Posted in: Archer, Character Creation Challenge, Comic Books, Conventions, Doctor Who, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Movies, Music, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars, Video Game, Website

Moving from 2023 to 2024

Stack of character sheets printed out for the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge

2023 was a weird year to say the least. I was able to see a ton of concerts including several that I wanted to check off of the bucket list. These included Duran Duran, Love and Rockets, The Cure, Garbage, and Depeche Mode. I was able to see a live show that featured some of the comedians from “Who’s Line Is it Anyway” (the show had a different name probably for copyright reasons). I’ll be getting the photos for these up in the photo albums.

For the first time in a long time, I had the opportunity to attend a gaming convention. SaltCON Spring, SaltCON Summer and SaltCON End-of-Summer. I know at the beginning of the year, I stated that I only wanted to participate at this event and not volunteer. Well, after much thought and discussion with others, I’ll be running two games next spring. One will be a one-shot for Basic Fantasy RPG that I already had written up and did some polishing on. The other is a Star Trek Adventures: Lower Decks inspired game where the crew will be meeting the cast of Top Core (a sci-fi parody of the BBC show, Top Gear).

I’m still watching a ton of movies at home thanks to the many streaming services that I have access to. In the theater I did enjoy Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. I also saw Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. I also enjoyed this movie and I hope that the ending would lead to another sequel. But I wouldn’t be disappointed if there wasn’t one. My youngest is a Five Nights at Freddy’s fan so we had to go see the movie in the theater. Not knowing much about the video game series, I thought the movie was OK and I wasn’t bored. In 2024 I’m looking forward to seeing Dune: Part Two, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

Television wise I’ve been soaking up all of the various Star Trek franchises (Picard knocked it out of the park and I demand more Lower Decks). The Star Wars episodes have been good as well. I’m sad that Archer is ending, but I’d rather have it end on a high note. What We Do In The Shadows has also continued to entertain me. MST3K season 13 was a blast. I watch so much TV that I am unable to list them all here. On the weekends I’ve still been enjoying Svengoolie and Creature Features. I’m really looking forward to the new Doctor Who episodes after the great introduction from the 60th Anniversary specials and Christmas episode. The Fallout TV series has also caught my attention. I did cancel my Peacock account because there was nothing on it to watch (and I’d go months forgetting it was even there).

Reading wise I’m still going strong on the Star Trek and James Bond comics. While I’m also enjoying the Star Wars comics, I had to move from buying the physical books to a subscription to Marvel Unlimited due to the high cost of the individual issues. Too many Star Wars comics to continuing to buy them all.

I may have made a mistake with my video games. I set up both a Steam account and a GOG account. So I’ve been getting deals on lots of classic games that I use to play. I’ve been trying to play a few others as well such as Fallout New Vegas and a couple of other hidden gems that were tossed my way. But when it comes to time crunch issues, the video games get put off to the side pretty fast. I need to make sure that I’m spending some enjoyment time playing these games.

I want to get some writing done in 2024. I’ve talked about it, but I need to sit down and do it. Hopefully the Basic Fantasy scenario will be good enough to submit to the BFRPG community for consideration. While I also have some fan projects in mind, I’d actually like to have a few publications that I could legitimately sell online.

Keep an eye on this blog for what happens in 2024. 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.

What did you enjoy about 2023? What geeky things do you want to do in 2024? Tell me about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com or click on my social media links with any comments.

Posted in: Autographs, Collecting, Comic Books, Community Service, Conventions, Cosplay, No One Lives Forever, Star Trek

FanX 2023 After Action Report

Some of the loot from FanX 2023.

2023 marked the 10th Anniversary of FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention. I remember when I first heard about this event in 2013. It was announced that Jonathan Frakes would be the guest at a con to be held at a convention center in Sandy, Utah. I had just arrived at a friends house to talk Seventh Fleet business. We had never heard of the company that was putting together Salt Lake Comic Con (as it was called then). The event became so popular (I think the name and lots of advertising helped) that eventually the convention was moved to the Salt Palace (the largest convention center in Utah). In 2013 it ended up being the third largest comic book convention in North America.

So it’s no surprise that ten years later it’s still going strong. Since the Seventh Fleet is given the opportunity to perform our community service mission at the con, I was in attendance to help out. Here is my after action report.

One of the first things that is different this year (for me) is using the FanX app. It had some good thing and some areas that needed improvement. I was able to see a lot of the panels that were scheduled and I could even set up reminders. However the reminders were not very descriptive when popping up on my screen (it’s only in the small notification area at the top). The map was very generic which was bad in trying to find something. Probably the biggest thing that needed to be improved was looking up the panels themselves. In order to see just the panels, you had to select each individual panel room. Then it showed you the panels for that room on that day. It would be very helpful if we could get this information (just the panels) in a grid so I could see if there was a conflict between two panels that I’d like to go see. I could see the value in having the app and I used it several times to confirm times. But I feel that this still needs some improvement before it becomes something to brag about.

