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

Character Creation Challenge Day 21: Prime Directive

Character Creation Challenge Day 21

So this is a licensed Star Trek RPG, kinda. Amarillo Design Bureau has the rights to create a starship tactical game based off of the Star Fleet Technical Manual published by Franz Joseph. This was the first tech book for Star Trek fans that captured a lot of imaginations in the 1970s. It was also a time when licensing for products based off of a canceled television show was loosely defined. The long and short of it is ADB could make games based on the elements of the Tech Manual which includes some classic and animated Star Trek episodes, but they could not cover the other Star Trek series. The game ADB is best known for is Star Fleet Battles. And they added to their universe with additional races and ships not seen in the other series. Some years ago, they added a role playing game based off of the SFB universe they had created called Prime Directive. After a 1st edition, they came out with a “2nd edition” of the game that used GURPS or the D&D D20 engines. Being a fan of the D20 system I had picked up those books from a local game store. Note: I am using the D20 version of the books which have been discontinued by ADB in favor of the D20 Modern (D20M) version of the game. I haven’t had the chance to get my hands on the D20M books to see how they compare with the regular D20 version.

This entry into the Character Creation Challenge will be straight from The Original Series era, but using one of the races seen in the SFB universe. Rigellian Ensign Paran Rei is a member of the Medical Department on the USS Hudson.

The Prime Directive core rulebook shown in the photo above is an “add on” book to the Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 Player’s Handbook. While the PD book gives information on races, classes, equipment, etc., it refers to the 3.5 PHB for rules on character generation, combat, etc. So I’ll be using the same character creation system when I did my D&D v3.5 entry into the Character Creation Challenge.

After rolling 4d6 (and dropping the lowest die) and adding the Rigellian racial stats I ended up with the following attributes. STR: 11, DEX: 10, CON: 13, INT: 13, WIS: 17, CHA: 13. Not bad rolls on this one. Noted down the savings throws, HP, racial feats and abilities and languages.

There were a couple of skills that were unique to the game. I also had to refer to the 3.5 PHB on a few things to make sure I was selecting the appropriate skills for a medical officer. There was also a section on Character Education. For this I selected Starfleet Academy and wrote down the appropriate skills.

I really didn’t select any equipment other than writing down what I thought a standard Starfleet medical officer would have. The RAW had a Purchase DC, but you don’t really purchase anything in Starfleet. Here is the character sheet.

Paran Rei character sheet
Paran Rei character sheet


Since I know and understand the 3.5 rules, this build was pretty quick and easy. Prime Directive didn’t throw too many extra rules at me that bogged things down. If I were to run a campaign, I’d probably homebrew a lot to bring in the other races, events, ships, equipment seen in the later shows.

There were a lot of other future reference books mentioned in this rulebook. I’ve picked up the Klingons and Romulans supplement for PD20 and a PD20M supplement. ADB advertised books for the Gorn and Feline Empires (as well as other races), but they have not released them as of yet. I wish that they could finish them up as I’d love to buy them.

Additional Notes:

I’m starting to get into a pattern with the Character Creation Challenge. I prep as much as I can a head of time (taking photos, prepping the outline of the blog entry, character concepts) so that the day of is just die rolling, deciding and writing my thoughts down in the blog. It’s still a bit rough when I’ve got limited time. Normally when making characters you are not under a deadline.

Keep posting your characters. I’m still trying to read them.

Coming Up Next:

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, No One Lives Forever, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

Character Creation Challenge Day 20: Spycraft

Character Creation Challenge Day 20

I own both version 1.0 and 2.0 of the Spycraft Roleplaying Game. I even remember going to a friends house and playing in a massive session. It may have been a Living Spycraft game or it may have been part of the Game Control (GC is the Game Master) created world. I remember we had to make a raid on a stronghouse and we spent most of the game planning our way to infiltrate and obtain the goal before we had to shoot our way out.

Being a big James Bond fan I had always been interested in espionage RPGs. This fandom was expanded by the video game series No One Lives Forever. Someday I’m going to create a sourcebook for the NOLF characters and events and I’ve always thought that Spycraft would be the system I would use for it. NOLF is where UNITY originated from that is need of new agents. Agents I am creating with this Character Creation Challenge. Today we are creating Oliver Chamberlain, who’s name I pulled from [REDACTED]. So far no one has guessed where I’m pulling these names from.

Spycraft v2.0 is a modified D20 system. The publisher added a few spins to the game to make it fit into the world of super spies and blazing guns. The first step is to create the concept. Originally I was going to make Chamberlain a Hacker since that is one of the classes in Spycraft, but then it hit me, in 1968 they didn’t really have hackers like those listed in the book. So I changed the concept to Intruder. Basically an infiltration expert that is also good at getting equipment by any means necessary.

As a D20 system, it has the standard attributes. STR, DEX, CON INT, WIS and CHA. However you don’t roll the 3d6 to generate the scores. Like the EverQuest RPG, you start out with a base score of 8 and then you have so many points to increase the attributes you want to use. For Spycraft you have 36 points and a chart with a rising score cost (slightly different than the EQRPG) Chamberlain needed a good DEX and WIS score so I concentrated there. Next you selected your Origin which consisted of Talents and Specialties. These would almost make up a background history to build upon, but they would also adjust your ability scores amongst other things. Chamberlain is an Orphaned Criminal. After adjusting the stats he ended up with the following. STR: 10, DEX: 17, CON: 11, INT: 10, WIS: 15, CHA: 10.

I wrote down the information for the Intruder class. The skills were very detailed with sub-skills that are automatically gained underneath and result caps. It was all very crunchy. But I selected the skills I thought that an Intruder would need to be successful. I also selected Burglar for his level 1 feat. I noticed that the feats are just as detailed as the skills are. Very crunchy, which isn’t a bad thing for detailed play. Next you selected interests (hobbies basically) which may add bonuses to certain checks if the GC agrees. Now we are up to step 7 which his selecting a sub-plot. Chamberlain has a nemesis (which I won’t create now) that may pop up every once in a while.

Next step is filling in the missing blanks like Vitality Points (i.e. hit points) and the like. I’m glad that the RAW has the 1st level characters starting out at max VP. I filled in the rest of the items as instructed. Then we got to the gearing up. Again the game had a lot of details here. If I was just starting a campaign, I’d ask the GC for a few items appropriate for my class (lock picks, rope) a weapon (pistol with a silencer) and a motorcycle and I called it good. I’m sure the excess detail will make sense if I was actually playing, but for this challenge, I’m done. Here is the character sheet.

Character sheet for Oliver Chamberlain
Character sheet for Oliver Chamberlain


I love it when a RPG book contains a quick guide for character creation in one location so you can see all of the steps at once. The Spycraft 2.0 book did this very well with some sections color coded. However even with this helpful section, there were still sections that I would have relied on a GC to answer any questions. I know that there are sections of the sheet that are blanks.

Overall though I could see myself playing this system like I had before. I think the GC at the time was someone connected with the publisher of the game so he explained it very easily. Plus, as I mentioned above, we did more role-playing than dice rolling. But as I was assembling this character and reading the rules, my mind started homebrewing stats for agents I had seen in video games and other media.

Additional Notes:

I’ve noticed that Twitter’s hashtag search is much more efficent and user-friendly than Facebook’s. I haven’t come across any new blogs or message boards yet. But I am very impressed with some of the blog entries. While I’m reading them, I feel like I’m sitting down at the table with the writer as they explain the character. Plus I’m seeing some very interesting insights on some of the different games out there. Keep it up.

Coming Up Next:

The Prime Directive D20 RPG

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Westerns

Character Creation Challenge Day 19: Tall Tales BX

Character Creation Challenge Day 19

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.

Earl "Buck" Turner character sheet
Earl "Buck" Turner 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.

Additional Notes:

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.

Coming Up Next:


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

Character Creation Challenge Day 18: Doctor Who Role Playing Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 18

As you can tell from the title of this Blog of Holding, I am a big Doctor Who fan. I remember playing the Doctor Who Role Playing Game by FASA with my friends in the 90’s. I remember even running a game. However it has been a LONG time since I even looked at the rules that I hardly remember anything at all. So this entry into the Character Creation Challenge is almost like reading it again for the first time. Unfortunately there hasn’t been any opportunity to participate in an RPG session lately. One friend still uses the name of her Gallifreyan character as a nickname. Hi Agiani.

When this game was published, the Gallifreyans did not allow for interference in other worlds. This made The Doctor a bit of a renegade with the leaders of his people. To get around this in the game, characters could be Gallifreyans or companions participating in a group called the Celestial Intervention Agency (CIA). The agents in this rogue organization battle against the threats of Daleks, Cybermen and dozens other aggressive species across space and time.

Since I’ve never made a Time Lord character, the character that goes by the name The Barron. His birth name is Redbronovurudu, but that was too hard to pronounce by his Human companion. “Red what? Like Red Baron?” “Oh.. The Baron, I like that. It sounds very noble.”

There are six mental and physical attributes in the Doctor Who Role Playing Game. Strength (STR), Endurance (END), Dexterity (DEX), Charisma (CHA), Mentality (MNT) and Intuition (ITN). Attribute scores range from 1-30 (with 30 being the best) but they are also listed at Attribute Performance Levels. Level I is Handicapped. Level II is Untrained. Level III is Basic Performance. Level IV is Average Performance. Level V is Professional Performance. Level VI is Expert Performance and the last performance of Mastery is Level VII. Characters will also have Special Abilities and Skills. The skills, like Attributes, range 1-30 and have their own I-VII proficiency ratings from Unskilled to Mastery.

Your character’s initial attribute scores start at 6. To find out how many points are in your attribute point fund, roll 2d6+36. I ended up with 43 points to spend. The Baron was a Researcher in the Grand Library of Gallifrey before he unexpectedly found himself traveling the universe. So I gave him higher scores in the CHA, MNT and INT scores. They are as follows: ST: 10 (Level IV), END: 13 (Level IV), DEX: 10 (Level IV), CHA: 15 (Level V), MNT: 15 (Level V), INT: 16 (Level V). During the character creation process, a 3d6 die roll determines if your character has a special ability, and what it is if present. My roll ended up earning a Luck special ability. This added 5 to my INT making it 12 (Level VI). Endurance rates for health was quickly discovered and written down.

Like the FASA Star Trek Role Playing Game, there is a large number of skills used in the game. This skill system in the character creation process was… ugh. After reading through the books several times I finally just selected some skills I thought a brainy guy would have (with some skills he would have needed in the field without getting greedy) and not worry about points. This is probably a section that I would have needed an experienced GM to explain things to me. I then decided to wrap it up and scan the character sheet.

The Baron Character Sheet


The character creation process is explained in the middle of the Player’s Manual after they have explained the items that go into a character and a short story with play examples. The rules talks about selecting a race, but there are no stat adjustments for the two races playable in the game (Human or Gallifreyean).

The books kept switching between the use of INT and ITN. This must have slipped through the editing process.

The Game Operations Manual had a section on Judging Character Creation. I had to refer to it in order to get some of the numbers needed in the character creation process. The section for determining skills was needlessly complicated and it took several read through to understand it all (I think). I understood that skill points from one attribute would purchase more skills that fell under that attribute (Higher STR score made it easier to buy STR based skills), but the way it was processed was just overly complex. There could have been a better way to figure these out.

If I recall correctly, we used pre-generated characters when we played this game. After going through this process, I can see why. I think this is the first day I got frustrated and ended the process.

Additional Notes:

I’m still looking for more blogs or message boards of people participating in the Character Creation Process.

