Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Dungeons and Dragons, Pirates

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 5: Swashbuckling Adventures

I picked up Swashbuckling Adventures from an online auction last year. I was very familiar with the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 system and I loved the pirate genre. When I was prepping for the Character Creation Challenge last month, I noticed that there was no separate character sheet for Swashbuckling Adventures like there was for games like Prime Directive D20, Star Wars D20 or Judge Dread D20, so I ended up using a D&D 3.5 sheet. Like the Prime Directive and Judge Dread, it referred to the D&D 3.5 Players Handbook for basic concepts, but added on with campaign specific classes and items of their own.

So while the character creation rules are on page 6 of the 3.5 Player’s Handbook, the campaign book for Swashbuckling Adventures talks about Nationalities on page 5 with new character classes starting on page 13. In Swashbuckling Adventures all of the characters will be human, but what region are you from? From the descriptions the regions are heavily inspired by European countries all the way down to the Middle-East on a planet called Theah. The region you select determines some languages and class skills.

I looked at the new character classes listed in Swashbuckling Adventures. The Highwayman sounded interesting. So did the Inquisitor. But if I’m playing a game called Swashbuckling Adventures, I’m playing a Pirate class. The abilities that the pirate favored the most was strength, Dexterity and Constitution.

So I rolled the 4d6, dropped the lowest die and selected where each score would go to each of the standard attributes in 3.5. I ended up with the following for this character. STR 15, DEX 15, CON 14, INT 11, WIS 13, CHA 8. For the country/region that my character came from, I selected Avalon (think the British Isles).

As a pirate, the hit dice is d10 (I rolled a 4 and added +2 from my CON for 6). They also start with 3d4x10 for starting money (called Guilders instead of gold pieces). My character started with 200 G. I selected my skills and feats (primarily from the Swashbuckling Adventures book) and gathered my equipment. This character is ready.

Dirk Clarkson was originally going to be a sailor in the navy when his captain announced that they were going privateer. Clarkson discovered that he loved the Pirate life so much that when his vessel was sunk, he hooked up with a gang of pirates instead of returning to Avalon. He now looks to earn his share of the booty on the next adventure.


If you’ve played any Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, then you know the score. It was interesting reading about the different kingdoms in the campaign setting book. They had some items very detailed while leaving others available for the GM to fill in as they saw fit. If an opportunity came up to play in this setting, I would jump at it.

Additional Notes:

The publisher for Low Fantasy Gaming responded to one of my social media posts with their game. It was kewl to see the interaction. When I posted the Tiny Spies character yesterday I received a request to do Tiny Wastelands. While I own that game, I don’t have it in the 2023 schedule. I’ll have to add it to the 2024 lineup.

I’m using a new scanner this year. So far, I haven’t been impressed with the scan quality. I’ll have to see if I can improve the scan for future posts.

Coming Up Next:

John Carter of Mars

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server.

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 4: Tiny Spies

Last year during a sale on DriveThruRPG I picked up a copy of Tiny Dungeon 2nd Edition just in time for the 2022 Character Creation Challenge. So I used it and was pretty impressed with the system. Gallant Knight Games had released several “Tiny” RPG books covering different genres. When some of them went on sale last year, I picked them up as well allowing me to use another one for the 2023 challenge. So for day 4 I selected the espionage game, Tiny Spies.

The superspy creation rules start on page 16. The first to select the archetype of the character you are going to play. These are like character classes and consist of Agent (solo spy), Face (confidence man), Driver (vehicle expert), Hacker (tech expert) and Soldier (tough guy). Since I’m only creating one character instead of a team, I’m going to select Agent. This earns me 6 hit points and an additional trait (usually a character starts with three, but the agent is more well-rounded). Traits are specialties that your character is really good at. Being a superspy, I thought the character should have Agile Defense, Charismatic, Eidetic Memory and Perceptive. The next item to select is the weapons proficiency. Being someone who needs to blend in, I selected Light Ranged thinking he would be a marksman with a pistol that he could keep hidden under his jacket. There is a background trait that I need to select. This is the experience that the character learned before they became an agent. Out of the seven available, I selected Analyst. The character was good with putting two and two together which originally got him a job with a shipping company. This assisted him when he was recruited as an agent for UNITY. The last step was to select a Belief. This is a simple statement that is a core of your character. There were six examples listed and from those I selected “Someone Has To Do It.” I figured he had put some puzzle pieces together and realized that he had to help make sure that things didn’t get worse.

