In the hairy embrace of a cliche....

jedion357's picture
August 17, 2011 - 4:31am
For some reason primitive apeman are popular in STar Frontiers.

Whether its the Kurabanga of the Volturnus series
The Snapes of Bugs in the System
The Wypongs of "Layover at Lossend" Polygon 18 (I like to call them wywrongs)
The Lokkuku of Mission to Alcazzar
or the one in the Trouble on Janus convention module
Or the apemen in 2001 module.

Sometimes I wish module writers would take their dirty hands of the damn dirty apes!

But then we all grew up on Chewie and Han Solo. Han had rescued Chewie and the wookie had become honor bound to Han but you get the impression that its deepened into a deep and abiding friendship, these two would cross hell for each other and if need be would die for each other. And who wouldn't love a to have a wookie side kick? After all they can rip the arms off a module writer when they get angry.

So rather than complain about the damn dirty apes running around in Star Frontiers, I propose we embrace the cliche! Sit down with the sentient primitives and split a banana! or maybe some fermented banana juice.

So since there are so many apes swinging from the trees around here I thought maybe we ought to work up a series of first contact encouners for a generic primitive hairy apelike race that a referee could use if he's feeling the itch to scratch like a monkey. Not sure we need to develope another one of these races but we could, if it was more wookie like, but no ewoks!

Anyhow the Layover at Lossend article is a first contact encounter but it doesn't really go far enough. Its plot is PCs on a layover take a job and have to fly to place X. Jetcopter experiences trouble and they bail out on parawings. Hiking to the crash site to recover their gear they find the wypongs worshiping their crashed jetcopter (because the gods live in the sky). PCs are now gods. end of encounter. there is no real conflict there.

Need a series of encounters with the possibility of the PCs getting their own wookie, Hey I did say we should embrace the cliche.

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

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
August 17, 2011 - 7:51pm
I'd look further back than Star Wars for ape side-kicks. Way back to the old Tarzan flicks and Cheetah!

My SF website izz:

jedion357's picture
August 17, 2011 - 8:35pm
yeah but Tarzan wasn't sci fi but still a good point. To a certain degree you could make a case for any primitive side kick: John Carter of Mars and Tars Tarkus.

Its just that I think that the Layover on Lossend article is very thin.

How would you write a first contact encounter?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
August 18, 2011 - 7:44am
My ifshnit has a side-kick SAPE. Foot in mouth

Don't forget the GLLR-5 "GORILLA".
Content of Star Frontiersman project


Level: Level 4 - Can communicate verbally
GLLR-5 Gorilla
Type: Recreation Robot
Body Type: Anthropomorphic (Human)
Parabattery: Type 1
Move Mode: Two Mechanical Legs
Move Rate: 10m/turn normal, 60m/turn max.
Limbs: Two Mechanical Arms
IM/RS: +8/80
Stamina: 100
Attack: 70
Damage: 2d10 punching
Programs: Security Lock, Self-defense (Matrixinfected),
Wrestling (custom)
Equipment --

Mission: Harmlessly participate in sports.

Functions: Harmlessly: GLLR-5 can take no action which will result in the harm of a living person. That includes actions which he calculates has a low level of safety. (note: the Self-Defense program has a bug which bypasses this function).

Participate: GLLR-5 will make suggestions as to what type of sports people around him would like to play, based on his observations of their moods, energy level, morale, and history of games played with those same people. Otherwise, he will join in any game or sport to which he is invited. He can learn new games (memory limit unknown).

Sports: GLLR-5 is programmed with the rules of over 100 sporting games, and can even use a custom program “Wrestling” to pin opponents. GLLR-5 includes non-sporting games such as strategy, card,dice, and boardgames in his programming.
Used with permission from

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
August 19, 2011 - 11:26pm
jedion357 wrote:
yeah but Tarzan wasn't sci fi but still a good point. To a certain degree you could make a case for any primitive side kick: John Carter of Mars and Tars Tarkus.

Its just that I think that the Layover on Lossend article is very thin.

How would you write a first contact encounter?

How would I, Rags, the magnificent and overly flatulent Captain, write a first encounter? Well (ahem) I'd likely use my best Parker pen only because I do not normally like Bic pens, and a thick pad of scrap paper. Cool 

No really, let's look at some possibilities for introducing a new species into a campaign:

(1) The PCs go to where the new species lives (ala just about every SF module)
(2) The new species goes to where the PCs live (ala the Saurians from Dragon Magazine)
(3) The PCs and the new species meet in space by chance (the encounter being either friendly or hostile)
(4) A mad scientist's experiment opens a dimensional portal, with Chewey stepping out to say hello (or growl)
(5) The new species is an ancient one and found alive in suspended animation, or their DNA is found to be intact and viable enough to be genetically re-engineered
(6) The new species is intentionally or unintentionally created by the PCs actions or by someone elses actions
(7) A Human or Yazirian (PC or NPC) suffers an accidental genetic devolution during a scientific experiment, turning into (for Humans) a hairy Neanderthal, or (for Yazirians) a Sape or Sape-like critter. Lord only knows what devolution would do to a Dralasite or a Vrusk, but it's sure to be both weird and ugly.
(8) Something or some "thing" travels back (or forward) in time, exiting into the PCs current time.

My SF website izz:

Menoitios's picture
January 22, 2012 - 8:30pm
I always assumed that the Tetarchs deposited apemen on various worlds. Cue another overused scifi trope 

Ascent's picture
January 23, 2012 - 3:30pm
Don't dis the ewoks! ("Wee-Wookiees") They were originally meant to be Wookiees, but due to budgetary restraints, they were rewritten as diminutive.

Also, Wookiees aren't apes, they're dogs. Chewy was written to represent Han's dog.

Since the game is rather tropish on the apes, how about monkey's? Lemur-people are another sci-fi trope.
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)

rattraveller's picture
January 24, 2012 - 5:57am
WHAT? How is hiring short people cheaper than hiring tall people? They got enough Wookies the do a TV special. Need some better explanation like we went with the cutesy factor since we know this is a child's movie.

Oh Cracked magazine did an article about movies with Happy Endings that weren't really. Turns out some scientist figured out that blowing up a million plus tons of space station that close to a planet causes a massive meteor shower effect which would have destroyed their moon. So no more Ewoks.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
January 24, 2012 - 2:25pm
It wasn't money it was the fact that Chewie had evolved and changed in the series and it was felt that they should use a different primitive race. Especially since Chewie was closely associated with flying a space ship Lucas didn't think the wookies would work as the kind of primitive he wanted. And yes we should dis the wee wookies .
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Karxan's picture
January 28, 2012 - 7:02pm
If you want to reuse the idea from Star Wars, Have the Sathar using an apelike race for slave labor. Some under hypnosis, some cybernetically altered, some just duped. The PC's free some of them and maybe one desides he/she owes them a life dept. There you have a hairy side kick and now a mission to free slaves from the Sathar. Or another way, Some Mega Corp has found an apelike race and is using them to mine in secret on some distant planet. This way they do not have to pay Frontier labor wages. No unions to deal with. The PC's are sent by another Mega Corp to find out why their competetor's profits are growing when they have new mining ventures and are not advertising for new labor. Free the slaves and once more a life debt is made. It does say somewhere in the Star Wars mythos that Han rescued Chewie from being a slave, and that Wookies were used to help build the first Death Star. Just some ideas.