Friday, July 20, 2012

Stars Without Number: Variant Warriors

 I've been working on the idea of variant special abilities for Stars Without Number. In the RAW, the three classes each have a unique ability: Warriors can negate one attack against them per combat, Experts can re-roll one non-combat skill per game hour, and psychics....are psychic. (The other classes have no access to psi disciplines, nor can they use psi-tech.) I was mulling over the idea of giving players a choice between several special abilities. You would pick one at creation, with the default special ability being just one of several choices.

My question to you, SWN fans (if any of you happen across this blog) is this: are any of these just plain overpowered? Are there any that are totally useless?

*Dead Eye- Once per combat, the character can re-roll any attack roll. He can choose to use this ability after the GM informs him if the attack hit or not. He must abide by the second attack roll.

*Brutality- Once per combat, the character can re-roll any one damage roll. He can use this ability after the GM has informed him of the results of the damage. (If the opponent drops, etc.) He must abide by the results of the second roll.

*Weapon Specialist- The warrior can select a specific weapon (mag rifle, monoblade, etc.) The character enjoys a +1 bonus to all attack rolls and a +2 to all damage rolls when using this weapon.

*Durability- The character rolls d10s for Hit Dice instead of d8s.

*Veteran's Luck- As written.

I will post the Expert and Psychic abilities over the course of the weekend.

...oh, and if you're reading this and you are in my Tuesday night SWN campaign: these are not available yet. I have to give them some more thought before I unleash them into the game world. I'll probably get around to it soon, though, because we have a large group and it would be a good chance to try several of them out. (Or to see if one is just too good because everybody of a given class takes it) 


  1. For Other Dust, there's a "Slayer" class that fits the brutal-warrior-of-the-wastelands trope. Their class ability allows them make one attack roll per fight that will hit on anything but a natural 1. It only works if they're trying to kill somebody, however, rather than attempts at trick shooting or non-lethal combat.

  2. Very cool. I'm looking forward to Other Dust. I didn't know it had new classes. Does it also feature the SWN classes?

    I'll probably post my Expert variants tomorrow and my Psychic variants on Sunday.

  3. There's no class overlap; I tried to keep duplicate material to a minimum. The core classes for Other Dust are Scroungers, Speakers, Slayers, and Survivors, but any of the SWN classes will work just fine as well. You might want to bump their skill points/level up by 1, however, since Other Dust classes get a little extra love due to how much harder it is to get outside skilled labor in a post-apoc setting.

    As a general matter, Other Dust is a completely stand-alone game that happens to be entirely compatible with SWN. Material from one game can be slotted into the other in pretty much seamless fashion, and the systems they share all work the same way. OD just has some additional subsystems related to building/repairing/scavenging gear, identifying enigmatic artifacts, and handling foraging and dire privation. It's also got its own Group system designed to accommodate post-apocalyptic enclaves a bit better than the Faction system of SWN.

    It'll be coming out in PDF and softcover on Monday, in time to partake of DTRPG's XMas in July 25%-off sale. With luck, I'll be able to get the hardcover up before the sale's end as well.

  4. I've been toying with something similar for the standard fantasy classes... like, instead of the usual bonuses you get from a high ability score, having a high prime requisite lets you choose one or two minor special abilities - sort of like the way Talents work in my space adventure game, Seeded Space, only more class-specific