Posted in: Horror, Role Playing Games

RPGaDay2023 Day 28: Scariest game you’ve played

The Scariest Game You’ve Played is the topic for Day 28 of the #RPGaDAY2023 Challenge. I had to think about this one for a moment. I really don’t get into the horror roleplaying games. When you are sitting around the table, or at a virtual table, how do you get scared? You are primarily in a safe controlled environment. Especially if you know you are going to be in a horror based game, you are expecting to experience something horrible like zombies or some unspeakable horror.

But I do recall one moment where I was “scared”, not only for one session but for multiple sessions. I’ve previously talked about a recent Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign that had my favorite character (and his demise) and towards the end of that campaign the DM, Jeff Sullivan, pulled it off.

Here is how Jeff did it. He placed us in a demon controlled pocket dimension where the rules of wizard and clerical magic didn’t apply (aka His realm). The ability to rest to recover hit points wasn’t available due to the nature of the dimension. My magic-user character and our cleric couldn’t replenish our spells in the normal manner. And we would be in this dimension for a long time.

Let’s just say it worked. Not only was my character agitated, I was agitated as well and wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. This made me as a player on edge and slightly (more) paranoid that usual. All it took was getting the character out of a comfort zone.

Could this be done in a game like Chill or Call of Cthulhu? I don’t know. I’m expecting horror then. I think the best way to present it is to run a game with a generic rule set where you don’t tell the players that they are going to be experiencing a zombie outbreak or an interdimentional invasion. Then you might actually get some horror elements in there to scare some players.

What do you guys think? Is it possible to scare someone in an RPG where they know that a homicidal maniac or weird beast might pop out of the shadows? What experiences have you had with horror based games? Tell me about it. 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: Doctor Who, Horror, Role Playing Games

RPGaDay2023 Day 25: Unplayed RPG you own

What Unplayed RPG do you own is the topic for Day 25 of the #RPGaDAY2023 Challenge. Are you kidding me? I’ve got a good collection of dead-tree books and a LOT of PDF copies of different games. OK, I think I’m going to pick one of each (physical book and PDF copy) that I wish I could play. However, I’m not going to talk about some of the games that I’ve already talked about previously.

Dead-Tree Version:

So I walked over to one of my bookshelves and the first book that jumped out and attacked me was the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game by Cubicle 7. I only own the 1st edition of the game, so I haven’t had a chance to check out the 2nd edition yet. Not only am I a huge Doctor Who fan (duh, look at the URL for this blog) but I loved how this game was presented. They made it very simple to try to explain the system to friends in an attempt to get them to play. (see photo below)

Not only was the basic rule easy to present, but so was the character creation process as I discovered in a past Character Creation Challenge. I liked how the attributes was explained (this score equals this type of human for each attribute). It made me really want to see how the system ran.

PDF Version:

Isolation Games put out an RPG called When The Moon Hangs Low. This is a gothic action RPG set in a fantasy Victorian inspired world where characters are tragic monster hunters in the capital city of Harrowmire. Each character has some connection (or deep secret) to the monsters they hunt. Think Supernatural in a Victorian Age. I had picked up this game in a charity bundle on DriveThruRPG to support Doctors Without Borders just after the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine. The system sounds interesting and the Character Creation process was pretty simple. The company even has their own discord server for players to check out and ask questions.

Again there were a ton of options I could have selected from, but these two jumped out at me when I was looking over the collection.

