Character A Day, Day Twenty Three(ish-ish)
I Will Try Not To Make Any Titanic Jokes
But I Have A Sinking Feeling I’ll… Oh, Damn
OK! So yesterday was XMas Eve, and being culturally Jewish and spiritually Atheist don’t mean I get a pass on the pre-holiday stress and panic, since I’m married to a Baptist and we live with her mother. And, frankly, I was just burned out and tired and ended up napping most of the afternoon and then the evening was spent watching a Mel Gibson movie where he’s a surly, cynical, burned-out Santa Claus dealing with a hitman. Yes, really. It’s called “Fatman”, it’s at RedBox, and I hate recommending media because my tastes aren’t everyone’s, but I thought it was worth the 1.80 rental fee. It worked, in my opinion, because everyone played it straight — it wasn’t camped up, but it was also clearly intended to be comedy. And not one word of the preceding has a thing to do with today’s game! Remember, folks, when you come here, you get your money’s worth!
(Hopefully, today’s first game, because if I can pull off a twofer again, I’ll be back to only one day behind. Will there be a Christmas Miracle?)
Today’s (first… maybe) game is “White Star”, another OSR-insired game, this one space opera/science fiction. Its name derives from “White Box” D&D, the original “little brown books”, which, I must remind everyone, were “lite” not due to a conscious and considered philosophy of rules design, but time pressures and the physical limits of what could be printed within the budget games were expected to spend. In 2020 dollars, gamers spent almost sixty bucks for three very slim pamphlets with art by This Guy I Know (among his earliest work, and that which catapulted him to fame throughout the decade). (As a comparison, the ~650 page full-color hardback for Pathfinder 2 costs the same inflation-adjusted amount.)
A Long Time Ago, You Roll 3d6 In Order
However, there’s options given; Roll 3d6 and arrange, or roll 4d6 and drop the lowest, then arrange. So, let’s go for that method, since I have a character class in mind (from the supplement, White Star Companion).
Starting Numbers: 14, 11, 14, 16, 10, 8
The White Star rules are stingy beyond words with bonuses; only attributes 15 or higher gain a bonus, and that’s limited to +1… and applying it is a “house rule”, which kind of makes you wonder why they both with attributes at all. So it goes.
Anyway, since the Baby Yoda show is off the air for another year, I will console myself with a Bounty Hunter. A quick trip to a Star Wars Random Name Generator gets me Quill Hebsley.
Int: 16 (+10% XP, can learn 5 languages)
Cha: 8 (-1 loyalty for assistants)
BHB (Basic Hit Bonus) +0
ST (Saving Throw) 15
HD: 1 Hit points: 3 (All HD are D6, regardless of class.)
A digression: A lot of gamers do not realize just how simple the original “White Box” rules were. All weapons did 1d6 damage, all classes gained 1d6 HP per level. When you add in Greyhawk, you get a game that is very recognizably the core of D&D we have today –weapons did varying damage, classes had different hit points per die, thieves were added, paladins were added, many of the most iconic spell and monsters and magic items were added. Original, unsupplemented D&D was like a “friends and family alpha” shoved out the door to meet a deadline; Greyhawk was the massive DLC patch that made it feature-complete. Nonetheless, the original version has been fetishized by gamers since the early 2000s, who have consciously chosen to view its many flaws and omissions as deliberate design. But I digress.
Quill does gain some abilities for being a Bounty Hunter:
Predator & Prey: +2 to Attack Rolls vs. any creature I have a contract on; Max contracts= character level.
Subduing Attacks: When I make an attack that would be lethal, I can instead knock out the enemy.
Master Tracker: After some reasonable amount of time spent gathering info, I can make a Saving Throw to learn my targets last known location.
Saving Throw: I get a +2 to save vs. deception or to see through concealment.
Getting In Gear
3d5 x 10 credits gives me a perfectly average 100 credits. I can use all weapons and armor, but I suspect I’m going to be unable to afford much. Let’s see.
I’ll go with a mono-sword (damage: 1d6+1) for 10 credits. From what I can tell, normal weapon damage ranges from 1d6-1 to 1d6+1, and for a ranged weapon, a laser pistol (50). This leaves me 40, so I will buy Light Armor for 25. 15 left. That gets me common clothing (5), a belt pouch (3), 2 day’s rations (2), and 5 credits for random expenses.
Skills And History
As it turns out, the companion has some optional rules for skills and background. Might as well use ’em.
I gain the following:
Athletics, Rank 2: From my class.
Navigation, Rank 3: Chosen, +1 for my high Intelligence
Interaction, Rank 1: Chosen
The skill rank is the roll-under to use the skill, so, to use Athletics, I must roll a 2 or less.
I also can randomly determine some background:
Homeworld: Low Gravity, -1 Strength, +1 Dexterity. This kicks my Dex to 15, which means, I get a +1 w/my ranged attacks and my AC. (My AC becomes 12 — +2 for my light armor, +1 for my Dex.)
Family: Average Relationship. I can roll an unmodified Saving Throw to see if a family member shows up to help me in an adventure.
Youth: I was Swept Off To Adventure, giving me a +1 to any Attribute. I pick Charisma, to remove the -1 loyalty penalty.
First Adventure: I was captured by outlaws, letting me pick locks on a 1-2 on a d6.
Adversary: A mercenary captain is hunting me.
Allies: A street rat is a friend, giving me info on criminal activity in one sector of one planet.
Critical Event: I saved the life of an Alien Brute, who serves as my bodyguard and is 1 level higher than me. W00t! My very own Chewbacca!
Note: There is a 1-in-6 chance you will die on the Critical Event table and be forced to start over. I suppose that provides a drawback to the table — nearly all the rolls are beneficial, but there’s that chance you’ll lose the character at the end.
My updated attributes are as follows;
Dex: 15 (+1 AC, +1 to hit w/ranged)
Int: 16 (+10% XP, can learn 5 languages)
And there we go! Quill and his three hit points are ready for adventure!