Star Frontiers

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Games' started by Apparition, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. Apparition

    Apparition Active Member

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    Wizards of the Coast recently began uploading Star Frontiers material to DriveThruRPG.com, including a PoD copy of Alpha Dawn. For years, this material has been freely available on various Star Frontiers web sites, (supposedly with WotC's consent). It hasn't been announced anywhere as far as I can tell, but that material is disappearing from those various Star Frontiers web sites, with links to DriveThruRPG.com... Some people are not happy. :tongue:
     
  2. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    I can't get too upset about it. It was cool of WotC to let fans put it out for free for all those years they weren't selling it. A lot of companies would have kept it from being legally available all those years. It was cool that it was free before, but it is still pretty cool that it available for sale now as well. And it is even cooler it is POD now. I still have my original boxed sets, but I am glad other people can pick this up in print. It is still a solid game.
     
  3. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    Yeah, 100% same response.
     
  4. Bunch

    Bunch Well-Known Member

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    So glad I downloaded it all already.
     
  5. Spinachcat

    Spinachcat Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if they are considering Star Frontiers 5e?
     
  6. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    Part of me kind of hopes not; it'd be really hard to recapture that 80s charm of the original.
     
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  7. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    WotC does seem to be the wrong company to get that right. Pinnacle could probably get the tone down.
     
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  8. Apparition

    Apparition Active Member

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    IMO, there would be little point since there already is a modern successor in FrontierSpace. I have never played the original Star Frontiers, but I have read that FrontierSpace is similar, but more unified and more logical. And the Star Frontiers & FrontierSpace fanzine Frontier Explorer is working on an article to convert the Star Frontiers races and NPCs to FrontierSpace. Or at least it was... Not sure if the official re-emergence of Star Frontiers will throw a monkey wrench there.
     
  9. David Johansen

    David Johansen Active Member

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    I'll stand by my belief that it doesn't need an overhaul, a touch up here and there perhaps. Make more than 1/2 Stamina in a single hit knock you out, make all skills Stat / 2 +10 x rank like weapon skills are, make the various tasks modifiers to that. I was in a decently long campaign of it just recently, put a fuel related cap on ship velocity maybe, just saying if you leave the map you've fled the battle does the same thing but isn't ship specific, not much more needs doing really.
     
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  10. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    I ran it about ten years ago, and I was really impressed at how well it held up. It had some hiccups, but nothing that wasn't simple to house rule.
     
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  11. K_Peterson

    K_Peterson Well-Known Member

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    Same situation for me. I ran SF in early 2013, and implemented a small handful of house rules. My players - who weren't alive when SF was originally released - were skeptical at first. But they had a great time, especially when it came to vehicular combat, and firing off heavy weapons.

    It wasn't a perfect system, but it was a hell of a lot of fun to play. And there were things I relearned about the system that I'd overlooked when I was 12...
     
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  12. Warthur

    Warthur Member

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    Can't be too upset about this myself. If you are that big of a Star Frontiers fan then you probably downloaded the PDFs already, and on the off-chance that you didn't the DTRPG versions are pretty reasonably priced (and the POD option is nice to have too).

    And if you're a big enough Star Frontiers fan to want the material, but not a big enough Star Frontiers fan to want to pay money to Wizards to convince them there's a potential future in the product line... then perhaps you need to take a closer look at your priorities.

    Admittedly this isn't great for gamers who are on an extremely tight budget, but a) that's one free game of dubious legality taken out of a market glutted with 100% legal free games and b) this is what having buddies in your gaming group is for. And I'm willing to bet a shiny new £5 note that the vast majority of people complaining aren't at an income level where shelling out $10 for a core rules PDF will break the bank.
     
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  13. Apparition

    Apparition Active Member

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    Just FYI, Knight Hawks is now available PoD.

    I already have FrontierSpace, but it's tempting...
     
  14. K_Peterson

    K_Peterson Well-Known Member

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    I've been tempted to buy Alpha Dawn in hardcover POD. It'd be interesting to see how it turns out. Now I'm further tempted by the release of Knight Hawks.
     
  15. CRKrueger

    CRKrueger Well-Known Member

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    Knight Hawks, they reproduce the counters?
     
  16. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    They provide a printable PDF of the counters, so you need to make your own.
     
  17. Ronin

    Ronin Well-Known Member

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    You should totally do it! Back in the day we had a ton of fun with SF. Then later on after we all became "adults" (term used loosely) we revisited it. We had a blast again!
     
