Old Yazirians Never Die
(They just get permanently grounded.)

Age and aging in Star Frontiers gaming

by Peter C. Zelinski
Dragon Magazine, #108, pg. 86

One question unanswered by the Star Frontiers rules is this: What happens when a character gets old? Average lifespans are given for all four player character races, but nothing is said about the effects of aging and growing up.

This is unfortunate, for aging adds to the fun and realism of the campaign. What is the point of turning to the aged for advice when they are no wiser than the young? How realistic is a 230-year-old Dralasite who can still bench-press 145 kilograms? What about a 150-year-old Vrusk who can dodge missiles just as well as the time he was knee-high to a winged ripper? True, such examples are always possible, but they should not be the norm.

Presented in the text below is a solution to the problem. Players of the AD&D game will recognize its aging system as the inspiration and source of reference used in compiling this article.

Note: Time is given in Galactic Standard Years throughout the article. One GSY is about 91% as long as one of our Earth years.

Starting Age
Age at
Dralasite d10 + 24 years 195 + 10d10 25-75 76-115 116-175 176+
Human d10 + 19 years 156 + 8d10 20-60 61-90 91-140 141+
Vrusk d10 + 17 years 136 + 7d10 18-50 51-80 81-125 126+
Yazirian d10 + 13 years 107 + 6d10 14-40 41-60 61-100 101+

Starting Ages

Before a player character enters a Star Frontiers campaign, his starting age must be known.

NPC starting ages need not be so restricted. An NPC Human adventurer could stow away on a star freighter at age 14 or give up a cushy desk job in favor or a daring life in space at 43.

Age Brackets

When a character enters a certain age bracket, his ability scores must be modified according to the instructions given in the age categories table below. This is not to say that all Humans receive additional strength and stamina along with their presents on their twentieth birthday. Instead, ability score modifications are a simulation of the effects of gradual maturity, with the resulting benefits or deterioration.

Modifications due to age are as follows:

Mature: Add 5 to STR, STA, INT, and LOG scores.

Middle-Ages: Subtract 5 from STR and STA; add 5 to INT and LOG scores.

Old: Subtract 10 from STR, STA, DEX, and RS; add 5 to INT and LOG.

Venerable: Subtract 5 from STR, STA, DEX, and RS; add 5 to INT and LOG scores.

No young-adult bracket is given because, unlike the AD&D game, no Star Frontiers PC can ever fall into this category (see starting age above).

Death Due to Aging

Except in a very long campaign, the prospect of a PC dying of natural causes is not something to worry about, because of the long lifespans of all four races. Nonetheless, when a player rolls up a character, the referee should randomly determine the age at which that character will die and keep it a secret from the controlling player. This may prove useful if the character is unnaturally ages by technological devices or processes, or by disease or infection. The results are based upon the average lifespan figures given in the Alpha Dawn Expanded Game Rules.