This week we’re going to begin looking at determining the origins of any given character or NPC in the Frontier. I’ve labeled this as part 1 in a series as it is a preliminary draft that I plan to tweak and expand on in the future. This is really a preliminary, first pass but still quite usable in its current form.
This is the post I had planned for last week but didn’t quite have it ready in time so you got the UPF Minelayer a week early.
This project is something that’s been kicking around in the back of my mind for years now and I was inspired to look at it again as part of the RPG Blog Carnival this month which has the topic “Random Encounter Tables“. While this isn’t necessarily a random encounter table per se, it can be used to randomly determine information about someone you encounter in the game. It’s a bit of a stretch, but still relevant. I encourage everyone to visit the main topic page for this months carnival and read all the posts linked to in the comments. I’ll be hosting the blog carnival in June so I’m going to make an effort to write a post each month for the carnival this year and become more active. It tends to be more focused on fantasy gaming so sometimes I’ll really need to stretch the topic but we’ll see how it goes.
We’re going to start right with the table and then I’ll talk about how it was generated. If you’re interested in a slightly different take on this same topic, we published an article, “Star Frontiers Birth Locations” by ExileInParadise, in issue 19 of the Frontier Explorer back in Jan 2017 as part of our Star Frontiers 35th anniversary issue. This article will be a first pass at my take on that same topic.
Where Are You From?
To randomly determine the world of origin of one of the “Core Four” Star Frontiers species, roll d100 on the following table. Find the value rolled in the column for the species in question and the line tells you the origin world and system for that character. This version of the table is ordered by system and not the name of the world.
|Rupert’s Hole (Cassidine)||4-6||4-10||4-5||20-22|
|Laco (Dixon’s Star)||19||21-22||18||34|
|Inner Reach (Dramune)||20-27||23-24||19-21||35-37|
|Outer Reach (Dramune)||28-35||25-31||22-28||38-44|
|Hargut (Gruna Goru)||53-56||36-38||42-45||50-61|
|Ken’zah Kit (K’aken-Kar)||57-59||39-40||46-52||62-63|
|Kdikit (Madderly’s Star)||64-65||44-50||65||68-69|
|Gran Quivera (Prenglar)||66-78||51-61||66-76||70-81|
|Morgaine’s World (Prenglar)||79||62-63||77||82|
|Histran (Scree Fron)||80||64||78-79||83|
|Hakosoar (Scree Fron)||81||65||80-82||84|
|Pale (Truane’s Star)||88-95||80-86||89-95||89-95|
|New Pale (Truane’s Star)||96||87-90||96||96|
|Clarion (White Light)||97-100||91-100||97-100||97-100|
If you just want to use the table, you’re done. Enjoy. If you want to learn a bit more about how I created it, read on.
Building the Table
First off, this table just covers the original systems presented in the original (Alpha Dawn) ruleset, and doesn’t include Volturnus (Zebulon) as there is no indigenous core four population there in that rule set. Also, that rule set left Kawdl-Kit (K’tsa-Kar) out of the data table so I’ve used the values from Zeb’s Guide for that system.
One of the decisions I made in creating the table is that it is possible for any of the core four races to be from any planet, although the chance may be very small.
Another decision I made was that I didn’t want either a d1000 table (although that’s easy enough to do in Star Frontiers that only uses d10s) and I didn’t want a series of sub-tables. One roll and you would be done.
The result of those decisions is that the smallest probability of having a race/homeworld combination is 1% and for certain situations this is probably a bit (or even a lot) higher than it would really be given the demographics and politics of the Frontier. An example is a non-Yazirian race from Hentz, a world controlled by the Family of One where non-yazirians are second class citizen. There just aren’t that many there. Similarly, vrusk from Kdikit (Madderly’s Star) after most vrusk were driven off world by the Freeworld Rebellion. Although you could also argue that those situations drive up the chance that those beings would be off-world and increase the chance. So in the end, it’s all good.
Getting the Base Numbers
The rules give a dominant population and a population density for each world in the Frontier. The dominant population could be one of the core four races, a mix of two (Terledrom, Fromeltar with a D/V designation for dralasites and vrusk) or an asterisk (“*”) meaning relatively equal mix of all species. The population codes were either outpost, low, medium, or high.
To determine the relative number of each species on each planet I used the following formula. First, an outpost was given a value of 1, low population given a value of 3, medium population a value of 5, and high population a a value of 8. Next, if a species was not listed as a dominant population on a world, it just received the value above. If it was the dominant population, I multiplied that value by three. For the systems marked with an asterisk, I gave all the species the x3 multiplier. Since these planets are the core planets of the Frontier, typically with high populations, this just helps to concentrate the population density there.
For example, Inner Reach, Dramune, is listed as a medium population and the dominant species as Dralasites. So for this world, humans, yazirians, and vrusk all receive 5 points while dralasites receive 15.
This was done for each planet in the Frontier which gave me a large table that listed points for each race on each planet.
Calculating the Table Percentages
Next I tallied up the points for each race. Depending on the species, those totals ranged from 190 to 226. Using those values I scaled the points for each species so that the total came to 100. This effectively gave me the percentage of each species that came from each planet. Some of these, especially on the outpost worlds, end up with percentages less than 1 but given my assumptions, those all get rounded up to 1%.
After that, it was just a matter of tallying up the percentages to make the table. I built a cumulative table first by just adding up the percentages. Due to the small fractional percentages of the low probability planets, this resulted in some planets having the same value.
To fix this, I fixed some of the percentages to 1. This in turn, pushed the totals above 100 for some of the species. To fix that, I then adjusted the percentages down on a few of the worlds based on physical characteristics and game lore.
I started by reducing the percentage of non-yazirian races on Hentz to one. This reflects (as mentioned above) the fact that that world is very rigidly controlled by the yazirian Family of One and non-yazirians are practically, if not in fact, second-class citizens. Next I reduced the percentages of yazirians on high gravity worlds. This is based on the idea that those worlds are less desirable to yazirians because their gliding ability is greatly diminished on these worlds and so the populations would be smaller. For the vrusk, I set the percentage on Kdikit (Madderly’s Star) to one to reflect the expulsion of the vrusk after the Freeworld Rebellion. Finally, I reduced the percentage of non-yaziran races on the worlds in the Scree Fron system because it is far from the core of the Frontier and deep in yazirian space.
After making these changes, and a few other small tweaks, I ended up with the results presented in the table above.
Thoughts and Discussion
This is definitely a first draft. It will probably get tweaked a bit as I flesh out the lore of the worlds a bit more. I may change the relative populations of the the various species as well as the overall population numbers for any given world (i.e not making all medium populations a value of 5 or every high population world a value of 8) That said, this is definitely usable to get a rough idea of where any given member of each species is from. Future versions will also include the Zeb’s Guide systems as well as generate tables for the Rim races, at the very least.
One thing that this doesn’t do is show the relative percentages of each species on any given planet. Since I renormalized the values for each race, that changed the relative percentages of the races on any given planet. As I refine those relative values a bit more, they will get reflected into the raw data used. I may start presenting that information in separate posts on each world.
What are your thoughts on the table? What other information would you like to see? What is missing? What would you do differently? Let me know in the comments below. And be sure to head over to the Random Encounter Tables post to check out the other posts in this month’s RPG Blog Carnival.