Stars without number modifications and clarifications

Having run Stars without number for quite a while now, I have a feel for what works for me and my style of gaming. You’ll find below my house rules and clarifications as follows:

4D6 Attribute generation alternative

Instead of rolling 3d6 for stats in order, you will be able to roll 4D6 , drop the lowest and reorganise as you see fit, although you won’t get the “Replace a prime stat with a 14” option.

If you still use the “roll 3d6 in order” option, you can replace a prime stat with a 14 as usual.


10 metres Shorter movement per round.

I had a chat with the maker of SWN regarding various things on the rpg.net forum, but of specific interest to me (amongst other things) was his reasoning for a 20 metre movement in 1 round (6 seconds).

He chose 20 metres per 6 second round as the combat rules for SWN are meant to be abstract, descriptive combat, not tactical combat. So he chose a large movement number to avoid confusion as to where people were in a skirmish situation. meaning it’s easy to calculate if you can reach a bad guy if you have a long movement rate.
He did agree that if you’re using tactical combat, this isn’t necessary and in fact makes things awkward due to huge movement rates on a battlemat. but a simple mod is to just half all movement rates… easy peasy.
The conversation in question here: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?675205-Stars-without-number-House-rules&p=16434442#post16434442 Movement is Waaayy too generous, 20 metres per 6 second round. I have reduced that to 10 metres per round (20 metres as a full round action).


Attribute bonuses to saves

You can add stat bonuses to saves: as follows: Con bonus to Physical save Wisdom bonus to mental Dex to evade INT to tech CHA to Luck This will not be set in stone tho, will vary on circumstances.


Situational modifiers in combat

Lots of situational modifiers in combat, cover, moving, suppressive, flanking fire etc etc.
Firing defensively: (lifted from Spacemaster) where if you have cover, you can fire defensively with a gun and ur attack bonus (if any) to your AC (lowering it) . Basically firing on your enemies to make you harder to hit, but not trying to hit them per se. just to keep them off.


Death

I originally houseruled that death occurs at -3 in SWN as it seemed unreasonable to just die at zero Hit points. However after some discussion with the author, what he meant was that your HPs don’t go below zero, once you reach that stage, you are dying and as long as you get healed or stabilised via various methods (detailed below) you will not die.

There are exceptions to this, if you take huge amounts of damage (bomb strapped to you and it goes off, run over by a steam roller, coup de Gras whilst you’re helpless or unconscious or whatever), then you’re dead.
Stabilised via Lazarus patch, starts at difficulty 6 and +1 difficulty each round after that, if after 6 rounds there is no stabilization, then dead. If successful, the character is stabilised, but still at zero HPs, but is good for 24 hours to be healed up by whatever method is available..
Stim patch will work as well as usual if within 6 rounds, no skill roll is required and will bring the victim up to 1 HP. (This is specific to Other dust but I assume is applicable in SWN if available.)
Biopsionics (or equivalent) will work, but after 3 rounds a cumulative 25% chance of failure.
Medkit starts at 8 difficulty and increases at +1 per additional round,again death if left more than 6 rounds. (The handling of this is different between SWN and Other dust, I will adopt this method for both))
If no medkit or anything else is available, you can try with improvised equipment to stabilise, but at a penalty defined by the GM but the difficulty will be greater than 8 to start with, depending on the quality of what is used. (Again this is specific to Other dust, I will also use this for SWN).


FTL communications

I asked on the RPG.net forums here: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?679797-Stars-without-number-Communication-across-many-light-years if faster than light communications exist. The quick answer is, limited FTL communications exists. But only within systems, I.E. Solar systems. Outside that. you’d have to get into a spike drive ship and physically send the message to another system that way.


How big is a Hex space in SWN?

An interesting question I asked on the RPG.net forums here: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?679797-Stars-without-number-Communication-across-many-light-years The reply below from the Author: “I think I left that bit intentionally undefined. If you want to get hard sci-fi about it, the sector map is just an abstracted 2D plotting of a hyper-complex three-dimensional map of viable meta-dimensional drill routes and energy currents, one that represents the places a ship can reach from a given star. Two stars that are adjacent on the sector map might be a light year apart or they might be a dozen parsecs along a fast, smooth meta-dimensional energy current.”
So put simply, basically a Hex is only an indication how how difficult it is to get to the destination, reflected by the number of hexes. The actual distance does not necessarily relate to the number of hexes.


