Star Frontiers

Other RPGs

I'm getting ready to run some casual/one-shot style games of the old TSR sci-fi RPG Star Frontiers soon for my brother and a group of our friends. I've looked at the material over the years but have never sat down and played the system or run a game for it.

I plan to create my own adventures taking inspiration from movies such as the Alien films, Blade Runner, Event Horizon, etc. Action/adventure with a fair amount of mystery/horror elements.

To start I'll mostly just be using content from the Alpha Dawn boxed set.

My questions to the good folks here:
1. Have you ever run or played in a Star Frontiers game and what kind of experience did you have it the game?
2. What style of game did you play in?
3. What were some of the things you liked/disliked about the system and what if any house rules did you make use of?


Liberty's Edge

The game, even today, still is very well put together and open to really any style of play.

I did use the base setting and had a new Sathar invasion happening with at the beginning of the campaign we used Alpha Dawn and did more standard 'Traveler-like" adventures and then they the war ramped up (as the players leveled) and we got into Knight Hawks rules.

I'm a RAW player from way back and by default don't house rule. I can't remember anything that cropped up that required additional rules beyond those provided by "Zeb Cook". We did refuse to use Zebulon Guide rules however - the base AD/KH rules we found to be faster and more suited our game.

I did a one shot based on the Saturn 3 movie (with Harvey Keitel) - the robot rules make an excellent Hector.


Thanks for the reply Stefan. To start the plan is the PCs are all employees of the Pan-Galactic corporation out doing their jobs but over time they should realize there's more going on than meets the eye. Whether the root of that something is the Sathar, organized crime, corporate corruption, or something more sinister I've yet to decide. The party is a mix of the standard species leaning more towards the military primary skill area.

Silver Crusade

I haven't played this game in close to 25 years, though I'm pretty sure I still have it. I remember playing the module that came with the first boxed set, where you crash land on a planet and have to survive, followed by the two followup modules that complete that trilogy.

As a GM, I remember inventing an adventure based on the title characters from the Gremlins movies, which were still new at the time. Basically, the gremlins in my adventure were lab experiments that managed to escape on a space station. They're causing havoc all over the station, and the PCs have to find and kill them all before they reproduce again (which they've been genetically engineered to do automatically after a specific period of time). If they fail, then the station will be overrun, and will have to be destroyed, with everyone on board, for fear of the gremlins escaping and infecting any planets or other ships. The PCs knew exactly how many there were, and what their time limit was, so it was just a bug hunt all over the station. The gremlins were having all sorts of mischievous fun, which made it very comedic adventure.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Bright happy space opera with clear villains: use the Alpha Dawn and Knight HAwks books. ("Knight HAwks" is still one of the best-written, in terms of clean text, games ever.)

Moraly complex and ambiguous space espionage: add in Zebulon's Guide.

I played this a loooooong time ago. (the orignal game) I have d20 Future (the expansion to d20 Modern) which has a Star Law class as well as alien stats for all the classic Star Frontiers races.

Dark Archive

I can remember playing the Alpha Dawn rules 20some years ago. I still have them as well as the Knight Hawks rules. Haven't played it in a looong time tho, but don't remember any issues. was fairly easy and straight forward to deal with (didn't have house rules for it). Having played D20 stuff forever now, I would also second the D20future book. contains all kinds of info for star frontiers stuff and space fantasy noir type stuff as well. Also has gamma world mutation rules, cybertech, space fleet, MechWarrior stuff. Was contemplating a multi-world campaign at one point, but alas moved to a gaming free zone in SW Kansas.

Liberty's Edge

If you can find the adventures 2001 & 2010 they, while not great, are very funny...

Grand Lodge

I had the original boxed set and all of the modules (pretty much everything "Star Frontiers" prior to Alpha Dawn/Knight Hawks), and I traded it all for a similarly complete collection of the original Traveller game.

This was back in the late 80's, and I have regretted that decision for many years now (and I don't even have the Traveller stuff anymore now).


Oh well...

I played it a very long timer ago...some my memory is very cloudy. But I don't remember any issues with the rules...and it was a exploration type game.

Liberty's Edge

All of the Star Frontiers stuff can be downloaded for free and legally...

I have all of the downloads. At the moment I don't have any of the physical books though I watch eBay to see if a set of the rules turns up in reasonable condition at a price I'm willing to pay.

Fromper - love the Gremlins idea, I had some thoughts along similar lines.

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I've been playing SF off and on since it came out back in '82. Last I played it was last year (winter of 2012).

The best thing about SF, IMHO, is it's capability to be used for just about any style of campaign. I've run campaigns where the PC's hire themselves out to do whatever, I've run space pirate games, I've run corporate espionage games, I've run UPF starship-focused games, I've run games where the PC's all get transported to the FAR edge of space and have to find their way home. The beauty of SF is in it's far-reaching averageness.

The races are interesting enough to be desirable to play, but vague enough that a GM can add/subtract/multiply stuff to a race to get a totally different feel.

One thing I've always LOVED about how seamless the character-to-starship rules are. It's dirt simple to have beginning characters be members of a ships' crew by simply giving them one single aspect of a starship skill (e.g., give a Tech PSA character "Astrogation - Find Location" and you've got yourself an ensign navigator in the making).

The fact that the "bad guys" (Sathar) are ever present, yet ever in the shadows gives you total freedom on how/what is going on in your campaign.

Great game. Great community too. Love it!


Paul L. Ming

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