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  18. xanther

    xanther Member

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    Too bad. Making you own die cut counters is difficult (done it for my own space combat game, I've attached a couple ), and for some reason the chip board to make them gets harder to find. Dark Star Counters Breadfan.jpg Dark Star Counters IGDV.jpg
     
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  19. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    Yeah, I think you would probably need to settle for printing them on thin board, like the kind the counters for games in Dragon Magazine were printed on.. They would be flimsy, but I guess that would be balanced by the ease of making more when needed. Still, those aren't as easy to move around. I remember when blank die cut counters were a game store staple. Those were handy.

    Thankfully, my Alpha Dawn and Knight Hawks boxes never got crushed like many other boxed sets I owned as a kid. That's allowed my Star Frontiers counters to remain safe all this time.

    Nice counters, by the way.
     
  20. Apparition

    Apparition Active Member

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    So out of curiosity, I went to eBay to check to see if A. there are copies of Star Frontiers' Alpha Dawn and Knight Hawks available, and B. if so, how much?

    ... When I ran across this and this. :shock:

    What?! Official 2001 and 2010 conversions for Star Frontiers?! How? ... Why? :closed:
     
  21. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    Yeah, those were an odd choice for Star Frontiers. I never got around to picking those up.
     
  22. xanther

    xanther Member

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    Thanks. They're 1 inch on chip board, a bit thicker than die cut and denser paper. Print on high quality photo paper, spray mount to the chip board and use a paper cutter and really sharp scissors to trim. The trimming is what get tiring. Making my own die or using a chisel didn't work so well.

    I found e-bay can be good where there is a game with incomplete counters. They don't always go cheap, but good for back-ups and replacements.
     
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  23. Harl Quinn

    Harl Quinn Member

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    I've been blessed to have downloaded the PDFs prior to them being taken down as well as getting everything in print (except for the Knight Hawks counters)...

    One thing that intrigues me, though, is the fact that this move comes on the heels of Evil Hat's trademark application to use "Star Frontiers" for a new game unconnected to the original. My suspicions are that WotC is doing this to protect its own trademark and prevent confusion... But it's just thoughts and opinions, nothing firm to go on...

    Harl
     
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  24. Bunch

    Bunch Well-Known Member

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    That just seems like a foolish choice on Evil Hat's part. Don't slap an 800lbs gorilla awake and expect to get a hug.
     
  25. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    True, but if Harl's theory on why the PDF/POD's were released is correct, then their foolishness is the hobby's gain.

    I expect that Evil Hat will quietly rebrand whatever project they are working in an Aeon/Trinity fashion.
     
  26. K_Peterson

    K_Peterson Well-Known Member

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    I owned them 30 years ago, but didn't run them. I remember them having cool deckplans.
     
  27. Bunch

    Bunch Well-Known Member

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    PDFs we're already available free. The only thing that has changed is now there's POD option and the legality of the PDFs is crystal clear vs a little vague. As I understood it the old PDFs we're up with approval from WotC but that probably wouldn't help you if you went to get them printed and bound somewhere.
     
  28. Apparition

    Apparition Active Member

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    I'm seriously tempted to pick them up on eBay. I very much doubt that WotC still maintains the rights to put them up on DriveThruRPG and/or have interest in re-obtaining those rights.

    From the research I did last night, they basically completely retold the 2001 and 2010 movies in RPG form, even having players play ape-men at the dawn of humanity. That part doesn't really interest me (talk about one Hell of a railroad), but they supposedly include all kinds of new skills, equipment, and, as you mentioned, floor plans. That would be interesting.
     
  29. Endless Flight

    Endless Flight Mischievous Admin Administrator Moderator

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    Probably not. They would need the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's permission to do so. Too much work I'm sure.
     
  30. Supervisor194

    Supervisor194 New Member

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    Isn't that the NX-01 Enterprise on the right?!?
     
  31. Voros

    Voros Well-Known Member

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    Mearls mentioned that he was working on a 5e hack of Star Frontiers but it was on his off time and purely for his own interest and gaming. I wonder if he would be able to release it for free one day, almost as a spin off of UA?
     
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  32. David Johansen

    David Johansen Active Member

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    The mechanics are mostly fine, the setting is pretty thin, I don't see much advantage to porting it to 5e but I do think a properly done setting expansion would be good. With the races from Dragon there's lots of races. I'd like to see a bit more detailed background, a larger map, and more detailed worlds. I love deck plans and those are always welcome, but a full starport deck plan would be really handy. I wouldn't mess with the technology much. A chronocom should be able to do anything a modern cell phone can though, I found that a bit jarring. I'd make it so skills are all 1/2 stat + 10 / rank like weapons are and then make each of the subskills a modifier. Damage over 1/2 Stamina from a single attack would knock you out. I don't like the long battle of attrition and then you die set up in rpgs, it makes it too hard to save the PCs when things go wrong and makes combats slow and dreary.

    Naturally, if I had my way I'd put it all in a box with a sprue of miniatures, maybe two poses for each race, with separate heads and weapons. A full set of Star Frontiers weapons would be fun. I'd go with 25mm for that old school charm and probably keep the figures clean and simple. A sprue of ships would also be great.
     
  33. Baulderstone

    Baulderstone Legendary Member

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    I agree that the setting was a little thin, though it was evocative. My take based on the Alpha Dawn boxed set is that the UPF area is basically the "town" in a traditional D&D sense. You can have adventures there, but typically you go outside the UPF to somewhere like Volurnus for the real action. For me, the ideal Star Frontiers line would consist mostly of adventures detailing new planets to explore.

    I fleshed out the background a little bit for my last campaign. I decided that the Pan Galactic Corporation had discovered an ancient alien stargate out in space. This gave them a monopoly on travel to the far off region and control on settling it. This also explains why you have a hodgepodge of aliens intermixed on the worlds. The colonists eventually encountered Sathar, who destroyed the stargate at the start of the war, leaving these planets cut off from Earth and their other homeworlds.

    Star Frontiers does have a bit of a metaplot. It seems the Second Sathar War results in the UPF gaining more centralized control, allowing them to curtail the power of the Pan Galactic Corporation, freeing things up for the variety of corporations that show up in Dragon Magazine along with the subsequent corporate wars.

    I last ran it in 2008, and I also used the smartphone as my benchmark for what it could do. Of course, smartphones did a lot less back then.

    That's a not a bad house rule.

    I actually prefer the counters just because they are so much smaller. 25mm minis can make everything feel a bit cramped on the table in a genre where ranged weapons are the default and cars exist. It's why games like Savage Worlds have to have such crazily short weapon and vehicle movement ranges. Those little Star Frontiers counters allowed the table to represent a much larger area that was more interesting for firefights and chases.
     
  34. David Johansen

    David Johansen Active Member

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    Well, I do like 15mm but it's too small for many people and the previously existing Star Frontiers figures were 25mm. 6mm would work well for vehicles but the figures would be hard to make out at any distance. Still, as a gimmick, it might work, you'd certainly get a lot on the sprue, half a dozen figures of each race and half a dozen vehicles. What you could do with 25mm is map tiles with corresponding counters, so you could put one for the PC's location and one for the enemy and a counter between them to represent ten meter increments. You could do scrolling road combat with tiles too.

    Anyhow the guy running the game I was in last year has integrated a lot of Star Fleet Battles stuff, including Vulcans and Klingons. He's got tons of military history from his on going solitaire Knight Hawks campaign. Sadly, he's not really a great GM and most of the group bailed on him. I'd have at least liked to run that Vrusk shot caller for the Orion Cartel down, he'd been giving us grief for far too long, I'd have liked to have burned a whole power clip on him.

    My character, Absalom is a Saurian with a big black coat and a laser pistol. His goal in life is to become a dreaded space pirate.
     
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  35. Ladybird

    Ladybird Well-Known Member

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    After the flap about his initiative rules, I doubt he'll want to release much more of his home game content.
     
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  36. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    what were his Initiative rules & concerning Flap?
     
  37. Ladybird

    Ladybird Well-Known Member

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    He mentioned offhandedly in an interview that he didn't use the rules in the book for his home game, and that he had his own initiative system. People pestered him for the details, and he eventually posted it up as an unearthed arcana article (Unofficial stuff the D&D team puts, sometimes for playtesting, sometimes just to demonstrate rules hacking) during an otherwise slow time. And of course, internet being internet, people got annoyed about imbalances in it, the way the system didn't quite interact properly with the way they wanted to fight or with other initiative-related bits of the rules, complained that this system clearly showed Mearls wasn't any good with game mechanics, etc.

    He's a big boy and he knows how the internet works, so I doubt he was too put out by it all, but sometimes it may just be easier not to bother.

    For reference I agree there's flaws in the rules, but they're only being presented for discussion; I quite like them otherwise.
     
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  38. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    Heh, yeah I had similar experiences with the Warhammer community online. Sometimes an eye roll just doesn’t seem to cover it
     
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  39. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    Speaking of Star Frontier minis, I’d really love some Dralisite miniatures in clear plastic. It’s too bad HeroForge doesn’t have a “blob” option
     
  40. David Johansen

    David Johansen Active Member

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    Clear resin is quite possible. Good idea that.
     
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