Do you have an unplayed RPG that you own? Tell me about it. 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, Horror, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 19: The Agency

I picked up The Agency: A Roleplaying Game of Sixties Spies and the Supernatural in the same Doctors Without Borders charity sale that I picked up When the Moon Hangs Low. I’ve always been interested in espionage games because I am a big fan of the Spy-Fi genre and I wanted to use this one for the Character Creation Challenge. The world setup for The Agency is that the players play the part of 1960’s British spies that are trying to protect the United Kingdom (and the world) from supernatural horrors. Think James Bond and The Avengers vs vampires and evil cultists. The Agency would recruit witnesses to help them fight this threat. This usually resulted in a wide variety of characters

There is a one page character sheet and the creation summary starts on page 25. The first step listed is to create a concept. Basically a background and occupation for the character using the spy series and movies from the 60’s and 70’s as inspiration. This character will be a photographer who shoots both wild animals and wild women. The next step is to pick a name that a 60’s/70’s espionage action hero would have. It gave a list of possible first and last names to choose from or you could choose your own. Pulling names from the list, this character will be named Simon Steele.

A character sketch is the next step. While I didn’t actually need to draw my character (thank the gods) I did have to come up with three things that people would notice when they encountered the character. This would include fashion, mannerisms and a prop. For his prop he either carried a camera with him or a viewing lens to “get the shot”. When he wasn’t trying to get the best photo, he was trying to get under the skirt of a willing model. Steele always wore tight fitting clothing fashionable for the London swinging scene with tweed coats and looked like Michael Caine.

The name is Steele…

Finally we are coming to the skills of the character. There are two sets of skills. Action (fight drive, athletics, etc.) and Ingenuity: (evade, technology, wit, etc.). For Steele, I selected Persuade at 5 (he had to encourage his targets to pose the right way for the photo shoot) and Track at 4 (he had to find the subjects he wanted to photograph both in the urban and jungle environment. For those skills I didn’t select, they are assumed to be ranked at 3 dice.

What are the heroic bonuses and flaws that the character has. This was explained in the rules as “something that would set the character apart both in a positive way and as a flawed human. There is a list provided in the game, but I wonder if the player came up with a good suggestion if the Director would allow it? For Steele, his bonus is resources. He was born into a rich family that allowed him to turn his hobby into a career. Lustful is the flaw that fit this character to a T.

The rules explains that all characters start with one Karma point. This can be spent to power a bonus. Present on the character sheet are three status boxes (Dazed, Disadvantaged and Down, this sounds like the character’s health). There is also a section for Motifs. The rules explain that this is a player resource instead of one used by the character. It can be used to heal or aid a fellow player. The motif is a recurring imagery or fictional element associated with the character. The rules kinda cut off here “What do they do when (line ends)” so I’m not quite sure what this is exactly. Hopefully it explains a little bit better later in the book. Looking down, it appears that if you can incorporate the motif into the roleplay, then you can give an automatic success to another player like they had used a karma point or heal themselves. Looking at the sample characters there was “change of costume”, “flashbacks” or “party lifestyle”. I’m still not certain what to put here so I borrowed “riches & excess” from one of the sample characters. Here is the character sheet.


I’m not much of a “fashonista” so thinking of the look of the character was different for me. Do I go too campy and stereotypical? I tried to keep it within the spirit of the game.

Lots of good introductions to the world. I would have loved to seen a section of how the dice are used in the game. I know there are threat pools and the like but are the players attempting to beat a number or the Director’s rolls? I finally found the answer on page 49. When presented with a challenge the player rolls 3-5 dice (depending upon the skill used) and any roll of 4-6 is counted as a success. The Director rolls threat dice (number depending upon the difficulty) and if the player has more successes than the Director, the player has accomplished the action. For the total number of successes, the player can describer what happened. I guess that gives them some narration in the game as well.

I would be interested in play testing the game. After the play test, I’d probably know more if I wanted to play in a campaign or homebrew for this system.

Additional Notes:

It felt like I was very busy today besides creating this character. I was also trying to decide what games I was going to schedule for the upcoming Salt-Con. In one way it was sad because the lone Dune: Adventures in the Imperium table was quickly filled up. However, it looks like I might get a chance to actually play the James Bond RPG. That would be kewl.

Coming Up Next:

Cyber Generation 2nd 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.

