Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Website

Moving from 2022 to 2023

Stack of character sheets printed out for the 2023 #CharacterCreationChallenge

So another year has come and gone. And I’m very happy to see it leave. While 2022 had some good things that happened, such as the opportunity to see a boat-load of musicians perform in live concerts, it also had some challenges as well. A lot of these challenges was related to health issues. Note to everyone, if you can avoid breaking bones, please do so. My little mishap turned a one-month project into a six-month project.

I’m not going to go into a huge list of what I did over the year while reading, watching, playing, etc. I’m going to try to give end-of-month reports talking about the geeky things that I accomplished that month.

Now off to the USS Ticonderoga New Years Eve party. Tomorrow I dive into the deep end of the pool with the Character Creation Challenge.

Oh, on January 1st I should be launching a new Discord server for feedback an interaction with readers of my blog. I figured this would be a better way to do interactions instead of having to make people try to log into another site and try to keep everything secure. Links posted soon.

Posted in: Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games

5E players trying OSR for the first time

The calm before the storm

So as I have mentioned in previous blog posts (Here and Here) that I had volunteered to put together and OSR one-shot in-person game for my college aged daughter and her friends. This group had been playing (mostly) together since junior high school and had only played 5th Edition. I elected to run with the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game using the core rulebook. I added on the 0 Level Spells and Magic User options supplements. During our online session zero, I had the players roll percentages and used the chart found the Background Skills supplement to give them a life before they started their apprenticeship with the Union of Adventurers and Explorers (aka The Adventurers Guild). I sent the players the BFRPG Character Sheet designed by James D. Jarvis (it had the page numbers on the sheet for the different sections, something that I thought was very helpful). For the game masters screen, I printed out the works of Scott Abraham and attached it to a Star Trek RPG Narrator’s screen from Decipher that I had in my collection. The map that inspired me was drawn by Tim Hardin and made available on his website.

In my preparation for the adventure, I decided to purchase a larger battle mat. The one I had used previously to help teach my nieces and nephews Dungeons and Dragons session was too small for the online map I had elected to use. When I read that the mat would only take marks from wet-erase markers, I purchased some of those as well. I also borrowed a case of figures from my friend, Jeff Sullivan, who was my Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 DM for years. This was also the first time I had an opportunity to play with the North to South dice that I had received earlier this year. In the same room was a TV that I had connected to the internet. Bringing up YouTube, I had it run the Diablo dungeon music (it was the only one that I could quickly find that was long enough for our session). I did have one of the players tell me that it added to the spookiness of the adventure.

I also wasn’t the only person preparing. Since this is the first time my daughter’s friends had gotten together in person for quite some time, my daughter wanted to make two recipes from Heroes’ Feast, the Official Dungeons and Dragons cookbook. She made the Mithral Hall Potato Leek Soup and Bytopian Shepherd’s Bread. While making the food, she discovered that the book was very well made as it survived her spilling a little bit of water on the page she was reading from. She wanted me to add that to my review. The players loved the soup and bread when we stopped to eat.

The view from behind the DMs screen

Overall the adventure went really well. I warned the players in session zero that, since this was a one-shot, I was going to railroad the party to the meat and potatoes of the session. I had named this adventure “The Ruined Temple of Glimri Orehaul.” The characters had to go into the catacombs below a destroyed dwarven temple to rescue the son of a dwarven noble and get him out before the orcs guarding the place discovered them (causing a diplomatic incident between the two kingdoms). I’ve had some readers ask me if I’ll “publish” the adventure. I’ve got my notes and some feedback from the players, but I think I may want to re-draw the map. The online one that I used was very good (and gave lots of options for the characters to get lost in) but is very, very large. The number of squares across the map was larger than the new mat I had purchased just for this session. As much as I tired to stay true to the map, I started cutting off sections just to make it fit. I had also written the adventure with some flexibility in mind. The clues (including some handouts) and where the son they needed to rescue could be placed in any number of rooms. This way I could allow the party to explore, but also keep within our limited time frame. I think this helped as I read some of the feedback from the players (see below). I had more plot items that never got fully explored but were hinted at during play. This caused one of the players to ask me at the end of the session to tell us what they missed (and they had missed a few things wandering to and fro). I took this as a good sign that they were interested in the adventure. There were a couple of items I would have loved to seen their reaction to while playing. I may have to run a second play-test when I complete a second draft of the adventure.

The Players:
Note, all players are identified by their character name.

Chad McBuffman is a human fighter. The player has been enjoying RPGs for 4 years. The only other game she has previously played is D&D 5th edition. As the DM, I had to remind myself not to start blurting out MST3K “Big McLargeHuge” names from the riffing of Space Mutiny. But I loved the humor this player had.

Irisk Vannfu is a dwarven thief. The player has been enjoying RPGs for 7 years. Besides 5th edition she had also played D&D 3.5 and her first game was with the Decipher Star Trek RPG. She loved the fact that her character had been a cook before the adventure.

Sillari is an elf magic-user. The player has been enjoying RPGs for 9 years. She has previously played 3.5, 5th edition and something called Pokemon D&D. She had typed up her spell list with her cantrips and 1st level spells. She also made a sketch of her character.

Tryx Smolfollow is a halfling thief. The player has been enjoying RPGs for 4 years and has only played 5th edition prior to the Basic Fantasy one-shot we just played. The player had a ton of notes (before and during the game) for her one-shot character and drew several drawings of party members.

Zephyr Silversong is an elf cleric. The player has been enjoying RPGs for 6 years. She has also played 3.5 and 5th edition D&D. The player also came up with the name of the god her character worshiped, Azalea (uh-zay-lee-uh). She even provided an image of the holy symbol.

Player Questions:

I had asked the players in session zero if they would be willing to fill out a questionnaire after the game. I wanted to use the answers on this blog. Thankfully they agreed. They answered these questions without conferring with each other.

–Question: What did you think of the Basic Fantasy character creation system?

Chad: It felt limiting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But one of my favorite parts of RPG’s is making all these fun fantasy characters, so I wasn’t a fan of that.

Irisk: I didn’t mind it! It made me choose something I might not have on my own. I really grow to like the guy I got.

Sillari: It was good! It was fairly straight forward and easy to understand. Thought I was confused on some mechanics just because I’m so used to 5e at this point.

Tryx: It was very interesting. It’s interesting what race and class you could play was limited by your dice rolls. Also interesting that you had to roll them in order rather than picking and choosing what stat goes where. Normally I think of a character idea and have my stats, class and race match that. For this one, I dreaded to roll my character first and then figure out what I wanted to play. Also interesting that there wasn’t backgrounds or personality stuff so you could play a wide variety of characters.

Zephyr: It was simplified which made it easier to understand. Rolling for stats in order was a fun challenge. I do wish there was more for backgrounds since that helps me flesh out a character’s story.

–Question: What did you think of the Basic Fantasy game?

Chad: It was fun. Definitely different than 5e, but similar enough that the learning curve was pretty easy.

Irisk: I loved how simple and simplified it was. I think it’s more approachable than 5e is. I especially loved initiative rolling and as a lazy player I liked that the DM helped handle many traits and tasks. I love percentages. (DM note: I rolled all spot, search, find type rolls behind the DMs screen so they didn’t know if they failed the roll or not)

Sillari: It was fun, and while it felt very different from what I’m used to, I definitely appreciate the simplicity and use of playability. It was definitely different from what I was expecting, but it was very enjoyable.

Tryx: Again, very interesting. It’s interesting that there wasn’t skill stats, though that makes sense because you can still just use the overall ability stats. Also interesting that the GM rolled a lot of things for you rather than the character rolling. I think I’m most intrigued by initiative. Rolling it each round means you’re not always at the beginning or end of initiative – you get to move around more. But having it change also, I think, adds more complexity to combat, which I already struggle to keep track of.

Zephyr: It was very fun! It ran similarly enough to 5e that it was familiar, but new enough that I had a bit to learn. Rolling imitative every round was a fun change, but overall it provided a good roleplaying experience for me.

–Question: What feedback would you give the DM on the adventure?

Chad: It was fun! I liked the improv and humor. Though sometimes I felt like I was misheard, but we were always able to clear things up.

Irisk: It was fun (smiley face). I wish we had more time to explore, because I wanted more colorful dialogue and world building, but that wasn’t really possible with our time limit.

Sillari: I really had a great time with it! I’m not use to just doing dungeon crawls, but they’re always really fun and I had a lot of fun. It had a good balance of encounters.

Tryx: It was a lot of fun! This was the first time I’d used a mat and figures and I really enjoyed that. I also enjoyed the maze and getting to uncover it. I’m a little sad we didn’t get to discover the whole thing, but that’s okay. There was a lot of interesting depth I didn’t expect in a one-shot. Not just an abandoned dwarf temple with dead orcs and dwarves, but also kobolds, rats serving/reporting to rat man, and Sheeka the spider and her children. Also removing the helmet resulting in the undead. Very curious if we could have removed that differently, if it wouldn’t have triggered the undead… Anyways, all of this to say I really enjoyed it. Thanks for putting so much thought in!

Zephyr: I really enjoyed it ! It was a well rounded adventure with puzzles, traps, encounters, roleplay, treasure, etc. The party worked well together and I enjoyed the ambiance and suspense added by the DM’s descriptions throughout the game. there were also several ways to accomplish our goal which made it fun to figure out for ourselves.

–Question: What advice would you give other D&D 5e players who try OSR for the first time?

Chad: Let loose and have fun and have a good party! The best part of RPGs is, well, the role playing. So as long as you have fun characters and don’t get caught up on the differences, you’ll have fun.

Irisk: Don’t get attached to your character too early.

Sillari: Familiarize yourself with the rules, but don’t get overwhelmed by the reading! It’s more simple than you probably think. Have fun, loosen up, do what ever you enjoy, whether that’s roleplaying, min/maxing, stat crunching!

Tryx: Don’t go in with an existing idea of what you want your character to be. Let the dice determine it. After the dice tell you your race and class, figure out a personality that is fun for you to play and goes along with it. I think a lot of the game is kind of like simplified D&D (may be pretty similar to earlier editions, I dunno), so just have fun and don’t worry so much about all of the complexities you’re use to in 5e.

Zephyr: Read the rules. It’s very similar in concept, but uses different dice and different methods. Overall though, just have fun! Be open to the new methods and use them to your advantage.

Final thoughts from the DM:

Overall, I’m very pleased with how this one-shot went. The players were very interested in the game and I’m glad that they had fun. They were more worried about the encumbrance rules than I was. As they were wandering through the dungeon, I kept thinking “yes they are about to reach one of the kewl areas of the map” only to turn at the last minute and go in a different direction. But they bumped into enough of the planned events that I was able to present the clues. They didn’t know it, but they had figured out one of the puzzles even before I had all of the clues put into place. I think this was more of a testament of the players ingenuity than the puzzle itself. I’m also grateful that they let me throw notepads at them with notes for them so they could roleplay off of the knowledge only they knew (such as if they spotted something everyone else missed)

I have had some of the fans of Basic Fantasy ask if I would submit the adventure to them for possible “publication”. I have all of my notes and sending a party through the game was a good way to see where the rough spots were at. I think I want to re-draw the map as it is about 10-25% to big for the adventure (as well as the battle mat itself). I think once I have this done I’ll round up another set of victims…. errr… players and run it again.

Thank you to the players (you know who you are), Tim Hardin for his map that started the creative juices flowing, Chris Gonnerman (I watched some of your BFRPG videos prior to running the game) and to all of the blog readers out there who gave me feedback in preparation for the session.

And finally, here is a gallery of the characters drawn by the players during or just after the game. They gave me permission to share them on this blog post.

Posted in: Quotes, Star Trek

Daily Star Trek Quotes: December 26-January 1

What last week looked like in the stores.

Here are the Daily Star Trek Quotes that will appear on the @STrekQuotes Twitter account and the @STrekQuotes Mastodon account for the week of December 26th through January 1st.