Usually at a pop and comic convention there is a LARGE number of guests. Sometimes it is overwhelming when it comes to budgeting money to pick up autographs. As it turns out, this was Christopher Lloyd’s last convention appearance so that made . Something that FanX has finally done is added the autograph prices to their website so I could decide a head of time who I could afford. But I do dislike that a lot of guests (or more honestly, their agents) think, “Hmm… comic con. I’ll jack my prices up by 20-30 dollars.” I’ve found myself getting less and less autographs each convention.

Achievement Unlocked

The main person I was really interested in seeing was Jen Taylor. She is best known as the voice actress who voiced Cortana from the Halo series of video games and TV shows. But the reason I wanted to meet her was due to her work as the voice of Cate Archer in No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in Harms Way. This series is a cult video game that is in IP rights hell. No one knows exactly who owns the rights. So the game can’t be re-tooled for modern computers and added to GOG or Steam. Several years ago Jen Taylor had stated in an article that she didn’t know if there was still NOLF fans out there. I let her know that we were still present and really wished that the game could be re-made for new fans to discover. She was actually excited to hear that we were still out there.

I do have to thank my old roommate who had found this poster for me many, many years ago. He had found it in a gaming magazine and gifted it to me. This is the first time it’s been out of the frame I use in several years. Thank you Gibby.

A look at the autograph.

One of the other guests that I met up with is Science Fiction author Dayton Ward. He has written several Star Trek novels and contributed to the Star Trek Adventures RPG Star Trek Comics and Star Trek magazines. I wanted to make sure that he felt welcomed to Utah. I picked up two books from him. His Star Trek Discovery novel Somewhere to Belong and the Star Trek Kirk Fu Manual (you know I had to add this to my resource library).

After picking up the Alien RPG at the 2022 FanX convention, I was wondering if I could find any RPG books this time around. Believe me, I looked to see if anything jumped out at me this year. A ton of dice vendors. I’d really like to know if they made the dice themselves or ordered it from a third party. There was an author selling a superhero RPG (which is a genre I’m not really interested in role-playing right now) and another author who had written his own 5E guidebook to a fantasy world he had a book series set in. This last one looked pretty, but I couldn’t justify the $50 for the full color version. I did bump into a local publisher who had their first Kickstarter out for the Ter’Ra’Mentia Role Playing Game. This was a fantasy game with a 2d12 system that sounded interesting. I was able to look through the beta-version of the book (about a third in size of the book that will contain player, GM and monster information) and it looked interesting. They are also using a local artist for all the art in the book (none of that AI generated crap). For that alone I’m giving this one some serious thought towards supporting.

One of the biggest surprises from the con came not from the con itself, but from a friend. Earlier in September comic book artist Sean Von Gorman was in Salt Lake to promote the newest IDW Star Trek comic, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds- The Scorpius Run. Sean was there to sign the Retailer Variant cover that was inspired by the cover of the first issue of Star Trek DC Comics issue 1. I was not able to attend the signing because of another engagement, but my friend had picked up a copy for me and gave it to me at the Seventh Fleet booth. I was very excited.

Speaking of the Seventh Fleet, we were performing our community service charter by raising funds for a special charity. Heroes4Causes is a publishing house creating superheroes that have the same affliction (such as pediatric brain cancer or cystic fibrosis) so that kids can see that they can still be heroes. One of the artists was present at our booth and was signing books and art for donations. To draw in the crowds, we had home-made stand up cutouts of the Star Trek: Lower Decks crew for people to take photos with. We had a lot of people who were wanting photos. There was even a crowd of other vendor chanting “Lower Decks! Lower Decks!” when we first brought in the characters.

Many thanks to Dan Farr, the staff and volunteers at FanX. You helped us perform our community service mission and we had a lot of fun in the process. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2024 when the convention is held on September 26-28.

Here are some random photos from the convention.

Posted in: Comic Books, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games

RPGaDay2023 Day 10: Favorite tie-in Fiction

While I believe that the subject for Day 10 of the #RPGaDAY Challenge “Favorite tie-in fiction” probably refers to some of the many different novels written in RPG settings, I knew I had to pick another medium. Well they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go.

Just some of the Dungeons and Dragons comics in my collection.

Back in my Comics Utah days I was collecting the various Dungeons and Dragons comics by DC Comics. I actually just re-read most of them a few years ago and recalled how much I loved them. While there have been other publishers that have picked up the D&D line, I don’t think they ever hit it quite right like the DC comic run.

One of the things that I really liked is that they gave you Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition stats for characters, spells and items that came up in the various comics. I really liked that one of the characters in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons comic was a Centaur. I felt that this could have been a player race in the game.