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 8: When The Moon Hangs Low

Special Note: I’ve had a few readers contact me on various message boards and via email stating that they are unable to log into my wordpress site to make comments. This site is not hosted on and the host that I am using has a lot of security set up after previous issues. So to get the feedback that I would love to see, you can email me at Carl (at) or use the TardisCaptain Dot Com discord server that my lovely wife set up and maintains for me. I’ve already had a few people hop on this server. It has allowed me to have some interaction while keeping my hosts security concerns in mind. I was able to get the some links set up on the sidebar. Sorry about any confusion that may have popped up. And now, onto today’s entry for the Character Creation Challenge.

One of the bad events of 2022 was the invasion of Ukraine. I wanted to help in some way but I wanted to make sure that my support was going to a legitimate organization. DriveThruRPG had a special fundraiser around this time for gamers who wanted to help. They posted several sales of RPG bundles with the proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. So I picked up one of the bundles that was made available. I could have done almost the entire 31 days of the challenge from this bundle alone. However I had some other games that I really wanted to create characters for (cough, cough, Alien).

One of the games in the bundle that caught my eye is When The Moon Hangs Low by Isolation Games. This is a gothic action RPG set in a fantasy Victorian inspired world where characters are tragic monster hunters in the capital city of Harrowmire. For Day 8 of the Character Creation Challenge, I’m going to create one of these monster hunters.

The character creation rules start on page 13. The first step is to generate a name for your character. I’ve noticed some systems put this step at the first and some at the last. If you have a good idea of what your character will be, I like having this step at the start. This way I can refer to the character by name as I’m writing this up. There are some sample names provided, but I already had my heart set on William “Kitt” Smythe.

The next step in making Smythe is creating his mark. This is something that the character experienced with the supernatural that affected them. It could be physical or mental. Something traumatic as this creates an ability that helps the character in the game. There is a list of marks in chapter 4 to select from. I had an idea for the character, but it didn’t 100% fit the concept. So I altered it slightly. Haunted usually means that you can talk and see ghosts. Well Smythe didn’t see a ghost, he saw a demon. The demon Torrazoth never gave his reasons for why he was running, but he needed to possess a body to hide in before other dark forces caught him. Smythe interrupted Torrazoth’s attempt to possess his younger brother. When he discovered that he could not beat the demon, he gave Torrazoth an option, take him instead. The demon agreed, but only if Smythe would help him hunt down the demons that were after him. Knowing that he could leave the countryside farm and hide in the city streets of Harrowmire, Smythe allowed the demon to take refuge within him. Torrazoth can speak to Smythe providing him with insight and sometimes even extra strength when needed. Smythe uses this ability to hunt demons, but knows that someday Torrazoth will fully take control. What will happen then, only the gods know, not that he could step inside a church to find out. I sub-titled this Mark “possessed”.

The next step is to generate the primary statistics and skills. I have a total of 20 character points to spend between the two. The primary statistics are Physique, Intellect and Presence. They seem pretty straight forward. The character starts with 1 point for free in all three. Then for every 2 CP spent, I can increase a primary statistic to a max of 5. I’m going to spend six points on Physique making it a total of 4 (Smythe grew up on a farm doing lots of chores), two points on Intellect for a total of 2 (he learned mostly from the school of hard knocks) and four points on Presence for a total of 3 (Smythe was well liked before he suddenly disappeared from his farming village). With the 8 character points left I’m going to choose the skills. They come in two levels, trained or mastered. When you roll a d6 from your pool, an untrained skill requires a roll of 5 or 6 to count as one of your successes. Trained skills succeed on a 4-6 and mastered skills succeed on 3-6. The GM determines the number of successes needed by how hard or easy the task will be. Untrained skills are free, trained are 1 CP and a mastered skill is worth 2 CP. Smythe was trained in Fight, Fortitude, Shoot, Reflexes, Craft, Drive, Animal Handling, and Willpower. There is also three knacks that I can select from my existing skills. These are skills that your character has a knack for (and increases your die pool for that skill). I selected Fight, Reflexes and Animal Handling.

