I love Star Frontiers, and I expect we’ll be back to playing it soon as our Rogue Trader game is approaching the big finale.
When we started our last Star Frontiers campaign, we sat down and discussed the damage system in the game and how to make combat feel more dangerous.
We came up with two options. We ended up using #1 last campaign, and will probably try out #2 this time around.
Optional Carnage Rule #1 – More Damage
This is the simpler rule to handle in play. Simply increase all damages by 1d10. Lasers do 1d10 + 1d10/SEU (so 2d10 for 1 SEU, 3d10 for 2 SEU and so on); autoguns deal 2d10 per bullet, with burst mode dealing 6d10 base damage; Gyrojects do a devastating 4d10 damage per shot; etc.
This makes all weapons deadlier, especially the weakest weapons like the old fashioned projectile weapons. It also gives lasers something of a diminishing return for cranking up the power. Definitely rarely worth putting 2 SEU into a shot instead of 1.
End result is that weapons are scarier in general, while not making them grotesquely more powerful or tweaking any of the existing game rules except the weapon damage lists.
Optional Carnage Rule #2 – Stamina Reserves
This rule is adopted from Tweet’s Omega World d20 minigame – it also involves more fundamental changes to the game itself. Instead of having your full Stamina to subtract damage from in a fight, you only have half of it. The other half of your Stamina is your “Stamina Reserve” and you move one point from your Reserve to your Active Stamina per minute, until your active stamina is back up to the full value (of one half your Stamina stat).
You treat your active stamina as you would your normal stamina total during play – so you take the usual penalties when your active stamina is below 1/2 it’s normal total, and die when your active stamina drops to zero (even if you have reserve stamina left).
The result is that damage is much scarier when large amounts are aimed at you, but a bit of damage per encounter retains the same long term effects as in the normal game. Nice when playing a module.
Optional Carnage Rule #3 – Total Carnage
To make combat terrifying, combine the two rules above. But don’t be surprised when the Yazirian starts crying for his mommy.