So that was all that was on the character creation steps. I came up with the name of Daniel Drake. Drake was a suave looking gentleman but very determined to accomplish his mission. The equipment section describes to the GM how they could handle the allocation of gear and vehicles to the agents. Since Drake is a member of UNITY, he would obtain his gear from the Santa and the Toymaker Division. I did write down a few sample items to help fill out the character sheet. I’m going to declare this character done.


Just as Tiny Dunegeons was simplistic and rules light, Tiny Spies is the same. The system sounds pretty upfront and easy to learn. I’d love to run or participate in a couple of one-shots to see how the system really works out. Especially the interesting chase rules.

I could see myself homebrewing for this game.

Additional Notes:

I would like to thank everyone who has been linking back to my website. It’s not required, but very much appreciated. I’ve noticed a lot of participants no only on the message boards but on social media as well.

Please let me know if I’m missing a website on the Character Creation Challenge section of the website. If you are thinking of starting now, you can do so.

Coming Up Next:

Swashbuckling Adventures

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 3: Low Fantasy Gaming

In late 2021 when I was checking the blogs that had participated in the 1st Character Creation Challenge, I came across a blog that I didn’t have on my list yet. One of the games he had used was Low Fantasy Gaming. His descriptions intrigued me enough that when DriveThruRPG had a sale on the game, I snatched it up. I wanted to use it for a future challenge.

Low Fantasy Gaming is an RPG system that borrows from various D&D clones with a little hint of Dungeon Crawl Classics. Spell casters and magic items are rare. Clerics are called Cultists and the Artificer is a class you can choose from. Yes, even rules for black powder weapons. Mega-monsters are also very rare as well. While Halflings, Dwarves and Elves are available as possible races, the bulk of the population in the game are human. Half-Orcs are called Half-Skorn.

Creating a character starts with the steps listed on page 9. There is an alternate option to create 3-4 random level zero characters, but I’m going to stick with a single 1st level character. The attributes presented in Low Fantasy Gaming are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, Willpower (mental toughness) and Charisma. Each character starts with one automatic 15 to use on an attribute. The remaining attributes are determined by rolling 4d6 and using the highest three. Once the six rolls have been made, the player selects which attribute gets which score. Using this method, I ended up with some pretty good scores with nothing over 15, so I could be just about anything. I’m sticking with human in the spirit of the game, so no racial adjustments and looking over the classes I selected Ranger. The final attribute scores are STR 14, DEX 15, CON 14, INT 13, WIL 12, PER 15 and CHA 9. There is also a luck score which is 10 + half the level rounded up. So starting the character gets 11. Lucks are used for both savings throws and luck checks (such as a second chance when your skill roll fails). Each time the character successfully uses luck, it gets reduced by one point and can be regained through rest. At first level, hit points are automatically at max for their class which is a philosophy I have used recently in a Basic Fantasy session. So my ranger has 9 HP to start.

The ranger starts out with three skills, Animal Lore, Wilderness Lore, Stealth. He can also choose three from a list of skills the class might use. I selected Apothecary (I figured he would know about the herbs used to treat illness while in the wilderness), Athletics (climbing trees) and Detection (spotting things while hunting). With my +1 INT modifier, I can select an additional language besides common so I selected Elvish. The rules also state at 1st level my ranger gets a beast companion between adventures (I didn’t choose something because I would have asked the GM to roleplay something out on this) and a special ability called Rangecraft. This provided a variety of one time effects that he could encounter while out in the wilderness or in combat.

The next item on the character creation list is to write up a background or randomly roll a party bond. The list was provided for quick and easy party cohesion. The rules recommended rolling a D20 twice and selecting and select the one that fits or sounds like fun. I’m up for rolling more dice. The first roll was to have the party members be bodyguards for some type of lord. The second was to have the party be the survivors of a mercenary company that was destroyed by bitter rivals. I liked the second one so I wrote that down.

3D6 x 10 for starting gold (had I been a fighter, it would have been 5D6 X 10) resulted in 120GP. I liked that the rules had gear rarity rules. I may use them in other fantasy style games. After looking at the gear packs listed in the equipment section, I selected the one for the ranger. Nothing too fancy with the weapons, a long sword, dagger and longbow. Since he needs to be stealthy in the wilderness he wears studded leather. I believe this character is ready.

Golarth was hired by the Hand of Dovar Mercenary Group as a scout. While returning from a scouting mission they discovered that the rival band, the Silver Blades, had attacked the camp. Golarth and his companions had managed to just barely escape downriver on a small boat. The party is now trying to make their fortune in the world while staying one step ahead of the Silver Blades.


I could see this game being used to roleplay the Castlevania animated series that came out recently. I’ve also thought about a campaign where magic is rare and this might be the system for it. At a minimum, there are a lot of concept from this ruleset that I may steal for other games.