Coming Up Next:

Tall Tales BX

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 17: Star Trek Roleplaying Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 17

I never had the chance to play the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek Roleplaying Game. When the game was first published I was going through a turbulent time in my life. Luckily, there was a lot of books available when I was able to get back into collecting and reading. But this was after the Decipher Star Trek Roleplaying Game had been released so I was able to find the books quickly and cheaply. However I think I may be missing a few books from the collection.

A couple of notes about the game. I liked the fact that the game designers gave a tip-of-the-hat to the creators of the FASA Star Trek Role Playing Game in the credits. I thought that was a classy move. There was also a disclaimer at the front of the book that sometimes the game writers had to take some liberties with the Star Trek universe in order to fill in while remaining faithful to the franchise. All game designers had to take this step and there was some conflict between previous publishers and certain elements at the studio. A subject for a future blog post later. But this disclaimer attempted to avoid any pitfalls encountered from those earlier conflicts.

Last Unicorn Games was able to published a large number of books before the company was bought out (which resulted in the end of the run). They had a core game book for The Next Generation (the first publication), The Original Series and Deep Space Nine. From what I recall, there were plans for a Voyager and Enterprise core game book before the company ceased to be. Each one of these core books added a little bit more to the game universe for GMs and players. Because of this opportunity, I thought that my Day 17 entry into the Character Creation Challenge would be a Bajoran smuggler using the DS9 book.

Avo Tarnis was a member of the Bajoran Resistance during the Cardassian occupation. Like most Bajorans he celebrated when the Cardassians finally withdrew. He was suspicious of the Federation offering to help, but he had no ill will towards them. Tarnis joined the Bajoran Militia when it was first formed, but bowed out after a year of service finding it too strict. Uncertain what do to next, an old-member of his resistance cell recruited him to help with some “discreet supply runs” like they use to do during the occupation. Tarnis saw this as a chance to get badly needed goods to those suffering on his home planet while waiting for the bureaucracy of the Provisional Government and the Federation to finally get something done. So now he is a pilot on the freighter “Renoth’s Call.”

For quick play, the book provides a series of pre-generated characters that you can tweak or you can go through the character creation process. For Tarnis, I elected to follow the process. The three parts of the character was the attributes & edges, advantages & disadvantages and skills. Each step of the process would add values to one or ore of these three parts. Attributes was your typical selections that you would find in most RPGs. Edges was add-ons to the Attributes. Fitness (with edges of Strength and Vitality), Coordination (Dexterity and Reaction), Intellect (Logic and Perception), Presence (Willpower and Empathy) and Psi (Range and Focus).

The first steps was to select a template (i.e. the species). I wrote down the various elements for a typical Bajoran. Not surprising they had a disadvantage of Species Enemy (Cardiassian). Of the skills I could selected, I figured that Athletics-Running and Medical Science-General Medicine would fit. Resistance members would constantly be on the move and you would always need to help out in patching someone up after a raid.

The next steps was the overlay which is the character’s profession. There is a Pirate/Smuggler overlay that I was able to take some stats from. Afterwards I selected my character’s background. This was a little confusing. I knew I was going to have Tarnis grow up in a refugee camp. The RAW talked about spending development points to purchase such a package, however I couldn’t find anything on how many development points you started out with. I was finally able to track the information down (you took a package or spent the points ala-carte).

Then you added the finishing touches to the character. Courage points was easy to calculate. If I understood the Renown details correctly, I placed one point in the Skill aspect. The Wound Levels came out at 2. There was a section in the book about equipment, but nothing about obtaining these items. The game must assume that the players are part of an organized fleet. I know there is a Rogues supplement out there, it probably has more information for independent groups. So I considered the character done. Here is the character sheet.

Avo Tarnis character sheet


The organization of the DS9 book could have been slightly clearer. I was jumping from section to section looking for information and using bookmarks to remember where I was. The index didn’t point me in the direction to answer a basic question (how may development points do I start out with) which was a little frustrating. I was able to finally track down details, but I had to pull out one of the other core books to find it.

