Saturday, April 10, 2010

Star Frontiers!

Star Frontiers was a favorite of mine when it came out. I bought it right after I got my Red Box.

"Wait a minute, I can fight dragons and be a hero with this one and then I can fight Star Wars battles with this one? Mom, pay the man."

Well, I still have only fought about 3 dragons in all my years of gaming. Huge, Fearsome, Smaug like, Oppressive, and Intelligent beasties everytime. And super-rare. As they should be.

And we never played Star Frontiers like Star Wars. It was far better than that. Although all the same tropes were there. Pirate and rogue infested star bars, dangerous space ports, smugglers and evil merchants, an omnipresent government you always seemed to be running from.

Ah, I love space opera. It wasn't all great. I never liked the background so much, and I always liked my Space Opera with a lot more Alien types. But I did really like the idea that heroes didn't have to have 2 legs and 2 arms.

So I stumbled onto the Star Frontiersman site about 6 months ago. Its a shrine and so much more for my beloved Star Frontiers. . Its a really good and faithful reproduction and reworking of the SF rules. Made with a ot of love and sweat and lots of time. Its great and the magazine is great as well. and its all free. If you want to play a great game and don't have the resources or your old copies, this is the place. I had downloaded all the rules, but had put it on the back burner while I immersed myself in LL fully. Then I read Eli's 'I See Lead People' blog post from last week and I have the fever again. . Also included on the site is the Knight Hawks Rules, the kinda rare Zebulons Guide, and the great Star Forntiersman online zine that is up to 14 issues now. All great stuff. Thanks Star Frontiersman for the hard work.

So I printed the Alpha Dawn rules and started reading again. In this day of hyper complicated, hyper realism, the simplicity of the system is a refreshing change. Its not 3:16 Battle for the Stars refreshing. Thats like a blast of super cooled air up the ol wazoo, but is great simple with a lot of room for playing. And a sandbox as big as the stars. and with the great products fron the Star Frontiersman, a whole bunch of aloen race add ons gets this even closer to my dream ideal for a Space Opera game - Alien Legion.

The old comic that would be so great to roleplay. So thats what I am gonna do, junk the SF background, kinda, and add the alien Legion stuff, and more races and bad guys. The Sathar, while they had a cool name, were never very intimidating. I always struggled with a super villain race that was a giant earthworm. I liked the race, hated that they had arms so they could hold conventional guns, just never thought they cut the mustard for a super menacing bad guy race. I must admit, the bugs from Starship Troopers, and their wargaming form, the Tyranids from 40k, and the hive from Aliens, always seemed much more manacing than earthworms with guns.

I was never a Traveller guy, but recently picked up a great rules book compendium that has book 0-9 compiled into one. I always loved the character generation system. 'You mean I could die in character generation, cool. Give me the dice." I will cob what I can from them. I also grabbed the fre Traveller Intro set pdf's that are available on RPG Now. And the Animal encounters book and the Patrons? book. Tons of great stuff in there. Just too much detail for me for a full time game. I will reserve judgement and will give it a shot, but I want a game, not a simulation. This is the death nell for me in an RPG or wargame. Too many rules and I quickly lose all interest. I don't want it to devolve into chart searcing. Play the game, not the rules.

As I gear up for SF, I will be working on my random generators. there has been so much good stuff written abou this lately, I thought I would add my noise to the discussion. I want to have a hex terrain generator (with fixed encounter and areas of interest) for my games and world building, that I think will be informed by real climate, elevation and environmental issues.

So next week(maybe more) is Wilderness Week. Thoughts on terrain and wilderness design.

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