Posted in: Collecting, Conventions, Horror, James Bond, Red Dwarf, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars

SaltCON-Spring 2024 After Action Report

Loot from the 2024 SaltCON Spring

I survived my time at SaltCON Spring 2024. I was starting to wonder if I was going to get through it. First I was nervous before the start (did I have everything ready for the games that I was running) and I had to take a few breaks to make sure I didn’t get overwhelmed. March definetly came in like a lion with a big snowstorm (with thunder) on Saturday. Luckily my Convention Backpack kept all of my items safe in the nasty weather. But I made it and I enjoyed myself. I even had someone come up to me and identify me from this blog. If you read my blog and meet me in real life, welcome. This gentleman even wanted to talk about the recent Character Creation Challenge.

So how did the games that I ran go? I think they did quite well. Both sets of players told me that they had fun, which was the goal. My Basic Fantasy game only had two players, so I had them use two characters each. They were able to find the lost son of a Dwarf nobleman before he was discovered in an area he wasn’t supposed to be in. And they did it differently than the previous time I ran this adventure so it was interesting to see a different approach to the problem the party was presented with. I’m going to have to re-draw the map before I try to submit it for possible publication within the Basic Fantasy community. As for the Star Trek Adventures Game, I had quite a few laughs as the Lower Deck style characters had to deal with the Top Core (aka Top Gear in space) antics. I encouraged the humorous nature at the table by tossing pieces of candy to the players that got into the spirit of things. I really want to polish up this scenario as well and “publish” it for others to use. Both games had minor hiccups (the draw-able map didn’t like the markers I had brought for the Basic Fantasy game and I had left some papers behind for the Star Trek game) but we got through them.

A special pin just for the convention.

A new thing that SaltCON did this year was running a pin quest at the event. If you went to certain sections of the convention center, you could earn/buy/trade for a convention pin. Just before the Basic Fantasy game, one of the organizers handed me two SaltCON 2024 RPG pins which was a mimic hiding as a book (pictured above). I was instructed to keep one and to award the second to the player at the table I thought did best. As I had mentioned, there were only two players in that game and I thought they both did equally well having to balance two characters. And, in player fashion, they came up with solutions that I hadn’t planned for as a GM. Thank heavens for GM intuition and rolling with the punches. I even got to use the phrase “I’m allowing that because it meets the ‘Rule of Cool’ so go ahead.” When the game was over, I place the pin in the middle of the table and asked the players to decide who earned it. With how good they were, they both pointed to the other guy and said ‘you take it.’ So I made a GM ruling and had them both roll a D20 with the highest roll winning. I didn’t really get a chance to collect any of the other pins, but that was fine.

I also appreciated that the RPG coordinator made special posters advertising the different games. Since there were multiple Star Trek Adventures games, they were all on the same poster. But I really liked the poster they made for my Basic Fantasy game. When the end of the convention hit, I couldn’t find that poster (even thought I had seen it hanging on the wall in the convention center). I’m very grateful to the organizer who tracked it down for me.

The QR codes allowed you to sign up for the game or find out more about it.

As for the games that I played (or attempted to play), here is how they went.

Fallout The Roleplaying Game– Turns out I had the same GM as last year. She even recognized me from before. It was the same scenario, so I just ran my character as someone who would want to do what the others wanted to do (without spoiling anything). Luckily we got farther than we did last year so I was able to see some new material. I really liked how I just slipped back into the groove of this game.

James Bond 007– The same game master as before, but a whole new scenario. The GM recognized me as well and even handed me the same character that I had previously played. This and the way the system was set up made it easy to slip back into the game with no kinks. For a game from the 80’s with a little crunch, it ran pretty smooth.

Dreams and Machines– A new game that I was looking forward to since it’s the first in-house IP for Modiphius. I liked the world that the game was built around. The starter set components (characters were created by selecting a series of cards with stats on them) made it easy for a convention one-shot. The GM’s daughter made jokes about how the little girl in the starter set was going to die (spoiler: she didn’t). And I liked some of the changes to the 2d20 system (there were tokens for equipment assets that I was able to use in the middle of game play). But there were other changes that I really didn’t know if I liked or not. Momentum was split with spirit which also had to do with health. It was convoluted and is something that I hope doesn’t make it into the just announced Star Trek Adventures Second Edition (I’ll be blogging more about this announcement later). While I enjoyed myself at the table, I don’t know if I’ll actually be picking up this game.

