01a – Savage SF Setting Rules (SWADE)

01a – Savage SF Setting Rules (SWADE)

I took some of this from Greg Bruni’s Savage Worlds Conversion of Star Frontiers, but modified it for Adventure Edition and tweaked it a little to my liking.


All Hindrances from both the Adventurers Edition core book, as well as the Science Fiction Companion.


All the Edges available from the Adventurers Edition core book except certain Arcane Background Edges.  The only Arcane Background Edges  available are Pisonics and Weird Science.

Include all Edges from the Science Fiction Companion.

New Edges

Alien Understanding (Novice, Smarts d8)

Your character has a understanding of alien technology that exceeds most.  Alien technology Penalties are reduced by 1 for any Skill attempt to repair, use or modify them.

Improved Alien Understanding (Novice, Smarts d8)

Your character has a understanding of alien technology that exceeds most.  Alien technology Penalties are reduced by 2 for any Skill attempt to repair, use or modify them.

Secondary Skill Area (Novice, Smarts d8)

Your character is adept at learning skills. You may choose another Skill Area as being your Secondary Skill Area.  However, the Secondary Skill area does not gain the PSA Core bonus.


Skills in Star Drive Frontiers works the same as the core Savage Worlds rules, with some slight differences. Starting characters receive 15 points to distribute among their skills, with Humans receiving 2 bonus points.  Characters also have to pick a PSA (see below).

Academics SmartsKnowledge of liberal arts, social sciences, literature, history, etc.
Athletics AgilityOverall athletic coordination and ability. Climbing, jumping, balancing, wrestling, skiing, swimming, throwing, or catching.
Battle SmartsStrategy, tactics, and understanding military operations. A key skill in Mass Battles.
Boating AgilityAbility to sail or pilot a boat, ship, or other watercraft.
Common Knowledge SmartsGeneral knowledge of a character’s world.
Driving AgilityThe ability to control, steer, and operate ground vehicles.
Electronics SmartsThe use of electronic devices and systems.
Fighting AgilitySkill in armed and unarmed combat.
Gambling SmartsSkill and familiarity with games of chance.
Hacking SmartsCoding, programming, and breaking into computer systems.
Healing SmartsThe ability to treat and heal Wounds and diseases, and decipher forensic evidence.
Intimidation SpiritA character’s ability to threaten others into doing what she wants.
Language SmartsKnowledge and fluency in a particular language.
Notice SmartsGeneral awareness and perception.
Occult SmartsKnowledge of supernatural events, creatures, history, and ways.
Performance SpiritSinging, dancing, acting, or other forms of public expression.
Persuasion SpiritThe ability to convince others to do what you want.
Piloting AgilitySkill with maneuvering vehicles that operate in three dimensions, such as airplanes, helicopters, spaceships, etc.
Psionics SmartsThe arcane skill for Arcane Background
Repair SmartsThe ability to fix mechanical and electrical gadgets.
Research SmartsFinding written information from various sources.
Riding AgilityA character’s skill in mounting, controlling, and riding a tamed beast.
Science SmartsKnowledge of scientific fields such as biology, chemistry, geology, engineering, etc.
Shooting AgilityPrecision with any type of ranged weapon.
Stealth AgilityThe ability to sneak and hide.
Survival SmartsHow to find food, water, or shelter, and tracking.
Taunt SmartsInsulting or belittling another. Almost always done as a Test
Thievery AgilitySleight of hand, pickpocketing, lockpicking, and other typically shady feats.
Weird Science SmartsThe arcane skill for Arcane Background

Skill Points and PSAs

In Star Drive Frontiers players take on the roles of Galactic peace keepers, agents, explorers or mercenaries. Each character either has, or had, a career within a mega-corporation ranger corp and as such was trained in an area of expertise. The skill list is categorized into three areas called Primary Skill Areas or PSAs. PSA’s reflect the specialized training the character received in their career.  Every Rank achieved, the character gains an additional +1 bonus that can be applied to one of those skills or another skill within the character’s PSA.

When a player creates a character, they choose a PSA that their character was trained in.  Those skills within the PSA can be raised 1 die type above the controlled attribute without penalty.  Additionally, the character must choose 2 skills that are considered the PSA Core skills.  These skills gain a +1 bonus, as they are considered the character’s specialization.

Learning New Skills

When characters learn new skills or increase a skill they must be trained somehow. Three methods are described below.


