The Starfarer RPG Page
Courtesy of the Artist)
Starfarer (formerly SAGE, Space Adventure Gaming Engine) is a generalized system of game mechanics intended for futuristic SF / space adventure settings. Examples of SF backgrounds that one might play using the Starfarer system include those seen in SF novels such as C.J. Cherryh's Chanur books, Larry Niven's Known Space books, Niven and Pournelle's Mote in God's Eye, Charles Sheffield's Heritage Universe, Jeffrey Carver's From a Changeling Star, David Drake's Hammer's Slammers books, Jack Vance's Demon Princes books, Peter F. Hamilton's The Reality Dysfuction; movies such as the Star Wars trilogy, The Fifth Element, the Aliens movies, Blade Runner, Dune, Enemy Mine, Starship Troopers; and televisions shows such as Babylon 5, Farscape, Earth: Final Conflict, and Space: Above and Beyond.
When someone on rec.games.design suggested an online set of rules for SFRPG's, I offered my system (then "Guild & Empire") for development. It is not yet complete, but I do have a majority of the Starfarer Player's Guide in .wpd (word perfect) format. The HTML files will probably not be updated until after finals.
Starfarer started out as a setting and accompanying rules for the FUDGE engine called "Guild & Empire." However, after careful consideration - and a poll of my players - I decided to try and use a set of mechanics that I have been tossing around as my "homebrew" system for a number of years instead of using someone else's mechanics.
The homebrew mechanics (and the Starfarer mechanics they became) are percentile based. I have taken a few courses on probability and have come to the conclusion that binomial distribution (a probability distribution that is embodied in many popular modern games, like most of those put out by White Wolf as well as Shadowrun) is a fairly screwy way to model skills, and further, it is not as easy for the GM to guess what target number will give the players a desired chance of success.
Percentile based systems are nice, IMO, because it is easy to determine on the fly what task will present what level of challenge to players. But most percentile systems are almost too simple. While I don't like the dice mechanic of WoD / Shadowrun and similar games, I do like levels of success as a mechanic, as they add a level of detail to the game over and above the old fashioned "go / no go" mechanic.
So, my first goal in the system was to make a percentile based mechanic that takes advantage of a level-of-success based system.
Second, I am a reader of classic, hard, and military SF, though I like the more cinematic action oriented hollywood SF to an extent as well. Until recently, my favorite SF system was MegaTraveller. I found MT to be the best SFRPG on the block (and in many ways it still is among the best.) The task system was simple and flexible, and the combat system was a vast improvement over the previous edition of Traveller.
However, I was underwhelmed by later editions of Traveller. My group played MT many years after the demise of that game. Last summer was the first summer that we didn't play MegaTraveller since it came out (in what? 87? 89?). Alas, I felt that even the faithful workhorse MegaTraveller was had become outdated.
So I was left out in the cold. I found no game on the market suitable, so tried to make my own. That said, this leads me to my 2nd goal: A game system that is intended to handle a classic to hard SF settings with military and militaristic underpinnings, something in the tradition of Traveller.
Further, I am going for a gritty/real feel with the combat system, but don't want to be too complex (this last point seems to be my stumbling block right now.)
Player's Guide WordPerfect Version
No, I do not have MS Word, I don't want MS Word, I don't like MS Word. But if you need, I can save in .doc or .rtf format on request.