Tom Stephens is creating Sci-Fi RPG resources
4

patrons

$29
per month
Hi,
I’ve been playing RPGs since the early 80s. While I’ve played a variety of genres, my heart lies with science fiction. With a Ph.D. in Astronomy and working as a software developer for NASA, it’s really just a part of my life. While there is a wide assortment of materials for fantasy games, the selection in science fiction is much smaller. By supporting this Patreon, you can assist me in filling in that void, expanding the frontier, a little bit at a time.

What are we making?

The short answer is a wide variety of resources for use in science fiction role-playing games. But you probably want more detail than that.

The typical end goal of each project will be an adventure that a GM could use in their game. As part of that process, I will be creating locations, stories, characters, equipment, ships, vehicles, creatures, and possibly entire worlds, along with anything else needed to make the adventure complete. Each of those items could be used individually as well. I will occasionally also just do some stand-alone material that is not part of a specific adventure. As a patron, you receive early access to, and free electronic copies of, all material produced as it is produced.

In addition to the written material and maps, I dabble in 3D modeling and printing. Any time I create a starship, I’ll be creating a 3D printable model. I might even try that for some of my other creations as well.  I’m also a software developer so sometimes the things I create may be software tools to assist in running or creating your game.

The one thing I don’t do is draw. At least not very well. So don’t expect a lot of character, creature, or location sketches. I can do maps, but I plan on outsourcing any serious artwork.

If that sounds like something you'd like to be involved with and you’re interested in expanding the frontier of sci-fi gaming, pick a support tier that works for you and join me on this grand adventure.

- Tom

If you want more details keep reading.  Here are some frequently asked questions.

How is this going to work?

It will all start with the idea for an adventure or other project. It may come from me, or it may come from my patrons. I’ll flesh the basic idea out and determine the assets needed to complete it. At that point, I’ll start making the maps, characters, ships, and other pieces needed. As each one is completed, I’ll release them to all my Surveyor ($2/mo) and higher level patrons. Along the way, I’ll be blogging (at http://expandingfrontier.com) about the material created, the processes and techniques used, and any other things that come to mind. Eventually, it will all be done and released either for sale or for free depending exactly on the IP involved. All of my Explorer ($5/mo) and higher level patrons will get electronic versions of any final products. After that, we start over again on a new project.

As development progresses, I will hold monthly (or more frequent as the Patreon matures) chats with my patrons at the higher levels to discuss topics of interest or directions for future projects. As we hit higher goals, I’ll also start running on-line games for patrons where we playtest the adventures or material under development. Other levels will allow me to put in appearances at gaming conventions to run games in person.

To get the ball rolling, I have a three projects to prime the pump:
  • A large starship which will include dozens of deck plans, a full write-up on the ship, and a 3-D model or two.
  • A complete adventure I just finished running for my home game
  • A module for a new game system I am working on with the game’s creator
That should get us started and then we’ll see where things go. This is all very much a work in progress so if there are things you’d like to see or for me to do, let me know. I’m more than willing to adjust things as we go and figure this out together.

Why a Patreon?

Two reasons. One is accountability. By being beholden to supporters to produce content, it motivates me to be consistent in my production schedule. Additionally, patron support will encourage me to work on material regularly and share it as I go.

The second is freedom. I’d love to be able to do this full time. But I have to pay the bills. As I consistently produce new material and increase the number of patrons, I will be able to dedicate more of my time to this endeavor that I love and produce even more content for my supporters to enjoy.

Why monthly as opposed to per creation? I debated this for quite a while. In the end, because I will be producing a wide variety of materials of varying scope that could take anywhere from a few days to a few months, a per creation model didn’t really make sense. A monthly model allows me to pursue larger projects and deliver pieces along the way while working toward the larger goal.

What Game Systems are the Material for?

The answer to that is: it depends. While much of the material will be mostly system agnostic, game stats need a system. So we might as well get this out of the way at that beginning. The game closest to my heart is Star Frontiers, TSR’s old sci-fi RPG from the early 80’s. I’ve been playing since I was 12 and have be one of the primary torch-bearers for the game on-line in the past decade. The initial material will most likely be focused on Star Frontiers for the complete adventures simply because it is the one I’m most familiar with.

That said, much of the material can be lifted directly into other systems, only the specific stats will be system specific. The other system that I’ll initially focus on is FrontierSpace, a new sci-fi RPG inspired by Star Frontiers that my friend Bill Logan has published.

However, one of the goals of this Patreon is to produce material that can be used regardless of the game system and I want to produce conversions wherever possible. That’s why one of the early goals of the project is to start acquiring additional game systems to provide conversion rules for the material produced. If I get a lot of requests for a specific game system, I will definitely look into creating material for that system.