Hypno-training is a teaching system that involves hypnotism, memorization and the use of drugs that improve the mind’s ability to learn. A character with enough experience for an advance may learn a new skill or increase a skill level at a hyno-training center in five days (100 hours) for 100 Cr.


A character with enough experience points for an advance may learn a new skill or skill level from another character. The teacher’s skill level must be at least 1 level higher than the student’s. A character can learn a new skill or skill level from a teacher in two weeks.


Characters with enough experience points for an advance may learn new skills or skill levels simply by practicing. This is not always possible, however, especially with skills that require special equipment. The amount of time required is up to the GM.

All three of these methods are optional. Some referees may want to ignore this rule, and simply allow players to pick new skills when their characters have earned enough experience points. Training is more realistic, but also more complicated.

Military PSA Skills (Enforcer)

Athletics* Agility
Battle Smarts
Driving Agility
Fighting Agility
Intimidation Spirit
Piloting Agility
Shooting Agility
Stealth* Agility
Survival Smarts

Technological PSA Skills (TechEx)

Academics Smarts
Common Knowledge* Smarts
Electronics Smarts
Hacking Smarts
Piloting Agility
Research Smarts
Repair Smarts
Science Smarts
Weird Science Smarts

Bio-Social (SciSpec) PSA Skills

Academics Smarts
Healing Smarts
Language Smarts
Notice* Smarts
Persuasion* Spirit
Psionics Smarts
Research Smarts
Science Smarts
Survival Smarts

Most skills follow the original Savage Worlds rules descriptions, a few are explained below as to how they function within the Star Drive Frontiers universe.

New & Modified Skills

Electronics (Robotics/Cybernetics) (Smarts)

A robotics expert (Robo-Ex) specializes in robots. Cyber-Ex, and it’s not-so-distant cousin, specialize in cybernetics devices and cyborgs/cybots.   Each are complex  machines that are designed to perform specific jobs, either independently or as part of an organic being.


Use the Science Fiction Companion’s Robots with the following modifications.  Each robot has a level ranging from 1 through 6, based on the Robots Smarts rating.

Smarts Level
d4 1
d6 2
d8 3
d10 4
d12 5
d12+X 6

If the robot is of alien design, then the robotics specialist has a -2 modifier on his Knowledge: Robo-Cybernetics and repair skill rolls. A character must have a rob-com kit to work on a robot.

Before a Robo-Ex can deactivate the robot, list its programs, or alter its programs or mission, he must get at the robot’s internal circuitry. This requires removing a protective plate. The plate can be removed in one round even if the robot is fighting the character. The character must make a successful Grapple attack against the robot. On the following round (assuming the character maintains the “grapple”) the character removes the protective plate on the internal circuitry. Once the plate is off, the robot can be deactivated in one round.

Adding Equipment – A robotics specialist can install new equipment (See Robotic Modifications in the Science Fiction Companion) on a robot with a successful Knowledge/Repair skill roll.

Activate / Deactivate – A robotics specialist can deactivate (turn off) a robot regardless of its level by making an opposed Knowledge: Robo-Cybernetics roll versus the robot’s Smarts. The expert also can activate robots that have been deactivated with no roll necessary.

Listing Programs / Missions – A robotics specialist can learn a robot’s exact mission and programs. This is an opposed Knowledge: Robo-Cybernetics roll versus the robot’s Smarts. Once a character has successfully listed the robot’s  program’s or mission, he can always list them in the future with no roll required. Having Knowledge: Compu-tronics adds a +2 bonus to this skill use.

Adding /Altering Programs or Missions – Adding programs or missions to a robot must be done one at a time. It takes 1d10 minutes per added program or mission and the character must make a Knowledge: Robo-Cybernetics roll separately for each program or mission added. A robotics specialist can try to alter a robot’s mission. This takes 1d10 minutes plus the robot’s level and requires an opposed Knowledge: Robo-Cybernetics roll versus the robot’s Smarts. Once a mission has been changed, changing it back to the original mission requires another roll. If the new mission requires programs the robot does not have, the robot will still try to follow its new mission however it can.

Robot Malfunctions – If a character rolls a 1 on both the skill die and Wild die while trying to add or alter a robot’s mission, or add a program, the robot can malfunction. When this happens, the referee should roll d100 on the Malfunction

Robot Malfunction Table
01- 25 No Malfunction
26- 50 Program Destroyed
51- 75 Short Circuit
76- 90 Haywire
91- 100 Explosion

No Malfunction – The robot continues to function normally.

