So a friend of mine really wants to play STAR FRONTIERS and we’ve been talking about it for several years. I finally threw caution to the wind and prepared a game for us to play when we have an opportunity!
I wanted to shoot for a “Quick Start” feel for the game since few of the folks who would be playing have actually played the game. I decided to use the mini-module adventure from the Referee’s Screen called “Assault on Starship Omicron.”
The mini-module is an interesting story about a ghost ship that the Pan Galactic Corporation (PGC) wants back. The story as written has a group of adventurers “babysitting” the ship as it sails back to a PGC spacedock.
I’ve decided that the adventure I’m going to run takes place after the story presented in the mini-module. Starship Omicron is attacked during it’s return voyage and is lost … again. Several years later, the Omicron shows up on PGC radar again and they send in a “crack team” of operatives to take control of the ship and return it to PGC ownership.
I decided to generate several characters that would be ready for use but with one caveat: They are all Human! I know, I know … half the fun of Star Frontiers is tat you can play wacky alien races like the Blobs or Flying Monkey Men. But for now while I’m running a one-shot game it’s just easier for me as a Gamemaster to make everyone Human.
The next thing I decided to do was create a map that could be used for the players to track where everyone is during the story. Most of our games of Dungeons & Dragons run with between 5-8 players. So in an unfamiliar game where it is likely that the players will decide to ave the characters split into teams to cover more ground, a usable map just made sense to me. Besides, Star Frontiers is one of those games that was half boardgame and half role-playing game. The early sets came with maps and a hundred like cardboard chits. So it’s not a big leap.
I printed out the map of the Upper Deck of Starship Omicron and used yellow push pins to secure it to a small cork board. I then colored in the Secret Doors in black to make them into just normal doors. Next I colored doors on the left hand side of the map orange, the ones in the middle green, and those on the right side blue. This is a plot device that comes into play as a puzzle during the story. Lastly, I marked every “planned encounter” within the story and marked the spot on the map with a red push pin. I coded each one with a letter to correspond with my notes. I figure that this will move things along for the players allowing them to see exactly where they can move their characters to trigger an event. And yeah, you probably figured out that I have some other encounters and events that will trigger in unmarked areas to like a corroded chuck of floor giving way (trap) or a hallway full of poison gas locked away behind an air locked door.
The last thing I did with the map was to number ten white push pins to represent the playing characters. They can easily track where their characters are at within the ship as long as they remember which number pin corresponds with their character.
Lastly, I doubled-dipped by using little army men. When I first thought about running a game of Star Frontiers, I happened to find a bucket of army men at Wal*Mart for about $15 called “The Corps! Elite” It came with 120 pieces including of men, terrain, and vehicles. These army figures would have two purposes: (1) Miniatures for large combat situations within the game and (2) an easy way for players to choose the pre-made characters.
So I took a black sharpie and wrote a name on the bottom of the base of each army figure. When I made the characters I purposely used wacky alien-like names that didn’t sound male or female. Pronouns suck these days, right? So for example I made ten characters each resembling the weapon being used by the little army soldier. In order to choose their character for the game all they would need to do is choose a figure that looked cool to them and – tada! – they have their character for the one-shot.
The whole process of preparation took about four or five hours but that was okay with me. Honestly folks, having something fun to focus on helps me with the intense mental health issues I’m having right now. So this was therapeutic for me at the time.
I’m looking forward to playing “Starship Omicron” with my friends. I’ll report back here with all the wacky nonsense that take place while we play. Until then true believes, keep rollin’ sixes!