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Creator/{{TSR}}'s third entry into Sci-Fi [[TabletopRPG RPGs]] (after ''TabletopGame/MetamorphosisAlpha'' and ''TabletopGame/GammaWorld''), first published in 1982.

''Star Frontiers'' takes place near the center of a spiral galaxy. A previously undiscovered quirk of the laws of physics allows starships to jump to "The Void", a [[{{Hyperspace}} hyperspatial]] realm that greatly shortens the travel times between inhabited worlds, once they reach 1% of the speed of light (3,000 km/s).

The basic game setting was an area known as "The Frontier Sector", where four sentient races, the Dralasites, Humans, Vrusk and Yazirians, had met and formed the [[TheFederation United Planetary Federation [UPF]]]. A large number of the star systems shown on the map of the Frontier sector in the basic rulebook were unexplored and undetailed, allowing the {{Gamemaster}} (called the "Referee" in the game) to put whatever he wished there.

Players could take on any number of possible roles in the setting but the default was to act as hired agents of the Pan Galactic Corporation in exploring the Frontier and fighting the aggressive incursions of the alien and mysterious worm-like race known as the Sathar. Most published modules for the game followed these themes.

The basic rules set was called ''Alpha Dawn''. It was released as a boxed set that included a fold-out poster map of a futuristic city on one side and various sections of alien terrain on the other, a bunch of die-cut counters, the introductory module [=SF0=] ''Crash on Volturnus'', and a pair of 10-sided dice[[note]]And a white crayon to color in the numbers on the dice. This was before dice were commonly manufactured with pre-painted numbers.[[/note]].

Another boxed set called ''Knight Hawks'' presented a starship combat system and starship-related skills and rules for the regular rpg. It also included a fold-out poster map with empty space on one side and a space station and ship deckplan on the other, along with another set of spacecraft counters, [=SFKH0=] ''Warriors of White Light'', and another pair of 10-sided dice[[note]]And another white crayon to fill in the numbers on the dice[[/note]].

A late addition to the game was ''Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space'', which introduced several new races and an entirely different basic rule system. It was, however, the last book produced for the line by Creator/{{TSR}}.

!!This tabletop RPG provides examples of:

* AdventureFriendlyWorld: Most of the Frontier sector is unexplored, including lots of systems between the inhabited ones.
* AIIsACrapshoot:
** The Mechanons of [=SF2=] and ''Zebulon's Guide'' evolved from earlier self-programming robots and believe that mechanical life is superior to biological life and must eventually replace it.
** The "Puppetmaster" of the freighter ''Marionette'' in [=SFKH0=] is a cybernetic robot that is convinced it is the master of the universe.
** [=SFAD5=] features a self-aware cybernetic robot who turns homicidal after being infected by the titular bugs in the system.
** The adaptions of ''2001: A Space Odyssey'' and ''2010: Odyssey Two'' both feature the [=HAL-9000=], of course.
* AllPlanetsAreEarthLike: Nearly all of the published adventures featured visits to planets that have breathable atmospheres.
** One exception is the module [=SF5=] ''Bugs in the System'' which featured the Belnafaer system where most of the action occurred in the atmosphere of the gas giant Venturi on the Jetsom extraction platform.
** Another minor exception is [=SFKH2=] "Mutiny on the Eleanor Moreas", which took place on the planet Mahg Maar, a planet with a slightly toxic atmosphere that required the use of filter masks. It was still fairly Earthlike, though.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil:
** The Sathar, apparently. The other races in the setting could be on either side, but the Sathar were definitely the villains.
** The S'sessu introduced into Dragon 96 were a "friendlier" version of the Sathar, even though they were predatory capitalistic sharks...er...worms.
* AmmunitionBackpack: Popular for laser rifles.
* AncientArtifact: A few of these pop up in the printed modules.
* ArtificialGravity: Averted. Ships have to accelerate constantly in order to provide gravity and have a vertical deck plan (with the back of the ship being "down").
* AsteroidMiners: One of the possible spaceship careers covered in the ''Knight Hawks'' set.
* BarbarianTribe: The natives in all of the published adventures had less developed technology than the player races - often much less.
* {{BFG}}: Laser rifles can dial their damage up to 20d10 - equal to the heavy laser and sonic devastator heavy weapons. At that level you only get 1 shot out of a standard clip, but it will kill most anything you hit with it.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: The Vrusk are giant bugs but are friendly. The Sathar on the other hand are giant worms, and not friendly at all.
* BinarySuns: Many of the worlds in the Frontier sector have two suns.
* BrainInAJar: Module [=SF1=] ''Volturnus, Planet of Mystery''. The slavebots in the Sathar Artifact are controlled by a Sathar's brain which is in a large fluid-filled flask.
* CasualInterstellarTravel: Via a previously undiscovered quirk of physics.
* CoolStarship: The Assault Scout, which has deck plans in the ''Knight Hawks'' game and is featured on the cover.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The cover of [=SF3=] ''Sundown on Starmist'' shows an alien called a Heliope shooting at a group of adventurers with a pistol held in humanoid hands, but the descriptions of the Heliopes in the module say they have lobster-like pincers, not hands.
* DeflectorShields: Three different kinds for both starships and personal scale.
* DoppelgangerSpin: Dragon magazine #88 article "The Battle at Ebony Eyes". A pair of black holes create illusionary duplicates of any starships in the area.
* DyingRace: The Eorna of Volturnus are dying out. At least until the end of [=SF2=] ''Starspawn of Volturnus''.
* DungeonCrawling: This style of gaming was prominent in the printed adventures. The intro adventure in the main rulebook involves exploring a crashed starship with local animal life serving as "monsters". The intro module that came with the basic rules, [=SF0=] ''Crash on Volturnus'', features a long journey through an extensive cave system; again full of alien animals that will try to kill the party.
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: The Sathar like these.
* EscapePod: Module [=SF0=] ''Crash on Volturnus''. After their ship is captured by the Star Devil's pirates, the PlayerCharacters abandon ship in a lifeboat and use it to land on the planet Volturnus.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: The Yazirians are intelligent ''flying'' (well, gliding) monkeys!
* EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods: ''Crash on Volturnus'' features a race of land-dwelling, intelligent, telepathic, purple octopuses (technically they have nine tentacles, but still). For extra awesomeness they ride DINOSAURS!
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: The basic set and each of the printed modules featured lists of hostile native life for the planet featured in the module. Effectively a "Monster Manual" for each world.
* TheFederation: The United Planetary Federation, in fact.
* FirstContact: Happens all the time. Much of the Frontier is unexplored, and sentient races seem to be all over. The planet Volturnus from the intro module has ''five'' sentient races living on it [[spoiler:though that is due to one race having genetically modified the others]].
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: Laser and Disruptor cannons on the larger ships, and Assault Rockets on the smaller ones.
* GhostShip: Present in [=SFKH0=] ''Warriors of White Light''.
* {{Hologram}}
** A holo screen is a defensive power screen that projects a three dimensional image (hologram) around its user. The holographic image is stored on a holodisc that is inserted into the holo screen.
** Adventure [=SF1=] ''Volturnus, Planet of Mystery''. Several examples can be found inside the Eorna underground complex.
*** In the Asylum Common Room the {{PC}}s can find a holovision (three dimensional holographic television).
*** The Eorna History Museum and Cultural Center has displays explaining Eorna history and culture that include holograms.
* IntrepidMerchant: One of the careers described in ''Knight Hawks''. Also what the players become in [=SFKH1=] ''Drammune Run''.
* JackOfAllStats: Humans are this, with no stat modifiers and no special abilities other than a +5 to a single attribute. All the other PC races had balanced stat modifiers (adding up to zero) but also had racial abilities.
* KillerSpaceMonkey: The Yazirians look like monkeys, they have a warrior culture, and they are from "space". They're often player characters, though.
* LivingGasbag: Adventure [=SF1=] ''Volturnus: Planet of Mystery''. The air whale is an alien creature that produces hydrogen as a byproduct of digestion. The hydrogen is stored in sacs inside its body and provides the lift that allows it to float. It maneuvers by venting compressed hydrogen through tubes.