Additional Notes:

I had another participant send me an email with a link to their blog with their #CharacterCreationChallenge entries. I’ve added it to the Character Creation Challenge site. As more are discovered, I will continue to add them to the list.

Follow up to Star Frontiers from yesterday. When I had posted the character in a Star Frontiers fan discord server the other members provided me with some feedback. I had completed all of the steps (my weapons would have been provided by the company that hired me to be a troubleshooter) but I did misread one item. When selecting my starting skills, one of the skills must be from my chosen PSA and the other can be any skill. So the character I made yesterday would have been altered slightly before I used him in a game.

Coming Up Next:

Tiny Spies

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server.

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 2: Star Frontiers

So when I posted my entry for Top Secret in the 2021 Character Creation Challenge, I talked about how my gaming buddies had copies of Star Frontiers and Top Secret, but for some reason, we never played either of them. So, just like with the post for Top Secret, I’m going to pretend it’s the 80’s and one of my friends has said “Let’s make characters for a Star Frontiers game that I’m going to run.”

Now there are two books in this hardback POD version. The basic game and the expanded game. As a new player, we would have started our characters in the basic game rules on page 4. I’ll jump over to the expanded rules after the character is made to see what else may be needed.

OK, we are using the percentile dice for this game. Each ability score will range from 1 to 100 with the higher number being better. The attributes appear to be linked in bases. So we have Strength/Stamina, Dexterity/Reaction Speed, Intuition/Logic (basically alertness and problem solving) and Personality/Leadership (yea, it’s charisma). There is also a listing for Initiative which is more of a modifier than an attribute. I roll percentiles and consult a chart to see where each base is from 30-70 and you roll in order. Before writing the results down, I wanted to select my race as there are modifiers. The four races in the core book are Humans (I have no idea who these guys are), Dralasites (short blob lifeforms that can stretch and have mechanical voiceboxes), Vrusk (Many legged insect looking lifeforms) and Yazirians (apes with leather wings between the arms and legs). They all sound cool, but I’m going to let the dice decide (my choice, this wasn’t in the rules). A random D4 latter resulted in this character being a Vrusk. With my adjusted stats I now have STR/STA 50, DEX/RS 45, INT/LOG 45 and PER/LDR 50. I divide the RS score by 10 and round up to get the initiative modifier, which is 5.

Next I select a name. K’likki sounds Vruskish (I only saw one Vrusk name in the start of the book) and that is where the basic rules end on character creation. However I see that on the next few pages are some other items that are listed on the character sheet such as movement information. So I add them to the sheet as well. The rest of the basic rules covers some equipment descriptions (employers provides), how to run combat and an intro adventure. I’m going to jump over to the expanded rules and take a glance at the character creation steps there.

OK, on page 4 of the expanded rules there is a more detailed list of steps. The first few in generating the ability scores and using the racial modifiers are the same. If this character had been human, I could have added 5 points to a single ability score (not base). I also had the option to move points around if I so desired. I’m going to keep my scores as I have them written down. I’m instructed to write down any racial abilities that my race has (Vrusk are Ambidextrous and a comprehension score of 15 percent, which appears to be a special skill). K’likki will be a male. And I get to roll for credits. d100+250 results in 277, but the rules states that I can buy the standard equipment pack for 250. I was going to find the equipment section, but the book (after showing good details on the races) showed the skills section. A starting character chooses their Primary Skill Area (Military, Technological and Biosocial). I’m not certain which one to take with the attributes that I have. As a starting character, I choose a PSA and then select two skills from that group. So I’m going to keep it simple and just choose military with Beam Weapons and Melee Weapons. Perhaps K’likki was the member of a security squad for his company that became disgraced and that is the reason he is out on his own adventuring. Also trying to find a way to clear his name. I think the character is done? From the rules-as-written I can see where the character creation system kind of sputtered out. I would have asked questions to an experienced GM when creating my character to make sure I had everything fleshed out. From what I understand by reading blogs from Star Frontier fans, the later books in the game helped smooth out some of these rough edges. I don’t have access to them for the challenge. I’m wondering if someone re-wrote the character creation steps to make sure everything was in one spot. Here is what I have for the character sheet.


I liked the idea of using a Basic game to learn the ropes and an Expanded game for regular play. I think in the Expanded character creation steps it should have included information on how to obtain my character’s standard starting skills. I finally found the equipment section, but there was no way I could pick up anything with 27 credits (after buying my starting adventures pack).

