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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 26: Classic Traveller

Dungeons and Dragons is considered the granddaddy of all roleplaying games. Approaching 50 years since it’s first publication and it is still going strong. There was another game that was very popular when RPGs were new and that was Traveller from Games Designers’ Workshop. While D&D was fantasy, Traveller was science fiction and had a very popular following. So why did I never get a chance to create a character before now? Unfortunately the friends in my gaming circles were primarily players of D&D, FASA’s Star Trek, WEG’s Star Wars and others. I saw the Traveller books, but couldn’t afford to pick them up when no one I knew personally was playing. As the years went by, I’d see the new editions of Traveller come out, some sounded interesting, some did not. The idea of roleplaying in a universe where a centralized empire was no longer in control sounded very intriguing.

Thanks to various PDF bundle sales, I’ve been able to pick up a couple of versions of Traveller including the first edition commonly known as the Little Black Books. I knew that I had to create a character for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge. So opening up the first book, let’s see where the dice take us in.

So the very first thing the RAW states is: All characters start at the age of 18, untrained and inexperienced. You build your character from here and take them through a career before you use them as a player character. That makes sense.

I like how they have the series of characteristics set up. There is the usual list that you can find in most RPGs. Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence (defined as an IQ representation), Education (highest level of schooling reached) and Social Standing (social class and level of society). Instead of writing them out or using abbreviations on your character sheet, you use the Universal Personality Profile (aka UPP). All characteristics are listed in the order posted above and are represented by hexadecimal (base 16) characters. 0 through 9 correspond to the numbers they represent. Numbers higher than 9 are represented by the letters A (for 10) through F (for 15). So the UPP is listed in a string of six digits. For example, a UPP could be B97A58. Strength would be 11 (represented by the letter B), Dexterity is 9, Endurance is 7 and so on. I remember seeing stats for characters in reference books and did not understand what they meant until now. When the game was made, I could see the designers trying to save space by using a setup like this. I still remember the 8+3 file name format in older computer DOS displays. Characteristics are generated by rolling 2d6. Yes this doesn’t generate a lot of stats that are above 12, but the game seems to indicate that other factors can change your characteristics. The clicky-clack of the dice was completed and I had my UPP of B96667.

The Social Standing was not high enough to automatically bestow a Noble Title, but I was instructed to select my character’s name at this time. Pulling some ideas out of the air this character shall be known as Tyrell Balto. The Rank is mentioned as a commission or promotion that Balto may have earned while in the service and can be referred to even after leaving.

Speaking of service, Balto would have enlisted in one of six possible options. Navy, Marines, Army, Scouts, Merchants or Other (unproductive carriers such as a criminal organization). You don’t just automatically join one of these, you have to enlist and roll to see if you are accepted. I had to scroll down to find the enlistment target numbers. There are some bonuses to the roll if you have certain characteristics. The advantage for enlistment is that you become an officer sooner, this comes with some bonuses to various skills and stats. I debated about which service to try to enlist for. All had their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s try for Navy. I rolled higher than the enlistment target number so Balto is a part of an interstellar navy.

The first term is four years, now making Balto the age of 22. Did he survive in those four years? Yes there is a chance that the character can be killed during creation. I remember hearing about this, but this is the first time I’ve actually experienced it. Needed a 5+ and rolled a 5, whew. Did Balto earn a commission during the first four years? the dice say yes, again I rolled exactly what was needed. However I did not roll high enough to earn a rank promotion. A commission and a rank promotion is worth acquiring extra skills. So I get to roll for three skills (2 for initial term and 1 for the commission). There are four tables but I can only roll on the first three. I want to increase one of my characteristics so the first roll gives me +1 to Endurance. Next I rolled for the skill Gun Combat-1 and finally Electronic-1.

