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: 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: Comic Books, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars

The Good, The Bad and The Internet

Clickbait vs Easter Eggs

So there have been two trends that I’ve noticed on the internet. Yea, these may have been around for a while but I want to talk about them for a second. The evil of click-bait sites and videos and the good of easter egg and behind the scenes videos.

There have been a lot of sites and videos with “Trusted Sources” spreading rumors about some of our favorite franchises and shows. What bugs me is the way they try to sell themselves. Usually with a headline that screams click-bait. These type of sensationalized headlines are a form of social engineering. They want you to react to the video/article and the only way you can do that is by clicking on the link to their site. “Has {insert showrunner name here} been fired at {studio name here}?”, “{Famous person} ruined our favorite franchise, here is the proof.” or “{Famous person} reacts to my video/post/website/outlandish claim.” See how they can practically recycle the headline just by switching out a few details and boom, another click-bait headline. Some of these videos and sites can get to be quite toxic.

Another trend has not been quite as negative, but still very click-baitish. Streaming services have been a gold mine for fans of various franchises. The studios are trying to attract subscribers by taking chances on shows that may not make it onto the over-the-air or cable channels. This has brought us more shows in the Star Trek (I’m looking forward to the Pike series, Strange New Worlds) and Star Wars universe (love The Mandalorian). There is an upcoming series for Battlestar Galactica and it looks like I’m finally going to be able to see Moon Knight on the screen. While this is good, it also gives rise to rumor websites with headlines like “{Character name} series confirmed.” At the rate they are pumping out these “articles” you would think that we would soon see a series focused on Captain John Harriman (would the XO be Commander Ferris Bueller?) for Paramount+ and Disney+ releasing The Star Wars Muppets (actually I’d watch a SW Muppet series, but don’t quote me as a source). These rumors are not as outlandish as the “{show name} canceled immediately due to plummeting ratings.” headlines and I think that’s what makes it a little bit dangerous. Some actors want to return to the roles that made them famous. Others never want to return to the franchises if they don’t have to. But there is a little bit of a toe-hold that these “news sites” to say that a new series is coming soon and you better read about it here. When you listen to these sites, they use the weasel words that you commonly see on those Ancient Alien shows. “Could this be true? It’s possible.” Ugh that bugs me more than it should.

Why are these sites and videos posting these dubious claims? In one word, money. The more clicks a site/video has, the more eyeballs see them. The more eyeballs they get, the more they can sell themselves to advertisers. Technically nothing is stopping them from being the Weekly World News of the internet. So like spam and robo-calls, they continue to be a scourge on the internet.

What can you do about them? Well learn to spot click-bait headlines. If it sounds like it was posted to get an emotion, be suspicious. Look at the source. Most social media posts will give you the domain the article/video is coming from. If it’s not from a source with a good history (for most entertainment news that’s usually Variety, Deadline, Entertainment Weekly, one of the mainstream media companies, etc.) or from the studio itself, then be suspicious. However be careful, there are still rumor news sources that are on TV or in print. If you are suspicious about a headline, then remember that Google is your friend. If a rumor is close to being true, multiple sites will post about it. With the rumor websites there may only be one or two sites posting about the topic. If your Spidey-Senses are going off, don’t click on the link or video. By clicking on them, you are giving them what they really want.

Now, in my humble opinion, there is a really good trend going on right now with some online videos. The “Easter Egg” videos that point out some of the things in the background. Some are very spotable, some are very hidden (hence the name Easter Eggs). There are some video makers that will freeze-frame certain scenes and translate from the alien languages (if translations exists) to dig up hidden details. I am a big fan of Star Trek and Star Wars so I’ve noticed a lot of these Easter Eggs in Picard, Discovery, Lower Decks and The Mandalorian. So for me the fun was seeing if I had missed anything and if I had spotted stuff the video makers themselves had missed.

Another good thing about these videos are for the series I’ve been enjoying, but I don’t know much about the source material. The latest example has been WandaVision. While I know Marvel’s Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, other-mainstreams, etc. I only know very little of the other superheroes that Marvel has in their catalog. I’m more of a DC man myself, but I don’t turn my nose up at the Marvel non-mutant titles (don’t ask me about the mutants now, that will be saved for another blog post). After encouragement from friends, I checked out WandaVision. I found that I enjoyed the writing, the acting and the special effects. But I felt like I was missing something that came from a deep source. So I turned to the same Easter Egg video makers that I had enjoyed before and they expanded my understanding of the WandaVision storyline. In the last episode of WandaVision there was a “big reveal” from a bad guy (no spoilers so don’t worry). I felt that this reveal wouldn’t have made a big impact if I hadn’t watched the Easter Egg videos telling me who these characters were. Thus I was “in on the story” when it happened.

While I’m encouraging you to avoid the click-bait sites, I would also encourage you to check out the effort that goes into the Easter Egg videos. Let me know what you think of these videos that have been released.

Tally Ho

Clickbait
Posted in: Horror, Horror Hosts, Movies, Science Fiction, TV Review

Creature Features 50th Anniversary

I was very happy to complete the Character Creation Challenge last month. It was an actual challenge that I didn’t know if I could complete. And there were a few days I was wondering if I would make the deadline. It took up quite a bit of time just to make sure I didn’t miss a day. One of the things that ended up getting pushed off to the side was the other blog entries that were not related to the challenge, but I wanted to post. I was able to sneak in a review of Wonder Woman 1984, but there were several other subjects that I wanted to cover. Here is one of my catch up posts that would have been posted last month.

Creature Features 1970's
Creature Features then…
Creature Features 2020's
…and Creature Features now.

I enjoy watching classic and cheesy horror films. From the Universal Classics such as Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy to the British studio that released the Hammer Horrors. Some of these horror films can also be quite cheesy and funny such as Killer Klowns from Outer Space (boy that’s a lively one). I’m not big into the mega-slashers or the buckets of blood films. If you have to rely on too much splatter-gore special effects to make up for bad writing, it tends to turn me off. But even the smallest film with a shoe-string budget can be enjoyable if done the right way.

There are several shows that help me find some of these classics and clunker horror/science-fiction films. The one I wanted to talk about today is Creature Features from the San Fransisco bay area which just celebrated the 50th Anniversary of it’s first showing. I had discovered this show sometime in 2018 on the show’s YouTube channel and quickly added it to my Saturday night TV lineup.

This is a “horror host” show that was popular in the 70’s and continues today. Television stations would receive batches of films that they could air that were real clunkers. What certain stations in different cities did to attract an audience is to have an employee of the station dress up in a costume come up with a punny name and be the host for some of these z-grade movies. Even if the movie was a bomb, audiences would tune in to check out the host. Sometimes skits and parody songs would be performed while others hosts had interviews and trivia. Everyone had their own spin on the idea which helped made them unique. I head learned about these “horror hosts” from a wonderful documentary called American Scary. Creature Features has had three runs. The first by host Bob Wilkins, the second by host John Stanley and the current run that started in 2016 with Vincent Van Dahl, Mr. Livingston and Tangella.

On January 9, 2021, Creature Features aired a 50th Anniversary Special of the original Creature Features hosted by Bob Wilkins. A special tribute to Wilkins was shown along with the first film from that night “The Horror of Party Beach”. Van Dahl interviewed John Stanley and director Tom Wyrsch. There were several old interviews shown from Bob Shaw who was one of the producers of the original show. They even had the outro from Bob Wilkins to wrap things up. As for The Horror of Party Beach, let’s just say that it was bad enough that I kept expecting the heckling robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000 to show up to make fun of the film. The creatures that menaced the teenagers looked like they had hot dogs hanging out of their mouths. Yea it was gloriously bad. And probably not one I’d watch again.

If you get a chance, check out the Creature Features YouTube channel. I watch it on the YouTube app on my television. They air the show live online every Saturday and they have past shows available as well. Besides showing the classics (that they can afford to show) they have also shown some recent fan films (somehow they got a foreign Star Trek fan film) and small budget studio releases that they were able to get their hands on. The variety has been very interesting. I also like the interview format that they have. 99% of the guests have been very entertaining to listen to ranging from actors, special effects artists, cosplayers and more.

Congratulations to Creature Features for reaching a 50th Anniversary. I hope you guys can continue to bring us many cheesy horror and science-fiction films for many years to come.

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

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 28: Apes Victorious

Character Creation Challenge Day 28

Apes Victorious is a role playing game that is heavily inspired by the 1970’s Planet of the Apes franchise. I’ve enjoyed watching this series when I can and I even put in the DVD of the first movie last night to prep for today’s challenge. While I’ve seen a few of the newer Planet of the Apes movies, I haven’t sat down and watched all of them. This was a universe I was interested in role-playing in. So I decided to make a character for the Character Creation Challenge.

One of the things that stood out from last night’s viewing is that the smart Humans did not have their technology to save them or confirm their stories. The ship crashed in the water and the non-intelligent Humans stole and trashed their equipment. Making another astronaut character seemed a little cliche, but the Apes Victorious book suggested that a smart Human could have emerged from a cryo-sleep in a bunker. So Martin Reynolds was a smart Human that was woken from his hibernation state by an alarm that he needed to evacuate the underground facility quickly before it exploded. Grabbing a few things while running for the exit he now finds himself in an unknown world. What will he find? What caused the destruction of his bunker? Who else survived?

Apes Victorious uses the same system as other Goblinoid Games (Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, Starships & Spacemen 2e) which are all D20 based with a few minor tweeks. The ability generation is done by 3d6 with the option to assign the scores after rolling. I will be using the Astronaut class for the revived sleeper (since he just woke up and not constantly living underground like an underdweller descendant).

The only difference between B/X D&D attributes and AV attributes is Psionic Potential (PSI) replaces the Wisdom (WIS) score. Astronauts do not get any attribute adjustments so Reynolds ended up with the following stats. STR: 11, CON: 11, DEX: 17, INT: 13, CHA: 9 and PSI: 8. Rolled a 5 for his Hit Points.

The equipment was easy (Astronauts get this). I didn’t include the rubber raft since he was actually a sleeper instead of a flyboy.

It appears that only Underdwellers get the psionic abilities. I wrote down the To Hit score and the save checks for Energy Attacks, Poison or Death, Stun Attacks and Radiation. After I wrote some description notes I considered the character done. Here is the character sheet.

Martin Reynolds character sheet

Afterthoughts:

I really want to write up a homebrew for the Sleeper class now. It would be very similar to the Astronaut but have some tweaks from the Underdwellers and other sources.

I liked how the character sheet has the graphics that remind me of the classic PotA series. The system was pretty basic and straightforward. I could see myself playing or even being the Ape Master (Game Master) for a campaign.

Additional Notes:

While I still haven’t been able to locate any additional websites that has posts for the Character Creation Challenge, I have been seeing a lot of participation on the social media hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge.

Coming Up Next:

Starships & Spacemen

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 27: Star Wars Roleplaying Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 27

While I’ve had lots of experience with the D6 Star Wars RPG by West End Games, I have never played the D20 Star Wars RPG by Wizards of the Coast. I’ve been able to collect a few of the books. Apparently there is a revised edition and a saga edition with smaller books. But I’m not certain how they all go together. But being a Star Wars fan I knew I had to make at least one character in this system for the Character Creation Challenge.

I will be using the Revised Core Rulebook that was published in 2002. I’m thinking a Fringer that is a member of the Rodian race named Navik. He was kicked out of his village by a rival who’s father was on the village council. Navik wandered the lands until he decided that he wanted to leave his homeworld, probably forever. After taking a few odd jobs he ended up helping some rebels. Feeling like he was wanted for once, he has joined the cause for freedom in the galaxy.

With this being one of the many D20 variants I was curious on how the attribute generation was set up. They had the 4d6 random generation rule, the planned generation with base attributes and spending points to obtain the score you wanted or just a standard score package. The last one didn’t sound very fun, I’ve done the second before so I rolled. I just feel better rolling for the character. After adding racial adjustments Navik had the following stats. STR: 15, DEX: 16, CON: 14, INT: 13, WIS: 14 and CHA: 8.

Interesting, this game calls it Vitality Points instead of Hit Points and your CON score is your Wound Points. There are also Force Points (even a non-Jedi starts out with 1 FP). A Reputation score is also a part of the character.

Not a lot of basic equipment in the core rulebook I wonder if one of the supplements had a lot more equipment to choose from. But I selected what I thought a wandering Fringer would have and called it good. Here is the character sheet.

Navik character sheet
Navik character sheet

Afterthoughts:

I was a little surprised that Bounty Hunter wasn’t one of the classes in the core rulebook. With how popular the Mandalorians are I thought for sure that they would be in there. I was thinking about making a Bounty Hunter after watching The Mandalorian series.

This character sheet uses really small fonts. I understand trying to get as much as you can on the page, but I probably wouldn’t use this character sheet in a campaign. I’d probably put something together in Excel.

Being familiar with the D20 system I could see myself easily playing this system. However if given a choice I’d play the D6 version first probably due to the nostalgia factor.

Additional Notes:

I’m having a lot of fun coming up with these characters. Some I had a general idea what I wanted to do before I started. Others like this one I made up on the spot. It’s interesting to see where inspiration strikes and where it strikes from.

Coming Up Next:

Apes Victorious

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 26: Star Trek Roleplaying Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 26

The Star Trek Roleplaying Game by Decipher was the first Star Trek RPG that I played with my local Star Trek club. I was even able to GM a few sessions. I had a group of young Ensigns (the player characters) lead by an NPC Lieutenant as the CO, head to a shipyard to recover the USS Crockett for refitting just after the end of the Dominion War. Starfleet needed to pull some older, but still serviceable ships out of mothballs to rebuild the fleet and get back to the primary duty of exploring. Because the PCs got kicked off the station managing the shipyard, the team left with the Crockett before making sure the ship was ready to go. There was a very large nest of Talarian Hook Spiders that woke up from hibernation when the environmentals warmed up. As the crew tried to re-take back the ship, one of the PCs accidentally set the Lieutenant on fire who then fell in the turboshaft that they were traversing through. Luckily he survived despite being very injured. After the players recovered the ship and got to their destination, the poor Lieutenant was placed on a medical leave and eventually retired somewhere far away from the PCs.

For this entry in the Character Creation Challenge, I decided that I would make an Andorian Flight Control Officer serving on the Nebula Class, USS Ulysses NCC-66808. His name would be Ensign Rexun and is is a member of the Athrun keith (clan). Selecting the race and the profession was the first and second part of the character creation process.

The attributes used in this STRPG is Strength, Agility, Intellect, Vitality, Presence and Perception. For the random method roll 2d6 nine times and discard the three lowest results, then assign a score to the attribute. There is also a pic method but I felt like rolling dice today. With the racial modifiers Rexun ended up with the following attributes. STR: 8, AGL: 8, INT: 9, VIT: 8, PRE: 7, PER: 9.

Reaction tests are like savings throws. You select the highest of the attribute modifiers that feed into the four reaction scores. These also in turn generate your Initiative and Defense scores.

This is a skills based system. I’ve been a fan of these types of systems, but I’ll play the “general skills” games as well. I just feel that the skills list makes the character unique, especially when you are homebrewing a character seen in the show or in the expanded universe. These skills are selected by going through several steps including Personal Development (military brat was selected) and Professional Development (I selected Helm/Navigator)

The character creation process rounded out with wound status, courage and renown. There is a chapter on equipment, but it wasn’t part of the creation process listed on pages 20-21. In the RAW Starfleet equipment is assigned as per the mission needs. I considered the character done. Here is the sheet.

Rexun character sheet
Rexun character sheet

Afterthoughts:

Creating this character brought back lots of good memories. Especially with friends from Starfleet Command’s Seventh Fleet. We did some homebrewing in our games and it made me want to homebrew again.