I wonder how the system played out. It’s been a while since I gave any of the core books a read through. But from what I recall, I thought it made sense at the time.

Additional Notes:

Thank you again to those who have been using my DriveThruRPG links to order PDF copies of the games.

Coming Up Next:

The Doctor Who Role Playing Game by FASA

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, James Bond, No One Lives Forever, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

Character Creation Challenge Day 16: James Bond 007

Character Creation Challenge Day 16

I have been a huge fan of the James Bond franchise ever since I saw my first movie in the 80’s. Besides the movies I’ve read the books and the comics. Roger Moore was the first Bond I saw in the theater, but I love all of the actors who have played the part. So when Victory Games released the James Bond 007: Role Playing In Her Majesty’s Secret Service Basic Game, I as immediately interested. Unfortunately I never found a group to play with when this game was widely available. So in order to get a taste of the game, I decided to use this game as one of my entries for the Character Creation Challenge. While the original game is no longer being printed, Expeditious Retreat Press did release a retro-clone game called Classified.

As I did with Top Secret and Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, the character that will be created for the James Bond 007 RPG will be another new UNITY field agent. This is to replace the depleted ranks in UNITY after the events of the video game series No One Lives Forever. And in keeping with the common source for names, today I will be creating Steven Prince (has anyone guessed the movie I’m taking the names from?)

Agents in the James Bond RPG have Characteristics (primary attributes) with scores ranging from 1-15. At a minimum, agents need a score in 5 for each category. The five Characteristics are Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Willpower (WIL), Perception (PER) and Intelligence (INT). Characters are created by Generation Points. The higher the rank of the character (Rookie, Agent or “00”) the more Generation Points are needed at the time of creation. As Agent Prince is a new agent, I will be going with the Rookie rank with 3,000 GP. One of the first things that the RAW has you spending your points on is your character’s height and weight. The more common the size, the higher the GP, but you also start out with less Fame Points. Fame Points is the likelihood that someone may have heard of your character (or did some digging on your character’s background and history). As much as I didn’t want to spend too much on just the Height, I didn’t feel like the character would be greatly known. So I ended up going with a height 6’2” which cost me 120 GP and earned 10 FP. For the weight I spent 160 GP for a weight of 200 and 5 more Fame Points. For Appearance, I selected Attractive (I wanted the agent to look good, but not too good) for a cost of 120 GP and 20 more Fame Points.

Now we can finally start spending Generation Points on the Characteristics. I wanted Agent Prince to be a driver. So I spent the points and selected the following stats. STR: 7, DEX: 11, WIL: 7, PER: 10, INT: 6. After determining these, they also gave the results to some secondary characteristics which I then wrote down on the character sheet.

Agent Prince was a person who grew up getting in trouble with the law before he turned straight, so he was aware of how the law worked and forensics. His cover story is that he is a race car driver. I selected the appropriate Fields of Experience and Skills and calculated their statistics. For his primary weapon, I selected the HK VP-70 and wrote down the stats. Here is the charcter sheet.

Character sheet for Steven Prince.


Usually the characteristics of appearance, weight an height come at the end of a character creation process. It was interesting seeing it at the start. But in the world of James Bond you’ve got a lot of attractive people running around saving the world. So it makes a little bit of sense that you would want to get that out of the way before all of the GP was spent.

I think that if this was a regular game I could create characters more easily. But the walk through for character creation was mostly straight forward.

Additional Notes:

Thanks to a Facebook post in one of the many gaming groups, I’ve found another participant in the Character Creation Challenge. I have added a link to the blog on the CCC page.