Expanded experience system

Fleshed out XP system as well, so what gives what XP laid out more.Some nice achievements here:

Traveller: Visit five new planets 1000xp
Far Traveller: Visit five sectors 2500xp
Contact Specialist: Meet five alien races 1000xp
Friends In High Places: Formally ally with a faction 500xp
Enemies in High Places: Make an enemy of a faction 500xp
Visit ancient ruins 250xp
Ooh shiny: When you acquire your first artifact 250xp
I am become Death: When you acquire your first piece of maltech 500xp
Buy a Starship 5000xp
Savings Account: For saving up $5000 500xp
1%er: For saving up $50,000 2000xp
Back from the dead: The first time you are resurrected 500xp
Improving Your Lot: Spending 30 days at each lifestyle level is an achievement!
Improving Your Lot (Slum) 100xp
Improving Your Lot (Poor): 200xp
Improving Your Lot (Common): 300xp
Improving Your Lot (Good): 500xp
Improving Your Lot (Elite): 1000xp
Improving Your Lot (Peerless): 2500xp
Filched from this thread. http://www.story-games.com/forums/discussion/16123/stars-without-number-your-house-rules/p1

Sector generator

A very handy sector generator here:
http://www.emichron.com/swn/
Sector Tartarus Tau


New Disciplines

Discussed here : http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?676064-Stars-without-number-make-some-new-disciplines

Voice

Voice range at base is 10 metres range unless you speaking loud, which is 20 metres.
The target makes a mental effect save (modified by the psychics WIS bonus), if they fail, the discipline works.
The target needs to be able to hear your voice (and not via radio etc) , also in a vacuum wouldn’t work.
The target needs to be able to hear and understand the language you’re speaking as well.
Rank 1: Distract: Non-lethal commands involving a short sentence like “Walk towards me” but also non-lethal and not putting someone in danger… I.E. “Walk off cliff” wouldn’t work.

Rank 2: Disturb: Same as Distract, but up to 3 targets OR double range (20 talk/40 shout in metres) OR save at +4 on the difficulty for the target.
Rank 3: Coerce: the psion coerces the target to perform an action that it would otherwise not consider (like approaching an old witch with a dangerous-looking box)
Rank 4: Enforce: Same as Coerce, but up to 3 targets OR double range (20 talk/40 shout in metres) OR save at +4 on the difficulty for the target.
Rank 5: Seize control: The psion compels the target to perform an action that places it in immediate danger (Paul convinces the Harkonnens to remove his mother’s gag; Jessica commands them to cut her son’s bonds)
Rank 6: Dominate: Same as Seize control, but up to 3 targets OR double range (20 talk/40 shout in metres) OR save at +4 on the difficulty for the target.
Rank 7: Mind slave: the psion compels the target to perform an act that directly threatens its life “Shoot yourself!”
Rank 8: Mind Death: Same as Mind Slave, but up to 3 targets OR double range (20 talk/40 shout in metres) OR save at +4 on the difficulty for the target.
Rank 9: Voice Master: Can use any one of the lower powers, but up 40 metres range AND up to 10 targets AND save at +4 on the difficulty for the target.