Had there been an option for a non-Fiction favorite tie-in, I would have been tempted to post the Heroes’ Feast, The Official D&D Cook Book that I reviewed last year. That was a good book.

What is your favorite RPG tie-in fiction? I’d love to hear about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Collecting, Comic Books, Star Trek

Star Trek Sky’s The Limit (and some DVDs)

While I was doing some research for my “More IDW Comics in Star Trek Adventures?” blog post, I came across an interesting tidbit in Memory-Alpha. There was a comic released by IDW in 2019 called Star Trek: Sky’s The Limit. This concerned me. My local comic book store had been very good about making sure that all new Star Trek titles from IDW Publishing was put into my hold. I had also not seen digital versions of this comic come up on Amazon.

So I inquired with some of the online Star Trek comic discussion boards and was pointed in the direction of the Star Trek Picard Movie & TV Collection. The Blu-Ray set contained TNG episodes “The Best of Both Worlds” and “Chain of Command” along with all of the TNG movies. But included in the set was the 16-page Sky’s The Limit comic. This is why I didn’t see it in the comic store, it was a special item.

So to the online shopping sites I went. And luckily I was able to find the set with the comic at a reasonable price. A week later, it arrived. So this is my review of the comic (and a few notes about the movies/episodes).

A size comparison between Sky’s The Limit and the recently released Star Trek #7

It shouldn’t of surprised me, but the issue is only 5.25 inches across and just under 7 inches high. This was so it would fit into the Blu-Ray slip-case. The story was written by Thomas Zahler, art by Carlos Nieto and colored by Charlie Kirchoff. As mentioned above there are only 16 pages in the issue, but I think this gave the story an advantage. Set in Stardate: 48516.7 (just after the events in “All Good Things…“) Picard has to protect a Federation colony from a Maquis cell. The story is pretty quick and it reminds me of reading a short story. The writer only had so many words (or in this case panels) to tell the story so they got right to it. There were still a few tidbits that would be recognized by Star Trek fans (General Order 24 anyone?) plus some new things that I’ll probably need to update on Memory-Beta. When I was done reading the comic, I was glad that I had picked it up. This is one of two (that I’m aware of) IDW Comics that have not been made available digitally. The other being the Loot Crate “Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken: Origin of Data” comic that was released in 2017. I had to jump through some hoops to get a copy of that issue. I really wish that IDW would release digital versions of these two books since they were both released several years ago.

As for the disks, well they were just the episodes and movies. I enjoyed watching the gag reel and documentary on Best of Both Worlds. But when I compared the movies to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Movie Collection I already owned on Blu-Ray, they were practically the same disks with the same specials and bonus features. I was a little disappointed as I was hoping for new material.

On the Star Trek comic message boards, someone responded to me that the comic would be worth it if you were a collector who needed all of the issues. While I don’t feel the need to collect every variant cover (what I want is on the inside) I did want a copy of Sky’s The Limit so that I could read it again at my leisure. Of this, I was not disappointed. If you are looking for the movies, well the Picard collection is slightly cheaper than the movie collection. It’s a little thinner for placing on the shelf, but it doesn’t come with the 5th disk of specials (called Evolutions) that the movie collection does. I’d probably recommend the movie collection over the Picard TV & Movie collection. But both would fulfill the mission of watching the movies.

Did I miss an IDW comic that hasn’t been released digitally? Have you read Sky’s The Limit? If so, what did you think about it? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Comic Books, Role Playing Games

Character sheets from past games: Marvel Superheroes

This is a character sheet for the Marvel Superheroes Roleplaying Game (released by TSR in 1986) that I found in my three-ringed binder containing my old character sheets that I had discovered in a storage box. In my previous character sheet entries I posted characters from Dungeons and Dragons, the FASA Doctor Who RPG, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, Vampire: The Masquerade, WEG Star Wars the Star Trek RPG by FASA and GURPS.

This was a campaign that I played with one of my 90’s batch of RPG friends. We played a ton of other games together (such as the above mentioned Vampire, Doctor Who and Cyberpunk games). One of them was the system based off of the Marvel comic universe.

Another trend in the 90’s was the mutant superheroes in the Marvel line of books. They were extremely popular and seemed to be talked about by everyone. I think this is part of the reason I avoided reading the issues. I recall a day at Comics Utah were my hold was light so I figured I’d try a new book. I walked over to the Marvel shelves and there was mutant this and mutant that. I took a step back, and headed over to the DC Comics shelves to see what might catch my eye. So, as you probably guessed, when the option came up for a Marvel RPG campaign, everyone but me wanted to play a mutant character. I rebelled by announcing that I would be playing an android character.

I remember liking the name Strikeman. The alter-ego was named Hal Robberts, a name he had chosen for himself. I think I pulled the name Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was created by Noonian Ling, which I’m 99% certain was inspired from Data’s creator, Noonian Soong. Since Ling was still listed as a contact, I’m assuming they got along. I don’t recall what S.H.I.P.D. stood for (something something police department?). I wish that I had kept better notes from my 90’s games, but I guess I’m lucky just to have found the book of characters.

