Oct 19, 2012

Big Bad Con: Stars Without Number

Stars Without Number
This is a game by Kevin Crawford. It can best be described as Traveller meets OD&D.
I must say Stars Without Number has a great to hit system. It is beautiful in its simplicity and faithfulness to original D&D: just roll a 20 or better to hit on a d20. Add bonuses, add opponent's AC to d20 roll. So an opponent with a high (weak) armor class adds more to your to hit roll while strong AC is a low number and adds less to your roll. It is a sort of reverse THAC0. Very clever, easy, and quite intuitive. I want to steal it for every OD&D inspired RPG I want to make. I'll probably use it when I run OD&D henceforth.
The adventure will sound a little familiar now:
You are part of an interstellar enforcement group called "The Enforcers" 
The leader of your group is missing
Track his location down, and find out what happened
We were too late, he was already dead by the time we found him. A battle insued with some strange aliens that at first looked human, but were infected by strange "tentacle" creatures.
We found out an alien invasion of some sort was underway.
There was a stealth satellite transmitting data to the aliens. Through this satellite we discovered the secret base where the aliens were stationed.
We infiltrated the secret island base and destroyed it, thus preventing the alien invasion and saving the planet.
While fun, I must say it shares problems that all sci-fi games have. It is too open ended. Technology makes everyone into super-wizards, so it is hard for the game master to maintain control over the game. Still, we had a lot of fun.
edit: corrected author's name.


  1. Do you mean that James ran it? Because Kevin Crawford wrote it.

  2. ^ Exactly. I think Thomas is thinking of James' "Thousand Suns" game

  3. ^ Possibly. "Thousand Suns" is quite the enjoyable RPG, in its own right. If you liked SWN, Thomas, pick up the sister game "Other Dust", it's a grand game, and tones down the 'technowizardry' issue.

  4. I think that's Delta's Target 20 system. Or something very close. See here for his implementation.

  5. by James I of course meant Kevin Crawford. :)

    Thousand Suns is the next sci-fi rpg on my list to play.