Stars/Worlds Without Number (General Thread)

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Do you have any thoughts on how to approach this?
Do you have the Deluxe edition? It has an additional chapter, “Arts of the Gyre”, with several partial classes that use arts for customization. I’d look there for inspiration as well as in the user-created content post on r/wwn. In particular, Kevin Crawford has posted a prototype alchemist, which I believe will be included in some form in an upcoming supplement for WWN.

It seems like partial classes choose between ten and fifteen arts (without a relationship between how many picks they get and how big their pool is). You can look at existing partial classes as benchmarks for arts, but the “Uncanny Powers and Abilities” section of “Creatures of a Far Age” chapter might also be useful. Arts seem to be equivalent to a 1 or 2 point power. If your idea for an art seems too much better or worse than that, it might need tweaking.
 

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Yora

Legend
I ended up going with a Focus instead of a mage tradition.

At level 1, you get Magic as a bonus skill, an Effort pool (Magic + Wis), and the Sense Magic art to sense magic effects when committing ongoing Effort.
At level 2, you get the Counter Magic art, that lets you commit Effort for the day to make an opposed Magic skill check to interrupt another character's spell casting, and the Suppress Magic art, which lets you commit Effort for the day to suppress an ongoing magical effect for 1d6+character level rounds, unless it was cast by a higher level character.

You do get quite a lot, but it does take up two of your five Any foci, and you get much less use out of the Magic skill than a Mage does, so your Effort pool is probably quite low. If you have 3 Effort, that's one for sensing magic, and it lets you counter and suppress magic once per day. That's nice, but I don't think that amazing. And it's primarily meant for worldbuilding, not necessarily a great option for Player Characters.
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Just popping in to say glad to find this thread. I ran a 3-shot of SWN earlier this year, and the players want to jump back in for a short 2-3 session adventure between chapters of the D&D 5e campaign another player is running.

Anyone want to share their SWN 2-3 session adventure concepts? Homebrew or published adventures are cool - well really anything is good for inspiration.

My 3-shotter was about a hidden school of psionic students (so all PCs are psionic) where their school has been found and burning down - but everyone seems to have been captured. So the PCs have to go find who did it and end up taking over a ship after freeing the teachers and students. So now they've got a ship - but haven't really tracked down who was behind the kidnapping.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I haven’t run SWN, but I’ve had good luck with the adventure generators in WWN. Roll an adventure seed, roll some tags for the world where the person behind the kidnapping resides, and synthesize it into something interesting. Unlike WWN, you don’t even need to worry about a map and key. 😅
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Session three is down. We got to do some in-town stuff. I used my new rule for social roles where you roll against the reaction table. I feel like that went really well. The thief had stolen something and was looking for a fence, so I had him roll Cha/Connect. He got neutral, so he found a fence who was willing to deal with him but not particularly willing to bargain (especially since he had partially destroyed his loot in the process of stealing it).

I was also able to get the town prepped for this session, so I was able to use the tags and plots I had generated to make things interesting. I’d generated community tags plus a few organizations. That gave me enough NPCs to use the tavern time technique from the Alexandrian to have people show up the PCs could meet.

I also got to exercise the exploration procedure a bit more. It’s a bit of an adjustment to just thinking about things in terms of time, but it ends up feeling pretty natural. We had a conversation when they wanted to leave, and I was like: when do you want to leave? The system doesn’t assume anything, so they could just do what felt natural. That was also the case for exploring to look for the place they wanted to find (it increases the time it takes to “move through a hex” by 4×).

We ended with starting Halls of the Blood King. For the conversion, I kept most things pretty much identical. I tweaked some of the math because WWN does do some things differently (such as having the attack bonus usually be equal to the creature’s HD). The biggest change was vampires. Doing level drain feels too harsh, but the suggested ability for undead in the book (“draining”) is too mild.

