Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2022 Character Creation Challenge after action report

Note: If you made it through 31 days of the challenge, read to the bottom of the post.

So the 2022 Character Creation Challenge is now in the books and this was a bit different from the 2021 challenge. I don’t know if I was more enthusiastic about the games in 2021 or if it was something else. Not knowing if there was going to be a 2nd challenge, I used a lot of games that I really wanted to run/play. For 2022 there were more games of “well it’s there, let’s take a look at it” which may have been the wrong attitude. But I’m glad that I used those games. While there are some that I’ll never play and may even trade the games away, I can still say that I’ve dipped my toe into the water. I was worried that my lack of enthusiasm for that game may affect the creation process. There was a few times I told myself “smeg it, I’m done”. I still want to do a variety of games, but I’m wondering if I should just limit it to the games I would actually want to play? I’ve got some time to think about this.

I tried to use the time that would have been allotted to me in a session zero time frame to create a character for the challenge. For some games that I am not familiar with I would probably need a lot more time to learn the system. For games that I am familiar with, I would need time to think about a character concept that would go with a party. During the 31 day challenge I also made a Far Trek character for an online game. That was done in free time and it took a few days because I had to confirm what positions were still available. Unfortunately the Engineering spot had already been taken up otherwise I would have requested the use of the character I made in 2021.

My biggest suggestions for game writers, a checklist or worksheet is a big help. Give a start and an end to the character creation process that includes the allocation of equipment. There were some really funky and weird equipment guidelines in some of the games. Some kewl and some made me scratch my head and wonder what they were smoking. Also explain your system before character creation starts. I mean explain it simply and save the extra details for later in the book. If you are going to have a player pick a value or belief for the character, give more than 2-3 examples. Even if they don’t get used they may inspire other ideas.

I would like to say that I’m very surprised by a couple of things. A thank you has to go out to the companies that still have character sheets available online for games that they haven’t touched in years. I was also surprised that some of the dead games were still available on DriveThruRPG. Especially the Farscape RPG since it is based on an intellectual property.

Last year I only printed out the character sheets just before I needed to use them. This year I had this drive to have all sheets printed out and ready to go before the challenge started. I was really glad I did this. When I discovered that one game (sideways glance at Fantasy Imperium) had a six-page character sheet and that I had scheduled it for a weekday, I moved that game to a day I had off. I’ve played with character sheets in excel, fillable character sheets and even sheets provided in a virtual table top. But I have fond memories of writing things down on a printed out sheet and loved doing that as part of this challenge. When I found my three-ringed binder full of old characters that I had played, I had a blast remembering the past games.

Yes there will be a 2023 Character Creation Challenge. Details won’t be posted for quite some time however as I’ve got to decompress.

The reaction to this year’s challenge is one of the many things that blew me away. The 2022 Character Creation thread on the RPG.net forums was named a Staff Pick by the moderators. This year’s thread has made it up to (at the time of this posting) 128 pages. This was three times larger than the 2021 thread of 42 pages. I loved reading all of the different blogs that participated. If I don’t have your blog on the Character Creation Page, please send me the URL. On social media I could not keep up with all of the entries using the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge. This was particularly true on twitter, that place was gangbusters. I tried to like and re-tweet as much as I could but some days that got to be too much. If I missed your post, don’t feel bad. Ten days into the challenge I realized that I should have kept a tally of how many entries there were for each system, but in 20/20 hindsight I’m glad I didn’t. That could have taken up a ton of time. Perhaps I’d do this if I wasn’t actually creating characters, but I really want to roll dice since I haven’t been able to get together with friends on a regular basis. There was a number of entries also posted on Facebook and MeWe. It wouldn’t surprise me if similar threads were popping up on other social media sites and message boards. If you hear of any that I don’t follow, please let me know.

Speaking of reactions, I added a new plugin for my site this year that tracked the number of visitors. It showed the sites that you guys would read. The top five games that brought in the most visitors was Dungeons & Dragons: Holmes Basic, Classic Traveller, Espionage! and Dungeons & Dragons: B/X edition. I still need to find a way to enable followers to comment on blog posts without having to worry about spambots infiltrating everything.

The 2022 games that made the most impression on me are Dune: Adventures in the Imperium, Star Trek Adventures-The Klingon Empire, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Boldly Go!, White Lies! and Covert Ops. I want to take deeper looks at Tiny Dungeon 2nd edition, Amazing Adventures 5E, Modern Age, Castle & Crusades and Classic Traveller. While I may never get a chance to play them, I do have a greater appreciation for Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Paranoia 2nd Edition. The low points of this challenge were Fantasy Imperium and Blue Rose.

A lot of participants were posting their list of games before the challenge started. While I had a spreadsheet created to help me with my entries, I’m glad that I didn’t post it. I swapped out a couple of games when two new games came into my possession. The two I rotated out was Rocket Age and The Frontier, which should be on my 2023 challenge list.

Here is my final 2022 Character Creation Challenge list.
Day 1: Dune Adventures in the Imperium Character: Tarkin Dal of the House Nimoi
Day 2: Wendy’s Feast of Legends Character: Garthos of the Order of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Day 3: Dungeons & Dragons-Holmes Basic Character: Dylath
Day 4: Men in Black The Roleplaying Game Character: Agent C
Day 5: BASH! Sci-Fi Edition Character: TaChar
Day 6: Star Wars Saga Edition Character: Keet Apaal
Day 7: Espionage! Character: Devron Marcus
Day 8: Star Trek Adventures-The Klingon Empire Character: Nurot son of H’unos
Day 9: Pirates and Plunder Character: Jason “Jake” McCabe
Day 10: Modern Age Character: Raymond Ray
Day 11: Farscape Roleplaying Game Character: Drellith
Day 12: Castles and Crusades Character: Godfrey of Cloverdale
Day 13: The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game Character: Judge Stark
Day 14: Boldly Go! Character: Tigrox Carvor of the SFS Valiant
Day 15: Covert Ops Character: William Greene
Day 16: Paranoia 2nd Edition Character: Car-R-PET-1
Day 17: Fantasy Imperium Character: William Moore
Day 18: Cyberpunk v3 Character: Freejack
Day 19: Amazing Adventures 5E Character: Derick Fieldstone
Day 20: Dungeons & Dragons B/X edition Character: Brother Alexander
Day 21: Prime Directive 1st edition Character: Kovil
Day 22: Werewolf The Apocalypse Character: Hans Brulker
Day 23: MERC Character: Mark Powell
Day 24: Dungeon Crawl Classics Character: Multiple
Day 25: White Lies! Character: Ronald Denton
Day 26: Classic Traveller Character: Tyrell Balto
Day 27: Blue Rose Character: Valk Starn
Day 28: Bubblegum Crisis Character: Taxun
Day 29: Technoir Character: Arron “Trench” Chambers
Day 30: Dark Conspiracy Character: Dale Laslow
Day 31: Tiny Dungeon 2nd edition Character: Rek Son of Talk

While I’m not trying to think of the 2023 challenge yet, I’m really hoping that I can find a copy of Star Frontiers for it. I’m also having doubts that I’ll ever find my Top Secret S/I collection. I may have to break down and see if I can acquire the rules again.

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.

So did you complete the challenge and make 31 characters? If so, please email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com. 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. If you buzz me, I’ll send you the badge to display.

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 14: Boldly Go!

Boldly Go! is a science-fiction roleplaying game that was released in 2021 by Geoffquest and backed by a Kickstarter campaign. Like Starships and Spacemen, it is a Star Trek inspired game with the serial numbers filled off. I heard about this game just after last year’s Character Creation Challenge. And since I am very interested in Star Trek (and Star Trek-like) roleplaying games, I knew I had to pick this up and use it for this year’s challenge.

When I created a character for the Dune: Adventures in the Imperium RPG, the first thing I needed to do was to create a Nobel House. In Boldly Go! the players not only create their characters in session zero, they can also create the ship that they will be serving on. This will be a vessel serving in Space Fleet for the Stellar Alliance. While the players can just pick a ship listed in the core rulebook, creating a ship, like creating a Nobel House, would give the group a little bit more cohesion.

Boldly Go! uses the Traits System. Character, ships, equipment and other items all have traits. These traits can be positive or negative, permanent or temporary. When a character has to complete a task they add one base D6 to a dice pool. For each positive trait that applies to the scene (justified to the Fleet Admiral (GM) if they have any questions) you can add an additional D6 to use. A roll of 5 or 6 counts as a success. If more successes are rolled than what is required (the more difficult tasks require more successes) then the character succeeds the task they are attempting to do. Negative traits can make the task more difficult. There are also Drama Points that can be earned during play. Drama points can be used for a variety of positive options including adding to your dice pool.

