Thursday, January 18, 2018

Stars Without Number Revised - Old Soldiers Never Die (they just get more hit points)

Stars Without Number Revised Edition surprised us all at the very end of 2017 with a release, and I finally snagged the deluxe copy with a print version on the way. If you've ever wondered what a SWN character might look like, or are curious to get a sense of any changes in this version (there are a few of note), here's a sample character I rolled up. I actually devised a level 1 version, but subsequently bumped him to level 6 just to see what that looked like.

Characters all have a series of random stats (there's also an assignment you can distribute if you want), a background which determines base skills, the class, foci which function like variable "non class" traits that flesh out who your character is, and psionic rules if that's a thing you're going for. Optional rules in the back expand character options in to transhumanism, magic/fantasy (Starfinder, cough) and more. Core rules cover cybernetics and alien options, too.'s Vastaad Delaine, professional merc:

Name: Vastaad Delaine
Class: warrior (level 6), human, soldier background         
STR 14  (+1); DEX  14  (+1); CON 10; INT 11; WIS  8; CHA 9                             

Hit Points:     35      Base Attack Bonus:    +5      Armor Class:  18 (due to ironhide enhancement)
Saving Throws- Physical Save: 9        Mental Save: 10     Evasion Save: 9             

Combat (punch) – 1
Exert – 1
Combat (shoot) – 3
Survive – 1
Notice – 1
Pilot – 0

Class Abilities:
Warrior Luck (once/scene may either auto hit or receive an auto miss)
free combat focus level (put in to gunslinger)
+2 HP/level

Gunslinger – 2 (gain shoot skill; add level to damage; quick draw and reload as on turn action; miss on shoot deals 1D4 dmg)
Ironhide – 1 (natural AC 15+1/2 level round up due to augmentation)
Starfarer – 0 (gain pilot skill; auto success on spike drill checks of Diff 10 or less)

Combat rifle +6 to hit; 1D12+3 damage (hit) or 1D4 damage (miss)
Vacc Suit
Knife +5 to hit; 1D4+1 damage
80 rounds of ammo
Backpack (TL0)
500 credits


This character is basically a level 1 PC elevated to the status of a level 6 PC, but I didn't bother to modify equipment or anything to reflect that. Soldiers in SWN are pretty efficient. He has his slightly above average HP for a soldier (they get a +2 bonus per level as a class feature), and as a soldier with his combat rifle he can dish out 1D12+3 damage thanks to being able to add his Shooting skill to level (thanks Gunslinger Focus!) He needs a vacc suit to survive harsh environments, but his Ironhide focus effectively means he has some sort of nanoweave armor laced into his own skin...he's shirtless with an AC of 18 and it will continue to grow over time. 

The die mechanic for basic resolution in SWN is to roll 2D6, add skill level and attribute level (if any) and beat a target number of 8, or higher for excessively difficult tasks. This is essentially the same mechanic as Traveller, but with some simpler approaches.  Skills in the new edition of SWN got a bit of a revision, and the rules later discuss ways you can reintroduce the old skill system, or adapt to this one. Skills in SWN for those new to the system are fairly simple...there's one page on the available skills, of which there are 19 base skills and 6 psionic skills. 

Rolling a SWN character once you're used to it takes minutes. Maybe 10-15 minutes, tops, if you're thinking hard about your choices. There is also a "quick and dirty" generation method that must be even faster if it's the quick method!

I'll be writing more about this book as the days roll along. It may be my cure for how to break the bizarre spell Starfinder has held over me, at last. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm seriously considering running SWN Revised. Looking forward to your future posts about SWN.