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

More IDW Comics in Star Trek Adventures?

What I would like to see

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What IDW Comics would you like to see turned into a Star Trek Adventures supplement? Are there other Star Trek comics that you draw gaming inspiration from? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Humor, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

First look at Star Trek Lower Decks STA products

So the gang at Modphius just announced a Star Trek: Lower Decks campaign guide for Star Trek Adventures. You don’t know how excited this announcement has made me. There is an old running joke that Dungeons and Dragon campaigns start as Lord of the Rings, but turn into Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Why, because we have fun around a table for our roleplaying games. I can see this also happening with Star Trek Adventures. Even at the recent SaltCON there were several STA sessions inspired by Star Trek: Lower Decks. According to the email, this book should come out in Quarter 3 of 2023. Sigh, I hate waiting so long.

To tide us over, Modiphius has released two Lower Decks products on PDF. The Lower Decks Season 1 Player Characters (aka the crew pack) and the Lower Decks inspired adventure Lurkers. Now in past blog entries I’ve reviewed the Star Trek: Discovery crew packs. So I thought I’d do a quick review of these publications.

Like the other character guides, they are written as reports given by the superiors to the USS Cerritos officers. The book comes in at 17 pages, which is smaller than the Discovery character guides. We get eight main characters, several supporting characters and a write up for the USS Cerritos itself. No new races for the game (sad) but most of the races used were already covered. They could have given us stats for Excocomps, however that wasn’t the case. Hopefully that will be in the campaign guide.

I loved Mariner’s “Contraband Stash” but wondered about the claim that Tendi was the first Orion in Starfleet. I wonder how the focus of “catnip” will come into a session? (guess where that was listed at). I think this was a good purchase for me and I can’t wait to see the season two character guides to see what has been added.

I really wondered if I wanted to read through the adventure “Lurkers” as I wanted to play it. But I also wanted to see how a “Lower Decks” adventure was written up. When we had our Lower Decks inspired game at SaltCON, the gamemaster gave a lot of prep and setup for the game. We had players who had never seen the show, but still had fun. So I would recommend that the GM set the tone at the table explaining that this is a comedic episode and letting the players go a little wild. At SaltCON, we had a player end up with two Orion slave women that I don’t think was originally part of the scenario. But the way the NPCs came to be a part of the group (we hid them from the drunk commanding officer by stating they were new crew) added to the humor.

Without giving the plot to Lurkers away, I can see where the setup works. Bad bureaucracy leads to the scenario and the players have several choices to make along the way. There is an option for combat, but most of the adventure is thinking on your feet and not getting caught or left behind by the senior officers. One of the things that I like about Lower Decks is the various Star Trek Easter eggs that are scattered through-out an episode. Lurkers gives the GM an opportunity to through several of these in the adventure. So I would recommend that the GM be very brushed up on their Star Trek minutia trivia. Especially with debates among various Star Trek fandoms. There is even an opportunity to slip Lurkers into a regular Star Trek Adventures campaign, but the main characters use by the players should be of the Lower Deck variety. In a way, I’d really love to see a veteran group of STA players take the actual Lower Deck characters and play this scenario (and record it on YouTube for others to see).

One final note about Lurkers, it actually has a follow up mission briefing listed for GMs to use as part of a follow up. So you are getting more than just a single mission. I’d recommend picking this up.

Until then, I can’t wait to get the Lower Decks campaign guide. Ugh, 3rd Quarter 2023 is such a long ways away.

Are you looking forward to the upcoming Lower Decks STA products? Have you picked up the character guide or Lurkers? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

Posted in: Alien, Conventions, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, James Bond, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek

SaltCON Spring 2023 After Action Report

Loot from SaltCON Spring 2023

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

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

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

Some of the characters I played over the weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in: Alien, Character Creation Challenge, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Pirates, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Westerns

2023 Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

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

I’m going to declare the 2023 Character Creation Challenge a magnificent success. Yes there were some days that I wondered if I was going to get through this. For the first time ever I had multiple games frustrate me so much that I just said “screw it, I’m done with this system”. But I was able to post for all 31 days (plus an extra day since I forgot that I was going to use a certain game).

I think my most favorite post was the one for Ork! Second Edition. Writing for another voice was fun and I had a blast. Fantasy Age made a little bit more sense than the 2022 entry for Modern Age. The reading of Mutant Future got the creative juices flowing and I hope to actually put thought into action sooner rather than later. When The Moon Hangs Low and BareBones Fantasy also caught my eye. After reading some of the information on the John Carter of Mars RPG, I went and purchased some of the novels to read on my Amazon Kindle.

