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Author Topic: Star Frontiers RPG (1982): Here's how to fine-tune the game and squash errata  (Read 456 times)

Dracopol

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Star Frontiers Combat Errata:

Here's how GMs new to STAR FRONTIERS can prepare their players for the combat rules, and some of the major errata to correct so that the combat-system is smooth as silk.
[Page numbers refer to the original Expanded Rules booklet in the electric-blue or later the pink "Alpha Dawn" box.]
Originally I corresponded in the 80s with Penny Petticord of TSR (by snail-mail!) to ask questions and get answers, and I believe some of my concerns were also brought up in an errata article published in DRAGON magazine.
Take the Star Frontiers Expanded Rules booklet, and plan to give players a 6-page extract of all the rules. Photocopy the four un-numbered pages at the center of the booklet, meant to be removed from the staple (DON'T do this!):

--Weapon Table (melee weapons table, and tables for the Combat Sequence, Melee Procedure and Ranged Weapons Combat Procedure)
--Various tables beginning with Skill Success Rates, NPCs, cost of hiring them, and Creatures
--Various tables about Vehicles and Vehicle Combat, and
--Weapons Table (ranged weapons, a large table printed sideways)

Photocopy also the two pages on Equipment (pp. 40-41). Now, when you're stapling all of them together, put the Ranged Weapon table in back and facing OUTWARD, so a player only has to flip the whole sheet pack over to switch from Melee to Ranged information.

I customized my handouts to remove the following errors:

Melee Weapons: I added a note that Punching Score (STR/20, rounded up) is added to all weapons used in melee EXCEPT for Shock Gloves, Sonic Knife, Sonic Sword and Stunstick, whose damage depends on energy and not how hard you hit the opponent. So I put an asterisk next to these four weapons to remind me.
The mass for a pair of Brass Knuckles is 1 kg.

Ranged Weapons Combat Procedure: Add a line that Heavy Weapons have a -10% penalty to use.
Also for vehicles the penalties for an attacker and target in a Slow- or Fast-speed vehicle are cumulative. Slow Vehicles are 150 meters/turn or less (90 km/h or about 56 mph). The printed table was garbled, so the full list of modifiers should be:
Attacker is in Slow Vehicle -10 [%]
Attacker is in Fast Vehicle -20
Target is in Slow Vehicle -10
Target is in Fast Vehicle -20

Combat Sequence: Step 6: Grenade “tooses”? No! Tosses!

Skill Success Rates table, Robotics, was missing the skills
--Identification (of robot type): 100% + skill level [x10%] - robot level [x10%]
--Alter Mission: 50% + skill level – robot level
Also, Unarmed Combat skill should be called Martial Arts to match the text.

Typical NPCs: The column “STR/STS” should be “STR/STA” (Strength/Stamina)

I assume ranges are rounded UP if you have fractional meters! So if Medium Range for a weapon is 21-50 m, then 50.5 meters bumps you into the Long Range category (so -40% instead of -20%).
The rules p. 24 didn't make clear what explosives would do to starships. Assume starships are 200+2d100 points, and are affected by explosives only. Projectiles and most beams did no damage. Rocket launchers would do 45 pts. 50 grams of Tornadium D-19 (“kaboomite”) in its 1-kg packaging would do 5d10+25 per added pack (must be set on starship, can't be just thrown at starship). Remember that the active explosive ingredient is expressed in 50-gram charges, but comes in 1 kg of total protective packaging, instructions, and the survey sheet that no one ever bothers to fill out. 🙂
Possibly more refined rules were included in KNIGHT HAWKS.

Also, VERY IMPORTANT, the Vehicle Damage Table p. 32 determining damage effects on a vehicle is entitled “Die Roll [2d10] + Damage” but in fact you should calculate it as Die Roll [2d10] + DICE of Damage you rolled, so 1, 2, 3 not 1d10, 2d10, 3d10. Likewise for damaging Jetcopters and Aircars, p. 33.

P. 40, DEFENSES: An Albedo Screen's energy-use should be changed from “1 SEU/min” to “1 SEU/5 pts. of damage absorbed", as in the description text.
Remember that Inertia Screens, Military Skeinsuit and Civilian Skeinsuits only absorb half of kinetic damage (damage absorbed is rounded up; in the description the character “takes the smaller half”).

P. 40, TOOLKITS: A Techkit should weigh 20 kg; a Robcomkit should weigh 15 kg, an Envirokit is only 5 kg, as per text descriptions.

P. 41 is perfect, except for the confusion about the mass of Tornadium D-19 packs (1 kg package; but the active explosive is only a 50-gram piece of putty).

I hope this is of help to new Star Frontiers Referees!

Brooding Paladin

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This is cool, thanks.  My brother and I were just discussing fishing this out of the back of his closet and revisiting it.  More motivation to do so!  I loved playing an annoying Dralasite.

jeff37923

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Or you could just go play Classic Traveller or Cepheus Engine and not have to worry about it.
"I do not want to create a story, I want to create a stage. The player characters will perform on that stage and interact with the setting. When the players talk to their friends about what their characters did, then there will be a story."

BoxCrayonTales

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Or FrontierSpace