Program Destroyed – One of the robot’s programs (picked randomly by the referee) has been destroyed. If the program was an Edge this may alter some of the robot’s skills or Secondary Characteristics. If all the programs in a robot are destroyed, the robot shuts itself off.

Short Circuit – The robot is still operating, but has been damaged. For example, a robot with a short circuit might stop suddenly every other turn, or rattle and spark while it works. The referee chooses an appropriate Hindrance or effect for the robot.

Haywire – The robot is completely out of control. It might attack at random, spin in circles, recite the Gettysburg Address, or do anything else the referee thinks fits the situation.

Explosion – The robot’s parabattery explodes, causing 2d6 points of damage multiplied by the parabattery’s type to the robotics specialist and robot.

Hacking (Smarts)

Computer programs have levels ranging from 1 through 5, depending on their complexity. Each level is interpreted as a die type of the Computers Level

Computer Level Level
d4 1
d6 2
d8 3
d10 4
d12 5

Each time a specialist tries to perform a task, a skill roll is required. This roll is an opposed roll based on the specialist’s skill die type versus the Computer Level. Computer specialists get only one chance to try a skill roll on a computer per task. If the roll fails, they may not make further attempts at that task. If the computer was built by aliens the success rate for the skill roll is modified by -2.

The various tasks a computer specialist may perform are: defeating/by-passing security, displaying information, manipulating programs, interfacing computers and writing programs.

Defeating/By-passing Security – If a computer has a Computer Security program, characters must break or bypass this program before they can perform any other skill task except repair. Defeating a security program involves a decoding process that can take a long time. Characters trying to break security must spend 1-4 hours working at the computer. The specialist may try to reduce this time by half, but there is a -1 to their skill roll.

A computer specialist can bypass a security program manually by rewiring the computer. This takes only 1d10 minutes, but has several disadvantages: the chance for success is lower (-2 to skill roll), it requires a robcomkit, and failing the roll will set off every alarm the computer has.

Displaying Information – A specialist can use this skill to display any information in the computer’s memory. It is especially useful for getting lists of programs that are stored in the computer, personal records, and raw, unprocessed data that is loaded and waiting to be fed into a program. A specialist gets a +2 modifier if he is trying to display information about a program he knows. He can display information about programs he wrote in the computer with no skill roll required. If a specialist displays
an item successfully, he never needs to roll to display it again.

Manipulating Programs – A computer specialist has a chance to successfully run a program, change it or purge it from the computer. This is a normal skill roll versus the program’s level as explained above. If the program is one that the character has learned, he gets a +2 bonus to his roll. A specialist can run a program automatically if it is one he programmed into the computer himself, or if he has run it successfully in this computer before. Also a character can purge a program automatically if he wrote it in the computer.

Interfacing Computers – This task lets a character try to link two computers together, either by connecting them with wires, communication lines or radio link. Once the two computers are linked, the computer specialist can perform all tasks (except bypass security and repair) from either computer. The skill test is resolved using the highest level of the two computers.

Writing Programs – Computer specialists learn to write their own programs. For every skill level the specialist gains, he learns how to write two computer programs. The player should pick a program from the list of programs in the Equipment section. When a specialist writes a program, its level is the same as his current level, no matter when he learned the program. For example, a computer specialist that learned the Installation Security program at d4 Computers skill level, can write a 4th level
(d10) Installation Security program when he reaches d10 in his Computers skill.

A specialist that knows how to write a particular type of program can buy that type of program, (regardless of level) at half-price for his own computer. He also gains a +2 bonus when trying to manipulate that type of program or detect security on it in any computer.

Healing (Smarts)

The following rules make some slight changes to the standard healing rules in Savage worlds.  Healers or Medics need a medkit to use their skill. If a medic does not have a medkit then there is a -2 to their Healing skill rolls. Standard Savage Worlds rules for wound modifiers also apply. If the patient is an animal or an unfamiliar alien, all skill rolls to heal the patient suffers a -2 modifier.

Administering Stimdose – A medic can use one dose of Stimdose to revive an incapacitated or shaken character, or to restore the immediate negative affects to a character that was poisoned or contracted a disease or infection. Some poisons or diseases that have recurring effects may require the medic to make a Healing roll to cure the poison or disease, as described below. Stimdose can only be given by a medic. If more than one dose is given in a 20-hour period, the second dose has no effect.

Administering Staydose – A medic can use one dose of Staydose to place an individual in a state of arrested animation if the character has suffered up to five wounds (but no more than 5) and died. The Staydose must be administered within 1 minute after death. The character immediately stabilizes but remains unconscious and must seek medical attention in a hospital (or facility with supplies beyond a field medkit) within 24 hours. Any effects from poisons, diseases or infections within the character also halt for the 24 hour time while in this state.

First Aid – A medic can heal 1 wound level automatically (no skill roll is needed) by using one dose of Biocort plus any appropriate items from the medkit (local anesthetics, plastiflesh spray, etc.) Only one shot of Biocort can be given to a character in a 20-hour period. If a second shot is given within 20 hours, it has no effect. Biocort has no effect on poisons, infections or diseases.

Surgery – A medic may perform surgery on a character who has suffered one or more wound levels. A success heals up to two wounds and three wounds on a raise. Normal modifiers for wounds for the patient and/or medic apply to the skill roll. One dose of Biocort and anesthetic per wound level are used during the surgery. This use of Biocort is in addition to any that may have been used with first aid. If the skill roll fails, the Biocort and anesthetic are still used.

Activating Freeze Fields – A freeze field is a device that places a body in stasis and preserves it until it can be revived. Only a medic can activate a freeze field correctly by making a Healing roll. No modifiers for the wounded patient apply to the medic’s roll, but any wounds the medic has does. A freeze field must be activated within two minutes after death, or the body can not be revived. Activating the field takes five Rounds. The process can be interrupted, as long as the field is completely activated within the two-minute time limit. If the medic does not pass his Healing roll to activate the field and there is at least one minute left in the time limit, he has two options: he can make a second attempt to activate the field, or he can inject the body with Staydose. If the second attempt to activate the field fails, the body can not be revived. Freeze fields are further described in the equipment section

Curing Infection, Diseases and Toxins – Controlling infection requires a dose of Omnimycin and a successful Healing roll. If the attempt fails, the Omnimycin is used up and the infection is out of control. The effects and/ or damage caused by the infection varies for each infection. Curing a disease requires a dose of Antibody plus and a successful Healing roll. If the attempt fails, the antibody plus has been used up and the disease has not been cured. A 24 hour period must pass before the medic can make another attempt.

Neutralizing a poison inside a victim’s body requires a dose of Antitox and a successful Healing roll. Poisons have varying strengths and effects. Most cause temporary or permanent Ability loss. Neutralizing a poison stops the poison from causing any more damage, but does not heal damage the poison already caused. Ability loss usually heals over time from over several hours to several days.

Repair (Demolitions) (Smarts)

There are two tasks to the demolitions skill: set charge and defuse charge. Only a character with demolitions skill can legally buy or use explosives or detonators. Tornadium D-19, sometimes called kaboomite, is the standard explosive.

Setting Charges – Only characters with demolitions skill can set charges. The number of Rounds needed to set a charge is as follows:

Skill Level Number of Rounds
d4 5
d6 4
d8 3
d10 2
d12+ 1

If a character fails the skill check to set and detonate the charge, the charge has not exploded and must be re-set. The referee should feel free to have the charge explode prematurely or late. A critical failure on the character’s skill roll results in the charge exploding during the setting of the charge.

Charges can be detonated by timer, radio signal or weapon fire. A timer lets the character set a time when the charge will explode. The timer can be adjusted to delay from 1 second to 60 hours. If a chronocom or subspace radio is available, charges can be set to explode when a particular signal is beamed at them. The chance to explode a charge with a radio beam incurs a -1 to the skill roll.

Diffusing Charges – A demolitions expert can try to defuse a charge that was set by another expert. Defusing a charge takes one round no matter what level the expert is. The expert’s chance to succeed is an opposed roll based on the skill level of the one who set the charge. A character can defuse one of his own charges automatically.

Repair (Mechanics) (Smarts)

This skill gives the technician working knowledge of any mechanics and machinery not covered by the Electronics, or Hacking skills. Devices including weapons, Para-batteries, power plants, heavy weapons batteries, generators, vehicles etc. If the device is of alien origin the technician’s skill roll suffers a -2 modifier.