Welcome back to Card Catalog where we are taking a look at TSR’s Star Frontiers from 1982. We already met the Captain last week, so this week we will work on making the Bodaz G’lunk’s pilot,Kratog. If you have not yet read the overview of the system, please click HERE to read the overview of the system and setting.
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.
We will have a Notable House Rule introduced here. The original core rules do not include any piloting skills. The piloting related skills were added in the Knight Hawks expansion … But they are not for the average player character. While it likely reflects a star ship pilot as an astronaut, the prerequisite to get even the first rank is almost 100 experience points. I’m going to make Pilot its own Primary Skill Area(“PSA”) with the four skills under it so that players can get to it sooner. I will make it the same cost as Biosocial which is the most expensive of the original 3 PSAs. We will see how it works for the crew of the Bodaz G’lunk.
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 Kratog, I rolled 95; 42; 63; and 81 which results in starting scores as follows:
- Strength/Stamina 65
- Dexterity/Reaction Speed 45
- Intuition/Logic 50
- Personality/Leadership 60
I picked Dralasite for Kratog because I wanted a true non-humanoid or two and the amoeba like dad joke loving philosophers sound like a lot of fun. As a Dralisite, Kratog adds 5 to the Strength/Stamina pair and loses 5 from the Dexterity/Reaction Speed Ability Pair. Next, you can trade up to 10 points between these pairs, so I will shift 10 points from Intuition to Logic focusing on Kratog’s planning and forethought versus any intuitive improvisation. This results in the following statistics:
- STR/STA 70/70
- DEX/RS 40/40
- INT/LOG 40/60
- PER/LDR 60/60
As far as Special Abilities go, Dralasites have elasticity and Detect Lies. as sentient amoeba like species, Dralasites can shift their form and appendages around much to the chagrin of the other species. Also, because of the different way that they process sensory input, they have a chance of detecting lies in other species. This special ability may be raised with experience points in the same manner as an Ability and starts at 5.
Skills are fairly limited to start, and while there are some ideas for expanded Skill versions of Star Frontiers, I will stick with the Alpha Strike & Knight Hawks version of skills. As I mentioned above, the House Ruled Piloting skill area will be the Primary Skill Area for Kratog. That means that Kratog will have a discount or reduced cost to buy skills and skill levels of the Pilot Area’s Skills. For the two starting skills, the first is going to be Piloting because Kratog is the pilot. I was going to go with Astrogation in the pilot group for the second skill, but in trying to at least take some of the traditional prerequisites I instead opted to start the Computer skill from the Technological Skill Area. Kratog may not be that great in a fight but the G’lunk has gotten along without him shooting too many things.
Dralisites life cycle includes stages as male, female, and neither. I am going to have Kratog be still in the male cycle which he is maintaining through pharmaceutical means. Handedness is irrelevant to a Dralisite, or more to the point may be changed as they change their number of appendages. With a Dexterity of only 40, Kratog is limited to 4 appendages for now, but when he has the time to prepare to fly, he does prefer 1 leg and 3 arms. 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 human 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.
In the Pilot Skill Area, the Kratog is going to add Astrogation for 5XP which really means I feel a need to increase the Computer skill to Level 2 for 16 points. The Technical skill from the Technological Skill Area for 8 and Piloting to 2 for 10 points gets us to 39XP spent. For 6 Experience Points, I add Martial Arts to focus on a grappling and fluid form for the Drasilites. The last 5 Experience Points will go ahead into the Piloting Skill Group and give a beginning understanding to Starship Engineering.
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, she has the ship under a Charter Letter with Streel Corp. that has secured their loan and employment just in case I forget to mention it later.
While Kratog isn’t likely to hit anything, his belt does have an Automatic Pistol which Kevin keeps telling him he should learn to actually aim. Because you get a +20% chance to hit when you fire a burst, it mitigates some of his inexperience with actual weaponry.
For defenses, Star Frontiers provides two “slots” – a suit and a screen. Each type chosen will shield the character from incoming damage of a particular type and eventually need repair or replacement. Suits are a bit more difficult for the Dralasites to wear as they need their entire body to be unhindered which is why they keep all of their equipment in a belt based series of pouches. Regardless, a special breathable Albedo Suit provides some protection against beam weapons, but it is the Inertia Belt that is the most important. This will protect against kinetic attacks including hand to hand combat … in which the Dralasite Pilot is surprisingly adept..This works in the same manner as the Suits and Screens described in Captain Bodaz, but for a different type of incoming damage.
The remainder of the gear is fairly minimal because Kratog usually stays on the ship. Or at least tries to. There is a Techkit for his repairs and technical work, a chronocom to interface with the world and the computer system and finally a Radiocom for longer range communications. His total personal store of credits reflects that he hasn’t been spending his money since he is really more here for the experiences.
Kratog Gotark is not the first Dralasite pilot, nor will Kratog be the last Dralasite pilot. It is a calling for the Gotark line, regardless of when they bud off and where they end up. You could call it a Driving force! Hah. No? You better get used to the bad jokes. Kratog grew in what can best be described as a fairly standard Dralasite home. There was a great deal of thinking, a great number of puns, and an apparent disconnect between the two.
The Dralasite drive to examine, to think, to dive deeply into the observed world around them took root in Kratog who even accompanied his parents, in their Mother, Father, and Neutral life cycles, when they would pilot starships throughout the First Sathar War at the founding of the UPF. It was a family affair for an entire century before Kratog found it time to “bud off” from his family. Heh. No?
The Gotark were a bit unusual as Dralasites go, as they maintained the family tradition that other species use more so than the other Dralasites. While the Gotark took part in the Concourse of Dral where the planetary Dralasites would come together to debate and theorize, it was a strange smell for them all to be a single unit. His parents had the idea that perhaps there was a unity that could be achieved by maintaining non-solo living spaces across the multiple gender aspects of life. Kratog is their best experiment yet testing his family’s quality of ideas. After two wars, the Gotark thought is was time to see whether Kratog would prove their theory and the immortality of their philosophy. At 125 years old, he is just entering his prime … and that’s better than Choice! Heheh. Oh, still not laughing?
Kratog was able to find work fairly quickly in the wake of the Second Sathar War. In fact, a few piloting jobs later he had not only made friends with Drichu but they met Captain Bodaz and for all she may have been rolling her eyes seemed to take a liking to them. She had a ship, but no crew. They could crew a ship but needed an employer. It was the beginning of a good time by all. The Gotark seemed to find promise in this because Yazirians and Dralasites are not always the easiest to get to agree, but as Drichu and Kratog shared their jobs the theory of unit bonding bore fruit. You could say it was hanging from that tree! Groan. You’ll laugh at one of these.
The Frilkium kerfuffle caused a serious set back to the Unit Bonding Theory, and Kratog’s life as well. Kratog had chosen to remain in the male period of Dralasite life believing it would benefit the study, but now “he” wasn’t so sure. Captain Bodaz made arrangements for a Corporate Charter … unexpected but perhaps the best way to move forward. The new members of the crew, replacing poor departed Drichu and Ghrilham, helped make life more interesting … and more importantly V’orz would sometimes laugh at Kratog’s jokes! It could be that mid interstellar flight, there is no one in space to hear you cry. Sigh. One of Kratog’s jokes will land eventually.
Kratog has been withdrawing deeper into himself lately, pondering whether it is time to move on to “female” for Dralasite purposes or if the Gotark Unit Bonding Theory is truly lost. Perhaps he is best suited to fly himself and himself alone back home.
Kratog Gotark Dralasite Pilot Character Sheet.
Star Frontiers Setting and System Overview Here.