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Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
 
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Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
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Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Victor C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2020 03:58:53

I played this with a group of friends and we all loved it. Lots of freedom on the GM's end from what I've heard and that was one of the things he liked about it. Will say though-- too much confusing and overly complicated terminology. While I understand certain product names are copywrighted and/or trademarked I do think it's a bit excessive at times and the descriptions are vague. Less is more, you dont need to have all the big words nailed for the writing to be good. Nevertheless, all my complaints about the text are minor in comparison to the mechanics; which are wonderfully streamlined and leave room for a plethora of amazing creativity and ingenuity from all parties involved.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Cosmo C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/27/2020 18:12:46

What can I say? This is amazing. Absolutely incredible. High production values, very cleanly organized, thought through by a clearly very experienced game designer. If you want to play in a sci-fi setting using the D20 system this is it right here. Stuck for story ideas? Excellent tables and tools throughout. Want to own and upgrade a spaceship and would like a decent spaceship combat that isn't too involved but provides an easy skeleton to dump a bunch of homebrew rules onto if you want? You've got that too. This is one of the better RPG books I've ever seen.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Roberto B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/30/2020 13:52:22

It's not my cup of tea, but Stars without number is amazing. The perfect joining link between D&D and Traveller. If you love sci-fi and class and levels games, but you hate Traveller's chargen, there you go! A perfect OSR-like sci-fi RPG! Adventure building, worldbuilding and setting tables are pure gold, usable even in other sci-fi RPG. All in all, even if you are not going to run it, it's a good addition to your collection as a source of material and inspiration.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Johnathan S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2019 15:35:52

I cant believe this is a free product. There is so much detailed information inside to run a game. I have very little familiarization with sci-fi, sandbox, or OSR rpgs. After reading this product, I not only am confident that I can run this type of game, but I am also very excited to try it. I really enjoyed reading this. It is very in-depth, and the game is explained really well. I am looking forward to running this with my game group. Once again, this is an amazing product that is surprisingly free. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Aaro S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/15/2019 11:06:48

Some comments after several months of play (as a player):

  • Writing is solid and easy to read, "look and feel" is professional. Understanding character generation and other mechanics in general does not cause problems.
  • Variety of backgrounds and foci, adding flavor to characters is feels easy.
  • Space combat mechanic is quite nice.
  • Setting is fun and allows versatile scenes.

I have felt there is only very few issues with mechanics. The one thing that bugs me most:

  • After a while, using the same skill for ranged weapons and ship-to-ship combat ("Shoot") tends to cause suspension of disbelief problems and makes a bit boring play. (Characters that are good with rifles or bows tend also to be the best ones targeting missiles while shipboard.) To lesser extent, same applies to piloting (riding a horse and flying a ship are practically the same, .. err.. urmm...). If I were to GM a SWN campaign, I would institute some house-rules to differentiate between the two: perhaps split the skills ("Shoot" and "Ship weapons" maybe), or add penalties when applying them in drastically unfamiliar circumstances / would require specialized training that character does not have (similar to powered armor rules).


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Michel V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2019 05:55:47

My personal favorite RPG system. The revised version very much improves on the what was alreay great in the first and removes some of the obtuse systems (Like combat both in space and land).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Tyler L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2018 12:48:14

Stars without number is a fantastic game that I'd reccommend any fan of RPGs and Sci Fi to play. That being said, I will not give it a 5 star rating for only a couple reasons. First I provide evidence to why my opinion is valid, and then I will present the couple of issues that I had with it. Bear in mind that this is my opinion, and I do, still love the game quite much. Now, to get started

  • MY OPINION = VALID: This is the narrative to how I arrived at my rating decsision. If you want to see only my end result of thoughts, please look below this area. So, as with most people who have played a certain games' opinion is valid, I believe mine is as well. Me and my group of friends played this game for about 1 entire year, and we loved it. We played it in a strange fashion however. We had gotten bored of playing fantasy (we've played DND for over 8 years at this point) and I have most often been in the dungeon master seat. I was also getting bored of running only fantasy games. One of my friends told us about STARS, and we decided to play the game in a one-shot fashion. So, I read a good portion of the book, prepared some ready-to-hand-out characters. We were quickly in love with how much tension the system provides, and we decided to keep playing the game in episodic fashion. Every week we'd pick a random day in between our normal game session, and we would play an 'episode' of the game, which the players and I as the GM, loved. We did this all year.

    Now, we eventually stopped playing it, and I will tell you why. We had played the game with a series of episodes, which the players would pick from a group of pre-made characters, and complete whatever 'mission' the CEO of their company told them to do. They would do this however they'd like, and sometimes would take unexpected twists and turns to accomplish their objective. It was a little bit more narrow focused than most of my games, but it seemed the group liked that direction. Then, one day, my one player asked the question that would later be associated with dread for the entire group. . . "Can I make my own character?"

    Now, normally this question would not be a problem, if the rest of the group was not already in love with the way the game was set up. They were pre-made operatives. Everyone had become attached to the characters that they played each week, and the atmosphere was team oriented in game. Everyone was a specialist. However, a player convinced me that he would be more attached if he made his own character, which, despite the nature of this game in particular that we were running, I allowed him to roll his own. I realize this was a pivotal mistake with OUR experience with STARS. He ended up creating a psionics character, which I had made any as part of their team. And for a reason. One of the players in the group was known as Doctor Emmis. He was a combat medic, he saved the other players' lives while putting his own at risk. The player that played him loved that character and gave him a lot of personality. Now, the psionics character that was made, was a healer as well. But it wasn't just that. His character was so unbelievably good at healing, that he could bring people back to life and what not. He eventually gained the ability to regenerate decapitated creatures. The player playing Emmis felt that his character was now, wholly underpowered, undermined by the psionics mechanics, and I can see why. A few weeks after this new character, we got disinfatuated with the game and stopped playing.

    After looking back at the psionics rules, it seems obvious to me that they are overpowered. If you aren't playing a psionics character, you're missing out on some strength. Sure, maybe you won't have as many skills, but that does not matter, you will more than make up for it by being stronger than everything else. Now, on to the more objective stuff.

    • THE GOOD - THE BAD - AND THE UGLY - In this section, I will highlight what I like, dislike, and hate about this system.

    • GOOD - Stars without number is, well, a fantastic system overall. The combat is more streamlined due to people not making multiple attacks, damage dice rolls being mostly condensed, and the hitpoints not being superbly over-inflated. All of that, and the character creation is stellar. It really sells that you are creating some science fiction person with a history. The weapons are cool and fleshed out, and various mechanics allow things not usually present. Also some innovative mechanics such as "Once Per Scene," abilities make it easier to keep track of otherwise boring tediums, while still allowing people to have decent resource management. Skills also function a little better than in other d20 systems, where instead of rolling a d20 it is 2d6, so its much more averaged out. There is less chance of an idiot at a skill succeeding something they shouldn't, and those that are good at something are more likely to succeed. That's pretty cool. Also it has skill points, so you feel more invested when you level up. That is more subjective, but I know tons of people who miss games giving them skillpoints. The games' character customization is modular, allowing you to create whatever you want without having to pidgeon hole yourself into some stupid archetype that you don't want all the abilities from like in 5e. It also provides tons and tons of GM tools to run an awesome game.ONE MORE NOTE: Ship combat is cool, nuff said. So, overall. . .
    • Streamlined Combat
    • Superb Character Creation
    • Looks and Feels like sci fi
    • Variety of weapons/backgrounds
    • Melee combat fits in
    • Once Per Scene abilities are great!
    • 2d6 for skills is a massive improvement over a d20.
    • Skill points!
    • Character customization +++
    • Ship combat finally done right.
    • GM Tools are fleshed out.
  • Bad - As with all things, there are some faults with this system. Combat, although streamlined, has its various issues, mainly with immersion becoming problem, and just overall awkward design philosophy. First off, just like most d20 systems, it operates with the 6 second turn rule, meaning, one round (composed of everyones' turns) takes place over the course of 6 seconds. This means that whatever your character does, it happens in 6 seconds, every single turn. Now, for a game like 5e or other medieval fantasy d20 games, this is okay, it is fine, but the way STARS is presented, I think this harms the game at it's core. So, essentially you can fire in burst mode, or regular mode. Thats three bullets, or one, for your attack with many weapons. Other weapons it's just one shot per round. If you have a head on you, I think you may figure out the issue with this. No one with a fully automatic weapon will fire only one shot over the course fo six seconds. It is ridiculous. It is not that it breaks the games balance, but it really does destroy the immersion. The problem with this is that I don't know how I would fix it without completely redo-ing things or adding some arbitrary ruling here and there. But, you can look past these things to enjoy the game. Another minor complaint is that the way the skill points work would allow you to level up a skill to 4 (max) very quickly, which can hurt a games' progression system. The maker seems like he noticed this, so he put in an arbitrary level requirement to reach certain skill levels. This is okay, but it kind of puts a weird blockade on doing things, and I think it could be done a better way if it was thought about more. Last but not least, skill points. It is awesome that they are in the game, but they are done awkwardly. I had to, several times, re-explain the whole 0-4 skill progression to the same players, as the book did not explain it easily enough for them. Also, it costs the skill + 1 to level up, and that was the main source of confusion. I know I may sound scatterbrained, but it is a glaring issue that can slow down the game. So, overall . . .

    • Awkward gunplay
    • Progression is awkward.
    • Skill points, while great, are presented in an awkward way.
  • UGLY - So, there are a couple of things that eat away at me in this game. Things that make me not want to pick it up as much as I did when I first got it. Most of these are avoidable, but if they are let in to the game, in my opinion, they destroy it. First, and quite literally, foremost, are the 'casters,' of the book. The psionics. They are unquestionably broken beyond belief. You can play a regular character which needs crazy expensive high tech gear to break through a wall, or you could be a decent psionic who can just R.A.W. rip through the wall. You can play a hardened combat medic, slowly churning through supplies to keep your teammates alive, or you can be a decent psionic, and reattach heads of fallen comrades without expending real reasources. Now, this wouldn't be a problem, as there is a resource called 'effort' which limits the amount you can do these things, but the power difference of these abilities versus being slightly better at shooting, are just astronomical. I think we can pinpoint just how it happened this way too. AC's never get to a ridiculous level in this game, so, as you level up, you just become crazy good at hitting your target. Your Base attack bonus makes sure of it. Even a psionic with skill 2 in ranged ends up with like a +10 to hit, which at that point being a warrior type doesn't change much. Psionics are too good at all the other things. If they are to be as powerful at psionics as they are, they need to be hindered in other ways. There is a reason in RPGs why you can't play a wizard wearing platemail with a greatsword, at least not without expending tons of resources to do so. It's just too easy to be good at other things to justify the strength of the psionic. A way to fix this might be to tone back the attack bonus scaling. We found while playing, the people getting the hit bonus every level hit almost every time, and so did the psionic character with his gun. Raise some AC's, lower some Hit bonus scaling on the psionics, or just scale back their power. Now that's my main complaint of this game, but I want to touch on a couple more things. The hacking systems and other skills, are neat. I am glad they are in the game, but its' also just, well, underwhelming as a player. For example, in order to appropriately hack, you need to premeditate it for some long period of time. I know, it makes sense, but if you're trying to run a game and you want to play as some master-hacker type person, or making a quick decision to hack into something, the game doesn't support that very well, and it doesn't have a reason not too. Most of the time in an RPG, the players aren't going to want to take a one week break so the hacker can plan his hack, and that can be frustrating for the person who wants to live that fantasy. That's my main example. So, last but not least, there are the special items. The magic items of the game. Most of them are straight up game breaking, and as such, will not be used very often by many people. I can't really remember, but one of the items was a 'black spike,' or something like that, and it automatically instantly hacked for you, and kept it hacked forever. Just seems weird is all, I don't know how else to explain it. A lot of the special items and weapons were like this, where as a GM i would be legitimately afraid of what my players would think of doing with these items. So, I just never used them. I came up with my own special items. So, overall. . .
    • Psionics' power scale
    • Some skills seem under-powered, or just awkwardly restricted.
    • The 'magic' items baked into the system are mostly too powerful, such to a point that they are not interesting.

Review Overall, the game is great. It has some glaring issues, but they can be worked around. You can ban psionics, you can avoid putting powerful items into the game. So with that in mind, you can have an amazing experience playing it, but I can't help but think it could have been better if this stuff was baked into the game -properly-



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Matthew S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2018 20:26:28

The revised edition streamlines skills and adds new features such as drones and the new adventurer class. The Sector generator is always a help, allowing GM's to easily create unique settings. Psionics have changed substantially, now having core techniques and more versitile uses. Can't help but weep at the lack of Mindblades though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Matthias R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2018 12:23:49

Absolutley great! Great setting, great rules. Crawford really made sci- fi rpg great again!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Will H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2018 15:51:38

i cant comment on the edition differences but SWN is a fanastic product, perfect for space sandbox adventures. i love just rolling up planets and societies using the tables.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition (Free Version)
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Nathan L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/10/2018 23:33:51
Kevin Crawford has once more shown his shear genius and understanding of OSR rule systems. The original Stars without Number was an excellent rule system with some clunky features and a few overly complex ones. This new edition streamlines character creation and has made starship combat one of the strongest points of the game where it was one of the worst parts of the game. The new foci system has allowed players to put true mechanical depth into their characters well the new adventurer class has preserved the customizability of the adventurer background and training packages of the original edition. This new edition has brought a breath of fresh air to one of the most creative uses of the OSR system since its conception. The rule system is also incredibly elastic with its focus on interesting but not overly complex sci-fi this system can be applied to many an idea or concept not outlined in the book. The faction system also unique equips every GM from greenhorn to grognard to run a sandbox system without the prospect of twenty hours of prep work between every session. With all of these positives along with the fact that Crawford continues to offer most of his work to people for free there is no reason not to check this out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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