Now I can retire from the service or I can reenlist. Again there is a target number to see if the Navy will let me stay, which I succeeded. So four more years in the service, which he survived (I don’t know if I like this survival rule). No commission but he did get a promotion to Ensign. So two more skill rolls which were +1 to INT and Vacc Suit-1. Let’s try for another term in the Navy. Rolled a 6 which is what was needed (now age 30) of which he survived. No commission or rank advancement this time. So only one skill roll which resulted in Mechanical-1. Let’s try for one more term, which was not accepted. So now Balto is mustering out. Which results in more benefits (4 in total due to the numbers of terms and rank). This resulted in a membership to the Travellers Aid Society, High Psg (I think this is High Passage? I’m not sure.) and 60,000 in cash.

So Tyrel Balto was an engineer in the interstellar navy for twelve years. And there are a lot of blank spaces on the sheet and I have no idea what my equipment is. I think if I would have looked in the other books there may have been something. Perhaps I should have used the Classic Traveller Facsimile Edition to create this character. Here is the sheet.

Afterthoughts:

For a game published in 1981, I think I followed the character creation process pretty well. I was still jumping back and forth between several pages (which is a pain in a non-bookmarked PDF) and a few things still confused me. The number of skills seemed a little low, but not actually playing the game I could be wrong. Having the possibility of the character dying during creation would have probably made me upset. There is an option of an early retirement with a wound, but that didn’t really appeal to me either. The ranks seemed woefully low as well. A service record of 12 years and only exiting as an Ensign?

If I was planning to make more characters (or assist others), I probably would have put together a worksheet to speed the process up. I’d like to play this game once just to say I’ve tried it. After I’ve done that is when I would determine if I was going to continue playing or attempting any homebrewing.

Additional Notes:

Thanks to the power of Twitter, DwD Studios liked and responded with answers to my post yesterday regarding White Lies. It was actually kewl to have the conversation with them. They clarified the COST question on upgrades that I had posted. The cost for the upgrade is the same as the base weapon. HALF is half the cost of the base weapon, etc. It was mentioned in the rules that I had missed. They also confirmed that the XP bonuses do stack, but he stressed that this was an optional rule. I think it’s good when companies actually interact with their customers in a manner like this. I doubt I would have gotten a quick response like this from a larger group.

Coming Up Next:

Blue Rose The Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 18: Cyberpunk v3.0

I recall playing the first Cyberpunk that came out. I even posted my Solo character previously on this blog. So when a copy of Cyberpunk V3.0 fell into my hands thanks to a friend, I knew that I had to use it for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.

In my quick research before starting this blog entry I discovered that the v3.0 game was different from the original first edition system by quite a bit. Which is fine because it’s been so long since I’ve played Cyberpunk that I’ve forgotten how the system ran. I have some good memories of our gaming sessions, but I couldn’t describe the system now.

So starting brand new, lets crack open the book and see what we can come up with. Looks like you can select from a template and add a few modifications. Making sure that was correct, I flipped through the book. Sure enough there is an advanced section (looks like they also have basic and advanced combat rules as well) with lifepaths that look very detailed along with Character Points for buying stats. In the past when I’ve created a few characters for the challenge, I’ve pretended that a bunch of friends are sitting down with the core rulebook just as this game came out and we are trying it for the first time. I’m going to run with that theme on this entry and take a template and create this character.

I will talk about some of the attributes used within the game and briefly talk about the points use in advanced character creation. The attributes are broken down into three categories. Physical: Reflexes, Dexterity, Constitution, Strength, Body and Movement. Mental: Intelligence and Willpower. Technical: Technique (that’s it). Normal people have a score of 2-4 in each attribute. One point equals one point in attribute. The number of points is in question. You can randomly roll 13D10 and that is your starting number, or roll 1d10 for each stat then roll 3d10 for extra points to add to your stats. There is also something called Flash Characters that with a single roll you get a bunch of pre-generated stats (I guess that would be useful for a quick NPC). And the last option is the Referee can declare what type of game this is (Average to Major Hero) and give the points based on that declaration. There are then some Derived Statistics generated from the primary statistics. Stun, Hits, Stun Defense, Recovery, Run, Resistance, Luck Endurance and Humanity. Afterwards you would choose perks, talents, skills and equipment.

