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

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 18: Vintage Space

On Day 18 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge I elected to use Vintage Space: Retro Disco Sci-Fi Roleplaying. I don’t recall where I read this from, but this game is a retro-clone/refit of the FASA Star Trek RPG with some serial numbers filed off. So I thought I’d check it out and see how it stacks up.

The PDF is 70 pages long and lacks any bookmarks. The character creation process is listed on page six of the index but is found on page 12 of the PDF. There is no character sheet. Because of this I almost dropped the game from my list. But I remembered that in my early years of participating in roleplaying games that I just used a sheet of paper to write my characters down on. So I’ll whip something up on the word processor and see how it turns out.

Generating the character’s attributes is the first step. They are Strength (STR), Endurance (END), Intelligence (INT), Dexterity (DEX), Charisma (CHA) Luck (LUC) and Psychic Potential (PSY). These were the same attributes found in the FASA Star Trek RPG. However instead of using percentage scores, you have attributes plus skill added together for a number to roll under. To generate the attribute scores, some generic guidelines are listed, but on the next page it has the same guidelines adjusted with racial adjustments. So it would make sense to decide which race the character will be first and then follow those guidelines.

The races are Humans, Satora (aka Vulcans), Korrin (aka Andorians), Inush (Tellerites but dog based instead of pigs), Neyokso (aka Caitians) and Takka (an octopus based race that seems to be original). Since there are six of them, I rolled a D6 to randomly select one, which was Satoran. I rolled up the attributes and wrote them down on the home-made character sheet.

Next is the Hit Points. This is equal to your END attribute. Simple enough, I wrote it down.

Now the character is going through the Starfleet…. err…. Star Corps Academy. There I choose a division (aka department) to join which will determine the course of study. Yea pointy ear boy is going to be a member of the science department. I wrote down the skills as instructed.

Now if the character was just starting off as a newly minted Ensign, the training would stop there. While this is tempting, I think I’ll make this guy a Lieutenant who is the Chief Science Officer on a smaller vessel. So he gets to add one rank to any one skill for Lt. (junior grade) and one rank for full Lieutenant.

The next section was a character creation example. It seems to have followed what I read previously except that each skill point meant that I pick a specialty that would match the skill. I went back up through the earlier pages and I didn’t see that mentioned in the rules. I found some listed specialties later in the book. Also in the example is the note that each character gets one passion skill (interests or hobbies). If you use a specialty your character has, you roll 2D20 and take the best roll.

Because this character is Vulc…. Satoran I looked over the Psionic Abilities. Especially since I had a very high roll when generating the PSY score. The racial description stated that Satoran characters have unrestricted access to psychic education and training, but the section on Psionic Abilities states that you lose the Passions skill and one rank of a skill that is gained at the academy. But is that only for Non-Satorans? Would I list all of the psionic skills or just pick a number of them? It states that there are specialties, but again, how many will this character get? Uh, I’ll just note that the character has them.

The book then goes into some of the system explanations (roll a D20 wanting a low roll for success on both skills and savings throws). I finally made it down to the equipment section. The items your character has is dependent upon a requisition clearance level that is rank based, but there is no chart for the clearance levels. Ugh. There are several items listed. I’ll just write down what a Chief of Science who is a Lieutenant would have. I named him Troxtor and took a screen shot of the document.


I mentioned the AI images (you can’t really call it art) in my White Lies 2nd Edition entry. While those looked like paintings with some emotion, the AI images in this publication were very distracting and pulled me away from the text. Once again the eyes were off on quite a few images (pupils of different sizes and looking in different directions, etc.) No image matched the others in a theme. You couldn’t look at multiple images and say “yes these are from the same in-game universe”. At least the White Lies book had some consistency. I think the worse part is how plastic and soulless everything looked. Characters had no emotion, nothing to express more than “I’m just an action figure in a pose”. Even the ships were just jumbles dumped into a pot and poured out into a bowl.

I wonder if this was an early draft? There was some minor errors that an editor would have caught. While I was going through the creation process and reading some of the sections, I got the urge to re-write some sections to make it smoother.

I can see where the FASA Star Trek RPG inspired this system. It’s not a direct descendant of the game that has a cult following, but the DNA is present. I can see where references were pulled from other shows with the serial numbers filled off. I would often say “Oh, those are Klingons from Star Trek and those are Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.” The system itself looks like it could work at the table pretty easy. I wouldn’t mind getting a few friends together just to try it out. I could even lead to some homebrewing. But it needs something more, it needs something to give it the extra kick needed to say “I want to play this game.” Clean up the character creation steps is something that I would recommend for a start. If there is an update or re-write of the game, I’d even pay a few extra bucks just to have a publication with real art that gives flavor to the universe.

Additional Notes:

Wow, just wow. Yesterday when I was checking the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge on Mastodon, I came across a post by Lester Smith. He had posted on his blog about his involvement in the 2021 challenge and how it helped him to climb out of a bout of depression. Creating the characters got him back into writing and he has released several new roleplaying games including one called D6xD6 Dungeons. I decided to buy a copy to check it out. Then I started going through his blog. I eventually had to stop myself because I had items that I needed to get done. Mr. Smith had written the first edition of the Dark Conspiracy RPG and contributed to a lot of other works in the gaming industry. Now he is “retired” and just writes the stuff he wants to because he enjoys it. It sounds like a goal of mine. David Gerrold once said that he writes the books he wants to read. We’ll I’d like to get to the same level as Lester Smith and write the games that I’d love to play. I guess I was taken aback by hearing how the Character Creation Challenge had helped someone. It wonder if this is what Jimmy Doohan felt when he had helped save a fans life from suicide. Note, I’m not saying that Mr. Smith was at that level in his issues, but I got the same feelings that Mr. Doohan had when read this blog post.

I started this challenge to have fun and I invited others to participate in that fun. Having fun was the goal. But I should also remember that participating in the group activity called a roleplaying game can be very therapeutic as well. Even just the act of writing, drawing, painting, getting together, etc. for a game would be therapeutic. I guess I’m just awed.

Coming Up Next:

Fantasy Hero

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