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The Blood Hack
by Russell D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2017 18:07:11

Loved this! As someone who cut his teeth on both D&D and Vampire, it's great to see a game that takes elements of both yet stands on its own. The Black Hack as a chasis allows for some super-sweet "rules necessary" approaches that really streamlines the experience without feeling shoe-horned. I've had friends turned off of the other vampire RPGs because the alleged "Storytelling" alternatives to D&D felt bloated. Or they were unsure about diving into the lore and metaplots. Here, it's very light on the background (but gives just enough to have your engines turn!) and the rules hardly get in the way. It's easy to consume the mechanics in a single sitting. It's not as pretty as some of those other games, but it is a fast 57 pages to read through.

So for those wondering what this game has to offer in the mechanics department different from The Black Hack itself: modern stuff like firearms & vehicles. The Blood's power system breaks away from vancian ties to use a "Blood Usage Die" which is a perfect substitution to blood pools of those other games. Also, the Blood Rituals are a pretty wicked aspect that give the game its own flavor and helps show how monstrous these characters can be.

So in short: a minimalist hack of a minimalist hack of D&D that potentially runs liter and more streamlined than other Vampire games out there.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Blood Hack
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The Blood Hack
by Daniel N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2017 11:42:20

Before I begin with the review, I want you to know, that I have had a privilege to work with this game. I did the layout, edited the text, made covers and a character sheet and discussed rules. But this review is not biased, because when I received the draft for this game, I fell in love. As I said, it was a privilege for me to get a change to work with The Blood Hack and its author +Matthew Skail.

I love The Black Hack. It takes my favorite rules system and tweaks it to simplier and more versatile form. Even though I still enjoy early D&D and OSR games, The Black Hack is something different, yet familiar. And because it is a versatile system, it is easy to reproduce for different genres, like Cyber-Hacked! which makes cyberpunk fun and fast or The Super Hack which makes super heroes not a chore, with roots to my favorite game(s).

In early 2000 I played Vampire: The Masquerade. I played it a lot! So much I grew sick of it for various different reasons. When I found OSR, I started to think what V:tM would be with OSR rules. When I found The Black Hack, I started thinking what playing vampires in World Of Darkness style campaign would be with it. Then at Google Plus I found out, that Matthew was working on a game using The Black Hack rules with a feel of 90s vampires and modern gothicpunk world.

And damned The Black Hack system works brilliantly with vampires!

You get the normal rules, where you roll everything under your Stats, be it fighting, different tasks or saving rolls. Because this game is set to a modern era, you also get rules for vehicles, firearms, chases and such, which all work great with the simple core mechanics.

There are four different vampire classes from four different Houses of the Blood. They are not just those four core fantasy races re-dressed with fangs, but great write-ups with different knowledges and skills. Each of them is great for different types of archtypes from magisters to warriors.

Vampires naturally have their supernatural powers, Gifts. They gain Gifts more experienced they get, and start with few. You are free to develop your vampire with Gifts you want to take, and are not restricted to bloodlines that determine your future gifts. The gifts are not only things that boost your vampire to be more powerful than human, they are many really clever and more towards roleplaying rather than rollplaying.

Some vampires can also learn rituals, which are blood powered powerful magic. There are three levels of ritual powers, from quite simple to truly horrific! The rituals are absolutely fantastic and don't feel that they are just replacing fantasy roleplaying game's spells. They are a different beast, and add extra flavor to the game.

The great thing is how the innovation of usage die is used with blood points and morale (basically humanity from V:tM). Instead of calculating and spending blood points like hit points, you roll usage die for blood for example when powering gifts or healing. Morale has an absolutely brilliant adaptation of usage die what really captures the downward spiral of vampire morality! Really elegant adaptation of the original system, where you used usage die for inventory items.

You also get lots of different NPC stats from commoners to supernatural beings. Many have special rules, which are simple, yet flavourful.

The Blood Hack has everything you need to begin playing in dark modern days as an undead vampire, who only doesn't struggle with her humanity, but also the dangers of the night. If you liked World Of Darkness games, this is a must have or you like The Black Hack, this is a great addition to your collection to mix with other "hack" genres.

