Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge

31 Day Character Creation Challenge
Feel free to share this image on social media to spread the word.

OK, first an apology. Recent health issues have prevented me from posting as much as I would have liked on this site. I’m not going to go into details because I know that everyone has been dealing with health and real-world issues. But I will say that I’ve been following my doctor’s orders and I’m getting better. Many thanks to those who have already reached out to me. I really appreciate it.

Now down to business. I have noticed the traffic hitting the Character Creation Challenge page. I am hoping that it is from participants wondering if I’ll be coordinating a 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. I am very happy to say the answer is YES!!!!!!

I’ve already moved my 2023 entries and links to their own page, clearing the way for the 2024 links and entries. So if it looks a little blank, send me links to your blog or site if you are planning to participate. Feel free to let me know of other sites and message boards. Last year I was introduced to a couple of message boards that had participants posting entries. The links for the 2021 and 2022 challenges also have their own pages. You can find the official forum for the 2024 Challenge here.

For those of you learning about this for the first time, the Character Creation Challenge is for fans of various role playing games. You may have looked into a game or collected the books with the intention to play but never have. Or perhaps you have a favorite system that you always turn to for RPG sessions. Well the Character Creation Challenge is an event to create a new RPG character for each day in January (running parallel to the “new year, new you” theme) from what ever system(s) you choose. Once you have the character ready to play, post it on a website, blog, social media (use the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge) or online message boards. The forums at was a popular forum where a lot of participants had posted their completed characters.

In 2023, I’ve had the chance to attend three different gaming conventions. In the dealers room and at the swap meet I’ve been able to pick up a few cheap RPG books. I am also hopeful that a few RPG Kickstarter goodies will be delivered in time so I can use them in the challenge. And I’ve also been able to pick up quite a few PDF games at DriveThruRPG. So I’ve got a good selection to choose from. Plus I may revisit some favorites just because I want to. That is the beauty of the challenge. You can select the theme you want. I’ve heard of some GMs using this opportunity to create NPCs for their games. Some forever GMs use this as a challenge to create a character like they were actually going to just play. There are a few other themes posted on the main Character Creation Challenge page. Remember, this is for fun, so have fun with it.

If you would like to participate, email me at Carl (at), post on the Discord Channel or find me on social media/message boards and let me know where you will be posting your challenge characters at. If you are posting them on a website, I’ll add the link to my Character Creation Challenge page.

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

My thoughts on the recent WotC/OGL fiasco

Guess who rolled a 1

So in early January 2023, I read up on the new “draft” of the Open Gaming License (OGL) that Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast (WotC) was pushing out. I’m not a lawyer, but it didn’t pass the smell test for me. It felt like a lot of creative people who had put their time, money and effort into their own products were being screwed. Because I was just starting the 2023 Character Creation Challenge, I didn’t have time to write up a full blog post on the subject. So I tagged Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast in the following tweet.

Click on image to see the tweet.

I never got a response from either group. Knowing how most mega-corporations think, I wasn’t expecting to get one either. I’m just a single guy and most corporations are only thinking about money, how to get more money and ignoring any laws and common decency in a quest for money. So I figured that nothing would happened and I put my energy into the character creation challenge.

Oh boy, was I wrong. Shortly afterwards this issue exploded with the force of an atom bomb. Not only were other gamers upset, but so were the video makers and third-party publishers. This caused so much of a ruckus that it made it onto the various news sites and made Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast look bad. Especially with how horribly they handled the issue in their first attempt to respond.

The critical fumble continued by Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro until they finally backed off and announced that the 1.0a would remain in place and that the 5.1 System Reference Document (SRD) would be placed under the irrevocable Creative Commons. A move that shocked a lot of people (myself included), but it may have been too-little, too-late. A lot of third-party publishers that were giving free advertising to the Dungeons and Dragons game had elected to move to other licenses. Several designers are making changes to remove all SRD references so they would no longer be bound by the OGL. When these third-party publishers released a book, they had something on it that stated it was compatible with Dungeons and Dragons. The name of the WotC flagship game was being seen with each book. Now that reminder will be gone and other games will be promoted instead. Third-party publishers were also a source of talent that WotC could pull for future D&D products. I doubt these freelance writers would be interested in helping after the way they were treated.

Another reaction that the various third-party publishers had was to dump their 5e compatible products. I’m certain they were thinking that if the new OGL went into effect, they would be stuck with inventory they could no longer sell. Since I’m a bargain hunter, I was able to pick up a few books in both PDF and dead tree versions.

This all happened at the end of January before I had finished the Character Creation Challenge. And when the challenge was done, I took a few days off from the site to recover. The challenge is a marathon and can be a little exhausting. I also wanted some time to properly compose my thoughts about the WotC/OGL ordeal.

