|Primary writing||John A. Thiesen, Blaine Pardoe, Jordan Weisman, Robert Gray, Jack Freeman, Richard Tucholka and others.|
|Cover artwork||Various artists|
|Interior artwork||Various artists|
|Publisher||Various (see article):|
|First published|| 1984-1987;|
|MSRP|| US$ 4.00|
US$ 3.50 (Vol. 3, StarDrive)
|Era||Succession Wars era|
The STARDATE magazine (always spelled in capital letters within the magazine, and named StarDrive for its final issue) was a magazine initially published by FASA as a house magazine to support their Star Trek line of games. It later expanded its scope to cover other games as well, notably BattleTech.
- 1 Canonicity
- 2 Volume 1, Issue 5/6 (March 1985)
- 3 Volume 3 Number 1 (February 1987)
- 4 Volume 3 Number 2 (March 1987)
- 5 Volume 3 Number 3 (May 1987)
- 6 Volume 3 Number 4 (Summer 1987)
- 7 Volume 3 Number 5 (October 1987)
- 8 Volume 3 Number 6 (Winter 1987)
- 9 StarDrive (February 1988)
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
Beginning with issue #8 (October 1985), Associates International took over as a publisher and although the issue numbering continued, issues 9-11 are listed as "Volume 2".
Ten months after issue #11 had been published in April 1986, the magazine resurfaced for a "Volume 3" run with new numbering, now published by Reluctant Publishing Ltd., in February 1987, billing itself as "The Science Fiction Gaming Resource".
For its last issue (February 1988) the magazine was renamed "StarDrive", explicitly described as "Formerly the StarDate magazine" on the cover. Despite featuring content heavily geared towards FASA products (namely Star Trek and BattleTech), the editorial writing in StarDrive was notably critical of FASA. Reluctant Publishing Ltd. went out of business after this issue. (FASA had been publishing their own official BattleTech magazine, BattleTechnology, through Pacific Rim Publishing since 1987.)
This article is focused on the magazine's BattleTech-related content. Issues not featuring BattleTech at all are not covered here, and content relating to other game systems is omitted.
Stardate is not counted among the sources contributing canon to the BattleTech universe at this time.
Even during its time as a FASA house magazine, the imprint contained a disclaimer stating that the magazine's content was the author's opinion and no official rulings by FASA for their games, unless otherwise noted. Later issues were not official FASA publications anymore, but licensed third-party content (even though Vol. 3 Number 2 is announced as an "official BattleTech issue" on the cover).
As an official publication with a valid license at the time, its content can be regarded as apocryphal.
Volume 1, Issue 5/6 (March 1985)
Featuring: BattleDroids History
Article: "Before the Succession Wars", a BattleTech article by Patrick Larkin and Jordan Weisman concerning the early (in-universe) history of the BattleTech universe. It was reprinted in MechWarrior: The BattleTech Role Playing Game on pp. 3-8 under the header "A History of Human Space, 2001-3025".
Volume 3 Number 1 (February 1987)
- BattleMech Tech: The Flea (writeup and game stats for the FLE-15 Flea by Forest G. Brown and L.R. Leeper)
- Inventive Ordnance: Krupps Invicta LSW MKII 'Slayer' (grenade launcher description and MechWarrior (RPG) stats)
- Technical Readout: 3025 presentation
Volume 3 Number 2 (March 1987)68 pages numbered 54 through 119 (plus advertisement pages without page number), continuing the page numbering from Vol. 3 Number 1.
- BattleMech Tech: Longbow (writeup and game stats for the LGB-OW and LGB-8C Longbow; uncredited)
- River Crossing (short story and scenario by John A. Theisen)
- Punch Out: A MechWarrior's Guide to Safe Ejection (by Blaine Pardoe)
- The Recovery of MechWarriors (by Blaine Pardoe)
- A Quick Death: Clubbing modifiers and Variants for BattleTech (by John A. Theisen and Chuck Wienand)
- Coolant Packs, "A MechWarrior's Best Friend" (by Blaine Pardoe)
- Inventive Ordnance: GMBh Wombat MK.I/Wombat Mk.II (Super Wombat) VTOL
- BattleTech stats for the M1/M1A1 Abrams tank
- The Mercenary's Handbook review/presentation
Volume 3 Number 3 (May 1987)
- Five of a Kind: New AeroSpace Fighters for BattleTech (by John A. Theisen)
- Two additional Aerospace units
- BCS-1S Starship One
- Cavalier Class DropShip
Volume 3 Number 4 (Summer 1987)
- BattleMech Tech: Gremlin armored car and Quicksilver hover scout for BattleTech (by Jack Freeman)
- BattleTech Variant Salvage Rules by Richard Tucholka
- Body Armor Optional Rules for MechWarrior.
- Closing the Gap: Q&A by Robert Gray.
- Infantry Against BattleMechs by Blaine Pardoe.
Volume 3 Number 5 (October 1987)
- Three-Legged Mechs
- Hedgehog HdG-2B BattleMech by Jack Freeman, a Three-Legged Tripod 'Mech
- A BattleMech named the Pillager used as the basis for the canon Pillager PLG-1N. Designed by Jack Freeman, this was the first BattleMech with dual AC/20's, the Pillager PLG-1N. The profile differs slightly from the canon version but has identical movement, jump jet capability, heat dissipation and nearly identical weaponry. A variant called the Matchmaker MTM-4B featuring Flamers is also presented.
- Terminus - Battletech Fiction, Scenario and Character Stats by John A. Thiesen
- Galt's Grenadiers Go Shopping: Scenario by John A. Thiesen
- Basic Training - MechWarrior character generation program for Basic-80, Rev 5.21 [CP/M version]
Volume 3 Number 6 (Winter 1987)
Cover: This issue had unusually strong and atypical cover artwork Death Dealer from Frank Frazetta, the same artwork popularized on the Molly Hatchet self-titled album. This was uncharacteristic of this magazine which typically featured science-fiction artwork on the cover.
- Mite MTE-12C Ultralite 'Mech
- Shillelagh Missile Tank
- New Avalon Institute of Science - Mechwarrior Training Manual by Blaine Pardoe
- BattleForce Roster Conversions by Jack Freeman
- Inventive Ordnance: Metallic Smoke
- Planetfall: Solaris VII by Richard Tucholka
- Small Campaign BattleTech Blues by Richard Tucholka
- Closing the Gap: Q&A by Robert Gray
- The Further Adventures of Cranston Snord's Irregulars by Blaine Pardoe
StarDrive (February 1988)52 pages.
- BattleMech Tech: A Muster of Mini-'Mechs - Six Ultralight BattleMech Designs (by John A. Theisen)
- JNR-7P Junior
- SLP-2U Slowpoke
- STL-7D Stiletto (not to be confused with the unrelated canonical STO-series Stiletto 'Mech introduced in Technical Readout: 3067)
- APL-1J Apollo (not to be confused with the unrelated canonical APL-series Apollo 'Mech introduced in Technical Readout: 3055)
- FXR-4R Foxfire
- MBSDR-I Ambassador
- New Avalon Institute of Science: Part 4: Tactics for BattleMechs (by Blaine Pardoe)
- Inventive Ordnance: Mine Warfare (by J.M. Svaib Jr.)
- Technical Readout: 3026 & House Kurita (The Draconis Combine) presentation
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth) & BattleTech Manual: The Rules of Warfare review/presentation
- Since 1997, a nonfictional astronomical magazine is published under the title "StarDate" that has no connections with FASA, BattleTech, or gaming.