Whitehack review part the first

Been reading a tiny bit of Whitehack  most days for the last few weeks. Reading and rereading to make sure I understand everything.

It’s a funny thing, and I wonder how many other “the printed word is sacrosanct and I should never edit/mark up post-publication (excepting typos and correcting things that have already been clarified in errata)” fellows I have with me on this.

But, for the first time in history – including public school books already littered with definitively bad graffiti, doodles and actually useful markup like clarifying dates of historical battles – history and memorization of non-languages/grammar/game/tech knowledge that isn’t very intuitive to me – I’ve begun marking up Whitehack in pen.

I’m not sure if it’s because I picked up the notebook edition (with more blank “journal pages” than actual rules), or because in conversation with Issac regarding the wilful, chiseled-in-stone print-only nature of the game (it’s not available as pdf), I will not be sharing publicly my rules notes outline (which I keep in a plaintext wiki on my phone that syncs to desktop for even easier manipulation).

The rules are actually quite lite and intuitive once you get a feel for the many ways this game is different from D20, or any other RPG system I’ve read.

There are overlapping elements, sure: 

  • initiative stays the same through an encounter after determining order at the beginning of combat.
  • there aren’t exactly ”major/minor/free” actions, but there is something similar
  • attack is kinda similar, rolling a D20
  •  to hit, you must roll *over* the opponent’s AC – sweet, no THAC0! – but simultaneously roll *equal or under* your own skill in use. They call this “rolling high under” and seems like it’ll work well. Haven’t seen it in practice yet, though.

But there’s plenty that’s very different, too:

  •  Only 3 basic classes, but these generally cover the gamut of what one would want to add to a fantasy game. This edition also introduces some new classes, like playing as non-humanoid creatures. Each class uses “slots” for expanding a character’s repertoire, vaguely simila to feats but always class-specific
  •  Xp can be obtained by killing baddies, finishing questsor snagging treasure (conveniently, 1gp is equivalent to 1xp which is nice)
  • there are many “story game” style fields to fill in during character creation, and these provide excellent source material to guide the GM where he thinks the players might want to go

I haven’t finished reading it, but I’ll post a second review soon. Really want to use this for solo and group both!

Meantime, check the link: https://whitehackrpg.wordpress.com/

Tagged with:
Posted in RPG

Leave a Reply