Side note from my Day 10 entry, by selecting D&D comics, I had inspired a participant who was having a hard time thinking of a favorite tie-in, until he remembered his own D&D comics. I’m glad that I helped a fellow RPGer out.
Recently I had a chance to play the supernatural/western based RPG Weird Frontiers at SaltCON-Summer in June. Sure, weird is in the name of the game, but that is not why I selected this one. It was the combat mechanics with the various firearms. Every time you shot your gun, you had to draw a card from a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The value of the card could either enhance or hinder the attack from your gun. Since Aces and Eights is a bad hand to draw in westerns, it drawing any of those cards were very bad. It made the system stand out that much more when trying to play the game. Not in a bad way, but in a weird way.
What was a weird game (or RPG mechanic) that you’ve experienced? Tell me about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.
So this past weekend was a very busy one. I had not one, not two, but three events. SaltCON-Summer, a smaller event from the same people who put on the March SaltCON. Then there was the Duran Duran concert on Saturday and a concert put on by The Cure on Sunday.
For my SaltCON after action report, I have to say that I had a lot of fun at the event. I had a chance to catch up with several people that I had met at the previous convention. I also made some new contacts as well. This is one of the things that I enjoy about the role-playing community, meeting new people and discovering what interests that you may have in common.
This convention only used half of the convention center. So the primary gaming room was where the dealers room was in March. The bulk of it being the board games. The various RPGs were located in a section of the main gaming room or in a side room dedicated to role-playing. Sometimes a table would be moved to another room without a notification so on one occasion I had to go hunting. But I was able to find where I needed to be. The dealers were placed in the large hallways. This made it convenient to quickly see what was available. Because of the limited space there were fewer dealers. But a dealer that I had been seeing only at cons was there and I picked up a physical copy of the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide for Star Trek Adventures. I was really hoping that he would have had a physical copy of The Discovery Campaign Guide, but the physical book may not have reached vendors yet. There was a game swap room where I was able to find a copy of The Dark Eye. This is a fantasy RPG that has been very popular in Europe. For some reason, it’s been popping up on my radar a lot recently. So since I could get a physical copy at a reasonable price, I picked it up. While I may never have a chance to actually play the game, I will be using it in the 2024 Character Creation Challenge. Since I could also see myself attending future SaltCONs (as long as it remains at the location it is held at now) I picked up a SaltCON badge holder.
So the first game that I signed up to play as Dune: Adventures in the Imperium. I have to say that the GM was very well prepared. He had several fan made reference sheets prepared to help new players (see photo above). The one that helped the most was the Skills and Drives (the main attributes that most characters have). I need to see if there is a Star Trek Adventures version of these reference sheets. Like STA, Dune is using the 2D20 system with slight alterations. From what I’ve discussed in my John Carter of Mars Character Creation entry, Modiphius has done with with all of their 2D20 entries. While we played Dune, I could see some similarities to STA, but I could also see where somethings were different. Both games are cinematic roleplaying instead of tactical. But this helped because the players were planning and working together. I played the spymaster and I had a chance to put some of my skills to use. If I could get into a group for Dune, I could see myself playing in a campaign setting.
As for Weird Frontiers, I had a lot of fun as well. I think that the players at the table got into the spirit of the game. I played a gambler (think of a thief in D&D terms) who had a magical deck of cards (as well as a long range rifle so I was doing a lot of sniping). It was a little weird having to draw a card from a standard deck of playing cards after each shot (the value of the card could benefit or hinder the attack). Sometimes the Aces or Eights (a bad hand to have in western tropes) would come up at the wrong time. I’d really like to read more of the world the writers have put together for this game. Apparently there was a demonic incursion into the 1800’s which was partially driven back by some heroes. Leaving a world scared by demonic creatures that the players had to go hunt. I also enjoyed that I was able to use my special Dungeon Crawl Classics dice that was prepared for the CC-style systems.
