The Strike Force RPG was born in 1981 out of a desire to play a more sophisticated version of TSRs Star Frontiers. We loved the simple percentile combat. We enjoyed the hit points that didn't skyrocket as leveled increased. The light 'Space Opera' feel was right at home to those of us worshiping the early Star Wars films. But we weren't going to wait to see if TSR was going to develop the system further - so we took it and ran with it in true homebrew style. Strike Force grew over the years - played by nearly 100 people and eventually reached its current state. Though the rules now feel a bit dated (given the era in which it was created), it's simple and free!
From the book:
Strike Force is a role-playing game (RPG). If you have never experienced a role-playing game before, then this is likely to be unlike any game you have ever tried (I rather like the term experienced rather than played since role-playing is much more of an experience than most other games). If you are venturing over from another RPG, then read along and explore the well balanced world of Strike Force.
Role playing is much like the old game of “Let’s Pretend” you may have played as a child. With “Let’s Pretend” you pretend to be a cowboy, a sheriff, a good guy or a bad guy. Often times you would run around with your friends and “act-out” scenes as if in a TV Show or movie. A role-playing game simply provides much the same activity only with pencil, paper, dice and a good imagination (actually the imagination is basically the same as “Let’s Pretend”).
Strike Force is a game of imagination and interaction between several players and a somewhat all-powerful participant known as a Commanding Officer (CO). Strike Force is not like more traditional games played on a board or with cards or some other tokens. Instead, it is played with several players gathered around a table using various shaped dice and special sheets of paper to track important information. The Commanding Officer sits at one end of the table and basically runs the game – providing maps and scene details for the players. The other players are seated around the CO and interact with each other and with the CO. The CO does most of the up-front work in the game by creating a story of his own choosing (you can think of it as a movie which the CO has created and which you are participating in) and unfolding this story for the players one scene at a time. During game play, players will be faced with choices, dilemmas, opponents and anything else that the CO might conjure up. Strike Force puts you (the player) in charge of every move, thought, whim and action of an imaginary character, which you will create and role-play throughout this “movie”. This character can be very different from yourself (you are, after all, playing the role of someone fictional) and this character need not even be human. There are four races from different planets from which to choose. Each character will have certain abilities, which will help define them. They will have be of a certain strength, have specific sight and quickness. They will have a personality, toughness and intellect all derived from the game rules. But above all, they will have you to control and act out their existence. This is role-playing.
Many player actions are common and there needs to be some limits on what players can do. With a role-playing game we use rules to determine the limits on various actions (especially physical or skill actions such as combat). The rules tell us how far a player can jump, how far they can see and give us details and limits on various pieces of equipment and weapons. We use dice to add a random element to the mix. The dice can tell the CO if the player was successful in some action attempt (for example - jumping a bit further than is normally allowed) or has success in combat (does my long-range blaster shot hit my opponent?!?).
With Strike Force role-playing you will be able to explore the galaxy. Not in a static way, but in an interactive way. You will be able to ask questions about worlds you visit. You can touch objects, hear sounds and feel sensations through your character. You will gather facts, battle creatures and learn secrets all leading to an eventual goal. You will be able to act out any action that your character is capable of. You can make your character jump, run, search, taunt an opponent, fire a weapon, talk to an attendant at the local space port, bargain with an evil villain for your life and just about anything else that can be thought of. Best of all, since the character is a fantasy character, the player can have them take risks and attempt the most fantastic of feats. After all, it’s only a game!
Strike force is typically played with several of these characters working together on a mission (this is the more technical term for the “movie” described above). Missions are created by the Commanding Officer who guides players through the worlds and challenges that have been created. Characters can be equipped with fancy futuristic weapons and other gadgets to help them succeed on these missions. Characters will be paid by the Alliance of Planets – an organization that hires these characters to attempt these missions. Pay will depend on the level of success by the mission party (the mission party is the collection of all characters assembled to play Strike Force for a particular mission). These missions will range from a simple rescue of a hostage to assassination attempts. There will be top-secret information to retrieve, technological data to steal and enemy plans to thwart. The possibilities are endless.
During your play, your character will face villainous opponents, difficult situations and an incredible story line generated by your Commanding Officer. Your character will encounter many other beings throughout their missions. The CO will play the role of these beings (known as Non-Player Characters or NPCs), just as you play the role of your character. You interact with these NPCs by interacting with the CO as he plays out their parts.
Strike Force stresses both the story line as well as character development. As characters advance through missions, they will gain experience and learn new skills to help with future missions. Pay will be accumulated to allow the character to purchase additional equipment. Players will learn how to role-play and to extract the information they need from the story line that has been created for them. This balance of character development and unfolding new story lines keeps the game interesting and fresh.
Role-playing games are not won or lost in the traditional sense. It is for the sake of playing that someone plays a role-playing game. To adventure with friends, to be an interactive part of a story as it unfolds and to contribute ideas to the success of the mission is the goal of playing. The actual finishing of a mission is usually a small reward next to the actual movement through the story line.
Because this game is set in the not-to-distant future, there is a healthy mix of realism blended with science fiction. There are many avenues open for exploration. Lastly, remember that the universe is big. Really big. Infinitely, mind-blowing big. So is the imagination behind Strike Force. Enjoy the experience.