Coming Up Next:

The Last Unicorn Games entry into the Star Trek universe.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Video Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 15: EverQuest Role-Playing Game

Character Creation Challenge Day 15

I found the EverQuest Role-Playing Game Player’s Handbook at a local thrift store several years ago. I picked it up to read about the system and the world it was set in. I had heard of the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) previously, but I had never played it. I recall seeing a copy of this game in a game store when it first came out. It was licensed to Sword & Sorcery Studios by White Wolf Games. It is a D20 based game using the 3.0/3.5 OGL released by Wizards of the Coast. So I figured that it could make for an interesting Character Creation Challenge.

When I did my first glance of the rules I noticed that there were several races not normally seen in the D20 systems. Barbarians are a race, not a class. There was a race of lizard folk (Iskar) and a feline race called Vah Shir. You could also select Ogres and Trolls as well. I believe these were options in the original MMORPG. For players of the online system, there was a conversion guide to create a paper and dice version of your character. Since it’s not available in any other system, I’m going to create a Vah Shir. The classes are limited for each race so out of the options available I selected Rogue.

As a D20 based system, you have the standard attributes. STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS and CHA. However instead of rolling 3d6 or 4d6 to create your stats, you start out with a base rating of 8 in all categories. You then have 27 points you can spend to increase the attributes. Each increase is 1 point per attribute until that attribute reaches 16. Past that the cost is 2 points per attribute. Keep in mind there are still racial modifiers to the attributes (+2 to STR and -2 to INT for the Vah Shir). After all was said and done, Fareed ended up with the following attributes. STR: 14, DEX: 16, CON: 12, INT: 10, WIS: 10, CHA: 13.

I then went through and filled in the Savings Throws, Hit Points, Initiative and other base stats normally seen in a D20 system. Skills were slightly different (again probably to reflect what was from the original source) but they made sense. I didn’t like the fact that I had to write in all of the class skills on the character sheet. Another thing that surprised me is that a cat race wouldn’t have any type of low-light vision? There is a section of the character sheet where you can record the resistances to certain types of damage (Cold, Electricity, Sonic, etc.) but in the character creation process, I didn’t see any information on what my character’s resistances are. When I found the description in the rulebook, it talked about them, but not how you gain them. This might be a special item bonus.

Equipment was provided by a starting package for each class. Why a Rogue would need a sewing needle made me wonder (he already has thieve’s tools). With the money that was provided in the package, I did add two bag’s of caltrops. Fareed was designed to be an expert at getting into impossible places and getting out quickly if caught. He would work for who ever could afford his fee. And with that, I declared the character done. Here is the character sheets.

Fareed character sheet
Fareed character sheet


Creating a character by spending points instead of rolling dice was probably something that MMORPG players was familiar with. So I can see why the game designers would have elected to go this route. The ability modifiers had a greater range than I had seen in other RPGs. You had to reach a stat of 10 before you avoided any negative modifiers. I wonder if this was a reflection of the MMORPG? I’m a big fan of the 1st level characters starting out at class max HP (plus CON modifiers) so it pleased me that it was listed in the RAW this way. I’m not playing a Bard character, but it looks like they have a selection of songs that act like spells. There is also a 150 pages of spells. I think that fans of magic based classes would love this game.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the online game and discovered it has been running now for twenty years. That is impressive considering I’ve seen other MMORPGs die off after a few years. I’m currently not playing any MMORPGs now. My past experiences and thoughts on these types of games will be a future blog post or page.

Additional Notes:

I came across another blog of a participant for the Character Creation Challenge and added it to the list of links. The number of discovered blogs is slowing down but every once in a while another one pops up. If you see one that I haven’t added yet, feel free to let me know.

Coming Up Next:

The name is Bond, James Bond.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Character Creation Challenge Day 14: Star Wars

Character Creation Challenge Day 14

First there was Dungeons and Dragons, then there was the Star Trek Role Playing Game by FASA. The next big game that influenced my gaming experiences was Star Wars The Roleplaying Game by West End Games. This game was quick and easy to learn and there were a bunch of friends that wanted to play it. I developed a lot of good memories from the different sessions. One night had twenty players participating (probably the largest game I had ever been in). In another game we all discovered the Con (not Constitution, con as in con-job) skill which allowed you to bluff your way out of a tricky situation. I still giggle when I think about the “Fresh Fruit Express”. One player learned that a certain dance turned out to be a mating proposal dance to a Wookie (yikes). I even moved out of town for nine months while on a job and when I returned, the game was still going on. While I was gone I had found one of those old toy Star Wars blasters at a thrift store. I brought it to the game and kept it hidden until we had a combat situation in the game. As luck would have it, we didn’t encounter any Stormtroopers until the very end of the game allowing me to pull out my surprise. So when I decided to take up the Character Creation Challenge, I knew that this game had to be one of my entries.

One final note, when I was pulling books out of boxes and I came across this set, I also found a bunch of computer printed notes that included various prices and availability. I don’t recall if I had pulled them from various sources (I have a lot of books for this game) or if I had homebrewed them. I know that for a local gaming fanzine I had written an article talking about some of the skills seen in supplements but were not in the primary book itself. I know I still have the article, I’ll have to see if I can scan it and post it online sometime soon.

I loved the X-Wing pilots in the original Star Wars trilogy. So I wanted to create a character that was a Rebel pilot. In the Star Wars game you created a character by finding a template close to the type of character you wanted to play (Smuggler, Diplomat, Pilot, etc.) and copy down the template provided. You then have extra options to customize your template to make a character your own by adding 7D to a skill. I selected the appropriate skills that I thought a hot-shot pilot would need. When you roll a skill in a test, you roll the number of dice you have listed for that skill and add any pips (+1 or +2) to get your final result. Even though I wasn’t a force user, I still had one force point.

The template had the character’s starting equipment which I wrote down. I had the credits to buy more equipment (and I probably would just before a game) but in the core rulebook the character creation was quick and simple. It takes me a while to create the characters for these challenges because I’m typing in this blog entry, reading the rules so I can create the character by RAW, and thinking of the details. I was done with this character within minutes. I think this was a decision by the designers to get the players quickly into a session at the start of campaign. The additional books gave players additional options to create a variety of other characters. Here is the character sheet.

Bry Traan character sheet


Now that I think about it, this game may be what set me on the course for liking various quotes. I remember being amazed that characters could develop a bit of personality by having a quote on the character sheet. Every time a new sourcebook for the game could come out, I remember looking for the character quotes.

I’ve read the D6 rulebooks (the game that was released after the Star Wars license was no longer held by WEG) and I found those rule improvements very well thought out. While I never had any complaints about the original game, there is always room for improvement. I know that fans still love this game. There was an anniversary edition released a year or two ago. Fans are also making homebrewed supplements for this game. I recall seeing a fan-made sourcebook for the TV series Star Wars Rebels. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a fan-made release for The Mandalorian soon.

Additional Notes:

I’ve been having some interesting conversations with other participants of the Character Creation Challenge. I’m also learning about quite a few other games that are out there. Some of the participants are using this challenge to promote games that they have worked on. I’ve been impressed with the amount of creativity that is out there.

Coming Up Next:

The EverQuest RPG

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

Character Creation Challenge Day 13: Far Trek

Character Creation Challenge Day 13

The Far Trek Role Playing Game is a fan-created system based off of the Microlite inspired “Where No Man Has Gone Before 2.0” game. As someone who loves Star Trek and is inspired by the creativity of other fans, this game interested me greatly. I wanted to see how they had put this together as everyone seems to put their own spin on the game. I was lucky to be able to purchase the book seen in the photo at one of the few limited time no-profit to the author print runs. Unfortunately he has stopped the sales of all printed projects and updates to the website, but left the site up for anyone who wished to download a PDF copy of the rules at no cost.

The game is using the Three D system composing of 3d6 die rolls when determining if an action failed or succeeded. Attributes can add modifiers to the roll. Far Trek primarily focuses on the 5-Year mission era of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 seen in Star Trek: The Original Series. There is some cross over into The Animated Series and the early movies, but fans of the other Star Trek series will not find their favorite races and ships represented here. However there are guidelines for converting FASA materials over to Far Trek as well as details on creating your own races. The game is a virtual sandbox. One final note before creating Tav, my Tellarite Engineer, there is an active message board for fans of Classic Trek games at Old School Trek. They talk about Far Trek, WNMHGB, FASA and other Star Trek RPGs.

Characters in Far Trek have four attributes which are pretty self explanatory. Strength (ST), Dexterity (DX), Intelligence (IQ) and Charisma (CA). Players roll 3d6 and compare the sum to a chart which tells you the Attribute Value. This value is what you will use on your various test rolls. Each race has pluses and minuses to the Attribute Values that you apply for your final score. Tav ended up with the following Attribute Values. ST: +2, DX: +1, IQ: 0, CA: 0. The base movement (MA) for characters is 50 feet in a five second turn and you add 10 feet for every DX modifier. So my Tellarite’s MA is 60.

An interesting tidbit about the Far Trek system, there are no hit points. Unless it’s dramatic, the main characters cannot die. They can be knocked unconscious, but they won’t be dead. If you are hit in combat your character must pass a Static Test by rolling 3d6+ ST bonus to beat a target number (which raises each time you are hit in combat). Armor (natural or worn) can be added to this test roll. The game makes note that this rule does not apply to expendable crew members (uh… what color of shirt am I wearing?) or the cinematic vanquishing of foes.

I like the fact that the character classes in Far Trek are Gold Shirts (Command, Helmsman, Navigators, etc.), Blue Shirts (Medical & Sciences) or Red Shirts (Communications, Engineering & Security). There is also an expansion that adds Green Shirts (Marines), Merchants, Special Citizens (Diplomats and the like), and even creation rules for Klingon and Romulan characters if you fancy a campaign in those empires. As I mentioned before, Tav will be an Engineer. This gives me access to the General Skills and the Red Shirt Skills. I have eight points to assign to a skill with no skill having more than 2 points. Skill points only give me a bonus when rolling a test using that skill. Tav can still operate the ship sensors, he just won’t have a bonus when makes the test roll. I picked the skills I thought a good Starfleet engineer would need.

Characters in Far Trek also get two Talents. These can either be class specific or from a general pool. I chuckled when I saw that Catch Phrase was one of the talents (“Damn it Jim, I’m a Doctor not a…”). I selected Jury Rig and Worried Engineer which I felt were needed for an engineer on a starship. I also marked down that I had 1 Fate Point which I could use to alter certain rolls or results at certain times in the game. Lt. Commander Tav was ready to fulfill his duties on the Saladin-class destroyer USS Nelson NCC-546. The character sheet is posted below.

Tav character sheet


When I first read the rule about characters not dying, it made me raise an eyebrow. Would players take advantage of the fact that their character wouldn’t die and play a little recklessly? But on the other hand, I’ve seen some players be too cautious because they didn’t want their character to die. I think this rule could work with a good Referee. Other than that one thing, the system seemed simple and straight forward. I could very easily see myself playing this system. But I’d probably want to expand it to include material from the other Star Trek series.

I couldn’t find any other character sheets for this game. They all had multiple characters on them. If I was to participate in a campaign with this system, I’d probably create a different character sheet that met the needs of the game.

Additional Notes:

I was able to track down another blog of a gamer participating in the Character Creation Challenge. It has been added to the list of links on the CCC site. I am still looking for more. If I don’t have your site linked, please email me Carl (at)

Coming Up Next:

Star Wars by West End Games

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Steampunk, Westerns

Character Creation Challenge Day 12: Age of Empire

Creation Challenge Day 12

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 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.

Walter Williams character sheet page 1
Walter Williams character sheet page 2


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.

Additional Notes:

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.

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