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There and Hack Again
by Tony [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2024 00:03:38

TL:DR: Get this all-in-one rpg. I have been looking for a d20 rpg-lite system to run a Westmarch style homebrew campaign, but still close enough to re-skin some of the classic DnD modules. There And Hack Again (TAHA) is a fully fledged rpg that can be played right out of the box. Between the character Archtypes and the Boons, any sort of classic Tolkein character can be played, with options allowing GM-approved characters such as a Spellsword, or DEX-based Warriors, Champions or Rangers. Note there is no classic "Cleric" class in TAHA. The Druid class can heal in a pinch, but there are many other sources of healing that a party without a Druid would not be penalised. The absence of a "healbot" class allows for deeper roleplay and wider tactical considerations. The Faith, Dread and Despair mechanics are a highlight, as players must now consider their mental resilience when facing terrible foes, or dealing with the elements, such as snow storms. This system is simple enough for a one-shot, but also has the meat and potatoes for a fully-fledged campaign. I would encourage the author to consider a version 2 with a comprehensive example of play and a starting adventure, as this would make it more accessible to those with little or no knowledge of OSR-style games. I would personally appreciate the author's take on Character Origins. Publisher follow-up notification clicked for version 2 ;-)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
There and Hack Again
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Black Star
by Daryl [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2023 08:56:17

This is a great rule-light system. It has become my go-to for sci-fi one-shots. Purchasing the companion is recommended. Using Resolve as health and action points is a feature I really like.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Star
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Black Star
by David [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2023 07:53:58

If you're looking for a fast and fun heroic space opera game, you found it. I would also strongly encourage you to go ahead and buy the Black Star Companion as the two together seem to feel more complete.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star
by Alban [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2023 02:49:08

A very fun, easy to play RPG. The game does not pretend to be anything else than its seems. No surprise, you can use it to play in your favorite Space Opera setting or make your own Sci Fi universe ! The thing i like the most is the Resolve, both hero points AND health points ! Very clever.

The only criticism I'll make is that the companion is essential to have the best experience. Definitively the Beers & Bretzels RPG you're looking for.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2023 19:57:25

An amazing game that has provided hours and hours of fun for me and my children. I can't recommend it enough for people that appreciate Star Wars and rules light systems. Full review at my blog https://lonelygm.blogspot.com/2023/10/augury-blast-star.html.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star
by Sean [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/02/2023 00:03:22

Black Star might just be my favourite RPG right now. It's tempting to underestimate the small-format rule-lite Core book, but don't be fooled - Black Star has depth and flexibility as well as being very, very playable.

The game mechanics make sense and work for various play situations, are satisfyingly complex while still being fast and fun and easy to play. It's adaptable to a massive range of campaign settings and is going to be my go-to for science fiction roleplaying in the future



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star
by Steve R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2023 08:07:08

I'm embarrassed that I didn't get round to writing this review sooner. Black Star is a fantastic little game which perfectly emulates a certain setting in a galaxy far, far way and any other type of space fantasy/space opera which your heart may desire. I've run the game in THAT setting already and it went very well. If you had told me that I would find a game that could supplant the D6 system for games in that style then I wouldn't have believed you, but here we are. I've found the system to be so versatile that i've already statted up characters from the British TV show Blakes 7 with ease, and i'm also going to use it to run a 1930's set pulp adventure game. So basically I can't recommend it highly enough.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star
by Dan J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2023 16:48:03

I've always loved running games, it's great fun being able to tell a story with your pals. For a while though, I've found a lot of systems require a lot of prep work and a lot of book keeping to run properly and smoothly. There's been an itch I've wanted scratching for a while.

Along comes Black Star, which promises a rules light approach to roleplay, emphasising ease-of-use to tell a story, and a player-facing system to ensure they're the ones in the limelight. And on these promises, this game delivers. The 2d6 with bonus/penalty system is wonerfully elegant, and having the same target number to succeed removes a lot of the tedium with difficulty scores and enemy modifiers and such. There are a good number of skills, talents, and equipment listed in the book to choose from to really tailor make your character however you see fit, and creating additional options yourself with homebrew is wonderfully simple due to how straightfoward the system is. While the inspiration for its setting and presentation are obvious, you can just about use these rules for any science-fiction/cyberpunky setting you can think of.

