Welcome back to Card Catalog where we are taking our last look at TSR’s Star Frontiers from 1982 for the Bodaz G’Lunk’s crew! I knew that I would make at least one combat oriented or soldier style character and thought I would make the second human fill that role. While I could have slipped in another one of the unique species created, maybe you noticed that I drew some loose inspiration for the original Bodaz G’lunk crew from the Larry Elmore illustration that graced Alpha Dawn’s cover. I will also look briefly back at Knight Hawks because they spend time detailing what a UPF soldier or marine would be and perhaps I can use that as a bit of inspiration for Kevin’s own history.
I am also going to advance all the Star Frontier characters with about 50XP to show how you can optimize your chances or enrich your character as built.
For Star Frontiers, you roll a percentile which is converted to a starting attribute score for four pairs of attributes that start equal in rating. For Kevin, I rolled 85; 80; 74; and 13 (wow!) which results in starting scores as follows:
- Strength/Stamina 60
- Dexterity/Reaction Speed 55
- Intuition/Logic 55
- Personality/Leadership 35
As a Human, Kevin can add 5 to any one Ability score, but not the pair. I am going to add to his Dexterity because that is the primary Ability for his ranged combat raising it to 60. Next, you can trade up to 10 points between the pairs – for Kevin, I want him to be smarter than the average grunt and maybe just a bit too literal at times so I will move 5 points from Intuition to Logic. Then, I am going to lean heavily into the stereotype of the gruff and unlovable combat character so I will slide a whole 10 points from Personality to Leadership. This results in the following statistics:
- STR/STA 60/60
- DEX/RS 60/55
- INT/LOG 50/60
- PER/LDR 25/45
As a Human, Kevin has no other special abilities to note.
As the resident soldier and enforcer, Kevin’s primary Skill Area is Military so that he will receive a discount on the skills purchased in that area. That’s good because it is the broadest of all the skill areas even though they are the cheapest to buy anyway! Beam Weapons are the big starting skill for Kevin because lasers should be the default weapon for a Science Fiction Space Opera adventure like this one! While I am tempted to get another weapon based skill, instead I will provide a little bit of depth from Kevin’s background by taking a rank of Environmental Skill from Biosocial so he has an understanding of alien planets and also because it has subskills like Survival, Stealth, and Tracking.
I’ve already mentioned Kevin as a male character, and based on the cover of Alpha Dawn that is the inspiration, I will make Kevin right handed. I am leaving equipment for after I spend the 50 advancement Experience Points!
The great simplicity of Star Frontiers is that there are only two places for a character to spend experience points – abilities and skills. The Abilities can range up to 100 and are a simple 1 XP for 1 Point expenditure. Straightforward and because the skill checks are percentile based easy to understand what your investment nets you. Skills are bought per level, from 1 to a maximum of 6. Non-human characters can also spend points on their special abilities, but those are purchased just like the Abilities on a 0-100 scale and a 1 for 1 improvement rate.
Kevin is going to definitely round out a number of other weapons skill sin the MIlitary Area which are only 3XP for Level 1 for him. With those 9 points out of the way, I’ll add 6 more points to Kevin’s Dexterity and then raise him Beam Weapons Skill from Level 1 to Level 3 (15XP). That means that we are only at 30 of our 50XP so far! I am going to use our House Rule on Spaceship skills that we discussed in Kratog’s write up to add a Spaceship skill to Kevin’s sheet – Gunnery! For 10XP, Kevin will get one level of the Energy Weapon Gunnery skill! I will add a Level 2 Melee Weapon rank for 6XP, because I like Kevin not being as good at Grenades and for the final 4 XP, I am going to raise his Stamina which will also raise his HP.
Now I am going to look at equipment, weapons, and defenses … which I may not pay too much attention to the cost because it’s a lot more fun just to get them outfitted. Also, the ship is under the Captain’s control with a Charter Letter with Streel Corp. as a reminder.
Kevin is primarily a combat character so he is loaded with weapons and armor, trusting his fellow crew members will carry the rest of the equipment that they may need! He definitely starts with a Laser Rifle because that’s the appropriate thing for Kevin to have, and I’ll even add the battery backpack to have additional power charges available. Similarly, I will go with an Electrostunner for a pistol and then a handful of grenades such as Doze, Fragmentation, and Smoke Grenades. . His melee weapons are the classic knife and nightstick, and the Nightstick provides a little bonus to its use so it almost catches up with his Blaster chance.