Interface

The Psychic is able to interface her mind to Computer systems/Electronics and the like. Unless specified otherwise, the Psychic will need to be within 5 metres range of a system to use a power. A link will last 5 minutes unless specified otherwise, which is plenty of time to do most tasks, as the speed of the tasks are much faster mentally than manually performing them via peripherals.
Rank 1: System scan
The Psychic can Scan a computer system for information. The system gets a save of 15 (if it’s a secured system, if the system isn’t secured against intrusion or the Psychic knows the access codes etc, there’s no save required). More highly secured systems might get a better save. It if makes the save it’s not aware of the attempt, it just means the Psychic fails to interface. An AI gets a save based on it’s Mental save + WIS bonus. The information gained is not detailed, but gives an overview of the system, basic set up etc. For example, if a Ship’s computer is successfully scanned, you will get a ship map, all stats for the ship and so on. but not detailed ship’s logs, security codes etc. If the save is made, the Psychic cannot attempt this again on the same system for 24 hours. This only takes one round to perform.
Rank 2: Deep scan Data
As system scan, but can search for specific data and view it, but not copy it off the system..
Rank 3: Copy Data:
Allows data to be stored in the Psychic’s mind. a System Scan (to copy system data)or Deep Scan (to copy specific data) must have been successfully performed first. Stored data in the Psychic mind uses up system strain. A dataslab (or similar device) = 1 system strain A computer in a fighter uses 2 system strain A computer in a Frigate uses 4 system strain A computer in a Cruiser uses 8 system strain a computer in a capital ship uses 16 system strain
A GM might raise or lower these values depending on circumstances (a survey frigate might have very powerful computers to store data, so the System strain requirement may be higher for example).
Once the data is deleted from the Psychic’s mind, the System strain is removed.
Rank 4: Store/Modify Data
Actually copy/move data onto a system. The information must already be in the Psychic’s mind first using Copy Data before this can be performed. The Psychic can also modify data on a system. In both cases, the system will get a save of 15. Failure means an intrusion has been detected.
Rank 5: Enhance system
Make a system more powerful. A successful system scan must have been performed before this ability can be used. This will allow the Psychic increase the power/efficiency etc of a system. The effect of this could be as follows: Store more data. Decrease time required for data processing. Make equipment that is controlled by the system better. For example a Psychic could interface with a gunnery computer and increase it’s chance to hit (instead of getting +1 it might get +2 to hit). The Player and GM are encouraged to use their imagination with this ability.
A system shouldn’t be able to more than double it’s effectiveness (so a system with a +1 or the equivalent shouldn’t be able to get more than +2).
Each magnitude increase uses up a system strain, which is restored when the enhancement is removed.
The range is slightly different. As long as the Psychic is in the same ship, building enclosure as the enhanced system, it will still gain the benefits of the enhancement. If it’s some sort of stand alone system and has no enclosure, ship or building etc, then it has a 5 metre range.
Once the psychic goes out of range the enhancement is removed and the system strain is removed from the Psychic.
This ability doesn’t have the usual 5 minute duration. it’ll be effective for as long as the Psychic retains the systems strain and stays in range and is conscious (it can be maintained during sleep, but not if knocked out).
Rank 6: Control system
A successful system Scan must have been performed before using this ability. A Psychic can control a system remotely. This is useful if you want to use some sort of equipment controlled by a system. For example if you wanted to operate a ship’s guns, Psychically, you could use this ability to do that. however you still need all applicable skills to use it, so you’d need Gunnery to psychically operate a ship’s guns.
The range limitations are as enhance system.
The duration is as long as Concentration is maintained and the Psychic can only control 1 system at a time. Whilst concentrating the Psychic is at -2 to all skill activities and -4 to all combat abilities and saves and no DEX bonus will be applied to AC. The Psychic will appear distracted and unfocused.
Rank 7: System Crash
This is a DIRECT attack on a computer system microcode. A system scan must be performed first, then a deep scan of the area to be destroyed.
It can cause total loss of data and make any hardware that has some sort of firmware/microcode etc associated with it to become totally useless.
For example, if you wanted to destroy a number crunching computer. you can attack the hardware firmware directly (or it’s equivalent). and the hardware itself will be inoperable.
If you wanted to destroy say a mech, you could attack the controllers for the servo motors and seize up the legs of a mech.
There are many possibilities for this and a GM needs to make a case by case judgement call on how it works for each system.
Rank 8: Transfer self
The Psychic can now transfer their consciousness into a computer system and they can move it around any systems attached to the system they have entered, including any networks, comms etc. When transferred into a system the Psychic gets the following benefits.
The Psychic will always win initiative vs anyone in the “Real world” they are operating at a much faster rate. VS another being transferred into the system, they will roll Initiative as usual.
Deep scan and System scan cost no Power points in this state.
If the system is shut down or destroyed, the Psychic must make a Save Vs Tech to immediately be transferred back to their body… Failure means mind death and the body is an empty shell.
Enhance System is doubled in effect (quadruple processing power etc).
All skill checks made in this state are made at a +1 bonus.
The Psychic Will be permanently trapped in system if body killed, unless a new body is restored as a clone of the original body.
Rank 9: Gate control
Controls Jump gates, requires an active jump gate.
Deep scan, system scan must be performed on the Jump gate computer systems first before this can be used.
A psychic, if inside a jumpgate, can transport him/herself and/or a ship up to Frigate size by himself.
Larger ship sizes require a meta-concert of multiple masters of Interface.
If the Psychic intends to go with the ship then Transfer self would need to be performed as well, so the psychic can be transported with the ship, meaning the Psychic initiates transfer self from the ship (docked in the Jumpgate) to the jumpgate computer system.


