Category Archives: White Star

Marmalade Dog 21

Marmalade Dog 21 was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 18-20, 2016, at Western University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I had planned to attend today and play in the first slot, but I woke up with a stuffy nose and ear, and a sore throat.

We did not have an official OSR slot this year, like we did last year. I have decided that once we find out when Marmalade Dog is next year that I will step up and coordinate an OSR track. The exception is if it is the same weekend as Gary Con. Last year, the convention was in early February, so I asked if they know yet when it will be next year. The answer is that the university tells them what date they can have, or occasionally what dates they can choose from. So such a variable makes it understandable why it isn’t consistent with the month they have it. I live in southern Kalamazoo County, so am only about 20 minutes away from campus.

Normally the deadline for GM sign up to run games, and get free admission, for each day that they run a session, and a t-shirt, is December 31. I didn’t get signed up to run a game by then. In February, I looked and there were some OSR type games, but three sessions the first, fifth, and seventh, did not have any. So I signed up at the website for the first and fifth session, and was not automatically rejected. I never got an email for confirmation that I wasn’t rejected. So last weekend, I went to the website and checked, and my sign ups were on the list of scheduled games. I then hurried up and got ready.

Session 1: 3:00 pm on Friday. As with last year, no one showed up to my game. If things work out to coordinate an OSR track next year, we’ll have to drum up enough players to commit to a first session game.  I ran the same thing for Session 5 on Saturday.

Session 2: Friday was 7:30 pm – 11:30 pm. +Forest Ray ran a Swords & Wizardry Complete setting, called Muskets & Magic Users. It was S&W with muskets. We were first level adventurers hired by the town to go stop the pirates who raided their town. Non magic users got issued a musket that did 1d12, that fired once per round. Magic users got a wand of magic missile that had 5 first level spells per day and regenerated its charges overnight.

That was a fun little session, and my magic user used Charm Person to make a “friend” of one of the pirates that was on the raiding party that came into the tavern where we were. This made it easier to find the other pirates in the raiding party, secure their boat, and go out to their ship. We managed to take the ship and go clean out the pirate hideout, then go fight the dragon ship of the pirate queen. It was a fun game.

Forest always hands out goodies for his games, and we each got a bag of dice and a button with the name of his game, and the rules system. Forest came down from Lansing and got a hotel to run and play games all three days. In addition to swag, he brought 3 copies of Swords & Wizardry Complete for reference. I didn’t bring mine as I was already lugging three AD&D Player Handbooks, the OSRIC Player Handbook, and a DMG for my earlier session.

Muskets & Magic Users
Muskets & Magic Users

Charles, who played in one of my sessions of Homlett from last year, and was looking forward to my game Saturday night. He said he runs Swords & Wizardry sometimes. He actually lives in my town, but I lost his number. I put it in my cell so I can’t lose it. We also had a couple, Joseph and Priscilla, who played S&W for the first time and had a blast. They were both experienced gamers. He lives in a town about 15 miles south of me, so we are planning to get together IRL for gaming. She lives about a half hour away in the other direction. We had one other player, and I am blanking on the name. I did not think to take a picture of play at the table.

Session 3: 10:00 am on Saturday, I played DCC’s Frozen in Time as a 0-level funnel, by +Mike Carlson.  Mike came down from Lansing for the day. I played this funnel with him last year. Others had played it, but I didn’t remember most of the key details, so it was like a new adventure. I only remembered things as we encountered them. It was a good time. We had a full table with 6 players. Four of us were experienced gamers with DCC experience. The other two were a couple, Seth had RPG experience, and this was Gretchen’s first roleplaying experience. She had a good time. This couple lives about an hour away, in Benton Harbor, so they are having a challenge finding a group. +Clayton Williams from Lansing and +James DeYonke and his friend Dave, from Ann Arbor, one and two hours away, respectively.

DCC at Marmalade Dog 21
DCC at Marmalade Dog 21

Session 4: 3:00 pm, Saturday. +Forest Ray ran Da Orkz Iz Back, a White Star scenario. I meant to bring my White Star books, but didn’t think to set them out, or put in my bag before I went to bed. This was the first time I had played White Star. Mike Carlson joined in, as did Charles, Joseph, and Priscilla from the night before in Muskets and Magic Users.

Forest & Players White Star
Forest & Players White Star
White Star At Marmalade Dog 21
White Star At Marmalade Dog 21

This was a scenario that needed at least one Star Knight and one pilot with the rest mercenaries. I rolled up a very uncharismatic Star Knight, and we had two pilots and two mercenaries. We were hired to investigate the loss of contact with Altair 6, a relatively new colony. There was no contact with the Star Knight Monastery, the city, and the star port. We found that legendary orcs who were thought to be myth were real, and were working with a couple of Void Knights. My Star Knight couldn’t hit the Void Knight with his star sword. The rest of the party gunned down the other Void Knight and one of the pilots picked up his void knight sword and managed to stab the void knight I was fighting. In another combat, I finally managed to hit something with my star sword. I was much better when I was shooting my blaster pistol.

Da Orkz Iz Back
Da Orkz Iz Back

Session 5: 7:00 pm on Saturday. I ran a scenario based on an area of my home campaign that I wanted to flesh out – Ogre Island and the Black Crate. I will write up a separate article on this.

Sunday has two sessions, Session 6 at 11:00 am and  7 at 3:30 pm.

Session 6: Forest ran Mutant University using the Mutant Future system. I had planned to attend that before I woke up with a cold and no energy.

Session 7: did not have any what I thought were obvious OSR games. I was thinking of playing a game of Fate, which I have never played. Maybe next year.

What I learned from this experience.

  • I need to commit to this local con, since it is in my backyard. As long as it does not conflict with Gary Con or other things I want to do, I will go.
    • If it is the same weekend as Gary Con, I can still try to coordinate an OSR track, for any not going to Gary Con.  I can recruit an assistant to handle things of the actual weekend.
  • Last year, after I saw how much time it took me to get ready to run Village of Homlet, I decided it would have been just as easy to come up with my own scenario that I would know like the back of my hand.
    • This idea proved true. I used the opportunity to flesh out an area of my campaign I had been wanting to do for a long time.
  • People will drive from a couple hours away to come for Saturday. A strong OSR presence could attract a lot more people.
    • Advertising on G+ an other outlets could increase the attendance.
    • Keep the line of communication open with other players from the region.
  • If you run a 6 person game, you get one folding table that is just big enough. If you run an 8 person game you get two folding tables.
  • Swag is cool. Perhaps publishers would provide swag, or templates for GM’s to make their own swag.
    • DCC has some cool stuff with bookmarks, buttons, pens, pencils, and more.

Mark Hunt – An Interview – The Return of GangBusters

I knew +Mark Hunt from G+ and just happened to meet him at +John Reyst’s Open Gaming Store booth. I recalled seeing a post about Gangbusters, but it had not clicked that it was back. Mark has a license to the GangBusters game! I first learned of Mark with his prolific postings of items for White Star. Many know him for his DCC setting Drongo.

Mark was signing a Gangbuster’s box, and it had the look and size of what I remember from 30+ years ago. The guy asked Mark to sign it and I was really puzzled, thinking it was an original boxed set, until Mark explained that it was his game.

We talked about collaborating on some things in multiple genres/rule systems, one of them being Gang Busters! Wow! I haven’t played in 30+ years, so I guess I need to brush up on the rules….

I did a phone interview with Mark on Saturday, March 12th. Before I started asking interview questions, he mentioned that he is good for the next 3 or 4 years of putting stuff out on a regular basis.

Interview Questions

When did you get your start in RPG’s?
Summer 1979. D&D Red Box and Blue Box. One day in Jr. High, we talked about it in the  Lunch room & met up after school.

What games have you played?
Call of Cthulhu, AD&D, probably hundreds since then. Powers & Perils, Champions, you name it, I played it. I have played every year since then. I once played Champions two years straight.

What games have you ran?
I have ran pretty much just about every game. Which helped a lot with game design, you have to play games and know what is out there, if you want to make games.

I’ve been running GangBusters since 1983. I have enough stuff on hard drive to fill a dozen books without even trying.

What games do you still play or run?
GangBusters, D&D, Swords of the Empire, DCC, Basic, Swords & Sorcery, C&C, Call of Cthulhu, and boardgames, just games, our group tries to keep playing.

How many women players have you had in all of your games?
Dozens, our first group had women back in 1979, and 3 or 4 at a time all the way to the present. It’s easy.

Does you wife play?
No

Does it cause problems?
No, she plays computer games, some are RPG’s, just not table top.

What does she think of your endeavors?
She likes it, especially when they start cashing in. I take what I make and roll it into producing the next game.

Have you ever had a woman GM?
Yes, a few. They are just like everyone else.  I’ve played all over the world so I had all the kinds of game masters that you can think of.

You played all over the world because you were in the Air Force?
Yes for six years and it included the1st Gulf War. We used to play Twilight 2000 in Germany back in the 80’s. A game where we go to war with Russia and get stranded in Europe when it happens. We used all the strategies and tactics we knew, and we had more authenticity than most people.

You seem to have an eclectic taste in genres and historical periods, do you find it hard to focus with so many different irons in the fire?
No.

Why not?
I like to read all kinds of stuff. I know a lot about this, this and this. If there is something you need to know, read a book. My dad says, They hide things they don’t want people to know in a book. A game designer should always be reading, and learning more stuff.

You got your start, at least in my experience, of publishing ships, classes, and supplements for White Star. Was that your real start?It was actually Drongo, then Planetary Transmission and some free items for White Star.

NOTE: Drongo is a DCC compatible setting.

I know you have a Napoleonic era game in the works, and other things, what can you tell us about that?
Swords of the Empire will be ready by the beginning of next month. People can follow on the G+ page and watch development of it, and see how it has changed and evolved. I revise based on feedback from others’ comments in the community.

The latest project seems to be a runaway success – GangBusters.
Is that a game you played back in the day?
NOTE: See above, he’s been playing and GMing it since it came out in 1983.

What made you decided to go for a license to GangBusters?
It was just sitting there and I just asked if I can use it and it went from there. If I like it, there has to be others that like it. If I can sell enough and it can pay for the effort I put into it, all the better.

Is it an exclusive license, that is, are you the only one licensed to do anyting with GB?
So far, I’m the only one out there. I’m working on several things, just making stuff work. I can’t go into more detail at this time.

How hard was it to get the license to do this?
More or less I just asked Rick Krebs and he was receptive. I can’t get into any details on that either. There is stuff [other famous IP] that people can probably pick up if they put in some effort to research it. It is not impossible, is the best I can say.

What did Rick Krebs say when you asked him, was he excited?
Others had talked to him and it never went anywhere, so I showed him what I can do and he purchased it and reviewed it. When the writer likes it and says keep doing it, that’s a seal of approval.

Why the twist with the “Weird Tales & Paranormal Investigations?
Actually it existed in the original setting. In Polyhedron magazine, they had an adventure with giant bugs that took over a farm. I did not create it out of thin air, it existed in some shape or form in the original game.
The original game talked about various ideas for how to expand it. All I did was expand it. I read all the articles where they mentioned GangBusters. I am making it modular so you can use or not, or expand or not, cause at the end of the day it is still a game of cops & robbers. If you can’t find an adventure after a night of watching TV, with so many police procedurals that are on now, I can’t help you, NCIS, X-files, etc. Warehoue 13, Thin Man, etc. There is so much that fits.
Me – It’s seeing the connections.
Mark – Exactly. I increased the book size to show what you can do with it. It doesn’t have to be just gangsters. You can do journalists. The Incredible Hulk is about new reporter chasing the Hulk cross country. The players  could be a pool of reporters in an Enquirer type organization.
Me – GangBusters is set in the same time period as H.P. Lovecraft was writing.
Mark – I’m staying away from the Cthulhu mythos, there is more out there than just that.
If you want to play Call of Cthulhu play it, it’s a great game. If you want to go in different directions, play my game. Play GangBusters, there is enough out there to keep you busy

I really like the NPC card decks, what was your inspiration for those?
Old police mugshots. I make cards with mugshots, with enough stats to run. I made the first 18, then another 18, and eventually I’ll have a full deck of 52 cards. Literally take a card and you are ready to play. At Gary Con I passed out cards, and said, this is what stats mean and we were up and running in minutes. NPC’s, bad guys, players, etc. They are small and portable. Once you know the rules that’s all you need. Keep it in your wallet and you’re ready to play whenever and wherever. [See this YouTube video for a sample of the cards.]

Me – They make a great tool for a pick up or convention game for pre-gens. There was a lot of buzz from those who played in the games Mark ran.

It’s been mentioned on the G+ TSR GangBusters Community, that you plan to do a Kickstarter. I know that you have a goal to have everything ready before the Kickstarter and to keep it manageable. How much can you tell us about that?
I’m still working on it. Eventually there will be a box set, hard back book, GM screen, and modules, plus add ons will all be figured out and done. So once we hit our goal and are funded, I will order and ship. I did a test run of box sets, and people are impressed with what I have now. Some have shipped to Spain, England, all over world now. I hope a Kickstarter will help it reach a bigger area.

When might we get wind of the Kickstarter?
Depends on when I get done with something in the background – I can’t talk about it – then preparing for the Kickstarter will start to speed up.

What is the secret to your prolific output? I ask, because it is an amazing story that just floored me. I was giving you a hard time at Gary Con to slow down because you’re making the rest of us look bad.
Last year was my last chemo – I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and going through treatments. I said to myself, “If this is my last year, I’m going to do what I want to do,” and I literally drove myself to do these games, even if only 5 words in a day. After a year, I had a lot. I just hacked it out piece by piece. “Never give up, never surrender,” as they say. Marks’ wife can be heard in the background: “He’s not going to do anything else. By Grapthar’s hammer….”
To the outside world it appeared like I was cranking it out fast, it seemed like a lot real fast. As they say, an overnight success is ten year’s worth of work. A lot of games that blew up were simmering in the background and no one paid attention until they got done.

You mentioned you were seeking a license to do a game with a big name, and well-know IP, but it fell through. 
Any clues to other IP’s you have your eye on? (Probably not, since you don’t want to spoil it.)
Exactly. I’m always looking for more stuff, but can’t mention them, so I don’t get scooped. If it’s not being used, why not? A Lot of stuff is just sitting quietly. It’s not hard if you do the work and ask. The worst they can say is, “No.”
Drongo for DCC is mine and I can always go and do a BX version. As long as I don’t compete with one of their [Goodman Games] products it should be OK.

Any hints about projects coming up?
Oh geeze, let me look at my hard drive. I’ve thought about one or two retroclones, but will mention those when the time is right. I don’t want it all at once, that is, I want to spread it out. Cloaked Avengers is a new class for GangBusters in the next month, like the Shadow. You can add to an existing GangBusters game with mysterious powers. I’m also working on a WWI alternate history for GangBusters.  I plan to stage so it’s not out all at once, and do one or two adventures to flesh out stuff  I already have.

Joe’s Diner was 6 or 7 pages, then 18, then 32, then I made little booklets. The PDF is automatically updated, so it’s done. The only way to get it in book form is in the boxed set.
Me – That’s a smart way to drive sales.
Mark – Exactly.

Have you seen all the talk about yesterday’s press release about the new TableTop Library site?
Yes. I’m thinking about trying to sell stuff there, it’s one more avenue for sales.

Anything else you want us to know about?
Hit me up on G+ if you see me, and help out get the word out, Swords of the Empire, GangBusters , Fantasy game – no name yet. Everything is just falling into place so fast it is ridiculous. I might have Boxed sets [of the yet to be named and released fantasy game ] at NTRPGCon.

GangBusters boxed sets and T-Shirts, and Swords of the Empire boxed sets will definitely be at North Texas RPG Con.

– – –

Mark is a really nice guy, easy to talk to, and inviting. Other aspiring game designers were asking him to look at their stuff, and he was looking forward to it. He knows game mechanics. Just wjile talking about general ideas, he had an idea for something. Being in his presence, I couldn’t help but be infected by his enthusiasm for games. If we lived in the same town, I’d find a way to play in his games.

Mark is enjoying life and riding this dream of designing games and having a blast while doing it. I expect to hear exciting things in the coming weeks.

Review – Day Trippers Game Masters Guide

This is a follow up post to my review of the Day Tripper’s Core Rules.

I was invited to review the entire system after my review of the Planet Generator guide. There are two other generators for Locations and Lifeforms from the GM Guide that are available on DTRPG/RPGNow. If you have the GM Guide, you don’t need to purchase these stand alone generators. My review of the GM Guide will be much shorter than the review of the Core Rules. I’m sure many will appreciate that.

Setting The Tone:

The GM Guide begins with a discussions of surreal and surrealism, and then goes into a discussion of it in science fiction and then RPGs. This might be eye glazing fodder for some. While a good presentation of the subject, I am not entirely sure it is warranted. We know that dreams and the chao are possible slip types, so many may find it a long winded way to say “weird”.

“Appendix N” Material:

There is a long list of resources for inspiration. The selection deals with “alternate realities, multiple dimensions, subjective worlds, bizarre lifeforms, surreal space adventures, and time travel.

This list is limited to one page and helps give flavor. There are things I’ve never read, some I have heard of. Thanks for making my read/watch list longer. There aren’t enough hours in the day to read all that I want to read, or watch all that I want to watch. (I’m the only with that problem, right?)

Other movies/TV shows I thought of are “The Fly” (original or remake), “Incredible Shrinking Man/Woman”, “InnerSpace”, adn TV shows: “Seven Days”, “Land of the Giants”, “Lost In Space”, and many others. As with other RPGs, almost anything can be an inspiration, even your weird dreams.

Details:

As expected, the GM Guide fleshes out things from the Core Rules. For example, NPCs get a whole page here instead of a paragraph in the Core Rules.

There are examples of how play proceeds, and 16 pages at the end that walk through generating your own adventure using the generators and forms provided.

Generators:

56 of the 120 pages are dedicated to 12 generators: Missions, Stars, Planets, Locations, Lifeforms, Societies, Drama, Character, Alternate Earth, Dream World, Multiversal Chao, and Time Travel.

Most, if not all of these generators can be used in other RPGs of any genre. As with all generators used in prepping to play, they are suggestive, and are a means to help you think of things to mix it up so each adventure is different.

You already know what I think about the planet generator.

The cool thing about these generators is how flexible they are. Many of them require two rolls, one using 1 to 3 d6’s to determine the general nature of the particular table, and another d6 for the sub-item in that category on the chart.

The parallel earth generator walks you figuring out what is different and when it happened, and how likely the characters are to figure it out, or how they might figure it out.

Page 88 has a cool flow chart to determine when to use a given generator in the course of developing a mission.

Questions:

From my review of the Core Rules, there are two questions for which I was looking for answers in the GM Guide:

  1. What happens to players that fail to return in 24 hours?
    Here’s a link to a G+ thread where my review is highlighted by the game developer. He mentions that the results of exceeding 24 hours is meant to be determined by each GM. In his game it creates an alternate reality, and they are “gone” from the original. What happens if a player isn’t there that session? The party would be split up.
    Rescue missions are discussed and they involve time travel to go to where the lost people are and insert them into the time stream in this reality a moment before the rescue ship leaves. It also mentions changed time lines/new alternate universes created, etc.
  2. Are the action/combat charts in one handy section of the GM Guide
    The charts are not in one location in the GM guide. I did find on the DayTrippers website that they have a GM screen.

Free PDFs – Follow Up:

All the forms that are available for free on DTRPG/RPGNow that I mentioned in my Core Rules review are in the GM Guide. However, the players hand out is not. I would recommend it be in the PDF so that the GM has everything in one place. The Traveller conversion PDF is not in there either, but that is not critical in my mind, since it is a special case for a single game.

In addition to including the free PDFs there is an Adventure Sketch Sheet to hold the bare facts about an adventure.

What I Like:

All the awesome generators! These generators do a great job of giving ideas, and would be helpful for developing one’s own generators, perhaps with more options.

There are 6 sample missions, examples of NPCs, a walk through of building a mission, all designed to help the GM prepare for game play, or figure it out on the fly.

The sandbox style of play is promoted by suggesting preparing outlines of missions, since the idea is that characters and other NPC’s are in the business of doing missions. Also developing NPC’s ahead of time for use as needed. The nice thing about he majority of NPC’s is that they have stats of 1, so you don’t need to write down all their stats, just the ones that are not one.

In addition to the generators, there are drama templates that guide the GM in preparing the mission/adventure. These templates include what kind of locations, gear, and NPC’s are needed to help you cover all the bases. This would be a handy tool for those new to running games. My only caution is to avoid a railroad, just as these rules do.

The advice in the GM Guide is if the players don’t notice your clues or pick up on them, it is a sign that you are doing it wrong. That is, you need to describe them better, give them an idea of why they should notice them, etc.

What I’d Like to See:

The only thing I can think to add, is that all RPG’s should have a section to clarify what types of dice they require. In the Core Rules 1 or more d6’s are mentioned. However, on page 35 of the GM Guide for node type determination, it mentions the possibility of using 2d4. I am OK with that, but this is the only place in both manuals that I am aware of that mentions anything besides using d6’s. As with most players of RPG’s I have dice to cover almost any situation, and even dice for which I don’t have the particular RPG they go with, but have them anyway. Since it is only in the GM Guide, it won’t impact players, but a heads up before then for this one-time suggestion for a scenario to use d4’s would be helpful.

Conclusion:

I’d buy this just for the generators. $12 for 12 generators is a good price if you are looking for that sort of thing.

I could run this game. I would want to play a game as a player first, or watch it played (see YouTube Video below). I’ll watch these videos later.

The mechanics are interesting and simple. There’s no guess work or fumbling with the manuals to see if you hit/succeeded. Until you get the hang of it, you might want the suggested results when something more than straight up success or failure happens. You’ll need the Core Rules handy for that.

The GM Guide is$12 on DTRGP/RPGNow.

There is also a GM Bundle that includes the GM Guide and the Core Rules for $25.98 (save $5 from purchasing individually) at DTRPG/RPGNow.

So far, there are two modules for DayTrippers available on DTRPG/RPGNow. I have not read them, so don’t know specifics. One of them is refenced in the GM Guide to illustrate the use of the Runsheet.

DayTrippers has its own website with other PDFs and forums.

I found two YouTube videos on topic. One is an interview with Tod Foley at Legends of Tabletop, and the other is actual play GMed by Tod Foley. I plan to watch them later.

 

 

Review – Day Trippers Core Rules

I did a review of the Day Trippers Planet Generator back in May. The author contacted me to review the Core Rules and Game Masters Guide.

I was interested to see what Day Trippers was, and why the name. Before I could get the time to read what I had downloaded, I saw that others had posted their own reviews of Day Trippers, so I made sure to avoid reading them until I had a chance to see it for myself. I read and reviewed the Core Rules before this review. This should help me understand how the players see the game, verses the “inside information” in the GM Guide.

I was concerned about how long it would take me to get through the books, but the Core Rules is only 44 pages. I got through half of it in one sitting. The other half I finished in another sitting.

I went in-depth in this review, far different from how I would review a movie. This should give you an understanding/feel of the game and creating characters and resolving actions.

The layout is clean and it is easy to read on my tablet. It has good art, and no typos or grammar errors that I noticed. The Table of Contents is hyperlinked. The index is not hyperlinked. This is not an issue, I am not aware of any index that is hyperlinked. The Table of Contents does not include the character sheet and ship sheet on the last two pages of the PDF. The rules are Creative Commons 3.0 UNPORTED LICENSE (CC BY 3.0). THEY ARE OWNED BY EVERYONE AND NO ONE. HTTP://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/3.0/

It starts with a story to set the history and tone. It’s the campaign world setting. It was interesting and let me in on the origin of this concept in the mind of the game creator. As with any “default” campaign setting, it is up to the user to use it or not. In short, crazy super genius invents method to travel between dimensions. Once he proves it, other individuals, corporations, and governments get involved. There are locations that others find and keep a secret to use to their own advantage, in addition to well-know places, and places as yet undiscovered.

The premise behind the game is slipping between dimensions, different realities, planets, etc. It reminds me of the times older episodes of Dr. Who (AKA Tom Baker) moved sideways to other realities in the TARDIS rather than through normal time and space. I also was reminded of the TV show Sliders, although I think I only ever caught one episode of that show. It also reminds me a bit of the TV show 7 Days where they could only travel back in time seven days.

What I find hilarious in the backstory for how such travel was discovered, the acronym for the first device in my mind is TRAP, although it is referred to as TRA Pod in the text.  I then imagined Admiral Akbar, “It’s a TRAP!” I often come up with weird acronyms others didn’t intend.

There are terms used in the rules, Slip Space for the space/stuff traversed between starting point and destination, and Slip Pods for the devices that carry people through Slip Space.

There are five variations on slip travel, called Slips: Cartesian, Temporal, Para Terran, Subjective, Compound

  • Travel across the universe in this home reality. That is travel to other planets. (Cartesian)
  • Alternate Earths/Parallel Universes (Para Terran)
  • Time Travel, but limited to the time line of Earth 1. (Temporal)
  • Dream Worlds (Subjective)
  • The Multiversal Chao (Compound Slips – Which is a combination of two or more other kinds of slips.)

One Slips into one of 6 Nodes: Known Planets, Unknown Planets, Time Travels, Alternate Earths, Dream Worlds, and The Multiversal Chao. Dreams reminds me of the movie Inception, or places where stories are real. There is more than one story I am aware of about the characters and places in fiction are real. With all of these possibilities, there is no shortage of potential adventures. One can do any genre with these rules: science fiction, steam punk, western, spy, gangsters, fantasy, suspense, horror, sword & planet, etc.

The origin of the title of the game, Day Trippers, is that one is limited to 24 hours for the maximum length of time one can stay in their destination. If one does not return in that time, they cease to exist in the originating point. My question is, if they stay in this dimension/universe/timeline, that would mean they cease to exist, but does that mean they are trapped in different dimensions/realities if they fail to return? This is not clear to me in the Core Rules. As I read it, I would rule they are trapped in that other dimension. I will look to see if this is clarified in the GM Guide.

Character generation is a point buy. Each character begins with 100 CP (Character Points) to spend building characters. An interesting concept is that these CP can be saved and used during play for Progressive Character Building. CP are used to generate the stats for players, buy skill levels, and purchase equipment, just like using money.

There are ten classes: Amateur Explorer, Gonzo Writer, Grad Student, Politican/Nobility, Special Forces, Celebrity/Entertainer, Government Agent, Scientist, Soldier, Tourist.

There are six stats (ability) scores: Brains, Charm, Grace, Health, Might, Psyche.

The interesting thing about ability scores is that they all start with one and then CP can be used to bump them up to a maximum of six. The number one through six represents the number of d6’s to roll for each challenge/impediment one faces in the game. To bump a score from 1 to 2 only costs 5 CP, but adding more increases the cost. To bump the score of a starting stat to 5 costs 100 CP and 6 costs 200 CP.

CP is equal to one unit of currency, called a Mega, which equals one million dollars. One can go into debt to build and equip a starting character. The debt has to be paid at one mega a month. Experience Points, XP, can be used to improve one’s character or pay off debt. The equivalence of each CP/Mega/XP makes it easy to figure out and track.

The Total Character Value (TCV) is the sum of CP and XP spent to develop your character. This would be analogous to level in other games. Similarly, Potential is the sum of unspent CP and XP.

There is a list of skills that have a note of one or two stats that apply to their use. Some skills assume the presence of a kit, for example a doctor has a bag, a technician has a tool kit, etc. New skills can be added with GM agreement, and must specify one or two applicable stats for their use. Skills also go from 1-6.

Classes can also be used to boost stats and skills before adventuring begins. Stats and skills get boosted by one and debt is increased.

Crew is the name for NPCs, they have 1 in all stats and cost one Mega or CP for a year of service. Additional stats, skills, and gear can be purchased for them as with characters. “[T]hey are assumed to have an unglamorous but serviceable place to live.” This same assumption is made for characters.

Rank applies to those from military, political, or secret careers, also from 1-6. My only issue with the rank, is for military, it used army/air force/marine ranks for levels 1-5, and level 6 is admiral, a navy rank. An admiral of the same number of stars is equivalent rank to a general of the same number of stars, so I would change level 5 to colonel and make level 6 general. If you want navy ranks list them. Keep in mind that a navy captain is equal to an army colonel.

Retired rank translates to last rank-1 for resolving actions.

Fame is a stat that indicates how well known a character is and there are benefits from the level of fame from 1-6. One has to make an effort to maintain their level of fame, either by spending megas or doing something to stay in the public eye. It boosts charm rolls.

Debts can be to legitimate sources like banks, or loan sharks. The difference is in how they handle late payments. Such as, legal action vs. broken legs. Not paying debts on time can lower one’s fame.

Life Shaping is done via events that shape the life of a character. These events can be presented before or during play, or even between sessions. LifeShapers can be used to deal with problems, with a reasonable explanation. There are twelve slots available for LifeShapers, so one can only add so many.

Gear ranges from 0-6, with 0 being standard items that add no bonus to actions. Gear with levels 1-6 are increasingly more expensive and add plusses to rolls.

There is a list of sample characters provided that can be used to get players started, or be used for one shot adventures, etc.

Action resolution begins with difficulty levels from 1-10, 1 being a no-brainer to a 10 being insane. Any difficulty of 7 or higher is impossible without leveled skills and/or gear, since the max stat is 6. You roll the number of dice equal to the appropriate skill and keep the highest. This just improves your odds of rolling a 6.

After the roll is determined, the appropriate/applicable skill, gear, rank, and fame are added.

Actions can be unopposed or opposed. Unopposed is more direct. With an opposed action the “defender” also rolls.

There are five possibilities for all results:

  • Miss by more than 1       No, AND (something negative happens)
  • Miss by 1                               NO, BUT (something positive happens)
  • Hit Exactly                            YES, BUT (something negative happens)
  • Exceed by 1                          YES (Nailed it precisely)
  • Exceed by more than 1  YES, AND (something positive happens)

This makes it easy to determine the “flavor” of successes and failures. For example, taking out the guard in one strike, but he makes a noise that alerts other guard(s).

Combat works similarly to actions, but level of armor and weapons play into it.

Other players can help the character performing an action, such as opening doors. The helper makes a roll, but helping could be not helping. How many movies, TV shows, or real life situations have you seen where someone says, “Please stop helping!”?

Damage reduces stats by one, and since they are in alphabetical order, you work your way down the list. If there is multiple damage in one action, take one from the first stat, one from the next and so on. When a stat hits 0 you are stunned, when 3 stats hit 0, you are dead.

There are no luck points to burn to avoid a bad situation. It is all up to the player(s) using their wits to make their current mix of stats, skills, and gear work to their advantage. Being able to come up with a plausible reason why a certain stat or skill applies in a given situation is key.

Healing is likewise simple, if only one stat is down a single point, three days of rest. More than that takes longer rest, involves hospitals, doctors, spending Megas, and possible devices found in one’s travels. Healing heals one point in each stat in alphabetical order.

An exception to healing is damage to the Psyche, which requires therapy and/or medication and can take months or years. It requires a level 5 difficulty roll to heal psyche after each month of rest. This is an interesting idea for the horror/Cthulhu type genre where one can regain sanity.

Vehicle actions are resolved similarly to other actions and combat. The appropriate stat,  skill and their levels, plus the level of the vehicle are added to the roll.

The vehicle combat table has the same five levels as other actions, but the results are specific to vehicles, like one hit on a vehicle and a critical strike, or vehicle escapes.

Vector Slipping is the action of using a Slip Ship to Slip into one of the 6 nodes. The action roll for this again has 5 possible outcomes. One knows by the result of the roll how well it succeeded or failed, and possible complications, but the details require looking at the chart. (I hope to find pages of all these charts in one place in the GM guide.)

The stuff between here and there is deadly, not only does it require a Slip Ship, but it also requires a Survival Suit. Both must remain intact to protect the user from the catastrophic and get you back to your origination point.

There is a discussion of the use and consequences of damage to the survival suit.

There is an explanation of the construction of a slip ship, from carrying capacity in crew, to core ship components, to amenities and even weapons. Each piece has a level, higher being more expensive. There is a list of sample ships and their cost to give you an idea. Ships can be owned by a player, in massive debt, a group, or a benefactor/sponsor.

There are six types of missions, seven if a mission mixes two or more types: Exploration, Emergency/Rescue, Sightseeing, Surveying/Fact-Finding, Acquisition/Trade, Politics/Diplomacy.

There is an explanation of how to build a mission and quantify it.

The rules end with a brief discussion and charts for conversion to and from four other systems: PbtA (Powered by the Apocalypse) – [I had to google for that acronym.), d20, 1-20, and 1-100. This makes it easy to port other systems, such as clones like White Box, or specifically White Star to use this game.

After the credits and a one page index, is a one page character sheet, and a one page ship sheet.

This gives players and GM the bare bones to play this game.

I have left out that this is a story style game. I don’t have experience running or playing story style games, so I can’t comment on that other than this impression. It reminds me of what I have read about Fate, and observed in people playing Fate. I can see the appeal of the collaborative effort of building a story together. To me this type of game play being fun would depend on the right mix of people and how narrowly or broadly they adhered to the role playing aspect of it. If the point is to get together and have fun with the rules as a guiding framework, I could have fun. If the point is to adhere to strict interpretations of the rules and strictly stay in character during game play, I might not have fun. I think this is true of any RPG.

In short, with the right mix of people, I might enjoy story style games.

Speaking specifically about Day Trippers, I see many interesting things, like the point buy character generation. One could have a super genius that isn’t much good for the charm or physical, a tough brute short on brains, a beauty/charmer, or an average person. By eliminating rolls for stats, one has flexibility to play the kind of character they want. I think this would appeal to those who feel that scores are more important than how one plays and has fun with it.

One does not have to play the game as a strict story game. I’m all for use the rules you want.

I think there are some interesting ideas here. Personally, I don’t think I’ll find a group that will play this game, but I definitely see some interesting ideas, that like many games, I can use for my own creations in the various genres of RPG that I play and run.

The rules are $5 at DriveThru/RPGNow, so it is inexpensive if you want to have a look for yourself. There are also free PDFs of things that are not in the Core Rules, in addition to the character sheet and ship sheet at the back of the Core Rules.

  • DayTrippers Mission RunSheet – A one page PDF for developing a mission or adventure. Not form fillable.
  • DayTrippers Player Handout – This is a very helpful one page summary to explain to the player how the game works. It is not part of the Core Rules.
  • DayTrippers Lifeform Sheet – This one page PDF has fields to describe various life forms and they use the same six stats as characters. The life form could be anything from a “monster”, or animal, to a sentient being. Not form fillable.
  • DayTrippers Planet Sheet – This one page PDF holds the information on a planet and two locations, and has a world map on the bottom of the page. It is not form fillabe.
  • DayTrippers PC Tracking Sheet – This one page PDF allows a GM to track 4 characters. It is not form fillable.
  • Converting from Traveller – This one page PDF goes into depth about converting characters to DayTrippers from Traveller. This is more involved than the bit in the Core Rules.

The Graveyard At Lus – Review

+Jason Paul McCartan, AKA The Badger, and editor/layout guru for White Star, has a new supplement for it – The Graveyard at Lus, just $4.99.

This interesting supplement is a way to generate an area of space that is a spaceship graveyard due to combat.

Developing the graveyard can be as simple as rolling up opposing forces and determining winners, etc. and which ships were left behind, due to being disabled or destroyed.

Degrees of damage and destruction can be determined and potential survivors or the presence of other scavengers, or the arrival of various others.

This booklet reads like the combat ended not long ago, and looters, rescue teams and others are just now showing up. It is a trivial matter to come up with an age of the graveyard, resent or years, decades, centuries, millenia, or eons old.

What I liked:

  • If you buy the PDF and want the POD, when it is available, the cost of the PDF is knocked off the top!
  • I like this idea. It is a simple plug and play add on that the GM can use in whole or in part. Ideas and options are presented that I had not thought of, and I like that!
    • I like things that get me to coming up with my own ideas.
  • He presents two options for combat, cinematic and realistic, depending on how much time you have or how much crunch you want in it. This idea of a mini game is quite interesting. (For example, I could get out my copy of Imperium and use the chits for ships to keep track of it all.)
  • I assume by app he means something for a cellphone or tablet, and not a webapp, but that isn’t clear. An app to do all this generation is in the works.
  • New races, new creatures, and some tweaks to existing races from White Star.
  • This idea of a ship graveyard could easily be applied to an aquatic navy, or even a battlefield. This would cross genres from ancient to modern, from steam punk to fantasy.
  • The final section is running the scenario to build the Graveyard at Lus for your own use. The reader is walked through how to do it.

What I didn’t like:

  • A few typos, grammar, spelling errors and an awkward sentence that slowed me down while I figured it out. I am sure if I put something like this together I would have the same issue. A reminder for us all to get another set of eyes on these things. I probably didn’t catch all of them in this post.
  • I can’t think of anything else I didn’t like, other than, I wish I’d thought of this!
  • I don’t have time to step through this right now.

What I’d like to see:

  • A few pages of the collected tables in one place with reference back to the page numbers of details. There are several steps involved in this method, and having all the tables in one location would speed things up.
    • It is easy enough withe the PDF to make your own collected tables.
  • A page or two in the PDF with chits with his proposed ship outlines that we could print out. I’d be good with just outlines that I could color in by hand, since I don’t use a color printer. Those who can afford colored ink may want them in full color.
  • Why is there a graveyard here? War, border skirmish, race to control a resource, such as a strategic planet, alien artifact, natural jump gate, etc.
  • Other reasons for there to be a graveyard besides combat. Ancient technology, mysterious space anomaly, etc.

I can see using this at my table for more than just White Star.

 

 

Pluto & New Horizons

The New Horizons probe does its flyby of Pluto today.

This is a big deal, technology and a sense of adventure all in one.

I am old enough that I remember knowing about the nine planets, when Pluto was still a planet, and how many moons Jupiter and Saturn had. Voyager 1 and 2 changed the count of the moons, as did subsequent probes, The count of moons around other planets has changed so much, I can’t remember the number of moons I had memorized way back when. It is that realization as a kid that we don’t know it all that grabbed my attention.

A solar system is so huge that it is easy for exploration and travel to reveal new features all the time. Even if everything in a system was mapped, interstellar bodies could be captured, or pass through a system.

If one planned a science fiction campaign limited to one system, there would be plenty of locations for the action.

Dirk Derringer And The Hartufan Plot

+Matt Jackson has quite the writing talent and is generating a Science Fiction pulp serial, with an obvious White Star influence. He is publishing it both on his blog and a site called Wattpad.

I am honored that my encouragement to write more has helped him to come up with more ideas.

My recommendation is to go read this serial!

He can write and make cool maps!

Convoys

Related to caravans are convoys. Convoys are used as a way to protect merchant shipping from submarine warfare. They can be used in a modern setting, from the Victorian/Edwardian era to  the present, and beyond in science fiction or apocalyptic settings.

Convoys are basically naval caravans, but rather than being in a line and limited to the available space of the road or terrains, convoys can spread out more, yet remain close enough to provide support to the other ships nearby. There are still “choke points”, like the English Channel, or other narrow straits that require the ships to go single file.  Such places would be avoided unless it was absolutely necessary.

The idea of convoys and navies is often applied to space travel, and convoys of merchant craft might be a way to deal with cloaked ships.

Unlike planet bound surface navies, the areas where things narrow would tend to be an unavoidable asteroid or debris belt. Approaching a space dock, planetary orbit, or landing planet side would be the choke points that an enemy or pirate ship(s) would exploit. Only the most advanced of planetary defense systems that include planetary shields and heavy weapons both in orbit and planet based.

Convoys also apply to motor vehicles, like a convoy of supply trucks with gear, food, fuel, etc. It is also the name of a popular song from the “trucker era” of music from the late 70’s and early 80’s. The song was later made into a movie with Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw.

Convoys of motor vehicles will be limited to roads and passable surfaces if they have wheels or tracks. Hovercraft will have more flexibility of terrain. If the water transport variety, they are limited to relatively flat surfaces on land. Anti-gravity hovercraft will be limited based on the altitude they can maintain. If they are limited to a meter off the surface, they cannot cross the Grand Canyon directly, but must make the descent as any other traveler. However, if they can basically fly, there is no practical limit to the terrain they can cover.

Convoys can be used to transport the same or similar goods, or a variety of goods. Troop convoys can be used to move armies and their supplies and equipment across the sea or the stars.

See my articles on See my article on Caravans & Pack AnimalsLoot Carriers, and Trade Goods.

Review – Distress Signal Tundara

Distress Signal Tundara is a new adventure module for 3-6 adventurers of levels 1-2 compatible with White Star. After the cover, title page, one page of deck plans and the final page for the OGL, the rest of this 17 page PDF is the text of the adventure. In addition, it comes with two image files for the deck planes, one with a grid for the GM and one without the grid for the players.

There were only minor production issues. I noted was one typo in the first few pages. A description of a creature used yards, when the map is in meters. And the non-grided map makes reference to the scale of the grid, which is missing. Other things referred to feet using the apostrophe character, which is part of White Box information, so not a problem of the author.

Each referee will have to work out for themselves, whether to use English or metric units, and whether to convert White Box feet to meters. Where outdoor movement is in yards, this is easy enough to hand wave as meters. Feet can be crudely approximated to 1/3 of a meter. Personally, I prefer to use metric in a Science Fiction game, but having been raised on English units, I think in those units, so not a problem for me.

The author did his own graphics, with some open content. I like the cover and the deck plans provided.  It would be nice if the original and now damaged area of the ship were shown in outline, so one knew it’s original structure. But that is only my desire for a complete deck plan for future use. [One thing I wish I had was a 75% view of the ship. Not to detract from the module, but something I feel would be cool to show the players from their scans/view of the ship on approach. The burst of new ship types and graphics by some on the White Star community can help fill this want.]

The premise of this adventure is not entirely new, but is presented in a way that is clear, concise, and ready to run after a quick read and a few minutes to think of how to approach it.

The GM is left to determine how the players are in the area, whether as passengers on a ship, or a ship of their own. This is not a major issue, as it allow the module to fit into an existing campaign, or be a one-shot.

There is enough detail in each area of the ship, that curious and careful players will manage to find something in most rooms. However, there are notes that the referee will have to fill in things that he or she feels are necessary in their game. There are also hazards for players that are rash and forget that there are in space. The issue of explosive decompression of a hatch that is forced open is dealt with, as I was thinking about how I might handle it as I began the text, there it was a bit further in. Excellent!

Several NPC’s are suggested for various ways that the GM might impact the scenario. This gives maximum flexibility to work into existing campaigns, or ideas for similar adventures. There are also potential plot hooks that could lead to more adventures that can easily fit into an existing campaign.

This seems like a scenario that would be a good fit for a con, but I don’t know if it would fill a four hour slot. Still, it might be fun to try it.

There is a lot here for $1.00. I think that I would enjoy playing this as a GM or a player.

Funny: At first glance, I thought the title was Distress Signal Tundra. Tundra made me think of ice, and I thought of the movie, Ice Station Zebra. Now I have thoughts of a White Star scenario on ice. Now all I need is Snoopy….

Clips & Magazines

Some recent blog postings about White Star and various other RPG’s have used the term clip, where I believe they mean magazine. I find such misuse of terminology annoying, so I suppose the following counts as a rant. I will conclude with the appropriate Joesky Tax.

Clip – A device that holds several rounds together to aid in loading the internal box magazine. The clip for an M1 Garand is an en bloc clip and is inserted into the box magazine with the attached ammunition, and the clip is ejected when the last round is fired. The clip for a Mosin Nagant is a stripper clip that holds 5 rounds and aligns the ammunition to speed loading it into the box magazine. For the Mosin Nagant, without a clip one can load the 5 round magazine one round at a time. Some revolvers use moon clips.

Speedloader – These are generally thought of in reference to pistols, but stripper clips and moon clips fall into this category.

Magazine – A device that holds ammunition. Magazines may be part of the firearm and are loaded using a clip or single rounds. Other magazines, like for the M16, AR-15, AK-47, 1911, Glock pistols, etc. have a detachable magazine that first is loaded with the ammunition and then the magazine is inserted into the magazine well/receiver. For pistols this is most commonly in the grip, although some like the Broomhandle Mauser, the gun used as the base for Han Solo’s blaster, have a magazine in front of the trigger, like some rifles.

The first pistol magazines, such as for the 1911 are single stack magazines that hold one bullet on top of another.

More recent pistols can accommodate a double stack magazine where the rounds are “staggered” on top of each other, such as in Glocks. This allows for more rounds at a time. Often up to 18 rounds in standard magazines. Magazines of up to 30 or more rounds are made for pistols, but stick far below the end of the grip. For most rifles a 30 round magazine is standard.

Gun Safety: No discussion of firearms should be held without mention of the rules of firearm safety.

There are rules for safety that keep everyone safe in the presence of a gun.

  • Every gun is always loaded. (If someone hands you a gun, even if they swear they emptied it, you check it.)
  • Point the muzzle (the danger end of the barrel) in a safe direction. (Context will determine this. Usually down is safest.)
  • Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
  • Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you have acquired the target and are ready to shoot. That is, keep your booger hook off the bang button! (In the movies and TV when you see someone running around with their hand on the trigger, they are doing it wrong. I wish a show or movie would have the idiots doing that shoot the people on their side in the back when they are doing that.)
  • Know your target and what is beyond it. (This applies to all uses of firearms, including hunting and self-defense. Don’t shoot into a crowd of people. Make sure you can shoot and only the intended target will be hit. This is where cop shows get it right when the cop doesn’t shoot at the escaping criminal. Idiots that shoot into the air on New Year’s Eve are a menace. You are legally responsible for every round that leaves your firearm until it stops.)
  • Everyone is a range safety officer (RSO). (If you see poor gun safety shout it out.)
  • Use firearms that are within your training and capabilities. (For example, a 90 pound old lady probably shouldn’t make a Desert Eagle .50 her primary choice for a first firearm, unless she can truly handle it. This also includes idiots giving novice shooters a powerful gun and filming them getting hurt by the recoil. That is not responsible.)
  • If you are not in possession of your firearm, unload it and store it in a secure location. (Don’t rely on hiding it from your children or others. If you were ever a curious child, what kinds of things did you find in your house that your parents thought they had hidden?)
  • If you have a firearm and children (even if you only have children and no firearms), teach them gun safety. If they find a gun out in the open, train them to go tell an adult. When they are old enough, teach them safe handling of firearms.
  • If you drop a firearm, don’t try to catch it, a lot of people have shot themselves attempting to catch a falling firearm.

Safety Check vs. Danger Check

A safety check is where the current holder of a firearm looks for an empty chamber to verify that a firearm is unloaded. This is done in preparation for storage, cleaning, or before passing to another.

A danger check is where the current holder of a firearm verifies that a gun is fully loaded and there is a round in the chamber. This is done prior to use when it needs to be ready to fire, such as for target shooting, hunting, or self defense.

Assault Weapon – There are two types of assault weapons.

  1. An item used to assault another person. Most frequently, these include, hands, feet, rocks, sticks, baseball bats, hammers, screwdrivers, knives, etc. Basically these are every day items or body parts for which we need no papers from the government to purchase, possess or use. More people are killed in the U.S.A. with these items than with rifles or shotguns.
  2. Military Terminology – An assault rifle is capable of select fire.
    • A semi-automatic firearm is not an assault rifle, because a semi-auto only does one shot per pull of the trigger. For example, an AR-15 is a semi-auto rifle and looks like an M16, but the appearance does not make it one, contrary to the mis-reporting by many in the popular media.

NOTE: The letters AR in AR-15, mean Armalite, and NOT Assault Rifle.

Field Stripping – The processes of taking a firearm partially apart to be able to clean or service it. Most firearms are not intended to take apart beyond this point by other than a gunsmith. All the movies of whatever era that show boot camp and taking apart a rifle and reassembling it show field stripping. For example, a man from the U.S. who served in WWII or Korea, would be able to field strip an M1 Garand if you asked him to do it, because of how often they repeated the process in training and in the field. Similarly, most veterans of Vietnam to the present would be able to field strip an M16 or AR-15.

Racking the Slide/Pulling the Charging handle.

TV and movies are dangerous when it comes to showing this. I would love to see a TV show or movie show a live round ejected when someone racks the slide on a pistol or pumps a shotgun.

People don’t realize that it is possible to carry many firearms at magazine capacity plus one. That is, the magazine is full and there is another round “in the pipe”.

For example, with a 1911 semi-automatic pistol, the standard magazine is 7 or 8 rounds, or less, depending on the model. One can load the magazine, put it in the firearm, rack the slide, release the magazine, top off the magazine, and put it back in the gun. Thus carrying a fully loaded magazine, plus one round ready to go. The same is true of many rifles and shotguns.

Early revolvers, up until perhaps the 20th century, did not have drop safeties and were usually carried with an empty chamber under the hammer to avoid accidental discharge. Thus a 6 shot revolver was only loaded with 5 rounds for daily carry. So all those cowboy movies where the cowboys, gunslingers, and lawmen had six shooters fully loaded, or seemed to have endless ammunition, since they were not always shown reloading.

A gun never goes off by “accident”. 99.9% of “accidental discharges” are actually negligent discharges. Follow the rules of gun safety, and you will never have a gun in your possession fire other than when you intend it to. The 0.1% would be older firearms without a drop safety that are dropped, or damaged or improperly maintained firearms.

Finally, my last pet peeve. In the age of science and reason, why do some believe, or act like they believe, that a tool is evil, and capable of imposing its will on people? This isn’t D&D with a cursed sword of innocent slaying that has an ego forcing a make believe character to do things, this is real life. I have never once had a firearm talk to me or tell me to do things. I have never once seen a firearm break out of a locked case, break into the ammunition, load itself, and go on a rampage, or force anyone to go on a rampage.

Nearly any kitchen utensil or tool in the toolbox or tool shed can be used to injure or kill. Similarly, a big stick, like a baseball bat, cricket bat, hockey stick, or tree branch can be a weapon. Also rocks of sufficient mass can be used to bash in someone’s head. If objects had the power to force people to do things, we would be living in a fantasy world. If you believe objects make you do things, you need to see a professional. {Snarky thought: If you don’t like this article, my computer made me write it.]

If playing games, whether table top RPG’s, MMO’s, or video games, that talk about the use of firearms are so evil, then why are you playing and reading and writing about games that talk about using swords, daggers, spears, etc. for killing people? That is evil and disgusting and makes you a bad person, controlled by the devil. [Sarcasm alert, in case you couldn’t tell.] SMH. It reminds me of the “Satanic Panic” of the 80’s.

Movie stars make millions in movies that glorify violence with guns, but then speak out about how bad guns are. Why is it OK for you to make millions playing make believe on screen with guns, but guns are bad? Oddly enough, many of those who do this, also own guns. For some reason, many of the rich and famous don’t think that the rules they advocate should apply to them. Hypocrisy much?

Joesky Tax Payment

Random NPC’s with Random Firearms

Genre d6

  1. Western
  2. Horror
  3. Cops & Robbers
  4. Fantasy
  5. Science Fiction
  6. Sword & Planet

Technology d6

Older technology could be collector’s items or replicas. For example, in the present day, there is muzzle loading season where only muzzle loading firearms may be used. Some are of the flintlock variety, and there are modern muzzle loaders that use a solid charge of smokeless powder that is inserted before the bullet. A cap is used for ignition.

  1. Muzzle loaders – Muskets & pistols from matchlocks and wheel locks to flintlocks, and the pinnacle with caps and paper cartridges. See the Puckle Gun for interesting technology of the early 1700’s.
  2. Revolvers – From cap and ball paper cartridges to brass or even steel cartridges. Rim fire and center fire. Except for .22 cal. most modern firearms use center fire ammunition.
    • There were some rifles that used a cylinder like early revolvers.
  3. Repeating Rifles – Like the Henry’s and Winchesters of the Civil War and wild west, to bolt action rifles.
  4. Semi-Automatic – Pistols such as the broomhandle mauser, Luger, 1911, Glocks, etc. Rifles such as the M1 Garand up to the AR-15 and others. When the last round of a semi-automatic is expended the action/slide/bolt is locked back indicating the magazine is empty.
    • Glocks and clones are hammerless and use a striker. The pull of the trigger does all the work of operating the striker to activate the firing pin.
  5. Automatic Weapons – From light and heavy machine guns that require a crew, and may be water or air cooled. Examples of these are the Vickers machine gun and the M2 .50 caliber. Submachine guns, like the Thompson, the M3 greasegun, the BAR, etc. There are fully automatic pistols, but their light weight makes them very difficult to use effectively without regular training. Note: For many machine guns, such as the M2 .50, one can depress the trigger for a single shot or hold it down for bursts or continuous fire.
  6. Select Fire Weapons – Capable of semi-automatic or full automatic fire, such as the Sturmgewehr, M16 and AK-47. Some may have multiple settings for semi-auto, 3 round bursts, or full auto.

NOTE:  Single Action vs. Double Action – This is true of revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

  • Single Action requires cocking the hammer before the trigger will cause the hammer to strike.
  • Double action can cock the hammer and fire the pistol in one pull of the trigger.
  • There are some pistols that can operate in both single action and double action. For example, the Beretta M9, and clones can have the trigger manually cocked for the first shot, or be used double action on the first shot.

Individual or Gang/Group

  • 1-3 – Individual
  • 3-6 – Gang

Gang Size d6 (If only one member, perhaps they are a surviving member.)

  1. Small – 1d6 members
  2. Medium – 1d10 members
  3. Large – 1d30 members
  4. Extra Large – 1d100
  5. Huge – d6 * d100
  6. Enormous – d30 * 100

Number of firearms per person. 1d6

  • Both the weight and size of firearms will limit how many can reasonably be carried. For example, you might determine that an NPC has a .50 cal M2 machine gun. While these can be carried by an individual, and slings exist for firing from the hip; they are not practical to just carry around. They would be kept at home, a safe house, or in a vehicle. (I recall a video showing Bob Hope with some troops, perhaps in Vietnam. The troops set him up with a .50 cal with a sling and he shot it. My Google fu is not finding that clip.)
  • In the age of muzzle loaders, a brace (pair of pistols) or more, would be carried since re-loading was so slow. Multiple firearms with this technology will be more pistols than muskets or rifles, since only one long gun could effectively be used at one time. Pepperboxes and early derringers were also muzzle loaders.
  • With technology allowing smaller firearms such as pistols, both revolvers and semi-automatics, more such items could be carried without much hindrance.
  • Often if two guns are carried, the second, smaller gun is a backup gun. For example, police in both TV, movies, and real life, carry their main firearm in the holster on their duty belt, and a smaller backup gun in an ankle holster.

Carry Methods (open or concealed)

  • “Mexican Carry” – This term arose during the Mexican Revolution when firearms were regulated. Those carrying pistols would tie a string to the pistol and stick it in their waste band. This allowed for ease of ditching a pistol and not having a holster to give you away.
    This is NOT a safe way to carry. It is easy to shoot yourself in your junk.
    Similarly is carrying a gun in the back of your waste band. If you get knocked down and land on the firearm, it can damage your tailbone, causing great pain. It can also cause nerve damage that leads to temporary incapacitation due to pain or numbness, or even paralysis of the legs.
  • Pocket carry – Unless you have a special pocket holster to cover the trigger, this is also a dangerous way to carry. If anything can snag the trigger, you can end up shooting yourself.
  • Gun Belt – This is the common western style item with a belt with a holster and built in bandoleer of ammunition. This and other types of holsters are hard to conceal without a long coat or jacket.
  • Holsters – Modern holsters can be inside the waste band or outside the waste band. They can be in a shoulder holster rig. Holsters have also been made for the ankle.
    Holsters have options for comfort in concealment.
    Some have features to aid in retention, such as a loop over the hammer on a cowboy rig, or a snap or a Velcro strip over the back of the handle or hammer, to one or more mechanisms to help the bearer maintain control of the firearm until ready for use.
  • Cross draw holsters allow for drawing from a holster on the opposite side or the body. For example, a right handed person would wear a cross draw holster on their left side. This is the normal configuration for a shoulder holster.
    • Cowboy movies where gunslingers have their guns facing the wrong way and draw with the hand on that side must use an awkward twisting motion that causes the barrel to cross the body and increases the risk of self injury. It is also likely for the barrel to snag in clothing, etc. Or you have to raise the pistol completely our of the holster and turn it around so that you can avoid pointing it at yourself before aiming at your target.
  • In the hand.

Pistol Calibers

There is a long list of calibers and variations. This is just a quick list going from memory. Wikipedia is a generally good source for quick information, if you want other details, such as different firearms that use such things. If you get into this level of detail, you probably aren’t sticking to White Box/White Star as written.

NOTE: Modern firearms indicate on the side what ammunition they use. Using the wrong ammunition can lead to damage from just jamming, to catastrophic failure causing injury or death.

I would suggest that for pistol calibers the damage be 1d6 and rifle calibers, i.e. not pistol calibers used in carbines, be 2d6.

.22 – short, long, magnum

.32 – ACP (Army Colt Pistol) and others?

.38 – S&W (Smith & Wesson) and other (many modern .38 revolvers can also handle .44 mag.)

.380 – ACP

.40 – S&W

.44 – long colt, S&W, magnum

.45 – long colt (think cowboys) & ACP (1911 Semi-auto)

.50 – Desert Eagle, for example. Revolvers in this caliber only have a five shot capacity.

9 mm- Luger/Parabellum (9×19), and  Makarov (9×17), others? The bullet is the same size as the .380, but the case is a different size and has a different size load.

10 mm – Meant to be the metric “big” pistol caliber, approximately .40 caliber.

Rifle Calibers

.22 – short, long, magnum (same as used for pistols)

.44 and .45 long colt were used in both lever action rifles like Winchesters and pistols. This interchangeable ammunition made the combination of the Winchester and a Colt .45 so common.

.45 ACP – The same ammunition as used in the 1911, and some models of other pistols have been used in some carbines, such as one by HiPoint, and submachine guns such as the Thompson, AKA Tommy gun. Also the M3 grease gun uses this caliber.

9mm Luger – This caliber is used by some carbines, and the Sten submachine gun.

.50 Cal – The ammunition for the Barret rifle and the M2 machine gun is a few inches long and can pierce concrete blocks.

.30 caliber ammunition of various cartridge sizes was the common rifle caliber of the world’s armies from the late 1800’s until after WW II.It is a common hunting caliber. Several

Muzzle loaders had calibers all over the map, from .30 caliber, to .40, .50,.54, .60, and even .75. Most muzzle loaders were smooth bore and their accuracy was limited to about 100 yards. Rifled muskets, until about the time of the American Civil War, tended to take longer to load, but had much greater accuracy. The use of the Minie Ball with rifled muzzle loaders further increased range and accuracy.

Some rifle calibers have be used for pistols. These pistols tend to be more like a derringer in construction, with at most one or two shots.

Side note: During WWII, the Germans had all kinds of captured ammunition and weapons from all the countries they invaded. Because many countries used different calibers, or variations on calibers, than the Germans, there were massive stockpiles of ammunition that they could not use in other than captured weapons.

The experience of the allies in WWII for supplying troops led to thinking about standardization. The formation of NATO led to standardizing on common rifle and pistol calibers, and even arming with the same model of rifles. Similar standardization happened with the Warsaw pact nations, 9 mm Luger/Parabellum or 9 mm Makarov for pistols; and with the flourishing of the AK-47, the 7.62×39 mm round.

The AK-47 is well known for how easy it is to make and how resistant to dirt it is. The M-16 is more complex to make, and is sensitive to dirt/debris. The AK-47 can go a long time without cleaning, the M-16 requires proper and regular maintenance.