Thursday, December 27, 2012

Got to Play in My First Session of Stars Without Number Last Night


There are many good things about having a week of vacation, and one of them is squeezing in a little extra gaming, especially as a player. Last night I got to play in a session of +James Aulds semi-irregular Stars Without Numbers game. It was good. (Did I mention the rules are free in PDF?)

I came in to the second session of what basically was a two part story arc, so it took me a little bit to get my feet grounded, but once I did things went pretty well. My Expert couldn't shoot for shit (if I didn't know any better, I could have sworn I was doing my best +Joe D impression) but in truth, that didn't matter much. The game was about exploration and roleplay. Well, that and skill use.

It's strange. When I read through the SWN rules, I noticed the 2d6 skill use roll and the basic skills available and didn't think much of it. In actual use, it rocks. I'm damn tempted to take a closer look at my beta copy of Spears of the Dawn and see how I can convert stuff to AD&D - the bell curve and the simple skill use is an awesome way to handle the skills.

In any case, I had a blast. The game ran until midnight, which is a bit late for me on a work night (yay vacation!) but I'll find a way to make it work for the next irregular session.

Yeah, I really need to go back and work on the SWN / LL hack...

6 comments:

  1. Glad you had fun, and yes, the skills are dead simple

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  2. From what I've seen, the core differences between SotD and SWD are way healing is handled (you are SOL without a Laz Patch in SWN), milieu specific skills, and the magic system being vastly different than Psionics.

    Plopping the skill system into AD&D would work perfectly, though the biggest thing to tinker with would be how to handle the skill training costs, which would just be a translation with SotD classes vs. AD&D.

    Honestly, from what I've seen with SotD, I'm tempted to not run D&D ever again and just run SotD - reworking it to whatever cultural flavor was needed for a particular campaign. :)

    Good luck!

    - Ark

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  3. It's an awesome game. I hope to get to run a Campaign at some point.

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  4. We've all enjoyed our switch from Labyrinth Lord to SWN for our Vaults of Ur game. The skill system is really simple and works well at the table.

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  5. It's pretty close to the Traveller skill system (that didn't have you add your ability score bonus) which certainly works, but I always had a hard time grasping how much of a chance I had because of the (steep) bell shaped nature of it. d100 or d20 is as lot easier to figure out the odds of.

    Of course, that is either a feature or a bug, depending on your point of view.

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  6. Yeah, it's intended as a feature. Linear distributions are easier to eyeball for immediate probabilities, but you need big modifiers for big probability swings. On a 2d6 bell curve, a small number can make a big difference in probable outcomes toward the center of the distribution, so the system doesn't need to stack the values so high to get a meaningful difference. A 1 point modifier on a 2d6 range means a 14% swing at the middle of the die range. On a d20 range, it means exactly 5% until it goes off the dice.

    And for those who want an instant readout of their success chances, they can just write a 2d6 probability spread on the side of their sheet, from 100% at 2 to 2.77% at 12. To find your chance of success, just look at the number you need to roll.

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