House Rules

As Stars Without Number is designed to be hacked, even on the fly with improvised rules systems applying only to specific monsters or specific situations, this is a page to keep track of all the edits and house rules.

1. Point Buy Attributes Attributes are done on a point-buy system using this point buy calculator. You may lower Attributes below 7 as well; doing so returns 1 point per point below 7 (to prevent minmaxing by dumping stats for a big reward). You have 10 points to distribute. Note: Since SWN’s system is different from Pathfinder, this is less scant than you might think. Lowering a stat has very little downside, so three stats at 14 is entirely possible. Any 18s will however only be possible for highly specialized characters. Also bear in mind that changes between 8 and 13 are encouraged to flesh out your character – mechanically 13 Wisdom is little different from 10 Wisdom, but it still says something about your character if they’re Wis 12, Int 8 rather than 10 in both.

2. If playing in a small group, you get the “adventurer” Background Package for free, on top of your normal Background Package and Skill Package. This gives a bit more flexibility and a few more Skills to play with.

3. Better Experts The Expert class is changed to have the same level progression as the other two classes, because I hate different level progressions. To compensate for this drawback, Experts gain 1 more skill point on each level-up (but no more starting skill points). Optionally, an Expert can instead choose to be a Specialist, see below.

4. Inofficial Errata The Inofficial Errata is in use. The main effect of this is that in small groups (3 players or less), all characters receive +1 Skill Point per level beyond the first. Psychics and Warriors gain 3 points per level, Experts gain 5. Starting Skills are not changed, and still depend on starting packages.

5. Attribute-Governed Saving Throws When making a Saving Throw, add your appropriate Attribute modifier to the roll. Con governs Physical, Dex governs Evasion, Wis governs Mental, Int governs Tech, and Cha governs Luck.

6. Dexterity Is Not Reaction Speed Rather than be a d8, Initiative is resolved with a Tactics roll, using Wisdom as the guiding Attribute. Situational awareness and experience in combat makes more sense as an Initiative modifier, and makes Dex less of a god-stat.

7. Reaction Rolls As an interesting “general” social mechanic, I will introduce “Reaction Rolls” from GURPS. Reaction rolls are made to see how well an NPC reacts to a PC when they first meet – a measure of raw charisma and personal magnetism, not intentional persuasion. When applicable, the GM secretly rolls 1d10, adding the character’s Charisma score. If the result is 10 or lower, the NPC reacts unfavorably; 11-20 the NPC is neutral, 21+ the NPC’s reactions are favorable. A roll of 1 is always unfavorable; a roll of 10 is always favorable. Cha 18 characters are such incredible forces of personality that most people love them, and those who don’t dislike them intensely – they never omit neutral reactions (since they elicit favorable responses even on a 2).
Comment: This mechanic gives Charisma a bit more of a purpose, and is an interesting aid when interacting with neutral NPCs. It won’t be applicable to characters who already have a reason to like or dislike the PCs, more to see if a random stranger on the street is friendly or grumpy and dismissive.

8. Specialist Experts An Expert can opt to be a Specialist upon reaching level 2. Such a character receives 1 fewer Skill Points than a normal Expert on each level-up, but may select one Signature Skill. This Skill is bought at a 1-point discount, and may be raised to one level above the normal maximum.

9. Early Mastery A Psion can opt to master a Discipline early, before reaching the requisite one level higher. Doing so is straining, and incurs a one-PP surcharge on all non-mastered Disciplines until the Psion is at least one level higher than their highest mastered Discipline, at which point this penalty disappears. A psychic can only apply Early Mastery to their Primary Discipline.

10. Optional: Advanced Starship Combat See the Serious Hacks page for this optional rule, which overhauls the HP system.

11. Optional: Innate AC See the Serious Hacks page for this optional rule, which overhauls the AC system.

12. Optional: Advanced Injuries See the Serious Hacks page for this optional rule.

13. This page has extra starting packages.

House Rules

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