Posted in: Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Star Trek Discovery character packs season one and two: A comparison

So last month I posted about the Star Trek: Discovery season one character pack published by Modiphus. I figured that they would be releasing a season two, but I didn’t know how soon. As it turns out, it was earlier than I expected. Just a few days ago Modiphius released the Star Trek: Discovery season two character pack. I had to pick it up the moment I realized it was available on DriveThruRPG. Note, it is only available in PDF version.

The season two book also comes in at 22 pages (the largest of all the character guides) and continues the special report by Kovich to Admiral Vance detailing the events of the second season. While the “report” covers some characters we’ve seen detailed in the season one guide, it also provides information on new characters we saw in season two.

Our first new character is Captain Pike. I did notice that the science rating matches what we saw in the episodes of Discovery. Next comes Commander Saru, a character that was detailed in the season one book. This character has different stats since this is the post-Vahar’ai Saru. Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, like Commander Saru, has some changes from the season one write up as he is now Human augmented with Tardigrade DNA. The stats for Michael Burnham had also changed between her Mutineer write up to her Science Officer information. We also have new stats for Ash Tyler, Sylvia Tilly and Philippa Georgiou. Next comes Lieutenant Spock, and yes he’s different than the Commander Spock found in the Star Trek: The Original Series character packs. But this would be expected as there are several years in the life of the character. We also get the first stats for Commander Jet Reno. The supporting characters are also new with Commander Una Chin-Riley (aka Number One), Lt. Commander Airiam, the Barzan Lt. Commander Nhan and the Saurian Lt. (j.g.) Linus.

A write up is provided for the Kelpian species, but it is the same as the first season book. The write up for the USS Discovery is listed as the 2257 configuration, but the information appears to the same as the 2256 configuration. These are the only two items that are the same, everything else is different. Originally when I saw the listing of characters, I was worried that it would be the same with some new artwork. But that is not the case. This will be new information for gamemasters and players so this would be a product worth purchasing.

Modiphius sent out an email announcing this product which is how I found out about the release. The other products they announced in the same email also sounded very interesting. This August, Modiphius will be releasing the Star Trek Discovery (2256-2258) Campaign guide. This will include several new races and spaceframes. The book I’m really looking forward to is titled, Utopia Planitia. This is a sourcebook for Starfleet and will be released sometime later in 2022.

Posted in: Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

A look into STA Discovery and Starbases

Over the past week, Modiphius has released two new PDF products for their Star Trek Adventures RPG line. I picked up both of them on DriveThruRPG and decided to give them a review. As you may recall, I was very impressed with the IDW Star Trek Year Five Tie In that Modiphius released last October. And it is still my hope that there will be further official releases based off of the IDW Star Trek comics. Here is a BIG HINT of what I’d love to see next from Modiphius and IDW.

Last week, the Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Player Characters write up was released. This was done in the same format as the supplements covering the The Original Series Player Characters , The Next Generation Players Characters, the Deep Space Nine Player Characters, the Voyager Player Characters, the Enterprise Player Characters and the Villains NPC supplement. However, since Star Trek Discovery is still coming out with new episodes (the fourth season just ended and season 5 is currently in production) I can see why Modphius elected to focus on season one with this release. They could produce future issues covering other seasons. In a way, I wish that Modiphius would have made this a supplement covering season one and two with the next release covering the seasons in the 32nd century. I could have seen that being a logical breaking point between supplements.

This book is written from the viewpoint of a Starfleet report in the 32nd century. In an effort to learn everything they can about the USS Discovery after it’s arrival, a report was made. At 22 pages this is the largest Player Characters supplement released by Modiphius. It contains artwork from the Star Trek Timelines game with a good layout that fits the 32nd century Starfleet. There is also a very good look at the dedication plaque for Discovery. As a Treknologist, this warmed my heart.

All of the main characters are presented from Captain Gabriel Lorca to Cadet Sylvia Tilly (one of my favorite characters). A few major NPCs, such as Emperor Philippa Georgiou and L’Rell, and several supporting characters are also detailed within the book. For those who wish to play characters from the Kelpien race, the stats are available in this publication. The starship stats for the Crossfield-Class USS Discovery is also officially set for use in Star Trek Adventures with this release. A new starship talent for the Spore Drive has been detailed for game masters. At $4.99, the Discovery Season One Crew Pack is a bargain for anyone wishing to set a series in the Discovery era.

One final thought about these Player Character guides, I love these. With past games based on popular franchises, you attract a lot of new players who are fans of the series first. I’ve seen examples where someone wants to describe their character as “tougher than Worf” or “almost as smart as Spock when it comes to computers.” With these different player character guides, it helps the GM assist the new players with reaching their desired character goals.