I wondered if I was really going to comment on this as mid-February hit. Then I walked into my Favorite Local Gaming Store (FLGS) and saw the very large display of Dungeons and Dragons 5e products. My instant reaction was “walk away, I’m still not happy with them.” Normally I’m looking over the books deciding if I want to pull the trigger on a purchase. There are still a few books that I don’t have in my collection. Instead I was looking to see if the Star Trek Adventures books that I wanted had arrived yet and to see what else was new on the shelves.

So since I felt that I needed to get these thoughts off my chest, I started putting together this blog post. As I was researching different aspects (trying to make sure I’m posting correct information) I discovered that the Bank of America has listed Hasbro/WotC stock as “under-performing” due to mishandling of brands and attempting to over-monetizing the Dungeons and Dragons and Magic the Gathering products.

Various WotC representatives are currently on a “restore the goodwill tour” (think of what BP had to go through after the Deepwater Horizon environmental disaster) and if I had a chance to ask them, I’d probably ask the following: “Since several college and white papers will be written about this monumental cock up, do you think they will spell the names of the decision makers right?” In all seriousness, I’d probably ask them what are the lessons learned from this experience and what would they do in the future if this came up again? What I hope to hear is how the OGL discussion would be handled in the open and with all stakeholders before sending out a “draft” with contracts attached. That the C-level executive managers have learned what this game is about (no it’s not just a money spigot) and that they understand that the customers who are purchasing the game are not going to play online. Yes that is an option, but it’s not where we get the camaraderie around the table in a social activity. Yes, the game will make them money, but don’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Hasbro and WotC still has a lot of making up to do with the gaming community.

As for myself, I’m still very hesitant about buying any WotC products at this time. The upcoming Dungeons and Dragons movie that is coming out soon is something that I might go to, depending on how things are handled from here on out. It’s already finished and I wouldn’t want to punish those involved in the production who had no say in Hasbro’s critical fumble. It’s not a 100% that I’m going to see it in theaters (as I was planning at the end of 2022) I’m not going to trash my current collection (I’ve already purchased them) but new items? Well, we will see.

Perhaps the silver lining in all of this are players and stores discovering that there are a ton of other roleplaying games out there that can be enjoyed and promoted. I may post more about this topic if inspiration strikes. But I’m going to concentrate on being a muse and doing some creating myself.

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Alien, Character Creation Challenge, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Pirates, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Westerns

2023 Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

Note: If you made it through 31 days of the challenge, read to the bottom of the post.

I’m going to declare the 2023 Character Creation Challenge a magnificent success. Yes there were some days that I wondered if I was going to get through this. For the first time ever I had multiple games frustrate me so much that I just said “screw it, I’m done with this system”. But I was able to post for all 31 days (plus an extra day since I forgot that I was going to use a certain game).

I think my most favorite post was the one for Ork! Second Edition. Writing for another voice was fun and I had a blast. Fantasy Age made a little bit more sense than the 2022 entry for Modern Age. The reading of Mutant Future got the creative juices flowing and I hope to actually put thought into action sooner rather than later. When The Moon Hangs Low and BareBones Fantasy also caught my eye. After reading some of the information on the John Carter of Mars RPG, I went and purchased some of the novels to read on my Amazon Kindle.

Here is my 2023 list of characters:

Day 1: Alien Character: Jan Karlsson, Colonial Marine
Day 2: Star Frontiers Character: K’likki the Vrusk
Day 3: Low Fantasy Gaming Character: Golarth
Day 4: Tiny Spies Character: Daniel Drake
Day 5: Swashbuckling Adventures Character: Dirk Clarkson
Day 6: John Carter of Mars Character Jakour Detha
Day 7: Cepheus Deluxe Character: Jess Tokkin
Day 8: When The Moon Hangs Low Character: William “Kitt” Smythe
Day 9: Fantasy Craft Character: Perrich Teagrove
Day 10: The D6 System Character: Paul Reynolds Code Named- Gold Crown
Day 11: XD20 2nd Edition Character: Blix the Barbarian
Day 12: Mutant Future Character: Carath
Day 13: Ork! 2nd Edition Character: Grukk
Day 14: Serenity Character: Steven “Dart” Carter
Day 15: FASA Star Trek-Starfleet Intelligence Character: Roger Taylor
Day 16: Against the Darkmaster Character: Heathgar son of Kragin
Day 17: US Marshals Character: Leonard “Lariat” Daniels
Day 18: OSIRC Character: Myrin
Day 19: The Agency Character: Simon Steele
Day 20: Cyber Generation Character: Side Wire
Day 21: Strike! Tactical Combat and Heedless Adventure Character: Craig “T-Bone” Miller
Day 22: Barebones Fantasy Character: Traxxis
Day 23: D20 Modern Character: Gregory “Max” Mattheson
Day 24: Fantasy Age Character: Yost Rocktapper
Day 25: Traveller D20 (T20) Character: Baaken
Day 26: Star Crawl Characters: Multiple
Day 27: GURPS Character: Dieter “Ace” Tannin
Day 28: White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game Character: Wingar
Day 29: Metamorphosis Alpha Character: Spikeleaf
Day 30: True 20 Character: Markkin
Day 31: They Came From Beyond The Grave Character: Bruce Walters
Day 32: Vampire Hunter$ Character: Jock Barkley

