Sunday, May 17, 2015

Reconsidering The Bandits And Battlecruiser rpg System as White Star rpg Retro clone Resource Book.

With everyone making cross compatible content for the White Star Rpg system, I thought I'd take a little stroll down the sci fi isle to remind folks that there is another option on the OSR market that might fill in several niches for the White Star campaign. There are several reasons for this.

Bandits and Battlecruisers is one of those great niche products that catters to a niche within a genre. In this case OD&D and its retroclones with pulptastic options. Its available through Drivethrurpg right over HERE or as a print option from  Lulu right over Here . B&B isn't strictly space opera at all in point of fact the rules set is more  Sci-Fantasy Space Opera as I've seen described. And this is not a complete game but more of a tool kit for games such  LL, S&W and the like and need more adjusting for OSRIC. And that is one of the strengths of this product. Bandits and Battle cruisers offers : 
On its 140 pages you will find:
  • Detailed character creation rules;
  • Monster creation aids (plus 18 monsters - not the well-known monsters from the Original Game);
  • Complete rules for creating star sectors, star systems, planets, moons and space stations;
  • Five 100-keyword tables, helpful in designing monsters, robots, civilizations and planets;
  • 100 random space encounters and 100 random space stations;
  • Tools helpful in creating treasure hoards and artifacts (plus 16 sample artifacts);
  • Over thirty random tables;
  • Chapter with a detailed starship creation sequence and starship combat rules (plus over twenty sample spaceships).

    Which all of this translates into lots and lots of random tables for everything from ruin creation to equipment as well as the mutation tables. With a bit of a whirl the mutation tables could be used to generate even more options for quick and dirty NPC races in the White Star system because it uses an over arching archtype system to generate its alien races.  Another point in B&B's favor are the adventure location generation tables these cover a far more pulptastic range of material for a party to get into the deep end of things. There are several things about Bandit’s and Battlecruisers that mark it as a framework for the do-it-yourself DM  to build on and not a truly complete game.  There is no stated setting though one is strongly implied from the artwork and language.  No beginning adventure or adventure seeds are included.  Here's where the White Star rpg system can be used to fill in the gaps and to turn out a solid background setting for the game. The Xeno beasts section are easily converted over to either Swords and Wizardry or White Star.  This makes the B&B something to pull out and generate a number of White Star adventure locations quickly,easily, and with little problem. The issue is really the lack of stats in B&B for such places, monsters,etc. That's really where the White Star game system comes into play. Use the B&B book to generate your pulp space fantasy locations and add in setting and systems details as needed.
      Interestingly enough the White Star rpg system is just the sort of a sandbox that Bandits and Battlecruisers was designed to be used with. Both games share a comic book and pulp sensibility but do different things within the sci fi fantasy subsets of campaigns while on the surface are seemingly the same.
    White Star emulates lots of space opera aspects of a galaxy far,far, away. All of the usual tropes for this style of space fantasy are present within the game. They remain incredibly popular. Bandits and Battlecruisers emulates an entire different subset of the pulp genre. This being the post colonial interstellar empire of science fiction. Bandits and Battlecruisers fits squarely into a post interstellar exploration period, where star spanning empires are firmly established and galactic exploration is right around the corner.  And that's fine because this is what B&B is suited for.
Which brings me to my next point with White Star, the system works because its so flexible within its very,very popular niche. Another game that is ideally suited for a far more star ship military style crew bringing peace and understanding to the galaxy  might be either Star Ships and Spacemen second edition or Bandits and Battlecruisers with Swords and Wizardry. The choices here are very clear, there has never been a better time to get in on exploring the depths of space in old school science fictional style. The choices are really yours and very clearly unlimited.
Oh and be sure to check out the author's blog for even more old school goodness Here


  1. Never knew about B&B, thank you for the post!

  2. You are most welcome ancientvaults! Cheers!

  3. I love how one of the selling points is "over thirty random tables!"

  4. You know, Terminal Space would make another good cross compatible sourcebook. Though TS is designed with OD&D in mind, there's plenty of random charts and tables that could be ported right in to White Star. And it's free (at least it was a couple of years ago).


  5. It still is and I'll be looking into Terminal Space soon enough. Terminal Space has a lot to recommend it. But its more Lovecraft in space then a galaxy, far,far, away as it were. Terminal Space has a more 'specialized' role in the sci fi/fantasy genre.

  6. Hey who can't use over thirty random tables Tim? I've got the print version and use it all of the time!

  7. I am a fan of B&B. I am particularly fond of the fact that it includes giant space monsters.

  8. Are you kidding me, those are some of my favorite bits of B&B, fractalbat! Gotta love giant monsters in SPPAAaaacce!

  9. This was one of the ways in which Star Trek TOS brought that trope home, especially with the giant space amoeba and other monsters that appeared in the series. Before this the giant monster in space was a pulp staple and then comic book. But I think that television shows like Star Trek and Tom Corbett before it really brought it home for the popular imagination. Ya gotta love giant space monsters!


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