Frontier Timeline

by Thomas Verreault/jedion357

Origin of the Species & the UPF -Or- The Age of Colonization

Author’s Note: This work represents my embellishment of the Star Frontiers game setting and
timeline. It does not strictly follow the original material but I feel it maintains the spirit of it. While I did make some changes in the details of the timeline, in the end  they represent what I like to call “zero sum change”. What zero sum change means is that despite the changes that are made, the classic adventure setting is unchanged in its details. For example, Fromeltar is still a world populated by vrusk and dralasites and has a heavy population density. Clarion is still a human world with a monarchy that has seen twenty or more rulers.

The history and timeline below only advance as far as what appeared in the Alpha Dawn book or to just after the founding of the UPF. The map of this era is strictly the classic Alpha Dawn map but excluding the Zebulon system. 

Where the original material had inconsistencies I put greater weight on the Alpha Dawn background and the published modules. Zebulon’s Guide was of course consulted but due to the way in which it was rushed into print and the fact that it is the largest single source of inconsistencies, I only used it as a guide. Dragon and Paragon magazine articles were also considered and judged on their individual merits as to what weight they should be accorded in this work. Special thanks, is due to Tom Stephens/TerlObar for assistance with astronomical details and feed back.Larry Moore/w00t was invaluable as a sounding board. Many others contributed through chat and forum post over the past many months though if I tried to list them all I would undoubtedly overlook someone.

Of Vrusk and Dralasites

In a star system called K’rik-Var, on a planet named Ren-Kit lived a sentient species whose name would
translate as vrusk in a language that had yet to be invented. The vrusk had cast off the shackles of their hive society and formed a new social contract based on belonging to a trade house (later conglomerates emerged). Where the hive system had failed to unify the planet, the new model ushered in a planet wide government; a council of the most prominent trade houses.

As the vrusk began to exploit their world and star system, they began to cast their eyes toward distant stars. Within decades they had developed effective theories of void travel and journeyed to a neighboring system. The new star system was named Kizk-Kar and a colony was started on a planet named Zik-Kit. 

Just when the debate over the cost of the new colony vs. the profit from its mining operations was raging, astronomers discovered an anomaly. There was an artificial object of immense size drifting in the edge of the Xagyg Dust Nebula three light years from K’rik-Var.  Converting a transport for scientific investigation, they sent a team that discovered a globe like ship, empty and drifting. It took a year but they managed to decipher and adjust its automated controls and bring it to K’rik-Var.

As they began to delve into the ships mysteries they discovered that the storage containers of what they had assumed was some form of bio-plasm were actually stasis chambers holding sentient life forms, the dralasites. The revived passengers had no memory of how they had come to be on the globe ship or where they were from. The vrusk, delighted with the discovery welcomed them into their society.

The dralasites for the most part struggled with the larger questions of whom they were and where they
came from and their integration into vrusk society was not without difficulty. Problems arose with the
government as the vrusk companies in control saw no reason to change the status quo and continued to exercise total executive control of their society. Eventually a second planet in the system, Groth, was turned over to the dralasites who found adjustment to life on Ren-Kit too difficult. The vrusk population of the second planet was induced to move with lucrative incentives for those who relocated to the new colony in Kizk-Kar.

The council of vrusk companies stoutly maintained its control of the K’rick-Var and Kizk-Kar systems with little concern for their alien guest. Unfortunately some dralasites were not content with allowing the vrusk to control nearly every aspect of their lives and they campaigned for the return of their cultural heritage, the globe ship. When it did not seem that the ruling council would acquiesce to their demands, a reactionary group stormed the ship and hijacked it. Armed with the astrographic data for a new system recently explored by the vrusk they took the globe ship there. 

Upon arrival they named the system Dramune and colonized the planet Reach. Being hijackers they were not well outfitted for colonization and were immediately forced to cannibalize their ship, dismantling it and bringing it to the surface. The vrusk council was incensed and sent ships to assert their claim to the system. However, having abolished war along with the hive system they were ill prepared for the intransigence of the hijackers. In short order the vrusk were forcibly expelled from the planet Reach. This event rocked the council as it had never considered that they would not be obeyed. The pacifist vrusk were forced to consider using force. 

The issue dragged on for a number of years and came to a head when dralasites on Ren-Kit and Groth
assembled a donation of relief material and contracted a ship to send aid to the planet Reach. The vrusk realized that armed conflict could lead to civil war. In a remarkable turn, the vrusk council instituted the election of dralasites to the governing council of Ren-Kit and recalled its monitoring and mining outpost on a planet that would eventually be called Outer Reach in the Dramune system. With the relinquishing of their claim to the Dramune system, relations stabilized and for a few years the dralasites of the K’rik-Var system sent yearly relief to Dramune while the vrusk turned a blind eye.

The dralasites of the Dramune system represent the more reactionary elements of their race as their actions demonstrated but in time members of the race had migrated back and forth from the two systems and the make-up of the race became homogenized despite spanning three planets. An interesting custom persists in Dramune, dating to the founding of the colony; the dralasites paint their bodies with washable dye to denote their mood for the day. This custom began with the reactionaries and only persists out of tradition but modern dralasites of Dramune are no more reactionary or any less philosophical then the rest of their race dwelling elsewhere.

Interestingly, the name of the vrusk home system has not entered into popular usage in the modern Frontier. When the dralasites first arrived they developed Dral speech equivalents to the Vrusk names. When Pan-Gal was created as a universal trade language, the lead linguist, being a dralasite, incorporated the names Fromeltar, Terledrom, and Groth instead of the original names. Since vrusk are forced to rely on a polyvox for communication they simply use the original names in their language and the polyvox translates it automatically to the Pan-Gal equivalents.