was an early D&D-like science fiction role playing game. It was published by Lou Zocchi
's Gamescience. It was written by Michael Scott Kurtick and Rockland Russo. It started off as a single 32-page soft cover rulebook packaged in a ziplock bag called Space Patrol
published in 1977.
was revised into a boxed game and released in 1980. A second edition was released in 1982. The boxed version's main rule book was pumped up to 68 pages. It included a 32-page "Mission Master" supplement, some map sheets, dice, and game chit
Like most role playing games at that time, it was a not so subtle reworking of the D&D, game system. Character traits were generated with 3D6. In the case of Star Patrol
, traits were Strength, Dexterity, Constitution
, Luck and Mentality. The game had other standard D&D features like psionics
and savings throws.
Instead of fighter, magic user, cleric
character classes, Star Patrol
had character professions like soldier, engineer, scientist, astronaut, trader, rogue, and spy/diplomat. Characters could be one of 32 alien races. You could also generate your own weird alien race by rolling against random tables, generating a "general type" (mammal, avian, or even a plant or crystalline derivative), a "general shape" (2, 4, 8, or more legs), size, and even your race's home planet's gravity
(low, earth-like, or heavy).
Much of the rule book was written with a somewhat
snarky sense of humor. For example, items in the rule book (weapons, armor, equipment) did not have prices (e.g., there was nothing like "Meson Gun: 350 credits. Plasteel Battle Armor
: 90,000 credits") . The game's authors explained the lack of pricing because they didn't "have anyway idea what prices would be" in the future. The table on your character's sex carried a note with it that knowing your characters sex wasn't entirely relevant to the game because sex rarely comes up in this game. Much of the game's tone harkens back to those days when programmers wrote error messages like "NO! ARE YOU A MORON?"
The game took much of its inspiration from 1950s sci fi literature. The cover featured a very This Island Earth BEM
ensnaring a buxom and fertile earth woman in golden go go boots. There's also a guy in a motorcycle helmet about to shoot the BEM with a ray gun. Many people enjoyed the game's off-the-cuff style, it's familiar D&D role playing system, and a no-nonsense combat system that made for quick game play. It was the kind of game you wanted to play with four others in a student center cafeteria on a Saturday night. However, others were uncomfortable with the way it generally ignored basic science and, beyond some notes how to create a Star Wars
-like campaign, it didn't provide much of a framework. When the more professionally rendered Traveller
came along, Star Patrol
was quickly forgotten.
later formed the basis for Gamescience's first ever licensed Star Trek RPG
adaptation, an RPG adaptation that was itself dreadful by all accounts.