Category Archives: Stars Without Number

SWN Revised: Fighting For Workers Rights

Wherein your humble scribe presents a quartet of randomly generated characters for Stars Without Number Revised as he awaits his copy of the Kickstarted hardback, which has shipped and should be here any day now.

These folks were built using SWN(R)’s Quick Character Creation option (p.26) and are thus representative of starting characters in this edition.

On the more industrialized worlds of the Alceris Sector, the Iron Federation struggles to defend workers’ rights and protections. It’s not an easy task — the corporations have money, power, and, all too often, muscle on their side. So the approaches vary, as do the people who fight for the principles of Worker Dignity.

A lucky escapee from the primitive world of Qabis, Nazir has managed to scrape together a small fortune in credits by serving as hired muscle for the Clenched Fists wing of the Iron Federation. Sometimes to protect the rights of the workers you have to lean on management just a little. And leaning is definitely Nazir’s biggest strength.

Nazir (Qabis) / Barbarian / Warrior 1 / Cr 500
HP 8 / AC 14 / AB +1 / P 14 E 15 M 15
STR 14 DEX 9 CON 12 INT 11 WIS 9 CHA 7
Skills: Survive-0, Notice-0, Stab-1, Punch-0, Heal-0
Languages: Arabic, Trade Common
Focus: Savage Fray-1, Shocking Assault-1
Equipment: Spear (1d6+1),Primitive hide armor, Primitive shield, Knife (1d4) Backpack (TL0), 7 days rations, 20m rope

Mira Mahajan
Mira saw the struggles of industrial servitude firsthand on Iorna, where her parents both perished in the mines while trying to pay off their company debts. So when the Iron Federation took her in and saved her from the worst the camps had to offer, she dedicated herself to their mission, by any means necessary. That vow made her a perfect candidate for the Silent Blades wing.

Mira Mahajan (Iorna) / Vagabond / Warrior 1 / Cr 100
HP 6 / AC 13 / AB +1 / P 15 E 15 M 14
STR 7 DEX 10 CON 9 INT 11 WIS 12 CHA 14
Skills: Notice-0, Sneak-1, Survive-0, Lead-0, Shoot-0
Languages: Hindi, Trade Common
Focus: Gunslinger-1, Authority-1
Equipment: Laser Pistol (1d6), Armored Undersuit, Monoblade Knife (1d6), 8 type A Cells, Backpack (TL0), Compad

Ricardo Gavilan
A smooth-talking con man from one of the orbital habitats above Gherenberg, Ricardo has recently taken a shine to working with the Iron Federation’s Smiling Eyes wing. There’s nothing like advancing the workers’ cause with a little friendly persuasion, after all.

Ricardo Gavilan (Gherenberg) / Spacer / Expert 1 / Cr 25
HP 2 / AC 13 / AB +0 / P 15 E 15 M 14
STR 7 DEX 9 CON 10 INT 12 WIS 11 CHA 14
Skills: Fix-0, Pilot-0, Program-0, Talk-1, Shoot-0
Languages: Spanish, Trade Common, Arabic, Hindi, English
Focus: Diplomat-1, Specialist/Talk-1
Equipment: Laser Pistol (1d6), Armored Undersuit, Monoblade knife (1d6), Climbing harness, Low-light goggles, 2 type A cells, Backpack (TL0), Compad, Metatool

Julia Lloyd-Davies
Julia slaved for several years as a company member at Bhatanagar Enterprises, where she watched in horror as castmate after castmate suffered terrible accidents that were clearly the result of lax safety practices. When her contract was terminated due to the scarring she suffered from the accident that even she couldn’t foresee, she sought out the Iron Federation to set things right once and for all.

Julia Lloyd-Davies (New Victoria) / Entertainer / Psychic 1 / Cr 700
HP 6 / AC 13 / AB +0 / P 15 E 15 M 14 / Effort 4
STR 9 DEX 11 CON 12 INT 10 WIS 14 CHA 7
Skills: Perform-0, Talk-0, Connect-0, Telepathy-0, Precognition-1, Know-0
Languages: English, Trade Common, Hindi
Focus: Psychic Training-1
Psychic Techniques: Terminal Reflection (Precognition)
Equipment: Secure Clothing, Compad

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(My Dreams Of) Gaming Plans For 2012 (Because You Care)

So the Thanksgiving game happened. It was a WWII commando raid using a Mini Six/D6 Adventure mashup and it was a blast. But I’m not here to talk about it. Not right now, anyway. I’m gunning to do that a little later on, when I’m ready to post the materials I put together for the game. Nope, instead I’m here to talk about what I’m hoping to run next.

First up, sometime during the Winter Solstice Holidays break, I’m hoping to pull off a BASH game for a friend, his 13 year old son, and maybe a few other folks. I’m currently thinking Golden Age/WWII supers kicking fascist ass in Europe. But the ideas are swirling and unformed at this point, so who knows what (if anything) will ultimately come to pass?

