Saturday, January 31, 2015

'Other Dust' read through Chapters 1&2

Since I'm still going on about Other Dust and Stars Without Number...and it just occurred to me to post this here along with any other related posts.

First, the LINK is for a solid and brief review from Grognardia from 2012.

What's there to LOVE in Chapters 1 & 2 of Other Dust?

Chapter 1: Is very short and explains that most of the book is a kit.
  • A quick and slick background breakdown that tells you what the book is about. (Its about Old Terra 200 years after the techno-collapse that really jacks things up.) 
  • There is a 2/3 page, single column for "If you're new" and the same for "If you're a veteran" and then a quick glossary. Thats all for Chapter 1.
Chapter 2: Characters, and theres a lot that I like...
  • 3d6 in order (with some options to alter if you want to a little later on); Attribute mods are: +2, +1, 0, -1, -2 with the 2 tails being the extreme end: 
    • 18 = +2 
    • 14 to 17 = +1
    • 8 to 13= 0 
    • 4 to 7 = -1
    • 3 = -2
  • Pick from 16 backgrounds to give the character a past, and bring some skills from that past onto the sheet. (this is a very SpyCraft and FantasyCraft style conceit that is tightly merged to the skills system. To me, the benefit is customization within a limited and flavorful lets you know what the game is about, and it gives options for skills you want before you even get to class considerations)
  • 4 Classes that each have an interesting core ability. Scrounger, Slayer, Speaker, Survivor all do something the other class can't do. (another kind of "post-d20 3.x kind of mechanic)There are "prime attributes" but there's a nice little set of rules that can get you into a particular class no matter what.
  • I also am happy to note that all these classes have d6 HD with some modification based on the class. The XP charts are uniform, and the Attack Bonuses and the Saves look a bit like LotFP to me, but in a good way. If you wanted to "gritty" this up some, you'd just lower the AB and the Saves down to something from an older edition of D&D.
  • Each class then picks from (or I guess you could roll) 1 of 8 different Training Packages that assign more skills or buff skill levels that were already there.
  • Encumbrance is awesome and simple. 
    • You can carry 50% of your STR score in "ready" items
    • You can also carry 100% of your STR in "stowed" items
  • Mutations are a part of the game, so character generation has a table for that. BUT it also has a simple system of trading rolls on the mutation table for stat bumps, and if you trade all your rolls for stat bumps...then you're "null-strain" genetic pool means you're not subject to mutations in the game. I think that's a nice bit of "opt-in" design. It lets you take a stand on mutations as a player...which is both a taste...and tactical choice.
  • No starting cash. Everyone gets some starting gear, with a few options. Then there's another slick, minimal system for random rolls on the starting gear table, or trading 2 rolls for 1 straight-out selection. You get 6 rolls, or any combination of 6 minus your picking fee. Simple descriptions of the gear tell you how many "items" of encumbrance each piece takes up.
Chapter 3 is mutations, and I'll do that one next time, if people aren't too annoyed by this kind of post.