There was a time I had to go find the Players Guide errata. Luckily I had it readily available. The book had a few rough edges while trying to navigate the character creation system. Quite a few bookmarks were used. I remember in the Fleet we had created our own Character Creation Guide to assist members unfamiliar with the game.

Additional Notes:

We are entring the home stretch towards the end of the Character Creation Challenge. Because I’m creating a characgter and writing a blog post at the same time, it takes quite a bit of coordination and energy. Especially when I have to stop myself from pulling out the other resource books and fan made homebrews after the character is created. I get distracted by the shiny things sometimes.

Coming Up Next:

Star Wars Roleplaing Game by Wizards of the Coast

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 24: Doctor Who Roleplaying Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 24

While I have played the FASA Doctor Who RPG many, many years ago. I have not had the chance to play Cubicle 7’s entry into the Doctor Who game universe. So this will be an introduction to the game for me. I picked up the book from a local game store a year ago and I also had a chance to get a lot of the PDF books in one of the charity bundle sales. I’ve also noticed that a lot of fans are homebrewing their own “publiclations” for this game with unofficial “Expanded Universe” sourcebooks. This gives me a little bit of hope and inspiration as I’d like to do this with other universes (Star Trek in particular). So I knew that I had to make an entry into the Character Creation Challenge with this game.

Since I made a Gallifreyan Time Lord with the FASA system, I think I’ll make a companion with this game. Tim Bronson was originally a police officer in a small city when he got caught up in some business with a mysterious stranger, some weird alien looking things and some para-military group that claimed they were working with the United Nations. Turns out, they were working with the UN and they all helped to stop a group of aliens from harvesting Human body parts for some intergalactic medical black market. The mysterious stranger, called The Baron, put in a good word with UNIT’s commanding officers. Upon this recommendation, they invited Bronson to join them in their quest to keep the Earth safe from the aliens that wish to harm the planet and it’s occupants. Sometimes he’s with a team heading off planet, other times he’s helping The Baron with some urgent tasks. But he’s been running ever since that fateful day.

The character creation system assigns you points to build a character. They can be spent on Attributes, Skills and Traits. The attributes are Awareness, Coordination, Ingenuity, Presence, Resolve and Strength. They have a score range from 1 to 6 in each attribute. For a law enforcement character I selected the following. Awareness: 4, Coordination: 3, Ingenuity: 3, Presence: 2, Resolve: 3 and Strength: 3. The Traits that Bronson had (which also pulled from the same pool of character points as attributes) was Brave, Lucky, Keen Senses (sight), Voice of Authority (aka The Policeman’s Voice), Quick Reflexes and Friend (all of his buddies back in the police force). There were a few other traits that were intriguing (including some bad traits that would have gained me points) but I decided not to go overboard on the character.

There are twelve skills listed. Each skill can also have an Area of Expertise (but they cost points to put into them). So I selected the following for my police officer turned UNIT operative. Bronson’s area of expertise was Interrogation (trying to get information out of a suspicious person). The Stuff section basically stated to select what you thought your character should have. So I picked a few things that a former police officer may still have in his possession and called it good. Here is the character sheet.

Tim Bronson character sheet

Afterthoughts:

I liked the detailed explanation of the attributes. Ingenuity-3 represents this, Strenght-1 represents this, etc. It detailed what an average Human would have for statistics which, I think, helped players create their characters. This level of detail also went into the Traits and Skills.

I also liked that the end of the character creation process was noted in the book. Usually a character creation process just pushes you into the next chapter, then the next and so on. There were times I was wondering “Am I done or did I miss something?” Especially when I would see blank spots on the character sheet. I usually had to go look up the index to find the section to fill in that part of the sheet.

I really had to resist the urge to pull the other books out and check out what they had listed for stats and information. I may have to do that soon, especially the fan made stuff.

Additional Notes:

Dealing with a malfunctioning furnace made me wonder if I was going to be able to get a character made today. Luckily we were able to get a temporary fix going until we can get a professional in to look at the system. I really dislike the winter and the cold weather. I’ll take the heat of summer anytime.

Coming Up Next:

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition