Whitehack, first pass on the train home last night

Read over Whitehack on the train ride home last night. Here are some first thoughts as originally posted in this SG thread:

The pamphlet’s layout is nice and crisp, from the character sheet front cover to the pre-made characters, table of contents and list of names for the setting included in the pamphlet on the back cover. I like the bits of 3.0 and 4.0 it brings in – just a pinch without getting convoluted.

Characters belong to  groups (species, vocations and affiliations) and that makes some rolls skilled (roll 2d20 and keep the highest). Basically, if what you are doing is within the purview of one of your groups, you get 2d20 to your roll, keep the highest. If both d20’s succeed it is a special success and if both fail, a special failure. Also, props for using the word, species and not race. If something is particularly difficult it can be 2d20 keep the lowest – clever, simple and well done.

Casting Spell costs hit points, which is nifty. I want a touch more structure for the magic system, so inspired by Dying Earth stories, Sorcerer and the Magic Burner, I’m making a few magic sub-systems: Summoning, Spells, and Enchanting. I’ll post those up once I have them.

The way monsters are made is simple and fast and it includes 72 or so monsters. The auction mechanic is really slick and it is nice that they give examples of when they’d use that in the example adventures in the back.

It has that descending Armor Class is better, which is the only real bummer for me. I’m thinking of bringing over the AC system from LotFP, 12 hits and armor makes that more difficult.

The setting included doesn’t set me on fire but it isn’t bad. I liked that the setting uses white and black in its imagery, just like the book. It is more of a campaign framework and it has suggestions for players taking either side of the conflict. Though I winced a bit when they talked about where to set either of the campaign finales. This game is too fast and loose for big set pieces. I would have liked it if the setting included talked about using the mechanics in tangible ways. They hint at it but I’d like it to be driven home a bit more as they do with the adventure and the auction mechanic.

I’m looking forward to tossing this pamphlet on my table. More about it once that occurs.

7 thoughts on “Whitehack, first pass on the train home last night

  1. Thank you for your interesting observations!

    The game supports both AC and AAC, but using other variants should be very easy.

    About the section that is vexing you: Perhaps it could be removed from the game. I don’t intend it to definitively set the end of the campaign-as-played in advance. Rather, I think that the alternative endings I describe are implied by the setting. I’m commenting on it because something along these lines is likely to be expected and sought after in play, by the players.

    I’m also suggesting (p. 17) that it is ok for the Referee to decide on all sorts of things in her preparations, even to the point of writing a full story. For the way I see it, the main point of preparations is the *act* of reading or writing and all the »exploration of possibilities« that act entails. It prepares you for improvisation, but it also lets you come up with stuff that is hard to produce on the fly. The point of preparations is not so much the finished product that lies in front of the Referee when you play, because what happens between players and Referee at the gaming table will always be at least a bit different. See also pages 8 and 16.

    I’ve tried to make a traditional, mainstream play-style coherent in Whitehack. »The impossible thing before breakfast« is not a fallacy in this game, but the social paradox that makes it exciting and challenging and that you can handle (and get better at handling) as a group in different ways.

    I shall think on this some more before I decide if something should be done about the section in question.

    I am looking forward to reading your alternative magic system!


  2. Pingback: Free RPG Day with Whitehack | Write, RPG, Tweet - boreders

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