Battlestations is a combination board game and role-playing game that the GM had used in a Star Trek setting instead of the in-game universe. The first half of the game was set in the board game scenario, and I kinda just held on for the ride. The board game pieces that were assembled to create the two starships were interesting, but having the odd movement and equipment overheating (limiting what I could do) was a little frustrating. Once we had moved past the board game portion and actually got into the roleplaying, then I really started enjoying myself. I quizzed the GM after the game and he showed me in the book where you could create your own character, so yes there was an RPG element in the game. While I was glad that I had a chance to try a new game, I don’t see myself making a return to this system.
The only game I played on Saturday was Twilight 2000. While it was neat to return to World War III ravaged Poland, I really wish I could remember how the original version of this game played. We primarily went through a hex crawl avoiding ambushes, attacking enemy troops and dealing with villages just trying to survive. This latest edition had to use special dice which was a little clunky. I found the system a little crunchy at times. I looked at the GMs copy of the players manual and enjoyed reading some of the background stuff, but wondered if I could use another system for this setting.
Sunday morning I arrived for my Old School Essentials game and started up a good conversation with a RPGer that lives in the same area that I do. As we were talking, the RPG coordinator came and informed us that the GM had come down with con-crud and wouldn’t be able to make it. While I was glad that the GM was responsible enough not to spread anything around (I’m still a little cautious after the past few years) I was disappointment not to get a chance to try OSE. The RPG coordinator then offered to run a quick pick up game for us. Originally we were going to play Scum and Villainy, but it turns out he didn’t have it in his car, so he brought in Monster of the Week. The coordinator ran us in a western scenario (lots of cowboys this weekend) and I quickly created a character loosely based off of Indiana Jones. The system was very light and practically prefect for a quick scenario. We had fun playing this game.
The last game for the con was the Star Trek homebrew that I had been looking forward to. The creator had a basic combat system for the times when physical combat took place. But there was also a social combat system where you could react in different ways and use different types of voices (are you being truthful? bluffing? forceful? bluffing? etc.) and depending upon various rolls, you could weaken your opponents social standing. The creator was observing us playing the game being ran by a friend of his from out-of-state, so there were a couple of times that we turned to get a rule clarification. But the creator is looking at creating an IP-free version of the game in the near future. I may have a chance to look over the rules and provide feedback. I had fun playing this game as well.
Yes I will be going to SaltCON-End of Summer. My wife purchased a ticket for me as an early Father’s Day gift. So I will let you all know about my schedule when it becomes available. According to the website, it’s larger than the summer event, but not as large as the spring event. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the other two.
As for the two concerts, the first was Duran Duran. The opening acts were Bastille and Neil Rogers and CHIC. It was an interesting combination of 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and current. I’ve been wanting to see Duran Duran for a LOOONGG time. When they were having their residency in Las Vegas a few years ago, I explored the option to go and discovered that the tickets were well beyond the price range that I wanted to pay. So I am very grateful that they have returned for a standard tour. I was really hoping that they would have played something from the Big Thing album (one of the first that I purchased from them), but with how many songs they had to choose from, it didn’t make the playlist. Seeing the entire arena sing Rio along with the band was a blast.
I had much better seats for The Cure on Sunday. If you get a chance to see this show, go do it. No only was the admission prices much more reasonable, but the merch prices were reasonable as well. I picked up a t-shirt to wear later. The band itself played for over three-hours. It was very late by the time I got home, but it was very much worth it.
Have you seen these two bands in concert? If so, what were your thoughts? Have you been to any gaming conventions lately? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.
Wait Carl, didn’t you just attend SaltCON in March? Well yes, sorta. That was the main SaltCON event which is the largest. The organizers also have SaltCON-Summer in June and a SaltCON-End of Summer in September. After the fun I had at the March event, I picked up a ticket for the June event. And then without thinking about it, purchased two concert tickets that happen on the same weekend. Hey it was an opportunity to see both Duran Duran on Saturday and The Cure on Sunday. These are two bands that have been on my bucket. So when I scheduled my games online (which I’m really glad that I’m able to do) I made sure to leave time to travel down to Salt Lake to see the concerts.
Game lineup for SaltCON-Summer:
Dune: Adventures in the Imperium– I missed out on this game last time because there was only one table and it filled up fast. So I jumped on this as quickly as I could. The GM who is running this also ran the Star Trek Lower Decks inspired Star Trek Adventures in March. I’ve also been corresponding with him via email about various STA questions. So I can’t wait to see how Dune compares to STA.
Weird Frontiers– Think Lovecraft meets Wild Wild West. It is using the Dungeon Crawl Classics engine and I’ve never played this before so it will be something new. I’ve already been messaged by the GM advising me to bring a deck of cards. I wonder how this will go?
Red Alert… Battlestations!- A Star Trek inspired game. This being presented by Studio Radd which ran two of the games I attended at the last convention. Again, this is a system that I’ve never played before.
Twilight: 2000– I played the original Twilight: 2000 back when it first came out. I don’t recall a thing about the system but I do remember having a fun time with the group. I wonder how this edition will run?
Old School Essentials– An OSR game, I had to jump at the chance to play an OSR game. I believe this is being run by the GM who ran the GURPS-Aliens game at the last convention. Not only did he do a really good job, he inspired me to go out and purchase the unusual white-board map that he was using (review later).
Where No Man/Species Has Gone Before- The GM of the James Bond game that I played at the last con showed me his home-brewed Star Trek RPG system. Well this time around he has someone running for him at the convention. When he saw that I had signed up for it, he reached out to let me know that this was his game. I think he’s really looking forward to seeing some feedback.
The above mentioned James Bond GM had his game fill up first before any others. So I wasn’t able to sign up for that. However reading the description, it continues the adventures of the ResQ Branch. I’ll have to see how it turns out.
One game that isn’t being played is the Modiphius entry into the Conan franchise. They are currently having a 90% sale at DriveThruRPG on all the books. Since I’m always a bargain hunter, I had to snap those up. It would have been nice to see the game in action at the con.
So this is going to be a busy and interesting weekend with the con/concert combination. Will I find any special deals in the dealers room or swap meet? Will I run into more friends that I gamed with years ago? Look for an after-action report that I will post sometime next week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go finish packing for the con.
Will you be at SaltCON? Do you have any convention stories? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.
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.
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) TardisCaptain.com 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) TardisCaptain.com. My art school kid in college loved hearing about the characters I was making on a daily basis and the challenge in general. She created a badge for those who completed the challenge. 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.
This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.
There is a two page character sheet. The sheet itself wasn’t available on Fat Goblin Games’ website so I emailed them and they sent me a copy. In the book I turned to page 14 where the start of the character creation system begins. The first step is to choose your nickname (along with your regular character name). So this character is going to be Leonard “Lariat” Daniels.
Next come the attributes. There are only three of them and you choose which one gets the +4, +3 or +2. They are Mental, Physical and Social. Pretty straightforward. With how tough I wanted my marshal to be I selected Mental +2, Physical +4 and Social +3.
For step three, each character selects two talents and two flaws. There is a list in the book. I decided that Lariat was a former soldier and that while he was in the service he was good at handling animals so he was a wrangler. For his flaws, I selected Blatherkite (talks too much which annoys people) and I was really having a hard time choosing a second one. A lot of these were really debilitating when it came to creating a “heroic” cowboy type character. I ended up selecting Dark Secret, which would have been decided later with the GM.
Each character starts with a health score of nine (all of the attributes added together) and one grit. A grit can be used to add to your rolls or character advancement. Luckily with equipment, it is pretty much, as a member of the US Marshals you have this in your inventory. You keep track of what you would have on hand. At your office or house it would be assumed that you would have some common equipment found there. There is a section where you get to name a special item (they give the example of bowler hat) and if you win a challenge against the GM, you get it. I could see this as an interesting way to show the way the dice work in the game. No GM, so I’ll just assume that I won one of the challenges and my special item is a Spanish Doubloon that he wears on a leather strap as a good luck charm. We finally get to roll a 2D6 and the results is how much cash that Lariat has on hand. He has $8 in a billfold.
The last step is to write down your character’s description and background. Lariat was a veteran of the Civil War on the Union side. When he ended his service, he was recruited by the US Marshals to help enforce Federal laws in the wild west. Here is the character sheet.