I ended up making their touch “draining” but also had it cause the target to gain System Strain. If that maxes you out, you turn into a vampire in three days. That should keep vampires as a scary foe you don’t want to fight while not being so punishing that they drain two levels just by successfully attacking you. As a rule of thumb, I try to tweak non-damaging abilities when I convert them over from OSE to bring them closer to how WWN does things (e.g., ghoul paralysis only requires one saving throw per turn per ghoul).

After four sessions or so (including the one-shot), I’d say I’m pretty happy with WWN. I did hack a bunch of OSE stuff into it, but the core is still very WWN. The system gives us enough structure while staying out of our way, which seems to be the sweet spot for my group. Everything is very OSR, but there’s fun stuff for players, and it’s not quite as brutal (but still very dangerous, especially since the most hit points anyone has at 3rd level is 13).
 

Liminal Syzygy

Community Supporter
I forgot that I had linked the file when I cleaned up my online files.
I think it would be this one. I wrote that at a note for players in a specific campaign as a quick heads up for notable differences. There might be some changes to the actual rules that I forgot I made, and I id leave out some things I don't plan on using, but I think it's still a decent summary.
Thank you!
 


kenada

Legend
Supporter
Finally finished up running Halls of the Blood King using WWN. All I can say is it went pretty darn well. In spite of the power differential between WWN and B/X characters, the adventure still felt scary. There actually wasn’t any combat at all, but it still felt rewarding due to the way XP works in WWN.

I feel like it’s actually blown open the campaign a bit now because the PCs made several new friends during the adventure (both Seleana and the Princess of Blood returned back with the PCs). They also saved the guards, so got even more Renown than usual, which will be handy since they want to improve their property now (yay domain rules). Of course, there’s also the wonderful tools for keeping the adventure going.

I have my quibbles with WWN, but I have to say it’s quite impressive that we’ve played six sessions with only a couple of combats, and it it still feels like we’ve accomplished a ton. That’s not something I’d usually say for a D&D-like system. You’d think you need combat to keep things exciting, but you don’t.

Edit: I replaced the sun ray pistol with a laser pistol from SWN. My players love the idea that vampires take double damage from lasers. I also converted Seleana over to an SWN character. Really digging the compatibility between systems for injecting a bit of extra weird into things.
 

Finally finished up running Halls of the Blood King using WWN. All I can say is it went pretty darn well. In spite of the power differential between WWN and B/X characters, the adventure still felt scary. There actually wasn’t any combat at all, but it still felt rewarding due to the way XP works in WWN.

I feel like it’s actually blown open the campaign a bit now because the PCs made several new friends during the adventure (both Seleana and the Princess of Blood returned back with the PCs). They also saved the guards, so got even more Renown than usual, which will be handy since they want to improve their property now (yay domain rules). Of course, there’s also the wonderful tools for keeping the adventure going.

I have my quibbles with WWN, but I have to say it’s quite impressive that we’ve played six sessions with only a couple of combats, and it it still feels like we’ve accomplished a ton. That’s not something I’d usually say for a D&D-like system. You’d think you need combat to keep things exciting, but you don’t.

Edit: I replaced the sun ray pistol with a laser pistol from SWN. My players love the idea that vampires take double damage from lasers. I also converted Seleana over to an SWN character. Really digging the compatibility between systems for injecting a bit of extra weird into things.
Do you feel that WWN combat is more fun than b/x combat? And what makes WWN good out of combat?
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Do you feel that WWN combat is more fun than b/x combat?
My players bounced off OSE pretty hard, so our B/X combat experience is pretty limited. I think the way WWN does side-based combat, especially with actions like Make a Snap Attack, feels a bit more fair. The characters are also (individually) more powerful. For my players, that translates into feeling more fun. I’d put it somewhere between B/X and 3e in that things are still pretty simple, but it has a familiar action economy with special abilities.

