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

More IDW Comics in Star Trek Adventures?

What I would like to see

So earlier this month I was working on my review of the latest Star Trek Lower Decks releases for the Star Trek Adventures RPG when it hit me. “I wonder if we will see any future cross-over products between Modiphius (publisher of Star Trek Adventures) and IDW run of Star Trek comics?” Back in 2021 there had been a cooperative release with the IDW Year Five Tie In.

So I thought I’d take to social media and ask. On twitter (while dodging spam posts) I submitted the following:

Hey @Modiphius are we going to see any additional #StarTrekAdventures supplements for @IDWPublishing #StarTrek comics like we did for Year-Five tie in? I would love to see more supplements like this. #please


Well, I received a response from Jim Johnson, who is the project manager for Modiphius Star Trek Adventures. Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. He asked what I’d like to see from the IDW run. Well when I read that, my first thought was “Everything!” Yea, I know that’s not going to fly logically. IDW has been publishing Star Trek comics since 2007 and has released over 400 issues and trade paperbacks. Some of them include crossovers with other intellectual properties such as Doctor Who, Planet of the Apes, Green Lantern, The Legion of Superheroes and Transformers. The likelihood of any supplements for these issues are slim to none. Especially since there is already a roleplaying game for Transformers and Doctor Who.

So what was the most likely candidates from the wide catalog of IDW publications would be good for a Star Trek Adventures supplement? Well I have several recommendations in mind. I did mention a few in a quick twitter response to Mr. Johnson, but I felt that this topic deserved a blog post to give it more thought.

I’ve actually mentioned this in past blog posts, but IDW has done a very good series of comics covering the TNG crew in the Mirror Universe. In this setting, the Terran Empire was defeated, but not overrun. (Hey, if you are looking for a reason to keep this within “cannon”, just remember that there are many, many multiple universes as seen in the TNG episode “Parallels“.) This empire was boxed in, was low on resources (Captain’s kept their own secret supply caches) and still had some fight in it (for both external and internal conflicts). RPG scenarios could include Prime Universe Federation members dealing with Terran Empire incursions, more accidental crossovers or a campaign set with PCs playing members of the Terran Starfleet. Some of the advantages to this idea include lots of resource material (13 TNG comics plus additionaly 7 TOS comics, 1 Voyager comic, and 4 Discovery comics) which could include new races, new spacefames, new background information, new characters (we see “The Obnoxious Okona” who is a thorn in Mirror Captain Picard’s side). The disadvantages that I see are also the large number of sources (the supplement could be much larger than the Year Five tie in if they didn’t break it up by comic series), roleplaying in the Mirror Universe is much different than in the Prime Universe (but I do recall playing in a FASA Star Trek campaign where we were accidentally sent to the Mirror Universe) and there is a lot of Mirror Universe seen in the shows. While this is my first choice that I would LOVE to see, I could understand why it may not make the list at Modiphius.

Before there was Star Trek: Year Five by IDW, the comic publisher released Star Trek Year Four. This covered what could have been the fourth season of The Original Series. This would make for an excellent companion piece to the STA Year Five tie-in. This would be an excellent opportunity to present the stats for the Federation Class Dreadnought (seen in the Enterprise Experiment series). There are not as many issues covering Year Four as there are for Year Five (10 vs 26 respectively) but that might make is more of a candidate for a PDF only release. There are other TOS comics presented by IDW, but they cover various times across the Original Series. That could be used to pad out a publication if needed.

The next recommendation may be an issue. I don’t know if Modiphius has any type of license with the Kelvin Universe movies. Creating a tie-in supplement might be possible if a license isn’t fully connected. However there are a LOT of Kelvin Universe comics published by IDW. A total of 106 issues (not counting the two Kelvin Universe/Green Lantern crossovers). Some of these issues cover Starfleet Academy cadets and could be a perfect way to release some Kelvin Universe resource material into the market.

The last recommendation that I’m going to make is for Leonard McCoy: Frontier Doctor that had four issues. Not a lot of material, but the storyline covered Dr. McCoy after he had left Starfleet and went on a “Doctors without Borders” type of adventure (between the end of The Original Series and The Motion Picture). There would definable be a new spaceframe (The Joanna), several characters and planets and information on how to play in the Frontier Medics Program. A non-Starfleet sourcebook could help with civilian roleplaying.

