It’s May the Fourth and the big OSR darling is White Star by Barrel Rider Games. Here is in a nutshell, based around Swords & Wizardry White Box which is based on the original three little brown books of the original edition of the world’s most popular RPG. White Star is a pulp scifi take on those rules.
If you’ve followed my blogging over the years, you’d know that I’ve had a very long love-hate relationship with science fiction RPG’s. Some get too tied to a setting. Some are over complicated, especially when it comes to starship combat. And some just it was just a combination of things that just didn’t do it for me. White Star seems to be hitting all the notes in my little grognard mind.
As far as setting goes, there isn’t really an official one yet. Let’s face it D&D was massively influenced by Tolkien but you could take your game to whatever weird direction you wanted. White Star is massively influenced by Star Wars but (like some games out there) it’s not Star Wars with serial numbers filed off. Star Wars would fall into White Star’s Appendix N (if it had one). But I can see the inspirations from lots of other sources. It comes together as both a tool kit and a blank canvas to play with. That’s a big plus. That’s what I want in scifi game.
The rules are dead simple. Heck, just follow that link above to the Swords & Wizardry White Box rules. Read them thru. It’s simple. It’s old school. There’s not a lot there as far as moving mechanical crunch. There’s just simple, easy, and tweakable rules. That’s another great thing about this game and the OSR in general. There’s so much great stuff out there and it’s all mostly compatible and convertible. Start with the basics and gather in what you like to make the exact game you want.
Starship combat is usually the big fail in so many SciFi RPG’s. It’s either so abstract that it practically doesn’t matter or so detailed that it’s like a whole new game and usually that game is a war game. I think the starship combat hits that sweet spot of detail and abstractness. And it plays pretty much exactly like character combat.
Let me talk about classes a little here. Simple and to the point. You’ve got Aristocrat, Mercenary, Pilot, and Star Knight. Then there’s the sort of racial classes, Alien Brute, Alien Mystic, and Robot. There isn’t an alien generation system as some games. But heck. Import one. Or just takes some the foes from the back of the book and let them be characters. It’s not that difficult. Plus heck kids, it’s only been out a day. More stuff will be on the way.
So over all. This is OSR SciFi sweetheart. It’s got the basics covered and whatever else I want I can just bring in or make. And if you want to know more. Check out the Google Plus Community.