Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Character Creation Challenge Day 17: Star Trek Roleplaying Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 17

I never had the chance to play the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek Roleplaying Game. When the game was first published I was going through a turbulent time in my life. Luckily, there was a lot of books available when I was able to get back into collecting and reading. But this was after the Decipher Star Trek Roleplaying Game had been released so I was able to find the books quickly and cheaply. However I think I may be missing a few books from the collection.

A couple of notes about the game. I liked the fact that the game designers gave a tip-of-the-hat to the creators of the FASA Star Trek Role Playing Game in the credits. I thought that was a classy move. There was also a disclaimer at the front of the book that sometimes the game writers had to take some liberties with the Star Trek universe in order to fill in while remaining faithful to the franchise. All game designers had to take this step and there was some conflict between previous publishers and certain elements at the studio. A subject for a future blog post later. But this disclaimer attempted to avoid any pitfalls encountered from those earlier conflicts.

Last Unicorn Games was able to published a large number of books before the company was bought out (which resulted in the end of the run). They had a core game book for The Next Generation (the first publication), The Original Series and Deep Space Nine. From what I recall, there were plans for a Voyager and Enterprise core game book before the company ceased to be. Each one of these core books added a little bit more to the game universe for GMs and players. Because of this opportunity, I thought that my Day 17 entry into the Character Creation Challenge would be a Bajoran smuggler using the DS9 book.

Avo Tarnis was a member of the Bajoran Resistance during the Cardassian occupation. Like most Bajorans he celebrated when the Cardassians finally withdrew. He was suspicious of the Federation offering to help, but he had no ill will towards them. Tarnis joined the Bajoran Militia when it was first formed, but bowed out after a year of service finding it too strict. Uncertain what do to next, an old-member of his resistance cell recruited him to help with some “discreet supply runs” like they use to do during the occupation. Tarnis saw this as a chance to get badly needed goods to those suffering on his home planet while waiting for the bureaucracy of the Provisional Government and the Federation to finally get something done. So now he is a pilot on the freighter “Renoth’s Call.”

For quick play, the book provides a series of pre-generated characters that you can tweak or you can go through the character creation process. For Tarnis, I elected to follow the process. The three parts of the character was the attributes & edges, advantages & disadvantages and skills. Each step of the process would add values to one or ore of these three parts. Attributes was your typical selections that you would find in most RPGs. Edges was add-ons to the Attributes. Fitness (with edges of Strength and Vitality), Coordination (Dexterity and Reaction), Intellect (Logic and Perception), Presence (Willpower and Empathy) and Psi (Range and Focus).

The first steps was to select a template (i.e. the species). I wrote down the various elements for a typical Bajoran. Not surprising they had a disadvantage of Species Enemy (Cardiassian). Of the skills I could selected, I figured that Athletics-Running and Medical Science-General Medicine would fit. Resistance members would constantly be on the move and you would always need to help out in patching someone up after a raid.

The next steps was the overlay which is the character’s profession. There is a Pirate/Smuggler overlay that I was able to take some stats from. Afterwards I selected my character’s background. This was a little confusing. I knew I was going to have Tarnis grow up in a refugee camp. The RAW talked about spending development points to purchase such a package, however I couldn’t find anything on how many development points you started out with. I was finally able to track the information down (you took a package or spent the points ala-carte).

Then you added the finishing touches to the character. Courage points was easy to calculate. If I understood the Renown details correctly, I placed one point in the Skill aspect. The Wound Levels came out at 2. There was a section in the book about equipment, but nothing about obtaining these items. The game must assume that the players are part of an organized fleet. I know there is a Rogues supplement out there, it probably has more information for independent groups. So I considered the character done. Here is the character sheet.

Avo Tarnis character sheet

Afterthoughts:

The organization of the DS9 book could have been slightly clearer. I was jumping from section to section looking for information and using bookmarks to remember where I was. The index didn’t point me in the direction to answer a basic question (how may development points do I start out with) which was a little frustrating. I was able to finally track down details, but I had to pull out one of the other core books to find it.

I wonder how the system played out. It’s been a while since I gave any of the core books a read through. But from what I recall, I thought it made sense at the time.

Additional Notes:

Thank you again to those who have been using my DriveThruRPG links to order PDF copies of the games.

Coming Up Next:

The Doctor Who Role Playing Game by FASA

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, James Bond, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

Character Creation Challenge Day 16: James Bond 007

Character Creation Challenge Day 16

I have been a huge fan of the James Bond franchise ever since I saw my first movie in the 80’s. Besides the movies I’ve read the books and the comics. Roger Moore was the first Bond I saw in the theater, but I love all of the actors who have played the part. So when Victory Games released the James Bond 007: Role Playing In Her Majesty’s Secret Service Basic Game, I as immediately interested. Unfortunately I never found a group to play with when this game was widely available. So in order to get a taste of the game, I decided to use this game as one of my entries for the Character Creation Challenge. While the original game is no longer being printed, Expeditious Retreat Press did release a retro-clone game called Classified.

As I did with Top Secret and Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, the character that will be created for the James Bond 007 RPG will be another new UNITY field agent. This is to replace the depleted ranks in UNITY after the events of the video game series No One Lives Forever. And in keeping with the common source for names, today I will be creating Steven Prince (has anyone guessed the movie I’m taking the names from?)

Agents in the James Bond RPG have Characteristics (primary attributes) with scores ranging from 1-15. At a minimum, agents need a score in 5 for each category. The five Characteristics are Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Willpower (WIL), Perception (PER) and Intelligence (INT). Characters are created by Generation Points. The higher the rank of the character (Rookie, Agent or “00”) the more Generation Points are needed at the time of creation. As Agent Prince is a new agent, I will be going with the Rookie rank with 3,000 GP. One of the first things that the RAW has you spending your points on is your character’s height and weight. The more common the size, the higher the GP, but you also start out with less Fame Points. Fame Points is the likelihood that someone may have heard of your character (or did some digging on your character’s background and history). As much as I didn’t want to spend too much on just the Height, I didn’t feel like the character would be greatly known. So I ended up going with a height 6’2” which cost me 120 GP and earned 10 FP. For the weight I spent 160 GP for a weight of 200 and 5 more Fame Points. For Appearance, I selected Attractive (I wanted the agent to look good, but not too good) for a cost of 120 GP and 20 more Fame Points.

Now we can finally start spending Generation Points on the Characteristics. I wanted Agent Prince to be a driver. So I spent the points and selected the following stats. STR: 7, DEX: 11, WIL: 7, PER: 10, INT: 6. After determining these, they also gave the results to some secondary characteristics which I then wrote down on the character sheet.

Agent Prince was a person who grew up getting in trouble with the law before he turned straight, so he was aware of how the law worked and forensics. His cover story is that he is a race car driver. I selected the appropriate Fields of Experience and Skills and calculated their statistics. For his primary weapon, I selected the HK VP-70 and wrote down the stats. Here is the charcter sheet.

Character sheet for Steven Prince.

Afterthoughts:

Usually the characteristics of appearance, weight an height come at the end of a character creation process. It was interesting seeing it at the start. But in the world of James Bond you’ve got a lot of attractive people running around saving the world. So it makes a little bit of sense that you would want to get that out of the way before all of the GP was spent.

I think that if this was a regular game I could create characters more easily. But the walk through for character creation was mostly straight forward.

Additional Notes:

Thanks to a Facebook post in one of the many gaming groups, I’ve found another participant in the Character Creation Challenge. I have added a link to the blog on the CCC page.

Coming Up Next:

The Last Unicorn Games entry into the Star Trek universe.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Video Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 15: EverQuest Role-Playing Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 15

I found the EverQuest Role-Playing Game Player’s Handbook at a local thrift store several years ago. I picked it up to read about the system and the world it was set in. I had heard of the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) previously, but I had never played it. I recall seeing a copy of this game in a game store when it first came out. It was licensed to Sword & Sorcery Studios by White Wolf Games. It is a D20 based game using the 3.0/3.5 OGL released by Wizards of the Coast. So I figured that it could make for an interesting Character Creation Challenge.

When I did my first glance of the rules I noticed that there were several races not normally seen in the D20 systems. Barbarians are a race, not a class. There was a race of lizard folk (Iskar) and a feline race called Vah Shir. You could also select Ogres and Trolls as well. I believe these were options in the original MMORPG. For players of the online system, there was a conversion guide to create a paper and dice version of your character. Since it’s not available in any other system, I’m going to create a Vah Shir. The classes are limited for each race so out of the options available I selected Rogue.

As a D20 based system, you have the standard attributes. STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS and CHA. However instead of rolling 3d6 or 4d6 to create your stats, you start out with a base rating of 8 in all categories. You then have 27 points you can spend to increase the attributes. Each increase is 1 point per attribute until that attribute reaches 16. Past that the cost is 2 points per attribute. Keep in mind there are still racial modifiers to the attributes (+2 to STR and -2 to INT for the Vah Shir). After all was said and done, Fareed ended up with the following attributes. STR: 14, DEX: 16, CON: 12, INT: 10, WIS: 10, CHA: 13.