While I don’t remember anything about the FASERIP system, I do recall hearing that it had a lot of fans. When I found the Amazon link listed above, the book was very expensive. If you are interested in roleplaying in the Marvel universe, there is a new Marvel Multiverse RPG core book coming out in August.

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Collecting, Comic Books, Doctor Who, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Transformers

More IDW Comics in Star Trek Adventures?

What I would like to see

So earlier this month I was working on my review of the latest Star Trek Lower Decks releases for the Star Trek Adventures RPG when it hit me. “I wonder if we will see any future cross-over products between Modiphius (publisher of Star Trek Adventures) and IDW run of Star Trek comics?” Back in 2021 there had been a cooperative release with the IDW Year Five Tie In.

So I thought I’d take to social media and ask. On twitter (while dodging spam posts) I submitted the following:

Hey @Modiphius are we going to see any additional #StarTrekAdventures supplements for @IDWPublishing #StarTrek comics like we did for Year-Five tie in? I would love to see more supplements like this. #please

@TardisCaptain

Well, I received a response from Jim Johnson, who is the project manager for Modiphius Star Trek Adventures. Wow, I wasn’t expecting that. He asked what I’d like to see from the IDW run. Well when I read that, my first thought was “Everything!” Yea, I know that’s not going to fly logically. IDW has been publishing Star Trek comics since 2007 and has released over 400 issues and trade paperbacks. Some of them include crossovers with other intellectual properties such as Doctor Who, Planet of the Apes, Green Lantern, The Legion of Superheroes and Transformers. The likelihood of any supplements for these issues are slim to none. Especially since there is already a roleplaying game for Transformers and Doctor Who.

So what was the most likely candidates from the wide catalog of IDW publications would be good for a Star Trek Adventures supplement? Well I have several recommendations in mind. I did mention a few in a quick twitter response to Mr. Johnson, but I felt that this topic deserved a blog post to give it more thought.

I’ve actually mentioned this in past blog posts, but IDW has done a very good series of comics covering the TNG crew in the Mirror Universe. In this setting, the Terran Empire was defeated, but not overrun. (Hey, if you are looking for a reason to keep this within “cannon”, just remember that there are many, many multiple universes as seen in the TNG episode “Parallels“.) This empire was boxed in, was low on resources (Captain’s kept their own secret supply caches) and still had some fight in it (for both external and internal conflicts). RPG scenarios could include Prime Universe Federation members dealing with Terran Empire incursions, more accidental crossovers or a campaign set with PCs playing members of the Terran Starfleet. Some of the advantages to this idea include lots of resource material (13 TNG comics plus additionaly 7 TOS comics, 1 Voyager comic, and 4 Discovery comics) which could include new races, new spacefames, new background information, new characters (we see “The Obnoxious Okona” who is a thorn in Mirror Captain Picard’s side). The disadvantages that I see are also the large number of sources (the supplement could be much larger than the Year Five tie in if they didn’t break it up by comic series), roleplaying in the Mirror Universe is much different than in the Prime Universe (but I do recall playing in a FASA Star Trek campaign where we were accidentally sent to the Mirror Universe) and there is a lot of Mirror Universe seen in the shows. While this is my first choice that I would LOVE to see, I could understand why it may not make the list at Modiphius.

Before there was Star Trek: Year Five by IDW, the comic publisher released Star Trek Year Four. This covered what could have been the fourth season of The Original Series. This would make for an excellent companion piece to the STA Year Five tie-in. This would be an excellent opportunity to present the stats for the Federation Class Dreadnought (seen in the Enterprise Experiment series). There are not as many issues covering Year Four as there are for Year Five (10 vs 26 respectively) but that might make is more of a candidate for a PDF only release. There are other TOS comics presented by IDW, but they cover various times across the Original Series. That could be used to pad out a publication if needed.

The next recommendation may be an issue. I don’t know if Modiphius has any type of license with the Kelvin Universe movies. Creating a tie-in supplement might be possible if a license isn’t fully connected. However there are a LOT of Kelvin Universe comics published by IDW. A total of 106 issues (not counting the two Kelvin Universe/Green Lantern crossovers). Some of these issues cover Starfleet Academy cadets and could be a perfect way to release some Kelvin Universe resource material into the market.

The last recommendation that I’m going to make is for Leonard McCoy: Frontier Doctor that had four issues. Not a lot of material, but the storyline covered Dr. McCoy after he had left Starfleet and went on a “Doctors without Borders” type of adventure (between the end of The Original Series and The Motion Picture). There would definable be a new spaceframe (The Joanna), several characters and planets and information on how to play in the Frontier Medics Program. A non-Starfleet sourcebook could help with civilian roleplaying.

As I mentioned in my Year Five Tie-In review, there was still some Year Five material that could have been added to the supplement. I wouldn’t be opposed to that type of expansion.

There are still a ton of other IDW Star Trek titles that information could be pulled to create a tie-in supplement. Some cover various races and characters. A few had different inter-ST series crossovers that only comics could pull off. Others had tie-ins with different Star Trek novels and video games. I believe that IDW has the longest run of continuous Star Trek comic publications. Despite recent news that the company had some layoffs, I hope that they will be able to continue to publish new comics for quite a few more years.

Thank you Jim Johnson for inspiring me to expand this subject into a blog post. I had a great time going back through several comics and (quickly) re-reading some of the stories. Jim did respond to my suggestion tweet saying “I just gotta chat with the good people over there and see what’s possible.” So… (crosses fingers).

What IDW Comics would you like to see turned into a Star Trek Adventures supplement? Are there other Star Trek comics that you draw gaming inspiration from? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Autographs, Collecting, Comic Books, Community Service, Conventions, Doctor Who, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

FanX 2022 After Action Report

My haul from FanX 2022

So another FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention is in the books. With how hectic my summer has been, I didn’t know if i was going to be able to make it. Starfleet Command’s Seventh Fleet was going to have a charity booth at the convention again to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Thankfully our Star Trek fan club is set up so that when real life gets in the way others can step forward. The crew of the USS Pulsar led the various volunteers for the booth. They put together a brand new photo op for convention attendees to use which was the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds transporter pad. After talking with Captain Joe Coleflesh, he stated to just come do what I could and they would handle everything else. So on Wednesday (the day before the con opened) I arrived and got the booth registered. I’m in a walking boot now, but I still had to stay off of my foot as often as I could. Luckily a friend of mine had let me borrow a knee scooter. This allowed me to move about the very large Salt Palace with some ease. It was still a toll on my body so every day of the convention was a “game time decision” on if I was going to make it.

On Thursday I rode down with a friend and was able to check out the vendors floor before the con opened (an advantage of being an exhibitor). I saw a few things that I wanted to pick up when everything was opened. I spent most of the day at the Seventh Fleet booth meeting up with new recruits and old friends who stopped by to say hello. Despite being sore, I made the trek back down on Friday and took my youngest to Kid-Con. Unfortunately, that may have been too much so I wasn’t able to come down on Saturday. If I missed meeting up with you, I hope to catch you at a future event. I will be adding some new photos to my online photo album that were taken at the con.

From a Utah vendor I was able to pick up a dice tray and a pin with a graphic of a D20 that stated “This is how I roll”. I purchased the 2022 anthology “Parliament of Wizards“. With several of the local authors in attendance, I was able to get several of them to autograph the book. My last long Dungeons and Dragons campaign allowed me to play a wizard, so I thought I might gain some inspiration from this book for future gaming sessions. Speaking of getting books signed, I also picked up The Complete Elfquest Volume One and meet the creators Wendy and Richard Pini. I’ve been a fan of this series ever since I read the first trade paperback back in the mid-80’s and I was unaware that they were even coming. While there are a lot of geeky things for sale at the con, I hardly see any role-playing books. So when I discovered that Andrew E.C. Gaska, the author of the Alien Roleplaying Game published by Free League was also present, I had to pick up the core book for him to autograph. When I told him that Aliens was my favorite movie of all time, he wrote a special message with his signature. Yes, I will be using this system in my Character Creation Challenge in 2023. And thanks to my friend Tina, I was able to pick up the autograph of Steven Weber who played Colonel Day on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I would have picked up more autographs but I wasn’t informed about the prices before the con so I couldn’t budget before hand.

Despite missing Saturday and being sore, I did enjoy getting out and seeing the creativity that our local geek community comes up with. Also a big thank you to the members of the Seventh Fleet for running a successful charity booth and to all of the fans who helped donate to the American Cancer Society. To Dan Farr and the many, many volunteers at the con, thank you for all that you do. FanX 2023 has already set the dates of September 21-23 for the next event. I can’t wait to see what amazing things we will see then. Hopefully I’ll be well enough to cosplay.

Here are some different photos I took at the con.

Note: You can read my 2021 FanX action report here.

Posted in: Comic Books, Conventions, Dungeons and Dragons, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek, Star Wars, Website

A bunch of geeky stuff on May 7th

So there were a bunch of geeky things planned for today. I thought that some of the events would make for an interesting blog post. This will cover several topics from comics to conventions to role playing games.

Art Con:

So first was something that I saw advertised on Facebook, and nowhere else. Art Con was going to be held on May 6-8 at the Salt Palace. This is the same location where FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention is held every year. Admission was free, but you had to sign up for tickets. It sounded like something that my geeky wife and my art inspired kids would be interested in attending. We would already be in the Salt Lake City area to help my college aged kid get her stuff out of the dorm, so we could swing by afterwards to check it out. Here are some photos I was able to sneak in while at the con.

At various conventions one of the attractions are the art shows and artist alley. You can see unique works of art (paintings mostly, but there have been other mediums). It is also an opportunity to meet various artists and see some inspiring ideas.

Art Con was advertised as a convention displaying art from Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter, DC & Marvel Comics, Star Trek and more. It sounded like it was going to be quite large. It was… quite disappointing. Instead of being in one of the convention halls, it was in two side rooms. You can see from the photo with the Darth Vader painting that the room was divided in half and you could walk past tables displaying reproductions of art for sale. Yes there were two artists there, but they were working on some actual paintings at the time and I didn’t feel comfortable going up and asking them questions or getting a photo. The photos above were of the largest pieces available at the con and none had been used in any actual publications that I was aware of. I was hoping to see something that had been in an art book or RPG manual. Yes there was a small print of a beholder, and a few other fantasy things, but nothing that I recognized. There was a lot of prints of various superheroes and anime characters on the toilet (that gag got old very fast). We were only in the room for an hour.

My college age art student actually got upset because some of the pencil drawings appeared to be from artists not at the event. Yes they were licensed to sell these IP items, but other than a large sale, there was nothing here. In the hallways outside the rooms, I saw a couple of cosplayers who looked disappointed. They got dressed up an there was nothing for them to express their cosplay. I think if this had been more of an actual convention instead of a yard sale, it would have been OK. As my oldest put it, if we had come down just for this, they would have been very upset. I’m wondering if they take this “event” from city to city as a traveling sales show? If they made it more like an “Artist Alley” where we could see many different styles of art from different artists that we could meet, I could see this being something we would want to attend more. As it was presented today, I doubt we’ll be back.

Free Comic Book Day:

We had skipped going to our local comic book stores for Free Comic Book Day to attend Art Con. Since that was a bust and we still had a ton of time left, the family decided to head to the Valley Fair Mall to see if we could hook up with some cosplay friends who were going to make an appearance at the Nerd Store. While we made it to the store, we had missed our friends. But I was able to pick up a free Doctor Who comic and a free issue of Red Sonja. My kids were able to pick up some comics as well. The store didn’t have any of the Star Trek or Star Wars comics that I was missing, so we checked out a few other stores before hitting the food court for lunch. One of the places was Hammond Toys and Hobbies. I had many memories picking up 1st edition and 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons books there in the past. Unfortunately I didn’t see any RPG books now. It had been years since I had been in a Hammons.

Random RPG Book Club-May Delivery:

When we arrived home there was a package waiting for me. The May delivery of the Random RPG Book Club. Here is what was in the package.

Selection delivered in May 2022.

As you can see there was another hardbound book that came in. At first I thought it was duplicate of what I had in my collection. But I had the Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 Monster Manual, but this book is the 3.0 version of the Monster Manual. So this does fill a hole in my collection. Perhaps I could write up a comparison between the two books in a future blog entry.

The second book is The Strange In Translation: The Strange Character Options. It is a sourcebook for a roleplaying game called The Strange from Monte Cook Games. I had never heard of this RPG before so I have no idea how the system works. From my initial view through the book, it looks like it is of pretty high quality and art. If I can find out more about this game, perhaps I’ll write up a review.

I did look up both books on ebay and they were well above the $8.00 a piece mark. So the club continues to deliver what it promised.

An unexpected tip of the hat:

Apparently my blog has been inspiring. Thank you.

So yes it has been a geeky day with ups and downs. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got pizza waiting and an episode of Svengoolie and Creature Features to watch.

Oh, before I go. I’ve been working on some of the fan pages on this site. I’ve got more details for the FASA Star Trek RPG, the LUG Star Trek RPG and I’m working on fleshing out more of the website.

Posted in: Archer, Character Creation Challenge, Comic Books, Conventions, Cosplay, Doctor Who, Dune, Fan Club, Horror, Horror Hosts, Humor, James Bond, Movies, MST3K, Music, No One Lives Forever, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Spy-Fi, Star Trek, Star Wars, TV Review, Video Game, Website

2021 is in the rear view, now onto 2022

So another year has come and gone and I am glad. While 2021 was not as bad as the year that shall not be named, it wasn’t the easiest. There are still some challenges in this world that I really hope that our society can come together to get past. I’m still trying to focus on the positives of the past year.

==Role Playing Games==

2021 started out with the first #CharacterCreationChallenge. Amazingly enough I was able to knock out 31 characters in 31 days. I loved reading all of the different responses that the other participants and even made a few new friends along the way. I’m looking forward to the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.

There was also the #RPGaDAY2021 Challenge during the month of August. I really had a struggle with this one, but I was glad that I had participated in it.

I also had a chance to finally play an online Star Trek Adventures game. We have a second session in our “one-shot” planned very soon. The kewl thing is, the game was announced with less than a 24 hour start time. I was able to use my Star Trek Adventures entry in the Character Creation Challenge to quickly drop into the game. Playing on just Zoom is difficult, but doable.

I also had some friends get me into an online Starfinder game that lasted several months (with 1-2 sessions per month). It was interesting, but it really turned me off using Fantasy Grounds as an online platform. It’s an app instead of a browser based system and it is a resource hog like nothing else. Even the players with high end computers were having issues. Unfortunately real life caused the game to end after a few months. The Starfinder system is ok, but a bit crunchy to what I’m use to. The Pathfinder in space mentality didn’t really appeal to me either. I know I was gaming more for the company than I was for the system and universe.

I still want to get into a D&D 5th edition game or a regular Star Trek Adventure game. I’d also prefer to get back together with gaming in person, but with the way the variants are running wild, I’m not certain that will happen any time soon. I’m open to an online game if the schedules can be worked out (the same old problems).

There were several new additions to my role-playing game collection. Between purchases and donations from friends I’ve been able to add to my gaming shelf. I also took advantage of several PDF sales. Instead of listing them all here, I’m planning to save them for my Character Creation Challenge entries. I also added to my dice collection including a special die.

==Video Games==

I’m still playing my old standbys of No One Lives Forever and Tron 2.0. However thanks to a gift card for GameStop (actually ThinkGeek) I was able to pick up a few other video games that I’m looking forward to trying out. I’ve been playing Balder’s Gate and it’s been… interesting. I think I might be playing it wrong.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order has been good so far, but I think my daughter is enjoying it more than I am.

==Movies==

Even though it came out the year before, I had the chance to see Wonder Woman 1984 and I enjoyed it. I wished I could have seen it in the theater. 2021 was also the 25th Anniversary of the Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.

Through streaming I was able to enjoy Black Widow and Godzilla vs Kong (wish I could have seen this in the theater).

Finally getting back into the theater I was able to enjoy watching the latest James Bond movie. We finally saw the sci-fi epic Dune and loved watching the new Ghostbusters film. I still want to watch the latest Matrix movie, Spiderman movie and The King’s Man while they are in the theaters.

I’ve also watched a ton of cheesy sci-fi, fantasy and horror films on streaming services. Some were good, some were not so good.

==Television==

Creature Features held it’s 50th Anniversary. During the summer I had my photo aired on a segment of Svengoolie and my kid’s artwork promoted on Creature Features.

Netflix’s Army of the Dead was a good adventure. Amazon’s The Tomorrow War was interesting to watch. Ice Road was also interesting, but probably not a repeat watch. The Wheel of Time didn’t catch my attention at first, but slowly got a little better. I never read the books so I don’t know how it compares. I really enjoyed Foundation after I was worried how the books were going to translate to the screen. Invasion was an interesting concept, but starts out really slow. I’m glad I stuck with it. I need to finish Y: The Last Man and I’m really disappointed that we will only get one season of Cowboy Bebop.

Thank you What We Do In The Shadows, Archer and South Park for being funny. Crossed Swords was a challenge, but I was able to get into it. I’ve really enjoyed the animated Disenchantment series on Netflix. It was also good to see Animaniacs again.

On the Star Trek front, Star Trek: Prodigy has been interesting. I’ve also been enjoying Star Trek: Discovery as well. I really think that Star Trek: Lower Decks has knocked it out of the park. I am really looking forward to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. I wish there was more Short Treks. Wil Wheaton’s after show “The Ready Room” has been very enjoyable and informative.

Disney+ brought us several good entries for 2021. The Muppet’s Haunted Mansion was really, really good. I really wish that they would give us more Muppets Now. WandaVision and Loki were really good from the Marvel entries. Falcon and the Winter Soldier was ok. I haven’t seen the Hawkeye series yet but plan to sit down and watch it. I really liked the What If!?! series. On the Star Wars side, The Mandalorian continued to be great. Visions was ok, but I wish I hadn’t binged it since it probably would have been better in smaller doses. The Bad Batch was also enjoyable. There has only been one episode of The Book of Boba Fett so I’ll be watching to see where this goes.

Because I missed a lot of Doctor Who episodes while I was studying for college, I spent part of the year catching up. Not only was I able to complete this task, I was able to watch the latest season as it aired. I’m looking forward to the New Years Day special.

2022 will finally get us the third season of The Orville and I’m really looking forward to the next season of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

==Books and Comics==

I really enjoyed the Star Trek: Picard novel, Last Best Hope. There are several other books that I’ve been reading on my kindle and in dead tree format. I’ve been trying to read The Dying Earth series by Jack Vance as well but I haven’t completed them.