* ALongTimeAgoInAGalaxyFarFarAway: The Frontier and its people are completely unconnected with Earth, despite having recognizable humans.
* MadeOfIron: Nearly everyone can take a lot of damage before dropping. Fortunately some weapons (lasers) are capable of dealing out a lot, although you then have to reload...
* MegaCorp: The Pan Galactic Corporation and several others — all relatively benevolent, though there have been corporate wars and the module [=SF4=] ''Mission to Alcazzar'' puts the characters between the secretive Cassidine Development Corporation and the aggressive Streel Corporation.
* TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay: ''Star Frontiers'' is one of the few Creator/{{TSR}} games that used metric units.
* MindControlDevice: The "Implant" from [=SFAD6=] ''Dark Side of the Moon''. Comes complete with a self-destruct device that [[YourHeadAsplode kills the victim]], and for extra NightmareFuel it's usually implanted without their knowledge.
* NoCampaignForTheWicked: PlayerCharacters are forbidden to be Sathar, the murderous and vicious alien race that is a threat to all civilized races of the Frontier. Sathar can only be NonPlayerCharacters.
* OurDwarvesAreDifferent: The short, strong race are ameoba-like blobs with a penchant for puns.
* OurElvesAreDifferent: The intelligent, graceful, culturally advanced race are giant bugs.
* {{Precursors}}: Several vanished older races with advanced technology used to live in the Frontier sector. [[spoiler:[=SF3=] ''Sundown on Starmist'' centers on a Precursor hovertank.]]
* ProudWarriorRace: The Yazirians, though they are actually less strong than the other races (being from a light gravity world).
* ProudScholarRace: The Vrusk.
* PsychicPowers: None of the player races have any, but some of the aliens in the modules do. "Zebulon's Guide to the Frontier" introduced some for player races.
* PungeonMaster: The Dralasites love bad puns.
* [[RecycledInSpace Recycled In Space Of A Different Sort]]
** The alien races of ''Star Frontiers'' were later recycled for the ''TabletopGame/{{Spelljammer}}'' ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' setting under different names: The Dralasites became Plasmoids, the Sathar became Syllix, the Vrusk became Rastipedes, and the Yazirians became Hadozee.
** They were also later recycled for ''TabletopGame/{{Alternity}}'' in ''Magazine/{{Dragon}} Annual 3'' and for Modern d20 in the Future d20 sourcebook.
** None of the ''Zebulon's Guide'' races appeared elsewhere, however.
* RuleOfThree: The third science-fiction RPG by Creator/{{TSR}} after ''TabletopRPG/MetamorphosisAlpha'' (1976) and ''TabletopRPG/GammaWorld'' (1978). Followed by two Buck Rogers [=RPGs=] (''TabletopGame/BuckRogersXXVC'' in 1988 and ''High Adventure Cliffhangers Buck Rogers Adventure Game'' in 1993) and ''Alternity'' in 1998 (the year after TSR was purchased by Creator/WizardsOfTheCoast). At a production lifetime of six years (1980-85) it was the longest-lived of TSR's science-fiction [=RPGs=].
* SiliconBasedLife: Adventure [=SF1=] ''Volturnus, Planet of Mystery''. The Eorna created silicon-based life in the form of large crystals. Their attempts to make the crystals intelligent failed as whenever they reached semi-intelligence they TurnedAgainstTheirMasters.
* SpaceBattle: Half of the ''Knight Hawks'' set was all about this.
* SpaceFighter: Yep. Armed with three "assault rockets" each.
* SpaceMines: These are present too.
* SpaceNavy: Both the UPF and the Sathar.
* SpaceOpera: Verging on ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' - InSpace!!
* SpacePirates: Present in the introductory module, no less, and with their own unique ship design in the ''Knight Hawks'' set - the corvette. The corvette counters only come in pirate colors.
* SpaceStation: ''Knight Hawks'' features rules for these. Some act as orbital defense fortresses. They are the classic "hula hoop" style.
* SpiritualSequel: The 2017 release ''FrontierSpace'' featured an updated version of the setting (with the SerialNumbersFiledOff) with considerably greater detail and modernized game mechanics.
* StarfishAliens: Most of the races are basically PettingZooPeople, but the Dralasites are an ''awesome'' example - they're sapient human-scale ''amoeba''. And {{Sex Shifter}}s. With BizarreAlienSenses. On top of all that, they're the ProudScholarRace of the setting - with odd senses of humor, such as a race-wide love for puns. Think [[Creator/HPLovecraft Shoggoths]] PlayedForLaughs.
* StatDeath: All damage is scored against your Stamina, one of your attributes. Run out of Stamina points and you were dead.
* StealthSequel: The 1985 supplement ''Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space'' revamped the skill system with a [[MarvelSuperHeroes FASERIP-style]] results table. This amounted to a "soft" second-edition launch, presaging the second edition of [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons Advanced Dungeons & Dragons]] four years later. The reboot was, however, lost when the line was canceled in the wake of the Dille Trust's purchase of TSR later that year, ending the line in favor of the release of the ''TabletopGame/BuckRogersXXVC'' RPG.
* SuperSpit: Adventure [=SF1=] ''Volturnus, Planet of Mystery''. The {{PC}}s will encounter a group of alien monsters called spitters. Spitters can spit acid that does 2-20 points of Stamina damage up to 20 meters away.
* ThemedStockBoardGame: Creator/{{TSR}} released adaptations of both ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' and ''Film/TwoThousandTenTheYearWeMakeContact'' as modules using the ''Star Frontiers'' system.
* TooGoodToLast: Cancelled in 1986 after Lorraine Williams, new CEO of TSR and manager of the Dille Family Trust, which also made her the owner of the Buck Rogers property, decided the company would develop a Buck Rogers RPG based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons system.
* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: Adventure [=SF1=] ''Volturnus, Planet of Mystery''. The Eorna created SiliconBasedLife in the form of large crystals. When they tried to make the crystals intelligent, every time the crystals reached semi-intelligence they turned on their creators. Eventually the Eorna gave up on their experiments but some of the life forms (known as Rogue Crystals) escaped.
* TwoDSpace: The map of the Frontier is 2-D and space combat in ''Knight Hawks'' is on a 2-D map.
* WeWillWearArmorInTheFuture: Skin-tight flexible armored suits, in fact. Bulky power armor also appeared in Dragon Magazine 129.