I then went through and filled in the Savings Throws, Hit Points, Initiative and other base stats normally seen in a D20 system. Skills were slightly different (again probably to reflect what was from the original source) but they made sense. I didn’t like the fact that I had to write in all of the class skills on the character sheet. Another thing that surprised me is that a cat race wouldn’t have any type of low-light vision? There is a section of the character sheet where you can record the resistances to certain types of damage (Cold, Electricity, Sonic, etc.) but in the character creation process, I didn’t see any information on what my character’s resistances are. When I found the description in the rulebook, it talked about them, but not how you gain them. This might be a special item bonus.

Equipment was provided by a starting package for each class. Why a Rogue would need a sewing needle made me wonder (he already has thieve’s tools). With the money that was provided in the package, I did add two bag’s of caltrops. Fareed was designed to be an expert at getting into impossible places and getting out quickly if caught. He would work for who ever could afford his fee. And with that, I declared the character done. Here is the character sheets.

Fareed character sheet
Fareed character sheet

Afterthoughts:

Creating a character by spending points instead of rolling dice was probably something that MMORPG players was familiar with. So I can see why the game designers would have elected to go this route. The ability modifiers had a greater range than I had seen in other RPGs. You had to reach a stat of 10 before you avoided any negative modifiers. I wonder if this was a reflection of the MMORPG? I’m a big fan of the 1st level characters starting out at class max HP (plus CON modifiers) so it pleased me that it was listed in the RAW this way. I’m not playing a Bard character, but it looks like they have a selection of songs that act like spells. There is also a 150 pages of spells. I think that fans of magic based classes would love this game.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the online game and discovered it has been running now for twenty years. That is impressive considering I’ve seen other MMORPGs die off after a few years. I’m currently not playing any MMORPGs now. My past experiences and thoughts on these types of games will be a future blog post or page.

Additional Notes:

I came across another blog of a participant for the Character Creation Challenge and added it to the list of links. The number of discovered blogs is slowing down but every once in a while another one pops up. If you see one that I haven’t added yet, feel free to let me know.

Coming Up Next:

The name is Bond, James Bond.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Character Creation Challenge Day 14: Star Wars

Character Creation Challenge Day 14

First there was Dungeons and Dragons, then there was the Star Trek Role Playing Game by FASA. The next big game that influenced my gaming experiences was Star Wars The Roleplaying Game by West End Games. This game was quick and easy to learn and there were a bunch of friends that wanted to play it. I developed a lot of good memories from the different sessions. One night had twenty players participating (probably the largest game I had ever been in). In another game we all discovered the Con (not Constitution, con as in con-job) skill which allowed you to bluff your way out of a tricky situation. I still giggle when I think about the “Fresh Fruit Express”. One player learned that a certain dance turned out to be a mating proposal dance to a Wookie (yikes). I even moved out of town for nine months while on a job and when I returned, the game was still going on. While I was gone I had found one of those old toy Star Wars blasters at a thrift store. I brought it to the game and kept it hidden until we had a combat situation in the game. As luck would have it, we didn’t encounter any Stormtroopers until the very end of the game allowing me to pull out my surprise. So when I decided to take up the Character Creation Challenge, I knew that this game had to be one of my entries.

One final note, when I was pulling books out of boxes and I came across this set, I also found a bunch of computer printed notes that included various prices and availability. I don’t recall if I had pulled them from various sources (I have a lot of books for this game) or if I had homebrewed them. I know that for a local gaming fanzine I had written an article talking about some of the skills seen in supplements but were not in the primary book itself. I know I still have the article, I’ll have to see if I can scan it and post it online sometime soon.

I loved the X-Wing pilots in the original Star Wars trilogy. So I wanted to create a character that was a Rebel pilot. In the Star Wars game you created a character by finding a template close to the type of character you wanted to play (Smuggler, Diplomat, Pilot, etc.) and copy down the template provided. You then have extra options to customize your template to make a character your own by adding 7D to a skill. I selected the appropriate skills that I thought a hot-shot pilot would need. When you roll a skill in a test, you roll the number of dice you have listed for that skill and add any pips (+1 or +2) to get your final result. Even though I wasn’t a force user, I still had one force point.

The template had the character’s starting equipment which I wrote down. I had the credits to buy more equipment (and I probably would just before a game) but in the core rulebook the character creation was quick and simple. It takes me a while to create the characters for these challenges because I’m typing in this blog entry, reading the rules so I can create the character by RAW, and thinking of the details. I was done with this character within minutes. I think this was a decision by the designers to get the players quickly into a session at the start of campaign. The additional books gave players additional options to create a variety of other characters. Here is the character sheet.

Bry Traan character sheet

Afterthoughts:

Now that I think about it, this game may be what set me on the course for liking various quotes. I remember being amazed that characters could develop a bit of personality by having a quote on the character sheet. Every time a new sourcebook for the game could come out, I remember looking for the character quotes.