Year 2017 has just started, but as an ex-Vampire fan and a big The Black Hack rules system fan, at this point I can already say, that The Blood Hack will be one of the greatest RPG products of this year.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Thaumaturge
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/21/2016 08:16:14

I am a sucker for new classes, especially magic-using classes. So I was very pleased to hear that Matthew Skail was releasing a new class designed to replace the magic-user in OSR games. The Thaumaturge is a 20-level spell casting class in 10 pages for any OSR-like game.

The main feature of the titular class is their non-Vancian spell casting system. Now I will admit that I am a fan of Vancian magic. It is part and parcel of playing D&D in my mind. That being said I have experimented with a number of non-Vancian and spell-point enabled systems over the years. But I keep coming back to Vancian magic. The Thaumatuge is a well thought out class though and the system has merit. There is a bit of 3.0 in this class' DNA, namely extensive use of the ability modifiers, but not so much as to drive away die hard Grognards.

The class is well written and could easily be dropped into any OSR game. In fact I think such things should be encouraged; different lands should have different types of magics.

The main feature of this class though is not just the spell-point system, but rather a system that gives the magic-user the means to do some dice-rolling just like the melee types. Having seen this more in 4th and 5th edition for arcane types, this is not something to be underestimated. People love to roll the dice to see if they hit or, in this case, a spell's success. There is even something in this that I normally call a "repeated casting modifier" (called Overcasting here). The idea of the "Mastered Spell" is also a nice one. Again, nothing we all have not seen elsewhere, but still nice to have in one place.

Since this is designed to replace the standard Magic-User it still uses Intelligence as the primary ability. I think though a strong case could be made to replace that with Charisma and make it a unique class. They can use the same spells as the Magic-user does, much like how the magic-user and elf can in Basic, or the Wizard and Sorcerer in 3rd edition.

There are also a couple of new spells and some new magic items. All for less money than a 20oz bottle of soda and a bag of chips.

There are some formatting issues with the document. Page numbers would also be nice and I'd put in a manual page break over Optional Rules.

Thoughts on Expansion While reading this I could not help but think that is actually two classes. First, there is the stated design goal, an augmentation of the magic-user class. But there is also a completely new class here as well. We can call them the Thaumaturgic Wizard and the Thaumaturge respectively. Now on paper there is no real difference here, but the concept opens up new possibilities. The Thaumaturgic Wizard implies there can be Thaumaturgic Clerics, Thaumaturgic Illusionists or even a Thaumaturgic Witch.
The Thaumaturge, however, is a different sort of caster. To go with the dictionary definition of Thaumaturgy you would almost need to add a little bit of clerical power to them without necissarily invoking some diety. Or at least a couple of the cleric's spells. Again, I'd base his spellcasting ability on Charisma at this point and make him something like a counterpoint to the witch.

This class as written would also gain some benefit from some of the ritual casting as presented in Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos. If you use spell points then places of power is a nice logical extension.

I have to say there is a lot of ideas here, certainly more than it's page count suggests.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Thaumaturge
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Tools of the Worldshapers
by David O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2016 12:13:15

Great content, but a bit uninspired with layout. A few more examples that seem connected and help build some kind of setting would have helped. The art ranges from excellent to not so excellent and seems a bit uneven. I was hoping for more information on what I saw on the cover (an evocative image just screaming for some kind of fluffy development).

Overall, well worth it and a great addition to White Star. Really I'd say this is 4.5 stars with a half star removed for uneven art and a somewhat bland presentation.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tools of the Worldshapers
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind review! You aren\'t the only one to comment on the layout. As I\'m still new to this, do you have any recommendations on improvements? I\'ll admit that layout is my weak point. Art is hard to source. And expensive when you do! The cover is a Powered Armor suit being built. I didn\'t want this to connect to a setting per se as I wanted this as a toolkit rather than something more limited in that way. My last book that was more connected to a pseudo-setting (Relics of the Akashics), while fun to write, didn\'t sell nearly as well as my pure crunch books.
Tools of the Worldshapers
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2016 16:54:48

Tools of the Worldshapers is an amazing product for a fun game. It is designed to augment the mechanics found in White Star in various ways without over burdening things. I have been contemplating creating many of these add-ons myself and now I don't have too. There is a ton of different options presented. Everything from ways to seperate class-from-race to how to give stock humans their own special abilities and more.

Tools of the Worldshapers is well written if a bit bland, but that is due to it being nearly all mechanics rather than a fluff book. The presentation is also somewhat uninspired even with the art it has, but that is a minor quibble to me as well.

This is well worth the money and yet another great product from DYS Games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you for your kind review! I\'m glad you enjoyed the book!
Between Star & Void
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/07/2016 07:19:54

White Star isn't just a cool set of rules, it is also a nice sandbox with some minor assumptions on a game universe. The best elements are left open for others to play with and develop further.

Between Star & Void is a great example.
This book covers the Star Knights and their enemies, the Void Knights, in greater detail. +Matthew Skail has done a great job of showing us what both groups of Knights can do. I came away not so much wanting to run "Jedi" or "Sith" but something more akin to the Green Lantern Corps. At 109 pages it is a pretty full (101 pages of content) of material for Star Knights and Void Knights. This book also includes Mystics, Star Pilot, Way Adapt and Alien Star Knight, and of course, Void Knights and an extra special group, the Eclipse Knights. There are plenty of new Meditations for the Knights and Mystics and new Empowerments for Void Knights. The Void Knights really kind of steal the show here a bit. I think everyone loves a good bad guy. Though the Star Pilot will get a lot of love in some game groups I am sure. We also have a chapter on Star Knight Martial Styles and a chapter on Star Sword construction. They really put the "Tao" in "Way" here. I have to admit reading this feels just like playing games in the late 70s early 80s when sci-fi was king and everywhere. I had toys from various franchises and freely mixed them all together is a crazy, and mostly incoherent, whole. But I didn't care, it was fun. This book is like that. Not crazy and incoherent, but certainly a lot of fun.
There are some great Appendices here too. There is an alternate Meditation system in Appendix A. Appendix B includes some "Fantasy Conversions" for Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Adventurer Conqueror King, or higher level White Star games. This includes higher level Meditations

The art is a mixed lot, but I love the cover. There are some obvious typos and the text needs some cleaning up here and there, but nothing that impacts readability or use. There is a lot of fun in this book and I can't wait to try it out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Between Star & Void
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Between Star & Void
by forest r. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2016 11:55:47

This is beyond all of my greatest expectations! I like how the Void Knights have been expanded on.This will help me keep the players on their toes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks so much! I'm so glad you like it! I hope your players never saw it coming! ;)
Between Star & Void
by Kurt R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2015 21:52:05

Between the Star & Void – A Reading Review by Kurt R

This is a great expansion offing from Matthew Skail and his DYS Games. The Star Knights and the opposing Void Knights are expanded upon and explained in great detail in this White Star Compatible PDF.

The PDF is 109 pages with 101 pages of content and it is bookmarked. It contains 5 classes, the Star Knight, Mystic, Star Pilot Way Adapt and Alien Star Knight, as well as Meditations, combat styles and new material on the Void Knights and their powers.

Reading this was a joy, very easy to read in the 6”x 9” format even on my tablet, single column and large type makes it readable while at a comfortable distance from your device. The cover page is a great piece of work by Joe Singleton and conjures mental pictures of the up coming battles to be waged. There are a few black and white and color interior illustrations that set the mood while letting your imagination wander.

While reading the Star Knight Meditations I was constantly remembering scenes from some little movies that came out between 1977 and 1983, I think you know the ones I am referring to! These are well thought out and look balanced and quite brief to allow for GM alteration, if he or she finds it necessary. They cover many powers you are used to seeing and might have used in other 1977 Space Fantasy RPGs. Construction of Star Swords is covered here in several pages and allows for modifications to enhance them for Accuracy, Armor Piercing, extra damage and adding to AC.

Most of the additional material is about the mysterious Void and the Knights who serve it. These fallen knights are given the “Star” treatment as far as what you can do to with them for use against your players, they seem to be geared towards only being NPCs and protagonists, not as player characters. Their powers are brutal and very scary, you don't want to fight one unless you are very prepared and probably a Star Knight. They have what are called “Enpowerments” like Cause Fear, Syphon Life, Dark Impulse Void Blood and Deadly Will, just to name a few.

Next is a section on equipment and ships, that include 4 Star Sword variants, crystals that improve Meditations, and some Ships of the Way.

