Skinning The Frontier: Star Frontiers Stats to 4th Edition D&D – Races I

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November 19, 2010 by deadorcs

Okay.  So a funny thing happened on the way to Prenglar.  The hyper-drive had been deactivated, and I was fresh out of water wrenches…er…hydrospanners.  Nevertheless, thank to the intervention of a plucky robot, we’ve arrived and I can talk some more about re-skinning traditional Star Frontiers rules into a 4th Edition D&D compatible set of rules.

Those of us that love the 4e rules, long for a traditional science fiction role playing game that can utilize the same system.   Gamma World is most awesome, but it has pretty specific thematic elements that don’t really fit a space travel & exploration motif (the old, “Metamorphosis Alpha” bit notwithstanding).

To fill this gap, I’ve taken it upon myself (with the always dutiful sponsorship of This Is My Game) to lay out some 4e style rules for Star Frontiers.  While I’ve been a little slow getting started (the introduction to the series can be found HERE), I’m now ready to dive right in.

You can’t have a good campaign setting without a good selection of races, right?  Well, races are exactly what we’re going to talk about today.  Humans were not the first race to venture out into what would soon be called “The Frontier”.  When Humans did finally arrive, they found the region well populated with other amazing creatures.  Dralasites, Vrusks, & Yazirians have all mastered the perils of travel between the stars.  Together, these races dominate the Frontier.  In the following sections, we’ll take a look at each of the main races of the Frontier and what they look like when skinned for 4th Edition.

DRALASITE

Average Height:  4’-3”

Average Weight: 174 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Strength; +2 Constitution or +2 Wisdom

Size: Medium

Speed: 4

Vision: Standard; Tremorsense

Languages: Pan Galactic, Dralasite

Skill Bonuses: +2 Endurance, +2 Perception

Contemplative Mind: Your focus on philosophy makes it difficult for you to be mentally swayed.  You gain a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against psychic attacks.

Efficient Squeeze: As a medium creature, your malleable body can squeeze into a small-sized space without suffering the standard penalties.  Additionally, you can squeeze into a tiny-sized space, but incur the usual penalties for squeezing.

Odor Sense: Your keen sense of smell gives you a +1 racial bonus on Initiative checks.

Extra Limb: You have the Extra Limb power.

Dralasite Racial Power: Extra Limb

HUMAN

For human characters, I recommend using the Human D&D Essentials race straight out of Heroes of the Fallen Lands.  Substitute the given “Common” language to “Pan Galactic” instead.

VRUSK

Average Height: 4’-11” (The lower torso of a Vrusk is another 4’-11” for a combined length of nearly 10 feet).

Average Weight: 187 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom; +2 Dexterity or +2 Charisma

Size: Medium

Speed: 7

Vision: Standard; Low-Light

Languages: Pan Galactic, Vrusk

Skill Bonuses: +2 History, +2 Insight

Ambidexterity: You can use a weapon in either hand with equal proficiency.

Corporate Efficiency: Your efficiency grants you the ability to carry 25% more weight than other creatures with a similar strength.

Critical Assessment: Your ability to accurately assess any situation prevents surprise.  When an encounter indicates surprise, roll an Insight check as an immediate reaction.  If the check is successful, you are not surprised.

Reflexive Scuttle: You have the Reflexive Scuttle power.

YAZIRIAN

Average Height: 6’-9”

Average Weight: 121 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity; +2 Intelligence or +2 Wisdom

Size: Medium

Speed: 6

Vision: Standard; Low-Light

Languages: Pan Galactic, Yazirian

Skill Bonuses: +2 Acrobatics, +2 Intimidate

Gliding Movement: You can fly (by gliding) your speed on planets with gravities between ½ G and 1G. You must begin your movement at least 6 squares above the ground.  If you do not end your movement on a solid surface, you fall the remaining distance.

Life Enemy: Choose a life enemy in the form of a race or type of creature.  From now on, you gain a +1 to attack rolls against that race or type of creature. This bonus increase to +2 at Paragon level, and +4 at Epic level.