Combat is wonderfully streamlined, making focusing on dramatic action and setpieces all the easier without the need to track things like actions, hit points, initiative, etc. A player has a turn, then an NPC has a turn, and this alternates until the round is complete. Attacking is as simple as making a roll and if you succeed then you shoot a guy. Being attacked is as simple as rolling a defense roll to not take damage. The core of this system also applies to space combat, which in a lot of other science fiction roleplaying games, usually becomes an entirely separate subsystem with its own tedium and several new moving parts to juggle and track.

Overall, Black Star is a great lightweight science-fiction RPG for those who don't like the granular, number-crunchiness of some other combat-focused RPGs, and who prefer a fast moving engine for storytelling and roleplaying. Its relatively small word and page count make it an especially excellent RPG for beginners or for veterans on-the-go looking for something to learn quickly and improvise with.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star Companion
by Bob P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/21/2023 15:58:56

Hey, kid. The Black Star Companion is a blazing good add-on to the Black Star game. What? You hadn't picked up Black Star yet? At THAT price? C'mon. I can't do everything for you, not when I've got a load of Qortavian cabbages decomposing in the hold. Get Black Star, get the Companion (which gives you new options for races, archetypes, talents, some new rules modules, some new ships, advice on other play styles, and an inside look at common questions, oh, and is also an insane bargain for value), and get flying!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Star Companion
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Black Star Companion
by William W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2023 09:47:38

Great supplement to a fun game, it provides some great additional content that really helps round out the game. The sample aliens, the foes and the addition of the Psychic class are appreciated. If you like/have the core Black Star rules, you need to pick this up, it will make a fun game even better!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star
by Brian K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2023 19:32:36

Not as clumsy or random as (insert licensed space opera game name here); an elegant system for a more civilized age.

Other reviewers have covered the system before (which provided the motivation to buy this game and the companion), so these are impressions gained from a thorough reading.

Player-only dice rolls make this easy to adapt for GM-less or solo games.

Simple rules for different enemy types and combat scaling allow for cinematic scenes that can also be adapted to other genres. E.g. a high fantasy game might treat a dragon as a Villain with multiple Hits that uses the vehicle scale.

Similarly the rules for Conflict and falling to Darkness can easily be adapted to other settings and genres. Think sorcerors becoming corrupted by summoning beings that humanity was not meant to know of, in a typical swords and sandals or Lovecraftian setting.

Some other systems dedicate an entire chapter to rules covering chases...Black Star uses one paragraph that manages to cover the essentials while allowing room for narration.

Ridiculously good value for both the core rules and companion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Star
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Black Star Companion
by Steve R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2023 09:07:09

This is an excellent little supplement for an already excellent game. It adds some great optional content to allow you to branch away a bit from the setting which inspired it, without detracting from the original game. The additions are neat and perfectly in line with the core rules. Fantastic value for money and I can't recommend it highly enough. A previous reviewer has summarised these additions perfectly so i'll just say buy it!! (Waves hand) "This is the book you're looking for..."



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Star Companion
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Black Star Companion
by Jarrod S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2023 02:04:55

An outstanding companion book for an already outstanding game.

There are 2 new Archetypes to play with - the Fringer and the Psychic. I especially love the psychic, because it allows you to play a more traditional psychic without the accompanying mysticism of "the Force." This is perfect for helping to emulate settings like Firefly or Babylon 5.

The original Archetypes all get 3 new Talents, giving you even more options for character creation and advancement.

Flaws are introduced as an optional rule. I always like systems where you can take a Flaw for your character. The rules say that the GM might simply every character to have one, but another option is to leave it up to the players, and if they do take one for their character, give them a bonus Talent.

There's an Optional Rules section, with a good chunk of it devoted to emulating "hard sci-fi" settings, so kudos to the author for branching out beyond the "not Star Wars" setting and allowing GMs to run games more in line with The Expanse.

The companion covers some fairly vital stuff that was missing in the core rules, such as vehicle upgrades (so you can build that smuggling ship you always wanted), wealth, and capital ships. There's also a section with a handful of alien races (most of which will be familair if you look at them long enough), as well as a section on adversaries with some much-needed bad guy stats.

Top it off with a planet generator, answers for some commonly asked questions, and 4 more pregenerated characters (all of which are really fun), and you've got a product that packs a hefty punch for its page count.

5 out of 5 all the way around. This product and its parent core rulebook are exactly what I look for in small publishers. I can't wait to see what comes next!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Black Star
by Thomas P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2023 11:01:06

Black Star obviously inspired by Star Wars. The Star Wars RPG, while having a wealth of books and sources available, when played was less than smooth with my players. But along comes Black Star! This is a minimalistic system, which means combat is fast and less clunky, it's also fun to run. Character creation is a snap, and has enough options to make your character truly shine from others. Black Star is set up to play in other sci fi / fantasy scenarios or more importantly: create your own.

If you want to play some Sci- Fantasy, don't want to spend about a grand on collecting books, get BlackStar!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Star
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Black Star
by Jonathan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2023 18:48:34

Non-Playtest Review:

Black Star is a rules light system for running Star Wars style games. The core mechanic is rolling 2d6+modifiers against a difficulty of 9. Beneficial circumstances can add bonus dice, in which case you roll all dice and take the two highest in order to obtain your action dice. Negative circumstances impose penalty dice, which are similar but after rolling all dice you take the two lowest as your action dice. Bonus dice and penalty dice cancel each other out. In combat, on a successful result each action die showing a 5 or 6 represents an extra "hit." Similarly, on a failed result a 1 or 2 can represent a negative circumstance.

PCs have Resolve, which is a combination of hit points and hero points, as well as a resource for powering special abilities. Resolve can be spent to reroll dice, turn a failure into a success at the price of a complication, activate some powers, or just get a lucky break.

This is a player facing system, meaning that the GM doesn't make rolls on behalf of NPCs. Instead, PCs make rolls to resist NPC actions. NPCs have descriptive tags which can add bonus dice or impose penalty dice on a PC rolls if the tag is a beneficial or hindering one. NPCs are ranked from relatively easily defeated minions to tougher, full-fledged villains.

Character creation involves selecting two Archetypes from a list of 10. Archetypes are essentially lists of thematically linked talents, including one eponymous signature talent. At character creation, you obtain the two signature talents named after your Archetypes, one talent from each of your Archetypes' lists of talents, and one other talent of your choice.

By default, a character's species isn't a factor in character creation and is not represented mechanically. However, you can choose talents that represent your species abilities, including from a list of innate talents that can be used to represent inborn abilities or cybernetics.

Powers are used to represent the equivalent of the Force and can be obtained by picking up the Attuned talent. There are optional rules for Resonance that essentially model falling to the Dark Side.

There are no detailed lists of gear. Access to or special training with types of gear can be represented using gear talents.

There are rules for operating and fighting with vehicles. However, there are no role-based ship combat rules similar to games like Stars Without Number Revised or Coriolis. There doesn't need to be, of course - I just wanted to mention it. Combat in which PCs operate several ships - like a fighter squadron - seems to be the focus.

Overall I think this is an excellent game for running a pulpy, Star Wars-inspired setting. I can see it working great for a lot of "band of space misfits" settings beyond Star Wars, too, like Firefly, Blake's 7, Killjoys, Dark Matter, and so on. Character creation is fast and fun - putting together two archetypes is straightforward, but it's also enjoyable and feels impactful. The rules feel like a combination of TinyD6 and PbtA - it's a farily lightweight, traditional game system like the former with a bit more mechanical crunch, while the archetypes and player-facing dice mechanic give it a little bit of a PbtA feel. To be clear though, this is a traditional gaming system, not narrative like PbtA. My primary criticism of the game is the lack of clarity that arises when using "Archetype" to refer both a list of thematically related talents as well as for a talent itself. In the character advancement section, it says buying a talent costs 5 Destiny (i.e., xp) while buying a new Archetype costs 15 Destiny. It is not clear from the text whether "buying a new Archetype" means buying access to the list of talents, buying only the eponymous signature talent, or both. On the LakeSide Games Facebook page, the author has stated that during advancement PCs may buy talents from any Archetype. It is good to have this clarification, but I recommend including this information in an errata, FAQ, or some other resource. EDIT: This clarification has also been included in the Black Star Companion.

That said, I think the game is great and can't way to run/play it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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