I’ve read the D6 rulebooks (the game that was released after the Star Wars license was no longer held by WEG) and I found those rule improvements very well thought out. While I never had any complaints about the original game, there is always room for improvement. I know that fans still love this game. There was an anniversary edition released a year or two ago. Fans are also making homebrewed supplements for this game. I recall seeing a fan-made sourcebook for the TV series Star Wars Rebels. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a fan-made release for The Mandalorian soon.

Additional Notes:

I’ve been having some interesting conversations with other participants of the Character Creation Challenge. I’m also learning about quite a few other games that are out there. Some of the participants are using this challenge to promote games that they have worked on. I’ve been impressed with the amount of creativity that is out there.

Coming Up Next:

The EverQuest RPG

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Character Creation Challenge Day 13: Far Trek

Character Creation Challenge Day 13

The Far Trek Role Playing Game is a fan-created system based off of the Microlite inspired “Where No Man Has Gone Before 2.0” game. As someone who loves Star Trek and is inspired by the creativity of other fans, this game interested me greatly. I wanted to see how they had put this together as everyone seems to put their own spin on the game. I was lucky to be able to purchase the book seen in the photo at one of the few limited time no-profit to the author print runs. Unfortunately he has stopped the sales of all printed projects and updates to the website, but left the site up for anyone who wished to download a PDF copy of the rules at no cost.

The game is using the Three D system composing of 3d6 die rolls when determining if an action failed or succeeded. Attributes can add modifiers to the roll. Far Trek primarily focuses on the 5-Year mission era of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 seen in Star Trek: The Original Series. There is some cross over into The Animated Series and the early movies, but fans of the other Star Trek series will not find their favorite races and ships represented here. However there are guidelines for converting FASA materials over to Far Trek as well as details on creating your own races. The game is a virtual sandbox. One final note before creating Tav, my Tellarite Engineer, there is an active message board for fans of Classic Trek games at Old School Trek. They talk about Far Trek, WNMHGB, FASA and other Star Trek RPGs.

Characters in Far Trek have four attributes which are pretty self explanatory. Strength (ST), Dexterity (DX), Intelligence (IQ) and Charisma (CA). Players roll 3d6 and compare the sum to a chart which tells you the Attribute Value. This value is what you will use on your various test rolls. Each race has pluses and minuses to the Attribute Values that you apply for your final score. Tav ended up with the following Attribute Values. ST: +2, DX: +1, IQ: 0, CA: 0. The base movement (MA) for characters is 50 feet in a five second turn and you add 10 feet for every DX modifier. So my Tellarite’s MA is 60.

An interesting tidbit about the Far Trek system, there are no hit points. Unless it’s dramatic, the main characters cannot die. They can be knocked unconscious, but they won’t be dead. If you are hit in combat your character must pass a Static Test by rolling 3d6+ ST bonus to beat a target number (which raises each time you are hit in combat). Armor (natural or worn) can be added to this test roll. The game makes note that this rule does not apply to expendable crew members (uh… what color of shirt am I wearing?) or the cinematic vanquishing of foes.

I like the fact that the character classes in Far Trek are Gold Shirts (Command, Helmsman, Navigators, etc.), Blue Shirts (Medical & Sciences) or Red Shirts (Communications, Engineering & Security). There is also an expansion that adds Green Shirts (Marines), Merchants, Special Citizens (Diplomats and the like), and even creation rules for Klingon and Romulan characters if you fancy a campaign in those empires. As I mentioned before, Tav will be an Engineer. This gives me access to the General Skills and the Red Shirt Skills. I have eight points to assign to a skill with no skill having more than 2 points. Skill points only give me a bonus when rolling a test using that skill. Tav can still operate the ship sensors, he just won’t have a bonus when makes the test roll. I picked the skills I thought a good Starfleet engineer would need.

Characters in Far Trek also get two Talents. These can either be class specific or from a general pool. I chuckled when I saw that Catch Phrase was one of the talents (“Damn it Jim, I’m a Doctor not a…”). I selected Jury Rig and Worried Engineer which I felt were needed for an engineer on a starship. I also marked down that I had 1 Fate Point which I could use to alter certain rolls or results at certain times in the game. Lt. Commander Tav was ready to fulfill his duties on the Saladin-class destroyer USS Nelson NCC-546. The character sheet is posted below.

Tav character sheet

Afterthoughts:

When I first read the rule about characters not dying, it made me raise an eyebrow. Would players take advantage of the fact that their character wouldn’t die and play a little recklessly? But on the other hand, I’ve seen some players be too cautious because they didn’t want their character to die. I think this rule could work with a good Referee. Other than that one thing, the system seemed simple and straight forward. I could very easily see myself playing this system. But I’d probably want to expand it to include material from the other Star Trek series.

I couldn’t find any other character sheets for this game. They all had multiple characters on them. If I was to participate in a campaign with this system, I’d probably create a different character sheet that met the needs of the game.

Additional Notes:

I was able to track down another blog of a gamer participating in the Character Creation Challenge. It has been added to the list of links on the CCC site. I am still looking for more. If I don’t have your site linked, please email me Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com.

Coming Up Next:

Star Wars by West End Games

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Steampunk

Character Creation Challenge Day 12: Age of Empire

Creation Challenge Day 12

I found a copy of Age of Empire: A Role-Playing Game of Mad Victorian Fantasy at a local thrift shop. The store must have received a box from a collector or closed game store because the book (and several other RPG books which I also picked up) were in very good condition. When I first saw the book sitting on the shelf, I thought it was a book about the Microsoft video game, Age of Empires. Then when I realized it wasn’t connected to the video game, I wondered: “How did they get away with using a name so similar to the one used by Microsoft?” You don’t antagonize a big corporation with lot’s of lawyers. A quick google search later took me to RPGGeek.com where it mentioned that a settlement with MS had taken the game off of the market. No other details beyond that so (shrugs) who knows what happened in the legal wrangling that took place. However, since the likelihood of playing a campaign with this system is small, I decided to make it one of my entries into the Character Creation Challenge.

The game is definitely a Steampunk game, but is not limited to Victorian London. One of the many influences on the game was the Western Spy-Fi series, The Wild Wild West which had been a favorite of mine when I saw the re-runs on television. So I decided that I wanted to create a character that had the profession of Spy. In Age of Empire, you don’t have classes, you select the minimum requirements for a certain profession. American agent Walter Williams will have to have several things generated in order to be playable. His Statistics (Body, Mind & Spirit), Defining Traits, Skills and Finishing Touches.

For the Statistics, a player is given eight points that can be allocated between Body (the character’s strength and agility), Mind (intelligence and mental ability) and Spirit (social, faith and mystic power). No stat can be higher than 5 or lower than 1. Since a secret agent needs to be well rounded, I selected 3 for Body, 3 for Mind and 2 for Spirit.

In order to meet the minimum requirements for the Spy profession, one of the first Defining Traits I selected was “Jack-of-all-Trades”. You get one Defining Trait for each point you have in each of the three statistics. I selected a series of traits that I felt would be worthwhile to a spy in the field.

As with the Defining Traits, there were minimum requirements for skills. These were Analysis & Disguise (under Mind), Fencing, Firearms and Fisticuffs (under Body) with no required skills under Spirit. It took a second to find out how many skill points I had to spend (luckily there was an example of creating a character in the book and it explained some of the steps I had just read). I spent my skill points (15 each for Body and Mind skills, 10 for Spirit skills) that I felt was appropriate for an espionage agent.

As a spy, my character has a special ability of obtaining three (highest stat) gadgets per adventure. Those should come in handy. Rolling for starting funds was the first time I had to make a dice roll in the character creation process. The equipment list was rather small, so I selected what I could and considered the character created.

Walter Williams was born from an American Father and a British Mother. He learned at an early age that acting was a way to become popular. While he was raised in the United States, his mother taught him all about the British way. When Walter was starting out as a new actor, he was approached by a friend who served with the American government. They needed agents to gather intelligence around the world. Walter’s acting would allow him to pass of as both American and European. He was placed in a traveling stage performing group which gave him cover for being abroad as well as having certain items. “Oh, that’s just a prop pistol.” Walter is now on assignment while traveling across the globe. Here is the character sheets.

Walter Williams character sheet page 1
Walter Williams character sheet page 2

Afterthoughts:

It appears that the system used for Age of Empire is pretty simple and easy. You use a D6 for each skill point and add your Stat score. The Author (Game Master) rolls an opposing roll and the highest score succeeds. There are also rules for magic and mysticism that I didn’t really get to read at this time. I wouldn’t mind trying out a gaming session or two to really get a feel for the game. And with the lack of companion publications for the game, it’s wide open for homebrew supplements. I wonder if they would actually get used if I wrote anything up for them. The creators of the game included statistics for historical figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Wyatt Earp as well as fictional characters like Count Dracula and Phileas Fogg. I thought that was a nice touch as I usually wonder what a character’s game statistics would be when I’m watching an entertaining show.

Additional Notes:

I would like to thank those supporters who have used the DriveThruRPG links to purchase game material. The affiliate funds may not be a lot, but I will be using them to purchase games for future reviews. You can also support what I do on this site by purchasing from one of the Amazon affiliate links or clicking on the Ko-fi button on the main page. This site isn’t a money making opportunity. I’m just trying to use the affiliate options to keep a hobby from digging too deep into the family finances.

Coming Up Next:

Far Trek, a fan made RPG based off of a popular Science Fiction franchise.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games

Character Creation Challenge Day 11: Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition

Creation Challenge Day 11

Outside of the early Dungeons and Dragons editions (Blueholm, B/X, BECMI) the 3.5 edition is probably the version of D&D that I have played the most. I participated in a campaign with a very good Dungeon Master who loved running Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. He explained the world and scenarios very well, while still giving us just enough freedom to screw up as characters (as we would often do). While playing this version, I would often wonder if I could port the rules to cover another genre. Especially since the D20 system could be used (within reason) for other universes.

In that long campaign, I played an Elf Wizard who had become quite powerful. In the game he had participated in rescuing the Grand Druid for a god called The Great Oak. When this campaign was ending, I started thinking about what would make for my next character. I wanted to play something I hadn’t played at all, so I came up with Dral Ironhand, a Dwarf Cleric who was instructed by the Dwarvish God of Knowledge to write chapters for a Dwarven holy book. Thus the character’s quest would be to write down his experiences for the Tome of Ironhand. Unfortunately we were unable to get back together to start a new campaign, so I thought I’d make this character for the Character Creation Challenge.

I like how the 3.5 Players Handbook has a Character Creation list directly on page 6 of the book. In my humble opinion, too many RPG books try to go into too much detail at the start of the publication when I want to know how the mechanics work. If I’m standing next to the shelves of books at my Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) and within a few minutes of previewing the game I have a good idea how the system may run, that increases the likelihood that I’ll buy the book. I also like how the ability rolls use the 4d6 drop the lowest technique. I’ve always been a fan of this idea. After rolling and adding the racial adjustments, Dral Ironhand had the following stats. STR: 16, DEX: 12, CON: 15, INT: 10, WIS: 18 (woot 3 sixes) and CHA: 10. Rolled a 7 for hit points, but added 2 for the Constitution bonus. I later selected the Toughness feat which added three more HPs. I wrote down my Feats, Special Abilities and selected my spells. For my spell domain, Ironhand is in the Good Domain. I started out with 130 GP to equip the character. I had to buy a warhamer since that was the favored weapon of the character’s deity. One of the interesting changes from the earlier editions of D&D is the requisite that Clerics are forbidden from using bladed weapons is gone. I purchased the remaining equipment that the character could afford and I considered the character done. Here is the character sheet.

Dral Ironhand sheet 1
Dral Ironhand sheet 2

Afterthoughts:

Creating Dral Ironhand reminded me why I enjoyed the 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The system was detailed enough to be unique, but simple enough to put a character together. If I get another chance to participate in a 3.5 campaign, I’m seriously considering asking if I can use Ironhand as my character.

Additional Notes:

To the owners of the blogs I have listed on the Character Creation Challenge page, I am enjoying visiting your sites and seeing your entries into the challenge. Not only am I interested in the choice of gaming systems, but why you selected that system as well. Thank you.

Coming Up Next:

The steampunk game Age of Empire.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Character Creation Challenge Day 10: Star Trek Adventures

Creation Challenge Day 10

I’ve always been a big fans of role playing in the Star Trek universe. It is an iconic series so someone will have at least some basic knowledge of it. Plus another geeky activity that Star Trek & SF fans like to do is compare the characters/ships/equipment for series to series or even franchise to franchise (OK, Worf with a Bat’leth vs Chewbacca with his Bowcaster, who would win?) The statistics in role playing games gave fans a chance to at least put these questions in a frame of reference. So when Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius was announced, I was really intrigued. Yes I know that the Klingon Core Rulebook is shown in the picture, but I’m not planning to make a Klingon character as I’m still reading the book. My FLGS just barely got it in stock and my wife got it for a late Christmas present. I was so excited I just had to have it in the picture for this Character Creation Challenge entry.

Stivon is a male Vulcan Science Officer serving on the USS Tacoma, an Excelsior-Class starship during the 2290’s (around the time of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). In STA you have six attributes. Control (How the character controls themselves both physically and mentally. Think dexterity plus focused mind), Fitness (Physical strength, health and endurance), Insight (Understanding others people, their feelings, your self-awareness and wisdom), Presence (Charisma and diplomacy basically) and Reason (Logic, learning and observation). Characters also have six Disciplines. These are Command (Leadership skills), Conn (Piloting skills), Engineering (Fix things and build things skills), Security (Shoot and don’t be shot skills), Science (Understanding things around us skills) and Medicine (Fix up character skills). In the game when facing a challenge the GM will tell you to add an Attribute with a Discipline to come up with a target number that you need to roll under. You roll at least 2d20 (or more if you can pull them from a pool) and each roll under your target number counts as a success. Some more difficult tasks may require a certain number of success in order to succeed the task.

