Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games, Star Trek, Star Wars, Website

Feedback on catalogs and ships

So I’ve been getting feedback from people who have visited my blog. Thank you. This tells me that others are reading some of the stuff I’ve been posting here. I had several people send me thank you notes for putting together the Character Creation Challenge. I’ve noticed that a few new challenges have started in April displaying the works of different homebrew stats. Unfortunately my April was booked up with some personal issues that prevented me from trying to participate. However seeing creativity inspires creativity so keep it up.

Shane Bradley asked about the ships in my Master Book that I talked about in Homebrewed Stats for Starships Part II. I am still planning to scan the other starships in there that I made when I put the book together back in the 90’s. At this time I just plan to make them into PDFs from the original printouts. Once that is done, then I may consider other tweaking of them. As an example, Shane sent me one of the ships I had presented in Excel format. I’ve linked it here. Thanks Shane.

Mark from from the Xon Gaming website (now hosted by a friend, click on “resources” link at the top) was impressed with the FASA catalogs that I had posted previously. He sent me a better scan of the 1983-2 catalog. It’s a direct scan, not pictures of the pages so it may be easier to read.

This next catalog is the FASA 1986 catalog that someone scanned and sent to me. It is only showing the Star Trek material in the book. However I don’t recall who sent it to me. I’ve looked back through all of my emails and message board posts and I can’t find the person who sent this to me. So sorry, buzz me again and I’ll credit you in a future feedback post. Here is the catalog to share.

Another reader sent me some Star Wars SAGA RPG books that he didn’t want on his shelves any more. This will give me a chance to review the system and see how it differs from the earlier D20 Star Wars books.

I am continuing to search through my past collections for items to post. I was also reading the Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia and it inspired me for a possible homebrew to write up.

Thanks for the feedback. Keep it coming.

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.

Posted in: Comic Books, Cosplay, Dungeons and Dragons, Fan Club, Movies, Rant, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Sports, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate

A rant on True Fans and Gatekeeping

So I got involved in a discussion on a Stargate fandom page online. The topic was the much debated Stargate Universe series. Some people stated that they liked it, others (including myself) stated that we didn’t like it. The conversation was going pretty well until someone posted the following “You are not a true fan of Stargate unless you’ve watched all of Stargate Universe.” Now this was a statement that I really had to respond to as I’ve heard this “True Fan” comment before and it bugs me a lot. Rant Mode On: I think this meme said it best.

True fan meme

As most of you know (or have probably guessed), I’m a fan of a large number of science fiction and fantasy franchises. And there are some shows that I have not found entertaining. I could never get into the Buffy and Angel series no matter how hard I tried. It seemed like every time I sat down to give The X-Files a chance while it was first airing, it turned out to be the episode of the season with the most blood. There are other series, movies, comics and books that I just couldn’t get into. Some I will talk about in future blog posts.

Even in my favorite franchises, there are stinkers. I’ve only seen the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise once. And I only plan to watch it once again (to mine it for quotes and trivia questions) before I avoid it at all costs afterwards. If someone would have had the misfortune of having that episode be their first introduction to the Star Trek universe, I could understand why they may not like Enterprise or even Star Trek itself. They get to decide what they are fans of, not me nor anyone else.

Using the term “True Fan” is a form of Gatekeeping. Gatekeeping, in the fandom/hobby sense, is allowing only those the “true fans” deem worthy to join them in the fandom. They may use this to keep fans of a certain series in a franchise out of their club/social media group/etc. (i.e. “You can’t be a true Star Trek fan if you like Star Trek: Discovery), or they may use this to keep certain players out of their games (i.e. “You can’t play in our Battletech game with papers figures, you have to only play with painted figs). A note on this last one. A sanctioned tournament for a miniature or card game requiring certain items to use in the tournament is a method of marketing and sales, not gatekeeping. And one I see in cosplay groups is, your cosplay isn’t worthy of inclusion. Really? With how much time, energy and effort goes into cosplay you are going to get upset because it’s not “screen accurate”? Someone who puts their heart into their fandom doesn’t deserve to get it crushed.

Gatekeeping by “true fans” makes the base of participants smaller and could kill our fandoms. You never know what was someone’s introduction to the fandom or hobby. While I was manning the USS Ticonderoga recruiting booth during the opening weekend of Star Trek: Into Darkness, a new fan came up to me and stated that the previous Star Trek film had inspired him so much that he went and watched all of the original Star Trek television series. He was now a fan of the franchise itself and was checking out the other shows. Had he been talking to a “true fan”, he could have been discouraged by the belittlement and not checked out the rest of the universe that awaited him.

