jedion357's picture

Saurians making a come back

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Issue 4 is nearing completion and we've revisited the Saurians from Dragon Magazine 103 (the date it was published escapes me at this minute but it was the Fall of '85 or '86). We've laid some ground work for referees looking to do a first contact scenario based on the suggestions in the Subspace Radio article and developed a sector and planetary brief to give the saurians a concrete place to be from instead of being refugees left in limbo on ark ships orbiting Theseus.

One might naturally think some fresh artwork of the suarians would be a nice addition to this theme but truth be told we needed to use up some space in layout. None the less I'm sure a fresh illustration of the saurians will be welcomed.

Enjoy.

jedion357's picture

Happy Easter

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Its an hour before sun up on Easter morning and my house is preparing to attend a sunrise service. Just wanted to wish the other staff at the Frontier Explorer a Happy Easter. I'm pretty sure that I'm aware of everyone's religious sensibilities so that this is appropriate- its sometimes tough to get to know someone through only the internet but it has been a pleasure to work with everyone.

Tom V/ jedion357

jedion357's picture

Hurray! I just went commercial with my art!

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Just sold one piece and have another on reserve.

 

jedion357's picture

Drawing vrusk use to be the hardest of the core 4 aliens to draw

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Trying to draw a vrusk use to give me fits. This one was done with charcoal and conte crayon.

 

Vrusk Tai Chi

jedion357's picture

Spawn of Volturnus

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Recently joined a PBP run through of the classic Volturnus Campaign. Thinking about the campaign while doing my daily drawing assignment lead to the following- a group picture of the sapient species of Volturnus.

Done in charcoal.

Spawn of Volturnus

Tom Stephens's picture

Server issues

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Just a quick note to let everyone know.  The main server the site runs on is having issues and not working properly.  Luckily the site runs in a virutal machine. I've gotten the site up on an alternate computer for now.  However, expect some random downtimes and possible slowness between now and when I get the main server back up (it seems to be a software issue not a hardware one) as I try to figure things out.  Thanks for your patience.

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Print Version of Issue 3 Now Available

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Just a quick update to let everyone know that the print version of issue 3 is now available for purchace from Drive Thru RPG.  You can order your copy from the Issue 3 product page on their website.

 

jedion357's picture

Sapience vs Sentience

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or Intelligence for Civilization

Sapience and sentience have been used, often interchangeably, in science fiction to describe alien species as being equal to humanity in intelligence and rights. The words however do not mean the same thing. Sapience comes from the Latin root for wisdom and means the ability to use judgment. Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive and have consciousness.  Animal rights activist often argue their cause based on the belief that animals have sentience. I would be inclined to agree that animals perceive and feel and have a consciousness but would question an assertion that they have the ability to exercise judgment.

Sapience would be an indicator of the ability to make moral judgments and decisions which is a building block to civilization. To put it another way it’s an ability to advance the cause of one’s species. Sentience is an indicator of an ability to intelligently advance the cause of one’s personal needs.

For science fiction I would use a categorization of sentience for intelligent animals with a scale of -, 0, and +. A minus would be a very intelligent breed of dogs, a zero would be a primate but a + would be an animal that is coming up against the sapience barrier. These plus animals are beginning to show signs of an ability to organize and transmit culture. The same would go for sapience -, 0, and +. Arbitrarily I rate humanity as a zero on this scale.

The concept of the sapience barrier is recognition of the fact that true sapience is a very rare thing. On Earth there are 2 million species identified by science of an estimated 5 million to 100 million species currently living and only one that registers as sapient.  The odds are fairly long for sapience. In a science fiction setting a sapient species ought to be rare.

However, if abundant life, like Earth’s ecosystem, arises on a planet then we should expect tremendous variety of that life. So any time a planet exists with abundant life we could expect 5-100 million species living on that planet. Thus the mere presence of abundant life skews the numbers to have at least one dominant “sentient plus” species or a full on sapient one.

Often as not we hear that the odds for the chance of life elsewhere in the universe are long odds but the counterpoint is that a barren universe would not be as interesting as a populated one. I’m betting on an interesting universe no matter what the odds are.

jedion357's picture

Dreams from Pain

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Note: I recently enrolled again in college and the following post is from a writing exercise.

In high school my ambition was to be an editor or writer for Dragon magazine, the monthly periodical by the publishers of Dungeons and Dragons game to promote their products. However, life happened and that dream was not realized.

Fast forward twenty four years and I was injured in construction and out of work for four years. After being able to just get out of bed I began to focus on child care and house work to stay busy. The children aged and started school and suddenly I experienced emptiness.

In the light of a computer screen I rediscovered my high school hobby on the internet, role playing games. Except now the hobby is made up of people world-wide chatting and blogging through the internet.

In particular I had been a fan of science fiction and had played such games as Car Wars and Star Frontiers. On the web I discovered a thriving community of devotees to the old Star Frontiers game. The heart of that community was a fan magazine, written and produced by fans of the game. It was not long before my creative urges, which had long laid dormant, found validation in the pages of that magazine.

Today, six years later, I've become a major producer of science fiction content both in the areas of fiction and role playing games. I edit and write for my own magazine, The Frontier Explorer, and I develop games for a modest (currently very modest) profit through an indie game company. In one sense I'm living my high school dream.

It is ironic that it only took an injury that put me in bed for two months straight to bring about the unrealized dream. The pain I suffered was at times intense and unrelenting but it actually gave birth to the forgotten dream. It makes me wonder what the pain would have been to get to the end of my life and realize that I had never lived any dreams?

 

I suppose this may be the point where I would say something preachy like, "live your dreams" but I don't think it’s required. If you're reading this I sure you get the moral of the story. Truly this post is for me, to remind me to keep the dream in front of me and to live it because living a dream is to know joy even in the midst of pain.

Tom Stephens's picture

Issue 3 Now Available

Issue 3 of the Frontier Explorer is now available.  We were really excited and honored to get permission from Ali Ries to use one of her images as the cover and couldn't pass up the opportunity to center the issue on the topic of her picture.  Accordingly this issue has a strong robotics theme with articles on new robots and robotics skills and a robot component to the included adventure.

This issue contains the final installment of the Mooks Without Numbers adventure and also a new creature file entry by explorer Jurak Hangna.  In addition we have a number of other articles containing useful background information for game masters, more locations, a pair of starships and a short story.  The issue is packed full of great articles.

This issues contents (article titles) are:

  • Robotics in the Frontier
  • Programming Robots for Dummies and Dralasites
  • Gorilian Carnivorous Wom
  • Eorna Lunar Defense Battery
  • E-1A Eorna Heavy Fighter
  • Dawn Trader Class Merchant Ship
  • Mooks Without Number - Part 3
  • Frontier Robots I
  • The "Tin Can" Robot
  • Stand Your Ground
  • Oort Clouds and Kuiper Belts
  • A Pirate By Any Other Name
  • For Lucco's Honor
  • Terran Fauna

Grab your copy and keep exploring new frontiers.

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