Sunday, January 31, 2016

Some of the House Rules I've Added for the StarSlinger Setting (White Star)

Part of running an OSR styled game is house ruling. Well, at least that's how it is for me. I've been adding house rules to my games since we ignored weapon speed in AD&D 1e (I think most people ignore that)

I've got a few house rules that stray from the White Star as written, but that's not surprising, as I've added a half dozen or so classes to the StarSlinger setting thus far.

  • First, I've expanded the bonuses for high stats slightly. A score of 13-16 gives a + 1 and a score of 17 or 18 gives a + 2. Nothing huge, but it can me a life saver.

  • Death is at zero HP, with the ability to save vs death  to hold on until help arrives. The roll to save is adjusted by the negative amount of HP the PC is at, so going down to - 5 means a minus 5 on the save to no die. Natural 20s always save.

  • If you want to attempt something not covered by the rules (and as this is an OSR game, it's quite likely to occur multiple times per session) such as picking a lock, hacking a computer and the like, it's a save adjusted by any relevant stat bonus and a modifier chosen by the GM (me) based on difficulty. Covers a whole lot of ground this way and does not slow down play.
Those are the main ones thus far. There are others that aren't fleshed out yet and I'm not even sure they'll come into play (or are even needed)


  1. Here is something where Weapon Speed Factor is implemented quite nicely here. It is plugged into your Initiative Roll !

    When we played table-top AD&D we pretty much ignored the weapon speed & even the weapon armor class adjustments, ( which i would love love to try using if only Roll20.net allowed 'If-Then' logic in their macros ! ).

    Then one day i noticed a friend posted a PDF on tactical combat house rules, which used both dexterity & weapon speed factor in your initiative rolls. I now use this all the time on roll20.net ! (Note: due to roll20 limitations i don't use the surprise lost segments in the equations)

    For Roll20 i use this equation: (Dex bonus = +2, Dagger Weapon Speed = 2):

    Init Roll = [[1d10 + 2 [DEX] - 2 [SPD] &{tracker}]]

    The Baldur's Gate Game uses this.

    Surprise and Initiative

    Surprise will be determined by the table on page 62 of the Dungeon Masters Guide. In instances where the party is aware of, and trying to surprise a group of monsters, someone in the party will roll the d6. Otherwise the Dungeon Master will roll dice behind his screen and compare the results to the table.

    Lost segments due to surprise will translate as a negative modifier to initiative.

    Initiative will be determined for all individuals in a melee. All characters roll, as well as each monster. Players will roll openly for their character. The DM rolls behind the screen for the monsters. While the characters may have some inkling of when and how their comrades will react, they do not possess enough knowledge of individual monsters to make that assumption. I am ambivalent as to whether initiative is rolled each round, or only once for the melee. Should tactical combat win out in the poll there will likely be another poll about initiative.

    Individual initiative will be determined with the roll of a d10 for each participant in the melee. This roll will be modified negatively by surprise lost segments (1 lost segment = -1 to initiative), and will be further modified by Dexterity Reaction Adjustment, and Weapon Speed Factor or Spell Casting Time. Dexterity adjustments are applied as displayed on Dexterity Table I on page 11 of the PHB. Weapon Speed Factor or Spell Casting Time (if segments) is applied as a penalty (minus) to the roll. Spells that take an entire round or more to cast will be loosed on the caster’s initiative in the next or subsequent round(s). Multiple attacks in a round will be handled by reapplying the attacker’s Weapon Speed Factor to their initiative again for each attack.

    Ex: A fighter has two attacks every other round. On rounds that he gets two attacks he rolls a d10, modifies the roll with Dexterity Reaction Adjustment, and Weapon Speed Factor. d10 = 9 + 1 [DEX 16] – 5 [longsword] = 5 initiative. For his second attack, the fighter again subtracts his Weapon Speed Factor. Initiative 5 – 5 [longsword] = 0 initiative. So for this round the fighter attacks on initiative count 5 and 0.
    Monsters will be handled slightly differently since they don’t have listed DEX scores, and therefore cannot have a Dexterity Reaction Adjustment. Monster movement will instead be used to determine the “quickness” of the creature. Movement baseline is 12”, and is almost always divergent in 3” increments. Monsters with a 12” movement will have no bonus or penalty to initiative being ±0. For every 3” divergence from 12” (or rounded to the nearest 3”) the creature will gain a bonus or penalty to their initiative. For example a creature with a 15” movement will gain a +1 bonus to initiative, whereas a creature with a 3” movement will have a -3 penalty to initiative.

    The character or creature with the highest modified initiative roll acts first, and then the second highest roll and so forth. Initiative numbers less than zero should be recorded accurately.

    In the case of ties, all actions and damage occur simultaneously. We will allow the player character to act first in practice.

  2. Erik, how would you referee a gunfight, what do you take into consideration, and how would you make it high stakes lethal instead of just hp attrition ?

    1. would you believe James Spahn is already working on it?

    2. yup,he's full of busy, that man.

  3. James has asked me if he could write the gunfighting rules. Needless to say, I was flattered :)

  4. Using your Starslinger classes in our Whitestar/Ruins & Ronin/Blood & Bullets Hack - it's becoming Far West...in Space !

    1. love to hear how it all works out for you ;)

  5. I'll link to an actual play writeup next sesh. One class idea from Simon Washbourne's Blood & Bullets that we're using is The Dude, the equivalent of the guy from back East who's a fish out of water on the frontier but has some great skill, and learning a coreworlder like the doctor off Firefly. It seemed more of a hireling idea to me but one of my players wanted to try it.

  6. brief setup and actual play - http://snw.smolderingwizard.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=13


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