The next step is to select three Edges from a list in chapter 6. These are unique abilities that separate the hero characters from the common NPCs. However if they are used too many times, it can contribute to your curse becoming more potent. Looking over the list, I believe that these edges come from the possession. So Smythe has Mantel of Darkness (which allows him to blend into the shadows), Shadow Step (step into one shadow and come out from another one within the line of sight) and Eldritch Bolt (shoot arcane energy at a target, Torrazoth only allows this as a last ditch effort).

The instructions tell me to create the derived statistics (Health, Wound Track and Resolve) and pick my equipment. All characters start with some basic items, with the rest selected by spending 200 Shillings. This included Smythe’s weapons and armor. I wrote down the statistics.

There are still a few sections not filled in on the character sheet. I assume that they would come into use when as a game progressed. I’ve scanned the character sheets and posted them below.


This process was pretty much straight forward. The system also sounds pretty easy as well. I would love to see a session for this system. I also like how the character has a curse with the mark. It got some creative juices flowing when I was putting the character together. I would love to hear more about the world this game was set in. I could see it also being a little steampunkish if the GM wanted to go in that direction.

Additional Notes:

Thanks to the responses on the Character Creation Challenge thread, we had a discussion about my attempt to make a scout for Cepheus Deluxe yesterday. One poster pulled out his copy of the game and confirmed for me that the aging rules didn’t make much sense to him either. Yet another posted commented about how the aging rules was a carry-over from the original Traveller game that should have been re-written or scrapped all together. He also explained that I should have rolled 2d6 and subtracted the number of terms the character had gone through and then compared it to the chart for the results. This poster stated they did not use these rules as a character with average stats would die at the age of 66 while living in a futuristic world with advanced medicine. I could see the point he was making.

In a way, it was a little bit of a relief to see that others were experiencing the same thing that I was. If instructions for anything are properly explained, I can easily follow along. I know that when I’m trying to write up some instructions in personal or work-related documentation, I always try to have someone unfamiliar with the steps give it a look-over to see if they can follow along. Last year’s Traveller entry into the CCC generated a lot of traffic to the site so I knew this is still a popular game. I was hoping to receive some constructive feedback on my attempt to create a character.

Coming Up Next:

Fantasy Craft

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: Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Reviews, Role Playing Games

Random RPG Book Club- A Review

So like most people, I’m on Facebook. And like most people, I roll my eyes at the “where did that come from” advertising that Facebook throws at me. I guess data mining our information brings in enough money that they can throw any old advertisement at us. So imagine my surprise earlier this year when I saw an advertisement for something I might actually be interested in, a Random RPG Book Club. I looked at the comments and it appeared that this club had been going on for several years. Plus there were no “Wow this sucks” comments so I did some deeper digging.

A Massachusetts bookseller named Chris Korczak has a website at Besides having several roleplaying books available for regular sale, Chris runs a Random RPG Book Club. For $16.00 (which will include the shipping cost) he will send you two books from a large collection of random books he has in his store. On both the website and in the advertisement there were pictures of stacks of hardbound RPG books. There is an option for a once-a-month or once-a-week subscription. I’ve been wanting to build up my RPG book collection and this sounded like an interesting, and not too expensive, way to add to it. So I signed up for the monthly subscription. Here are my thoughts after the first three months.


In all three months, the books were bubble wrapped and placed in a sturdy cardboard container. When the books were shipped, a USPS tracking number was sent to me and I was able to track the progress. The first month (February), took a little bit longer than usual. But I believe this was the postal system still recovering from the holidays. The other two months it only took 7-9 days for the books to arrive.


As mentioned above, an email with a tracking number is sent out when the books have shipped. Just before this happens a receipt was also emailed out for the next month’s order. I did email Chris once after the March order arrived (there wasn’t an issue, it was a question in general) and he responded pretty quickly. With the last shipment that arrived in April, there was a note from Chris hoping that the selection of books will inspire an RPG encounter.


I will be commenting on the selection of books and leaving the content of the books for later reviews.

Selection delivered in February 2022.

I was very satisfied with my first month in the Random RPG Book Club. The package contained a hardbound book and a softbound module. Both books were for the D20 based Dungeons and Dragons version 3.5. The first was a hardbound book from Fantasy Flight Games, Legend & Lairs Mythic Races. I enjoyed looking through this book and could see a use for both fantasy and science fiction games. The second book was from Dark Portal Games (yea I had to Google the name of that company myself) which was pretty detailed. It was titled White Robes, Black Hearts: Enigma of the Arcanexus. I checked both books on Ebay and both books would have cost me well more than $8.00 a piece.

Selection delivered in March 2022.

As mentioned above, the March selection arrived quicker than February’s. When it arrived, I noticed that the box was much lighter than the previous month. Inside was two softbound books that when stacked on top of each other matched up to the White Robes, Black Hearts module that came last month. The first was Wilderness & Wasteland Scarred Lands by Sword & Story Studios (aka White Wolf Publishing). This is a sourcebook with various encounters for some various broken lands for the 3.5 D20 system. It could prove useful in reading and campaigns. The second was a little bit more confusing. The Pathfinder Player Companion: Dungeoneer’s Handbook, which wasn’t much of a handbook. It seemed like a magazine because it talked about the next issue that was ‘coming next month’. I might be able to get a few tidbits out of this… er… magazine? I doubt I would have picked up this “handbook” if I would have had the chance. I did check both items on ebay and they were more than $8.00 each.

Selection delivered in April 2022.

And recently the April package arrived with it’s random selection of books. When I first opened it up I was surprised to see a vampire book and a book of character sheets. Then upon closer inspection, it wasn’t character sheets, it was a single character sheet in an 18 page pamphlet. I’ve already ranted about a roleplaying game that had a six page character sheet, but this seemed to take things too far. Even in 2003 you could download free character sheets (or if you have a good Dungeon Master like I did) have the character sheet on a programed Excel worksheet. This product confused me. The Character Record Folio for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 was releasled by Green Ronin Publishing. When I checked ebay, it ranged between $5.00 and $19.00 dollars in availability and so far has been the most disappointing item from the Random RPG Book Club. The second softcover book was Vampire Hunter$ by Nightshift Games and instead of being a Dungeons and Dragons third-party supplement, it was a core rulebook. The concept sounded interesting and almost made up for the character sheet being included in the package. I’m certain that I’ll be able to use this for the 2023 Character Creation Challenge to learn the system. Ebay did have this book for more than $8.00.


The primary reason for participating in a random book club where you don’t know what is coming is the anticipation of what may be in the box. I’ve purchased the Star Trek themed mystery boxes before at conventions. The boxes that have 35-40 dollars worth of merchandise inside for $20. Sure, most of the items were things that I had or didn’t need, but there was usually an item or two that was really kewl. I even ended up with an autograph out of one. But my friends and I would open them up as a group and trade items between each other. The Random RPG Book Club is a similar concept. What will be in the May box? I’ll be sticking with the subscription for another month or two to find out. The photos in the advertisement gave me the impression that there would be a couple more hardbound books arriving. But as long as I don’t get any more character sheets then I should be satisfied.

I’ll keep this blog informed as well as reviewing some of the books that I’ve obtained.

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 30: Dark Conspiracy

Dark Conspiracy 1st Edition is the last of the games that was gifted to me last year that I’m going to use in this challenge. I decided to use this game for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge since I actually had the books on my shelf. I prefer the dead-tree versions when learning new systems.

In the early 1990’s the cyberpunk genre was the new “it factor” for roleplaying games. When something becomes popular a lot of publishers try to release their own take on the genre. This would also make it a very crowded market trying to stand out on the local gaming store shelves. Dark Conspiracy was GDW’s entry that tried to combine both cyberpunk and horror elements. Think Johnny Mnenomic meets X-Files meets Judge Dredd. I remember seeing ads and books for Dark Conspiracy, but the gaming group I was involved in had already elected to go with the Cyperpunk RPG. So I never picked up any of the books.

It is the early 90’s in this alternate history, my gaming buddies have decided that Dark Conspiracy is our next campaign and I need to sit down and make a character for play. Let’s see what the main rulebook can tell me about creating a character.

So the first thing is that the game has a two page worksheet that you fill in before you transfer everything over to your character sheet. Hold on, I’ve got to scan in a copy of this as well. OK now I’ve got one printed out let’s fill it in.

Items 1-4 are basic. Name (Dale Laslo), Gender (male), Nationality (American) and Native Languages (English). The worksheet even guides you to page numbers if needed. For item 5 we are rolling for basic attributes. These are Strength, Constitution, Agility, Intelligence, Education, Charisma and Empathy. The last one you roll a 1d6-1. The remaining attributes roll 2d6-2 and anything that comes up zero gets a re-roll. Once I have these scores determined, if they are less than 33 I can add points to any attribute (nothing above 10). I ended up rolling 41 points for attributes so what I rolled stands. I could have done point allocation, but that would have only been with 36 points so I’m glad that I rolled.

So you start the character creation at the age of 17. Before you turned this age you earned four background skills selected from a list. It also listed the controlling attribute which helped in deciding which skills to take. You gain more skills by doing four years at a career. The career term also gains you a contact, secondary activities and money. Once you’ve finished a term, you can elect to do another one (or roll a certain number if you want to be random) and continue on. If you have a lot of terms, your age can rise to the point where it affects your attributes. This way if you wanted to play an aged professor when the game starts, you can do so. Also a term can be four years at a college if you elected to do so. With the attributes I rolled for Laslo, I didn’t think he would get into college so he signed up for the US Army and got into one of the elite corps. Where he stayed for three terms (12 years). Earning three military contacts (two foreign). I wrote down his various skills or attribute bonuses. From here we were able to generate the character’s initiative, age, base hit capacity (aka hit points), weight (yes there was a formula to follow), load (how much the character could carry), throw range and unarmed combat damage. The worksheet states that we need to generate our base hit numbers for ranged combat, but the book did not have that in the same order. I had to go track this down elsewhere, and I was unable to find it. The index had nothing on base hit numbers. Screw it, I’ll leave it blank for now.

Using my final equipment allowance, I allocated weapons, armor, tools, ammo and transport for this character and called it good. I think I did right on the equipment. I’m definitely noticing a lack of help on starting equipment in most games.

Dale Laslow came out of school thinking that he wouldn’t be able to get into any college or university. He signed up for the US Army, and to his surprise he was accepted into the Rangers. He spent 12 years serving the country in various hotspots around the world before an injury forced him out of the service. Wondering what he was going to do with his life a friend looked him up and inquired if he wanted to join his mercenary squad. They had just been hired to provide some protection for an unusual group of investigators.


Trying to find a character sheet for this system was next to impossible. I ended up trying to scan in the sheet from the book. If the image looks a little warped, that’s because I couldn’t get the pages flat against the scanner.

While the character worksheet to assist in the creation of the character was very helpful, it still needed some polishing. There should be more page number references to easily find things.

Without knowing what was planned with “fellow players” and gamemaster, it was kind of hard to see myself playing this game. I didn’t get a chance to dive too deep into the actual system rules so these are just numbers on paper. It looks like there was a lot of thought put into the world-building for this game, but I don’t see myself playing it at this time.

Additional Notes:

One of the things I love about the forums is the vast amount of knowledge available. Practically every game has had someone who knows about it and can give some feedback on it. When I posted my Technoir character yesterday, one of the posters stated that this was the first game that they had not heard about. So I was able to introduce someone to a new game.

Coming Up Next:

Tiny Dungeons 2nd Edition

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 22: Werewolf The Apocalypse

So I really debated about using this next game in my 2022 Character Creation Challenge. Werewolf The Apocalypse was published by White Wolf Games in 1991 and was part of the World of Darkness series. I recall playing the table top version of Vampire The Masquerade with my regular gaming group. I even found the character sheet from that game in my book of characters that I had somehow kept all these years. I don’t know if the system never appealed to me after playing VtM or if I’ve just never found werewolves interesting. That last part may come from the original Universal Pictures werewolf films. Every time Larry Talbot whined about being a werewolf, I wanted to turn it into a drinking game. When the World of Darkness LARP was popular in the 90’s, I recall a roommate that really liked the werewolf side. This book was one of the many gifts I received last year so having the physical book in my hands made it more of a candidate for the challenge. I always figured that if I still wasn’t impressed after creating a character, I could put the book in the trade pile.

I don’t recall anything about the game system from the Vampire campaign. So I’ll be going back into this set of rules without any preconceived notions. The universe background sounds interesting. Werewolves are trying to keep a balance to prevent the planet from being destroyed in an apocalypse (hence the reason why the name is in the title of the game).

So this character, what breed is he out of three choices? This guy is going to be Homid (human raised). While he seemed a little wild while young, he never knew that he was a werewolf until his body started changing. Next is your Auspice, or what phase of the moon you were born under. There are five choices. I still don’t know what these mean in the form of character creation. I selected Ahroun because I can at least understand what fighters are. Next is to select one of the 13 tribes (no, not the 13 tribes in Battlestar Galactica). There was a little bit more descriptions for this selection, so I chose Get of Fenris.

Ah, finally, we are onto the Attributes. They are Physical (Strength, Dexterity and Stamina), Social (Charisma, Manipulation and Appearance) and Mental (Perception, Intelligence and Wits). Each Attribute gets one free dot, then you select a primary attribute, a secondary attribute and a tertiary attribute. These get 7, 5 or 3 dots that you get to spend in each category. Since my guy is going to be tough, Physical will be the primary followed by Mental then Social. I fill like I’m taking a test by filling in all of these little circles.

Now we have abilities, which are basically talents, skills and knowledge that your character has. You choose which one of the three categories are primary (earns 13 dots), secondary (earns 9 dots) and tertiary (earns 5 dots). At this phase, I can only place 3 dots max in any item. I filled in my test… er… ability scores.

In the Advantages, there are also three categories, but they look different than the Attributes and Abilities. Some of the Advantages have scores (Renown), then there are backgrounds and gifts. The “checklist” didn’t go into a lot of detail where the other items had something. There were a lot of “see pg XX” items listed. Ugh. I tried to fill in what I could from what was found.

Finally there are 15 bonus points that you can spend everywhere, but certain items cost more than others (raising an attribute cost more than raising a background). I filled these in. Oh, and I guess I should come up with a name. Hans Brulker was born and raised in Germany. While his parents were killed when he was young, he didn’t know his true nature until an “Uncle” found him just after he noticed that changes were happening to him. Changes that were not explained in school. This “Uncle” told him about his true nature and brought him into the pack.


I do want to give the writers some kudos for quoting a song lyric from bands like Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke, Black Sabbath, The Cure and others. I’ve seen a few publications where they have used quotes from popular culture. It helps me understand the context they are trying to get across.

Having the chapter before character creation with a quick look into the system is also a really big help for new players. Even in the 90’s there were lots of games that didn’t explain the core system very well.

I can see where there were a few editing mistakes “See traits pg. XX” that should have been caught before printing.

While I’ve got a little better appreciation for the game after going through the character creation process. I don’t think that I’ll be playing this game or homebrewing for it. I’m not aware of anyone who still plays the White Wolf table top roleplaying games.

Additional Notes:

I had a chance to talk about the Character Creation Challenge at a local gaming store today. Several of the people thought it was a good idea. I’m still amazed at the number of posts on the forums and using the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag.

Coming Up Next:


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