Here is my 2023 list of characters:

Day 1: Alien Character: Jan Karlsson, Colonial Marine
Day 2: Star Frontiers Character: K’likki the Vrusk
Day 3: Low Fantasy Gaming Character: Golarth
Day 4: Tiny Spies Character: Daniel Drake
Day 5: Swashbuckling Adventures Character: Dirk Clarkson
Day 6: John Carter of Mars Character Jakour Detha
Day 7: Cepheus Deluxe Character: Jess Tokkin
Day 8: When The Moon Hangs Low Character: William “Kitt” Smythe
Day 9: Fantasy Craft Character: Perrich Teagrove
Day 10: The D6 System Character: Paul Reynolds Code Named- Gold Crown
Day 11: XD20 2nd Edition Character: Blix the Barbarian
Day 12: Mutant Future Character: Carath
Day 13: Ork! 2nd Edition Character: Grukk
Day 14: Serenity Character: Steven “Dart” Carter
Day 15: FASA Star Trek-Starfleet Intelligence Character: Roger Taylor
Day 16: Against the Darkmaster Character: Heathgar son of Kragin
Day 17: US Marshals Character: Leonard “Lariat” Daniels
Day 18: OSIRC Character: Myrin
Day 19: The Agency Character: Simon Steele
Day 20: Cyber Generation Character: Side Wire
Day 21: Strike! Tactical Combat and Heedless Adventure Character: Craig “T-Bone” Miller
Day 22: Barebones Fantasy Character: Traxxis
Day 23: D20 Modern Character: Gregory “Max” Mattheson
Day 24: Fantasy Age Character: Yost Rocktapper
Day 25: Traveller D20 (T20) Character: Baaken
Day 26: Star Crawl Characters: Multiple
Day 27: GURPS Character: Dieter “Ace” Tannin
Day 28: White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game Character: Wingar
Day 29: Metamorphosis Alpha Character: Spikeleaf
Day 30: True 20 Character: Markkin
Day 31: They Came From Beyond The Grave Character: Bruce Walters
Day 32: Vampire Hunter$ Character: Jock Barkley

A big thank you to those of you who encouraged me to keep going. Thank you to those who have joined my Discord server that I’m going to start using for more blog feedback. I’m very grateful to those of you who reached out to me to let me know of the blogs and other message boards that were participating in the #CharacterCreationChallenge. On social media I saw a lot of participation on Facebook, MeWe and Mastodon, but not as much on Twitter this year. I think that the platform may be having some additional issues. I’m not on Instagram so I couldn’t tell you if anything was being posted there. If I’m missing any blogs or sites that were participating, please let me know at Carl (at) and I’ll add them to the list.

Also, if you purchased anything after clicking on the link to DriveThruRPG, thank you. I’m not doing this blog to make money, but the kickback helps when making game purchases for future challenges.

I noticed a lot of participants used Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and Aliens as their “I’m excited about this game” posts. We had more participants using themes this year. One in particular that stood out was a GM who was making future bad-guys to use against his players. I was very excited that Tim Hardin, the artist who drew the map I used in a recent Basic Fantasy game, participated and posted some very good character images for his entries.

So did you complete the challenge and make 31 characters? If so, please email me at Carl (at) My art school kid in college loved hearing about the characters I was making on a daily basis and the challenge in general. She created a badge for those who completed the challenge. It is a variant of the 2022 badge, but the fact that she was able to alter this between college homework assignments makes me happy. Here it is if you want to download it to display.

There will be a 2024 Character Creation Challenge. Keep an eye out around November for the warnings that it is coming up. I’m starting to use the supplements to some of my games to make characters so I suspect that I’ll be using one of the FASA Star Trek race supplements (Not certain if its going to be Klingon, Romulan or Orion). There are also a couple of other games that have similar supplements that I’m going to be using. Plus I backed the KickStarter campaigns for the Monty Python RPG and Cowboy Bebop RPG, so they will certainly be used in 2024.

So once again, if you had fun, if you learned something new, if you participated, thank you. I really appreciated the people who took my idea and ran with it and made it something of their own.

Tally ho

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

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 6: John Carter of Mars

So how I obtained the core rulebook for John Carter of Mars: Adventures on the Dying World of Barsoom was interesting. On the forums there is a thread titled “Swap Your Unwanted RPGs (v3)” and someone was looking for the D20 version of the Judge Dread RPG. As much as I had fun creating a character for Judge Dread and thought that the JD world would be interesting to role-play in, the chances of actually playing was very low. So I reached out to the poster and several rounds of negotiation later, I sent him all of my Dread RPG books and he sent me three core books that will be used in the 2023 Character Creation Challenge. John Carter of Mars was one of them, the other two will be announced later (but you may have seen the covers on the 2023 Prepping for the Character Creation Challenge blog post).

John Carter of Mars is published by Modiphius Entertainment, the same company that released other games that I’ve used in past Character Creation Challenges. This includes Star Trek Adventures, Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and Star Trek Adventures: The Klingon Empire. So I’m a little familiar with the 2d20 system. The John Carter of Mars core rulebook was released after the Star Trek Adventures core rulebook, so I don’t know how the character creation instructions will come across. I don’t think I’ll have a problem reading the book from what I saw when I glanced through it. Other than that, I haven’t really dived into the rules until now saving my first impressions for this blog post. I’ve got a character sheet printed so let’s give this a shot.

The spine of the book is printed on the short side, which would normally be the top or bottom of another book. But they do give us an attached bookmark ribbon, so that will be helpful. The character creation rules start on page 11. The first step is to select a general concept. The book lists several suggestions that are inspired by the source material. I could create my own, but being unfamiliar with the bulk of the source material, I selected one of these. The idea of an Adventuring Scientist attempting to find lost technologies and create new discoveries sounded intriguing.

Next I am instructed to generate the six attributes. These are Cunning (used for attacks, insults or theft), Daring (used for movement, defensive actions and piloting), Empathy (used for healing and understanding), Might (strength basically), Passion (a form of charisma and leadership) and Reason (using your mind and senses to figure things out). In Star Trek Adventures, you have Attributes and Disciplines that are used together in the 2d20 system. With John Carter of Mars, you select two attributes to work together (For example: use the Cunning + Might attributes to break down a door). So this is slight different than what I’ve seen in Dune and STA. Each attribute starts with 4 points in each category.

Then I select a race. After reading the descriptions, I elected to go with a Red Martian. I added the attribute modifiers and the racial knowledge details. Next came the Archetype (think the character’s class) which was Scientist for my guy. Not only did I add the attributes and the knowledge, but I got to select my first Talent (a specialization, natural skill or some power in something) and I selected Wealth of Knowledge (grade 1)

For our next step, we selected a descriptor. This is a single word that describes the character. Each descriptor adds some points to an attribute. There are fifteen different options from Bold to Driven to Savage etc. Thinking about my scientist, he is Driven because he believes that a lost Martian technology could have saved his father’s life. So I selected Driven and added the attribute bonuses. The character already received one talent when selecting an Archetype, but now we can select five grades (levels?) of talents that would logically fit the character. According to the chapter on talents, I can select what is listed or design my own. I’m not comfortable enough to design my own (perhaps if I had an experienced GM helping me) but I’m confused by the grades. Do I select a single grade 5 talent, or can I mix and match to make a total of 5? Most of the talents were connected to combat. I didn’t really see this character as a “jump in with weapons slashing” type of guy. I’m sure that an experienced GM would have helped here (and when I post this character on the JCoM Discord page, I don’t doubt that someone will answer my questions).

Step seven covers the character’s starting Renown and Equipment. Since this character is from Barsoom, he would have some sort of reputation with society so he starts with 10. With the core equipment, this is something that the character will always have available to them. The equipment section was… interesting. Looking at the sample characters, I decided that this scientist has a dagger that he keeps hidden on him at all times. After being attacked unexpectedly one time, he decided not to be caught unprepared again.

Selecting a flaw is the next step. This makes sense since no one is perfect. The book describes flaws as “anti-talents”. The book really leaves this up to the character to decide. If I had a GM, I could have discussed options with them. But with the limited time that I have available, I looked at the sample characters again and found one that fit the concept I wanted to follow and altered it slightly. Curiosity killed the Banth. Lose 3 momentum when you fail to take an opportunity to explore a new scientific mystery, unknown location (which may hold a device you are looking for).

When I got to the last step, which is selecting a name and finalizing the concept and attributes (and seeing the sample characters listed) I started to wonder if I had missed adding some attribute scores along the way. The 2d20 characters tend to have a set total number when you add all of the attributes together. Looking back at step two, there were 2 attribute scores I could have randomly assigned. I added them and I think I now have a complete set. No, I only have a total of 32 where as all of the sample characters have a total of 36. I went back through the list on page 11 and even the walkthrough on page 29, but I was still missing something. So I just randomly assigned 4 points to my attributes. Experienced players, what did I miss? Anywho, I randomly created the name of Jakour Detha and wrote down his Stress and Afflictions numbers and placed the character sheets in the scanner.


Outside of having seen a few films based off of the source material, I’m not extremely familiar with the world that Edgar Rice Burroughs created. Due to my families fandom of Dune and Star Trek, I was very familiar with the universes they came from. With Star Trek, I probably could have helped answer any trivial minutia that may have come up during the writing process (an offer that is open to them). But with JCoM, I would dive deeply into the background material if an opportunity to play in a campaign came up. On a quick challenge, I didn’t have a lot of time to go into the background information, but I knowing it is there is a plus for this book.

With the “What do you know”, “What you don’t know” and “What you can do” categories, I’d highly recommend using the back of the character sheet to list all of these down. The space provided on the standard character sheet lacks the room to hold them all.

When I first had to create a character for Star Trek Adventures, I had to use a fan-created character creation guide to make sure I had everything correct. I wonder if fans had to make one for the John Carter game as I clearly missed something. It was just a little frustrating.

So would I want to play this game? Well I think I could answer that after trying a session or two. I know that Dune and Star Trek Adventures sessions will be available at the upcoming SaltCon. If I find a John Carter game, I may see if I can try to get into it.

Additional Notes:

I was able to tinker with the scanner settings and scanned at a higher resolution (300 vs 200). I think the scans came out a little bit better when I posted them in the blog.

Still looking for more participants who are taking the #CharacterCreationChallenge. If you know of any, please let me know. Carl (at) I am still getting the “What is this?” question as people are seeing my social media posts.

Coming Up Next:

Cepheus Deluxe

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server.

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

Prepping for the 2023 Character Creation Challenge

Some of the games that I plan to use in the 2023 #CharacterCreationChallenge

As I’ve mentioned before, it is always a good idea to plan ahead for a 31-day challenge. I’ve already seen quiet a few people prepping on the forums. They are deciding upon which system(s) they wish to use. Are they going to follow a theme or just create characters randomly? I’ve already had some people reach out to me using various methods to let me know of their participation. Please let me know, Carl (at) if you plan to post your characters up on a blog. I’ll link to it from the Character Creation Challenge section of my website. I also have something else in the works, but I’m not quite ready to announce it yet. Still trying to get some ducks lined up in a row.

I’m once again using a spreadsheet with the date, day and game type to schedule my games. This way I won’t have two fantasy games next to each other. I can also plan a game that may take more time and energy on a day off. This is also a good idea for those dates I know are going to be busy, I can schedule the systems I’m more familiar with for these days.

As in the past, I’ll try to walk through the character creation process as I understand them in the rules-as-written (RAW). This also gives me a chance to do a review of the process. I will then scan the character sheet for all to see. And I will have all of the character sheets printed out before the challenge starts. I’ve found that this helps me get everything ready.

If you are posting on any of the social media websites, please use the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge so that other participants can find them. I love seeing what other RPG fans have come up with. I also know that there is one reader who wants to see if a game will pop up that he’s never heard of. I was able to accomplish this last year with my Technoir entry.

I’ve picked up some new physical books by online auctions, trade or special sales. I’ve also done a lot of purchasing from Kickstarter, DriveThruRPG, HumbleBundle and Bundle of Holding. I even donated to a Doctors Without Borders fundraiser, for which a lot of PDF copies of different games were provided. Some of these sounded very interesting.

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.

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: Fan Club, Friends, Humor, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Rest in peace Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor (1970-2022)

Well, this isn’t the blog post I thought I’d be writing when I woke up this morning. On my way to work this morning I was informed by friends that a longtime Star Trek and role playing friend, Roger Taylor, had been found dead in his apartment. He had been having heart issues lately and when he hadn’t responded to his ex-wife’s attempts to reach him, she went over to his place to find he had passed away.

I’ve mentioned Roger a couple of times in past blog posts, recently when we had worked together on homebrewing the Star Trek Adventures stats for an alien race called The Tarn. Roger had run several RPG sessions for various friends including a lot of Star Trek by Decipher. He had homebrewed several items for the Decipher Star Trek RPG, Star Trek Adventures, Serenity and several other games. I even discovered that one of his early adventures he wrote was ported over to the Far Trek system. When we were not joking around or talking about our Star Trek organization, we were talking about games.

I first met Roger when he was working at a security guard at an IT company I was working for around 2008. I could often sneak down to the security office while on a lunch break and talk with Roger about common interests. He loved the fleet of Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica ships that I had set up on my desk. I think we knew we were going to be friends when we realized how much we both had a warped sense of humor. When we were discussing the (then) proposal by Madonna to remake Casablanca with a modern twist, my not-so-innocent mind altered one of the famous lines from the black and white movie. “Of all the S&M bars in the world, she had to walk into mine.” Roger was laughing so hard that he practically forgot to breathe. He would bring up this line at random times just to get a chuckle out of me.

Roger joined Starfleet Command’s Seventh Fleet and with his Star Trek knowledge and organizational skills, quickly moved up the ranks. He started a chapter-in-training which eventually became the full chapter, USS Essex. As a US Navy vet, he had served on the real life USS Essex.

He also loved baking, a pet songbird called Charley, military history (another common interest), building models, playing video games and writing. A phrase I picked up from a common friend for a situation like this was “May his/her memory always be a blessing.” I will have many memories that I will look back on when thinking about Roger. I’ll roll some dice for you in your honor soon.

To Roger’s family, I’m deeply sorry at this time. Heidi, thank you for telling me that Roger cared for me and held a lot of respect for me. I choked up a little bit when I read that message. Roger’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. If you can, please donate.

Rest easy Roger, you’ve earned it.

Posted in: Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook first look

It’s finally here.

Two days ago (hey it’s been a busy week for me) my late birthday gift of the Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook for the Star Trek Adventures role-playing game finally arrived. While I quickly snapped a picture of the book and shot it out for my social media followers, I knew that I was going to have to write a blog post detailing my first look at this book.

As a Treknologist and a big fan of the FASA entry into the Star Trek RPG market (especially using the Starship Construction Manual to homebrew several starships for the game) I was really looking forward to this book. I’ve seen several starship adaptations and homebrews on the Continuing Mission fan website for the Modiphus game and I was interested in trying my hand as well.

Now confession time, when the book was ordered a few months ago, Modiphius sent me a PDF copy of the book. Knowing that I wanted to blog about the book combined with the fact that I love the feel of a physical dead-tree version in my hands, I waited to read this book. Even when a fellow player was asking me questions from items he read on the PDF. Oh the temptation was seriously there for me to start reading previously.

So the book from Modiphius came shrink wrapped. Let’s rip this protective plastic off and dive into the book. There are 253 pages in this hardbound book. The ISBN number (for those of you looking for the dead-tree version) is 978-1-80281-032-5. The project manager was Jim Johnson, writing by Michael Dismuke, Jim Johnson, John Kennedy, Thomas Marrone, Aaron M. Pollyea and Al Spader. The book was edited by Jim Johnson (boy he must have been busy) and Keith Garrett.


OK, so the first opening shows this wonderful two page spread showing the top views of several classes of Starfleet vessels. Some of these are from Star Trek Online and they are all very beautiful in color. I was very pleased to see this.

There are five chapters, an introduction and an index. The chapters cover Starfleet’s Legacy (chapter 1), Starfleet Operations (chapter 2), Design Bureau (chapter 3), Federation Spaceframes (chapter 4) and Gamemastering (chapter 5). I’m glad that the text is black on white paper (with blue highlights). I was one of many people who found the odd colored text on black in the Core Rulebook very disjointing. Also as a fan of Star Trek quotes, I love how they utilized several quotes throughout the book. The motif used in the book gives it a LCARS feel from the original series movies. That was an excellent choice.

The first chapter covers the history of Starfleet from the pre-Federation days to the 25th century. The little ‘pop-up’ stories were also scaled back and not as numerous that I’ve seen in other Modiphius books. While these are good for adding some background and history, I have found that too many are very distracting. Especially when I’m trying to do a quick search for a rule.

The second chapter is an interesting concept in a role-playing resource book. It covers life on a starship while serving in Starfleet. What are your day-to-day events? Key locations of a starship are detailed. How would the characters interact with the computer? What do characters do during downtime? What happens during an evacuation? There are even sections on replication and salvages.

The Design Bureau in Chapter three is probably where I’m going to spend a lot of time in the future. There are sections for starships, small craft, space stations and more. This includes various starships talents that are used in the game. I liked seeing a guide to the different types of beam weapons (what is a Free Electron Laser vs an Antiproton Beam?) and torpedoes (example: photon vs photonic). There is even information on the Mark I Emergency Medical Hologram.

Chapter four brings us 70 Federation Spaceframes for starships, stations and small craft. This covers designs from the 22nd to 25th century. Just as I poured through the Federation, Klingon and Romulan Ship Recognition Manuals from FASA and the Starships book by Decipher, I could see myself returning to this chapter many times in the future. I knew that I couldn’t spend too much time in this chapter (I was on a time deadline to complete this blog post) but I loved the graphical and data setup (especially with the logo used for the various eras). I’ll try to model my homebrews similar to this setup (without exactly copying it). I was a little shocked to see the Hermes-class scout as seen in the Star Fleet Technical Manual. Possibly because it was mentioned in the background radio traffic in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and seen as “Okudagrams” in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Wait, they also gave us the stats for the NASA Space Shuttle that was used from 1981 to 2011? OK that deserves a chef’s kiss. (fingers to lips) *smack*

I couldn’t get my flash to work on this image, but the pages are very beautiful.

And finally chapter seven brings us to some additional game master rules which are optional. This includes a jury rig role and building specialty shuttles while out on missions (it’s got to have the fins and dials). There are also several starship centric mission briefs that GMs can use.

More ships on the back inside cover.

So am I happy with this book? Oh yea. I think it will go a long way in helping me homebrew various starships for the game. As a Treknologist, I am very impressed with the graphics and level of detail so far. There are not rows and rows of equipment charts as there were in the FASA construction manual, but it’s also a different game. There are plenty of samples of starships from a wide variety of eras so if I needed some inspiration for something, I’m sure that I could find it. I think that both players and GMs will find a lot of valuable information between these covers.

Posted in: My Creations, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Race for Star Trek Adventures: The Tarn

Art by Rebecca Wu and shamelessly lifted from It was just too kewl not to use to represent the Tarn race.

So one of the things that I’ve been wanting to do with this blog is produce fan-made roleplaying game material for various systems. While the publisher of a game based off an intellectual property may be locked into the confines of the contract, fans can homebrew from any source. Sometimes even pulling elements from different sources to create a final product.

Today’s entry was a join effort between myself and longtime friend, Roger Taylor. We’ve both been fans of Star Trek and various roleplaying games. We have played campaigns using the Decipher Star Trek RPG rules. Several months ago Roger was sending me some of his hombrewed material for Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius for review. I mentioned that I was really interested in an enemy race that GMs could throw at their players called The Tarn. This reptilian race came from William R Forstchen’s 1999 Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, The Forgotten War. While the plot to the novel was simple, it did introduce the Tarn Empire. The way they were described in the book really enthralled me with their concepts of honor and social interaction. So Roger found his copy of the novel and dived back into it to see what interested me. He did most of the heavy lifting with the RPG numbers. I sent him all of the Memory-Beta (the fan Wiki for licensed Star Trek products) entries I had put together on the Tarn, which Roger then polished up for the PDF file listed below. I pulled various quotes from the book that was used for the suggested Tarn values.

Prior to all of this, I had spent quite some time looking for images of a science-fiction reptilian warriors that was not the Gorn. There were a ton of fantasy reptilian warrior images, but very little from the sci-fi side of the coin that spoke to me. Finally, the Starfinder RPG was released by Paizo that introduced the Vesk. Eventually several fan produced images were produced and the one above by Rebecca Wu fitted my mental image of the Tarn race. If gamemasters pulled any Vesk image from the internet, it could be used to visually represent the race to players.

Here is the PDF with Roger’s polishing and notes.

Besides Star Trek Adventures, I’d like to generate RPG stats for the other systems that are out there (FASA, LUG, Decipher and more). Also while talking with fellow Treknologists on the Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat System Online Database and Archive forums, an artist took the descriptions of a Tarn starship from the novel and generated an artistic representation of the vessel. I plan to generate game statistics for this vessel as well. Watch for future blog posts.

Many thanks to Roger for pushing through the novel (it could have used another pass by an editor) and had a few continuity holes that could have been caught) and for dealing with my excitement for this project. And thank you to Rebecca Wu for the wonderful image I pilfered off of the interwebs. I’m amazed by artists who bring these visions to life.

Gamemasters, let me know if you end up springing the Tarn on your players. How did the sessions go?

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.

Back to Top