It’s not just geeky movies and hobbies that his plagued by this. I’ve seen this same “true fan” mentality in sports fandom. “You can’t be a true fan of the (insert team name here) unless you can name a player from their 2009 championship run.” As our Dwight meme says above: “False!”

Now when someone asks a question like “Is the new Superman & Lois television series any good?” I usually respond somewhere along the line of “I’ve enjoyed it.” If I found that I haven’t been a fan of a series, I state that it is something I haven’t enjoyed. If someone says they enjoyed a series that I have not, then I’m glad. Not everyone has to enjoy what I enjoy. I request the same respect in return. The “I’ve enjoyed it” answer is also how I avoid the bait posts where someone is trying to start an opportunity to troll fans of a series.

So to recap, if you were to say to me “I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of the anime Cowboy Bebop and enjoyed it, am I a fan?” my answer would be yes. If you asked if you wanted to cosplay as a gender-bended Robin Hood and his band of thieves in the Sherwood Forest, would I consider you a fan? My answer would still be yes. “I really like Real Salt Lake because they are a local team.” I’d say welcome to the fandom. Would I shun you if you only wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition? No, I would not and I even might ask if there is an opening in your game. You get to decide if you are a fan of something, not these “true fans.” Enjoy what you want to enjoy and don’t let anyone tear you down for it.

Now to get back to the Stargate Universe discussion. I really enjoyed the original Stargate movie ever since I first saw it on opening weekend. It took me a while to get a chance to sit down and watch Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, but I enjoyed them both to the point where I call myself a fan. Because I had enjoyed both of these series so much, I took the opportunity to get season one, disk one DVD of Stargate Universe from Netflix (this should tell you how long ago this was) and my wife and I watched the first five episodes. There was one good episode in that first set (it was about time travel). I liked the nerdy kid who’s name I can’t remember. I really wanted to follow Samantha Carter in command of the USS Hamond and see her adventures. And I thought the concept of being trapped on a living spaceship not under your control sounded interesting. But I found the writing in SGU horrendous. The acting really wasn’t up to snuff despite some good names on the acting list. The use of the tech to switch bodies to go back to Earth and spy on your ex-wife was dumb. It was dark, dreary and depressing and was practically a soap opera. Talking into the floating camera things was too much like how reality TV show contestants would react to a camera between dramatic takes (a major turn off). And the scene where some woman is talking to her floating camera making a message for her husband, and then forgets to turn it off while she cheats on him with another member of the crew really made me roll my eyes. I think I realized this show wasn’t for me when the lead scientist and the lead military guy was fighting in the fifth episode and I turned to my wife and said “I don’t even care who wins this fight.”

Now if you are a fan of Stargate Universe. Good for you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Some of the SGU fans in the discussion stated that it got better in season two and encouraged me to sit down and give the series another try. I could see myself doing this once I’ve gotten all of my other catch-up and new watching completed. I’m really enjoying Superman & Lois and I watch it every week. WandaVision was another series I had to keep up on. I need to finish my first watch through of Farscape (yea I missed it when it first aired) and someday I’ll watch all of the episodes of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda. There are a ton of shows in my streaming lists and interests that I want to watch. And that doesn’t even count the number of books and comics I want to read or games I want to play. Bottom line is that SGU is really down on the priority list. So yes I’d give it another try if my list has been completed, but that will not be for a very very long time.

I think I’ve said enough to end this rant. If you are still reading, thank you. Just remember, you decide what you are a fan of, not other people and not those who gatekeep with the term “true fans”.

Tally Ho

Posted in: My Creations, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Homebrewed stats for Starships Part II

Menahga-Class

I had a chance to scan in a few more starships that I created for the Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat Simulator by FASA. As I had mentioned before in the blog entry: Homebrew stats for Starships, I’ve collected the starships that could be used in this tactical simulator from a wide variety of sources. I placed them in a master book of starships for easy reference. After I had collected all that I could find, I used the Starship Construction Manual to homebrew some stats of starships I had found in other technical manuals and publications. When I was doing this in the 90’s, I didn’t have access to a lot of resources to make the entries look polished. So these scans are the pages as they were made. The numbers came from the original sources (I needed a few basic stats to get started like the weight of the vessel, the speed, etc.) and I only created a document if I had an image to go along with the stats. The visual representation was a big thing for me and one of the reasons I really didn’t get into other combat simulators.

