What is the perfect Star Frontiers campaign

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 14, 2018 - 5:48am
Inspired by:
http://www.creightonbroadhurst.com/mine-is-conan-meets-cthulhu-in-a-megadungeon-whats-yours/

I like that this guy breaks it down into mechanics, style and setting. I always think story when I consider this question but mechanics and style of play certainly are important if we're talking about a perfect campaign.


Mechanics: AD is awesome. Its fast play and I love that and the mechanics dont get in the way of the game. There is some clunkiness in the original rules so perhaps some SFman and or FE options would be good.

I'm a sucker for the use of "A Skilled Frontier" SFman #9

I feel like this skill system is a nice ballance between the poles of AD and Zebs. Its one downfall might be rapid advancement in that you can rather quickly drive one skill to level 6 in your PSA and become a one hit wonder. which then gets you into the challenge of how to referee a game where the players can smack down anything you throw at them.
I always felt this way about "A Skilled Frontier" but ignored my misgivings because of the system's positives.

So given the choice of rigidness of AD skills the endless choice of Zebs or Gygax forbid SF2000 "A Skilled Frontier" works for me but I might want to tinker with the EXP costs for purchasing skills and move them in a AD direction slowing down the ability to drive a character to become a one hit wonder.

"Spacer Skills Revisted" SFman # 10 is a no brainer as well. especially if we're slowing down the skills advancement, modifying the prerequisits for spacer skills makes sense and in a sci fi game players really want to fly a space ship.

I love the AD treatment of robot. Vehicles and computers could use some rework. but I could live with them.

Style: less sand box just because its tough to prep for sandbox in a space faring setting. but I do want players to be able to have choice and impact on the game.

Setting:
I think a military/naval game is tough to run so I'd likely stay away from this.

I've never run through all the modules and would love to but that wouldn't be my perfect campaign.

I'm intrigued by Shadowshacks running of the Volturnus campaign from the Pirate side of things so maybe something that draws from the modules but would be new and different to the players.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 14, 2018 - 9:44am
I have a second pirate adventure completely unrelated to the reverse Volturnus game. I need to unearth that one...also MIA is the Vast Freehold, a pirate controlled sector of space located "west" of the Frontier.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 15, 2018 - 5:16am
A naval military campaign is not as tough as you might think. Space Battleship Yamato, ALL of the Star Treks, Space 1999, Space Above and Beyond, some of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, both Battlestar Galacticas, alot of Farscape, Babylon 5 and to a lesser but still mostly military extant V and Lexx oh and and horrible movie series called Star Wars which is about members of a Rebel Army in Space all of who can fly spaceships with barely any training.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
January 15, 2018 - 8:44am
And the skill advancement in A Skilled Frontier isn't any faster than what a military PSA character has anyway in the AD rules. It just allows the other PSAs to advance at the same rate in their area of speciality.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 15, 2018 - 2:30pm
rattraveller wrote:
a Rebel Army in Space all of who can fly spaceships with barely any training.

Flying is for droids. This was established by a Jedi Master in the prequels. ;)
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 15, 2018 - 4:44pm
Maybe the Jedi Master says that (probably joking) but the proof is in the viewing. The M. Falcon has no droids, larger ships (i.e. Star Destroyers, Death Star) have droids running around but obviously human crews do the flyings and let's not forget Luke having no problem flying his fighter after R2D2 got taken out.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 16, 2018 - 7:11am
TerlObar wrote:
And the skill advancement in A Skilled Frontier isn't any faster than what a military PSA character has anyway in the AD rules. It just allows the other PSAs to advance at the same rate in their area of speciality.


Guess I was miss remembering the exp cost.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 16, 2018 - 9:49am
rattraveller wrote:
Maybe the Jedi Master says that (probably joking) but the proof is in the viewing. The M. Falcon has no droids, larger ships (i.e. Star Destroyers, Death Star) have droids running around but obviously human crews do the flyings and let's not forget Luke having no problem flying his fighter after R2D2 got taken out.

You forgot a ten year old boy's claim at being a pilot for "all my life". ;)

Ships in SW are like cars today, everyone has one (although it could be argued that people today don't know how to drive, hence all these wonderful new "safety" features that promote texting while driving). That's why Luke exclaimed they could buy their own ship over Solo's 10K demand for passage...ships are cheap in the SW-verse for a reason.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 16, 2018 - 2:15pm

Pricing in SW is weird for sure. Seems the only money Ben and Luke had was from selling the landspeeder but it was enough to buy a starship? Then at the end that was alot of cases Hans and Chewie were loading onto the Falcon. How much did they owe Jabba? But didn't Hans say he could repay Jabba with what he got for the run to Alderan?