And what makes WWN good out of combat?
Two things really stick out: XP and skill checks. WWN offers several options for handling XP, which I’ve combined together. Players each decide on several individual goals at the start of the session. If the complete one, they get 3 XP (they decide). If they help someone, they 1 XP (they decide). At the end of the session, the group decides on a group goal (keep or change the current one). They also get 3 XP if they completed the current group goal. Those two things allow for a reward loop that isn’t just killing monsters or finding treasure. The latter in particular didn’t feel good to my players because it turned the game into something different from what they wanted (more of a heist game than a fantasy adventure game where the characters might have other agendas).

The thing I like about the skill system is it’s pretty simple, but it’s not too simple. There’s a pretty nice variety of different skills, but you’re also encouraged to let the PCs succeed if it’s something their character should do. I text our thief the value of treasure throughout the session since I figure he’d just know what looks valuable. That makes for some fun interactions when he’s wants to take something weird, and no one has any idea why he would want to do that. While I’m not a fan of difficulty classes, I can use the default of 8, which I like. It makes skill checks go pretty quickly. (Except for social checks, which I have the PCs roll against the reaction table.)

It reminds me of games like Scum and Villainy where skills define what you do, but it’s not like you’re just rolling them procedurally. If you’re rolling, it’s usually (though admittedly not always) because it’s important. I’m not saying WWN is a Story Now game, but it gets out of my way and lets me improvise a lot as a GM, which lets me drift it that way without a lot friction. Our best sessions in other systems are when there’s a lot of chemistry between characters, and we’re just playing to see what happens, and WWN seems to do a good job of letting us do that while also providing the crunchy bits my players particularly like.
 

Aldarc

Legend
6) Half-class system is a lot better than multiclass systems of 3E/5E and offers great options.
I have been re-reading WWN and making a few sample characters to get my feet wet into this game, and this aspect of the game continues to impress me. There are so many viable archetypes made possible through the combination of partial classes. But this also makes the game easier to hack for new archetypes, as one really only needs to build a Partial Class that slots into the existing framework.

I'm personally impressed with how Kevin Crawford managed to create a Necromancer much closer to the popular conception of the archetype than D&D has managed in all its years. Moreover, the fact that one can hypothetically make a partial Necromancer that "multiclasses" with a Warrior for a "Death Knight" or an Expert is also a huge boon in the game's favor.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
While I actually picked up the basic rules (PDF), I've never actually played. I currently publish material for Starfinder RPG, but I post a lot in the Facebook Stars Without Numbers community, mostly illustrations, though I did plug a Starfinder product I made that isn't really Starfinder, so much as just third party rules, allowing you to create custom, entire star systems (stars, planets, moons, trojans, belts, etc.) and the stat block for them, as well as a point system to grow the technology in a given system overtime. That's my only connection to SWN/WWN.
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
Last session we finally got to do some actual exploration. The party headed back to town, then they returned back to their domain. Along the way, we used the exploration procedure I posted a few days ago. It worked really well. I had an event written out in my prep that came out of the story generation stuff that WWN provides. One of the NPCs in town was having a secret affair, and it turned out the shack on the back of the PCs’ property is a very popular place for illicit and illegal encounters.

So it’s a new month, and he caught up with them while they were traveling. The time-based approach made it very easy to see where everyone was in relationship to each other. He caught up with the PCs because they were traveling with a cart full of stuff back to their property. Their TC was about double of his, so he would move through two hexes in the time it took them to do one. They were out only a couple of days before he caught up. That should make for an entertaining next session when he goes into the shack to find it’s been taken over by the vampire princess.

The event system was also good, and I’ve extended it to working with dungeons. Having each day defined by “something happened, let’s find out” is much more interesting than just wandering around the wilderness with infrequent encounter checks. I expect the same should be true in dungeons. I posted the table I’m using as a starting point for dungeons over in the PF2 house rules thread.

I have been re-reading WWN and making a few sample characters to get my feet wet into this game, and this aspect of the game continues to impress me. There are so many viable archetypes made possible through the combination of partial classes. But this also makes the game easier to hack for new archetypes, as one really only needs to build a Partial Class that slots into the existing framework.

I'm personally impressed with how Kevin Crawford managed to create a Necromancer much closer to the popular conception of the archetype than D&D has managed in all its years. Moreover, the fact that one can hypothetically make a partial Necromancer that "multiclasses" with a Warrior for a "Death Knight" or an Expert is also a huge boon in the game's favor.
Someone posted this over on r/WWN recently. That’s a lot of combinations not even counting classes from other sources. It’s really impressive how so few mechanics make for such diverse characters. The priest in my game is a necromancer/healer. I didn’t quite want to do the blood priest for a cleric-like class. The player seems to really enjoy being good both at healing and blowing up undead.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Kevin Crawford shared an update to the SWN offset print Kickstarter. Books are going out (got my shipping notice today), and the Kickstarter for the Atlas of the Latter Earth is expected this summer. Kevin put a preview up on his Google Drive. There’s a bunch of stuff for low magic and no magic campaigns. The Wise is interesting. I wonder if we should expect to see more partial classes for the basic archetypes (like how there are a bunch of mage ones in the “Arts of the Gyre” chapter of the deluxe edition of Worlds Without Number).
 

Aldarc

Legend
Someone posted this over on r/WWN recently. That’s a lot of combinations not even counting classes from other sources. It’s really impressive how so few mechanics make for such diverse characters. The priest in my game is a necromancer/healer. I didn’t quite want to do the blood priest for a cleric-like class. The player seems to really enjoy being good both at healing and blowing up undead.
IMHO, that's the magic of the system. I appreciate the lack of a clear arcane/divine magic split. There is only "the mage," which itself may have a number of partial classes and traditions. For example, the fact that one can easily make a High Mage/Healer - the wizard healer that has elluded finding success in D&D - while being pretty balanced within the framework is impressive.

Furthermore, consider how the partial class features are often not locked in; they are more like True 20 talents/feats or warlock invocations that the player can choose from to build their character. That also opens up a lot of additional build and play possibilities.

Kevin Crawford shared an update to the SWN offset print Kickstarter. Books are going out (got my shipping notice today), and the Kickstarter for the Atlas of the Latter Earth is expected this summer. Kevin put a preview up on his Google Drive. There’s a bunch of stuff for low magic and no magic campaigns. The Wise is interesting. I wonder if we should expect to see more partial classes for the basic archetypes (like how there are a bunch of mage ones in the “Arts of the Gyre” chapter of the deluxe edition of Worlds Without Number).
I'm a fan of the Wise since it also covers the more subtle magic of witches, seers, or even a village priest.

I wonder if he will design any partial warrior classes as well. I almost would not be surprised if a Bard partial mage shows up. I may have seen a fan version of the Bard for WWN somewhere on Reddit.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Feels like WWN is the system Numenera should have had all along 😂
Now I can use all my Numenera non-core books and play with a system that I like...
 


Aldarc

Legend
Feels like WWN is the system Numenera should have had all along 😂
Now I can use all my Numenera non-core books and play with a system that I like...
I’m not sure about that. The player archetypes in Numenera fit its setting incredibly well. While there is a lot of fantasy in Numenera, the game also leans more into some of the science-fiction with its foci: e.g., Talks With Machines, Fuses Flesh and Steel, Dances with Dark Matter, etc. WWN has a lot of science-fantasy, but Numenera is more overt with its “sciency” aspects.

Also, IME, I have seen so many different opinions - from my players and online - about what would have been a “better” system for Numenera than its native Cypher System: e.g., Fate, Cortex, WWN, PbtA, etc. I think that what one considers the “best” system for Numenera often says more about one’s expectations for what the Ninth World should be or what one wants it to be rather than what it is. 🤷‍♂️

That said, one could definitely run the Ninth World using WWN, but that would also move the game closer to D&D style fantasy than it already is.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Anyone do anything with projects in WWN? My players have taken on a couple (first one is to rebuild the manor they acquired, and the second is to get people to come settle the area around it). There is some sort of help for costing this out, but the advice feels really hand-wavey when it comes to actually running the projects at the table.
 

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