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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stars without Numbers and my House Rules

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.

Special Abilities:
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)

Warrior:
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)


Expert:
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.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Call of Cthulhu Modern - Commander Randall Carlson (USN, Retired)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a friend of mine is planning to run a modern era CoC game when our current Sunday Mutants & Masterminds game finishes.  

Below is the character that I've decided to play.

The photo is of a real US Naval Officer I found while fishing the 'net for images to use in game sessions.  I've photoshopped it slightly, and I have no idea who he really is, so my apologies to him, wherever he may be, for attaching his photo here.

Randall Samuel Carlson is a retired US Navy Commander, former JAG officer who holds a Masters in Law and a Doctorate in Psychology.  

He was happily married for 16 years of his Naval Career, then learned that his wife had been having affairs with random men and then killing them.  That's right, he was married to a serial killer, and was part of the NCIS team tasked with finding the killer and making the case against her.   

That was eight years ago.  Four years ago, his twenty year old Daughter, Marisa, left home to attend Columbia University to begin her own training in Psychology and Chemistry.   

Three months ago, Commander Carlson finished his 30 years of naval career.   He has spent the past three months knocking around, reviewing his ex-wife's case (she is up for Parole Review in six months and he thinks it's a bad idea for her to be released), and has uncovered some 'unusual' items in her personal journal and in the places she had visited during the time of her 'hobby'.

Character Info:
Randall S. Carlson   - Naval Lawyer/Psychologist, NCIS specialist - Retired Commander
Age 49   Hgt: 6’2”  Wgt: 190 pounds

Str: 15  Con 13   Siz: 18   Dex: 10   App: 13   Int: 17   Pow  14   Edu: 22
San: 70     Idea: 85%  Luck: 60%  Know: 110%      Damage Bonus: +1d6
Hit Points: 16     

Skills of Note:
Professional Skills
Computer Use: 36       Credit Rating 65      Medicine 55%    Persuade  80%
Psychoanalysis  56%     Psychology  99%   Handgun: 55%   Law: 95%

Personal Skills:
Biology: 31%     Chemistry: 31%     Dodge: 40%     History: 30%    Library Use: 45%
Martial Arts: 10%    Language (english) 110%   Language (arabic) 30%
Fist: 40%

Wealth Roll: $300k

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Planetary Record Sheet for Stars Without Number

I took a few minutes today to make a landscape oriented, summary sheet for planetary information for Stars Without Number.

I also created a set of brushes to emulate what is shown on the Planetary Mapping Sheet in the book.

Both of these can be downloaded from links in the right hand column.


And here's a sample of what it looks like, after I filled it in and did a little bit of photoshop world coloring.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Character Sheet for Stars Without Number

I recently got the PDF of Stars Without Number and am quite impressed.  I think this will be my system of choice when I get the chance to throw some SF at my players.

Because I tend to like landscape orientation for character sheets, I did one up for SWN.

When I get the time, I'll most likely do a similar style sheet for Starships and a multi-page character journal as well.  When I do, I'll post them here.

For now, the Landscape Character Sheet for your use.  Hope you find it useful.