There are 3 Appendices, the first one is an alternate way to level the Meditations for the users of the Way, to allow for a more front loaded campaign power base. This details out a new system that is a departure from regular OSR type rules, but again this is very well done and I would love to play with these rules sometime. The Second Appendix is Fantasy Conversions for S&W Complete, Labyrinth Lord and ACKS. These are single generic stat blocks that can be used by any of these systems with a bit of additional tweaking for ACKS, The final Appendix is a section for Reaction Rolls that can be used when players are running into NPCs, guards or hirelings.

This book is a great addition to the basic White Star game and I would recommend it for all of the WS buyers to pick this up too. 5 Stars and they are shining brightly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2015 13:03:04

This book is designed for the White Star game.Though it can be ported over to Swords & Wizardry with no issues. The psionist is introduced and powers are detailed. The psionist chooses a focus power area and sticks with that in the game. A nice, simple system with some useful powers. 11 pages with cover and OGL.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics
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Between Star & Void
by Jacob R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2015 01:14:02

This book greatly expands upon the Star Knight and Alien Mystic classes presented in the White Star core rulebook. It draws a great deal of inspiration, class concept-wise, from WotC's line of d20 Star Wars books, but provides different takes on old favorites. I especially like the Force Ade- err, Way Adept class add-on, and the Alien Star Knight, which adds a lot of customization. The new meditations are very good at emulating various Star Wars powers.

The only quibbles that I have with the book are technical. The font/type size used is not the easiest to read, especially when it comes to tables. In the Meditations section the author makes sure to include the meditations in the core book, as well as his new material. This saves a lot of time from flipping through two books. In the master list at the beginning of the section he puts the names of the new content in italics, which is commendable. I would have liked the meditation names in the main part of the section to be italicized, too, so I wouldn't have to flip back a few pages to tell what's new and what's not. There are also a few tables and stat blocks that get cut between pages.

Other systems make an appearance from d20 Star Wars, including star sword techniques and tricks. The author takes care to mention that they can add greater power the Way (his term for Force wielders) classes, and I agree, but it's costly and time-consuming to learn them. I hope that he follows up this book with a range of supplements that add customization to the other classes, as it's a pet peeve of mine when one class gets all the goodies. That problem is especially egregious in White Star, where the classes are all very abstract to begin with.

I really like the Void and Eclipse Knights. The alternate system of Focused Meditations is easier to implement than the regular meditations, and it does a nice job of grouping powers together by theme.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Between Star & Void
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for taking time to review my product. I really appreciate it and am thrilled that you enjoyed it.
Psionics II: Warriors of the Mind
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2015 14:11:07
http://dieheart.net/psionics/

This supplement is similar to the previous one. The author created two new classes: the human Psionic Warrior and the Alien Psionic Warrior. They resemble the Star Knight more than the above mentioned Psion. The Psionic Warrior uses the same XP table as the Star Knight which seems fair. Weapon and Armor restrictions etc. are also very akin. The Alien Psionic Warrior caps at level 8 but his XP requirements are considerably higher than one of the standard Alien Classes. He gets Alien Racial Benefits depending on what species you choose. For example, the Avians are winged and can fly and the Armed have some kind of natural weaponry with 1d6 damage. There are 11 species to choose from. Both classes have Warrior Focus: at 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th (for Humans) level they gain one point of Focus, i.e. Reflexes (+1 to AC), Speed (+3 Movement) or Accuracy (+1 To Hit).

Both classes have access to Disciplines. These psionic powers are very similar to the ones mentioned in “Psionics”. There are 13 powers which are level-less. They raise in power or accuracy as the character gains levels in his class. However, differently from the Psion, these powers have a level cap/limitation. For instance, the power Akashic Meditation (a catch-all for a sense power where you can choose between sense evil or sense traps or detect poison etc. (10 options)) is limited to level 5. Like the Star Knight the two classes can use these powers from level 2 on (not like the Psion who can access Disciplines as a starter character). Again, I’m not really sure if the classes have access to all powers beginning from level 2 as the text is a bit unclear on that. Anyways, use of Disciplines is limited per day depending on your level. Generally, the powers mostly overlap with the supplement “Psionics”. But the classes mentioned here have access to a Psionic Blade and can Imbue Weapon which fits the warrior theme better.

As a bonus, the product contains an appendix for Wild Talents with two possible ways to incorporate them into your campaign. The idea is that normal people can have innate psionic powers, so called Wild Talents. This option provides the opportunity to add a template to an existing class. Thus you can play a “normal” class like a Mercenary and add psionic powers. The “new school method” is more balanced and comes with an own XP table where you can “buy” talents for a number of XP. The “old school method” is much more random and asks you to roll on a table to determine your Disciplines. This appendix is a very neat idea and definitely an option if you don’t want to add the fully fleshed out Psionic classes.

Look and feel of the PDF are comparable to the first product. The fonts are easy to read and the layout is spartan (which is not a bad thing). The artwork varies in style which I don’t find that pleasing. It would have been nice if the author stuck to one style like he did in his first supplement.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this product. The classes seem to be a bit more balanced than the Psion but they are still very powerful. I especially like the appendix options. While you get a lot bang for the buck, the product’s price (USD $2.99) is on the upper range of White Star supplements. I’m again hard pressed to rate this and also decide on a 4/5. If you’re dedicated to include psionics in your game this is really nice. Still, it’s comparably pricey and the classes are not without problems regarding balancing issues. Yet a very good product and only a small step away from a 5 star rating.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics II: Warriors of the Mind
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Psionics
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2015 14:10:25
http://dieheart.net/psionics/

The supplement details a new class, the Psion. It’s similar to the Star Knight which is understandable given the aim of this class. It goes up till level 10, but the XP-requirements are slightly lower than the Star Knight. It’s somewhere between the Mercenary (the standard fighter) and the Star Knight. Weapon and armor restrictions are also comparable to the Star Knight, however, the Psion can’t use shields. All in all, the class reminds me a bit of a mix between a Cleric and a Magic-User. Why Cleric? The Psion has access to a number of so-called Disciplines. Disciplines are scaled in level. The author created a level-less “spell system” (yay for none-vancian magic!) where higher levels in this class grant the Disciplines more power. A level 1 Psion has access to 1 power and can use it once per day. A level 8 psion knows 5 powers and can use them 8 times per day. Actually, I’m not really clear if the Psion has to choose which power to learn at each level or if he can use all powers. The class table has an entry for “Powers Known” but the section about the Disciplines tells us that “they are all available from first level and simply grow in power as the character gains levels”. Thus, I stand by my notion that the Psion is a bit like a Cleric in that he has access to all powers.

Furthermore, the Psion chooses a Focus at the start of play. He has to determine his Focus once and can’t change it. This is a “minor” power that doesn’t count against his daily uses. Examples include “Sensitive: gain +1 to AC; Initiative, Saving Throws & avoiding Surprise” or “Telepathic: contrate 10 minutes and sense thoughts within 60 ft, target can resist with a Saving Throw”. Although these talents are billed as minor, they are pretty useful. Plus, they are quite handy as they can be used at-will.

Let’s get back to the Disciplines. Matthew Skail has created 11 Disciplines for the Psion, quite a lot. There are cool things like Biomastery which lets you raise your Armor Class or heighten your reflexes. You can also Cloud Minds where you can make others ignore you. As an attack power, there is Mind Assault which always does damage, save only halves it. At level 1 your damage is 1d6+1 and each level grants you a pool of d6s. With these you can empower the attack, for instance, you can spend dice on making the attack a cone or to strike only selected targets. There are also some powers which might be problematic for the GM to incorporate without breaking the adventure, for example, Meta-portation which allows the Psion to translocate to spaces he has seen before. Granted, at level 1 they can only transport 10 lbs at a range of 50 ft but at level 6 it’s already 1 mile and 500 lbs.

And that’s where I see problems with this class. Generally, the Psion is very interesting but I assume that he is pretty powerful. His XP requirements are lower than the Star Knight, but he is way more versatile with his choice of Disciplines. Some powers are very impressive and from reading this supplement the Psion looks like he’s a much more interesting class than the Star Knight.

Visually, the product clearly stems from the DIY-OSR-movement. The layout is barebones but the author made sure to include nice illustrations from Luigi Castellani. (I think these were part of one of Sine Nomine’s free art packs but that doesn’t influence the art’s quality.) All in all, this is a serviceable looking product but nothing spectacular.

I find it a bit hard to rate this supplement. On the whole, the new class is very appealing and I especially like the level-less powers. However, I have the impression that the Psion is too powerful for his own good and might overshadow other classes: he can choose between a whole lot of powers right away (beginning from level 1 whereas the Alien Mystic and the Star Knight access their powers at level 2) and the foci are also very versatile. The price point is fair but on the upper range of White Star supplements (yes, that’s true, most cost between USD $1.00 and $1.99). I’m giving this a 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for the detailed review! I have clarified the pdf to make it clear that Psionics permanently choose powers when they get new \'Powers Known\', so they aren\'t like Clerics in that they can swap powers daily. Thanks for pointing out to me that it wasn\'t clear!
Psionics II: Warriors of the Mind
by Walt R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2015 11:19:25

With the release of the first, Psionics, Mathew Skail gave fans a cool glimpse into what the White Star RPG could handle, in regards to powers other than the ones listed in the book. With Psionics II, we take this notion even further by seeing the psychics get a militant upgrade. Both Human and Alien Psychic warriors are detailed and fully fleshed out for your game table. If the Star Knight is the embodiment of your favorite space faring sentinels, the Psychic Warrior brings an alternative not bound by a devotion to "The Way." This, combined with the Warrior Focus mechanic, allows for a warrior that feels just as comfortable in the mud with the Mercs as they do in the Noble Houses of Sand Dune Space. The Psychic Disciplines in the book cover enough to get your psychic warrior started and cover enough range so that one warrior can feel a bit different from another. This is especially true with the Alien Psi-Warrior where inherent racial abilities mixed with cool psi-powers can make characters distinct.

The Good: Abilities from the first book are tailored to the warrior class and the Psi-Warriors feel fun, gritty, and just as dangerous with a Psychic Blade as a Star Knight is with a Star Sword. Wild Talents in the appendices make this book a must have for those looking to have "aspects" of psionics in their games. References to creating "Dojos" and things like the "Akashic" are vaguely fun.

Room for Improvement: The layout is simple one column and although the art invokes that OSR feel, some of it is not consistent (like it wasn't inked and some can be hard to see).

In truth I had to strain to find something to improve as this is everything I like in an OSR product. Fun classes, cool powers, and a great price point. I look forward to more from this publisher.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics II: Warriors of the Mind
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Psionics
by Russell D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/16/2015 08:18:40

Psionics is what it says on the tin: a psionicist class for White Star. The “Star Knight” and “Alien Mystic” classes are fine for Jedi-style flavor, but I know in my particular home campaign I’m not really a fan of having them. Not to mention their meditations and gifts felt too much like D&D counterparts, which isn’t exactly what I was hoping for. I loved the “Psychic” class out of Stars Without Number, but it’s a bit beefy to implement in the liter rules of White Star.

So for an alternative, Matthew Skail gave us a class that acquires a number of powers (and a limited number of uses a day) based on level. The difference here is each power (called disciplines) is available to choose from level 1, and it scales by the character’s level. Psionicists also get to choose a focus at level 1, which is an ability they can use that doesn’t spend one of their daily power uses.

What’s great is each discipline has a variety of uses, and even when you can only kick them off once a day they turn out handy. For instance: “Cellular Adjustment” provides a pool of d6’s equal to level. The duration of the power, however, is 1 hour. In that time, the psionicist can take that pool of dice and spend it how they want between themselves and others. Some of those dice can also be spent to grant a target extra saving throws versus poison or disease, and at max level can revive someone who was recently slain (but with some tolls put on them.

Other powers are what you would expect — mind assault, shielding, remote viewing, telekinesis, etc. But all of them offer an array of effects and aren’t just one time tricks that are spent and gone.

Pros: A damn fine alternative psychic-powered utility class that offers options but is mechanically sound for the lighter aspects of the system. Would even make a good class for fantasy-based games using Whitebox style rules. Artwork is pretty cool and appropriate.

Quibbles: The only cons I have about this are minor nags of preference: the flavor text still has this element of the fantastic, such as references to the “Akashic Overmind” and forming temples at higher level. This is easily remedied with hand waving, and isn’t terribly distracting. There’s also something not quite grabbing me about the choice of font and size, and I wished the tables and pictures ran alongside the text as opposed to being breaks between text and taking up their own real-estate — leaving a bit of negative space on the page. I’m guilty of these things in my own self-released games, though, so I really have no room to talk.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics
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