top of page

Quick Look: Whitehack Fourth Edition

Updated: May 14, 2023

Whitehack is a tabletop role-playing game that was first introduced in 2013. It is a rules-light and old-school style game that emphasizes creativity and player agency. In 2023, the Fourth edition of the game was released with many changes and updates.

What's Inside

Whitehack is a tabletop roleplaying game that can replace rulesets that are much larger. The game system requires two d20s and three d6s and can be used with or without grids and miniatures. It has a streamlined "Roll High Under" principle that is applicable to tasks, attacks, and saving throws.

One of the unique features of Whitehack is the variety of new rules solutions that are available. This includes a "raw" AC system that starts from zero and up, free-form magic based on hit points, a groups system to handle species and vocations and affiliations, auctions for longer contests, and an interface instead of a concept definition of "class." Classes come in two arrays - the basic classes of the Deft, the Strong, and the Wise, and the rare classes of the Brave, the Clever, and the Fortunate. There is also an additional alternative of "species classes".

It also includes rules for adventurer bases such as leaders, large vehicles, and headquarters and a concept called "macros," which deals with large setting phenomena and factions. There are lists and tables to support both character generation and the Referee, including input oracles, creature stats, and magic artifacts.

Over 100 monsters with boss monster rules, stages, random loot, rules for partitioning. There are also longer game play examples and many small examples of how to handle rules, along with example characters with instructions for adjusting their levels and a number of fleshed-out creatures and magic artifacts.

Whitehack also features Referee advice, techniques, and tools for leading adventures and preparing campaigns. The game encourages mixing three basic techniques, and brings up a variety of other topics such as implied settings, hacked settings, genres, historic and literary settings, and campaign aspects such as sandboxing, reputation, the randomization of faction reactions, and arch enemies.

There is also a chapter on optional rules for hex- and dungeon crawls, hirelings, vehicle combat, modern or future game worlds, corruption, traditional magic, true miracles, play beyond levels, divine aid/debts, game world aspects, custom character attributes and implants, crafting, and hacking. The game uses roguelike maps in the style of early ASCII-based computer RPGs.

What's New

One of the most significant changes in the 4th edition of Whitehack is the economic layout of the game. The novella-sized book has a smaller page count of 144. The character sheet also serves as the cover.

There are also many minor changes in the phrasing of the game, which aim to make it more clear. The game still uses a d20, but in some cases, the d20 is read as a d10 and the d6 is read as a d3. This change allows the use of the d100 for foreign modules. Additionally, the game now uses a “cr” standard for funds, which stands for either Crowns or Credits.

The default attribute array now consists of Strength, Agility, Toughness, Intelligence, Willpower, and Charisma. The Strong class has had its looting capacity reworked, making it less dependent on the Referee and more viable as a ranged fighter type. The Wise class has better-explained healing abilities, and the rules for a few magick aspects have changed. The Deft class has undergone alterations of what happens to lost attunements and an emphasis on distinguishing between active and inactive attunements.

In addition, there are several rules changes, including a reworked crit-table and crit rules, improved rules for reach, disengaging, flanking, and attacking from behind, and strengthened rules for injuries. Combat in ships and vehicles has been greatly improved with a way to handle fighting in space or underwater. The game now also includes a section on corrupting magick.

Final Thoughts

Whitehack is a unique and innovative tabletop roleplaying game that offers a streamlined and flexible rules system, making it an excellent option for both experienced and new players. The game's rules are presented in a brief and concise manner, yet they can replace much larger rule sets commonly found in other games.

The 4th edition of Whitehack brings many changes and updates to the game, making it more streamlined and easier to understand. The game's focus on creativity and player agency remains, and the changes only serve to enhance the game's experience. Overall, Whitehack 4th edition is an excellent choice for tabletop role-playing game enthusiasts who enjoy old-school style games with modern updates.

In this article, some content was generated using ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI. The generated content was then edited and arranged for accuracy and readability by RPGPDFs.



So Many Games

So Little Time

Get the next review straight to your mailbox

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page