Each character starts with 7 in all Attributes and 1 in each Discipline. Then you go through a “Life Path” creation process with opportunities to add to both Attributes and Disciplines until you get the end. Each character will end up with a maximum of 56 points in Attributes and 16 points in Disciplines. You will also end up with some history, Values, Talents and Focuses. The history gives your GM some possible plot points to use in the game later. The Values are something your character believes in represented in a short quote (example: I’ll give Stivon “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”) The Value can be used in gameplay to gain extra dice to roll or other bonuses if applied at the appropriate time. Focuses are specialized skills (such as Cybernetics or Small Craft Piloting, etc.). These give you additional die or other bonuses during play. Talents are items that come naturally to your character through it’s development (such as Mind Meld or Neck Pinch) but may have specific requirements (Vulcan only, etc.). As with Focuses and Talents, they add bonuses to gameplay and flesh out the character.

Stivon was born and raised on the planet Vulcan so he gains the advantages from this environment. While I selected the homeworld for Stivon’s environment, I randomly rolled for the upbringing which resulted in Artistic & Creative. The RAW state that my character could be accepting or rebelling against the upbringing. Stivon’s parents were musicians so in being accepting, he grew up with the logic of how music was created.

Next Stivon entered Starfleet Academy. He wanted to explore more of this universe and was torn between the path he choose and the Vulcan Science Academy. Eventually the opportunity to see music from other cultures was the deciding factor in selecting Starfleet. This resulted in additional values, attributes, disciplines, focuses and talents. I decided that Stivon would be an experienced officer (other than young officer or veteran officer) and added the value and talent from that step.

There are at least two career events that can happen to a Starfleet Officer durring their many tours that are randomly rolled. These can create plot points for the GM to use as well as adding attributes, disciplines and focuses. For my first event, Stivon discovered an artifact from an extinct civilization. While on Rolvath Prime, Stivon discovered a device that allowed two individuals to instantaneously share each other’s history in a matter of seconds. While this gave a young Caitian ensign a vast appreciation of music, Stivon was unnerved by the encounter in experiencing the family history of many siblings. For the second career event, Stivon was mentored. Inspired by the first event I decided that Stivon would seek out a Vulcan officer to help him meditate and calm his mind. He took ten months of leave on Vulcan and studied various techniques to return his mind to normalcy. While he felt confident enough to resume his duties, he now understands Caitian history and culture.

The finishing touches wrapped up Stivon’s stats, stress value, damage bonus, department position and assigned equipment. The character sheet is posted below.

Stivon character sheet

Afterthoughts:

With other entries in the Character Creation Challenge, I only used the primary rulebook to create the character. After creating a Star Trek Adventures character last month for an upcoming campaign I elected to use a fan-made character creation guide just because it was all laid out step-by-step. The STA core rulebook has a lot of good rules in it, spread out in different sections. The character creation guide quickly pointed me directly to the page numbers I needed to see. As I mentioned above, I just picked up the new Klingon core rulebook. I’ve heard that it is better organized (I’ll check that soon). I can say that I’m very happy that the Klingon book design was dark text on white pages. The black pages with white and orange text was very hard on the eyes. The character creation process reminded me a little of the FASA Star Trek system. I think if I create a bunch of new characters the system will make a little bit more sense to me. I’m really interested in creating stats for characters we see in the expanded Star Trek universe.

I almost forgot to mention, technically I was suppose to create two characters for STA for a campaign. A secondary character just in case the session doesn’t call for your primary character. An away team is heading down to the planet to rescue the hostages? Instead of the player with the science officer being bored while his character is stuck on the ship, he just grabs his secondary character that is a lower ranked security officer and continues with the game. I thought this was an excellent idea.

Additional Notes:

I have not discovered any new blogs displaying new characters today. But there is an active hashtag in social media for #CharacterCreationChallenge which has been getting used a lot. There is also a lot of players participating in the challenge on the RPG.net message board.

Coming Up Next:

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition

Posted in: Archer, Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

Character Creation Challenge Day 9: Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes

Creation Challenge Day 9

Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes (aka MSPE) is a role playing game released by Flying Buffalo and written by Michael Stackpole. If that name sounds familiar it may be from his various novels that he has written. Mr. Stackpole has penned several novels for Star Wars, Battletech and other series. He was also a big defender of the role playing industry when the “this game is evil” scare reared its ugly head in the 1980’s.

When I did my Character Creation Challenge entry for Top Secret, I created Secret Agent Gary King, one of the new recruits in an attempt to re-build the active agent roster for UNITY, an intelligence organization that is assisting the western powers in the 1960’s cold war. Today we are going to introduce another new recruit, Andrew Knightley. I am taking the names from characters in a favorite movie, but the characters are completely generated for the game and are not completely based upon the characters in the movie.