Who am I anyway?

Let’s see, I’ve already mentioned that I have a Ph.D. in Astronomy and my day job is as a software developer for NASA. Computers and astronomy have been my interests from before I even knew what an RPG was. I got my first computer in 1978 at the tender age of six and have been programming ever since. My interest in astronomy dates back at least that far as well.

I’ve been playing and running RPGs since the early 80s. I started briefly with Red Box Basic D&D (from the BECMI series) and quickly switched to Star Frontiers and have never looked back. I’ve also dabbled in Powers & Perils, RuneQuest, MERP, and a few other games along the way. I maintain several of the Star Frontiers fan sites on-line including the two fan magazines: the Frontier Explorer and the Star Frontiersman.

Finally, I’m married and the father of seven (yes you read that correctly) ranging in age from 4 to 22. My older kids all play RPGs so I’m doing my part to grow the hobby in that area. Besides computers, astronomy, and RPGs, I enjoy camping, hiking, watching my wife and kids play sports, and reading a good book.
Tiers
Supporter
$1 or more per month 0 patrons
You are a supporter of the expanding frontier. You’ll have my thanks and I’ll list your name as a Supporter on the website. You’ll also have access to the Expanding Frontier Discord server. 
Includes Discord rewards
Surveyor
$2 or more per month 0 patrons
You’ll be listed as a Surveyor on the website. You will have early access to digital versions of all the individual content pieces (maps, ships, creatures, etc.) I produce as they are created.   You will have access to the Expanding Frontier Discord server.
Includes Discord rewards
Explorer
$5 or more per month 2 patrons
You will be listed on the website as an Explorer level supporter. In addition to the Surveyor rewards, you will receive a free digital copy of any finished product I produce, whether it is to be free or for sale. In addition, you’ll receive a coupon for at-cost printing of any print-on-demand versions.  This level also gives you early access to any “behind the scenes” content I produce.  
Includes Discord rewards
Advisor
$10 or more per month 2 patrons
You will be listed on the website as an Advisor level supporter. In addition to all the Explorer level rewards, you get to make suggestions and vote on the topic of future projects. You will have access to an Advisor level Discord channel where we will discuss upcoming content and other topics. You will also have access to a monthly Discord voice chat open to all supporters at this level and higher. 
Includes Discord rewards
Simulator
$20 or more per month 0 of 20 patrons
You are listed on the website as a Simulator supporter. You receive all the Advisor rewards, plus you qualify to participate in any of the on-line games I run and have the right of first refusal to participate in any convention games when we hit that goal. You will be listed as a play-tester on any product used in the games you participate in. This is a limited reward tier as I want everyone in the tier to get a regular opportunity to participate in a game. You will have access to a Simulator level discord channel to discuss game topics and ideas. 
Includes Discord rewards
Crafter
$30 or more per month 0 of 15 patrons
You are listed as a Crafter supporter on the website. In addition to the Advisor rewards, you will receive a 3D printed version of any model I create. This is a limited reward tier as I can only print and ship a limited number of models each time. You will have access to a Crafter level Discord channel for discussion of 3D modeling and printing. 
Includes Discord rewards
Master Crafter
$40 or more per month 0 of 5 patrons
You want to play in the games and get the 3D models. You will be listed as a Master Crafter and receive the benefits of both the Simulator and Crafter levels. This is a limited reward tier but if the demand is high, I can increase the number of slots in this tier by reducing those in the Simulator and Crafter tiers. If you would like to support at this tier and it is full, let me know.
Includes Discord rewards
Senior Advisor
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
At this level you have access to all the Advisor level rewards and will be listed as a Senior Advisor on the website and in all published products. You will also receive a special e-mail address available only to supporters at this level where you can contact me directly at any time with questions or ideas. You have access to a special Senior Advisor chatroom on Discord.
Includes Discord rewards
Councilor
$100 or more per month 0 of 10 patrons
This tier gets you some personal, one-on-one attention. In addition to the Senior Advisor rewards, you get access to a Councilor Discord chat room and 30 minutes of my time every month to talk about whatever you want. This is a limited tier as I only have a so much free time. 
Includes Discord rewards
Student
$250 or more per month 0 of 5 patrons
This is the tier for you if you want my dedicated assistance on a project. In addition to the Senior Advisor rewards, you get 2 hours a month of personal, one-on-one time to discuss whatever topics you want or receive personal assistance on a project you are working on. 
Includes Discord rewards
Goals
$29 of $50 per month
Web Hosting
Eventually there will be a lot of material to share. This level of support allows me to have a dedicated web host to improve download speeds and content availability instead of relying on the server running at my home.
4 of 19
Hi,
I’ve been playing RPGs since the early 80s. While I’ve played a variety of genres, my heart lies with science fiction. With a Ph.D. in Astronomy and working as a software developer for NASA, it’s really just a part of my life. While there is a wide assortment of materials for fantasy games, the selection in science fiction is much smaller. By supporting this Patreon, you can assist me in filling in that void, expanding the frontier, a little bit at a time.