So, going back to the templates you have the different “classes” within the game. Solo (independent fighters), Media (reporters), Tech, Netrunner (hackers), Divemaster, Subjocks, Shifters and Waleboys (water nomads who live on the sea), Mechajocks (drive large fighting robots), Imaginators (transforming robot drivers, I think?), Idols (famous people, called Rockerboys in the first game), Security Ops, Scout, Panzerboy (tank drivers), Warriors (fighters on the roads), Shamans, City Fighter, Traders (merchants), Beastmasters (control bioform pets), Surfriders (independent water nomads), Transporters (long haul drivers), Protector (law enforcement), Wiseman (thinkers), Dragoons (heavy combat), Combat Fighter and Streetdealer (rogues). I don’t recall any water based characters in the first game. Some of these redundant sounding types may be a part of different AltCult (Alternative Cultures, or groups of people following the same ideals).

I never played a Netrunner in the original game, so I’m going to pick one now. His handle will be FreeJack. According to the RAW, you take the already provided statistics and you can move any of the three basic stats on the template. Afterwards you generate the derived stats. I liked the fact that there was some freebie equipment and then pick six from a list for a starting character. In other games the equipment allocation had seemed to be missing so I had to guess.

It looks like there is an entire section on lifepaths depending upon your AltCult that can fill in a lot of details or you can write them out. If this was for a full game, I’d get this section filled in. I think the basics to start play are on the sheet.

Afterthoughts:

Thank you to the game designers for giving us a character sheet breakdown in the book. Including details like this help in character creation.

Would I play this game, doubtful. Not because it looks bad or anything, but because the new Cyberpunk Red has been released. Any players are probably using the latest system.

Additional Notes:

I’m still recovering from the weekend’s website fiasco so I haven’t found a lot of other blogs that are participating. Please let me know if you see any.

Out of curiosity, I did a YouTube search for Fantasy Imperium. I only found two review videos and no game play videos. They did not give any high marks to the game at all. They even dove deeper into the issues than I had. But they were also doing full reviews instead of just creating characters. If you would like, you can see them Here and Here.

Coming Up Next:

Amazing Adventures

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 16: Paranoia 2nd Edition

The computer is your friend. The computer wants you to be happy. No this isn’t the latest advertising slogan for Facebook, it’s part of the in-game universe concept for Paranoia (2nd Edition) by West End Games that was published in 1987. I just picked this boxed set up at a game swap last fall and I thought it would be perfect to use in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge. I never had the chance to play this game when it first came out, but I recall a co-worker telling me about a hilarious scenario that happened while he was playing. It sounded like fun.

For those of you not familiar with Paranoia, it is a role-playing game that is set in the future where humanity lives in a computer controlled Alpha Complex. No, this is about the future not about today. The central computer controls everything and is trying to keep you safe from conspiracies, communist plots, secret societies and enemies of the computer. Why do you keep asking if this is a game set in modern times? Your character is a troubleshooter for the computer trying to discover the hidden fiendish plot that is about to be sprung upon your paradise-utopian society. All while trying to hide the deep dark secret that you harbor from other troubleshooters. No, I’m tired of that question. The computer says we should move onto character creation.

So the first thing needed is a name. But just not any name. There is style to the name that usually involves a pun. Your security clearance level (represented by a color) is in your name. Pick a name you want to use. All characters start out at security clearance Red, so R is in the middle of the name. After the security clearance is the three-letter designation of where you live in the Alpha Complex. Since the character is also a clone (making clones is much easier for the computer than trying to have humans do it the old fashioned way) you start with the number one (since you are the first clone in the series). If your character gets terminated, then your back up clone will be activated and the number will increase by one. So this character is named Car-R-PET-1. Yea that should about cover it. What, where you floored by that pun?

Next comes your attributes which are Strength, Agility, Dexterity, Endurance, Moxie (think intelligence), Chutzpah (communications savvy), Mechanical Aptitude and Power (as in Mutant Power). You roll a D20 and go down the line for each attribute. Once that is done, the computer allows you to re-roll for two of your lowest rolls, but you must take the second roll no matter what. I ended up with a STR 17, END 7, AGI 15, DEX 5 (re-rolled to a 12), MOX 11, CHU 17, MechA 6 (re-rolled to a 10) and POW 16. Other than the low endurance, I think this character seems alright. From these attributes you get some secondary attributes in the form of capacity, bonuses and bases. I followed the RAW to fill these in.

Now the RAW directs you to your service group. Basically your job within the Alpha Complex. Car-R-PET-1 works in Power Services which maintains the power plants and primary maintenance of services like air, traffic, water, etc. Afterwards I get to roll the secret mutant power my character has (and should keep secret from everyone). I ended up with [HIDDEN] which was written down on the second secret character sheet. I did not roll for a membership in a secret society and I did not mark it down on my secret character sheet.

OK, next came the skills used in the game. Each group of skills uses a specific skill based that was determined above. Then I have 30 skill points to distribute between the individual skills (up to 12). I was able to get my skill selected, then the book went into some different details for the game. Um… where’s the equipment that I needed to select? There is a list with costs in the back of the book, but no info on the starting costs. Ugh, this happens in a lot of books. Fine, I looked at the sample characters and selected some of their equipment. There are still some blank spots on the character sheet, but I guess I’m done.

Afterthoughts:

Having to move to the back of the book to find charts while following the rules was a bit annoying. Same with the lack of equipment allocation for new characters. Other than that, the system explanation was pretty quick and simple. I don’t think this game was meant for long term campaigns. Some quick fun games and then back to your regular system. You really need a sense of humor to play this game. Since I enjoyed “It Came From the Late, Late Show”, I think I probably would have enjoyed a game or two of Paranoia.

Additional Notes:

This character was completed on Day 16, but with the technical issues on my website it wasn’t posted until January 17th. I posted a picture of the character sheet on social media.

I did get a comment on social media after I had posted the sheet. Someone mentioned that the computer must have been generous by giving me a laser pistol. I had to be honest and let them know that I pulled some of the equipment from the pre-published characters in the back of the game.

Coming Up Next:

Fantasy Imperium

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 14: Boldly Go!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterthoughts:

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

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

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

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

Additional Notes:

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

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

Coming Up Next:

Covert Ops

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 13: The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game

The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game, published in 2002 by Mongoose Publishing, is a D20 based system. I received these books last year when a friend was looking to reduce the number of books on his bookshelf. I’ve read a few of the Judge Dredd comics (it’s been a while) and I enjoyed both movies that came out. Yes even the over-acting of “I AM THE LAW!!!!” in the first movie. Of course I’m of the opinion that most science fiction/fantasy/horror shows are better than some of the drek that comes out of Hollywood. So I decided that this would be one of my entries in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge. And while it may not be totally based on me, he will carry the name “Judge Stark.” (insert curled lip grimace here)

The campaign can consist of all Judge characters or all civilian characters trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world. The rulebook stated that the Judges would be too powerful when compared with civilian. In my quick read through I could see where they were coming from. The rules also state that Judges should start out as Level 3 characters because of all the training that they have received in the academy before being set loose on the streets. They also included the info for levels 1 and 2 if a GM was interested in running an academy game.

The rulebook does reference the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Player’s Handbook for some sections. So it is probably a good idea to have that book handy.

So let’s make Judge Stark. Well first all players are human. There are no special languages. Judges already have their equipment assigned (and added to the character sheet). While I could have made the character a Psi-Judge, I’m not very big on the psionic powers. I kept trying not to get distracted by the background info on this game world and concentrate on getting the character done. Since it was based off of the D20 system, I was able to get through it pretty quickly.

Afterthoughts:

I liked that the game had different character sheets for the different classes and that they were already filled in with class specific information. It made things go a lot faster in the character creation process.

This is another game that I’d like to see run. I’m wondering how it would play on the table. However the likelihood of it happening is not very big.

Additional Notes:

Going through the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag on twitter I discovered another blog participating in the challenge. I’ve added it to the links on the CCC page.

Coming Up Next:

Boldly Go!

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 11: Farscape Roleplaying Game

After I had posted my daily entry for Modern Age yesterday, I kept thinking that I should have done a deeper dive into the rules. I had assumed that since the rules explained the basics of the game quickly at the start of the book that the character creation steps would have also been as quick. I’m thinking that I didn’t give the game a good enough shake in my comments. So I started looking at getting a dead-tree version of the rulebook because I could easily flip back and forth between chapters while trying to get a handle on the rules (as compared to trying to scroll back and forth on a screen). I had found a copy on Amazon, but I didn’t pull the trigger just yet because I had just bought a new (to me) book a few days ago and I needed to stay within a budget. That book that was just purchased was slotted into Day 11 of the Character Creation Challenge. The book is the Farscape Roleplaying Game by AEG. I didn’t know this book existed until I saw it at a local store that had new and used books just this past weekend. I wasn’t expecting to find anything when I checked the RPG shelf and was pleasantly surprised. So I pulled one of the games I was planning to use (Rocket Age, I’ll probably add it to the 2023 challenge) and placed this one in it’s place. The flexibility to make changes like this is the reason I don’t post my entire list of games prior to the start of the challenge.

I didn’t watch the Farscape TV series when it first came out. About a year ago I started watching the series and I’ve gotten through the first year and a half (I need to pick it up again and finish it out). There were four seasons in total plus a TV mini-series . So I am somewhat familiar with this universe setting.

There are a few items that you would need from the Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 Players Handbook for this roleplaying game. The Farscape game is a D20 based system that uses the OGL. So this should be a quick review mostly talking about the differences that were introduced in the Farscape game.

Wow, the character creation information doesn’t come up until chapter 5 on page 145. The earlier pages gave a Farscape short story (written by Keith R.A. DeCandio) an episode guide, a guide to the characters, aliens and planets (none have stat information). All with a weird column setup that starts in one corner of the page and slides down at an angle to the other.

Generating the attributes refers to the D&D3.5 PHB so we roll 4d6 and drop the lowest and then assign the score to the attribute you want. Then select your race and add the racial modifiers. Not surprising, Humans are not on the list of available races since John Crichton was the only member of that species in the far side of the galaxy. So our selections are Banik, Delvian, Hynerian, Ilanic, Luxan, Nebari, Scarran, Sebacean, Sheyang, Tavlek, Vorcarian and Zenetan. For this character I’m going to select Banik. I applied the racial stats and abilities. Instead of Hit Points, your character in the Farscape RPG has Wounds. At 1st level they are maxed out (add class and any CON modifier) and randomly rolled afterwards. Something different from a standard D20/3.5 game is Control Points. From the RAW it looks like these are used for mystic powers, combat actions and other common actions. Like Wounds, 1st level are maxed out (add class and any WIS modifier) and rolled for each level afterwards.

Now onto the classes which are Aristocrat, Commando, Diplomat, Mystic, Pirate, Priest, Rogue, Scavenger, Scientist, Tech and Warrior. An option of a pirate is too good to pass up. I filled in the class skills, feats and other details. The characters get to choose two backgrounds which (at the cost of skill points) gives you certain skills and details. These backgrounds kinda made sense. The cost was more expensive than just taking the skills in some cases (but you could also substitute a background for a selected feat). If I was GMing a game, I’d probably give the PCs a little bit more for the cost of skill points. It also sounds like the backgrounds are optional, so I’m just going to select skills on my own. Wrapped up the equipment that a pirate in the uncharted territories would have and added them to the sheet.