This week, Modiphius released the Mission Briefs 005 Starbase Adventures book. On DriveThruRPG this publication is listed as a “pay what you want” with a suggested price of $0.00. So you can pick up the PDF (and those of the earlier Mission Brief releases) for free. For those of you not familiar with the Mission Brief format, it is a series of adventure seeds that GMs can drop into their campaign. For this book, the subject is Starfleet Officers serving on a Starbase or other similar facility. The details for each brief is contained on a single page and geared towards a specific officer (i.e. Medical Officer, Engineering Officer, etc.). It is written by Tony Pi who has several good articles on the STA fan website: Continuing Mission. This Mission Briefs is primarily set in the TNG era, but with a little work most of them could be adjusted to other eras. There are ten briefs in total with the book coming in at sixteen pages. While you are picking up the Discovery Crew Pack, slip the Mission Briefs into your cart as well.

Hopefully soon we will see Player Character guides for Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Picard and other series that are available on Paramount+.

Posted in: Role Playing Games

Biggest turn-off when checking out a new table top RPG

A few days ago the independent TTRPG designer @TitanomachyRPG, asked on Twitter “Biggest turn-off when checking out a new #TTRPG?” While I gave a response to the post, I kept thinking about the question. I felt that it needed more than a quick jumble of words that fit into 240 characters. When I see a role playing game on the shelf at my favorite gaming store or online at DriveThruRPG, what makes me think that I should or should not pick it up?

Not only did I think about it, I pulled a few books down to find both good and bad examples. I collect the books, both in physical and PDF style. I love seeing the different styles and systems. When I open a role playing game, I see opportunity. Opportunity for creativity, adventure and an escape from this crappy world we live in. However since I have limited time, limited shelf space and limited funds, sometimes I have to stop myself from purchases. So when contemplating a purchase what am I considering? What turn-offs will make me not want to purchase a game?

First, am I currently playing (or plan to soon play) the game in question? Unfortunately, I am not playing a lot of role playing games right now. This is something I hope to remedy soon. Also am I planning to homebrew for the system? Right now I’m trying to homebrew for the various Star Trek RPGs so I’ve been trying to pick up the various Star Trek Adventures books and other Trek-based systems when the funds allow it. Yes, the cost of the game will make or break a purchase decision. There are several games that I’d like to pick up, but the price is a little beyond my reach. I’m also a bargain hunter, so finding an opportunity to save will help greatly in pulling the trigger. A lot of times the Bundle of Holding, Humble Bundle or DriveThruRPG Deal of the Day have offered me inexpensive options to pick up some titles in PDF version. Sales can often be found at game stores, conventions and online for the dead tree versions. Every once in a while, I can luck out and find a game at a thrift store. That is how I found the Holmes version of Dungeons and Dragons at a very good price. Now this doesn’t mean that I won’t pay full price for a book, but the higher the price, the more I’m putting it off (or using a gift card for it).

So now that the 800 lb gorilla is out of the way, let’s get down to the other items that I consider when thinking of making a game purchase. I will say that probably one of the biggest is how the game is explained in the rules. A publisher is asking me to pick up their game and play it. As RPGs are social games, I would need to explain the game in a nutshell to potential players how the game is played. So if a game takes a page or two and explains the basics of the game, I’m more inclined to buy it. I remember being at the game store and flipping through the pages of Modern Age. Right near the front the explained how the game system worked in simple terms. I ended up buying the game. When I used the Doctor Who Roleplaying Game by Cubicle 7 in the 2021 Character Creation Challenge, I spotted this.

I could show this to potential players and they would understand the concept quickly. The core concept was explained on a page or two with the extra details provided in the deeper parts of the book. This also helped me out when I was creating my first Doctor Who character in this system.

Speaking of character creation, one of the things that the Character Creation Challenge has taught me is that a book that clearly lays out the character creation system from start to finish is one that I’d be more inclined to pick up. Not just roll dice for your attributes, but step by step. This should include the equipment acquisition and a clear ending to the process. Too many times the character creation process would start, then suddenly go into the next chapter, then the next and then… well am I done? Give Step One and keep going until you give a clearly marked final step. As with the core rules, summarize then go into more details later.

Hopefully the RPG book will flow from beginning to end. When I’m flipping from one section back to another then to another just to understand how the rules work, it gets a little frustrating. So I’ll look for an index in the book. If there is one, that’s points in favor of a purchase. If the books in in PDF, is it bookmarked? Bookmark entries will also be points in favor of purchase.

We now have two methods of reading our games. Dead tree versions and soft copies (PDF primarily). While I’d prefer the dead tree version if I’m learning a game for the first time, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to learn from the PDF version. Publishers, please make sure that your books are readable in both formats. For example, here is one of the few things that I didn’t like about the Star Trek Adventures core rulebook.

