Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reading Room: the Stars Without Number skim -- part 02

Character Creation
Stars without number has already managed to surprise me.

Awesomly iconic
art for the Expert
character class
With only three character classes, but multiple "templates" that fall under each character class, there's already a wide variety of possible characters represented by class and skills. The three classes are Expert, Warrior, and Psychic. Each obviously has something that sets them apart from the other classes. Psychics are the only ones who can use psychic abilities. Warriors get to ignore one (1) attack in a given skirmish. Experts get to re-roll one (1) failed skill attempt per hour.

Your Stat block is randomly rolled up, but there are rules that allow you to ensure that your character can function reasonably well in the game (minimum values for given stats based on class, reshuffling of points within certain parameters, etc.) Max bonus and max penalty on the 3 to 18 range of human stats are +2 and -2 respectively. Perhaps this is due to the 2d6 resolution mechanic for skills (ooh, classic Traveller), though it seems to make Stats less relevant given the d20 resolution mechanic for combat.

Two different resolution mechanics? Why? WHY? (Why not? I mean, Assassins got percentiles on their assassination attempts, and Thieves also get the percentiles, and there was the Turning mechanic. It's not that confusing, and very cleanly delineated. It's in the way that it's used. Even a single resolution mechanic can become very confusing if mishandled.)

Can't say more about this till I try out character creation proper, but I did skip ahead to check some other portions of the book to understand certain aspects of Character Creation (like the resolution mechanics).

So next time, we'll skip ahead to look at resolution mechanics and the factions rules, before I return and attempt a character.


  1. I'm quite interested in seeing your take on the game. As for the dual resolution system, I actually bunged it in that way to improve compatibility with Traveller materials; the stat mods and general skill levels tend to map pretty closely to the modifiers used in most Traveller materials. It does lessen the importance of stats in combat, it's true, but I wasn't really keen on having a major stat-based difference in combat effectiveness within a group. It didn't really fit my take on the old-school idiom to allow such.

  2. Hi SiNo!

    I kinda guessed as much about the compatibility with classic Traveller. Truth be told, I'm fighting the urge to do a Fading Suns conversion. So far it's been easy because (1) I'm waiting for the 3rd edition stuff; (2) I'm not going to come up with various Theurgical rites for this new system.

    The other urge I'm fighting off is doing a sandbox with Mystara as one of the worlds, especially with the whole Beagle / War of the Immortals / Blackmoor part of their setting.

    The third urge I'm fighting off is buying the Stellar Navy expansion you've come out with. It looks good, and I'm a sucker for space military stuff, but dammit we're moving house soon and money's tight.

    I will get it eventually though. I remember picking up a lot of the Jovian Chronicles stuff purely for the military structure and ship design material.

  3. Feel free to drop me an email at the contact address at sinenomine-pub.com, and I'll pass you a comp copy of Skyward Steel. I've been surprised at the amount of non-US-based gaming attention SWN's gotten thus far, and it seems only prudent to encourage it.

  4. Serious? That's very generous of you!

    Non-US-gaming attention, eh? Do tell!


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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