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...


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

  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

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

  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.

  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.

  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.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition