Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thoughts & Questions about White Star

Official artwork for Phantasy Star I

As of a few weeks ago I desired to run/play in Shadows of the Demon Lord, Numenera, Eclipse Phase, and Dungeon World.  Now, White Star has grown to belong to this list of games.  My enthusiasm grew as I checked out the veritable assortment of third party material for it.  In a way it's like Pathfinder; it's an interesting enough game by itself, but the community support adds so many new ideas to go through for one's games.

All the same, I'd be eager to participate in or run such a game if I ever get more free time on my gaming schedule, but before then I have some questions and potential pitfalls I'd like to hear from those experienced with the system, and what if any house rules you used to address these features:

1. How specialized is the Pilot PC class?  Clearly all their signature features pertain to starship combat, but in a groundbound adventure would they feel useless or struggle to contribute?  I worry that the Pilot might be the sci-fi equivalent of a D&D Paladin, where the mold of the party needs to accomodate the PC in order to have fun, for not all adventuring parties are suitable to have a Lawful Good crusader.  A suggestion I heard was adapting the Pilot class' talents to apply to vehicles in general, such as hover-cars, mechas, and the like.

2. The Star Knight is very much modeled on the archetype of the Jedi, what with their signature weapon and supernatural abilities.  For that reason I imagine them to be a popular class, but there's a common problem in RPGs of melee-focused characters and weapons in a setting where guns are commonplace.

In the Star Wars RPGs Jedi made up for this by being able to deflect blaster shots, making them veritable foes without being sitting ducks.  However, the Star Knight Meditation to gain ranged weapon immunity (Protection from Missiles) is a 3rd level "spell," so it's not accessible right off the bat.  At low levels I feel that the Star Knight will be at a disadvantage unless they use a laser pistol as their main weapon, or by making laser weapons a rarity in the setting.

3. White Star's strongly modeled off the White Box ruleset, and as such inherits its legacies, including the lethality of low levels.  Starting 1st-level PCs are very frail with their 1 Hit Dice, and the damage values of modern armaments such as frag grenades and laser pistols (which have a Rate of Fire of 2) are very well capable of downing a character in one shot.

What would be the suggested level in starting out at a more "heroic" theme, where space opera protagonists are capable of holding their own against a squad of Stormtroopers/Klingons/faceless goons?  I was thinking that 3rd level would be a good buffer zone, where a party of 3 to 6 PCs have enough staying power to weather a storm of blaster fire even if they get some unlucky rolls.

4. Finally, is there anyone here planning on running a White Star game open to new members?  I'm afraid that for the moment I'm booked on the GMing side of things, but I'd love to try this system out for myself!  My preferred avenue is Roll20, although I'm not averse to Google Hangouts (I never used it before, but am open to learning).