Notice icon orange.svg Apocryphal Product
Although it is an official BattleTech product, the subject of this article does not meet the current criteria for Canon for the BattleTech universe.
See the article's section on Canonicity for details.
(final issue titled StarDrive)
Product information
Type Magazine
Primary writing John A. Theisen, Blaine Pardoe, Jordan Weisman, Robert Gray, Jack Freeman, Richard Tucholka, and others.
Pages varies
Cover Artwork Various artists
Interior Artwork Various artists
Illustrations Various artists
Publication information
Publisher Various (see article):
First published 1984-1987;
1988 (StarDrive)
MSRP $4.00
$3.50 (Vol. 3, StarDrive)
Era Succession Wars era

STARDATE magazine (always spelled in capital letters within the magazine, and renamed 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.

The first issue was dated November 1984. FASA published five issues of the magazine, two of them numbered as double issues (No. 3/4 in February 1985 and No. 5/6 in April 1985) for a total numbering of 7 "issues". Beginning with issue #8 (October 1985), Associates International took over as publisher and although the issue numbering continued, issues 9-11 are listed as "Volume 2". Ten months after issue #11 was published in April 1986, the magazine resurfaced for a "Volume 3" run with new numbering in February 1987, now published by Reluctant Publishing Ltd. and billing itself as "The Science Fiction Gaming Resource".

For its last issue (February 1988), the magazine was renamed StarDrive, explicitly described as "Formerly 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. (Another official BattleTech periodical, BattleTechnology, was published with FASA's blessings through Pacific Rim Publishing beginning in 1987.)[1]

The first two volumes included the front, back, and inside covers in the page numbering. Volume three did not include the covers but adopted the numbering style of many journals, with the first issue numbered 1–52, the second 53–120, and so on, reaching 526 in issue six; the total number of pages varied by issue, peaking at 118 with number five. StarDrive restarted at page 1 and did not count the covers.

Issue 5/6 is the only one in the first two volumes to carry any BattleTech material other than ads. Many issues carried ads for BattleTech but these aren't considered noteworthy.

This article is focused on the magazine's BattleTech-related content and omits any other systems.


As a magazine, STARDATE/StarDrive 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 not official rulings by FASA for their games, unless otherwise noted. Later issues were not official FASA publications at all, 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.

Issue 5/6 (March 1985)[edit]

Cover, uncredited montage

A battle between a Warhammer, a Phoenix Hawk and a Marauder, taken from a larger image accompanying the article.

Before the Succession Wars: A Background for FASA's Battledroids Game by Patrick Larkin and Jordan Weisman. Some art by Todd F. Marsh.

A timeline of the BattleTech universe, from 2010 to the Succession Wars.

Volume 3 Number 1 (February 1987)[edit]

Stardate Redivivus by Pete Rogan

Editorial with brief mention of BattleTech.

BattleMech Tech: The Flea by Forest G. Brown and L.R. "Butch" Leeper.

A technical readout with stats for two canonical models. Additional variants are mentioned; both 'Mechs are noted as "Formerly TRP-1 TROOPER".
  • FLE-4 Flea
  • FLE-15 Flea

Inventive Ordnance: Krupps Invicta LSW MKII 'Slayer'

A grenade launcher for multiple gaming systems. MechWarrior stats are included, treating it as an SRM launcher.

Book Reviews by Leo A. Frankowski.

BattleTech Technical Readout 3025.

Volume 3 Number 2 (March 1987)[edit]

Cover provided by FASA Corporation. Official BattleTech issue.

Something Armored This Way Walks by Pete Rogan.

Editorial lauding BattleTech and MechWarrior.

BattleTech Tech: Longbow by a mystery writer. A German translation of this writeup was later published in Hardware Handbuch 3031.

Technical readout for the Longbow, a Ral Partha design that did not become a canonical design until the publication of Technical Readout: 3058 eight years later.
  • LGB-8C Longbow. The canonical version published in 2021[2] varied significantly.
  • LGB-OW Longbow. The canonical version published in Record Sheets: 3055 & 3058 varied in armor placement.