For defenses, since he plans to be shot a lot, Kevin is outfitted with an Albedo Suit to reduce the damage from the Laser weapons and uses an Inertia Screen to keep people close up, or with old fangled projectile weapons at bay. He can even plug the Screen into the battery backpack he has!
His standard equipment is pretty unimpressive, except for the Sungoggles that he has to have to match the picture inspiration! He has the standard sort of gear you would expect like a blanket, machete, and flashlight but the most fun thing he has is a Parawing inspired by his experience with Yazirian’s of running away by jumping off a cliff followed up with a bit of “kaboomite” to set some explosives if needed!
Time and time again, the military has been a way up for dedicated and driver individuals who start off without a lot of advantages in life. Kevin saw service in the UPF, that is United Planetary Federation, as a way off his planet. Like his friend, Brango O’Bourke, Kevin was from a human dominated planet with a representative democracy. The question of scale comes up again and again for the theorists studying political systems, and the Lacknimonst planet’s attempt to provide tiered representation is used as a beginning study in inefficiencies. IN the absence of clear direction, the O’Kilkirk’s and O’Bourke’s both suffered from a lack of mobility on Lacknimonst but did not lack enough to see a popular uprising. Leaving the planet was the only way forward.
The UPF rarely involves itself with internal policies of its members – once you get into the planetary atmosphere, it isn’t the UPF’s problem. The Second Sathar War required increased recruitment and the UPF needed marines to take and hold planets and so the Landfleet was created. Kevin & Brango had their chance out. The UPF could tell that Kevin wasn’t cut out for long term service, he just didn’t have the strong enough sense of self, but they were glad to use him on the ground and put him through an accelerated basic training when the slippery Sathar were once again bearing down on the Frontier Space! He made it through his training and found a way out to one of the last great sieges of Frontier Space – The Siege of Outpost. As part of the Landfleet, Kevin spends two years with his fellow marines trying to take Outpost #1 where the Sathar have tried to barricade themselves. Nearly half of his cohorts died, and the end of the Second Sathar War meant an uncertain future for your soldiers.
The UPF was fortunate it didn’t have to give Kevin much of a chance. He ran into Brango not long after returning from the front, and an altercation with a Gorlian Thug in a dive bar gave them more than reason enough to send him packing. He was good enough to fight and die for the UPF, but they didn’t think he was good enough to lead a new era of UPF marines. It took a few years of wandering around before Kevin realized where he could be the most use. He went out on assignment with Pan Galactic as hired muscle. Corporate Wars could sometimes use men of his talents.
Kevin had the sense about him of the lost and forlorn. That’s why Drichu thought he should be given another chance. After all, the Yazirian’s know nothing if not lifelong struggle against blood enemies, be they real or abstract. Drichu convinced Capt. Bodaz to bring aboard this strong arm artist because sometimes, they would find themselves trapped in a difficult situation. Drichu was right, and Kevin turned out to be what the Bodaz G’lunk needed. Simply enough he had trouble finding his own way in the world, but in a group as part of a crew he shined. He and Drichu were inseparable … which became part of the biggest failure he ever had.
On Frilkium, Kevin couldn’t protect his friends who had pulled him out of a wandering and meaningless life. The Frillites had ambushed them, and managed to wound Kevin while he tried to save Ghrilham. He could only stumble and limp as Kratog tried to ready the damaged G’lunk to leave. Kevin was fighting back and trying to push everyone off him, so he could stop, so he could fall saving them … so he didn’t see another squad of his die.
He heard Drichu’s primal screech and knew what had happened. The Yazirian had pulled his battle rage to the surface. The gentle scientist’s last words to Kevin were, “Run. Please.”
Kevin was left alive again after losing squad mates. He has stayed with the Captain and the G’lunk. It is where he most felt like he had a new home. He doesn’t know how much longer that will last, as V’orz and Jorgein came aboard with a corporate charter and vanishing into the undercities of Lacknimonst becomes a better retirement plan every day.