So for this post I present for you the Athabaska Class XII Cruiser, the Caracal Class XI Cruiser, the Citadel Class XII Cruiser, the Horizon Class VIII Cruiser and the Menagha Class XI Battlecruiser. Where I was random in the selection for the last post, I’m just taking them in order now to keep things simple.

Oh and just for a reference, here is a picture of the master book. Yes it’s thick and yes it has pages that haven’t been three-holed punched and added. You can see how worn this book is.

Master Book of Ships
Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Website

Character Creation Challenge: After Action Report

All the character sheets from the Character Creation Challenge

Wow, we did it. Not only was I able to make 31 characters in 31 days for the Character Creation Challenge, but there were quite a few others as well. From contacts on social media to message boards like the RPG.net Forums and the Old School Trek message board there were a few “completed the challenge” posts.

I wanted to thank those who participated. It was interesting to read some of the reasons behind why they selected the characters or system that was posted. I learned a few things about some of the games. Plus there was a few “I should have thought of that” moments. Someone created a character for the Wendy’s fast-food chain RPG called Feast of Legends. When am I going to get a chance to play that? This challenge would have been perfect to make a character for it just to get a feel for the game. I did that with a few games that I had in my collection.

Some of the character creation ideas impressed me, not because they did it, but because they had a theme. A couple of Traveler blogs created a lot of characters for their favorite system. One blogger made a variety of witches in different systems showing how the theme could be used across several games. I could tell that one participant posting on the RPG.net forum was a big fan of AD&D 2nd Edition Al-Qadim setting.

I’ve also made a few friends along the way. Apparently my bad jokes hasn’t scared anyone off yet. There were also quite a few thank yous coming from the different sources. I’m glad that others found enjoyment in this challenge as well. When I first came up with the concept last November, I was worried that I’d be the only one participating.

When I committed to doing this challenge, it gave me a little bit of extra incentive to get all of my books out of the garage. While my goal is to get rid of every cardboard box storing stuff, I still have a ways to go. There were some games that I know that I’ve owned (and I have them listed in my collection list on my Google Docs), but I can’t find the books. I’m hoping that I didn’t lose them over the years. I know I had books for Twilight: 2000 and Top Secret S.I. Also when I looked up the books on Amazon or Ebay, I noticed how much some of my older books were going for. Some of these books I purchased when they first came out and apparently are worth more than I expected.

The character creation process that frustrated me the most was for the FASA Doctor Who RPG. This shocked me as I swore I had played this game before. Amazingly enough the system that impressed me the most (from a creation standpoint) was Cubicle 7’s entry in to the Doctor Who RPG. I’m really curious on how the game plays out at the table. I was also impressed with Frontier Space, Age of Empire and a few others. This challenge also reminded me why I don’t play some flavors of Dungeons and Dragons. I want to write adventures, supplements and homebrews for all of the Star Trek RPGs. After this challenge I also want to write material for Apes Victorious, Gangbusters B/X, Tall Tales, Age of Empire, almost all of the espionage RPGs and the Doctor Who RPG by Cubicle 7. There is a large homebrew community for the DW RPG which has inspired me.

Most of the games that I created characters for, I own a physical copy of the books. I’ve been purchasing a lot of games from DriveThruRPG and the various charity bundles. There were a few that I didn’t use in this challenge, but I may for future challenges. Especially if I can get a hold of physical copies. These include Classified, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mazes and Minotaurs, Modern Age, Rocket Age, White Lies, Traveler and more. Who knows what else I may have added to my collection by next January.

If you are still reading this far, thank you. The number of blog posts won’t be daily like they were in January. But I will be posting things as inspiration strikes. There are a few other topics that I wanted to discuss that time did not allow in January. So don’t be surprised to see some catch up posts soon. I’m also planning to fill out the rest of the sections that I’d like to have on this site.

Tally ho

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 31: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition

Character Creation Challenge Day 31

I started this Character Creation Challenge with the BECMI Dungeons & Dragons edition because it was the first D&D game that I owned. I thought that having Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition as the last entry would be a perfect bookend. My gaming buddies all owned different copies of the game. I had BECMI, another had B/X Dungeons & Dragons, and another had AD&D. We played all of them depending upon who the Dungeon Master was.

When I printed out a yellow AD&D character sheet it brought me back to those days. However instead of printing one, it was photocopied. The yellow didn’t copy out very well in grayscale. I’ve decided that I would make a character from a class that I’ve never played. So today I am rolling up the stats for Kellerin a Human Paladin.

