DriveThruRPG.com
Close
Close
Browse









Back
Stars Without Number: Core Edition $39.99 $19.99
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
10 5
1 1
1 0
0 0
0 0
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Click to view
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/10/2015 21:33:24
This gem was released in 2011 and was written by Kevin Crawford and Sine Nomine Publishing. SWN is a big book, 254 pages filed with maps, sheets, a great index, but no OGL statement that I kind find.
To me this book feels more like the work of hard sci-fi; like that Asimov, Bradbury and Heinlein. Certainly it is epic in scope. There is more of a setting here than other OSR-flavored games, so if you like that, great, if not, well it seems easy enough to ignore.

Chapter 1 covers Character creation. We have seen this all before, but perfect for people new to RPGs or scifi fans new to the Classic 6 Attributes and level/class systems.
The classes are the three "archetypes" that you can find in True20 and other games, The Expert, The Psychic and The Warrior. Each has their own advancement table and Hit Die. SWN assumes a 20 level career in case you were curious. Each class also gets their own saving throw tables.
There are background packages which can be added to classes to give your character more depth and determines some of their skills. There are also training packages to further define your character.
Character creation is a breeze and no one seems to die while doing it.

Chapter 2 covers Psionics. There are quite a lot of psionic powers detailed here. So first thing, if psionics are something you must have in your sci-fi game then please check this game out first. Powers as expected have point cost values. Psionic points always give the powers a different feel for me than magic, so this is another plus really. These powers are not merely reskinned spells, they have been redone to fit within the mythos of the game better.

Chapter 3 details all the equipment you will need including the Tech Level of the equipment. D&D would be tech level 1 (or so) while we are at TL 3. The game is set at TL 5 with some artifacts at TL 6. Time Lords are hanging out at 7 or 8 I would say. D20 Future and Traveller also use a similar mechanic, so if you want to see how they can also work, checking out those games is advisable.
The standard batch of weapons and armor from sticks and stone all the way up to energy weapons are discussed. AC is descending by the way. What is really nice about this game is in addition to lasers, energy swords and computers it also includes Cyberware.

Chapter 4 is the Game Systems chapter. It includes the expected combat, but also a new twist on the skill checks with Target Numbers. Useful if you are using the skills as described here, but it's real utility comes in how flexible it can be. I would have to try it out more, but it's close enough to other skill + die roll + mods vs TN that I can see it's use in a variety of situations.

Chapter 5 covers the history of space of the default campaign setting. Even if you don't use it there are some great ideas here.

Chapter 6 is the Game Master Guide of the game. Deals with running the game and how and where to use skill checks.

Chapter 7 is World Generation which is just FULL of material for any game. While this game has a lot going for it, this is the real gem in my mind. This flows right into Chapter 8, Factions. Factions are important groups. Say a group of allied pirates or smugglers, a government or a band of plucky rebels. Several key factors when creating a faction are given and there is a huge list of sample factions.
Chapter 9 discusses what sort of adventures you might be able to have. With Chapters 6 through 8 and all the details they give, running out of ideas is the least of your worries really.

Chapter 10 covers the creation of alien species. First the hows and whys of aliens are discussed; what to use, where and why to use them. Some of this is situated in the campaign setting, but there is some good advice here even if you plan on using your own background/campaign or not even have aliens. Plenty of traits are detailed and how they might combine. There are three alien races detailed.
Naturally this flows into Chapter 11, Xenobestiary. AKA the Monster Manual. Again we are given a lot of detail on how make alien beasts and then a listing of several samples.
Chapter 12 gives us Robots and Mechs. We have various traits detailed and then plenty of samples.
Chapter 13 deals with societies. This might have felt better coming after Chapter 8 really.
Chapter 14 has designer notes. I nice little treat to be honest.
Chapter 15 deals with the Hydra Sector, or the "Known World" of this game. Instead of countries we have planets.
Chapter 16 ends the book with scores of random tables. Create just about anything with a few rolls of the dice.
There is a nice Index (sadly lacking in many books) and plenty of maps and blank sheets for characters, starships, and adventures.

Stars Without Number is big. It is a vast game with endless possibilities. If there is a sci-fi property out there chances are good that this game will be able to do it.

My only complaint is a non-existent OGL declaration. Can you do a game like this with out one? Maybe, but I would not want too. Plus it makes the game's utility a little less for me.

The game is beautiful and there is so much going on with it that it would take me a number of games with it just to get the right feeling for it. The overall feel I get with this game is that it is the perfect child of Basic D&D and Traveller. So much of what made both of those games so great is here.

Is Stars Without Number perfect? No, not really. But it is really damn close and even from a short distance I could not tell it apart from a perfect game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Joseph M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/01/2013 14:04:52
I wasn't that interested in OSR products. But I was looking for a game that would scratch my Sci-Fi space itch. Much to my suprise SWN did the job just fine. Suddenly I was hooked on hacking OSR games to make my own adventures.

This book is both light and easy to read, well presented, and most importantly, gameable in less than 30 minutes! (Depending on how fast you read.) The core combat rules are OSR easy, and the skill system is one of the better ones I've seen in OSR variants. (If they use Skills at all.)

But what made SWN shine for me was the sandboxing options. There are plenty for starting GMs. For me though...I need more and I'll write up more for myself.

I went with the core edition because I wanted to support the writer and the mech/robot rules were useful.

Now the trick is finding the money to get a nice hardbound copy down the line. It's that good.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/26/2012 16:34:58
I have to make a confession - When stars Without Numbers was first released, it didn't excite me. Not because it wasn't a good system, but because I really wasn't yearning for a good sci-fi game. So I gave it a quick look and it went back to sit on my virtual bookshelf.

Why then am I currently reading Stars Without Numbers: Core Edition when the free edition is sitting on my hard drive? It isn't just the cover (which is striking).

I'm interested in the society generation tables. (well, and the mech and robot stuff - with a little work SWN:Core and Labyrinth Lord would make for a coherent and balanced alternative to Rifts).

I was expecting something along the lines of the classic Traveller system generation. What I got was more like Microscope. I think I like the system in SWN: CE better than either of these choices. Given a few minutes, you could get some unique world backstory for just about any game system. Heck, I'd borrow this for my next fantasy campaign. Maybe the publishers could publish this section on its own - it is that good.

There really is enough here to cover all the world and government types your might want in your game, with tables that cover just about every aspect of the societies. If you were to crib this for a fantasy campaign building session, each "world" would be a country, and you'd have to smooth out some of the inconsistencies between countries in the same geographical area, but with the world building tool you are given really could build a world.

As for SWN in general - I really like the class system. Comfortable enough for me as an AD&D grognard to feel right at home while still keeping the system fresh and effectively gear to sci-fi. I do so want to make a Rifts like mashup tho' ;)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/10/2012 07:35:15
Stars Without Number: Core Edition delivers exactly what it promises; an Old School Renaissance retro science-fiction role-playing experience. Players can choose between one of three classes for their character that are essentially a futuristic version of the classic warrior, wizard, and rogue, but then also select Background Packages and Training Packages to make their character unique.

SWN:CE has some nice mechanics that were absent from the earlier games it is inspired by. It really makes this system feel like a game that is attempting to capture the feel of old school gaming while not just simply reprinting out-dated rules in a new format.

There is a lot in this book. Psionics, starships, mecha, robots, aliens, and AI just to name a few. I could see a GM using only a few of these elements to create a more hard sci-fi setting, possibly dropping psionics entirely.

Even if you don't intend on running this game, I would recommend picking up this title simply for the GM's section. It has great, system neutral rules for creating entire sectors of space, the planets they contain, and the factions, governments, and societies on them. There is also a sample sector that you can start playing in right away, or adapt for use in another game. I highly recommend this book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/22/2011 07:36:15
Stars Without Number is perhaps the best old-school inspired sci-fi game I have ever had the joy of reading. The author, Kevin Crawford, clearly knows his stuff, and masterfully conveys the simplicity of old-school mechanics and merges them with the vast and nigh-limitless possibilities of the sci-fi genre.

Normally I’d approach a game like this with no small amount of skepticism. I came into the hobby at the tail end of the old-school rulesets, and the bulk of my gaming knowledge was firmly rooted in the 1995-2000 era. White Wolf and Legend of the Five Rings were staples to me, and while I was tangentially aware of the old school rulesets thanks to the old SSI gold box games and Baldur’s Gate, I’ve never really played them.

That said, I’ve found the rules for Stars Without Number to be fairly light, easy to understand and perhaps with an overabundance of tables. Character creation is simple, my first attempt to make a character with the rules for this review took me less than fifteen minutes, with an extra few minutes when it came to shopping for gear.

The game is class-based, dividing the characters to Warrior, Expert and Psychics, each with their own moderate to strong niche protection. While character generation might feel a bit flimsy to those more used to modern systems, I found the character creation rules of Stars Without Number to be a refreshing change of pace, given that it focuses only on the bare minimum needs, and leaves a lot of the fluff to be something for the Players and GM to agree upon, a practice that I heartily endorse.

The system is also equally simple, and doesn’t break any new ground as far innovation is concerned, but that’s alright. Even if it doesn’t innovate, Stars Without Number makes up for it by being exhaustive. From Psychic Powers to Starship Combat and Mecha, the game has a something from everything.

In fact, over half of the book is dedicated to GM tools in order to generate nearly anything. Worlds, Factions, Religions, Governments and Societies are just the tip of the iceberg. Each of these can be life savers for a GM trying to put together an adventure.



Stars Without Number belongs on a “must-have” list for any gamer. The mechanics are easy to understand, but have a remarkable amount of mileage when it comes to usefulness. The game comes with its own setting, but any GM worth his salt can use the system for just about anything.

New gamers and old hands alike will find something useful in this book, and I personally find that it will be difficult to not recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in running a Sci-Fi campaign.

---

If you'd like to read more review by me, come visit my blog at: http://philgamer.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Terry B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2011 05:04:26
I'm really happy to see the new core edition, and know it is available in a hardback format.

The only difference between this version, and the previously free version, are the addition of mecha rules, the AI/robot rules, and the society creation tables in the GMs Section.

Personally, I believe this information should have been released in several Mandate Archives, rather than have us buying a new core rulebook to obtain it. Other than that, I have no problems with it.

If you've already picked up the free version, give this one a try. If you are thinking of getting the free version, buy this one. You'll be glad you did.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 6 (of 6 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates