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Stars/Worlds Without Number (General Thread)

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I am trying to understand the system for Renown and major projects, which turns out to be quite difficult because the actual rules are hidden within walls and walls of examples.
This is an unfortunate and pervasive problem with WWN. 🙁

What's the difference between the difficulty and the renown cost for a project? In some paragraphs they seem to be the same thing, but in other places they are mentioned as two separate things the PCs have to deal with.
There are two ways PCs can go about acquiring enough Renown to complete a project. They can earn Renown by adventuring, but they can also take steps to decrease the difficulty. The “Decreasing the Difficulty” section describes several ways PCs can go about doing that. The reason for the distinction is that Renown gained towards decreasing the difficulty of a project does not affect the PCs’ own Renown.

For example, while trying to establish a trade route, the PCs spend 50,000 sp buying off bandits and recalcitrant officials. That’s enough sp to purchase 17 Renown, which reduces the difficulty of the project accordingly. If the PCs had 10 Renown before they started bribing everyone, they’d still have 10 Renown afterward (plus whatever they earn normally per “Renown Rewards” on pages 254–255).
 
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Yora

Legend
Rules question: When a character goes from mortally wounded to frail, is he only unable to regain hit points from natural healing, or does he also not recover any system strain while being frail?
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Rules question: When a character goes from mortally wounded to frail, is he only unable to regain hit points from natural healing, or does he also not recover any system strain while being frail?
Characters who are frail do not recover (although I suppose reduce would be more accurate) System Strain. Page 48, first column, under the Natural Healing header.
 


kenada

Legend
Supporter
The offset print version of the book is available on Sine Nomine’s web store.

My copy came today. I also have the PoD version. The offset print version is much nicer. The cover is sized correctly, so it lays flat properly when open. It also doesn’t suffer from the “gray” text problem with PoD when black text is printed on top of images — like in tables with alternating white and non-white row backgrounds. It also appears to include the errata, which my PoD copy does not.

We still haven’t done a second session. I’ve needed to push back a couple of times due to not being ready. That’s somewhat on me. I was falling into old habits for prep, which was just too much. If things go well, we should have our second session on August 7th.

And now a question for everyone here: how large are your groups? We had four players, but one decided to take a break, leaving us with three. WWN is all about old-school, so encounters aren’t balanced for the PCs, but do things keep working more or less with smaller groups? We’ve got a warrior, a healer/partial-necromancer, and an expert. It seems like the major roles are covered.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
The offset print version of the book is available on Sine Nomine’s web store.

My copy came today. I also have the PoD version. The offset print version is much nicer. The cover is sized correctly, so it lays flat properly when open. It also doesn’t suffer from the “gray” text problem with PoD when black text is printed on top of images — like in tables with alternating white and non-white row backgrounds. It also appears to include the errata, which my PoD copy does not.

We still haven’t done a second session. I’ve needed to push back a couple of times due to not being ready. That’s somewhat on me. I was falling into old habits for prep, which was just too much. If things go well, we should have our second session on August 7th.

And now a question for everyone here: how large are your groups? We had four players, but one decided to take a break, leaving us with three. WWN is all about old-school, so encounters aren’t balanced for the PCs, but do things keep working more or less with smaller groups? We’ve got a warrior, a healer/partial-necromancer, and an expert. It seems like the major roles are covered.
I DM for a group of 3 players, a group of 5 players, and a group of 7 players. I'm planning on doing my Dark Sun WWN game with the 7 player group.
 

Yora

Legend
I'm working on a new campaign right now and aiming to start with five players. So when one drops out I still got four left, and when one can't make it it's still three players and we can play.
I am planning for something with a smaller group, so the fifth player is really mostly the margin of error, since I expect there to be some rotation of players at the start until you have a group of four established regulars who are in for the long haul.

While much of the game is based on OD&D and B/X, the main factor that made those old games tailored for large groups was the XP for treasure mechanic, which isn't in WWN by default. When the game isn't so much about the constant hauling of loot taken from beneath the butts of sleeping dragons or pried from the hands of a hibernating lich, large parties with a fast overturn of PCs aren't really a necessity.