Handy Feet: Your feet are as useful as your hands.  You take no penalty to melee or ranged attacks while prone, nor do you grant combat advantage to enemies while prone.

Battle Rage: You have the Battle Rage power.

Yazirian Racial Power: Battle Rage

Before I get to final notes about these conversions, I want to present a race that may or may not be permissible in your individual 4e Star Frontiers games.  These guys are the “big bad dudes” of the local universe.  While it might be unlikely that your DM would allow you to play an actual Sathar in a Star Frontiers campaign, they were presented originally as though they were a character race (instead of just a monster).  While I’ll detail Sathar “monster types” in a later post, for now, here’s their racial entry.  Let’s give it up for:  The Sathar.

SATHAR

Average Height: 11’-3” (Total length.  A Sathar elevates the first 4’-11” of its body in a manner similar to the Vrusk.)

Average Weight: 121 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Charisma; +2 Intelligence or +2 Strength

Size: Medium

Speed: 6

Vision: Standard; Low-Light

Languages: Pan Galactic, Sathar, Human, Yazirian

Skill Bonuses: +2 Bluff, +2 Intimidate

Brutal Determination: Your drive to defeat your enemies is overwhelming.  You do not fall unconscious when you reach 0 hit points.  Instead, you are treated as if you are Dazed.  Despite not falling unconscious, you are still Dying if your hit points drop to 0 or fewer hit points.

Cadre Training: You were raised to fight with your cadre.  When you fight adjacent to another Sathar, you gain a +1 to your attack rolls.

Enhanced Peripheral Vision: Your eyes each have two pupils.  Your enhanced peripheral vision grants you a +1 to your Defenses against opportunity attacks.

Hypnotic Trance: You have the Hypnotic Trance power.

Sathar Racial Power: Hypnotic Trance

How’s that for diving right in?  Before I wrap this up, though, I wanted to make a comment about the stat blocks you see up above.  First, there’s no fluff.  Star Frontiers is a great game with a rich history.  Most (if not all of that material) can be found on the web, so there’s no real need to re-post it here.  Want to know what Dralasites think of the universe?  Go wiki that stuff.

Second.  You Star Frontiers faithfuls will note that there are some liberties taken with the powers of the different races.  I chose the powers I did based on abilities listed in the original Star Frontiers rules, and the original racial descriptions in those rules.  The format the racial descriptions are in, closely follows the one you’ll find in the D&D Essentials rules.  I did my best to keep an eye on balancing things.  It’s the 4e way.

Finally, don’t sweat it so much if you don’t like what you see here.  While I tried to keep the races interesting, balanced, and playable; true fans of Star Frontiers might find some flaw in my rationale.  That’s cool.  The whole idea here is to give you a starting point for skinning an entirely different game system into the 4e logic.  That said, I think I’ve come up with a great starting point.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll have posts on changes to Skills, more Races (from Zebulon’s Guide to the Universe),  Feats, and Much More.  Stay Tuned!

This is My Game – DeadOrcs Out.

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3 thoughts on “Skinning The Frontier: Star Frontiers Stats to 4th Edition D&D – Races I

  1. […] sci-fi game Star Frontiers into the 4th Edition D&D rules, I want to finish up what I started HERE, and reveal my take on the rest of the player character races available for Star […]

  2. deadorcs says:

    @Ross: I should have probably made that more clear. You can make the assumption, that when a DC is unspecified, you should use a DC that is appropriate to the character’s level. The default is the middle DC of the level, but you could make it easier or harder based on the circumstances (use the high-end DC for when there’s environmental factors that might “cloud” the character’s judgement).

    Hope that helps!

  3. Ross says:

    It’s looking really good Randall.

    Question: What is the DC for the Critical Assessment roll? Is it versus the opponents hide, initiative during surprise, or something else?
    Critical Assessment: Your ability to accurately assess any situation prevents surprise. When an encounter indicates surprise, roll an Insight check as an immediate reaction. If the check is successful, you are not surprised.

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