River Crossing by John A. Theisen. Some art by Gideon.

The first of the Sandusky Sorrell stories.

River Crossing: BattleTech Scenario

Galt's Grenadiers, a Federated Suns unit, attack elements of the Capellan 459th Infantry Regiment supported by the 29th Independent 'Mech Lance.

Punchout: A MechWarrior's Guide to Safe Ejection by Blaine Pardoe. Some art by Matt Beauchamp.

An article explaining why a MechWarrior might eject, followed by game rules for doing so.

The Recovery of MechWarriors by Blaine L. Pardoe.

Recovery units rescue MechWarriors who have lost their ride while on the battlefield.

A Quick Death: Clubbing Modifiers and Variants for BattleTech by John A. Theisen and Chuck Wienand. Art by Gideon.

Official rules explained with examples given, then variant rules that add some disadvantages to club use.

Coolant Packs: A MechWarrior's Best Friend by Blaine L. Pardoe.

BattleMech-scale coolant backpacks provide nine extra heat sinks but come with serious encumbrance effects.

Inventive Ordnance: GMBh Wombat MK.I and II by a mystery writer.

The Wombat is a VTOL designed for rescuing wounded troops, with a top speed of 370 km/h. Stats are presented for MechWarrior and Traveller: 2300.
  • GMBh Wombat Mk.I
  • GMBh Wombat Mk.II

Closing the Gap by Bob Gray.

Q&A column, including fragmentation damage in BattleTech.

Off the Shelf: M1 Abrams by a mystery author.

History and specifications of the real-world Abrams main battle tank. Stats are provided for BattleTech and Twilight: 2000.
  • M1
  • M1A1

Games in Review

Monthly review column by mystery writers.

Volume 3 Number 3 (May 1987)[edit]

Five of a Kind: New Aerospace Fighters for BattleTech by John A. Theisen. Art by Gideon.

New aerospace fighters specific to individual Successor States.

Closing the Gap by Bob Gray.

Q&A column, including some AeroTech and the beginning of the 10 most asked BattleTech questions.

Escape from Neu Yark: Two Linked AeroTech Scenarios by Bob Gray. Art by Gideon.

Despite the title, only one scenario is given. The merc group Pink Floyd has to make a run for it due to faulty intel landing them in a training area for the planet's defense forces. This scenario uses the Gadfly fighter profiled earlier in the issue.

Air Combat Games: An Overview by The Stardate Staff.

Reviews of air combat games, AeroTech among them.

Spotting from Above: Airborne Forward Observation Rules for BattleTech by John A. Theisen. Art by Gideon.

Using observation aircraft to spot for artillery.

Not Your Average Starship: The BCS-1S Starship One in AeroTech and Top Gun by John A. Theisen.

A pusher configuration observation aircraft based on the real-world Beechcraft Starship. No AeroTech stats are given but special rules allow it to linger over battlefields.

Cavalier Class DropShip: A Vessel for Use with MechWarrior/BattleTech by C. W. Hess.

A small Star League DropShip with stats given for two variants.
  • Cavalier Class DropShip (Courier Version)
  • Cavalier Class DropShip (Transport Version)

Books in Review by R.A. Brazeau.

The Sword and the Dagger

Volume 3 Number 4 (Summer 1987)[edit]

BattleMech Tech by Jack Freeman.

Technical readouts of two designs.
  • Quicksilver Hover Scout. An unarmed fusion-powered hovercraft. Unsurprisingly, variants involving changing one or both features.
  • Gremlin Armored Car. A six-wheeled design with a turret-mounted autocannon. Variants include the Gremlin-B, the Pixie, and the Firebug.

Body Armor: A necessary addition for modern infantry by a mystery writer. Some art by Gideon.

Three types of body armor statted for multiple systems, including MechWarrior.

BattleTech Salvage by Richard Tucholka. Some art by Terry Prince.

Optional rules for salvaging equipment, complete with randomizing tables that reduce what's available.

Heckler & Koch PSG 1: Sniper/Counter sniper rifle by a mystery author. Art by Gideon.

The real-world Heckler & Koch PSG1, statted for eight different systems, one of them MechWarrior.

Closing the Gap by Bob Gray.

A continuation of the 10 most asked rules question for BattleTech. CASE is presented as an optional rule but isn't given a name.

Infantry Against BattleMechs: "The David and Goliath Syndrome" by Blaine Pardoe. Art by Gideon.

Optional rules for called shots against BattleMechs.

A Whole Lotta Flak by John A. Theisen. Some art by Gideon; portraits by Kurt Cagle, credited in Volume 3 Number 6.

Sandusky Sorrell and Galt's Company have to deal with some Transits. MechWarrior stats for Sorrell and his commanding officer are included.

Pound for Pound: BattleMech Weapon Systems Efficiency by Jack Freeman. Some art by Gideon.

Tables for calculating the efficiency of various weapons. The writer gives his favorites for each range in hexes.

New Avalon Institute of Science Mechwarrior Training Manual by Blaine Pardoe.

Technical information on BattleMech systems presented as a student text.

Flesh and Steel by C.W. Hess. Some art by Gideon.

A Draconis MechWarrior who just lost his second 'Mech is forced to help infantry hold a canyon on New Aberdeen against a 'Mech lance of the Fourth Crucis Lancers. A scenario is included at the end of the fiction.

What's New by J.A. Nardi.

Recent releases. FASA's entry is BattleTech Reinforcements

Games in Review

BattleForce reviewed by Bob Gray.

Volume 3 Number 5 (October 1987)[edit]

BattleMech Tech by Jack Freeman. Some art by Gideon and Terry Prince.

Technical readout featuring two new BattleMechs.
  • PLG-1N Pillager. The basis for the later canon PLG-1N Pillager,[3] this was the first BattleMech with dual AC/20s. The stats differ slightly from the canon version but it has identical movement, jump jet capability, heat dissipation, and nearly identical weaponry. A variant called the PLG-1F Matchmaker replaces the SRM-4 with flamers and armor is presented.[4][5] as well as a minor variant that replaces the brand of medium laser, resulting in an occasional glitch with the T&T system.
  • HdG-2B Hedgehog. A tripod 'Mech with a Star League–era communications system and smoke projectors that produce smoke with high metal content, reducing the effects of laser fire; the Hedgehog is also a deadly kicker with special rules that allow it to use a modified punch table. The HdG-2B1 Harasser variant replaces the medium laser with two small lasers, while field refits to replace a destroyed comms system are forced to remove all weaponry to fit in a replacement.

Terminus by John Thiesen (a.k.a. John A. Theisen). Some art by Gideon; portraits by Kurt Cagle, credited in Volume 3 Number 6.

Another Sandusky Sorrell story, this time a letter from home followed by a "shopping" expedition to an abandoned town. MechWarrior stats for two more of Galt's Grenadiers are included.

Terminus: BattleTech Scenario by John Thiesen.

Galt's Grenadiers perform a search-and-retrieve on a booby-trapped town. A company of the Fourth Tau Ceti Rangers could show up at any time.

Battleflak: The Odds Of Ground Fire by Jack Freeman.

Tables for AeroTech ground fire probabilities, including modifiers for various designs both canon and magazine. The Charger is as effective as you'd expect.

New Avalon Institute of Science Mechwarrior Training Manual by Blaine Pardoe.

Technical information on BattleMech systems presented as a student text.

Basic Training: MechWarrior Skill Roles by Jack Freeman.

BASIC code for calculating MechWarrior character skills based on inputted attributes.

Closing the Gap by Bob Gray.

Q&A column with some BattleTech entries.

Games in Review

BattleTech Reinforcements is FASA's entry.

Volume 3 Number 6 (Winter 1987)[edit]

Captain's Log by Pete Rogan.

Lots for the BattleTech player this month.

BattleMech Tech by a mystery author. Art by Gideon.

Technical readout for two new designs.

New Avalon Institute of Science Mechwarrior Training Manual by Blaine Pardoe.

BattleMech tactics presented as a student text.

BattleForce Roster Conversions: BattleTech Units Rendered Into BattleForce Equivalents by Jack Freeman. Art reprinted, including a piece by Gideon from "River Crossing" in Volume 3, Number 2, and pieces from Dana Knutson dated 1985.

BattleForce rules for converting mixed lances. Also included are conversions for units in various sourcebooks and scenario packs.

Inventive Ordnance: Metallic Smoke by a mystery author.

Background and use of metallic smoke, designed to interfere with electronics, lasers, and Gauss weapons. Stats presented for BattleTech and 2300.

Planetfall: Solaris VII by Richard Tucholka. Some art by Gary Thomas Washington.

Background on the arena games of Solaris VII, with random tables for matches and things related to them.

Small Campaign BattleTech Blues by Richard Tucholka. Art apparently reprinted.

Tables for campaign generation.

Closing the Gap by Bob Gray.

Q&A column with some BattleTech entries.

The Further Adventures of Cranston Snord's Irregulars: The Bribery Gambit by Blaine Pardoe.

Cranston Snord's Irregulars defend Thelos Auburn against a kidnapping attempt. Art apparently reprinted.

What's New

New releases column, including BattleTech Manual and The Succession Wars.

StarDrive Vol. 1, No. 1 (February 1988)[edit]

Cover by Ray Van Tilburg.

"Mechs in the Snow". Two 'Mechs battle in a snow-covered forest.

Parents Beware by Bob Gray.

Op-ed on inside front cover complaining about adult themes, situations, and language in the Blackthorne BattleTech comic and unrelated games.

Publishers Note by Bob Brazeau.

Two-paragraph at end of op-ed complaining about cover of Sorenson's Sabres.

Table of Contents. Art by Gary Thomas Washington.

A CPLT-K2 Catapult in motion.

BattleMech Tech: A Muster of Mini-'Mechs by John A. Theisen.

Technical readout for six house-specific ultralight BattleMechs.
  • JNR-7P Junior. An early 10-ton Federated Suns design, among the first 'Mechs manufactured in quantity outside the Terran Hegemony.
  • SLP-2U Slowpoke. A 10-ton Capellan design with the movement profile of an UrbanMech.
  • STL-7D Stiletto. A 15-ton Draconis design that outguns a Locust. Not related to the canonical STO-series Stiletto 'Mech introduced in Technical Readout: 3067.
  • APL-1J Apollo. A 15-ton Free Worlds League design, the only one of this sextet to have arms, thought it doesn't have hands. Not related to the canonical APL-series Apollo 'Mech introduced in Technical Readout: 3055.
  • FXR-4R Foxfire. A 15-ton Lyran design with a top speed of more than 140 km/h.
  • MBSDR-I Ambassador. A 15-ton Star League design with no weapons but a top speed over 170 km/h and a jump range of 60 meters. No, neither is a misprint.

New Avalon Institute of Science Mechwarrior Training Manual by Blaine Pardoe. Reprinted art by Gideon.

Small unit tactics presented as a student text.

Solaris II by a mystery author.

Random outcome tables and useful locations.

Inventive Ordnance: Mine Warfare by J.M. Svaib Jr. Art by Richard Tomasic.

An overview of mine warfare. Stats for BattleTech, MechWarrior, and three unrelated systems.

Off the Shelf: Armored Cars by a mystery author.

A brief overview of World War II use of armored cars. Real-world designs are statted.

Whats New by J. A. Nardi

New releases column. FASA has two entries.

Games in Review by various authors.

Monthly review column. FASA has two entries.
  • House Steiner. Review by Richard Tucholka.
  • BattleTech Manual: The Rules of Warfare. Review by Richard Tucholka.



  • Since 1997, a nonfictional astronomical magazine has been published under the title "StarDate", with no connection to FASA, BattleTech, or gaming.


  1. Stardate Magazine
  2. Recognition Guide: ilClan, vol. 20, p. 25
  3. Record Sheets: 3058 Upgrades Unabridged (Clan & Star League)
  4. HMP Forum Discussion of Stardate Magazine
  5. Origins of the Pillager