SWN Without Levels

Malcadon's picture
May 5, 2014 - 9:31am
This is a proposal to play SWN without level progression or hit point advancements. There are ways to go about creating characters without limiting their HP totals to 1st level characters. One approach is to grant them a large, static pool of HPs. Another approach is to use Damage Thresholds and Injury Conditions.

With the first, you might take the easiest approach by making a character's HP total equal to it's CON score. An alternative to those who like action-packed adventures would be to roll Hit Dice equal to their CON score — a system iconic with classic Gamma World. It may sound extreme, but when you look at the amount of damage Star Frontiers characters can take verses the amount of damage their weapons can inflict, the Gamma World method is not far removed form Star Frontiers.

The second approach would require no Hit Points, but it would instead require a table to note how much damage a character can take in a singe attack, and what kind of injury the character has sustained. Unlike the Hit Point method, this is not a zero-sums game of ether being in prime fighting condition or being a slab of dead meat. Taking damage would cause the character to become weaker or incapacitated. This method is the most realistic approach, as different injures would effect the character in different ways, and different injures would require different methods of treatment. Injuries can range form simply being stunned for one round, to becoming critically injured and requiring immediate treatment to prevent death. The absolute extremes to this system would be a superficial scratch, and outright death!

Without levels, characters would have to learn skills on their own. So instead of gaining large sums of Experience Points to build characters level-by-level, players would be awarded with a smaller sum of XP to be used to "buy" new skills, master old ones, and to raise ability scores. XP awards could be so small, that Experience Point, Skill Point and Ability Point values could be on a 1:1 basis. It would also take time and money to improve skills and abilities. This is no different then what you would find in Star Frontiers.

With this system, the "difficulty" of an adventure would be less about character levels, but it would be based on how much skill both the players and characters have.

So what do you guys think?

jedion357's picture
May 5, 2014 - 12:24pm
Sounds like STar Frontiers ;)

That said I think you should write an article and submit it since we have an ongoing series of articles for converting SwoN in the works right now
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!