The attributes for characters in MSPE is Strength (ST), Luck (LK), Intelligence (IQ), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Charisma (CHR) and Speed (SP). You roll 3d6 for the attributes and if they don’t come up with all three numbers on the same roll (example: all 3s) then you add all three rolls together for the attribute score. If the three dice all come up the same number, you roll 2d6 and add those rolls to the first set. I ended up rolling this on my CHR roll, Three 5s came up so I rolled two more dice (3 and 1) for a total of 19). After this section the RAW has me fill in some character basics such as name, race, nationality, level, description, et. The Hand to Hand adds score is determined by DEX, ST or LK while the Missile adds is only benefited by a high LK. Money uses the same 3d6 triples technique that we used to determine attributes and then timed by 1,000. Unfortunately I only rolled a total that started me out with $1100. Adventure points are a form of experience points and can be used to improve your skill levels. First-level characters start out at 0 AP.

This is a game that uses skills. Your character’s starting skill points is the is your IQ score. So Agent Knightly will have 13 skill points to spend. I liked that some skills were only attainable by higher IQ scores. However the pilot skill needing an IQ minimum of 14 with a Doctorate skill only needing an IQ of 13? How many times have we seen drunk or barely competent pilot in various shows? If I was a GM, I’d allow the pilot skill to be taken at a lower IQ (probably 12 or 13) without little convincing. As a new agent with some military background, I selected the appropriate skills. I saw some skills that could be assigned to Cate Archer in the No One Lives Forever video game series. I’ll have to write up her stats for this game.

In other RPG books, the equipment is listed pretty early in the books. In MSPE, the Provisions is in the later half of the book. When looking to equip Agent Knightly, I had to go through several pages before reaching the equipment section. Then it was mostly arms and armor. So I added what I thought would be prudent and considered the character ready to play..

With how high his CHR score is, Agent Knightley would almost be the “faceman” for the group. But he could work together or on solo missions if the need arises. The sheet is posted below.

Andrew Knightley character sheet

Afterthoughts:

I didn’t get a chance to go through the combat or chase rules for the game. So I’ll have to check those out later. But for the most part, the character creation process was pretty up front. It started out with a series of “Do This” steps with a “We will explain this in more detail later” response. I found this helpful when trying to create my first character for the game.

Additional Notes:

Added a livejournal (that’s still alive?) link for someone who is participating in the Character Creation Challenge. I’m still looking for other links.

Coming Up Next:

Star Trek Adventures by Modiphis

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

Character Creation Challenge Day 8: Mutant Crawl Classics

CCC Day 8

I just recently obtained this rulebook thanks to my Secret Satan at RPG.net and when I opened up the box, I knew that I would need to make a character(s) for the Character Creation Challenge. Mutant Crawl Classics is a companion game to Dungeon Crawl Classics. Both are D20 based, but just different enough that I don’t know if I’d call them retro-clones. Mutant Crawl Classics was geared towards fans of past games like Gama World and other post-apocalyptic settings. I’ve always had an interest in this genre. A lot of movies out of the 80 and 90’s dealt with the aftermath of a nuclear conflict or some other end of the world event. Mad Max, Damnation Alley and other movies (some really cheesy) graced our screens.

In the rules, you create a number of zero-level characters that end up going through a funnel. The survivor (if any) becomes your first-level character and you select a class then. The character sheet has a slot for four zero-level characters, so let’s see if I can make them up. The character attributes are Strength, Agility, Stamina, Personality, Intelligence and Luck. These are 3d6 rolled in order. Because there are four characters, I’m not going to list all of them down like I had in the past. Some characters had better stats than others.

This game uses some odd dice. For the first time in forever, I actually had to pull out a d30 and roll it for a game. The table for the new character’s birth sign uses a d30. I don’t know if I fully understood the Birth Sign lucky roll. Do they get something extra if they are rolling for that specific challenge? This could have been explained a little bit better.

I really don’t know if I filled out these sheets correctly For zero-level characters it starts with a series of instructions, but then nothing on certain items (I was able to hunt some of them in the book, others I could not find. I think for the most part, these characters are ready to play.

Mutant Crawl Classic characters

Afterthoughts:

There are a TON of charts in this book. Depending upon the campaign, there could be more than hunters and gatherers as starting occupations. I’ve never been a big fan of a ton of mutations, but that may change if I had a chance to actually play. I’ve never roleplayed in a character funnel before. That could be an interesting experience. I think I’d rather have a person who is an experienced GM in Mutant Crawl Classics for my first campaign. I have a feeling that they may be answering a few questions as I get use to the game.

Additional Notes:

No new additions to the Character Creation Challenge page in regards to new links. But I am still looking for any new ones. Thanks to another visitor who clicked on the DriveThruRPG link and purchased several items.

Coming Up Next:

Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes by Michael Stackpole