Thoughts on science and technology in Star Frontiers

Bio-Social's picture
May 1, 2015 - 7:29pm

What follows are notes on how I plan to handle science and technology in some future campaign using SF rules and a variation on the default Frontier setting.

I'm going for a 'medium hard' sci fi feel. Not a lot of theory and not much technobabble, but most of the tech should work consistently and be at least somewhat plausible. FTL is a miracle, but a limited one.


  • Defensive screens, freeze fields, and the cryo-beds used in storage class travel all utilize nano-tech (No gray goo; attack swarms are the equivalent of expensive chemical weapons)

  • subspace radio bandwidth is pretty tight

  • hyper-drive is closely related to subspace radio (hyperspace is a different level of subspace)

  • genetic engineering and other advanced medical tech= why humans live so long and are relatively hard to kill

  • advanced psychology and social sciences allow for things like superior hypnotism

  • no anti-grav tech (spin and thrust , mag boots, velcro, etc. instead)

  • spacers use skeinsuits, defensive screens, acceleration couches/tanks, and drugs to avoid injury during dangerous acceleration, deceleration, and maneuvers

  • Larger star craft don’t normally land on planets. Often use vertical deck layout. Not streamlined. Few/no windows.

  • Small vessels/shuttles do land on planets, may use horizontal deck layout. Streamlined for trans-atmospheric flight. Windows with shutters/shields.

  • The Sathar have demonstrated a frightening level of electronic warfare sophistication. The four races of the Federation have learned the hard way to avoid relying on things like wireless networked computers and automated spacecraft.






Those are my notes as they stand now.




  1. Does this all make sense? Am I hitting my 'medium-hard' sci fi goal?
  2. How do you handle science and tech as a referee (or, if you are mostly a player, how do you like to see these things handled)?






Bio-Social's picture
May 1, 2015 - 10:45pm



 I could interpret the screens as some sort of exotic force field technology, which is likely just what the designers had in mind.

Describing these things as nanite swarms/fogs is a nod to more recent sci fi, and one that looks less gonzo than exotic physics force field tech. I don't claim it be to really hard sci fi stuff.






Dax Thura's picture
Dax Thura
May 2, 2015 - 6:16am
I like. I'd like to point out that last point about the sathar and their EW abilities would go far in explaining why the computers in Star Frontiers work the way they do (see Reworking Computers in Star Frontiers thread).

TerlObar's picture
May 2, 2015 - 9:14am
Other than the nano-tech and sathar EW capabilities, that's pretty much how I play it as well.  I guess I don't quite see subspace communcation as limited bandwidth but rather hard to set up and use (my full description was a Frontier Explorer article, "Subspace Radios" in issue 4).  They are also "clear channel" communications that anyone can intercept if desired.

I also really like the idea of the Sathar being good at EW and how that impacts the technology used by the Frontier races.
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Tchklinxa's picture
May 2, 2015 - 12:06pm
Smile I think it is pretty well thought out.
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."