I’m not a graphic designer. I don’t even play one on TV. But as a consumer, this was frustrating to me. The light fonts on a black background was very difficult to read. The over-use of the little side boxes also made it difficult to read. I’m trying to read the actual rules and these, for lack of a better term I’m going to call them pop up ads, side items would try to grab my attention. I already hate it when websites try to do this, but to see it in a book was just doubly frustrating. Yes the system was good, but as I was looking through the book, I kept wanting to re-write the chapters so it was just the rules. Luckily the publisher has received feedback on this because the PDF versions also come in a “printer friendly” option. While this doesn’t resolve the “pop up ad” items, it did make it easier on the eyes. Now Modiphius took this feedback and released the other books, like the Klingon Core Rulebook and Dune: Adventures in the Imperium, with a much better layout. It wasn’t so busy, it was easier to read. Thank you.

Speaking of graphic design, the art on the cover and in the book can add or subtract from the points towards purchase. Yes the old axiom is “Never judge a book by it’s cover”, but a good cover will help. I’ve had bad covers put me off on making the purchase. When looking at the interior art, I try to look at it more objectively now since I have a college aged kid studying this subject. I’ll ask her questions and show art examples to her to get her feedback. It’s really helped on some books. I was looking at one game that I picked up cheap on the DriveThruRPG Deal of the Day and some of the interior art, while good, didn’t fit the page it was on. You’re describing equipment, and you have the art of a character headshot that has nothing to do with the subject matter. It made me raise an eyebrow. For my final photo, I’m going to show a good cover and a not-so-good cover. The Operations Division Sourcebook for Star Trek Adventures and Technoir.

In my opinion, the cover for The Operations Division showed action and a clear image of what the book would be about. Starfleet officers in gold uniforms commonly worn by those in the Operations Division doing their jobs. The Technoir cover is, well noir-ish, but bland. It could have been a 1930’s detective cover or a futuristic style cover. Had I not been gifted the Technoir book, I don’t think I would have purchased it.

The last item that could move the needle towards or away from a purchase is the support the game has. Are there free “quickstart” versions of the game that will let me read some of the basic rules? (I have made purchases after reading the quickstarts) Is there an online community for the game? How does the vendor respond on social media? Can I grab some basic freebies from their website like character sheets, handouts, or other items?

Now stepping back into the personal realm, I do tend to gravitate towards games that are part of my general interests. Specific franchises such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who and other popular shows will catch my attention. As will specific genres such as espionage, westerns, pulp-era/gangsters, science fiction and post-apocalyptic. For fantasy, I’m sticking with Dungeons and Dragons or a good clone for that itch. Retro-versions of past games can also be picked up by my radar. What fails to grab me are horror (I’m really particular about my horror tastes, plus how can I be scared in an RPG), romance, and super-heroes. While I love hero movies and shows, I’m just not drawn to the super-hero RPGs at this time.

So in conclusion, publishers please make your game easy to understand so I can explain it to others. Make your publication readable and easy to use and investing in some good artwork will really help. Hopefully this insight into one of your consumers will help you with future sales.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some more RPG books I’d like to read through.

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, Star Trek

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 8: Star Trek Adventures-The Klingon Empire

So I’ve put together a regular Starfleet character in Star Trek Adventures for the 2021 Character Creation Challenge. However the Klingon Empire core rulebook looked so kewl, I had to create a character for the 2022 challenge. When I created the 2021 character (which I was able to use in a game later) I had to use a cheat sheet along with the core rulebook. Since the rules in the Klingon book seem to be better organized, I’m going to just use the book for this character. I’m also not going to describe the system as much since I did that last year. So let’s create (runs random Klingon name generator) Nurot son of H’unos.

Since this game uses values which are usually a quote, I pulled out my massive list of Star Trek quotes to assist me. If I get a chance to roll a dice to decide something, I’m letting fate take control. I’ve noticed that a lot of characters lately haven’t had a lot of dice rolling involved. So my Environment was a Starship or Space Station. Pulling up the power of internet search, I found a name for a ship. The IKV notqa’ is a large Klingon cruiser that his parents were serving on when he was born. For Caste I rolled Warrior which he accepted. Training I rolled an Enlisted Warrior. So far this is going where I’m hoping it will. In his career, I selected Young Warrior. The two career events are: Serious Injury (He was injured on a hunting trip and got a nasty scar from it which resulted in an implant as part of his arm) and Conquest (assisted in the conquest of the Jugul homeworld, a previously undiscovered planet on the edge of Klingon space.)

I know there is an option to create a Klingon House, but unfortunately I’m under a time crunch today, so I’ll explore these rules at a later time. Here is the character sheet for the young Nurot who someday hopes to make it up to command his own ship.

Afterthoughts:

I love the fact that they included two ribbon bookmarks with this book. The book is about 10-20% bigger than the STA core rulebook so it needs it. Also having dark text printed on a light background is much easier to read. And yes I didn’t need to use a cheat sheet to create a character for the Klingon Defense Force.

Additional Notes:

No new blogs found today. But I’ve been retweeting any new character that I’ve found on twitter with the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge. On the RPG.net forums, one person stated they had to bow out because of real world issues. No honor lost in that because real life comes first and they can always jump back in if things improve. Keep the new characters coming.

Coming Up Next:

Pirates & Plunder

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Dune, Science Fiction

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 1: Dune Adventures In The Imperium

For my birthday in 2021 I received an Amazon gift card. While there was a lot of stuff I could have picked up with the gift card, I really wanted it to be something special. This was a birthday gift and that should be something that will be remembered, not something plain like a pair of socks. Luckily, Dune Adventures in the Imperium had just been released and I was able to find a physical copy of the book to buy. I’ve discovered that when learning a new system, I prefer to have a dead-tree version of the rules in my hand.

Dune is one of those franchises that I learned to appreciate from my Father. It was one of the many sci-fi loves that he had passed onto me. I was also very excited for the (then) upcoming Dune movie to finally be released in the theaters. However I was a little nervous about the RPG being released by Modiphius. While I’ve been enjoying the Star Trek Adventures RPG, I would always get the urge to re-write the core rulebook to make information easier to find and to read (colored text on a black background was a bad idea). Luckily the lessons learned from the STA fiasco were applied to the Dune core rulebook and I’ve found it much better to read and understand while giving a ton of detail about the universe the franchise is based in. After looking through the core rulebook, I knew that Dune Adventures in the Imperium was going to be my first entry for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.

Before you create your character in the Dune RPG, you first create the Noble House that you and all of your fellow party members are associated with. This makes a ton of sense since the game is usually about various types of political intrigue and they should all be on the same side. For the purposes of this entry, I’m going to create a house on my own pretending that it was done in a group.

In the game a noble house is one of four types ranging from Nascent House (just starting House Minor with few enemies and serving a House Major) to Great House (largest and well known, but lots of enemies and lots of House Minors serving it). The larger the house, the more Threat that the Gamemaster receives for game purposes. In most 2d20 games from Modiphius, Threats are used by GMs like Momentum is used by players. In Dune, just as there is Threat that can affect player characters, there is also Threat that can affect the house as part of the political intrigue part of the game. The type also determines how much land the house actually controls. I’ve decided that House Nimoi would at least control an entire planet (Eridani), which meant it would have House Major status. It would have more Domains (see below) but would also have more enemies (2 Threats per player). As a House Major, Nimoi would have 1 primary and 2 secondary starting domains. Domains are what the house produces or is famous for. I selected Science (expertise) Researchers as the primary. The house is known for educating and finding the best researchers in the known universe. For the first secondary I selected Industrial (produce) Refined Alloys. I felt that this went along with the research angle. Once a new alloy was discovered, then House Nimoi would want to profit by producing it’s new alloy. The last secondary domain would be Political (machinery) Expensive Trinkets. These special items are used as diplomatic gifts with various noble houses to keep House Nimoi in the political spectrum. A gift of one of these trinkets would be considered a great honor.

Next there is a section in the rules to describe the homeworld (choose stuff, nothing random) and Banners and Arms (again choose stuff). So Eridani is Earth like with a variety of continent types and oceans. The banner would be the brazier with a flame and the colors would be Red and Gold. Each house has a trait that members of the house can use as part of their characters. The traits in the Dune RPG are primarily descriptive and can be used for both houses and characters. Luckily there were quite a few character and house write-ups in the back of the book which allowed me to gather an idea of what what could be used. For House Nimoi I selected “Scientific Accuracy” as the house trait. The houses listed in the back had multiple house traits, but the rules did not state how many traits a house starts with. So for the time being I’ll stick with the one. For the Roles of the house, I just filled in some names thinking that the stats would have been generated later.

Enemies of the house is the first section with die rolls. As a Major House, House Nimoi has one Major House and one Minor House that serves the primary enemy and opponents. Instead of rolling twice, I’m going to just name both of them and roll for the primary. House Tevon serves House Malak. For House Malak I rolled a 12 on a d20 for Hatred which means that the house lothes House Nimoi. For reason I rolled a 4 resulting in some past Slight against House Malak. Finally the house stats are done. Now onto the Character

Dune has two character creation options for the game. Planned creation (make the character in full) or Creation in Play (make a few stats and fill in the rest via roleplaying). If I was actually playing in a Dune campaign, I’d be tempted to do the Creation in Play. However I’ll be doing a Planned Creation.

In the 2d20 Star Trek Adventures you have attributes of Control, Fitness, Insight, Presence and Reason. For Dune, Modiphius changed this up to Duty, Faith, Justice, Power and Truth (called Drives). As this is only my second Modiphius 2d20 game, I believe that all of their books under different titles are altered in such a way as to fit the universe that they are for. The Skills are listed as Battle, Communicate, Discipline, Move and Understand. You get a focus(es) for Skills (think specialization) and Statements for your Drives (again something that stands out).

Darkin Tal is the younger Swordmaster for House Nimoi, training under the master Swordmaster: Areth Bishiop. For his Archetype I selected Battlemaster-Warrior. After going through the character creation steps he ended up with the Drives of Duty 7 (My house is my life), Faith 4, Justice 6 (I must shield those in my care), Power 8 (Objects are rarely immovable) and Truth 5. Skill ended up being Battle 7 (Long blades, Short blades, Dirty fighting), Communicate 5, Discipline 6 (Self-control), Move 5 and Understanding 5. I think this is a pretty balanced character. For my three assets I selected a pulse-sword, a semi-shield and an Old-Friendship. I liked how assets could be intangible things as well. After going through the creation process, there are still blank spots on the sheet. Advancement points would need to be earned, but I had to look up faction and determination. Each character starts with one determination and can earn more during play. Factions are specialty groups like the Bene Gesserit or the Spacing Guild. So basically the character is done. Here is both the House and Character Sheet.

Afterthoughts:

Since the game was recently released I did not have any additional supplements to pull character information from. However I did have the core rulebook errata with me. The setup for the rules and character creation was a vast improvement from Star Trek Adventures, but still had a few stumbling blocks. I would have loved to have an experienced GM to answer questions about setting up talents and drives. For some of the talents I had to look at the examples in the back of the book. The overall building process was much easier than it was in Star Trek Adventures. I’d really like to see how this game stacks up in actual play.

I also liked that Dune had a character advancement system and it made sense. If you had difficulty in a task, you earned points towards advancement. I had some friends state their displeasure in a character advancement system in STA. Characters in the show grow on screen, they should do the same in the game.

Additional Notes:

There has already been a TON of characters posted on the RPG.net message board or found with the social media hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge. I was entering in so many links to the Character Creation Page that I almost rand out of time to get my first character done. Again if you have a link and I haven’t posted it yet, please email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com and thank you for participating. I hope you are having fun with this.

Also the thread on the RPG.net forum has been named a 100 Staff Pick. So the thread is getting a lot of attention.

Coming Up Next:

Wendy’s Feast of Legends

Posted in: Archer, Character Creation Challenge, Comic Books, Conventions, Cosplay, Doctor Who, Dune, Fan Club, Horror, Horror Hosts, Humor, James Bond, Movies, MST3K, Music, No One Lives Forever, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Spy-Fi, Star Trek, Star Wars, TV Review, Video Game, Website

2021 is in the rear view, now onto 2022

So another year has come and gone and I am glad. While 2021 was not as bad as the year that shall not be named, it wasn’t the easiest. There are still some challenges in this world that I really hope that our society can come together to get past. I’m still trying to focus on the positives of the past year.

==Role Playing Games==

2021 started out with the first #CharacterCreationChallenge. Amazingly enough I was able to knock out 31 characters in 31 days. I loved reading all of the different responses that the other participants and even made a few new friends along the way. I’m looking forward to the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.

There was also the #RPGaDAY2021 Challenge during the month of August. I really had a struggle with this one, but I was glad that I had participated in it.

I also had a chance to finally play an online Star Trek Adventures game. We have a second session in our “one-shot” planned very soon. The kewl thing is, the game was announced with less than a 24 hour start time. I was able to use my Star Trek Adventures entry in the Character Creation Challenge to quickly drop into the game. Playing on just Zoom is difficult, but doable.

I also had some friends get me into an online Starfinder game that lasted several months (with 1-2 sessions per month). It was interesting, but it really turned me off using Fantasy Grounds as an online platform. It’s an app instead of a browser based system and it is a resource hog like nothing else. Even the players with high end computers were having issues. Unfortunately real life caused the game to end after a few months. The Starfinder system is ok, but a bit crunchy to what I’m use to. The Pathfinder in space mentality didn’t really appeal to me either. I know I was gaming more for the company than I was for the system and universe.

I still want to get into a D&D 5th edition game or a regular Star Trek Adventure game. I’d also prefer to get back together with gaming in person, but with the way the variants are running wild, I’m not certain that will happen any time soon. I’m open to an online game if the schedules can be worked out (the same old problems).

There were several new additions to my role-playing game collection. Between purchases and donations from friends I’ve been able to add to my gaming shelf. I also took advantage of several PDF sales. Instead of listing them all here, I’m planning to save them for my Character Creation Challenge entries. I also added to my dice collection including a special die.

==Video Games==

I’m still playing my old standbys of No One Lives Forever and Tron 2.0. However thanks to a gift card for GameStop (actually ThinkGeek) I was able to pick up a few other video games that I’m looking forward to trying out. I’ve been playing Balder’s Gate and it’s been… interesting. I think I might be playing it wrong.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order has been good so far, but I think my daughter is enjoying it more than I am.

==Movies==

Even though it came out the year before, I had the chance to see Wonder Woman 1984 and I enjoyed it. I wished I could have seen it in the theater. 2021 was also the 25th Anniversary of the Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.

Through streaming I was able to enjoy Black Widow and Godzilla vs Kong (wish I could have seen this in the theater).

Finally getting back into the theater I was able to enjoy watching the latest James Bond movie. We finally saw the sci-fi epic Dune and loved watching the new Ghostbusters film. I still want to watch the latest Matrix movie, Spiderman movie and The King’s Man while they are in the theaters.

I’ve also watched a ton of cheesy sci-fi, fantasy and horror films on streaming services. Some were good, some were not so good.

==Television==

Creature Features held it’s 50th Anniversary. During the summer I had my photo aired on a segment of Svengoolie and my kid’s artwork promoted on Creature Features.

Netflix’s Army of the Dead was a good adventure. Amazon’s The Tomorrow War was interesting to watch. Ice Road was also interesting, but probably not a repeat watch. The Wheel of Time didn’t catch my attention at first, but slowly got a little better. I never read the books so I don’t know how it compares. I really enjoyed Foundation after I was worried how the books were going to translate to the screen. Invasion was an interesting concept, but starts out really slow. I’m glad I stuck with it. I need to finish Y: The Last Man and I’m really disappointed that we will only get one season of Cowboy Bebop.

Thank you What We Do In The Shadows, Archer and South Park for being funny. Crossed Swords was a challenge, but I was able to get into it. I’ve really enjoyed the animated Disenchantment series on Netflix. It was also good to see Animaniacs again.

On the Star Trek front, Star Trek: Prodigy has been interesting. I’ve also been enjoying Star Trek: Discovery as well. I really think that Star Trek: Lower Decks has knocked it out of the park. I am really looking forward to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. I wish there was more Short Treks. Wil Wheaton’s after show “The Ready Room” has been very enjoyable and informative.

Disney+ brought us several good entries for 2021. The Muppet’s Haunted Mansion was really, really good. I really wish that they would give us more Muppets Now. WandaVision and Loki were really good from the Marvel entries. Falcon and the Winter Soldier was ok. I haven’t seen the Hawkeye series yet but plan to sit down and watch it. I really liked the What If!?! series. On the Star Wars side, The Mandalorian continued to be great. Visions was ok, but I wish I hadn’t binged it since it probably would have been better in smaller doses. The Bad Batch was also enjoyable. There has only been one episode of The Book of Boba Fett so I’ll be watching to see where this goes.

Because I missed a lot of Doctor Who episodes while I was studying for college, I spent part of the year catching up. Not only was I able to complete this task, I was able to watch the latest season as it aired. I’m looking forward to the New Years Day special.

2022 will finally get us the third season of The Orville and I’m really looking forward to the next season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

==Books and Comics==

I really enjoyed the Star Trek: Picard novel, Last Best Hope. There are several other books that I’ve been reading on my kindle and in dead tree format. I’ve been trying to read The Dying Earth series by Jack Vance as well but I haven’t completed them.

The War of the Bounty Hunters in the Star Wars comic series was good, but frustrating. I really wish that they had a better system to follow the flow of the story that spans across several publications. I felt like a few times I was re-treading over the same ground.

The Mirror Universe stories and Star Trek Year Five was really good from IDW Publishing. I’m looking forward to reading more of these stories.

Doctor Who, James Bond and The Orville was other comics I had been pulling from my local store.

==Cosplay and Conventions==

I was able to add the Admiral Picard uniform to my collection. I had a chance to wear this at FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention. It was the only con I attended in the year. Hopefully 2022 will be better convention wise. I’d love to get an Admiral Vance uniform from Star Trek: Discovery or a Monster Maroon from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. However those are long term goals.

==Live Events==

Thanks to 103.1 The Wave, we were able to take the family to Lagoon. With the vaccines helping out, we’ve been able to attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance and the live Mystery Science Theater 3000: Time Bubble Tour. I’ve already got several concerts and events planned for 2022. The Beyond Van Gogh experience was probably the closest I’ll ever get to a holodeck experience. The Egyptian exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah was very enjoyable.

I was also interviewed on the radio for the Star Trek Day 2021. That was an interesting experience. But also not the first time I’ve been interviewed on the TV, Radio or even print.

Our Seventh Fleet and USS Ticonderoga meetings and events have been able to get back in person. This was a very good thing as we are a close knit Star Trek family. We’ve been able to grow and succeed because we get together and see each other’s smiling faces.

==Website==

I was able to get some photo albums online and I’ve added to them as I’ve found more photos. I’ve been able to keep to a regular schedule of several blog posts per week (counting the Star Trek Quotes listings). I should do more gaming articles and reviews of things I’ve watched/read/enjoyed. However, I still need to get some of the other sections of my website filled out. I’m a little upset with myself that I haven’t gotten more of the website completed. This will be a goal for 2022.

It’s good to have goals. I think I’m going to spend 2022 trying to achieve more of them.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Collecting, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Spy-Fi, Star Trek, Star Wars

Prepping for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge

Some of the games that I plan to use in the 2022 #CharacterCreationChallenge

When participating in a month long challenge, like the Character Creation Challenge, it is always a good idea to put a little prep work in ahead of time. I took some of the preparation and after action lessons from the 2021 challenge and I am putting them into use here.

I’ve once again took advantage of one of my online spreadsheets and created a schedule for the month of January. I’ve tried to place the games that I’m not very familiar with on my days off so I can dedicate more time to them. I’ve heard from some participants stating that they would also be doing prep work before the challenge starts.

Speaking of participants, I’ve had several people email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com stating that they would be partaking of the challenge. Good for you. A lot of people have also been posting on the Character Creation Challenge post at RPG.net stating that they would be releasing their entries there. Several blogs will also be posting entries and others will just post them on social media. If you use social media, please use the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge so that others can find them and enjoy them.

If you are reading this after January 1st and you still want to jump into the challenge, please do. A few participants last year either did a quick catch up or just made sure they ran a full 31 days. The choice is yours. This challenge is just for fun with our gaming systems.

I’ve re-read some of my past entries and entries from other participants. In fact, while I was researching one of my games that I selected for the start of the challenge, I found a blog that had participated in 2021. The World of Philosopherzeus had several good entries that were also written like game reviews. I’m going to have to look more into the Low Fantasy Gaming system that the blog recommended. If you participated in 2021 and I did not link your blog to the Character Creation Challenge page, please email me and I’ll add it. If you are participating in 2022, also shoot me the link so I can promote it.

The image above is some of the physical books that I plan to use for the 2022 challenge. Several of them were purchases that I’ve made over the past year or gifts from friends who were looking to unload books. I made sure they had a good home to go to. I’ve also got several games in PDF format that I’ve purchased from DriveThruRPG or on one of the various bundle sales that are out there. One of the PDFs that I’m looking forward to trying out is the original Traveller little black book editions. Another PDF game is the Wendy’s Feast of Legends marketing game that was put out a few years ago. A participant used it in the 2021 challenge and I smacked my head not thinking about it then. So I’ve added it to the list for 2022.

Another interesting tidbit recently came up that the 2021 challenge helped me with. I’ve been wanting to play Star Trek Adventures for quite some time (a lot of local groups are still unable to get together). On one of the STA facebook groups a GM announced a game with a day warning that it would start. I sent him the link from my 2021 STA entry and asked if I could play. The GM accepted it because it was actually rolled up and not created with one of the quick generation websites. So I’ve had at least one session with the game and we hope to wrap up the adventure in a follow up game.

Remember to have fun with this. That was one of the primary goals of the challenge.

You can also use this graphic to help promote the #CharacterCreationChallenge.

31 Day Character Creation Challenge
Feel free to share this image on social media to spread the word.
Posted in: Dune, Movies, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

Spoiler free thoughts on Dune

The latest Dune movie adaptation finally came out. As I had mentioned in my James Bond: No Time To Die review, I was planning to see Dune in the theaters. Today my wife and I had some free time to go catch a matinee showing. Not only did I love the movie, but it made me think back to the long relationship I’ve had with this franchise. As I’m writing this blog entry, I can turn my head to the left and see the 1984 Dune movie poster displayed in my office.

Dune is another of the many science fiction and fantasy interests that I inherited from my Father. I remember him being excited for the 1984 David Lynch Dune movie. The advertising was everywhere including a poster on the door at my neighborhood 7-11 store. When the different versions of this movie (with different intros giving more background than the theatrical release) were aired on television, we had to record them on our VCR. On one trip to see family out-of-state, my parents picked me up and we listened to one of the books on CD (it was one of the House books). I remember trying to read one of the later Dune books in high school (I didn’t get very far). But I was able to read not only the first book, but several of the books by Bryan Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. The remaining books are on my reading list to complete.

I don’t recall much from the two mini-series released by the Sci-Fi Channel (now the SyFy Channel). While I’ve watched the 1984 movie again on several occasions, I’ve never sought out the mini-series. I’ll have to make an effort to re-watch these so I can recall them for times such as this one.

Being very familiar with the source material helped me watch this latest movie. No, if you are going in cold you won’t be lost. There is a very rich universe that was created for the book and it may be a lot to take in at once. I wouldn’t be surprised if several showings are needed to take in the rich detail. But being familiar with Dune, I noticed little details that made me appreciate the efforts that went into the making of this film. Seeing these smaller items made me appreciate the film even more.

In the 1984 movie, the music was performed and assembled by the band Toto. Finding the rare CD of the music was one of my goals for the longest time. When I finally found a copy that wasn’t overpriced, I snatched it up and listened to the heck out of it. The soundtrack that was played when the Harkonnens were attacking is still one of the best movie music moments that I’ll never forget. For this new movie the very talented Hans Zimmer put together the musical tracks for this movie and he didn’t disappoint.

There are a few familiar actors in this movie and several that I’ve never had the pleasure to watch before (that I know of). Jason Momoa was an excellent Duncan Idaho. Our Duke Leto was played by Oscar Isaac, better known for his role of Poe Dameron in the last round of Star Wars movies. I didn’t recognize him right away as he had a very full beard. I hope we see more of Dave Bautista as the Beast Rabban in the second Dune movie. While he had some good lines in the first movie, his character has a big part in the story. Josh Brolin also delivered as well. Of the cast I was not familiar with, our young Paul Atreides is played by Timothée Chalamet. He actually did quite well in the roll. I felt that this character was green at the start of the movie and was developing by the end. Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica was another high point in the movie. I think that the producers put together an excellent cast for this movie.

The special effects were also really good. The Guild Highliners were very well designed on a grand scale. The ornothopters also had a very good effect that even my wife commented on it. I felt like we were really on a hostile desert world. The sandstorm did give me one moment that I wanted to heckle. I wanted to say out loud (but stopped myself) that I could see Mad Max and Furiosa could be seen driving the rig into the sandstorm. Not to say that this was a bad moment, it just gave me a flashback to the Mad Mad: Fury Road scene. I also really liked how they did the special effects for the personal combat shields. You could tell that there was

We did get to see the Sardaukar Troops and I felt that this interpretation was much better than what we saw in the 1984 movie. The books really described them as a nasty bunch of soldiers and I felt that we got that in this movie. The Fremen that we get to see in this movie also give you an excellent feel of native members of Arrakis. They were brutal and aware of what was happening. We actually got to see the rhythmic walking on the sand.

I had typed in a few additional thoughts on the movie that I then had to remove in order to keep this review spoiler free. They were minor concerns that I hope are resolved in the second movie, Dune Part Two, that was just announced.

And the last note I wanted to make was about Dune: Adventures in the Imperium Role Playing Game that was just released a few months ago by Modiphius. Thanks to a birthday gift card to Amazon I was able to pick up the hardback core rule book. The 2d20 system was similar to what I saw in Star Trek Adventures, but it was better laid out. There are some differences between the two books but after talking with players of the other 2d20 systems from Modiphius, I understand that this is common. I was pretty impressed with how they set this RPG up. There was details about political intrigue and duels.

The next movie that I’m interested in seeing in the theaters is the new Matrix sequel. I don’t think that is one I’d want to watch on my home television. With the matinee viewing the theaters haven’t been too crowded and it has made for an enjoyable experience.

Posted in: Comic Books, Doctor Who, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Two Trek tastes that go great together

Modiphius and IDW Publishing working together.
Modiphius and IDW Publishing working together.

In the “I wasn’t expecting this news today” department, Modiphius released a supplement for their Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. The IDW Year Five Tie In detailing the events from the Star Trek comic series, Star Trek: Year Five by IDW Publishing.

What makes this product so unique is that it’s based off of another Star Trek licensed publication instead of from a television series or movie. This is something that I’ve been wanting to see for quite some time with a Star Trek roleplaying game. There have been comics based off of a video game (Star Trek: Elite Force) and a novel based off of the MMORPG, Star Trek Online (Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many) but nothing with RPGs so far. Since IDW has been publishing Star Trek comics for over ten years, I hope that this is the start of a long line of products. IDW has had a successful series of Next Generation comics based off of Mirror Universe characters. There was an interesting Romulan series dealing with internal politics. The Kelvin timeline was greatly expanded with several comic series. Basically there are too many storylines to list here, most of them very enjoyable.

Having been inspired by the fan created, Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Expanded Universe series, I was planning to write up my own series of Star Trek Expanded Universe publications (not for sale since I don’t want to violate any rights of the IP holders). Since Modiphius has released one IDW supplement (and hopefully more), I’ll avoid stepping on any toes by creating homebrew stats from non-IDW sources.

I’ve really been fired up by today’s release. I had to buy the book immediately from DriveThruRPG. It uses some of the wonderful artwork from the comics (a bonus which helped I’m certain). There are three new playable races. The I’qosa (a new race introduced in the comics), the Iotians (yea, the Piece of the Action guys) and the Tholians. We get the stats for one new Starfleet vessel as well as ships from the Tholians and I’qosa. Some of the character write ups includes Harry Mudd, Surak, Gary Seven and Isis, all of which were represented all over the Year Five series. There are also two new factions that the gamemasters can use in their campaigns.

While there was a lot packed into the 26 pages. I was really hoping for a racial write-up for the Centaurans (A Federation race featured in the series). There were also several possible NPCs such as the various candidates for UFP president that could have been written up as well. Hopefully there will be a supplement to the supplement.

One set of ships that I doubt we’ll see stats for are the original FASA Starfleet ships that made it into the artwork of Star Trek: Year Five. There were several ships that were clearly inspired by the Federation Starship Recognition Manual. FASA Star Trek references have shown up in quite a few episodes and other licensed works.

Once again, thumbs up to Fred Love and the team at Modiphius for releasing this great supplement for Star Trek Adventures. Don’t make me pull out the “Please Sir, can I have some more” meme when it comes to works like this.

UPDATE: After I posted this entry, I went into my local comic store and picked up my hold on my monthly visit. This included the last issue of Star Trek: Year Five. At the back of the comic book was an advertisement for this product. This issue was releasd on the same day as the announcement from Modiphius.

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