The War of the Bounty Hunters in the Star Wars comic series was good, but frustrating. I really wish that they had a better system to follow the flow of the story that spans across several publications. I felt like a few times I was re-treading over the same ground.

The Mirror Universe stories and Star Trek Year Five was really good from IDW Publishing. I’m looking forward to reading more of these stories.

Doctor Who, James Bond and The Orville was other comics I had been pulling from my local store.

==Cosplay and Conventions==

I was able to add the Admiral Picard uniform to my collection. I had a chance to wear this at FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention. It was the only con I attended in the year. Hopefully 2022 will be better convention wise. I’d love to get an Admiral Vance uniform from Star Trek: Discovery or a Monster Maroon from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. However those are long term goals.

==Live Events==

Thanks to 103.1 The Wave, we were able to take the family to Lagoon. With the vaccines helping out, we’ve been able to attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance and the live Mystery Science Theater 3000: Time Bubble Tour. I’ve already got several concerts and events planned for 2022. The Beyond Van Gogh experience was probably the closest I’ll ever get to a holodeck experience. The Egyptian exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah was very enjoyable.

I was also interviewed on the radio for the Star Trek Day 2021. That was an interesting experience. But also not the first time I’ve been interviewed on the TV, Radio or even print.

Our Seventh Fleet and USS Ticonderoga meetings and events have been able to get back in person. This was a very good thing as we are a close knit Star Trek family. We’ve been able to grow and succeed because we get together and see each other’s smiling faces.

==Website==

I was able to get some photo albums online and I’ve added to them as I’ve found more photos. I’ve been able to keep to a regular schedule of several blog posts per week (counting the Star Trek Quotes listings). I should do more gaming articles and reviews of things I’ve watched/read/enjoyed. However, I still need to get some of the other sections of my website filled out. I’m a little upset with myself that I haven’t gotten more of the website completed. This will be a goal for 2022.

It’s good to have goals. I think I’m going to spend 2022 trying to achieve more of them.

Posted in: Comic Books, Doctor Who, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Two Trek tastes that go great together

Modiphius and IDW Publishing working together.
Modiphius and IDW Publishing working together.

In the “I wasn’t expecting this news today” department, Modiphius released a supplement for their Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. The IDW Year Five Tie In detailing the events from the Star Trek comic series, Star Trek: Year Five by IDW Publishing.

What makes this product so unique is that it’s based off of another Star Trek licensed publication instead of from a television series or movie. This is something that I’ve been wanting to see for quite some time with a Star Trek roleplaying game. There have been comics based off of a video game (Star Trek: Elite Force) and a novel based off of the MMORPG, Star Trek Online (Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many) but nothing with RPGs so far. Since IDW has been publishing Star Trek comics for over ten years, I hope that this is the start of a long line of products. IDW has had a successful series of Next Generation comics based off of Mirror Universe characters. There was an interesting Romulan series dealing with internal politics. The Kelvin timeline was greatly expanded with several comic series. Basically there are too many storylines to list here, most of them very enjoyable.

Having been inspired by the fan created, Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Expanded Universe series, I was planning to write up my own series of Star Trek Expanded Universe publications (not for sale since I don’t want to violate any rights of the IP holders). Since Modiphius has released one IDW supplement (and hopefully more), I’ll avoid stepping on any toes by creating homebrew stats from non-IDW sources.

I’ve really been fired up by today’s release. I had to buy the book immediately from DriveThruRPG. It uses some of the wonderful artwork from the comics (a bonus which helped I’m certain). There are three new playable races. The I’qosa (a new race introduced in the comics), the Iotians (yea, the Piece of the Action guys) and the Tholians. We get the stats for one new Starfleet vessel as well as ships from the Tholians and I’qosa. Some of the character write ups includes Harry Mudd, Surak, Gary Seven and Isis, all of which were represented all over the Year Five series. There are also two new factions that the gamemasters can use in their campaigns.

While there was a lot packed into the 26 pages. I was really hoping for a racial write-up for the Centaurans (A Federation race featured in the series). There were also several possible NPCs such as the various candidates for UFP president that could have been written up as well. Hopefully there will be a supplement to the supplement.

One set of ships that I doubt we’ll see stats for are the original FASA Starfleet ships that made it into the artwork of Star Trek: Year Five. There were several ships that were clearly inspired by the Federation Starship Recognition Manual. FASA Star Trek references have shown up in quite a few episodes and other licensed works.

Once again, thumbs up to Fred Love and the team at Modiphius for releasing this great supplement for Star Trek Adventures. Don’t make me pull out the “Please Sir, can I have some more” meme when it comes to works like this.

UPDATE: After I posted this entry, I went into my local comic store and picked up my hold on my monthly visit. This included the last issue of Star Trek: Year Five. At the back of the comic book was an advertisement for this product. This issue was releasd on the same day as the announcement from Modiphius.

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