The method to roll the ability scores wasn’t listed in the Player’s Handbook, I had to go pull out my Dungeon Master’s Guide to see what options were available. Method IV sounded interesting (roll enough stats for 12 characters and then pick one set of stats), but I didn’t have that much time for dice rolling. So I stuck with Method II, roll 4d6 and discard the lowest die twelve times and select which score will go with which attribute. Kellerin ended up with the following stats. STR: 16, INT: 14, WIS: 15, DEX: 14, CON: 15, CHR: 17. It’s probably a good thing I selected Method II, there were a few very low rolls that were eliminated.

I then wrote down all of the class benefits, ability modifiers and background information from the DMG. Apparently Kellerin was the son of a Taylor who thought he was going to go into the family business. I can’t think of a reason right now, but somehow he ended up associated in a holy order that trained him to be a Paladin. If I was talking to the DM, I would discuss that the reason he is out adventuring is due to his assignment of protecting the cleric in our party that is also a part of the same order.

My eventual goal is to get Kellerin in a suit of full plate mail with a powerful magic sword so that he might be able to smite evil. However until that time he would be starting out with some non-magical armor and weapons that was selected from the equipment list with the starting GP rolled up as per the RAW.

The saving throw information was also in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. I’m glad that the later editions made sure that was all in the Player’s Handbook. Kellerin isn’t high enough in levels to list any spells or turning abilities. So I think I’m done. Here is the character sheet.

Kellerin character sheet

Afterthoughts:

It had been a while since I had thought about the STR 18/[percentage] attribute score. I remember having a character that was lucky enough to have an 18 strength score. I then rolled the percentile dice and got a really low number in the single digits. I remember thinking “really?”

While I had a blast going through memory lane going through the AD&D 1st Edition Player’s Handbook (and Dungeon Master’s Guide) I can recall why I stuck with BECMI when I wanted to play. There were too many nooks and crannies in AD&D 1e. I think that the reason I had never created a Paladin previously was due to the restrictions of role-playing such a character. At the time I wasn’t experienced enough to want to play it. I may be interested now, but I can understand why I wasn’t then.

Additional Notes:

And with that I’ve met the challenge. Thirty-one characters different characters from a different system, one for each day of the month in January. Whew. I will be giving a detailed analysis in tomorrow’s after-action post.

Coming Up Next:

The Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 30: Where No Man Has Gone Before

Character Creation Challenge Day 30

The fan-made Star Trek RPG called Where No Man Has Gone Before v2.1 is based off of the D20 Microlite20 rules. The Microlite system is basically D20 slimmed down quite a bit so it is a quick system to learn and play. The Far Trek RPG system is based off of WNMHGB with some minor differences. There was also a version 1.0 of the WNMHGB rules that are more inline with the open source D20 system.

For the Character Creation Challenge I’m going to create, Ensign Navin a Deltan Starfleet Medical Officer serving on the Constitution-class USS Deneb, NCC-1826.

The attributes scores are only Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Intelligence (INT) and Charisma (CHA) which are generated by rolling 4d6 and removing the lowest die. Then you record the stat bonuses on the character sheet (score -10 then divided by 2 rounding down). The racial adjustments are made to the the bonuses which are the only thing you use in play. Ensign Navin ended up with the following stats. STR: 14 (0 penalty due to -2 for being Deltan), DEX: 12 (+1), INT: 14 (+2) and CHA: 12 (+3 including the +2 for being Deltan).

Being a Classic Star Trek based RPG, the three classes are Blue Shirt, Red Shirt and Yellow Shirt. The skills are Communication, Engineering, Knowledge, Medicine, Physical and Subterfuge. Each character selects one skill to be their trained skill which will start out at your level +3. All other skills will be half of the character’s level rounded down, plus one. A skill roll is a d20 + skill rank + any stat bonuses (if any) + any situational modifiers.

Starting characters in WNMHGB get to choose two talents. These can be taken from a General list or a list specific to the class. I selected Field Medic and Recollections. Hit Points are the same for all classes STR bonus + 1d6 per level. Armor class is 10 + 1/2 level (rounded down) + DEX bonus. All characters start out with two action points which have a variety of uses to make your character more heroic during a session (or in the case of one of Navin’s talents, heal others). They can be regained by proper roleplaying or other GM decisions or talents.

The section for equipment stated that you shouldn’t be worried about ranges, but it has ranges listed on the character sheet. This confused me and I’d probably homebrew something if I was running a game. I selected the equipment that I felt a members of Starfleet Medical would normally have and considered the character done. Here is a scan of the Character Sheet.