If such a thing is desired, I would definitely through out the Henchkeeper focus. It requires way too much of an investment for very little gain. The henchpeople suck and aren't worth 2 foci. I'd just replace those with the henchmen rules from Basic Fantasy (which is completely free).
If PCs having henchmen is desired, then locking them between two foci really isn't the way to go. They should be free and much stronger. (Though I guess with the WWN XP system, having them get a share of the fixed amount of XP does no longer work as an incentive not to have a whole entourage of them at all times.)

I wrote down some notes to give players an idea what they can expect of WWN as a game when I start looking for players. Maybe this might be useful to some.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Thanks @TwoSix and @Yora. It sounds like we should be okay. My players didn’t seem particularly fond of retainers in OSE, so I won’t really push that as an option.

If such a thing is desired, I would definitely through out the Henchkeeper focus. It requires way too much of an investment for very little gain. The henchpeople suck and aren't worth 2 foci. I'd just replace those with the henchmen rules from Basic Fantasy (which is completely free).
As I understand it, Henchkeeper doesn’t stop you from getting hirelings the normal way (see the intro on page 24 and also page 34). It just guarantees you’ll find someone, won’t have to pay them, and they’ll be loyal unless you put them in “unacceptable danger”. If you don’t want to spend 2 foci on that, you should be able to hire someone (subject to their being available and willing to work for you).

I wrote down some notes to give players an idea what they can expect of WWN as a game when I start looking for players. Maybe this might be useful to some.
Are there some house rules in there? The initiative rules look like B/X.
 

I wrote down some notes to give players an idea what they can expect of WWN as a game when I start looking for players. Maybe this might be useful to some.

That's keen. My copy arrived today and I'm all excited to run something with it (a big solid book creates more excitement than big ephemeral PDFs) - but I need to bring one of my current games to a graceful conclusion first, then convince one of my groups to give it a try. Your doc will help.

One note though, if you use the rules in the Demihumans of the Latter Earth chapter, then race does have a mechanical effect (in the form of predefined foci).
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I wrote down some notes to give players an idea what they can expect of WWN as a game when I start looking for players. Maybe this might be useful to some.
This is a really nice document, thank you! Very succinct (which is not WWN's strength). :)

Are there some house rules in there? The initiative rules look like B/X.
This looks like the initiative rules I have in my book. 1d8+highest Dex mod in the party, group initiative.
 

Yora

Legend
I wrote it specifically for my campaign, not as a straight up summary. I'd actually have to check myself if everything matches the book. There's probably some things in WWN that made me immediately think "yeah, not gonna use that" and then never thought about it again. (I think I wrote my own takes on rolling stats and checking for wandering monsters.)
Probably best use it as a reference for which parts of the rules to look up because there might be something unexpected or intereating.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
This looks like the initiative rules I have in my book. 1d8+highest Dex mod in the party, group initiative.
Initiative isn’t rerolled every round in WWN. Surprise is based on an opposed Dex/Stealth or Wis/Notice check, assuming it is possible (which the book notes is almost never in a Deep unless one side has set up an ambush).
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Initiative isn’t rerolled every round in WWN. Surprise is based on an opposed Dex/Stealth or Wis/Notice check, assuming it is possible (which the book notes is almost never in a Deep unless one side has set up an ambush).
Ahh, I missed that line in the summary. Yea, initiative is only at the start of the fight in the core rules.
 

Yora

Legend
Rolling initiative on a d8 instead of a d6 is one of those things where I really don't see the point of relearning doing something marginally different than I'm used to for no apparent gain. Those are things that I throw out so quickly I don't even remember it later.

Though I think a general cheat sheet for "How WWN is different from B/X" without the specific classes, spells, foci, and backgrounds might really be a useful thing for new people. You can get the rules for free already, so it wouldn't give away any content shared only with paying customers.
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
This is the cheat sheet I put together. For my game. It’s a funky size because it’s designed to be printed out and pasted on a landscape GM screen. The last two pages are a bit haphazard because they don’t go on the screen. They’re just a backup reference. I tried to do it in the same style as OSE.