As I mentioned in my Year Five Tie-In review, there was still some Year Five material that could have been added to the supplement. I wouldn’t be opposed to that type of expansion.

There are still a ton of other IDW Star Trek titles that information could be pulled to create a tie-in supplement. Some cover various races and characters. A few had different inter-ST series crossovers that only comics could pull off. Others had tie-ins with different Star Trek novels and video games. I believe that IDW has the longest run of continuous Star Trek comic publications. Despite recent news that the company had some layoffs, I hope that they will be able to continue to publish new comics for quite a few more years.

Thank you Jim Johnson for inspiring me to expand this subject into a blog post. I had a great time going back through several comics and (quickly) re-reading some of the stories. Jim did respond to my suggestion tweet saying “I just gotta chat with the good people over there and see what’s possible.” So… (crosses fingers).

What IDW Comics would you like to see turned into a Star Trek Adventures supplement? Are there other Star Trek comics that you draw gaming inspiration from? 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, Conventions, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, James Bond, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek

SaltCON Spring 2023 After Action Report

Loot from SaltCON Spring 2023

So I finally had a chance to recover from my first SaltCON (apparently I was not capitalizing CON as I should have been) and I’m putting my thoughts down here before they all escape my head. TL/DR section: I had a blast and I can’t wait to attend another one.

As you can see from the photo above, I was able to walk away with some loot that I gathered at the con. Three games in the swap meet room that I can use for the 2024 Character Creation Challenge (and another upcoming secret project that I hope to announce soon). These are Barbarians of Lemuria Legendary Edition, Crypts & Things and Shadowrun Anarchy. Three books I didn’t know existed. I also picked up the Star Trek Adventures Player’s Guide and Star Trek Adventures Gamemaster’s Guide from a dealer that I only see at conventions, and always buy Star Trek books from. It’s almost become a tradition that we’ve been doing since the early 2000’s. I also picked up a t-shirt for the convention.

So if you read my Prepping for SaltCon 2023 blog entry, you will know that I had a signed up for a lot of different roleplaying sessions. Here is how they went.

Some of the characters I played over the weekend.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition by Pazio: I played a half-elf rogue who was working with several other party members to help a merchant named Nelar in recovering some heirlooms from his family crypts. He was planning to sell them in order to save his business. The PF2 system was pretty straight forward. The gamemaster explained the differences in the rules and was very helpful. I liked how he used colored poker chips to represent each “bad guy” and then had a colored stand to represent where each person was in the initiative order. The adventure was very simplistic (get in, get past the defenses and get out) and I’m not certain if it was published or an original adventure. The GM was understanding when my paranoid PC brain went into effect. I thought that someone was attempting to stop us so that they could ruin the merchant’s business. The PF2 rules were not too bad and I’d be interested in playing more. A pre-generated character was used and I’ll probably make a character for the next Character Creation Challenge. I picked up a bunch of the books on PDF from a recent bundle sale. However I really wish that Pazio’s website didn’t suck when it comes to downloading the PDF purchases.

Alien by Free League: I’ve already mentioned meeting the author previously and how I wanted to try this game. When we first started, the large room used for RPGs at SaltCON was filling up. This resulted in more noise which ended up helping with the “lots of pressure” portion of the game since we were in uncomfortable situations. There were only two players for this session and we both played Colonial Marines. We were escorting a group of scientists and corporate flunkies to a new planet to explore. As you can imagine, we ended up running into Aliens, Engineers and Predators. I used a pre-generated character, but would have loved to use the character I had made earlier this year in the Character Creation Challenge. I would like to play this system in a campaign.

Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games: Yes I got to experience a zero-level funnel for this game. I had read about it previously and really wanted to try it. We were going through one of the printed adventures with a full table. It was very interesting attempting to use just the equipment that we were assigned before heading out on the adventure. I was attempting to make the surface under the feet of a summoned demon slippery by using the fine sand carried by a gravedigger. Eventually between all of the zero-level characters we were able to defeat the bad guy. I’d still like to play this system in a campaign.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition: This game was canceled due to the DM falling ill which was too bad because the adventure scenario sounded really fun. Hopefully the DM can run it at the next con. So I went over to the Dungeons and Dragons Adventures League table and created a 1st level dwarven fighter and jumped into an intro game. We had to track down some bandits that had attacked a caravan. The local league handed out some wooden tokens with logos on them for participating.

