Savage SDF Setting Rules

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


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


These are the Edges available from the Deluxe Edition core book.

Arcane Background: Psionics
Arcane Resistance
– Very Attractive
– Improved Block
– Bruiser
Combat Reflexes
Command Presence
Common Bond
– Improved Coutnerattack
Danger Sense
Dead Shot
– Improved Dodge
– Improved Extraction
Fast Healer
First Strike,
– Improved First Strike
– Improved Frenzy
Giant Killer
Hard to Kill,
– Harder to Kill
Hold the Line
Improvisational Fighter
Killer Instincts
Level Headed
– Improved LevelHeaded
Liquid Courage
– Great Luck
Martial Artist
– Improved Martial Artist
Mighty Blow
Mr. Fix It*
Natural Leader
Nerves of Steel,
– Imp.Nerves of Steel
New Power
No Mercy
Power Points
Power Surge
– Expert,
– Master
Rapid Recharge
– Improved Rapid Recharge
– Filthy Rich
Rock and Roll
Steady Hands
Strong Willed
– Improved Sweep
Tough as Nails
– Improved Tough as Nails
Trademark Weapon
– Improved Trademark Weapon
Weapon Master
– Master of Arms

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.

Tech Wiz (Novice, Smarts d8)

Your character uses his knowledge of technical and mechanical in a skillfully broad fashion.  The character does not suffer from the -2 penalty if he does not have the applicable knowledge skill to repair a certain device.  He uses his knowledge of other areas in ways that help him apply them to the situation.

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. All skills in this Secondary Area are purchased as if they were skills in one’s Primary Skill Area, thus they do not suffer the cost penalty as they would for learning skills outside your Primary Skill Area. The cost for learning or increasing a skill higher then the skill’s linked attribute still applies.


Skills in Star Drive Frontiers works the same as the original Savage Worlds rules, with some slight differences. Starting characters receive 16 points to distribute among their skills, with Humans receiving 2 bonus points.  Characters also have to pick a PSA (see below).  Lockpicking is changed to Security Systems; Knowledge: Computers is change to Knowledge: Compu-tronics.  Repair is slight altered and Thievery also has a nuance that is similar to the Repair skill change.


Skill List
Skill Attribute
Boating Agility
Climbing Strength
Driving Agility
Fighting Agility
Gambling Smarts
Healing Smarts
Intimidation Spirit
Investigation Smarts
Knowledge Smarts
Notice Smarts
Persuasion Spirit
Piloting Agility
Repair Smarts
Riding Agility
Shooting Agility
Stealth Agility
Streetwise Smarts
Survival Smarts
Swimming Agility
Taunt Smarts
Thievery Agility
Throwing Agility
Tracking Smarts

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, and one list called Common Skills. PSA’s reflect the specialized training the character received in their career.

When a player creates a character they choose a PSA that their character was trained in. With the 16 points that a character is given for skills, the player may distribute 12 of these points on skills in the list of their chosen PSA. These are called PSA Points. The cost is a 1 point for one die ratio up to the skill’s linked Attribute, and then 2 points for each die increase beyond the skill’s linked Attribute as per original Savage Worlds rules. Skills chosen outside one’s PSA with these 12 PSA Points cost one extra point per die type purchased.

Of the initial 16 skill points, 4 may be spent outside of one’s PSA on skills either from another PSA list, or from the skills listed on the Common skills list at no cost penalty. These 4 points reflect personal interests or training outside one’s career. Humans receive 2 skill points as a racial bonus. These skill points are added to their personal interest points.

Example: Steve plans to make a character with the Technician PSA. From his 12 PSA points, he spends 2 points in Knowledge Computers (which is within his PSA) and thus starts out with a d6 in that skill. However he also wants his character to have Stealth (which is outside his PSA). He spends 2 points in Stealth only acquiring it at a d4 because of the extra point cost for Stealth not being within his PSA. If he uses 2 points from the 4 points which reflect personal interests to acquire the Stealth skill, he could avoid the cost penalty and his Stealth would be at a d6 for only 2 points.

Raising and Learning Skills

When players earn an advance, and want their characters to learn a new skill, or raise existing skills, they may do so in the following manner.  Each Advance one may:

  • Raise two skills within their PSA, that are below their linked attributes one die type each.
  • Raise one skill within their PSA that is above its linked attribute one die type.
  • Raise only one skill outside their PSA (which is either above or below its linked attribute) one die type.
  • Learn a new skill either within or outside of one’s PSA.

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 (Enforcer) PSA Skills

Knowledge: Demolitions
Knowledge: Battle/Tactics

Technological (TechEx) PSA Skills

Knowledge: Compu-Electronics
Knowledge: Mechanics
Knowledge: Robo-Cybernetics

Bio-Social (SciSpec) PSA Skills

 Knowledge: Science
 Knowledge: (various languages)

Common Skills


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

Knowledge: Compu-tronics (Smarts)

This skills covers all areas of computers from hardware to software as well as other computerized electronics like scanners, communication devices, sensors and the like. 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.

Knowledge: 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.

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.

Knowledge: Mechanics (Smarts)

This skill gives the technician working knowledge of any mechanics and machinery not covered by the Electronics, Cybernetics, Computers or Robotics 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.

Knowledge: Robo-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.

Knowledge: Science (Smarts)

The Science skill is a catch-all skill for all of the general scientific fields, such as Geology, Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Archaeology etc. Rather than have a player choose each skill separately, (and thus spend all their skill points) they are all summed up in the “Science” skill.

Repair (Smarts)

Repair skill is slightly different from the original Savage Worlds Core Rules. In order to repair something, one should have Knowledge of this particular item.  It is far more beneficial to actually have the Knowledge skill than not.  If the repairer does not have the applicable Knowledge skill – Compu-tronics for Computers or Electronics, Robo-Cybernetics for Robots or Cybernetics, Mechanics for Vehicles or Weapons, etc – they suffer a -2 penalty to the attempt.

When computers break down or are damaged, they can be repaired only by a computer specialist. The level of the computer does not affect the specialist’s chance to repair it. Computers are repaired according to the original Savage Worlds repair rules.

The repair skill has been split into three separate skills; Computers, Machinery and Robots. In Star Drive Frontiers, skill at repairing one of these types of devices does not grant the character skill with the others. If a computer, robot or type of machinery is of alien design, the technician has a -2 to his repair skill roll. Computers and Robotics repair require the use of a Robcom kit while Machinery repair requires a Techkit. Both of these kits are further detailed in the equipmentsection.

Thievery (Agility)

Lockpicking, safecracking, picking pockets, sleight of hand, setting and disabling traps and similar acts of misdirection, sabotage, subterfuge, and manipulation are called Thievery.  Application of this skill is for both mechanical and electronic locks, security systems and defenses, however, like in the case of repair, Knowledge: Compu-tronics is need to avoid the -2 penalty. Here is a list of some examples as to what may be found in the Star Drive Frontiers universe: Simple Mechanical and Electrical locks, Motion and Pressure Sensitive alarms or defenses, Infra-red Beams and Sound Sensitive alarms, Video surveillance, Heat Sensitive alarms, and Personalized Recognition Devices (DNA, fingerprints, voice patterns, etc.)


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