I downloaded SWN back when it was first announced around the blogosphere and was very pleased with what I was reading, so a week or so ago, I took the plunge and ordered the Hardback copy from Drive Thru RPG as my first POD experience from them.
Firstly, about the POD. . . I work as a graphic designer for a large printing company (we don't do book-binding, unfortunately), just wanted to mention that as I talk about the book quality.
I'm quite impressed with the quality of the book, it's well made, sturdy and I would be proud to have that come out of my company if I worked for the printer. The only thing that I would have done differently, and this is the type of thing that probably wouldn't be noticed by most folks, is that the spine, in my opinion, should have been about an eighth of an inch wider. The front cover of the book doesn't quite lay flat if the book is out by itself. Since I don't know what type of parameters are in place for POD, I will not call this a mistake by any means, and it is the ONLY thing of a negative nature I noticed regarding the construction of the book.
SWN, as has been mentioned by a great many people, is terrific. Simple concepts, that almost any gamer should be familiar with, easy to work with.
I COULD run this as written, except I don't know that I'm physically capable of doing that with any game :D
I have a few ideas on old-school type classes that I've been kicking around for some time, and I'll most likely use them with SWN. . . .I present you the first part of them below.
The Target 20 paradigm, I like, but I want to use it for everything except hit points and damage rolls.
So, reverse the numbers on the saves (i.e., if the Save is 12, change it to an 8 and add it to the roll, get a 20, you make the save).
Armor . . . I have a thing about liking armor that absorbs damage, rather than making you more difficult to hit (I know, it's really a matter of perception), especially since I will likely use these rules for settings that don't necessarily have lots of armor. I'll have to work up my numbers and post them later, but they will probably be similar to armor in RQ/BRP for the ratings.
Armor Class. . . Rather than everyone being stuck at a 9 (or 7 if you have an 18 Dex), I propose that all first level characters begin with an AC of 9, and as they progress, it begins to decrease, based on class. I'll post those numbers later as well. I have to take my wife to work shortly and my notebook is in my briefcase.
Skills: I plan to not use specific Skills, but base the bonuses on their backgrounds, training and the like.
Let's see if I remember what I was tinkering with here.
I love the special abilities as presented in SWN, but I want a couple of extras and I'm going to tweak a couple of the existing ones a tad (I know that by now that takes you by complete surprise)
Veteran's Luck . . . As Written
Combat Focus: Warrior's choose to focus their training on either Ranged or Close Combat. They can still use any weapons, but this focus affects the other special abilities
Deadly Accuracy: With the focus weapon type, Warrior's receive a +1 to attack and +2 to damage. (I'm iffy about the +1 to attack, since they already wind up with better attack scores)
Expertise: The expert should choose an area of expertise. This may be something totally unrelated to their background and/or training. When working in this area of expertise, the Expert will receive a bonus of 1 plus one third of his current experience level (rounded down, minimum 1), so a 9th level Expert gets a +4 when making checks in his area of Expertise.
Like a Charm: One time per session, the Expert can succeed at any non-combat skill check, regardless of what was rolled.
I think I had one more, but I'll have to check that later.
Psychic (or Mystic as I think I'll call the class)
This one will require a post by itself, so we'll talk about this one later.