Star Frontiers, GURPS Style – Part 1, The Races

Everyone who has been playing tabletop RPGs for a while knows about Star Frontiers.

You don’t? Check here. We’ll wait…

Anyway, many of us cut our teeth on SF role playing using those rules, and that evocative, ridiculous setting. As such, many of us have a remarkable amount of nostalgia associated with it. When Moe Tousignant posted about a fan conversion of the game to use the new D&D 5th Edition rules, I opined than most of us, at some point, will get ’round to making their own conversion of the game to whatever system they favor.

It made me realize that I have always fallen short when trying to convert Star Frontiers to GURPS. I know that many, many others have done their versions of the game and even posted them online, but there’s a certain benefit to trying your own hand at it. You can zoom in on the things you think are game-mechanically relevant to you, and collect all the other details as setting fluff.

Any conversion has to start with the three non-human playable races, and to be honest, that’s where most people peter out when they attempt the conversion. Some things are casually tossed into the race descriptions in the original game that have no real impact on play, while those same things might be modeled in GURPS using an extensive – and expensive – set of advantages.

SFRacesI’ve put together my latest iteration of the races, and I’m posting it here mostly for others to compare to their own notes, though you may of course steal them for your own use. I started out fairly parsimonious, but realized that to do any of the races justice I had to be willing to spend the points to set them apart.

A side note: This does wind up meaning that when you play a Human in GURPS: Star Frontiers, you get something on the order of sixty points to invest in stats, skills and advantages to compensate. This tends to lead directly into a very Pathfinder-esque assumption that humans are the flexible race, the Jacks of all trades, and I think that’s actually a pretty safe place to be in a sci-fi game can fall solidly in the space opera category.

Dralasite [28/40/52/64/76]

All Dralasites have the following advantages:

Switchable for all four standard limbs, takes 5 minutes to absorb or grow a limb [2]; Color Blind [-10]; Double-Jointed [15]; -1 DX [-20]; +2 ST [20]; +2 FP [6]; +2 HP [4]; Acute Taste & Smell 2 [4]; Detect Lies (Per-2) [1]; DR 2 (Tough Skin) [6]

Individual Dralasites may add Extra Arm, Switchable (+5%, takes 5 minutes), alt Extra Leg [12]. This advantage can be taken up to four times, depending on DX (if DX10, 1; if DX12, 1 or 2; if DX14, 1-3, if DX 16+, 1-4);

Vrusk [60]

-1 ST [-10]; -1 HT [-10]; +1 DX [20]; +0.5 Basic Speed [10]; DR 3 [15]; Ambidextrous [5]; Double-Jointed [15]; Extra Legs 8, cannot kick [8]; Acute Smell & Taste 1 [2]; Intuition (only for social dealings, unreliable 8-, -60%) [6]; Incompetence (Swimming) [-1];

Yazirian [60]

-2 ST [-20]; -2 HT [-20]; +1 DX [20]; +1 IQ [20]; +0.75 Basic Speed [15]; Flight (Winged Gliding) [10]; Battle Rage (+4 DX, Trigger – start of combat; Maximum duration – length of the fight; Unreliable – activates on a 5- at the start of the fight) [16]; Night Vision 4 [4]; -2 DX in bright light, mitigated by tinted goggles [-5]

Next time: Equipment & Related Skills


11 thoughts on “Star Frontiers, GURPS Style – Part 1, The Races

      1. The server was down for a bit earlier if you were trying to hit the site. It’s back up now. The Frontier Explorer is a Star Frontiers themed fan magazine. We print all different kinds of articles and I’m actually specifically interested is getting conversion articles. We’ve done a partial conversion to Stars Without Number and I have a D&D 5e conversion coming. I’d love to have a GURPS one as well.


    1. Thanks for the compliment. And the Star Frontiersman isn’t quite dead but won’t be doing a lot unless we get lots of new submissions. (I run both magazines now.) We do have a couple of things in the queue for the next year though.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Jason, have you looked at any of the GURPS: SF stuff I have done? Arne was helping me play-test some stuff. Total WIP but fun!


    1. My racial templates were very close in total cost to yours also. Dralasites at [65] with some variable points depending on extra limbs. Vrusk at [50] and Yazarians at [55]


    2. I remembered that you had, but I didn’t go and refresh my memory of them – I wanted to start effectively blank slate, working from my own knowledge of GURPS and the published racial profiles.

      Now that I have them down, I’ll go do a cross-comparison.

      Liked by 1 person

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