The dead tree version of the book I’m using has certain words “linked” like they were hyperlinks. I can see that being useful in the PDF version of the game. It kind of stood out in the printed version that I had.
The game looked interesting. I think I’d want to see how it played out before I decided if I was going to homebrew for it.
On one of the RPG message boards participating in the Character Creation Challenge, a participant elected to make a FASA Star Trek character after reading my earlier entry. Apparently they were making decisions on which character to make next on the fly. They are braver than I am. With how busy my schedule is I really need to attempt the easier systems on difficult days.
Coming Up Next:
This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.
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 RPG.net 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) TardisCaptain.com 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.
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.
I’ve never played any role-playing games based on the Western genre. I would watch a lot of classic Western movies and television shows and thought that it would make for a good RPG session. I would also wonder, what would the RPG stats be for Blondie (aka The Man With No Name) in the classic movie ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly‘ or James West in ‘The Wild Wild West‘? With a good system, I was sure I could homebrew up some stats.
I knew there was several Western RPGs out there. However I never really owned one until I found Tall Tales BX on DriveThruRPG. This game was written by Mark Hunt who also released Gangbusters BX and was an earlier entry into the Character Creation Challenge. Tall Tales was on sale when I purchased it so I was able to pick it up for a couple of bucks. Plus it was built around the B/X rules which I was very familiar with. So I selected it as today’s entry into the Character Creation Challenge.
As with most games based off of the D&D D20 format, I’m always curious how the ability scores are generated. Tall Tales stuck with the standard 3d6, but it gave the option to discard sub-par characters and re-roll. The RAW also had the option to adjust certain ability scores (only STR, WIS and INT could be lowered). I ended up with the following stats. STR: 15, INT: 9, WIS: 9, DEX: 13, CON: 12 and CHA: 10. Hmm.. pretty average.
The Classes have minimum requirements and are as follows. Gunslinger (a fighter), Desperado (a thief), Mountain Man (I think this is the equivalent of a Druid), Snake Oil Salesman (a swindler that makes potions that may or may not work), Brave (Native American cross between a Ranger and Cleric) and Singing Cowboy (you guessed it, a bard). There is also a More Classes supplement that allows you to play a Lawman, a Preacher or a Gambler. With the stats like this, I elected to take the Gunslinger. The class didn’t have a prime requisite (and thus no bonus XP). This resulted in a d8 for HP (I rolled a 7). I also wrote down the various special abilities for my selected class.
I love the fact that the Alignments are titled Law Biding, Neutrality or Dishonest. I also wrote down my character’s language which is Common (i.e. English). You also had the option to roll to determine your career before the game started. I rolled to see what he was and the Soldier result came up. The RAW stated this was to help the Judge (Game Master) decide on your skills you can use during play, but it did not expand upon this.
The game still listed all money as Gold Pieces, Silver Pieces, etc. instead of dollars which I thought was a little our of character for a Western RPG. I rolled up my character’s starting money and equipped my character.
The Saving Throws are interesting. They are Gumpton (resist with willpower), Quickness, Toughness, Riding and Observation. The information wasn’t listed with the other character creation sections so I had to go search for it. But once I had it and the “to hit” roll information listed down, I was done.
Earl “Buck” Turner was a veteran of the US Army but only served for a couple of years before deciding to head west in order to be a bounty hunter. He brings them in Dead or Alive for the reward. And the reward money is what he wants to collect. Here is the Character Sheet.
I saw some areas where I wanted to write up some additional information on equipment and weapons. When I get some free time (yea right) I’ll have to see if I can put something together. I could really see myself playing this game. I like how some of the classes are set up (including the extra classes) and I’d be curious of how my fellow gamers would take to a game like this.
I want to thank those that gave me feedback on yesterday’s Character Creation Challenge entry. Apparently others had noticed the typos in the rule books. It also tells me that people are reading my blog entries. Thank you.
From the #CharacterCreationChallenge hashtag I was able to locate another blog participating in the challenge. I have added the Orc.One blog to the list of links.
