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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Some Thoughts on "Encounter Tables" for White Star

Something I've seen mentioned a couple of times in different places is a desire for "Encounter Tables" for the White Star RPG.

Questions to those that are requesting such:

Are you looking for "Encounter Tables" or "Event Tables?" I ask, because in my mind, events are more likely in the depths of space than encounters, although an event table would by necessity include encounters.

Would you expect your Encounter / Event tables to be setting / region specific? I would, and the default setting is by deign fairly sparse. Would the setting need to be detailed further before tables could be designed?

Encounter tables by worlds I would expect to be specific to that world. Again, would that not require a fleshing out of the relevant worlds? Or would it be enough to design tables by relative tech level?

If someone were to design a specific setting for use with White Star, would you expect encounter / event tables, and if so, how in depth would you want them?

Just some thoughts in the hopes of getting feedback. I know of 2 or 3 publishers already working on settings for White Star and the answers to these questions would be helpful to all.


  1. There could be "generic" tables. For example, a planet could have cities, suburbs, farmland, and wilderness. Tech level and terrain and specifics of a planet would have their effect on the end result.
    For example, in wilderness areas there might be large herds or roaming herbivores, like zebras or buffalo, followed by predators such as lions, tigers, or bears.
    A more "primitive" planet with intelligent inhabitants might not have driven large animals to near extinction, whereas, a more advance race with a violent bent, might have nearly eliminated large animals.
    A city that covers a planet would be all urban encounters.
    I may be remembering this from some other SF RPG from back in the 80's but specifying herd animals, predators, natives, colonists, etc. flavored by tech levels and quirks added by the GM would be good.
    Anything more detailed would require creating specific creatures to populate the tables.

  2. Hmm..I'm usually a random tables fiend. Perhaps in relation to encounter tables (or random generation tables in any case), these could be specific to the content of which particular setting for White Star is being developed, as I understand that the game leaves much open to the imagination...

  3. There is currently a list of products for the White Star line. Encounter tables, Vehicles and Fast-Play/Intro rules are on the top of that list - along with some special surprises.

  4. My thinking was that a set of random encounter tables or, really, any random tables would serve as a good example towards designing your own.

  5. I'm guessing that those who are asking for "encounter tables" are actually asking for the tables used in Stars Without Number to generate worlds and star systems - to whom I'd say, just use the tables in SWN, no need to reinvent the wheel.

    1. You assume we own that game, or want to buy an unrelated game just to use that from it. If I'm going to buy a book of this type, I'd prefer it be for the game I have.

      Otherwise, eff em all, I can just buy nothing and use Traveller forever. Not a bad idea, come to think of it.

    2. Note that Stars Without Numbers has a free PDF of the rulebook.

      So except for the cost of creating an RPGNow account, and downloading the PDF, I'm not seeing much expense here.


    3. And since you have Traveller, you can use the tables from there as well.

  6. I'd like "event" tables for things like hyperdrive breaking down, coming too close to a black hole, asteroid belts, etc. "Encounter" tables for coming out of warp and discovering a Klingon vessel in orbit or an ancient abandoned (?) starship, space pirates, etc.

    And then planets and moons I'd want separate tables for types of worlds: desert worlds, ice worlds, temperate worlds, and so on, and gas giants, dwarf planets, etc.

    Maybe some cool plot seed generators, too, where you can roll on several tables and get a general idea from different columns like "type: safari," "location: jungle world," and what not.