December 26
“Why can’t you do that? Why can’t you turn a disadvantage into an advantage?” Troi- Loud as a Whisper, Stardate: 42477.2 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 27
Happy Birthday to Wilson Cruz. @wcruz73 #StarTrek #StarTrekDiscovery #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“Listen Paul, everything’s gonna be alright. We’re gonna focus on one moment at a time okay, and we’re gonna do all of this slowly and carefully, because I need you out of there alive so I can kill you.” Dr. Culber- Far From Home #StarTrek #StarTrekDiscovery #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 28
Remembering Nichelle Nichols who was born on this date in 1932. @NichelleIsUhura #StarTrek #StarTrekTOS #StarTrekProdigy #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“Now, from a planet out in space. There comes a lad not commonplace. A-seeking out his first embrace. He’s saving it for you. Oh, Charlie’s our new darling. Our darling, our darling. Charlie’s our new darling. We know not what he’ll do.” Uhura- Charlie X #StarTrek #StarTrekTOS

December 29
“Vic’s matrix is a little different than your standard photokinetic hologram. He can turn himself off and if he doesn’t want to appear he doesn’t appear.” O’Brien “You mean he has free will?” Nog “I’m an engineer, not a philosopher!” O’Brien- It’s Only a Paper Moon #StarTrekDS9

December 30
“My compassion guides my judgement” Archer- Dear Doctor, Date: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekENT #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 31
“Well, it looks like a great party. You mind if we join you?” LaForge- The Next Phase, Stardate: 45892.4 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

January 1
“Aside from a hangover, you’re going to be fine.” The Doctor- The 37’s, Stardate: 48975.1 #StarTrek #StarTrekVOY #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

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

Prepping for the 2023 Character Creation Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31 Day Character Creation Challenge
Feel free to share this image on social media to spread the word.
Posted in: Fan Club, Friends, Humor, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Rest in peace Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor (1970-2022)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest easy Roger, you’ve earned it.

Posted in: Quotes, Star Trek

Daily Star Trek Quotes: December 19-25

Oh no, she’s being turned into a Christmas tree.

Here are the Daily Star Trek Quotes that will appear on the @STrekQuotes Twitter account and the @STrekQuotes Mastodon account for the week of December 19th through December 25th.

December 19
“Insufficient facts always invite danger.” Spock- Space Seed, Stardate: 3141.9 #StarTrek #StarTrekTOS #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 20
Happy Birthday to Nicole de Boer. @Nikki_deboer #StarTrek #StarTrekDS9 #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“We’re not gods, or prophets… We’re people. We make mistakes.” Ezri Dax- Strange Bedfellows, Stardate: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekDS9 #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 21
Happy Birthday to Michelle Hurd. @ItsMichelleHurd #StarTrek #StarTrekPicard #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“How many?” Rios “Uh, 218 warbirds.” Raffi “Ah. 218. That’s not so bad.” Rios “True. You only have to worry about the first 109.” Raffi- Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1, Stardate: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekPicard #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 22
“Perhaps you are experiencing a paradoxical state-dependent associative phenomenon.” Tuvok “Déjà vu.” Janeway- Favorite Son, Stardate: 50732.4 #StarTrek #StarTrekVOY #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 23
Happy Birthday to Noel Wells. @RealTomHankz #StarTrek #StarTrekLowerDecks #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“When I picked you for this job, I was counting on you to give up.” Dr. T’Ana “Well maybe the old Tendi was a pushover, but a lot has changed since slightly earlier today!” Tendi- Mugato, Gumato, Stardate: 58036.4 #StarTrek #StarTrekLowerDecks #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 24
“The most dangerous animal is a mother protecting her young.” Picard- The Dauphin, Stardate: 42568.8 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 25
“In the Nexus, it’s always Christmas.” Shax- We’ll Allways Have Tom Paris, Stardate: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekLowerDecks #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

Posted in: Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games

Follow up to Introducing OSR to 5E players

I selected Basic Fantasy RPG

So last month I made a blog post about Introducing OSR to 5E players. After I had released the post to the wilds of message boards and social media, I received a ton of very good feedback. Thank you. Some of the additional games that were suggested included Dungeon Crawl Classics, Beyond the Wall, Worlds Without Number and others. There are a few other games that I may have to check out just to read the rules.

As you can see from the photo above, I elected to go with the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. I had the books in my possession, I really liked what I was reading. I had the option to allow certain supplements if I wanted (I’m going to allow cantrips and other add-ons) and the players could easily get a PDF of the rules from the Basic Fantasy RPG website.

