'Frontier Explorer': a free zine dedicated to the Star Frontiers RPG


Some of you might be familiar with Star Frontiers, an 80’s-era TSR scifi RPG. There’s been an on-line fan base for this for many years now, and originally various ideas were funneled into a zine called Star Frontiersman. After WotC became a little twitchy about their IP (when it seemed that Evil Hat had eyes on the ‘Star Frontiers’ moniker), that zine was put to bed. Luckily, some time later WotC relaxed and with a nod from them Frontier Explorer was born.

It’s a free quarterly zine, and is now about to release it’s 30th issue. New content is always welcome! You can find it at Drivethrurpg or from it’s dedicated site here:



Thanks for sharing this

Wow, this is really cool. I’ve never heard of Star Frontiers, what’s it like?

I’m probably not going to give a balanced answer to that question as SF is one of my all-time favourite RPGs. In '83 my brother and me pooled what little money we had to buy this RPG and got many, many hours of fun out of it.

But in a nutshell, it’s slightly space-operaish scifi universe based on a simple d100 (2d10) system. Players can chose from various alien races - as well as humans - to play a variety of professions. There are a lot of published adventures for the RPG, most of which are very useable or tweakable. Like Star Wars, the humans in it are like us but not us, as the setting takes place across ‘the Frontier’, a stretch of explored space soemwhere else in the universe. A bolt-on called Knighthawks covered space combat and space-based skills.


Nice to see this kicking around, I’ve glanced at Star Frontier to see if it would be a good old school system for my players to play in. I haven’t delved into it beyond a basic leafing of the rulebook, but it does look good to me and something I kind of want to run.

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It’s very easy to pick up and play. Like earlier versions of D&D, starting characters might be seen as a little ‘under-powered’ but IMHO this is only an issue if you immediately throw them into situations in which they have little chance of making any headway. There are enough published adventures that could be used to start building up the characters, and the boxed game includes a few mini adventures that can be used for introductory play. Alternatively you could simply assign the players a skillset/‘starting level’ kind of thing which means that initial characters are a bit more fleshed out in terms of their capabilities. If you want to more space-based games, you’d need to get Knighthawks - although characters that want to be active space farers also need to be pretty experienced (but this could be tweaked to one’s own liking).

The game is also sandboxy. The Frontier is made up of established worlds with routes in space linking them together, and these are described to a certain extent, but there’s a lot of room for a referee to do their own thing and play around with the setting. Although my brother and I ran various published adventures, we also created our own and didn’t then end up breaking the system or the setting.

Not long before TSR’s support for Star Frontiers ended, a kind of updated rules source book called Zebulon’s Guide to Frontier Space - a.k.a. Zeb’s Guide - was published. It was supposed to be a 2-part thing, but the second part never saw the light of day. Zeb’s Guide added new playable races, new equipment and similar things, but also a new resolution system for resolving actions such as combat, skill checks etc. However, you could ignore that system and still use the content within the guide. Zeb’s Guide isn’t universally popular within Star Frontiers fandom but it is still largely canon because it contains various things that are useable to players playing the original version of the rpg.

Frontier Explorer takes both the original rules and Zeb’s Guide into account, as well as other canon material published in Dragon and other resources.


I’m the publisher of the Frontier Explorer (and custodian of the Star Frontiersman as well). Nice to see us get mentioned around the web. I’m putting the finishing touches on issue 30 which will be out by the end of the month.


Issue 30 is now available from here :robot:

I knew there was somewhere else I needed to mention this this morning. Thanks. It’s also available on DriveThruRPG