Monday, August 18, 2014

Atari Force Comics As Fodder For The Stars Without Number Rpg And Old School Science Fiction Campaigns

Way, Way, back in the annels of the 80's I played in one of my best friend's Star Frontier rpg campaigns based on this DC series of comics back in 1984.
The comic had some incredible artwork, followed the Star Raiders graphic novel and was loosely connected with the video games. I had no idea about the DC implosion or anything about what were going on behind the scenes at DC at the time. Later, I met some of the folks behind the scenes in the 90's but that's a story for another day.
 The second comic series is perfect fodder for the Stars Without Number game.
According to wiki : 
The first Atari Force comics, which only counted 5 issues, were published in 1982 and were created mainly to illustrate story lines for home consolegames being released by fellow Warner Communications subsidiary Atari, Inc. The comics were packed in with the games DefenderBerzerkStar RaidersPhoenix, and Galaxian. The comics were written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas and the artists included Ross AndruGil KaneDick Giordano, and Mike DeCarlo.
An Atari Force special insert appeared in two comic books cover dated January 1983[1] and served as a prequel to the ongoing series launched a year later. The insert was the story previously published in the Phoenixcomic, but the story title was changed to "Code Name: Liberator" and featured ship's name became Liberator. In addition, the art for the aliens showed them as more frog-like. Atari released a Liberator arcade game featuring Commander Martin Champion and the Atari Force name.
The second series (Jan. 1984 - Aug. 1985) was released monthly, in conventional comic-book format, and lasted for 20 issues
The second series of comic books is where I come in, and the mood,introspective Martin Champion takes off with his crew which resembles an Old School science fiction group of misfit adventurers if there ever was one. There are ties to the older DC comics as well in the second series. 

The original Atari Force was a team of humans from different nations using the multi-dimensional starship Scanner One to search for a new planet for humanity to inhabit as the Earth was facing ecological devastation. The team was handpicked by A.T.A.R.I. (Advanced Technology And Research Institute), and consisted of Martin Champion as mission commander,Lydia Perez as pilot and executive officer, Li-San O'Rourke as security officer, Mohandas Singh as flight engineer, andDr. Lucas Orion as medical officer. A semi-sentient alien creature named Hukka because of the noise he made later joined as team mascot.

The second team, formed approximately 25 years after the first, was also led by Martin Champion. He was convinced that the original team's nemesis, the Dark Destroyer, still existed. Although he was correct, most of the rest of humanity did not believe it, but humored him due to his heroic status in successfully leading the original Atari Force to find New Earth. Other team members included Christopher "Tempest" Champion, son of Martin Champion and Lydia Perez; Erin "Dart" Bia O'Rourke-Singh, daughter of Mohandas Singh and Li-San O'Rourke; Hukka; Morphea, an insectoid empath; Babe, an alien toddler of immense size and strength; and Pakrat, a humanoid rodent thief. Later additions to the team were Blackjak, Dart's human lover; Taz, a short alien warrior; and Kargg, the Dark Destroyer's former chief underling.
Don't let the kid friendly artwork fool you, this was a pretty nice little DC science fiction series with some very interesting science fantasy concepts lurking in the background. They  work for an SWN or old school campaign.

Using Atari Force As Fodder For A
Stars Without Number  Campaign 
Here's how the Atari Force breaks down into Stars Without Numbers, the original team has  Erin aka Dark as a Fighter/Assassin, Tempest 'psychic', Morphea alien/psychic,Babe fighter, Pakrat expert/thief, Black Jak cyborg/fighter with shades of an expert, Taz alien fighter, Karg alien fighter.
Martin Companion is a fighter/leader who leads the team. 

Elements from Stars Without Number that over lap the comic, the spike drive as the multiverse accessing drive system. Much of the technology,backdrop, etc. all easily fit into the background of Stars Without Number and there's the additions of other books from SWN easily dove tailing into the backdrop.

I was just reminded of this campaign by my friend Peter the other day. We handled the party as survivors who ran into the minions of the Dark Destroyer after we were sent after Martin after he stole his star ship and crew. The party tangled with the Dark Destroyer's forces and lost badly. We were sold into slavery and lost among the debris of the alien despot's empire. After escaping we gathered our own crew and carved up some of the alien's forces. You see there are more then one Dark Destroyer lurking out there. The thing is a Lovecraftian alien horror in power armor taking over chunks of the universe. The party did manage to rescue the other slaves because hey we were heroes and that's what we did.
The Dark Destroyer is still lurking out in the multiverse and heroes are needed.
If you wish to read a good chunk of the Atari Force comics the Internet Archive has a bunch for download HERE
 There's a dedicated web page right over  HERE
I think the whole series was available right HERE

Please note that this blog entry is for entertainment purposes only and is not a challenge to the copyright & trade mark holders of Atari Force, DC comics, or Stars Without Number. The creators of Stars Without Number are not responsible for the contents of this blog entry. This is for my own personal rpg campaign and used under educational and entertainment purposes only.
All materials contained belong to their respective owners.  


  1. Nice! I never got to read these as a kid, but I played more than enough Atari to make up for that.

    I'll have to give these a read.

  2. They're a just for fun resource and make some excellent fodder for an old school space opera campaign. Atari was pretty much my favorite video system and I cut my teeth on the 2600 series. This was a nice tie in before the DC implosion happened. Anyhow it was trip down memory lane with these.

  3. That looks really cool and as I am just reading SWN for the first time might look at those too :)

  4. I've got a soft spot for these comics and have fun with SWN Mark. Hope you enjoy them. Cheers and I'll be covering more SWN very soon. Thanks for the comments.


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