So first the group comes up with the name for the ship. I consulted the voices in my head and we came up with the SFS Valiant. For the concept, the Valiant would be an exploration cruiser. The other classifications we could have selected from included Cruiser, Diplomatic, Medical, etc. If there are four or fewer players, they all get two trait points to purchase traits for the ship (higher number of players gets 1 point per player). So the number of voices in my head is classified, but we will say that there are four players in the game. It would be interesting to see what could happen as each player selects a trait. Some may think that certain traits are needed more than other. They have a sample list of positive and negative traits (yes ships can have negative traits) but they don’t define what they are. So this is something that the group and Fleet Admiral would have to discuss when making the ship. Each trait is worth one trait point. Ship traits can be a physical item (such as Advanced Engines) or non-physical (such as Crew Like Family). I think I filled out the sheet correctly (the systems ran out of room). Since the CO is going to be an NPC, I just filled in a name.

Like the ship creation, you create a concept, name and backstory. Then you select a species and write down the traits and special ability that the race has. The races for PCs in the game include Humans (I don’t know if anyone will know who these guys are), Gatoan (cat people), Krakenoid (humanoid octopuses), Mordons (Silicon-based humanoids), Rittians (sloth people), Syntoids (self-aware androids) or Hybrids (combine two non-Synthoid races into one). Since Krakenoid’s are not really found in any other game that I’ve seen so far, I’m going with that one. Since the Krakenoids are a militant race, I’ll go with the occupation of security. Each member of the Space Fleet gain the Academy Training trait. Then I selected the rank of Lieutenant (he was going to be the Chief of Security) which earned the character two free drama points. It also meant that I had five trait points that I can spend. There is a list of sample traits or you can make some up of your own.

In the equipment section, everything was pretty straight forward. Your character gets this as a member of Space Fleet. If other equipment is assigned or found, you’ll be able to use it. Here is the character and ship sheets.

Afterthoughts:

I really feel like this system has a good start. Perhaps I’d change my mind with actually experiencing the game in play, but I felt that it still needed one or two more steps to being a really great system. I didn’t get this feel from my initial read-through when I first got the book. But now that I’m looking at it while actually creating a ship and creation, it feels like there could be a little bit more. Or at least I would try to implement it if I was actually running a game. I could see myself playing and homebrewing for this system.

Why would a player select a negative trait for a character or a ship? In this read through there was nothing stating that you would gain a positive trait for selecting a negative trait or if you’ve had to take a balance.

Having used the FASA Starship Construction Manual in the past, the ship creation was simple, but somewhat too simple. If I was a FA for a game, I’d probably put limits on how many systems and traits a certain class of ship might have. I didn’t see any guidelines for this.

I like the graphical design of the Character Sheet and Ship Sheet. Speaking of graphics, the images used to show Captain Raymond Sexton Jr. reminded me of Nick Diamond from Celebrity Death Match.

Additional Notes:

On the Character Creation Challenge thread at the RPG.net forums a user by the handle Golden Age Superhero asked me more about my entry for Castles and Crusades. I mentioned that my Knight could not be a Halfling as per the rules. GAS reported that there were no class/limit restrictions. I went back and looked over the racial descriptions. The classes listed were the “typical” classes and that with your Castle Keeper’s (C&Cs name for a DM) permission you could use others. So in hindsight I could have made Godfrey a member of the Halfling race. Thank you for pointing that out. Just the thought of a proud Knight having to be taken seriously by those who only see his short stature just sounded like an interesting role playing opportunity.

While I can do a little prep work before hand, the bulk of my workday is spent on real life work duties. I create my character afterwards (with the blog entry open for editing so I can write my thoughts down as they happen) and I’ve had a few times where I’ve run into snags or deadlines. So there are times I’m trying to push to get the entry for that day done, which may lead to mistakes. The majority of the entries I feel good about, but I know that not all of them are going to be up to satisfactions. If I noticed it, I’ll try to point it out (like I did with the Modern Age entry). If I missed something, feel free to let me know. Part of the reason I’m participating in this challenge is to learn about some of these roleplaying games and what they have to offer.

Coming Up Next:

Covert Ops

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