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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 24: Dungeon Crawl Classics

In the 2021 Character Creation Challenge I had the opportunity to create a character for Mutant Crawl Classics. I was really impressed with the game after I had made my character. I had the opportunity to pick up a bunch of PDFs for Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics in a charity sale, so I knew that I was going to use it in the 2022 Challenge. Then a few months later I was able to find a dead-tree version of the core rulebook at a good price, so I picked it up. Once again I love the feel and weight that a game book brings up when I’m holding it in my hands.

I really want to try a Dungeon Crawl Classics or Mutant Crawl Classics game for a few different reasons. But one of the big ones is that I want to experience this idea called ‘The Funnel’ where you make multiple level-zero characters and see which ones (if any) survive to make it up to level one where you actually select your class.

I did a lot of the character creation process breakdown in my MCC character creation. Since that game was based upon DCC it basically follows the same process. I think the biggest difference is that there are more starting occupations in DCC compared to just the two in MCC.

Some idle thoughts that came up while creating characters. Somehow the occupation roll mostly fit what meager attributes the characters had. I wonder if the level-0 characters can trade or sell their extra item before the adventure? What am I going to do with a chicken while in a dungeon? It would have also affected the equipment that I might buy for the character if I can sell a 10 ft chain to a store for half of the cost listed in the book. I still had to look up a few items like speed and initiative. But they were easily found.

I think I filled out the character sheets correctly.

Afterthoughts:

I still like that I can get some use out of my d30 that is in my dice bag. If I’m ever able to play DCC or MCC, I should invest in the other “funky dice” that they describe in the game.

Loved the art in this book. A lot of it was inspired by old-school books that contained interesting art.

Additional: I forgot to mention that there are rules to create standard characters if your GM didn’t want to run a bunch of zero-level characters through the funnel.

Additional Notes:

After yesterday’s post about the Merc RPG, I had a former player contact me on social media. Apparently there was a supplement to the boxed set that made the game feel more like a role playing game.

Coming Up Next:

White Lies

Posted in: Role Playing Games

#RPGaDay2021 Day 19: Patron

Day 19: Patron

Star Trek Adventures is not the only game I’m interested in learning and playing. Over the past year I have obtained the core rulebooks for both Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics. I found a used DCC book at one of my local gaming stores. My hardbound copy of MCC came as a Secret Satan gift that I’ve previously posted about on this blog.

When I first saw Dungeon Crawl Classics at a local store, I thought that it looked like they put a lot of work into it (the book was thick and heavy and lots of B&W artwork) but it seemed like another retro-clone. So I really didn’t pick it up. But after I picked up the books in one of the charity PDF bundle sales, I realized that the rules were classic D&D with some twists to make it unique. And since I like physical books better for my first time learning, I started searching out and books I could get my hands on.

One of these twists was the use of Patrons in the magic system for both games. Wizards (or Shamans in MCC) would bond with a mystical Patron who would grant the spellcaster extra powers. In exchange, the Patron may ask for favors in return. This could be a sacrifice or a quest or something dreamed up by the Game Master. In the fantasy based DCC, Patrons could be a supernatural being, a very powerful wizard, an elder god or a host of other options. GMs were encouraged to create Patrons that would fit their game world. In Mutant Crawl Classics, the Patrons were Artificial Intelligence (AIs) that somehow survived the cataclysm that befell the planet. They would grant wetware (i.e. spells) to the Shamans in exchange for services rendered. GMs were also encouraged to create their own AI Patrons for their adventures.

The spells/wetware granted could have a variety of effects (as most spells in the Crawl games). An entry for a spell wasn’t just a few sentences with some stats. A spell could be several pages long detailing the different effects that could happen depending upon the roll of the dice. Any time that a spell was cast, there was a chance of Patron Taint that affected the spellcaster. Again these could be very minor inconvenience or a major change to the character depending upon the dice rolls. I thought it was interesting that the gods worshiped by Clerics would not allow them to use their healing ability to cure a taint. Standard damage that occurred during a game, yes. But not removing or healing a patron taint. Since the gods were usually opposing some of the supernatural beings, why would they help one of their servants.

I thought it was an interesting magical system. I really wish that I could get together with some friends (we are still having to deal with some of the effects of the pandemic) just to sit and have play test sessions. Afterwards we could decide which one we wanted to run a campaign with.

Final Thoughts:

When I saw “Patron” on the list, I knew I wanted to do an article about DCC & MCC. I can see some posts about “Theme” games or game “Styles”. I’m really curious if anyone comes up with something for “Storm”.

RPGaDay 2021 chart
The RPGaDay 2021 chart
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