A big thank you to those of you who encouraged me to keep going. Thank you to those who have joined my Discord server that I’m going to start using for more blog feedback. I’m very grateful to those of you who reached out to me to let me know of the blogs and other message boards that were participating in the #CharacterCreationChallenge. On social media I saw a lot of participation on Facebook, MeWe and Mastodon, but not as much on Twitter this year. I think that the platform may be having some additional issues. I’m not on Instagram so I couldn’t tell you if anything was being posted there. If I’m missing any blogs or sites that were participating, please let me know at Carl (at) and I’ll add them to the list.

Also, if you purchased anything after clicking on the link to DriveThruRPG, thank you. I’m not doing this blog to make money, but the kickback helps when making game purchases for future challenges.

I noticed a lot of participants used Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and Aliens as their “I’m excited about this game” posts. We had more participants using themes this year. One in particular that stood out was a GM who was making future bad-guys to use against his players. I was very excited that Tim Hardin, the artist who drew the map I used in a recent Basic Fantasy game, participated and posted some very good character images for his entries.

So did you complete the challenge and make 31 characters? If so, please email me at Carl (at) My art school kid in college loved hearing about the characters I was making on a daily basis and the challenge in general. She created a badge for those who completed the challenge. It is a variant of the 2022 badge, but the fact that she was able to alter this between college homework assignments makes me happy. Here it is if you want to download it to display.

There will be a 2024 Character Creation Challenge. Keep an eye out around November for the warnings that it is coming up. I’m starting to use the supplements to some of my games to make characters so I suspect that I’ll be using one of the FASA Star Trek race supplements (Not certain if its going to be Klingon, Romulan or Orion). There are also a couple of other games that have similar supplements that I’m going to be using. Plus I backed the KickStarter campaigns for the Monty Python RPG and Cowboy Bebop RPG, so they will certainly be used in 2024.

So once again, if you had fun, if you learned something new, if you participated, thank you. I really appreciated the people who took my idea and ran with it and made it something of their own.

Tally ho

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Bonus: Vampire Hunter$

So after I was a week into the 2023 Character Creation Challenge, I realized that I had made a promise on this blog to use the Vampire Hunter$ RPG system that I had received through my Random RPG Book Club membership. I was really locked into what I had on the list and didn’t really have any sacrificial lambs that I could knock out. I also didn’t want to wait until the 2024 challenge, so you guys get a bonus character this year.

Vampire Hunter$ is published by Nightshift Games (listed as Team Frog on DriveThruRPG). The book that I have was published in 1999. The book itself is 141 pages with the character creation process starting on page 18. The character sheet is two pages long. The basic concept of the game is that you are hired on with a new local franchise for a vampire (and other monster) hunter corporation called Vampire Hunter$ Inc. The game uses 2d6 as a base dice pool. For every talent you can gain various additional d6 to roll in certain challenges. Doubles are added and re-rolled and if you beat a target number, you succeed in the task.

I’m going to create Jock Barkley. An ex-Army vet who by day is a handyman, and by night is a monster hunter after being approached by a fellow Army buddy who wanted to start a new franchise. Jock originally didn’t believe in vampires until they went on their first hunt. Now he can’t wait to get back out there and slay some suckers.

To create a character, we set up the character’s talents, knacks, faults and hits. The talents are major skills of the character. You have 10d to place in any number of talents with no talent starting higher than 3d. I selected the skills I thought that my character would have picked up while in the military.

The next list is knacks (there really isn’t a checklist). Knacks are early talents (or perhaps natural talents). Before you can get a new talent after character creation, you have to take it as a knack. A knack only gives you a +1 bonus to your roll (as compared to a d6 for a talent). I can (and did) select five knacks for my new character using the same skills list as seen a few pages earlier.

Now our characters have at least one fault. A fault is something that affects the character in a negative way. If I wanted, I could select one or two faults with each fault worth 2d in talents. The list isn’t really that long and actually suggests that you come up with some faults on your own. Since I’m on limited time, I’m going to pick enemy. On Jock’s first hunt, he helped slay a vampire only to discover that the vampire had a mate. One that wasn’t very happy with Jock.

Hits is exactly how it sounds. It’s how much damage your character can take. To determine Jock’s hits I roll 2d6 and add 10 (hey I get to roll some dice). I ended up with 17. I could have taken a die or two from the talent pool, but I had already spent them before doing so.

The final step is to “round out the corners”. Character name (done), background (done), description (written down), and equipment. It just says “ask the GM”. So I just consulted the equipment list and picked out a few items I thought an Army vet would have access to. Here is the character sheet.


If I was going to run this as a campaign, I’d probably put together a character creation guide to help my players. It also bugged me that there were no back of the book index or (in some cases) page numbers. You also get five knacks, but the character sheet only has room for four (oops).

The system sounds pretty simplistic. I could see this being a quick pick up game using some of the sample characters listed in the book. Only after then would I know if I’d want to homebrew for this game. Vampire Hunter$ could be something for fans of the Supernatural TV series or the 1998 movie John Carpenter’s Vampires.

Additional Notes:

Not a lot of additional notes today as I’m saving my final thoughts for the after action report.

Coming Up Next:

Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Horror, Humor, Role Playing Games, Uncategorized

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 31: They Came From Beyond The Grave!

I wanted to wrap up the 2023 Character Creation Challenge with a game that has caught my interest. Onyx Path Publishing has released a series of games titled “They Came From…” that covers a variety of genres. The system that I’m going to be using today is based off of the cheesy 60’s and 70’s horror movies that I’m enjoy watching on Elvira, Svengoolie and Creature Features. I also wanted to promote this game because Onyx Path Publishing was one of the sponsoring backers for season 13 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as seen on the Gizmoplex. A thank you from me.

The PDF has 268 pages (with several extra pages of printable quip cards). The character sheet is only a single page. I believe that the character creation process starts with Chapter Three on page 49. There really isn’t a checklist (takes a few points away from Gryffindor) so I guess we are winging it through the chapters. I hope they are put together well as I dislike knowing when the character creation process has ended.

Our first step is to come up with a concept for the character. Not knowing if the adventures are going to be set in the 1970’s or earlier, I think I’ll create a curious professor type character that has found a mysterious book with missing pages and he’s wants to find them. So the missing pages will be the long term aspiration. I’m also instructed to pick two short term aspirations. So let’s make them… actually I can’t think of anything now and the few examples are not very helpful. So I’d probably beg the Director (GM) to let me come up with them during play as inspiration strikes.

The next step is to pick a path. These were life experiences before the adventure. These are broken down into three things. An archetype (think class or profession), origin and dark agenda (dun, dun, dunnnnnnn). Well I’ve already selected professor since all of the archetypes were described in chapter two before the character creation started. I selected the four professor skills on my sheet (not added dots, like designating a class skill on a D&D 3.5 character sheet) out of the 10 listed in the earlier pages (a lot of jumping back and forth slows things down). The origin is the background of the character. I can select four un-selected skills that came from this origin and mark them with an “O”. Nothing in the examples really spoke to me. I just selected four skills at random and put down “some guy” hoping that something will come to me later. I really could have used other players to bounce ideas off of. As for the Dark Path, the book says this drives your character. The examples were not very helpful. He’s not going to be a cult leader. Fame and fortune might work, might. Forbidden love? No. Protective Parent? Search for a Cure? They don’t fit. I know it sounds like I’m down on this game, I’m not, I’m just not inspired to write up a whole backstory just yet. I just want to fill out the character sheet and see if anything sparks while that is happening. I’ll put down the fame one now and probably change it later if the creative juices actually start flowing. I marked the skills. Now I have three dots in each category to place in those skills.

Onto step three. Spend six more dots on any skill on the sheet (not just the ones selected above).

Wow, we are finally to the step where we select our attributes. There are nine in total. Might, Dexterity and Stamina make up the physical attributes. The mental attributes are Intellect, Cunning and Resolve. The last three that make up the social attributes are Presence, Manipulation and Composure. I pick one of the three groups above to be the primary focus. There is already one dot in each of these attributes and each group gets a series of dots depending if it is my first, second or third choice. Now I get to choose the favored approach. These are Force, Finesse and Resilience. These all associate with a set of attributes from across the three types. The favored approach get one dot for each attribute. I selected resilience, why? Don’t know, it just sounded good. There was an optional step to take a freebie dot and place it anywhere that wasn’t already at the max of five. My pretend Director said yes to this and I put the dot in the weakest attribute of Might.

Step five is to select a trademark? No, not something I’d file with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It’s described as a signature move (that could be tied with a skill or attribute) that can be used once per story where it provides two additional dice to the pool and gives you something called “Directional Control” if you succeed (hold on, I’ve got to flip down another 40 pages to see what this is). OK, the player gets to alter the story in a logical manner (example: the murder’s ax can suddenly become lodged in a tree trunk). I guess this could be the “we suddenly found a vital clue or gain an advantage we didn’t have before” aspect to the scene. Scrolls back up to the character creation portion. So if I’m reading this correctly, it could be a catch phrase or move. I’m going to go with “I read this in a book once” and connect it to the science and enigmas skills.

Step six is to determine relationships and connections. Apparently this involves coordinating with the other players in the party and determine how your characters feel/know/understand each other. As there is no other party members being rolled up in this challenge entry, I’ll skip this step. I have a lot of voices in my head, but not all of them want to make characters right now.

Now we are at the final touches. Assign three tropes (what are those?) and three quips (what?) Scrolling back up to the earlier description of the archetype I see that it has various trademarks listed. I can select two of them so I picked “Let me guide you” (lend skills to another) and “Don’t be fooled” (snap a companion out of a mental condition). I can also select another trope from anywhere else which was “My lucky dime” (a good luck charm that I can use as a bonus. As for the quips, the are some sort of catchphrase that can be found on the “deck of cards” in the back of the book. There is a quip deck for each archetype. Since I can’t really shuffle and draw randomly, I’ll just select them. It wasn’t exactly clear what the quips do, so I just picked some.

I like the fact that in the final touches it talks about tweaks. Once you’ve played a session or two you can work with the Director to change a few things to fit the campaign and/or party. I have a feeling that I’d probably need something like this.

So I did pick out a name in the middle of the process. This professor is called Bruce Walters (hey it fit). There were a lot couple of blank spaces still left on the character sheet, but I’m going to scan the sheet now.


There is a chapter at the beginning of the book with a lot of movies and TV shows that are inspirational for a game such as It Came From Beyond The Grave! Some I’ve seen, some I need to check out.

I don’t know if I like the “come up with your whole backstory” process when making a character. Sometimes the inspiration for these things come while playing the game itself. Trying to come up with them in a vacuum doesn’t work sometimes.

The humor in this game sounds good. With a group of like-minded friends (with warped senses of humor) who love the cheesy horror genre, this could be a good game to play. From what I read of the system, it makes sense. I just wish the delivery was a little bit better when it came to character creation and explanations of game terms. I did a lot of jumping around in this book. I’m going to have to pick up a PDF of some of the other “It Came From…” books to see how they compare to this one. I’m not certain which books came first.

Additional Notes:

We did it!!!!! 31 characters in 31 days. I am working with my daughter who came up with last years completion logo to make another one. She hasn’t completed it yet because college studies have taken priority. But if you made it, email me at Carl (at) and I’ll make sure to get it to you. I still see the 2022 logo on display on a few websites.

Coming Up Next:

A bonus character (day 32?) and a challenge summary

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 30: True20 Adventure Roleplaying

So this isn’t my first time trying to make a character in the True20 Adventure Roleplaying system. Last year in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge I made a character for the Blue Rose system which was based off of True20. There were some questions and serious concerns about the equipment allocation in that system. I’m wondering if I’ll find the same pitfalls in True20 or if it was just confined to BR? I was able to pick up several True20 books that were bundled together in an online auction.

While Blue Rose is a roleplaying game for “romantic fantasy”, True20 is a generic system (I’ve used a lot of generics this year). Since I don’t have a GM stating “we are doing this…” I’m going to create a character for a science fiction setting. Markkin is a Human bounty hunter trying to catch his prey in various outer rim star systems.

The True20 book is 224 pages long. The character sheet is a single page. The Hero Creation steps start on page 14. The first step is to choose your ability scores. True20 is based off of the D20 system so the abilities are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. I have six points to allocate between the attributes. I can lower one attribute if I’d like, but I’m not really that big on the min/maxing. I’m always worried that I’m going to guess wrong. So I picked the scores I thought my space bounty hunter would need.

Our next step is to select a background. Because this is a generic system, it lists the various fantasy races (but nothing else). So I’m selecting Human since that is what I already had in mind. The rules say “you get these items, but no attribute adjustments”. So pretty standard. Since I was also pulling details from other books (and since it came with the bundle) I found a Bounty Hunter background in the True20 Companion and added those bonus feats.

Roles are the next item going through the pages. These are basically classes in regular D20 games. The options are Adept (a person with some sort of supernatural abilities), Expert (lots of skills), Warrior (bonk, bonk) or Mixed-Role (combine two rolls). Since Markkin may have to do some fighting to subdue his targets, I selected Warrior. I wrote down the basics for that class.

I went through the skills and feats (most had already been selected) choosing those that I thought a bounty hunter would need.

Next is a chapters that had nothing to do with my character (supernatural powers) and then equipment. OK, let’s see if what I saw in Blue Rose happens here as well? So we have a wealth score. If you have no bonuses in Charisma or a wealthy feat you are stuck at 5 (this is looking bad because I wanted to follow a concept instead of min/maxing). And if you purchase anything that exceeds your wealth score, the score goes down. Yea it’s the same baloney that I saw in Blue Rose. The system I saw while I was creating my D20 Modern character made sense. This does not. So I gave it the middle finger and just wrote down a few things that I thought a Sci-Fi bounty hunter would have to start out.

There is still a lot of blank spaces on this character sheet. I’m not going to bother to try to track them down if the book can’t provide them to me in an organized manner. Here is the character sheet from the scanner.


Here is another book published after the year 2000 that doesn’t have an actual character creation checklist. Writers, it is in your player’s best interest if you have a good character creation checklist.

One of the other books I got in the bundle was the Damnation Decade and almost thought about using that to create a character. But at the time, I didn’t want to make something for a 1970’s Supernatural type of crossover.

While the True20 books didn’t make me feel like I was being confined in the game like Blue Rose did (boy did that game suffocate me hard), the wealth score mechanics really turns me away from wanting to run or play this system. If I did run a game, I’d trash the entire chapter and just use those that were found in D20 Modern. And that would probably push me to just using D20 Modern or another RPG system all together. Considering I’ve never seen anyone play True20 (and I’ve only seen one homebrew that attempted to add Star Trek to True20) I’ll probably keep my True20 books for an experiment or two, but I doubt I’ll do anything else with them.

Additional Notes:

I’ve got a few things to blog about next month. I’ve had to hold off because running the Character Creation Challenge (along with taking care of everything else in my life) has taken up a lot of time. I’m looking forward to talking about a Kickstarter reward and a few other topics.

Coming Up Next:

They Came From Beyond The Grave

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 29: Metamorphosis Alpha (2016)

The 2016 publication of Metamorphosis Alpha is another game that I picked up in a charity bundle that benefited Doctors Without Borders. This is only the third game that I used (along with The Agency and When The Moon Hangs Low) for the 2023 Character Creation Challenge. There are another 25ish games in the bundle that I could have used this year. I’m certain that I’ll use a couple of them in future challenges.

If this game sounds familiar, it is the predecessor to TSR’s Gamma World. This edition of Metamorphosis Alpha was written by the original designer, James M. Ward and published by Signal Fire Studios.

So the PDF of the core rulebook has 160 pages. The character sheet has two pages. The Character Building steps start on page 19, but I would recommend reading the basic game play chapter (start on page 13 if you are already familiar with roleplaying.

The first thing that needs to be determined is the character’s stock. Are they a pure human, mutated human, mutated animal or mutated plant? The rules state you can choose or roll. Yea, I’m gonna roll. And this guy is going to be a mutated plant. I’m provided the movement stats for someone of this stock and instructed to take physical, mental and plant mutations.

The next step is to determine the traits of the character. Not only is this the talents and training a character may have, but the negative aspects they possess as well. There is a questionnaire provided when building a new character. It then tells you to place that trait in one of five categories. Amazing (which adds 3 to your dice pool when using that trait), Good (+2D), Competent (+1D), Weak (-1D) and Hopeless (-3D). It doesn’t provide a list of possible traits here, but there are some listed in chapter 4. Let me swing down there and find out what they are? I wish they had given us a basic chart to do a quick look and then let me decide which traits I wanted to do a full description read on. I picked out what my plant guy would have both good and bad traits in.

Now we pick our qualities. These are specific actions that you are good (aka a talent) and bad (aka a liability) at. I get 2D of talents and can take 2D of additional liabilities to get 2D more talents. I believe that these are the specialties that are listed under the traits if I’m reading the rules correctly (I had to do a lot of jumping around to make sure).

Finally we are to the mutations. A mutation is beneficial while a defect is not. You start out with 6D of mutations and can take 4D more if you also take 4D of defects. I picked out my mutations I thought would be specific for a walking talking tree.

Next comes equipment. A talking, walking tree with natural weapons starting with equipment? I’m going to go with he’s a primitive and doesn’t have any to start. However a kind woman who he helped gave him a special necklace that he keeps hidden on him. But he has no idea what it does, if it does anything at all. He doesn’t think about this, he only wants to protect the plants that can’t move or speak.

Technically the character is done according to the steps seen on page 19. However I don’t have a name for the character (I called him Spikeleaf) and there are a lot of blank spots on the sheet (initiative, dodge, radiation resistance, wound capacity and fatigue capacity. So I did a search in the PDF and found these items. However some of the descriptions didn’t fully give me the answers (what is my dodge starting at? Just the 2D? If I don’t have a specialty do I not get it?) Ugh, I’m done. Here is the character sheet.


I thought it was interesting that the character sheet had a place for the player’s name, but not a place for the character’s name. But I did like that they had the game basics listed on the second page of the character sheet.

The system itself sounds plausible and usable. With how some of the documentation was a little lacking I probably would have asked quite a few questions to an experienced GM. I also like the world that the game would be taking place in as it sounds interesting. I’m sad that the likely hood of actually playing this game is very little. I don’t know if I’d be able to do any homebrewing for this game until after I’ve played it.

Additional Notes:

I had one reader respond that they had experienced similar issues with the GURPS character creation system that I had. When I talked with a GM who loved running GURPS, he informed me that he used a special program to set up characters and make sure they had all of the many, many items added and set up. While I’m looking forward to the GURPS game at Salt Con, I’m glad that I don’t have to create a character for it.

I had another interesting experience yesterday. While at a massive Seventh Fleet event, one of the members told me that they were reading my blog posts. Wow, thank you. Sometimes when I write these posts out I wonder if anyone is really reading them. So to get some validation made me feel good. Thank you Evelyn.

Coming Up Next:

True 20

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 28: White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game

So I picked up a physical copy of White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game from Amazon because the book itself was under $5. But it is available in PDF format on DriveThruRPG for free. So either way you really can’t go wrong getting this game. It is based off of the original Dungeons and Dragons that was available in a “white box”. It looks like some popular modern rules were adopted (I don’t have a copy of the original rules to actually compare) but there are some things that are definitely from that era (such as all weapons doing a variant of 1d6 damage.

The book itself is 143 pages long and the character sheet is a single page. There is no actual character creation steps listed, you just start with the attributes on page 7. The order of the standard attributes is STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA (which I believe is not the original order, so an update?). The rules instruct me to roll in order (but state that some DMs may allow you to pick which score goes to which attribute). I’m going to stick with the in order method and let the dice decide what type of character this will be. Intelligence was the highest of the class attributes, but not by much. So I used the rule to move points around (which are done on a 1 to 1 basis to the prime attribute only, no attribute lower than 9. For alignment I selected neutral.

After this I went over to the magic user description and wrote down the hit points (rolled a 5+1 for 6) and XP bonus (+5%). The character gets one spell and has some weapons and armor restrictions.

The equipment was the next chapter. 3D6x100 gold for starting characters resulted in 120gp. Dang, spellbooks are 100gp. I spent all of the 120 on some basic equipment. I then wrote down my languages (I get six in total).

I went to the spell section, and wow the 1st level spells for the magic user was a little lacking. Only one offensive spell (sleep). If I was running this game I might allow some zero-level spells and add a few more options (I didn’t see magic missile anywhere). I filled in the character sheet, including his name of Wingar, and placed it in the scanner.


When I first picked this game up, I thought it was going to be very similar to the B/X editions of Dungeons and Dragons. I was surprised to see some of the different mind-sets in this game that would eventually become B/X, but was different enough that it made me raise an eyebrow.

This character creation process was 100x better than the one I experienced yesterday. I actually wouldn’t mind trying out a session or two with this system just to see how it stacks up to other OSR and retro-clones.

Additional Notes:

A lot of people have been talking about the Wizards of the Coast OGL fiasco. I have some thoughts on it, but I’d like to wait until after the Character Creation Challenge is over. It sounds like some new developments have been announced which I hope are for the good.

Coming Up Next:

Metamorphosis Alpha (2016)

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 27: GURPS 4th Edition

For day 27 of the Character Creation Challenge, I’m going to be using the fourth edition of GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System) by Steve Jackson Games. Back in the 90’s I had played at least one session of GURPS (3rd edition) and I had found the character sheet used for that game. But it’s been so long that I don’t recall anything about the system. I just remember adding and then adding and then adding again to try to make a character. Let’s see if I get that same impression from the fourth edition.

In a normal gaming situation the GM would let me know about the game world and how many points this character could be built with. According to the book, the typical career adventurer starts between 100-200 character points. I’m going to run with 150 points in total with a max of -75 on any disadvantages I’m electing to take. As for the world, well for the for generic games I’ve made characters for so far, I’ve created a spy, a barbarian, a gun-smuggler and a private investigator. For this character, let’s make a human star-fighter pilot for an Earth Defense Force in a sci-fi setting. His name will be Dieter “Ace” Tannin.

What a guy

In the Basic Set: Characters book there are 336 pages. The character sheet is two pages long and the character creation steps start on page 13. Thankfully the book did not list the character concept as one of the steps, but suggested it just before creating a character.

The first step on the list is creating the basic attributes. These are Strength (ST), Dexterity (DX), Intelligence (IQ) and Health (HT). All humans start with 10 in each category (no character points needed). If you drop a score below 10, you can gain CP, if you add to a score you spend CP. Once the basic attributes are determined, then you can calculate the secondary characteristics (damage, basic lift, hit points, etc.) There was also Reaction modifiers to appearances and things. After starting to be overwhelmed with 2x that and x 0.4 for this, I started skipping stuff just to get things moving along.

I skipped ahead to advantages and disadvantages since it was next on the list. Honestly this game could really use some basic packages. Pick this and you’ll be a good pilot in your world. I’m wondering if the advice of 100-200 points wasn’t enough to make a decent character.

Next in this quagmire is skills. I found piloting and wrote it down. Point cost? I don’t even know it wasn’t listed. I’m sure this guy has other skills as well as part of a space navy. I’m not going to go through the entire list and decide what skills a space pilot would have.

Skills was the last item on the character creation list. There was nothing on the equipment in the checklist, but I’m assuming that my character would need and have them. Honestly I’m just done and remembering why I haven’t played GURPS since the 90’s. I didn’t scan the second page of the character sheet because I didn’t write anything down.