Mistborn by Crafty Games: I went into this session not knowing anything about the system or the original source material. I was hoping to learn about both. The books were set in a world were only the nobles were supposed to have magic, but you could get magic by sipping vials of liquid with metal flakes in them, or something like that. The system was really, really funky. The scenario was a murder mystery and our criminal gang was like a group of Leverage type characters, I think. We actually had some combat in the last 10 minutes of the game and it was really bad. I do not see myself playing this system in the future. When I made a character for John Carter of Mars, I was inspired to go download the John Carter books for my Kindle. I was not inspired to go look at the source material for this game.

James Bond 007 by Victory Games: Excellent game master with an excellent scenario. He was able to explain the rules quickly and answered any questions that we had. We played members of the ResQ branch of MI-6 and our job was to help James Bond complete his assignment (keep the bad guys away from him, help if something is incomplete or messes up) without him knowing that we are there. So we have to help fight the bad guys as well as keep undercover. There was an excellent group of players (including one that had never seen the Bond films). Now that I’ve had a chance to try the JB007 RPG system, I’m sad that I missed out on it. However, the Classified RPG is a retroclone of the James Bond game and the GM was using parts of that book.

Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius: This scenario was heavily inspired by Star Trek: Lower Decks. We were a band of misfits working together on a California-class starship under a drunk captain. I randomly drew the human helmsman that was fresh out of the academy (where he had annoyed his flight instructor). So I played the character as a kid with his voice breaking the entire game. I got compliments from the other players for that. It was also good to get another dive into the STA system and I’d like to be able to continue in a campaign and homebrew some items.

Artemis- Dominion War: This was a LAN computer game set up like a Star Trek bridge in one of the side rooms at the convention. One computer was set up for the engineer, another for weapons, science, helm, etc. I was asked to play the captain of an Excelsior-class starship trying to defend the Federation. All of the players were new to the game and I thought we did quite well for a bunch of newbies. This was my only non-RPG game of the weekend. Many thanks to the volunteers of the USS White Buffalo for putting this together.

GURPS by Steve Jackson Games: Yes, I gave a not-so-good review when I created a GURPS character in the last challenge, but the gameplay system itself isn’t too bad. If I don’t have to make a character, then I don’t mind playing. The GM ran us through a game set in the Aliens universe. It had a ton of action and we were either laughing at our jokes or running for our lives. I liked how the GM handed us equipment cards with our ammo limits on the cards. Every time we fired, we had to mark off the number of shots we had taken.

Cyberpunk RED by R. Talsorian Games: So I had played the classic Cyberpunk back when it first came out. I had even made a character for Cyberpunk v3.0 in a past challenge. It was interesting catching up with this universe (there had been a lot of changes from the previous products) and the GM ran it really well (he was the same GM that ran the James Bond game). I was impressed with the system and I’ve moved it up on my buy list. I know at least one friend who is/was playing this so I wonder if I could get into a campaign sometime in the future.

Final thoughts:

As I mentioned above, I had a lot of fun at SaltCON. I made sure to give some thanks to one of the organizers at the front desk before I left. I had picked up a con t-shirt as well and I’ve already purchased my ticket for the summer event. The spring event sold out and the summer event has even less tickets available. There are water bottle refill stations at the Davis Convention Center. The food sold at the concessions stand was not bad (and about average price) but I also brought a couple of snacks in my backpack to tide me over until I had a meal break. The con is very very heavy on the board game side that it seems to drown other games out (again it went years before I realized there was more than just D&D Adventures League there). Even the swap meet and flea market were 95-98% board games. I think I was lucky to find the three books that I did. I wonder what it would take to get more of an RPG presence in the swap meet or flea market? I’d hate to haul a bunch of books down only to find out that I brought the wrong things. I did like that the swap meet was set up with the game, a post it note with the price, contact info and venmo info for the seller. I could just text the person and get a confirmation that my purchase was complete.