What are we making?

The short answer is a wide variety of resources for use in science fiction role-playing games. But you probably want more detail than that.

The typical end goal of each project will be an adventure that a GM could use in their game. As part of that process, I will be creating locations, stories, characters, equipment, ships, vehicles, creatures, and possibly entire worlds, along with anything else needed to make the adventure complete. Each of those items could be used individually as well. I will occasionally also just do some stand-alone material that is not part of a specific adventure. As a patron, you receive early access to, and free electronic copies of, all material produced as it is produced.

In addition to the written material and maps, I dabble in 3D modeling and printing. Any time I create a starship, I’ll be creating a 3D printable model. I might even try that for some of my other creations as well.  I’m also a software developer so sometimes the things I create may be software tools to assist in running or creating your game.

The one thing I don’t do is draw. At least not very well. So don’t expect a lot of character, creature, or location sketches. I can do maps, but I plan on outsourcing any serious artwork.

If that sounds like something you'd like to be involved with and you’re interested in expanding the frontier of sci-fi gaming, pick a support tier that works for you and join me on this grand adventure.

- Tom

If you want more details keep reading.  Here are some frequently asked questions.

How is this going to work?

It will all start with the idea for an adventure or other project. It may come from me, or it may come from my patrons. I’ll flesh the basic idea out and determine the assets needed to complete it. At that point, I’ll start making the maps, characters, ships, and other pieces needed. As each one is completed, I’ll release them to all my Surveyor ($2/mo) and higher level patrons. Along the way, I’ll be blogging (at http://expandingfrontier.com) about the material created, the processes and techniques used, and any other things that come to mind. Eventually, it will all be done and released either for sale or for free depending exactly on the IP involved. All of my Explorer ($5/mo) and higher level patrons will get electronic versions of any final products. After that, we start over again on a new project.

As development progresses, I will hold monthly (or more frequent as the Patreon matures) chats with my patrons at the higher levels to discuss topics of interest or directions for future projects. As we hit higher goals, I’ll also start running on-line games for patrons where we playtest the adventures or material under development. Other levels will allow me to put in appearances at gaming conventions to run games in person.

To get the ball rolling, I have a three projects to prime the pump:
  • A large starship which will include dozens of deck plans, a full write-up on the ship, and a 3-D model or two.
  • A complete adventure I just finished running for my home game
  • A module for a new game system I am working on with the game’s creator
That should get us started and then we’ll see where things go. This is all very much a work in progress so if there are things you’d like to see or for me to do, let me know. I’m more than willing to adjust things as we go and figure this out together.

Why a Patreon?

Two reasons. One is accountability. By being beholden to supporters to produce content, it motivates me to be consistent in my production schedule. Additionally, patron support will encourage me to work on material regularly and share it as I go.

The second is freedom. I’d love to be able to do this full time. But I have to pay the bills. As I consistently produce new material and increase the number of patrons, I will be able to dedicate more of my time to this endeavor that I love and produce even more content for my supporters to enjoy.

Why monthly as opposed to per creation? I debated this for quite a while. In the end, because I will be producing a wide variety of materials of varying scope that could take anywhere from a few days to a few months, a per creation model didn’t really make sense. A monthly model allows me to pursue larger projects and deliver pieces along the way while working toward the larger goal.

What Game Systems are the Material for?

The answer to that is: it depends. While much of the material will be mostly system agnostic, game stats need a system. So we might as well get this out of the way at that beginning. The game closest to my heart is Star Frontiers, TSR’s old sci-fi RPG from the early 80’s. I’ve been playing since I was 12 and have be one of the primary torch-bearers for the game on-line in the past decade. The initial material will most likely be focused on Star Frontiers for the complete adventures simply because it is the one I’m most familiar with.

That said, much of the material can be lifted directly into other systems, only the specific stats will be system specific. The other system that I’ll initially focus on is FrontierSpace, a new sci-fi RPG inspired by Star Frontiers that my friend Bill Logan has published.

However, one of the goals of this Patreon is to produce material that can be used regardless of the game system and I want to produce conversions wherever possible. That’s why one of the early goals of the project is to start acquiring additional game systems to provide conversion rules for the material produced. If I get a lot of requests for a specific game system, I will definitely look into creating material for that system.

Who am I anyway?

Let’s see, I’ve already mentioned that I have a Ph.D. in Astronomy and my day job is as a software developer for NASA. Computers and astronomy have been my interests from before I even knew what an RPG was. I got my first computer in 1978 at the tender age of six and have been programming ever since. My interest in astronomy dates back at least that far as well.

I’ve been playing and running RPGs since the early 80s. I started briefly with Red Box Basic D&D (from the BECMI series) and quickly switched to Star Frontiers and have never looked back. I’ve also dabbled in Powers & Perils, RuneQuest, MERP, and a few other games along the way. I maintain several of the Star Frontiers fan sites on-line including the two fan magazines: the Frontier Explorer and the Star Frontiersman.

Finally, I’m married and the father of seven (yes you read that correctly) ranging in age from 4 to 22. My older kids all play RPGs so I’m doing my part to grow the hobby in that area. Besides computers, astronomy, and RPGs, I enjoy camping, hiking, watching my wife and kids play sports, and reading a good book.

Recent posts by Tom Stephens

Tiers
Supporter
$1 or more per month 0 patrons
You are a supporter of the expanding frontier. You’ll have my thanks and I’ll list your name as a Supporter on the website. You’ll also have access to the Expanding Frontier Discord server. 
Includes Discord rewards
Surveyor
$2 or more per month 0 patrons
You’ll be listed as a Surveyor on the website. You will have early access to digital versions of all the individual content pieces (maps, ships, creatures, etc.) I produce as they are created.   You will have access to the Expanding Frontier Discord server.
Includes Discord rewards
Explorer
$5 or more per month 2 patrons
You will be listed on the website as an Explorer level supporter. In addition to the Surveyor rewards, you will receive a free digital copy of any finished product I produce, whether it is to be free or for sale. In addition, you’ll receive a coupon for at-cost printing of any print-on-demand versions.  This level also gives you early access to any “behind the scenes” content I produce.  
Includes Discord rewards
Advisor
$10 or more per month 2 patrons
You will be listed on the website as an Advisor level supporter. In addition to all the Explorer level rewards, you get to make suggestions and vote on the topic of future projects. You will have access to an Advisor level Discord channel where we will discuss upcoming content and other topics. You will also have access to a monthly Discord voice chat open to all supporters at this level and higher. 
Includes Discord rewards
Simulator
$20 or more per month 0 of 20 patrons
You are listed on the website as a Simulator supporter. You receive all the Advisor rewards, plus you qualify to participate in any of the on-line games I run and have the right of first refusal to participate in any convention games when we hit that goal. You will be listed as a play-tester on any product used in the games you participate in. This is a limited reward tier as I want everyone in the tier to get a regular opportunity to participate in a game. You will have access to a Simulator level discord channel to discuss game topics and ideas. 
Includes Discord rewards
Crafter
$30 or more per month 0 of 15 patrons
You are listed as a Crafter supporter on the website. In addition to the Advisor rewards, you will receive a 3D printed version of any model I create. This is a limited reward tier as I can only print and ship a limited number of models each time. You will have access to a Crafter level Discord channel for discussion of 3D modeling and printing. 
Includes Discord rewards
Master Crafter
$40 or more per month 0 of 5 patrons
You want to play in the games and get the 3D models. You will be listed as a Master Crafter and receive the benefits of both the Simulator and Crafter levels. This is a limited reward tier but if the demand is high, I can increase the number of slots in this tier by reducing those in the Simulator and Crafter tiers. If you would like to support at this tier and it is full, let me know.
Includes Discord rewards
Senior Advisor
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
At this level you have access to all the Advisor level rewards and will be listed as a Senior Advisor on the website and in all published products. You will also receive a special e-mail address available only to supporters at this level where you can contact me directly at any time with questions or ideas. You have access to a special Senior Advisor chatroom on Discord.
Includes Discord rewards
Councilor
$100 or more per month 0 of 10 patrons
This tier gets you some personal, one-on-one attention. In addition to the Senior Advisor rewards, you get access to a Councilor Discord chat room and 30 minutes of my time every month to talk about whatever you want. This is a limited tier as I only have a so much free time. 
Includes Discord rewards
Student
$250 or more per month 0 of 5 patrons
This is the tier for you if you want my dedicated assistance on a project. In addition to the Senior Advisor rewards, you get 2 hours a month of personal, one-on-one time to discuss whatever topics you want or receive personal assistance on a project you are working on. 
Includes Discord rewards