I am a big fan of the d100 type system. I would love to see how the game actually plays at the table. Oh how I wish I could have lived in that alternate 1980’s. I don’t know if I’ll find someone running this game at the upcoming SaltCon, but perhaps I could find a game on Roll20 that would accept a newbie.

Additional Notes:

I was able to pick up this book in 2022 with the credit I earned from you guys clicking on my DriveThruRPG links and buying games. So thank you for helping me get a POD for this book. I wrote a review of the POD books that I have picked up from DTRPG. The next set of credits that I earn will go towards a game that I will use in the 2024 Character Creation Challenge.

So I’ve been able to update the large list of blogs and message boards participating in the 2023 Character Creation Challenge. This includes the first (to my knowledge) non-English website. If I don’t have your site listed yet, please email me at Carl (at) and I’ll add it. There are some new sites and some sites I recognize instantly. For those of you who have participated in all three years, thank you. For those of you who are new, welcome to the challenge.

Oh, if you are just finding out about the Character Creation Challenge now, you can still jump in. In the past a few participants hadn’t started until day 10 and they were able to catch up. Remember, this is just for fun.

Follow up to yesterday’s character from Alien. I mentioned that he looked like Ivan Draggo in combat fatigues and a reader on the forums sent me this. Once I was able to pull it up, I thought it was perfect.

Coming Up Next:

Low Fantasy Gaming

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server.

Posted in: Quotes, Star Trek

Daily Star Trek Quotes: January 2-8

When I get compliments on putting together the #CharacterCreationChallenge

Here are the Daily Star Trek Quotes that will appear on the @STrekQuotes Twitter account and the @STrekQuotes Mastodon account for the week of January 2nd through January 8th.

January 2
“Without facts, the decision cannot be made logically. You must rely on your Human intuition.” Spock- Assignment: Earth, Stardate: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekTOS #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

January 3
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered on this date in 1993 with the episode Emissary. #StarTrek #StarTrekDS9 #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“I am just a Bajoran who’s been fighting a hopeless cause against the Cardassians all her life. So if you want a war, I’ll give you one.” Kira- Emissary, Stardate: 46379.1 #StarTrek #StarTrekDS9 #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

January 4
“And it is interesting to note that as I observe Lal learning about her world I share in her experience, almost as though I am learning things over again.” Data- The Offspring, Stardate: 43657.0 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

January 5
“I just took one step. A step that seemed perfectly reasonable. And that step lead to another and another, and before I knew what I was involved in something I didn’t know how to handle.” Neelix- Fair Trade, Stardate: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekVOY #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

January 6
Remembering Aron Eisenberg who was born on this date in 1969. @AronEisenberg #StarTrek #StarTrekDS9 #StarTrekVOY #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“Because I don’t want to end up like my father.” Nog “Your father.” Sisko “That’s right. My father. He’s been chasing profit his whole life and what has it gotten him? Nothing.” Nog- Heart of Stone, Stardate: 48521.5 #StarTrek #StarTrekDS9 #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

January 7
“That’s why we chose this life, right? See things we’ve never seen before.” Tucker- Dawn, Date: Unknown #StarTrek #StarTrekENT #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

January 8
Happy Birthday to Michelle Forbes. @MishkaForbes #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

“What if I snore in my sleep?” Riker “What makes you think you’re going to get any sleep?” Ro Laren- Conundrum, Stardate: 45494.2 #StarTrek #StarTrekTNG #IDIC #WeAreStarfleet

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

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 1: Alien

Hello readers and welcome to my first entry into the 2023 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Last year I used the first day to post about Dune: Adventures in the Imperium because of how much I’d love to play that game. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to at the upcoming SaltCon. Another game that I hope to play is Alien from Free League Publishing. I had the opportunity to meet the writer of the Alien RPG, Andrew E.G. Gaska at the 2022 FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention. He was able to explain a little of the game to me and he signed my book. So I wanted to use Alien for day 1 of the new challenge.

Meeting Andrew EC Gaska at FanX 2022.

OK, so let’s get down to making a character for this game. The character creation steps start on page 27. There are two types of play for this game. Cinematic (think one-shot, character has a good chance of dying by the end of the session) or Campaign Play (self-explanatory). I’m going to run with the assumption that this character will be for a campaign. I need to select a career for my character out of a choice of nine available. The choices are Colonial Marine, Colonial Marshal (oh, I wonder if the movie Outland could be an inspiration for something like this?), Company Agent, Kid, Medic, Officer (think CO of a mining vessel like the one we first saw in Alien), Pilot, Roughneck (worker) and Scientist. Since I told Mr. Gaska that my favorite movie of all time is Aliens, I know that I’ve got to make a Colonial Marine. I’m going with the name Jan Karlsson (plucked out of the air).

There are four attributes in Alien. Strength and Agility (both self-explanatory), Wits (this covers intelligence, sanity and perception) and finally Empathy (think Charisma and how you treat others). You get 14 points to spend over these attributes. Minimum of 2 with a max of 5 for the key attribute of your career (4 max on the others). For the Colonial Marine, my key attribute is Strength. I selected the following for Jan. Str 5, Agi 4 Wit 3 and Emp 2.

Now we spend some points in our skills. There are only twelve of them and they are tied with one of the attributes listed above. As a starting character, I can spend 10 points on any of the following (keeping in mind that my Colonial Marine has to have certain skills) with a max of 3. Close combat, Heavy Machinery or Stamina (under Strength), Ranged Combat, Mobility or Piloting (under Agility) Observation, Survival or Comtech (under Wits) and Command, Medical Aid and Manipulation (under empathy). As my character progresses, I can increase the skill numbers. Jan is not a leader, he’s a point and shoot guy who also wants to make sure he and his squad comes back. So I selected Ranged Combat-3, Close Combat- 2, Stamina- 2, Observation-1, Survival- 1 and Medical Aid- 1.

For a campaign, each player starts with one talent and can earn three more later. A talent in the Alien RPG is a trick, move or minor ability that gives Jan a small edge in something. Each career has a selection of three starting talents to choose from. Later, there is a selection of general talents that can also be used. For the Colonial Marine, I loved the idea of the Banter talent. It helps reduce stress levels between fights. Plus I love interacting with my fellow players at the game and making them laugh.

It wasn’t on the list on page 27, but in the descriptions following the next items are calculating your health and stress. Health is self-explanatory but if you reach zero (and don’t die) you can receive a critical injury. Stress is what your character feels under certain situations. The stress level can rise if you push a skill roll, perform certain actions (or lack of actions such as lack of sleep), etc. If stress gets too high and isn’t kept in check, your character can panic (which is bad). Starting health is based upon the Strength attribute (so Jan’s is 5) and stress at the start of the game is 0? (Flips back a few pages to the combat chapter) Yea it’s 0.

Next on the list is choose a name (done, see above), decide on your appearance (imagine Ivan Draggo from Rocky 4 in Colonial Marines fatigues) and select a personal agenda. From the looks of things, the personal agenda is something about your character that you want to fulfill, or want to keep secret. If you are playing a cinematic game, you earn story points if you complete an agenda item. In a campaign, you gain extra experience points. Since these can be anything I selected “Previous unit let a company man die because he was endangering the team. We kept the details a secret and want to keep it that way.” Since this is a campaign, I can select a buddy and a rival. The rules stated one or both could be another PC. Since I don’t have other PCs to decide on, I’m randomly picking my buddy to be Chester Williams, a marine I helped train and the rival is Miguel Rodriguez, a guy who claims to be an ex-company man, but Jan doesn’t really trust him.

With gear, there is more than just the stuff you have. You can also select a signature item and there are also consumables. From the Colonial Marine details what I felt was appropriate. Jan’s signature item is an old pocket knife that an ex-commander gave him before he died. I think I only track consumables (food, water, air, etc.) if we are off ship. So I’m leaving those sections blank right now. And hey I get to roll my first die while creating a character. Jan has $500 to start out to buy other equipment, of which I did that I thought was logical for a Colonial Marine. I think the character is done. Here is the sheet.


There were only a couple of areas where it was a little confusing. Besides the physical book, the publisher also sent me a PDF copy. I was able to use that to do some quick searches for subjects like “cash” and others. The pages are black, but the majority of the text is in light boxes with a dark font. So it isn’t too hard on the eyes. I still haven’t had a chance to go through the entire book cover-to-cover, but I really hope to play this game at an upcoming convention. The log entries at the start of the book was drawing me into a story. I really want to see the system in action. With experience, I could easily create a character quickly. I wonder how much material that the publisher has pulled from the older Dark Horse Alien comics? I could see myself homebrewing some of those items.

Additional Notes:

I’ve been seeing submissions for the #CharacterCreationChallenge on the forum and on social media using the hashtag. I’ve even been tagged on a few Mastodon posts. Several participants have emailed me links to their sites. So far there have been some interesting submissions. There was even a link to another message board on Board Game Geek that are participating in the challenge. I’m trying to get all of the links posted on the Character Creation Challenge page so that everyone can see them.

Update: The TardisCaptain dot com Discord is now ready and can be accessed by following this link.

Coming Up Next:

The classic Star Frontiers game from TSR

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