After that, I’m pondering a few possibilities:

  • Some kind of hard(-ish) SciFi using good ol’ Classic Traveller and some Stars Without Number action
  • Labyrinth Lord/AEC romps through either the Against The Giants series or maybe Castle Amber, The Lost City, or some other classic modules
  • A BRP– (or possibly BoL-) based, Mythic Russia-fueled, Russian fantasy game
  • A Mini Six (with add-ons from Open D6) or Mercenaries, Spies, And Private Eyes 80s-style espionage game
  • A Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands miniseries (probably not until the CoC game I’m playing in wraps up, though)
  • A BRP/Renaissance (or maybe Tunnels & Trolls or Honor + Intrigue) black powder fantasy adventure
  • Droids. Seriously. Either with the original rules (unlikely) or with something else (D6, maybe?)

just to name a few (in no particular order). All of this is subject to change (i.e., my whims and interests) and player buy-in, of course.

That’s Great And All, But What About Giving Us Some Sweet Gaming Content, Pao?

Yeah, I know. My content output has absolutely tanked of late (and, honestly, not-so-late). I’m struggling with that, really. Part of me wants to be cranking out stuff like I had been, but another part just isn’t inclined to spend the time on it. So it’s not quite burnout, per se. It’s more a case of conflicting interests and such. So to answer the question that I asked on no one in particular’s behalf, “Reply hazy. Try again later.”

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Stars Without Number: Characters & Not A Review

Wherein your humble scribe presents a group of characters for Stars Without Number. These characters are all 1st level, were granted maximum HP, and have a bare minimum of equipment. They were all created by the book, with 3d6 for stats, more often than not in order.

What do a mercenary, a con artist, and a psychic healer have in common? Wanderlust and an eye for adventure, that’s what! All natives of Bragan IX, this group of old friends have returned to their homeworld for a reunion of sorts, and thus reunited seek their fortunes in limitless space.

Kara Starr / Human Warrior (Soldier/Mercenary) 1
STR 15 INT 9 WIS 12 DEX 14 CON 11 CHR 8
HP 8 AC 4 Credits 150
Business-0, Combat/Projectile Weapons-1, Combat/Unarmed-1, Culture/Bragan IX-0, Culture/Traveller-0, Tactics-1
Woven Body Armor, Revolver, SMG

Delfino Mars / Human Expert (Con Artist/Criminal) 1
STR 8 INT 14 WIS 12 DEX 13 CON 10 CHR 17
HP 6 AC 5 Credits 415
Business-0, Combat/Primitive-0, Culture/Criminal-1, Culture/Bragan IX-0, Gambling-0, Perception-0, Persuade-1, Security-0, Stealth-1
Woven Body Armor, Semi-Auto Pistol, Knife (2)

Vance Di Coromere / Human Psychic (Noble/Healer) 1
STR 6 INT 14 WIS 18 DEX 14 CON 14 CHR 13
HP 4 AC 4 Credits 325
Combat/Primitive-0, Culture/Bragan IX-0, Culture/Traveller-0, Leadership-0, Perception-0, Persuade-0, Tech/Psitech-0, Tech/Medical-0
Psychic Powers: Biopsionics-1 (Primary), Telepathy-1 (Secondary)
Psi Power Points: 3
Woven Body Armor, Sword, Knife, Lazarus Patch (5)

Definitely Not A Review

This is not a review of Stars Without Number, but I thought I’d make a few points.

  • Character creation is pretty darn fast in SWN, despite the handful of extra steps that it adds to the classic D&D-style process.
  • Character creation is decidedly not random, at least not in comparison to Traveller. You’re pretty much in control of who you’re going to play here. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on what you want from your RPG experience.
  • I’m not entirely sure why I’d play SWN instead of Traveller, but the game seems quite solid on my brief skimming of the rules.
  • That said, I find myself oddly ill-at-ease with the two distinct task resolution systems present in the game. I’m not a “one task system or die!” kind of guy, but having a d20 system for combat (and the similar, but not exactly so D&D-style saving throws) and a 2d6 system for skills – where both are modified by the same numbers (skill levels, attribute bonuses) feels off to me. I’m sure it works fine in play, but it’s not quite copacetic in my head. I really don’t know why this bothers me. It might just be something in the air.
  • I haven’t read the Faction rules yet, and those may well be the thing that makes SWN preferable to Traveller for some purposes and playstyles.
  • The plethora of random tables makes SWN worth downloading regardless of anything else.

In the end, Stars Without Number seems like an interesting blend of D&D and Traveller. And though in my mind it doesn’t replace Traveller, I can see where it would have significant appeal for anyone already familiar with old school D&D (or any of the retroclones thereof) who either didn’t have access to, or didn’t have interest in, the big daddy of scifi games. If that’s you, this may be the game for you. And if not, it’s still worth the bandwidth to download.

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