Navin character sheet

Afterthoughts:

Some of the talents are Vulcan specific (Nerve Pinch) which I felt that the members of that race should have gotten for free. Yea it make the Vulcan characters a little bit more powerful, but they were that way in the show as well.

I thought it was interesting that one of the optional rules was TV Ratings. After each episode the GM would roll a die to see how the show did in the Nielsens. If the results were too low, the TV executives may demand some changes such as a cute sidekick or replace a character or some inane suggestion that upper management usually things will fix things right away. Considering the ratings question with various Star Trek series, this gave me a chuckle.

If given a choice between the light-rules RPGs, I don’t know if I’d play Far Trek or WNMHGB. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. I know that I will be homebrewing for both systems.

Additional Notes:

Apparently some participants in the Character Creation Challenge have also been using the social media hashtag of #31CharacterChallenge as well as #CharacterCreationChallenge. I had not been following the first hashtag so I don’t know how far it reached but you may be able to find some additional entries there.

Coming Up Next:

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 29: Starships & Spacemen

Character Creation Challenge Day 29

This system by Goblinoid Games is Spaceships & Spacemen. Think Dungeons & Dragons B/X meets Classic Star Trek with the serial numbers filed off. You are on a starship serving the Galactic Confederation. Your opponents are the Zangid and the Videni instead of the Klingons and the Romulans. Taurans sounds a lot like Vulcans, etc. As a person who collects and studies Star Trek based RPGs (I’m still looking for a physical or PDF copy of Starfleet Voyages) I knew I had to create a character for this system in the Character Creation Challenge.

S&S uses just about the same system as Apes Victorious (that I created a character for yesterday) so this should go pretty quickly. Since I created a Human yesterday, today’s character will be one of the unique races to the game based upon the random ability rolls. They rolled high enough that I was able to select a Gorran (Gorn like lizards) and after adding the ability adjustments I ended up with the following stats. STR: 12, CON: 18, DEX: 9, INT: 9, CHA: 10, PSI: 13.

The skills in S&S are different from Apes Victorious. In AV they were based on a percentage score or a d6 roll depending upon the skill. In S&S the four skills are Combat, Contact, Science and Technical with a d20 roll with a requirement to roll equal or less than your character’s score. The contact skill is used in first contact with alien life form (a form of diplomacy) or the ability to recognize patterns and what is in your surroundings. If I’m reading this correctly, it could be used for perception/spot/listen type skills. Each class has a primary skill, some branches also have a secondary skill. If a skill is not a primary or secondary, it uses the other rating on the chart. The higher your character level, the better the skill roll.

The ages of the character can adjust the ability scores. This character ended up with the age of 22 which is an adult and adds +1 to the STR and PSI scores (umm… why on that last one?) But I didn’t want to go back and re-calculate the stats again so I left them as they were. If I were running a game I’d make sure this was added in early of the character creation or just skip it for the Adult range.

Equipment assigned to a character in this fleet is based upon the branch, sub-class and rank. A player can select items from the equipment list based upon a number generated from his rank plus one. Unit 1/2 equipment is basic and common. The higher the unit, the more unique the items become. Beginning players end up with basic equipment, higher level characters can choose from other distinguished items. Interesting technique. This allowed me to get a beam pistol for my security officer (which I felt was needed) but there was no armor options left that was 1 unit.

It took me a minute to find out how the Defense score worked. Instead of having an Armor Class, your Defense score is an adjustment to the attacker’s Combat Skill roll. Interesting. I wonder how this works in gameplay. This was the last item I need on the character sheet, which is posted below.

Sitarn character sheet

Afterthoughts:

Both Starships & Spacemen and Apes Victorious had a lot of psionic abilities. But I’ve never been a psionic player. So I’d probably only really push for this aspect of the game if the race (i.e. Vulcan like abilities) were part of the character.

Going thought the equipment they had a “laser sword” that is only usable by Security or Rigelians. I wonder what influenced this item.

There is an entire section in the rules where the Star Master (GM) can generate an alien race that is humanoid with a strange forehead. It even has 100 random foreheads that the SM can randomly roll for. Some looked quite familiar, while others were a little out there.

I could see myself playing this game to try it out. I also want to make sure I’m familiar enough with this system as I want to homebrew a lot of Star Trek material. Even with this not being an actual Star Trek game, it is close enough for me to want to include it in my collection of Star Trek type games.

Additional Notes:

Yea, tomorrow’s game is also a Star Trek RPG as well. I wanted to make sure I got the Trek games in that I had access to and I had something special for the last game in the 31 day challenge. So we’ve got two of them back-to-back.

Coming Up Next:

Where No Man Has Gone Before