Just as there were several suggestions for the rule-set, there were also several suggestions for which adventure to run. I was pouring through my library (both dead tree and PDF) to see which one stood out to me the most. In the end, I was lead by inspiration. I just happened to be looking at one of the many online freebie maps (I won’t say which one just yet just in case one of the victims… err… players might be reading this blog post.) and a lightbulb went off when I opened up one. One thing lead to another and I ended up with a little adventure in my head. I pulled out my OneNote and started writing things down. Since this only a one-shot adventure, I made it flexible with a clear goal in mind. Kind of like the type of adventure you could end up in if you went to a gaming convention.

I’m going to hold an online session zero next week. There I’m planning to set some expectations for the game. Allow the players to roll up their characters (which may be the first case of culture shock for them) and introduce myself to them. We have an in-person date set for when we will get together to actually roll some dice.

Thanks again for all of the suggestions and feedback. I plan to have a follow up post to let everyone know how it goes.

Posted in: Collecting, Star Trek

December 2022 Star Trek eBook deals

With all of the holiday shopping going on, you may have missed the announcement for the discounted Star Trek eBooks from Pocket Books. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with this blog post.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen a Kelvin Timeline book available on one of these sales. I’m looking forward to reading this novel and see how it compares to the movies.

All of these eBooks are available for 99 cents each. Amazon is also doing a special where you earn points for each book you buy. This can lead to free books.

Star Trek- A Contest of Principles by Greg Cox
Star Trek- Battlestations! by Diane Carey
Star Trek- The Antares Maelstrom by Greg Cox
Star Trek- The More Things Change by Scott Pearson
Star Trek- The Weight of Worlds by Greg Cox
Star Trek: The Next Generation- Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine- Avatar: Book One by S.D. Perry
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine- Avatar: Book Two by S.D. Perry
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine- Revenant by Alex White
Star Trek: Enterprise- Beneath the Raptor’s Wing by Michael A. Martin
Star Trek: Enterprise- To Brave the Storm by Michael A. Martin
Star Trek: Kelvin Timeline- More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack

Which book do you think would make for a good Star Trek Adventures scenario?

Posted in: Quotes, Star Trek

Daily Star Trek Quotes: December 12-18

When you realize you are out of the Whamageddon challenge.

Here are the Daily Star Trek Quotes that will appear on the @STrekQuotes Twitter account and the @STrekQuotes Mastodon account for the week of December 12th through December 18th.

December 12
“Your brother can quote Rules of Acquisition, too. I believe his favorite is 211: Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them.” Grimp- Bar Association, Stardate: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekDS9 #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 13
Remembering Christopher Plummer who was born on this date in 1929. #StarTrek #StarTrekTOS #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“Do you deny you were demoted for these charges, Captain? Don’t wait for the translation. Answer me now!” Chang- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Stardate: 9521.6 #StarTrek #StarTrekTOS #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

Star Trek Nemesis premiered on this date in 2002. #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“Although you share the same genetic structure, the events of your life have created a unique individual.” Data- Star Trek Nemesis, Stardate: 56844.9 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 14
“You’re fortunate to be alive. A Klingon who betrays his captain would be immediately executed.” Marab- Affliction, Date: November 27, 2154 #StarTrek #StarTrekENT #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 15
Happy Birthday to Garrett Wang. @GarrettRWang #StarTrek #StarTrekVOY #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“The Ferengi call it the five stages of acquisition: infatuation, justification, appropriation, obsession, and resale.” Kim- Alice, Stardate: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekVOY #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 16
“To be honest I’m glad to see this kind of change in you, Will. State your opinion and stand by it.” Erik Pressman- The Pegasus, Stardate: 47457.1 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 17
“We’re all sorry for the other guy when he loses his job to a machine. When it comes to your job, that’s different. And it always will be different.” Dr. McCoy- The Ultimate Computer, Stardate: 4729.4 #StarTrek #StarTrekTOS #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

December 18
“Ugly giant bags of mostly water.” Crystal lifeform- Home Soil, Stardate: 41463.9 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

Posted in: Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook first look

It’s finally here.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More ships on the back inside cover.

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

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