Cyborgs

Actually for the “from dust” RPG by the same author, but worth including. I got it from this thread on rpg.net http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?676554-Other-Dust-Cyborgs
Background
Cyborgs are those men and women who have successfully interfaced with the ancient adaptation shells that were originally manufactured for those convicts and malcontents slated for exile to the less habitable worlds of the frontier. The shells were cruder and simpler than the pervasive nanotech of the era, ensuring that primitive frontier techs could keep them functioning- and that dissatisfied colonists could not reverse-engineer them into a weapon against those responsible for their condemnation. They were designed to replace numerous elements of flesh and bone with more durable components, adapting the subject to life on a planet not so clement to humanity as its homeworld.
While most of the stocks of adaptation shells were lost in the chaos that followed the Scream, occasional functional shells can be found in ruined colonial processing centers- usually in the company of medical units programmed to restrain and convert the next “convict” who approaches. Once converted, the cyborg requires a constant supply of spare parts and maintenance work to maintain their new form. The shells do have universal access architecture that allows for numerous different components to be swapped in and out with relatively little training. The conversion is irreversible by anything short of specialized pretech medical treatment; the integration of the shells with their hosts is so profound that female cyborgs will even pass down the seed framework of an adaptation shell to their unborn children, who will also require a supply of tech components as they mature.
Most cyborgs are not overly grateful for their condition. The need for spare parts forces them to constantly engage in dangerous salvage work, and they lack the more comfortable familiarity of organic nanomutants. Still, the shell does allow for greater toughness and resilience than is granted to an ordinary human, and with the right salvaged components, a cyborg can become a fearsome engine of destruction.
Mechanics
“Cyborg” is an option chosen at character creation. Unmutated humans may also become cyborgs later in play, if they stumble across an adaptation shell and its implant facilities. Cyborgs never mutate, though they are subject to all the other unfortunate effects of Highshine exposure.
Cyborgs have a base armor class of 4. Cyborgs have no need for food, drink, or oxygen, and can survive underwater, in hard vacuum, or in radiation less intense than one save per minute. They heal at the same rate as other humans. Their internal power plant provides for all their physical needs, but the shell does require 1 unit of TL4 spare parts every week to maintain effectiveness. The first week the supplies are lacking, all the cyborg’s attributes suffer a -1 penalty to their modifiers. After two weeks, the cyborg is unable to function, and after three weeks the cyborg will die. Adding additional components to the shell may increase this maintenance need. No special skill is necessary to apply the spare parts or new components, as the shell guides the host as necessary.
The cyborg can locate components for the shell that mimic any of the cyberware given in the SWN core book or the Polychrome world book, or components that mimic the modifications from the Transhuman Tech supplement with system strain costs added. They may add up to 12 System Strain worth of these modifications to their shell, with each modification requiring an hour to swap in or out. These modifications do not actually add to the cyborg’s system strain- they’re “free” with the shell. For each 3 points of strain added with these components an additional unit of TL4 spare parts is needed each week. Yanking components out quickly after use won’t lessen this- the highest total for the week is used.
The cyborg’s internal power plant is equivalent to an inexhaustible type A power cell. With a built-in adapter, he or she can power any one device requiring a type A power cell indefinitely. Swapping the power adapter from one item to another requires only one round’s action.


GM screen

Seeing as there’s no official (or unofficial) GM screen, I have created one here for download: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxTpwc7eMci7bmdxWUZ2QndnTkk/edit?usp=sharing

I just cant run a game properly without all the tables handy in one place. I can’t stand flipping through the rulesbook or scanning a PDF looking for a table.


AI/Android character sheet.

I have created an Android/AI character sheet here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxTpwc7eMci7Y0ZHZ3laRG1LbzA/edit?usp=sharing

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