Posted in: Collecting, Dungeons and Dragons, Humor, Role Playing Games

Buying Dice: The Jason Fox Lucky D20

Jason Fox Lucky D20
I wonder if my DM will notice?

On the right I have a Ko-Fi affiliate link titled “Buy Me Dice!” Well I had an opportunity to order a special die that arrived the other day. The Jason Fox Lucky D20 is a die that has the number “20” on all sides. So you would always roll a 20 every time.

I’ve gotten back in the habit of reading online comics. Some are the mainstream comics that a lot of people have heard of like Dilbert, The Far Side and Bloom County. But when I found some of my older bookmarks, I was amazed to find out that some of my non-mainstream comics were still in production (or on a repeat). Comics such as User Friendly, Irregular Webcomic, Dork Tower and Real Life.

One of the comics I started following again (which only posts a new comic every Sunday) is Fox Trot. I really liked the geeky adventures of Jason Fox. At the bottom of the page was a link to the Jason Fox Luck D20. When I saw it, I knew I had to have one. $11 bucks after shipping and handling and a week later it arrived in the mail. My wife gave a good laugh as I had her open up the package.

Part of the reason I wanted to get this is because of a house rule that my D&D 3.5 DM had in his campaign. If you rolled a natural 20 it was an automatic hit and it threatened a crit. You had the opportunity to roll the D20 again and if you successfully rolled a to-hit roll, you added the special crit damage as per the weapon’s stats (usually double the damage). If you rolled a natural 20 a second time, you had the opportunity for an instant kill. To obtain this, you had to roll a natural 20 a third time. Yea, it didn’t happen to often. But it did once…

The Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign that wrapped up in 2019 ran for 5-6 years. We had a ton of fun playing in this game. I played an Elven Wizard named Tovark. So my character didn’t do a lot of physical fighting. But he did get creative with some spell combinations. However, even a wizard needs a good dagger and staff to protect himself. In one particular dungeon hallway that had six wooden doors down the hall the party had just encountered a mimic disguised as one of the doors. Luckily we were able to defeat this particular monster. This, of course, made the party a little nervous about the remaining doors and we went into “slightly paranoid PC” mode. This included throwing daggers at the other doors to see if they would react.

When it came time for Tovark to pitch a dagger at the door, I rolled a natural 20. Dang, I could have used that in battle, but I’ll take the hit. What? My second roll was a natural 20 as well? Well if it is a mimic, it’s going to be hurting from the start. Then my DM said, “Go ahead and roll your D20 again.” As fate would have it, I rolled my third natural 20 in a row. The DM smiled and then described how the plain and ordinary wooden door had shattered into a million pieces. The fates smiled on us and there was nothing dangerous behind that door, but I still groaned on the inside. Three natural 20’s used on a normal wooden door. No, it couldn’t have been the big bad guy at the end of the dungeon we were trying to find, just a door to a room. Sheesh. Tovark’s attempt to use the battle cry of “You are a door!!!” didn’t last very long.

So with this new die, I should be able to get a good laugh out of the table when I first “use” it. And that is the purpose of getting this prop. I’ve done things before to try to make the players or DM laugh. I’ve even earned extra experience points if I could make the DM laugh at the right time. Would I earn some more XP with this die? Perhaps. We will have to see when we can all get back together around the table.

Oh, and I’m looking for any good suggestions for online comics. There are some real gems out there that I’m sure I haven’t read yet. Send me any suggestions to my email. Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com.

Posted in: Collecting, Doctor Who, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek

FASA Catalogs from my collection

FASA Catalogs

As I’ve been cataloging and organizing my collection, I noticed something. I kept all of the FASA catalogs that I had come across in my attempts to collect all of the Star Trek The Role Playing Game. These free catalogs came with the game itself, or were found at gaming stores in an attempt to generate future sales. Some of these catalogs had information on products that FASA planned to release, but never did for one reason or another.

Because some of these items are starting to get hammered, I decided to scan them into PDF files and then put them away where they would be protected. It is possible that there may be more of these windows into the past still lurking in a box somewhere. If I happen to find any un-scanned catalogs, I will scan them and post them here for all to enjoy (or use in historical research). I’m missing any catalogs from 1984 and 1986.

FASA CATALOG 1983-1

This catalog came with the 1st edition of FASA’s Star Trek The Role Playing Game boxed set. I’m not certain if they had any catalogs before this one. It was printed on regular paper and stapled in the middle. There were eight pages in total (counting the cover and the order form on the back). The Star Trek RPG was prominently displayed on the first two pages. It listed the basic game boxed set and the 15mm deck plans for the USS Enterprise and the Klingon D-7. It also contained working titles for upcoming supplements and adventures. “Merchants and other Characters” would have been a sourcebook for civilians and traders in the Star Trek universe. This is probably the precursor to the released Trader Captains and Merchant Princes. I would have loved to see RPG details on other civilians such as ambassadors, law enforcement, researchers and more. Another book had the working title of “Klingon/Romulan Characters”. This obviously turned into the separate Klingon and Romulan sourcebooks that later became available. The adventures scheduled for release was “The Vanished”, “Old Soldiers Never Die” and “Witness for the Defense” which were all published. “A Chance for Peace” would have been an adventure about the Gorns sitting down at the negotiation table with the Federation with the possibility of Klingon sabotage. There was an adventure with the Gorns that was eventually released called “Demand of Honor”, but the plot was different. But in “Demand of Honor” it talked about the agreement reached at the Clanhaven Conference. I wonder if this was the name of the conference from “A Chance for Peace”? Another adventure that never saw print was “Forward into the Past”. This dealt with some cultural observers on a planet that was technologically at the Medieval Period on Earth and they end up facing real dragons and magic. I wonder how this one would have developed. The last unprinted adventure listed was “Spores of Hatred”. It was a follow up to the TOS episode, “Patterns of Force“. A new humane government on Ekos needs help with an underground Nazi movement attempting to detonate a nuclear device. This would have been an interesting read.

There were also entries for FASA’s Traveller publications. I’ve never had a chance to play Traveller so I don’t know how these books (or planned books) turned out. “Behind Enemy Lines” was a World War II RPG that caught my attention as a WWII history buff. There was even a supplement for “The Guns of Navarone“. I wonder how the system played out. Another game that was scheduled for release was “Combots”. I wonder if this was a precursor to FASA’s Battletech game? Grav-Ball was futuristic combat sporting event that may have been inspired by “Rollerball“.

FASA CATALOG 1983-2

I don’t own this catalog, but a friend of mine send me this PDF copy of it. Again Star Trek The Role Playing Game is displayed on the cover showing scenes from “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan“. This time the first five pages is dedicated to the ST RPG. It has product numbers and prices for “The Vanished”, “Witness for the Defense” and “Denial of Destiny”. The previous adventures mentioned above are also listed. The “Romulan Character Generation Set” is listed under Coming Attractions. A gaming magazine called “The Captain’s Log” was scheduled to start in 1984. I believe this turned into the “Stardate Magazine”. There were also Star Trek character and starship miniatures listed in the catalog.

Other games listed included “Deathworld” based off of the works of Harry Harrison. “Combots” now includes miniatures and no longer shares a page with “Grav-Ball”. Behind Enemy has two whole pages and lists several supplements and adventures that may or may not have seen the light of day. The last two pages were dedicated to FASA’s Traveller products.

FASA CATALOG 1983 STAR TREK TRI-FOLD

This was a free flyer printed in the tri-fold format displaying the products that FASA had released so far. It was in color and displayed a beautiful display of boxed sets, books and miniatures. On the back was a cover of the Star Trek II Starship Combat Simulator.

FASA CATALOG 1985

This was a very narrow, but thick, catalog that I believe was included with the 2nd edition of the Star Trek The Role Playing Game boxed set or the Doctor Who boxed set (perhaps both). It had a beautiful painted cover that came from the ST RPG boxed set. It had entries for “The Masters of the Universe” RPG. I remember watching the cartoon, however I never had any of the toys. Luckily a friend had them for me to play with. The Doctor Who RPG is listed with a single page. Next came “Battledroids” which was the first name for “Battletech”. Then “Combots” is listed. On the next page was the “Battlestar Galactica A Game of Starfighter Combat”. I was excited when I saw this, but dissapointed that no BSG role playing game was ever developed.

With the Star Trek RPG still being the crown jewel for FASA there were several pages advertising the boxed sets, books and miniatures. It looked liked they planned to have the 2nd edition of the Ship Construction Manual be released in two separate books (Warship Design Handbook with 32 pages and Astronautics Handbook containing 48 pages). I’m really glad that this was released as a single book, but I wonder if there were any differences between the two products other than the two-book design? Another book that was listed but never released was “The Gorn and Minor Races” (Stock# 2304, ISBN# 0-931787-44-0). As a collector of starship stats, I would have LOVED to see this book (or the notes for it). The catalog also listed the Star Trek mini-games that FASA had produced.

Another starship combat game that FASA released was “The Last Starfighter Combat Game.” The last game rounded up the 13 page catalog.

FASA CATALOG WINTER 1987/88

It is possible that there was earlier catalogs for the seasons in 1987. This side-printed catalog featured “Battletech” on the cover as the new crown jewel. I believe that FASA realized that they could produce more Battletech products since they didn’t have to wait for approval from Paramount. More products hitting the market faster meant more profit.

The starship/ground combat game “Renegade Legion” was listed on the first two pages. “Battletech” then followed with six pages of products. Next was the listing of the Star Trek RPG line which was listed in six pages. However there was not any listing of products planned, just those that had already been released. I think that FASA realized they needed to only list items that they had officially released. We then see a page of Doctor Who RPG books and miniatures and a page dedicated to a series of games based off of the James Clavell novels. The back cover is a beautiful painting of The Golden Medusa for Renegade Legion Interceptor.

FASA CATALOG 1989-90

This booklet sized catalog contained a cover dedicated to the new RPG by FASA called “Shadowrun”. It was cyberpunk with fantasy races such as elves and dwarves. It sounded interesting, but the gamers in my group were playing the Cyberpunk RPG so I never had a chance to try this one. Shadowrun made up the first two pages of the catalog. Next was fourteen pages of just “Battletech” material. You could tell that this was definitely a money maker for FASA. Six pages of “Renegade Legion” followed.

We finally reached the Star Trek RPG section with six pages and the back cover. The Star Trek: The Next Generation First Year Sourcebook is listed. I understand that a sourcebook for year two and three was worked on, but never released (again I’d love to see the draft sent to Paramount). The listing of products that we already know about follow with one exception. The Star Trek: The Next Generation USS Enterprise Blueprints is listed with Stock #2103. From what I’ve read on other sites, a lot of work had gone into these blueprints. The product never saw the light of day as the license was pulled before it was released. I feel bad for the person who put the energy into this product. As a Treknologist, I’d love to see these works someday.

CONCLUSION:

I hope you got as much enjoyment going through these catalogs as I have. Again I’m looking for the releases that I am missing. Most of the time these catalogs were tossed out after the year was completed. But it gave a look into the products that were released as well as what could have been. Some of them I would have love to have seen.

Posted in: Collecting, Comic Books, My Creations, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Organizing the collection: Marking storage boxes

So one of my goals in the new house is to get everything out of the “temporary” cardboard boxes and sorted into permanent storage, on display or purged. I’ve got a lot of comics, blueprints, magazines, books and other resource materials that I’ve been trying to find places for. I want to store them safely, but keep them where I can access them when needed. For way too long I had stuff packed up in a “temporary” box stored in a location where I could not get it easily. Sure I had my collection listed in Google Docs so I could access it from my phone (this life hack has prevented me from buying stuff I find on sale when I already own a copy) but if I can’t use or enjoy it, why keep it? My latest trick has been this.

Storage envelope on a comic long box
Storage envelope on a comic long box

One of the things that has bugged me about the comic long boxes (available from your local favorite comic shop) is not knowing which box contained which comics. While I was looking at the stack of long boxes it hit me. I should find some transparent envelopes that I can slip an index card or two inside that contains a list of the contents. I did a quick search on Amazon and discovered the YESSART 5×7 Small Plastic Envelopes. They were big enough to hold the index cards and transparent enough that I could find the box I was looking for at a quick glance. The envelope flap is sealed with Velcro to keep the index cards inside. The above photo shows how they could fit on the side of a comic long box, the photo below shows how it would fit on a magazine short box.

Storage envelope in use on a magazine short box.
Storage envelope in use on a magazine short box.

I found a box of 1/2 inch Glue Dots that allowed me to secure the envelopes to the storage box. These dots are double sided and would stick to both the cardboard and the plastic. I decided to use four dots in each corner in order to make sure that the envelope stayed on securely. This way if I decided to re-use the box for a different collection, all I had to do was switch out the index cards.

The bad thing about going through the collection to get it documented and organized is coming across things I haven’t seen in a few years. Some of the Homebrewed Starship game stats that I’ve posted before have come from some of these blueprints that I’ve been collecting over the years. As I was going through them, I had to take a look at a few of them in detail again because of my love of Treknology and schematics. A few of them tripped ideas on how I could homebrew them for different systems. In a way that is one of the many reasons I am trying to get everything organized so I can let my creativity fly and put it on display on this site.

I love it when the creative energy starts flowing.