Sunday, 10 January 2016

White Star RPG review

I don't buy new systems as often as I should, and in truth, I don't try things out as much as I used to (let no one ask of the werewolf LRP session some twenty years back), but once in a while, something gets my attention and I feel compelled to check it out.  I've got very fond memories of Old School games in general, they were the games that I grew up on, but the science fiction games from the time were very different in nature from the fantasy ones.  A side effect of the genre perhaps, but the sci fi seemed significantly heavier on the maths than the fantasy.

Not any more it seems

This is White Star, Old School science fiction roleplaying...

D&D in space?

Not quite, there are a lot of parallels to be made with it, and it's entirely possible to take a character from any OSR system and have aliens whip them off to a different galaxy using this book, but that doesn't make it D&D in space.

Four character classes, four character races, and it's easy to draw the parallels of each one to their counterpart on the fantasy side, but the descriptions are clear and there's no touch of nudging and winking to the equivalents, which I have to say that I liked.  A comparison at this point would be akin to indicating that you know you've used something else, and that's not the way forwards.

A brief aside here, there's a lot in the rules that points out that you're encouraged to house rule things, make things up where you have a better idea, and in general, change it to suit, in the manner of those games so long ago.  While it's not required to give permission to a GM to change things, it is good to have the acknowledgement that we did make a lot of stuff up on the fly back then.

The rest of the book is a basic sector to work in, and the tools that you'll need to put the players into them, there's a sample adventure at the back of the book, but nothing that would keep you going for more than a week or so.  On the surface of it, reasonably bare bones, but the revelation in that is that bare bones is what I started out on, when I wasn't sure about something, it encouraged me to think of what I'd do, and that's where I started to improve, because it wasn't given to me.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing missed in here, you can run it with just the basic book and not have to worry about being lost for something.  The game will be a little more limited if you only use what you find in the book, and if you like what you got in the first instance, you'll need to work at it, there's enough creatures and exotic things in there to keep people going for some time, but you will have to work for it.  There's a bunch of fan material out there already and a lot of people are being inspired to make more by the day, which is the very spirit of OSR as I define it, so in summation, it's a basic document and if you want plenty of ready content good to go, it's not for you.

If you don't mind working, it's an excellent tool kit for the beginnings of space exploration.

And on a personal note to the creators, Starships as creatures, excellent...