Drellith was going to be a craftsman in his city before his transport was taken by the Peacekeepers. They accused everyone on aboard (passenger or not) of being pirates and imprisoned everyone. Learning from the pirates that were incarcerated with Drellith, he learned their tricks. When they had an opportunity to escape, he joined them.

Afterthoughts:

Would I play this game? Yes. Would I homebrew for this game? Yes. Will I get a chance to play? Probably not.

I was a little surprised that AEG still had games like Farscape and Stargate SG-1 still listed on DriveThruRPG. Usually when the license expires, they can no longer offer the product. This is a good thing for fans of the series or games still looking to obtain the product.

Additional Notes:

I re-visited the blogs from the 2021 challenge (that I had not already moved to the 2022 list) and found two more that had started participating. I’ve added these to the new list. I’m still looking for any additional sites of anyone that is participating.

Coming Up Next:

Castles and Crusades

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 5: BASH! Sci-Fi Edition

The friend who gave me the Men In Black roleplaying game, also gave me Basic Action System Heroes (BASH!) Sci-Fi Edition. I had never heard of this game so I thought that I’d use it as one of my entries in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge. BASH! appears to be primarily a super-hero game that the publisher has ported over to other genres. There is also a Fantasy version of the system. The descriptions state that you only need a pair of D6s, the rules and a 3×5 card to play. Let’s see how this works out.

So the basics of the game appear to be roll 2d6, multiply by a stat or power to get the result (beat an opponents roll or a difficulty number). If you roll doubles, roll another d6 and add it. If it matches the double, roll another one until there is no match. Then multiply. Thank you for putting the basic concept at the front of the book. I hate having to dig for the core mechanic. The keep rolling on doubles sounds like an interesting concept.

So there are three character stats. Brawn, Agility and Mind. Pretty straightforward. These range from 1 (normal man), 2 (standard professional like soldier, average marksman, scholar, etc.) 3 (exceptional professional like a very competent scientist) 4 (human max for any stat like geniuses, pro-athletes, etc.) 5 (alien or machine like quality, max for the stat). I like that they define what each level represents. For new characters, you get 7 points to spread across the three stats. You can reduce the number of powers by 2 in order to get an 8th stat point. This must be a hold over from the super-hero game. There are different alien races in step two that have minimums or maximums in order to select that race. So before deciding on my stats, I looked over the races to see if anything interested me. Hmm.. Eldans may have been influenced by Vulcans and the Velkar sounds like Klingons. There is a race of lion like people called the Simbasa. Let’s run with that. Races have certain advantages, disadvantages, skills and powers. Do I get them for free or do I have to pay for them during character creation? I couldn’t find an answer so I’m going to say “I have to pay for them.”

Next comes Advantages and Disadvantages. You gain an advantage for each disadvantage you take. Well the Simbasa already have Long Sleeper (need more sleep in a day) disadvantage. So I’ll take an advantage of my choice. Unknown Ally is a mysterious GM controlled ally who appears at random times and helps out. I really liked the sound of that. There is no information on the number or maximum advantages/disadvantages that a character can have or how you could gain future advantages/disadvantages in the rules. So I’ll stick with the one set.

You get 7 points of powers. Some powers were straight from the superhero game. Others were things that could have been skills (dog fighting in a starfighter?). Four points were already taken by the powers gained from the Simbasa species. So with the three left over points I selected off-hand pistol (I can attack with two pistols) and quick draw (I have a feeling I’m making an alien lion gunslinger).

Next is skills. You have mental skills (based off your mind score) or physical skills (based off of your agility score). The number of skills is equal to the attribute. So I’ve got three physical skills (one of which is already taken up by athletics) and two mental skills. Each skill has a specialty so it’s something you are extra good at. I selected several that I thought would be good for a space lion who was separated from his pride and had to make it on his own as a streetwise mercenary. That was the end of chapter one on character creation.

The next chapter went into equipment. Each character started out with 5,000 credits to buy equipment. I selected what a merc could have. And as with most games, there are sections of the character sheet that are still blank? Somehow I missed where the Hits a and Wound Threshold is at. Back at the key terms, it states that heroes get 100 hits. The index guided me to a page in the combat rules for the Wound Threshold and needed a better explanation. The gist is if you are damaged it can affect your agility and skill rolls. Makes sense, but what do I put the threshold at? Meh, since I have no GM to ask, I’ll just leave it blank for now.

So the character, named TaChar, was a member of a Simbasa pride out roaming the universe when he got separated from the pride. A group of mercs took him in and he learned the trade. He takes different jobs trying to survive and is continuously looking for his pride to see if he can rejoin. Here is the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

There is an image near the start of the book that looks like it came from the Star Ace RPG. I don’t have a copy to check, but it looks familiar.

This is clearly a sandbox game. There were lots of examples of different styles of play and different sci-fi genres (post apocalyptic, fighting mecs, cyberpunk, space opera, space fantasy and examples that were clearly inspired by various sci-fi franchises. A ton of “your GM can adjust things for their game and here’s how” guidelines. However there was a lot of superhero feel to the text. It could have used a little bit more polishing. I wonder how the game holds up in actual play?

Additional Notes:

I’ve discovered another blog that is participating in the #CharacterCreationChallenge and added it to the CCC page. I’ve also added a link to the hashtag on Twitter so anyone can see the latest posts with that hashtag.

Coming Up Next:

Star Wars Saga Edition

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

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 4: Men In Black The Roleplaying Game

I’ve really enjoyed the different Men In Black movies. They were silly and a little campy and looked like fun. It was also one of those franchises that screamed, I should be used in a role playing campaign. Back in the 90’s I recall some friends playing an MIB game that I think was based off of the original comics. I don’t believe it was this system however. So when a friend was moving back east and needed to do a serious reduction in the number of items he needed to pack, most of his RPG books were donated to me. This was one of the books that was included in the set. As I mentioned in my Star Wars D6 entry into the Character Creation Challenge, I loved this system and was very interested in seeing how the MIB D6 game compared.

The MIB character creation rules have three options, take a template of pre-made characters (located in the back of the book), create a character from scratch or base the character on yourself. Yes, I’m going to make myself in this game. I mean, come-on I get a flashy thingy device to use right? Right?

There are eight attributes for the game. Reflexes, Coordination, Endurance, Strength, Knowledge, Perception, Confidence and Charisma. Each attribute has several skills listed that are appropriate for that category (example: Ignore Pain is under Endurance, Dodge is under Reflexes, etc.) Each character gets 24 six-sided dice (24D) to slot into all of your attributes. A die can also be broken up into three pips (0, +1 and +2). Then you get an additional 7D to add to various skills (which can also be broken up if desired). I set my attributes and skills. Each new starting character has 5 Character Points and 1 Fate Point. For the body points I rolled my endurance (3D resulted in 13) and added 20 to get 33. I liked that there was a section for “useless trivia” just to round out the characters. Agent C knew about the television show “Star Trek”.

Equipment was assigned by the Director so I wrote down what I thought Agent C would need as a MIB Agent. I wrote down CLASSIFIED for his background. For the agency he is an Alien Tech Specialists. I also noted that Agent C is very excited about the new technology he gets to encounter while in the field.

Afterthoughts:

I was having more flashbacks to the West End Games Star Wars RPG while creating this character. I could see myself playing this game or writing up homebrew material for it. It’s too bad that there isn’t a group I could test this out with.

There has been an updated version of the D6 System. I’m certain that the MIB RPG could very easily be updated to the latest version.

Additional Notes:

I’ve noticed that the number of entries posted with the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag is much, much larger than the 2021 event. Again I’m seeing a ton of entries that I have never heard of. I’m glad to see participants getting into the spirit of this fun challenge.

Coming Up Next:

Basic Action System Heroes (BASH) Sci-Fi Edition

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.

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