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 16, 2018 - 2:46pm
rattraveller wrote:

Pricing in SW is weird for sure. Seems the only money Ben and Luke had was from selling the landspeeder but it was enough to buy a starship? Then at the end that was alot of cases Hans and Chewie were loading onto the Falcon. How much did they owe Jabba? But didn't Hans say he could repay Jabba with what he got for the run to Alderan?


I thought the cases he was loading was the "more reward than you can imagine" 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 16, 2018 - 5:17pm
jedion357 wrote:
[
I thought the cases he was loading was the "more reward than you can imagine" 

Which then begs the question "Who's funding this rebellion?"

But it was a Kiddie movie and you were not supposed to think about it to seriously.

Curious how did they handle money in the WEG RPG?
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 16, 2018 - 7:37pm
The passage for the Millenium Falcon was "2,000 now and fifteen more when we reach Alderaan." Technically, since Alderaan wasn't there, they really didn't need to pay the balance. ;)

Ben was a hermit for the past two decades so it's not likely he'd have much in the way of currency. Hence the line about selling the speeder to cover that initial 2K and what was supposed to be a promise for Rebel contacts picking up the balance at Alderaan. 

Obi-Wan was a former Wall Street specialist: he makes awesome deals with other people's money. Cool
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 17, 2018 - 5:57am
Back to the original question, I generally go with there isn't one. Each group has their own playing style and way of doing things. So each has to determine what they like. Here's my break down:

The Rules: This should not have been first but we'll go with it. In many of today's games there are multiple versions and editions of the same game and each has its fans. The only real difference is complexity. Some RPGs are one page, others have multiple Dungeon Master and Player Rulebooks with more manuals dedicated to monsters. Every one should pick thewhat they are comfortable with.

The Setting: This should have been first, you can't pick rules if you don't know what type of game you are going to play. There are so many settings it can be hard to choose but as a guide the vast majority of Fantasy settings are Tolkien. So differences but not many. Sci Fi has alot more variety but tend to stick with Humans in Space. Post Apoc is all about the mutants. The many others stick with one theme; Western, Cthulthu, Spy, Military, Cute Animals, Super Heroes etc. Like going to a movie multiplex pick what you want and entertain yourself.

I say the perfect campaign is the one where the Referee and Players spend the first night with no characters or rules and just sit down and figure out what story they want to tell and how they want to tell it. From there they can go forward having reached a concensus on what and how they wish to play.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 17, 2018 - 9:39am
The setting should always be pre-defined, it's the campaign that gets written as things move along & develop. That's the inherent beauty of Star Frontiers: the setting is very loosely defined and adaptable for any GM. There's the UPF, there's the Sathar, and there's a bunch of wild unexplored places (and themes) to develop. You can have your setting wher ethe Sather have already won a war and have enslaved the UPF citizens who are trying to retake their territory. You can have a corporate or military takeover from within the UPF. You can go back to a time before the UPF. You can center the game on Volturnus after the trilogy of modules are over. The possibilities are endlesss and you can develop a campaign in any of them.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 17, 2018 - 3:43pm
Well Referee's who like to control things will set the setting ahead of time. The fun part of SF is that the universe it is set in lends itself to many different settings. Showing up to run the SF0 adventure and finding out that your players all thought they were going to be PGC Troubleshooters looking for Sathar agents is not a good way to start. One has the setting of a wild planet of exploration with no outside help while the other involves many interactions with NPCs on a civilized world with more investigating roleplaying and less shoot it its moving.

Looking at the SF modules they had a pretty good span of different settings while Fantasy games are usually dungeon crawls where clearing an underground lair is most of it and after alot of player advancement do things above ground take place.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 17, 2018 - 8:44pm
D&D by nature is a dungeon setting, after all if it wasn't they'd have called it "Wilderness & Wizards". ;)

Seriously though, every version of D&D has a defined setting. Moldvay/Cook B/X and Mentzer BECMI are both set in Karameikos, although Mentzer's set expands and better defines Karameikos (either Companion or Master offers a full world map but does little to flesh out much beyond Karameikos). The earlier Holmes set (which is merely a rules-light version of AD&D) and AD&D are set in Greyhawk. Other editions of D&D use Mystera (sp?).

Going with B/X (and Mentzer) the modules are a nice spread as well. Most of the B-series are dungeon crawls while the X-series are above ground. B3 & B6 being exceptions while X1 & X2 do have underground portions but the bulk of them are overland or structure based scenarios --- there may be others, I only have B1-6 and X1-2 but from what I've gleaned of B9 & B10 at least half of each are above ground adventure.

The same can be said of other RPGs...Traveller and Top Secret have specific settings, with Traveller being so well defined that the GM really has little room for ad-libbing. SF simply establishes who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, and aside from a handful of defined worlds most of it is open to referee discretion and/or interpretation. As such each and every one of us here has their own unique setting that involves the 24 named but not necessarily defined worlds of AD/KH (actually 23, IIRC none of the boxed sets or modules divulged the K'tsa-Kar world) or however many there are in Zeb's if you go that route.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
January 18, 2018 - 6:03am
Dungeons and Dragons have pretty much the same setting. Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits in a medievil world where magic is used. Eberron went a little into steampunk but the others were only changes in name.

Top Secret was Cold War spying and not much difference could be added.

Traveller like SF had huge variety of settings. So much so that they liscensed some out to other companies like Judge's Guild and FASA. Yes they were all out in space but some were in the Imperium while others were outside of it. Some were low tech and others very high tech most mid tech. Some were crew of a starship some you didn't even worry about starship travel. Safari missions, spy missions, combat missions, trading missions kidnapping missions and on and on all taking place on different worlds with vastly different societies and environments. SF has alot of that just more limited by the fewer number of worlds in the Frontier.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 18, 2018 - 6:04am
Shadow Shack wrote:
or however many there are in Zeb's if you go that route.


Space Fleet Recruiter: "Are either of you Zebulon's Guide?"
Winger: "You mean like flaming?"
Space Fleet Recruiter: "Well its a standard question we have to ask."
Russel: "No we are not Zebulon's Guide, but we are willing to learn."
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
January 19, 2018 - 1:36pm
Tut tut - all this hate for Zeb's Wink For me and my RPG gang back in '83 or so, Star Frontiers just seemed to be something we could pick up and play without it being too difficult. We played a very minimal version of D&D before that, as none of us had enough money to buy any of the books and so we just went with what we knew of the system from playing it at school (a teacher was our DM). SF just seemed easy to use and we liked the look of it, just from the adverts in American comics and from seeing the box in a game shop. We all took to it immediately, even to the point of buying adventures and then getting Zeb's. We then took to Zeb's very easily and used it in preference to AD for a fair few years. We also generated a fairly big chuck of home-brewed equipment. Playing SF again after a break of 25+ years, the same gang used a mixture of AD and Zeb's. It was still great fun. Some events that happened in that series of play sessions were the sorts of things that are pretty much classic SF - players flying aircars, trying to knock out a huge human NPC with repeated needler shots, fighting robots, etc.

As for campaigns, and from being a referee for 70% of my RPG life, I'd say you can make them out of pretty much any system even if the setting is somewhat rigid or appears limited. As long as you can still find inspiration in that setting, you can think up things for your players to deal with. But these sorts of discussions may go down a rabbit hole, as what one person sees as limitations in an RPG may be exactly what another person likes. A setting may appeal because it's scope follows a quite narrow remit. I mean, I refereed Twilight:2000 for many years and that puts a whole lot of limits on players and referees as a setting. But for me this is precisely why it worked running a long campaign with my players within that setting.

I think at the end of the day it's really all down to what inspires you, and if you can pass that rush onto your players then it's all good. As for a perfect Star Frontiers campaign, I'd say that's really down to how you like to run and play SF. We can probably perhaps agree quite widely on what we think is the cool stuff to have in SF, be it settings, themes, etc. but likely as not we'd still probably find stuff to tweak even if someone actually managed to write a campaign that was generally deemed to be perfect ;)

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 19, 2018 - 2:49pm
If I had a couple of players for a face to face table top game, that would be my perfect campaign.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 21, 2018 - 2:09pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
If I had a couple of players for a face to face table top game, that would be my perfect campaign.


;)
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!