I found a copy of Age of Empire: A Role-Playing Game of Mad Victorian Fantasy at a local thrift shop. The store must have received a box from a collector or closed game store because the book (and several other RPG books which I also picked up) were in very good condition. When I first saw the book sitting on the shelf, I thought it was a book about the Microsoft video game, Age of Empires. Then when I realized it wasn’t connected to the video game, I wondered: “How did they get away with using a name so similar to the one used by Microsoft?” You don’t antagonize a big corporation with lot’s of lawyers. A quick google search later took me to RPGGeek.com where it mentioned that a settlement with MS had taken the game off of the market. No other details beyond that so (shrugs) who knows what happened in the legal wrangling that took place. However, since the likelihood of playing a campaign with this system is small, I decided to make it one of my entries into the Character Creation Challenge.
The game is definitely a Steampunk game, but is not limited to Victorian London. One of the many influences on the game was the Western Spy-Fi series, The Wild Wild West which had been a favorite of mine when I saw the re-runs on television. So I decided that I wanted to create a character that had the profession of Spy. In Age of Empire, you don’t have classes, you select the minimum requirements for a certain profession. American agent Walter Williams will have to have several things generated in order to be playable. His Statistics (Body, Mind & Spirit), Defining Traits, Skills and Finishing Touches.
For the Statistics, a player is given eight points that can be allocated between Body (the character’s strength and agility), Mind (intelligence and mental ability) and Spirit (social, faith and mystic power). No stat can be higher than 5 or lower than 1. Since a secret agent needs to be well rounded, I selected 3 for Body, 3 for Mind and 2 for Spirit.
In order to meet the minimum requirements for the Spy profession, one of the first Defining Traits I selected was “Jack-of-all-Trades”. You get one Defining Trait for each point you have in each of the three statistics. I selected a series of traits that I felt would be worthwhile to a spy in the field.
As with the Defining Traits, there were minimum requirements for skills. These were Analysis & Disguise (under Mind), Fencing, Firearms and Fisticuffs (under Body) with no required skills under Spirit. It took a second to find out how many skill points I had to spend (luckily there was an example of creating a character in the book and it explained some of the steps I had just read). I spent my skill points (15 each for Body and Mind skills, 10 for Spirit skills) that I felt was appropriate for an espionage agent.
As a spy, my character has a special ability of obtaining three (highest stat) gadgets per adventure. Those should come in handy. Rolling for starting funds was the first time I had to make a dice roll in the character creation process. The equipment list was rather small, so I selected what I could and considered the character created.
Walter Williams was born from an American Father and a British Mother. He learned at an early age that acting was a way to become popular. While he was raised in the United States, his mother taught him all about the British way. When Walter was starting out as a new actor, he was approached by a friend who served with the American government. They needed agents to gather intelligence around the world. Walter’s acting would allow him to pass of as both American and European. He was placed in a traveling stage performing group which gave him cover for being abroad as well as having certain items. “Oh, that’s just a prop pistol.” Walter is now on assignment while traveling across the globe. Here is the character sheets.
It appears that the system used for Age of Empire is pretty simple and easy. You use a D6 for each skill point and add your Stat score. The Author (Game Master) rolls an opposing roll and the highest score succeeds. There are also rules for magic and mysticism that I didn’t really get to read at this time. I wouldn’t mind trying out a gaming session or two to really get a feel for the game. And with the lack of companion publications for the game, it’s wide open for homebrew supplements. I wonder if they would actually get used if I wrote anything up for them. The creators of the game included statistics for historical figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Wyatt Earp as well as fictional characters like Count Dracula and Phileas Fogg. I thought that was a nice touch as I usually wonder what a character’s game statistics would be when I’m watching an entertaining show.
I would like to thank those supporters who have used the DriveThruRPG links to purchase game material. The affiliate funds may not be a lot, but I will be using them to purchase games for future reviews. You can also support what I do on this site by purchasing from one of the Amazon affiliate links or clicking on the Ko-fi button on the main page. This site isn’t a money making opportunity. I’m just trying to use the affiliate options to keep a hobby from digging too deep into the family finances.
Coming Up Next:
Far Trek, a fan made RPG based off of a popular Science Fiction franchise.