Boldly Go! is a science-fiction roleplaying game that was released in 2021 by Geoffquest and backed by a Kickstarter campaign. Like Starships and Spacemen, it is a Star Trek inspired game with the serial numbers filled off. I heard about this game just after last year’s Character Creation Challenge. And since I am very interested in Star Trek (and Star Trek-like) roleplaying games, I knew I had to pick this up and use it for this year’s challenge.
When I created a character for the Dune: Adventures in the Imperium RPG, the first thing I needed to do was to create a Nobel House. In Boldly Go! the players not only create their characters in session zero, they can also create the ship that they will be serving on. This will be a vessel serving in Space Fleet for the Stellar Alliance. While the players can just pick a ship listed in the core rulebook, creating a ship, like creating a Nobel House, would give the group a little bit more cohesion.
Boldly Go! uses the Traits System. Character, ships, equipment and other items all have traits. These traits can be positive or negative, permanent or temporary. When a character has to complete a task they add one base D6 to a dice pool. For each positive trait that applies to the scene (justified to the Fleet Admiral (GM) if they have any questions) you can add an additional D6 to use. A roll of 5 or 6 counts as a success. If more successes are rolled than what is required (the more difficult tasks require more successes) then the character succeeds the task they are attempting to do. Negative traits can make the task more difficult. There are also Drama Points that can be earned during play. Drama points can be used for a variety of positive options including adding to your dice pool.
So first the group comes up with the name for the ship. I consulted the voices in my head and we came up with the SFS Valiant. For the concept, the Valiant would be an exploration cruiser. The other classifications we could have selected from included Cruiser, Diplomatic, Medical, etc. If there are four or fewer players, they all get two trait points to purchase traits for the ship (higher number of players gets 1 point per player). So the number of voices in my head is classified, but we will say that there are four players in the game. It would be interesting to see what could happen as each player selects a trait. Some may think that certain traits are needed more than other. They have a sample list of positive and negative traits (yes ships can have negative traits) but they don’t define what they are. So this is something that the group and Fleet Admiral would have to discuss when making the ship. Each trait is worth one trait point. Ship traits can be a physical item (such as Advanced Engines) or non-physical (such as Crew Like Family). I think I filled out the sheet correctly (the systems ran out of room). Since the CO is going to be an NPC, I just filled in a name.
Like the ship creation, you create a concept, name and backstory. Then you select a species and write down the traits and special ability that the race has. The races for PCs in the game include Humans (I don’t know if anyone will know who these guys are), Gatoan (cat people), Krakenoid (humanoid octopuses), Mordons (Silicon-based humanoids), Rittians (sloth people), Syntoids (self-aware androids) or Hybrids (combine two non-Synthoid races into one). Since Krakenoid’s are not really found in any other game that I’ve seen so far, I’m going with that one. Since the Krakenoids are a militant race, I’ll go with the occupation of security. Each member of the Space Fleet gain the Academy Training trait. Then I selected the rank of Lieutenant (he was going to be the Chief of Security) which earned the character two free drama points. It also meant that I had five trait points that I can spend. There is a list of sample traits or you can make some up of your own.
In the equipment section, everything was pretty straight forward. Your character gets this as a member of Space Fleet. If other equipment is assigned or found, you’ll be able to use it. Here is the character and ship sheets.
I really feel like this system has a good start. Perhaps I’d change my mind with actually experiencing the game in play, but I felt that it still needed one or two more steps to being a really great system. I didn’t get this feel from my initial read-through when I first got the book. But now that I’m looking at it while actually creating a ship and creation, it feels like there could be a little bit more. Or at least I would try to implement it if I was actually running a game. I could see myself playing and homebrewing for this system.
Why would a player select a negative trait for a character or a ship? In this read through there was nothing stating that you would gain a positive trait for selecting a negative trait or if you’ve had to take a balance.
Having used the FASA Starship Construction Manual in the past, the ship creation was simple, but somewhat too simple. If I was a FA for a game, I’d probably put limits on how many systems and traits a certain class of ship might have. I didn’t see any guidelines for this.
I like the graphical design of the Character Sheet and Ship Sheet. Speaking of graphics, the images used to show Captain Raymond Sexton Jr. reminded me of Nick Diamond from Celebrity Death Match.
On the Character Creation Challenge thread at the RPG.net forums a user by the handle Golden Age Superhero asked me more about my entry for Castles and Crusades. I mentioned that my Knight could not be a Halfling as per the rules. GAS reported that there were no class/limit restrictions. I went back and looked over the racial descriptions. The classes listed were the “typical” classes and that with your Castle Keeper’s (C&Cs name for a DM) permission you could use others. So in hindsight I could have made Godfrey a member of the Halfling race. Thank you for pointing that out. Just the thought of a proud Knight having to be taken seriously by those who only see his short stature just sounded like an interesting role playing opportunity.
While I can do a little prep work before hand, the bulk of my workday is spent on real life work duties. I create my character afterwards (with the blog entry open for editing so I can write my thoughts down as they happen) and I’ve had a few times where I’ve run into snags or deadlines. So there are times I’m trying to push to get the entry for that day done, which may lead to mistakes. The majority of the entries I feel good about, but I know that not all of them are going to be up to satisfactions. If I noticed it, I’ll try to point it out (like I did with the Modern Age entry). If I missed something, feel free to let me know. Part of the reason I’m participating in this challenge is to learn about some of these roleplaying games and what they have to offer.
Coming Up Next: