James Spahn’s sci-fi OSR game White Star (aff) is the first product which made me take the leap and create original content for others to use. As the base system is easy and licensed under the OGL the hurdle isn’t high.
While I’m proud of my little work (a new class, the Explorer), I’m by no means the only one creating stuff for this game.
So, today I take a look at Outer Space Raiders! Volume 1: Classes by Magic Pig Media/Chuck Thorin.
Disclaimer: I received a free PDF copy for reviewing purposes.
What do you need to know?
Outer Space Raiders! Volume 1: Classes is a short PDF containing new classes for White Star, the Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox in space.
What’s in it?
For the small investment of less than 2 bucks you’ll get 6 classes.
Let’s take a gander.
It’s a generic Alien class which can be customized to your needs. White Star uses race-as-class and the core rulebook has two Alien classes: the Alien Brute (which is an Alien Mercenary (read: fighter)) and the Alien Mystic (some kind of “cleric/magic-user”).
What if you want to play an Alien class that doesn’t fit into either category? That’s where Chuck Thorin’s Alien comes into play. While the class feels pretty universal and bland, the strength comes from providing simple options like Natural Weapon or -1 [+1] to AC to personalize the template for your needs and then flavor it with your campaign notes.
This class is a nice catch-all for non-human races.
I must admit that I’m not familiar with its literary model. The class looks pretty interesting. It’s a “magic-user” who uses Quantum Formulae to bend reality. XP requirements for higher levels is pretty high which is good for specialists classes.
Mechanics wise the Astromancer is a spellcaster. While some “spells” are based on typical D&D stuff, they are nicely reworded to make sense in a sci-fi setting. Plus, there are also new spells. The Quantum Formulae list is tailored to this class and makes sense. I like “Analyze the Possibilities” (Lvl 3) where you can peek into the future. The formulae is scaled according to the number of questions you ask the GM and there’s also a chance that you’ll get a wrong answer.
This is some type of McGyver/Scotty-class: a technician who can create gadgets out of bubblegum, tape and stuff he can scrape together.
The rules for gadgets are cleverly made. The Engineer has a daily limit on how many gadgets he can make and there’s also a chance of gadget burnout, meaning that the device will fail.
I like the interesting mechanics and the utility of this class. With gadgets, the Engineer can heal, entangle (Goo Gun), repair equipment or robots, put other beings to sleep etc.
I’m a bit unsure about the fixed list of available gadgets. While it provides guidelines I’d probably handle it in a more free-form way.
The Lost Worlder is someone who comes from a planet with primitive technology. Thus, he is able to wield primitive weapons like clubs and swords but not high-tech weaponry like laser pistols. This class gets some minor adjustments to the standard Mercenary like being good with melee weapons, having animal instincts or being tough.
While the mechanics and the paint differ from the Mercenary, I feel that this class is still too similar.
The pirates, smugglers, and con-men. They remind me of thieves/halflings because they are the lucky folk. Scoundrels also “know a guy”.
This class is a good representation of the scoundrel archetype with nice abilities, mainly focussed on luck (re-rolling dice or having a bonus on a roll).
The idea behind the Warp Ninjas is a bit zany: they move out of phase to become invisible or teleport. They use the warp to surround themselves with a shield. This is a bit ridiculous and I like it.
Other than that, they are good at unarmored attacks and can’t use shields or Medium or Heavy Armor. The XP requirements are pretty high, for example, level 10 requires 640.000 XP.
Look & Feel
The PDF comes at 20 pages (including 1 page for the cover & 1 for the OGL, so 18 pages of pure content). It is not electronically bookmarked.
The artwork differs in style very much because it is from different artists. It feels a bit disjointed, but the quality is not bad. I would have preferred a more cohesive look.
The layout is very simple and bare bones, something which everyone should be able to cobble together in a word processor. That being said, everything is good and easy to read and that’s the most important part for me.
So, while Outer Space Raiders will not win the contest in the category of prettiest PDF, it clearly suffices for this kind of small niche product.
What do I like?
For USD $1.49 you get some interesting material for your White Star game. Not everything might fit into your campaign world, but at least some of the classes should be usable.
The Engineer is pretty ingenious and the Alien is a good “catch-all” class.
All in all, these are mostly not simple re-skins of typical D&D classes. The author has thought about what he wanted to achieve and then used existing archetypes as a base and modified them with sci-fi flavor and new mechanics.
What would I’ve liked to see?
As stated above, I’d like to see a nicer layout and a more homogenous artwork style. However, artwork can be expensive so I can understand that the author took what he could get for this kind of product.
The Lost Worlder looks a bit weak to me as it fills the same niche as the Mercenary albeit with a “primitive” paint.
As White Star is a hack of S&W WhiteBox you already have quite some classes when you take the core game of WS and the additional material of WhiteBox and modify it.
So you’ll need to decide if you need more stuff. With Outer Space Raiders! Volume 1: Classes you can’t go wrong as the new classes are mostly interesting and the price point of USD $1.49 very reasonable.