AARRRGGGG So much math and minutia in this character creation process. I’m starting to remember why I didn’t keep up with this game. I think in a setting where the characters are pre-generated (like a convention) then I won’t mind GURPS, but I just want to make a character and play. I don’t need to know if there’s a wart on his left pinky and if I get points for that. This game has too much min/maxing for me.

There are a TON of advantages and skills in this game since it had to cover a wide variety of genres. I can see how it would be overwhelming for some first-time players. A good GM would be needed to guide through the character creation process.

I really wanted a refresher for this game since I signed up for a GURPS session at the upcoming SaltCon. Luckily I had won the two books of the basic set in an online auction last year. I’ve had some current gaming friends mention GURPS every once in a while, but we usually end up playing something else. I just know that the GM is going to stick with GURPS someday and I wanted to be prepared. However after reminding myself of GURPS through this challenge, I don’t know if I’d want to play this system on a regular basis. But, I was able to remember the dice mechanic now for the upcoming con.

Additional Notes:

I had a reader respond that they were unaware of Star Crawl until my post. I have a feeling that a lot of third-party products are not known for the crawl line. When I went to post the Star Crawl character on the RPG Geek message board, they didn’t even have a logo for the Star Crawl game. I had to use Mutant Crawl Classics.

Coming Up Next:

White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 26: Star Crawl

So in the first year of the Character Creation Challenge, I created a set of zero-level characters for Mutant Crawl Classics. In the second year, I created a set of zero-level characters for Dungeon Crawl Classics. I loved the concept of the zero-level character because you didn’t know if they were going to survive, and if they did survive, what class would they end up being? At the upcoming SaltCon, I’m already signed up to go through a DCC funnel for zero-level characters and I can’t wait to give it a try.

In 2022, I won a copy of Star Crawl from an online auction. I’ve always been a science fiction fan and to find a crawl version of the game thrilled me. When it arrived, I discovered that it wasn’t published by Goodman Games, but by a company called the Tuesday Night Fiend Club. Star Crawl is based on DCC and MCC and licensed through Goodman Games. Kewl, I didn’t know they were doing that. So I’m using this game for today’s entry into the challenge.

The Star Crawl book has 112 pages with the character creation process starting on page five. When you actually get to 1st level the character sheets are a single page. The crawl games are based off of the D20 system with some minor changes. The Star Crawl rulebook states that the party could consist of characters generated in DCC or MCC or Star Crawl, but all of the characters that I’m making will be from the Star Crawl book.

It is recommended that you have a copy of Dungeon Crawl Classics or Mutant Crawl Classics for reference while using Star Crawl.

The first step is to roll for the attributes of Strength, Agility, Stamina, Personality, Intelligence and Luck. This is done with 3D6 and is rolled in order. I have four zero-level character spots on the sheet so I’ll be making four characters. Three of the four characters had some decent stats (dare say, good?) but one was almost in the hopeless category. But I left him in anyway because you never know what will happen in the funnel.

The next step is to roll for the starting occupation and birth sign. These are standard steps that we saw in DCC and MCC. I rolled a percentile for the four character occupations. The occupations also came with some basic equipment and some credits. For the star sign, I needed to roll a 1D30 (it said percentile in the book, but the chart only goes to 30). Luckily I have one in my dice bag that I had purchased back in the 90s. When I roll on the star sign, I add the Luck modifier. The star sign tells us what type of rolls the character can use their luck modifier as part of the roll. This could be good or bad.

Since we are making level-zero characters, we can skip the racial profiles. However during play, if inspired, a race can be chosen. I don’t know if they would get any of the adjustments at that time or after the funnel is completed. So the next step after that is to fill in the rest of the character sheet. The only addition in Star Crawl is the perception (add Intelligence and luck modifiers to get the perception modifier). Hit points are determined by a 1D4 modified by Stamina. I also calculated the savings throw modifiers, combat modifiers and speed.

The Star Crawl book doesn’t say if we get any other equipment other than the items provided by the occupation. The book is very, very thin compared to the thickness of DCC and MCC. I think that these characters are done. Here they are, but will they survive their first adventure?


When I was printing up the character sheets for all of my challenge entries, I could not find any zero-level sheets for Star Crawl. They had character sheets for various classes after 1st level, but none for zero-level. So, as you can see from the scan, I “borrowed” a MCC zero-level character sheet and used it to note down my victims….err…. characters.

It could be interesting to play a Star Crawl game. However I don’t know of anyone playing this. Usually there are quite a few other science fiction games out there. But I really enjoyed the look of the book. Sure the art wasn’t the best, but I think this added to the charm of the game being put together by a fan of the crawl system and adapting it for sci-fi scenarios. Some of the aliens look hilarious (there are the Pigs in Space muppets).

Additional Notes:

We only have five more days left in the challenge. I can see the finish line from here. We can do it. We can make it.

Coming Up Next:

GURPS 4th Edition

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

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