When I was talking about the con online I had a few responses from Utah players saying “Wait? There’s a gaming con in Utah?” and I would provide some details. So hopefully there will be a few new attendees at future events. This event had 2,000 gamers and it was considered a sell out. I’ve been told that the con is always looking for GMs to run games in exchange for free admission (and the number of hours required was very reasonable). One friend even asked me if I wanted to run a game. But that goes back to my conundrum of “I want SaltCON to be my non-volunteer convention.” If I were to GM anything, I’d probably try to run something non-standard or out-of-print like the James Bond experience I was able to enjoy. There were a few people who came by to see if any openings had become available. You’d want to experience something at a convention that you don’t normally get a chance to play or do. A track of these games would really make the con stand out.

I was warned ahead of time to sign up for my games as soon as possible using the online scheduling system. The gaming schedules were a little weird when I was trying to coordinate my schedule with some overlapping preventing me from trying out a few systems. Games of a similar nature overlapping each other (two STA games within the same timeframe). I found out later that the GMs set their own times. I would hope that someone could coordinate to try to avoid the overlap. The one GM who ran Dune got a lot of “I wish I could have played” responses so he is planning more than one session for SaltCON Summer. I did like the fact that I could download the schedule to a calendar file that I could import into my Google calendar. I then had it at my finger tips when I needed to check what was coming up (or go back and read the original description).

I made some new contacts at the convention which was kewl. I’ve always felt that RPGs was a social interaction that was better experienced in person. I also had the opportunity to meet up with some gaming buddies that I hadn’t seen in a while. With one, we had 30 years of catching up to do. Besides trying out a few different systems I also got to see some techniques and tools in action. When I got home I had to order the 20in1 Card Deck from Precis Intermedia. I was also impressed with the Roll 4 Initiative Dry Erase Dungeon Tiles that was used by one GM. If I had found either one of these, or a copy of Cyberpunk RED, in the dealers room, I would have picked them up then.

The only real negative thing I’d probably say was the game room itself. As I mentioned above, it got really noisy at some times. During our James Bond game there was some sort of multi-table game going on where some in-game yelling was going on and we had to stop until the yelling had ceased. This really disturbed the other tables and probably should have been moved to another area.

I’m glad that SaltCON is here and I’m also glad that it is only a few miles away from where I live. It was very nice not to travel down daily to Salt Lake like I usually do for conventions down there. It was really good to roll the dice and have fun in a few games over the weekend.

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, Conventions, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, James Bond, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Stargate

Prepping for SaltCon 2023

Hold on, I’m not done packing.

So I’ll be attending my first gaming convention in a very llllooonnnggg time. SaltCON is a gaming convention that has been running in Utah for years and will be running this weekend. However until recently, I thought it was just a convention for board games. Some friends would be running the Artemis spaceship bridge simulator (complete with lights, sound effects and more) so I’d stop by to help them set up or bring Seventh Fleet flyers. But I never stuck around, again thinking it was just board games. I don’t mind board games, they just are not my draw to a convention.

SaltCON in March is their biggest event (2,000+ attendees). They also hold smaller events in the summer (600 attendees) and late summer (800 attendees). So to my surprise, one of my friends was telling me about how he ran the Stargate RPG at the last convention. I was a little amazed actually and after some thinking (and before the ticket prices went up) I purchased my pass several months ago. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the upcoming con. I wanted to sit down and play as many role-playing games as possible. Thanks to the patience of the convention organizers (who responded to my emails in a timely manner) and the advice from some friends who had attended in the past, I was able to get several games reserved. I’m a little sad because the Dune: Adventures in the Imperium session filled up before I had a chance to grab a seat. But I was able to get seats for the following games.

-Pathfinder 2nd Edition (The scenario sounded interesting and it will give me a chance to check out this system)

Alien (I’m really excited about this one, especially after meeting the game designer)

Dungeon Crawl Classics (I get to go through a zero-level funnel. WOOT!!!)

-Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (I signed up before the OGL fiasco, plus the adventure sounded interesting)

Mistborn (Based off of the Mistborn novels by Brandon Sanderson)

James Bond 007: Role Playing in Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Yes, the game from the 80’s)

Star Trek Adventures (In a scenario based on Star Trek: Lower Decks)

GURPS (The adventure sounds like it is set in Aliens and I don’t have to make the character)

Cyberpunk RED (I’ve never had a chance to try this new version yet)

Because of the time schedules, there were a couple of other games that were presented that I couldn’t fit in. These included Low Fantasy Gaming and Tiny D6 Frontiers. Perhaps I’ll be able to get in on a pick-up game when I have some free slots open during the con.

