioned both Yazirians and Dralasites in the intro, I decide on a Vrusk – a centaur-shaped insectoid race known for their commercial aspirations and huge trading and banking guilds.
Stats in the game are measured from 1 to 100, but starting characters range between 30 and 70 with a +/- 10 for racial modifiers. Ability scores are given in attribute pairs, and both attributes start the same in a pair, but you can move points between them. A few die rolls and we end up with the basis for a very dextrous if not very strong character, which is further accented by the racial modifiers for the Vrusk which reduces Strength & Stamina and increases Dexterity and Reaction Speed. Because I already know how to tweak the system somewhat, I reduce his Dexterity by 1 to increase his Reaction Speed by 1, bringing them from 70 / 70 to 69 / 71 – this will increase his initiative bonus without really impacting his combat skills. I also decide that since he’s already got a low Strength and Stamina, to move 9 points from his Strength over to his Stamina – he’s now very weak and not suited to hand to hand combat, but at least has a few more hit points.
As a Vrusk he gains two special abilities – ambidexterity and comprehension (at 15%). Comprehension is the ability of Vrusk to understand just about any business transaction or social dealing without actually having to be involved in it – just watching people’s reactions, reading their body language, and seeing what changes hands is enough to figure out what’s going on.
Although he doesn’t start with any skills, he has to choose a primary skill area (that influences the cost of acquiring skills with experience points). With his Comprehension ability and decent Personality, we end up going with BioSocial, which in turn will allow him to acquire social skills at a lower cost. Military skills are already the cheapest skills to get in the game, so he’ll also be saving up some XP to get better with his firearms. He also needs to save up some cash to pick up a civilian skeinsuit (body armour disguised as clothing).
Name: Ixt’liktic N’kith
STR/STA: 26 / 44
INT/LOG: 45 / 45
DEX/RS: 69 / 71
PER/LDR: 50 / 50
Comprehension – 15%
3 Pistol Jetclips
2 Doze Grenades