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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 17: US Marshals

As I explained in my Character Creation Challenge entry for John Carter of Mars, I traded my Judge Dredd books for some new games. US Marshals: A Shared Storytelling Game of Justice in the American Wild West was one of those games. I’ve created a character for Tall Tales B/X in past challenges. I wonder how this will stack up. The cover has a logo for something called the Difference Engine.

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.

Additional Notes:

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) with any comments.

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