The very first “con” I went to was a gaming convention at a local library back in the late 80’s. I don’t recall if it had a name but I remember playing Dungeons and Dragons for several hours. In the early 90’s a local comic and gaming store called Comics Utah ran Kubla Khan for several years. Another gaming store (of a name that I can’t remember) ran several conventions in the mall they were in called WinterGameFest, SpringGameFest, etc. There was also gaming at the various CONduits in which I was able to sneak in a game or two. In a past website, I had a convention resume listed. I need to get that finished for the Blog of Holding.

So I will write up an after-action report when SaltCON is done to let you know how it went. I’ve been planning and prepping (backpack, dice, meals, books, etc.) for quite some time. I’m very grateful that the con is in my county (as compared to most cons in Salt Lake or other distant areas). It will be nice to sleep in my own bed each night after the convention.

Let’s roll some dice.

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, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 30: True20 Adventure Roleplaying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Additional Notes:

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

Coming Up Next:

They Came From Beyond The Grave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Additional Notes:

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

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

Coming Up Next:

True 20

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

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 26: Star Crawl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Additional Notes:

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

Coming Up Next:

GURPS 4th Edition

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

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 25: Traveller D20

So I made a Classic Traveller character in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge. I recently had a chance to pick up the D20 based Traveller20 (sometimes called T20) in one of the online bundle sales. So let’s see how this stacks up using the D20 RPG system in the Traveller universe.

According to the rules, you will need the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Players Handbook. In my copy of the T20 PDF there is 435 pages. There are two pages in the character sheet and a single “Prior History Worksheet”. The character creation steps start on page 18. So let’s start.

Besides the standard D&D attributes, there are two additional attributes that are used in T20. Education and Social Standing. Another ability called Psionic Strength is listed on the character sheet, but this isn’t described until chapter 10 (page 186). All of these were common attributes in Classic Traveller as well. The rules state that you roll them as per the standard D20 rules. So I’m going with the 4D6 and drop the lowest.

I thought it was interesting that under races (step two) that they mentioned the various races in the D&D 3.5 PHB and how they could be used, but it wasn’t recommended. I’m going to select the wolf-like Vargr. They look like they would be neat species to play.

Next is to roll what type of homeworld the character came from. This looks interesting. First is the tech level (I rolled a 2, which was Low Technology) which had a Tech Level of 6 (rolled a 3 and added 3, but this TL gives me a -2 to my EDU score). Apparently this homeworld results in the class of Belter or Traveller from being a prohibited class. Shrugs. I rolled for the Starport and ended up with a type C (E was the worse, A the best). Next we need to determine the basic characteristics of the world. I hate just calling it the world (or homeworld) so I’m going to name it Onkin. I’m instructed to roll a 2d6 and got a Ni (Non-Industrial). I wrote down the skills and the one feat that my character gained from growing up on Onkin.

Step three is the class of the character. I selected Mercenary out of the list because it sounded like a good idea. I wrote down the feats, class skills and other details.

Final details, rolled up a height of 150 cm (4’9″). But the weight formula confused me. 46x(1d4) kg? I rolled a 4 so 46×4= 184 kg which is 405 lbs. I know that the Vargr are aliens, but do they have that much weight in a small frame? Um, OK, I think this is wrong. I know math isn’t my strong point but did I read that wrong? Shrugs, moving on.

An in the Traveller tradition, there is a prior history (the mini-game when creating the character). I wonder how they are going to do terms for mercenaries since they are not an organized military force like the Army or Navy? Hey I get to use the special prior history worksheet. Let’s see if it helps. First term, Commando Raid: survived and cash bonus. No rank advancement, commission or bonus XP. Now age 22. Second term, Commando Raid: survived, commissioned (went from Private to 2nd Lieutenant). No bonus XP or bonus cash. Now age 26. Third term, security forces: survived, promoted (now 1st Lieutenant), XP bonus (4,000) but no cash bonus. Did not roll high enough vs the DC9 to get a fourth term. So he musters out. I think I did the mustering out benefits right. It’s by term.

Now this character is at 6th level. Actually, I’m going to scrap all of this and just release him at a 1st level mercenary. I’m at the end of my day and I need to hit the sack. So I’m going to assume that he got some equipment and is out trying to make a name for himself. Speaking of name, the character’s name is Baaken. Yea some spots on the sheet aren’t filled in, but it’s D20 3.5 so you already know the drill. I’ll fill it in before he gets used in a game (if that happens).


I really wish that the PDF core book had been bookmarked. I’ve really grown to use the bookmarks when creating characters. Also I was referred to charts and I had to hunt for it since it was provided on an earlier page.

I don’t know if I’m a fan of the mini-game. Rollplaying the character at 1st level would have been just as enjoyable.

Other than the excess on the character creation, I’d be willing to try a T20 game. Just because I’m a fan of the D20 system.

Additional Notes:

Under a week to go before the end of the challenge. Can you make it to the end?

Coming Up Next:

Star Crawl

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

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 20: Cyber Generation 2nd Edition

The friend who gave me a bunch of games in 2021 (he was clearing out his shelves) had included R. Talsorian Games Inc. Cyber Generation 2nd Edition along with quite a few others. Because I was using Cyberpunk v3 in 2022, I held off on using Cyber Generation until the 2023 Character Creation Challenge.

There is a single page character sheet. The character creation process starts on page 13 (spoiler hint, there is a full summary on page 85) and is handled in a narrative fashion instead of providing bullet points. You are guided by a character called Morgan Blackhand who is talking to you through a series of electronic communiques trying to keep your young character safe from the Dead Boys and Zombie Girls. The first thing Morgan needs to know is which yogang you belong to. A list of 18 different groups, all with different abilities and specialties. Basically these are the character classes. Looking through all of them, some sounded very interesting, but the one I selected for my character (who I decided is going to be age 16) is an ArcoRunner. If you’ve ever watched the youtube videos of urban explorers sneaking into abandoned buildings and locations, that is what the ArcoRunner is. The rules had me select my name (Side Wire), age and sex. I also filled in my description, the YoGang skill (Tunneling) and I selected the equipment that a member of this YoGang would have.

The next step that Morgan instructs you to do is to run to a safe-house. He provides a hardcopy map and tells you to get going. The Referee is instructed with some basics on how to run the scenario. It appears to be like a funnel that we’ve seen in Dungeon Crawl Classics. If the first character doesn’t make it, the Referee is instructed to have the player start another character that will already be at the safe-house when the other players get there. I read through the instructions for the Referee and I can see how this would set up the tone of the game, but the rules for combat and spotting were pretty simplistic. Probably to get the players in the mood of the dark dystopian world that this is set in.

At the safe-house, Morgan then gives them an assessment to determine their stats. These are INT (Intelligence), REF (Reflexes), COOL (Cool, resistance to stress and presence), TECH (Technical Ability), LUCK (Luck), ATT (Attractiveness), MOVE (Movement), EMP (Empathy, aka Charisma) and BODY (Body Type, aka Strength, Endurance and Constitution). The player is provided with 50 points to allocate between the different stats. Each stat must have a minimum of 2 with 5 being considered an average stat and 8 being really good. I dumped a bunch of points in INT since that was the favored of my YoGang, used very little for ATT and EMP and then averaged out the rest. That was easy.

You have 40 points to spend on various skills. 1 minimum and 8 max. This includes the YoGang skill. I allocated what I thought would be useful for my character.

The next ref opportunity is to run a scenario in the safe-house where all of the players get to know each other. There are a couple of NPCs that can also be used by the ref if needed.

By now I had found the actual character creation summary on page 85. Considering how late it was, I dropped the narrative creation process and just finished out the character. Each character gets $1,000 to shop for equipment at the mall. The rules do state that you get the clothing mentioned in your YoGang description plus the special equipment you already selected. Anything else needs to be purchased.

The last step is to randomly roll for the character’s cyberevolved type. All characters were hit with the carbon plague. This is a type of nanotechnology that is set loose on the population and changes them (those that survived the changes) when they hit the age of 20. Since the PCs are under this age, they may not know what they are going to get. The Referee should be role-playing the emergence of the evolution the characters will go through. Since this is not known to my character, I’m going to leave this section blank on the sheet. Which is posted below.


I loved when slang was used in the text, there was a sidebar (called hypertext) explaining what the slang meant.

I’ve made characters with the narrative style before. I can understand that this can be used to get the player into the feel of the game or even teach them the rules of the game. But I also wish a regular character creation checklist was provided. Later, I realized that this checklist is on the character sheet itself. That made things handy. And even later on page 85 there was a character creation summary. By the time I had found this, I had already read through several chapters.

Additional Notes:

Yes I’m still finding new blogs that are participating in the Character Creation Challenge. The list of links on the challenge page has been updated.

I’ve also been introduced to a game that I may have to put on the list for the 2024 challenge. A game called Straight to VHS. Someone used this as one of their entries on one of the message boards.

Coming Up Next:

Strike! Tactical Combat and Heedless Adventure

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

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 14: Serenity

So I have a very interesting fandom relationship with the Firefly TV series and it’s full length movie, Serenity. I need to finish my fandom sections so I can just post the link to the story there instead of typing it out in a limited blog post. My recently departed friend, Roger Taylor, loved gaming in this universe. There was one game he was running where the players were having a discussion in town about their “secret plans” and one of the players piped up in character “Perhaps we shouldn’t be discussin the secret plans in the middle of the street?!?” I loved hearing about that story and wished I was there to play.

The Serenity Role Playing Game came up for sale on one of the Facebook RPG auction sites that I frequent (and is one of the few reasons I still pop in on FB every once in a while). When I saw were the price was, I checked it against various internet bookstores and found a copy for a very reasonable price. So I snatched it up. Shiny.

The character creation steps are listed on page 30. The first step is for the game master to determine what level of game the sessions will be in the form of a heroic level. This could be Greenhorn (42 attribute points) Veteran (48 attribute points) or Big Damn Heroes (54 attribute points). Since I don’t have a GM to check with, I’m going to select Veteran. For my character concept, I’m going to make Steven “Dart” Carter. A really good pilot that only gets in individual fights when he has no choice (don’t pick on someone he cares about, because then he’ll step in). For some reason he gets really nervous around Alliance patrols. If his shipmates knew that he was an AWOL from the Union of Allied Planets Navy and had a different name in his different life, would they still trust him? He likes just being able to move about on the Rim.

The next step is to select my character traits. These come in the form of assets and complications and help define your character. When they are used in game play, they can add or subtract from certain roleplaying situations. Knowing my character’s history, I selected Born Behind The Wheel (minor asset), Military Rank (minor asset), Traumatic Flashback (minor complication) and Twitchy (minor complication). I wonder how this character would have been roleplayed at the table? Next comes the attributes.

Each attribute is represented by a die (D4 through D12) and costs a number of attribute points that was determined by the heroic level of the campaign (see above). I calculated out the die I thought a good pilot would need. They are Strength D6, Agility D10, Vitality D8, Alertness D8, Intelligence D8 and Willpower D8. From these the derived attributes are generated.

Selecting the skills is the next step in the process. Starting characters get 20 skill points to spend plus the same amount of points used to generate the attributes (so for Dart, he gets an additional 48). 68 in total. Skills have general skill costs (covers the broad spectrum) and specialty skills (focus on specific things and must be named). I picked the skills and specialties that I thought Dart might be using since he found his freedom.

Last is the finishing touches. This includes equipment, description and background. With the veteran setting, Dart has 1,500 credits, the clothes on his back and a few items that the GM would have OKed. I had to track down what my character’s plot points are.


There were a few things on the character sheet I had to go hunting for as it was not listed in the character creation steps. Annoying, but not bad. The system sounds pretty simplistic. I’d love to see it in action around a table, but I don’t know anyone who still plays. That’s too bad.

Additional Notes:

While I haven’t found any new blogs that are participating in the Character Creation Challenge, I am seeing a lot of participants using the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge on various social media sites. There is also two very active message boards where quite a few characters are being shared. This includes the message board and the RPG Geek message board. If you know of one that I may have missed, please email me at Carl (at) and I’ll add it to the board.

Coming Up Next:

Star Trek: Star Fleet Intelligence by FASA

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

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