Off the top of my head, the only house rule is the end of session procedure on the last page. I did take a few liberties clarifying things. Action economy is omitted because the list of actions in the book is good enough and can be printed out.
  • Group checks are defined. The rules mention this procedure in a few places but does not define it. I defined it.
  • Attacks include automatic miss and failure. This is not described in the rules, but it is noted on the cheat sheet in the book.
  • Shock damage is explained differently, but it should be functionally the same.
  • Wandering encounter distance for site exploration. Loosely inspired by B/X and based on the wilderness encounter distance dice.
  • Exploration procedures are described more like B/X. I outlined a wilderness procedure, but it should be functionally the same.
  • Scouting for points of interest is specified in square miles because I do not use player-facing hexes.
 


Yora

Legend
Having just been introduced to Kenshi, I want my upcoming WWN S&S campaign to be like that. :cool:

I was just thinking about the logistic for a long-distance travel based campaign, and it seems clear that not a great deal of thought was put into this aspect.

Rations come in portions of "one week" when you buy them, which I assume is meant for "7 days". But their encumbrance is listed as 4. There are rules for penalties for not eating, which are based on days. So what happens to encumbrance when you eat one day's ration?

Travel speeds are given in miles per hour, but depending on terrain it might 1.5 or 0.5 miles per hour. The game also recommends using 6 mile hexes. It would be vastly more convenient if travel speeds would be given as hexes per day. Encumbrance doesn't impact travel speed at all. But I do notice with appreciation that mounts with faster movement rates don't make overland travel faster, since they can't be sprinting the entire day.

These issues are not new and go back 40 years. But for a tome of this size made specifically for sandbox games, I think this is something that really should have seen a major overhaul.
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
Rations come in portions of "one week" when you buy them, which I assume is meant for "7 days". But their encumbrance is listed as 4. There are rules for penalties for not eating, which are based on days. So what happens to encumbrance when you eat one day's ration?
Rations feels like it ought to be one of those bundled things, but it’s not. I think we’re going to treat them as either all there or not for simplicity’s sake. Otherwise, the easiest thing to do is reduce the encumbrance by 1 for every 2 rations consumed.

Travel speeds are given in miles per hour, but depending on terrain it might 1.5 or 0.5 miles per hour. The game also recommends using 6 mile hexes. It would be vastly more convenient if travel speeds would be given as hexes per day. Encumbrance doesn't impact travel speed at all. But I do notice with appreciation that mounts with faster movement rates don't make overland travel faster, since they can't be sprinting the entire day.
This feels like another place where WWN is too verbose for its own good. If it just did what OSE/BX does, it would be easy. PCs generally travel for ten hours per day, and the distance traveled is their movement rate in miles. If you want hexes, divide by five. The terrain type table should just be a list of modifiers.

Speaking of which, road travel seems a bit too good. 2× is almost (but not quite) taking the run action every round for ten hours straight. I’d expect PCs to be very fatigued jogging for ten hours straight. The Alexandrian’s method is too fiddly, but I think having separate on-/off-road speeds is the way to go. I may tweak it for my game. 🤔

WWN also has nothing to say about getting lost. I assume it’s a “don’t make the PCs look incompetent at their role in life” thing, but one should expect there to be situations (like arratu wastelands) where success isn’t a sure thing. It’s not difficult to devise a DC, but still.
 

Yora

Legend
From what I remember, Red Tide and Spears of the Dawn didn't really go into travel either. I think Crawford just doesn't consider what happens between sites relevant.
 

Yora

Legend
Turns out (as usual) that a paragraph in another chapter mentions the seven rations with an encumbrance of 4 is a packed bundle. Loose rations are 1 encumbrance for 1 day's food.
Though this once again makes me question how much of a good idea this whole bundle thing is. That it takes an additional round to unpack something that is bundled probably won't matter in play, but it makes the whole encumbrance system more complicated.
 

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