Red Dwarf The Role Playing Game– All but one player knew about the Red Dwarf TV show, so we had just as much fun explaining things to her as we did playing. And she got really involved (she played a cat character). I got to play this universe’s version of Lister (a space bum). The GM had a waxdroid character prepared, but didn’t give it a name allowing the character to decide. So we were running around with a waxdroid of Winston Churchill who was always on the lookout for Space Nazis (not only did we find them, we kicked their fascists butts). I really liked how the system worked and while we struggled (hey were not exactly the cream of the crop in the space corp) it made sense. I really need to get my own copy of this game.

Star Wars Roleplaying– This was a little weird. Not only was I learning about a new system, but the GM was part of a group called RPG Sessions. This is a website that had online tools that could be used for this version of Star Wars and a few other games from the same publisher. While he explained the dice to us (there were a lot of new players to this game), we were primarily playing with these tablets. So instead of learning one thing, I was attempting to learn two. While the online tools helped, I felt that not rolling dice took away my enjoyment (and learning) of the game. However a special thing happened while we were on a mid-game break that I’ll talk about below.

The Witcher Roleplaying Game and Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. I ended up dropping out of these games. I was able to cross my name off the sheet for The Witcher (and there were several people signed up as backups which made me better). There was some nasty weather going on and I wasn’t feeling all too well. I didn’t want to be fighting the storm at midnight to get home. I also needed sleep which caused me to not make it for the early morning Sunday D&D 5e game. To the GMs, I apologize for not being able to make it. I really wanted to check out The Witcher system since I had picked up the PDFs in a bundle sale last year. Hopefully at a future con I can play this game.

Old School Essentials– We only had three players (one very new to RPGs) but we got to fight a dragon that we tracked down. Lots of good roleplaying in this session. Unfortunately all three characters ended up as piles of ash by the end of the game.

The GM for GURPS Star Wars– accidentally left his Star Wars material at home (I know the feeling dude) so we ended up with a pickup game of Dungeon Fantasy. This is also a GURPS system. However (insert Ron Burgundy “Well that escalated quickly” meme) we ended up not getting very far. In fact, we ended up not getting out of the starting building without setting the building on fire (yea, it went south really fast). The party ended up getting kicked out of the town. So the game also didn’t last very long. But the GM, knowing of my past attempts at making a GURPS character, offered to sit down and show me how the publisher had streamlined Dungeon Fantasy. I was able to make a character with the bulk of needed items to play in about 20 minutes.

As for the loot pictured above, I was able to pick up the following items. I purchased the 2024 convention t-shirt (loved the design). There were no general RPG dealers in the dealers room (lots of self-publishers, but nobody if I wanted to pick up a new book from a regular publisher). At the game swap I was worried for the first two days because there was a TON of board games, but practically nothing in the way of RPG books. There were more DVDs than RPG books. But while I was in the Star Wars game that I mentioned above, someone came to the table and reported that they had seen the Star Wars starter set with dice for sale for a very good price. Especially when they discovered that the very expensive core rulebook was included in the box. Since we were on break, I had the guy take me directly down there where I was able to snatch it up (cha-ching, bargain found). On the last day of the con, I came across the core rulebook for The Strange. This is a Sci-Fi RPG that I had been sent a supplement for in the Random RPG book club. Now that I have the core rulebook, not only can I use it in a future Character Creation Challenge, but if I elect to trade/sell/give the books away, I can do so in a set. The last item I got was The Walking Dead Universe starter set. This was a gift from the game coordinator for doing a good job running my games at the con. I was not expecting this and it was very much appreciated.

While I didn’t play as a Captain in the Artemis Bridge Simulator, I was asked to play an walk-on part as an invading Borg Drone. I think it shocked some of the players to suddenly have a LARP like experience happen in the middle of a networked computer game. Thanks guys for letting me play this part (and I didn’t hurt myself too bad when I fell down after being shot with a phaser).

Conclusion:

I am very grateful to all of the volunteers who helped put this convention together. I’ve really been enjoying myself and meeting people from all over the US (and Canada) who travel to the con. I had a lot of fun despite my being overwhelmed in the middle. Not only am I thinking about possible games to run for SaltCON summer, I’ve also talked with another long-time GM who is expressing interest in running a few games.

Have you been to any gaming conventions lately? 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 with any comments.

Posted in: Conventions, Dungeons and Dragons, James Bond, Red Dwarf, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars

Prepping for SaltCON Spring 2024

The two games that I will be running at SaltCON-Spring.

The time has come again to get ready for SaltCON, a local gaming convention in my area. This is the first of three SaltCONs and the biggest. It will take up the entire Davis Convention Center. You can read about my past adventures at SaltCON in my past blog entries. I will be packing my Convention Backpack that I have documented in a previous blog post.

When I first discovered that SaltCON had multiple RPG sessions (and not just board games, which is a massive draw at the convention) I had decided to make this my relax-a-con after volunteering at a lot of other local conventions. However while attending the SaltCONs last year I was talking with the RPG coordinators who expressed interest in having more game masters signing up to run games. Also the fact that I would be getting into the con for free (and get a special t-shirt) sealed the deal after some other bills had pilled up. So I’m nervous, but excited to dip my toe into running one-shots for the convention in the spring. If you can guess from the photo above, I’ll be running a Star Trek: Lower Decks inspired one-shot (think Lower Decks meets the cast of the BBC television program, Top Gear) called Top Core. The second game will be using the Basic Fantasy 4th Edition RPG using a polished up scenario that I used with my daughter and her 5th edition playing friends. It is my hope to take all of the notes from these two sessions and submit it to the Basic Fantasy community for possible publication. I’ve also been working on a Basic Fantasy 4th Edition Reference Sheet that players can use to answer basic questions while the limited gaming session is in progress.

Of the games that I’ve signed up to play, there are a few that I’ve played before and some new ones. They are as follows.

Fallout The Roleplaying Game– After playing this at a past SaltCON, I knew I wanted to play it again. This is the game from Modiphius.

James Bond 007– The classic game from the 80’s released by Victory Games. This will be run by the same GM who ran it last time. He did such a good job that I wanted to sign up again.

Dreams and Machines– A new game released by Modiphius that I haven’t played yet. This uses the 2d20 system that we’ve also seen in Star Trek Adventures, Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and John Carter of Mars. I think it’s a type of post-apocalyptic world some 200 years after a great war with machines.

Red Dwarf The Role Playing Game– The game originally released by Deep 7 in 2003. Not only have I always wanted to play this game as a huge fan of the series, but its currently my holy grail of RPG books to find.

Star Wars Roleplaying– Released by Edge Studio. I have not had a chance to play this variant of the Star Wars RPG so this will be interesting to try.

The Witcher Roleplaying Game– A game by R. Talsorian Games that I haven’t had a chance to play yet. I recently picked up the PDFs in a bundle sale, but I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition- The description of the scenario sounded interesting, so I’m going to check it out.

Old School Essentials– I was going to play this D20 clone at SaltCON-Summer, unfortunately the GM came down with con-crud. I’ve signed up for a session hoping that we can get a chance to try this game.

GURPS Star Wars– The GM will be running a Star Wars scenario using the GURPs rule system. While I hate making a character for this system, I’ve had success with playing the system at past conventions.

What should I be on the look out for? Any recommendations for the games I’m going to be playing? 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: 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: Conventions

What’s in my convention backpack?

The basics in my convention backpack

I came across a good video from the two guys (Matt and Eric) at The Goblin’s Corner. They talked about what they had in their convention survival backpacks. I had made a comment on their Discord server about the video, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to actually share what was usually in my convention backpack. If you haven’t seen the video, the link is posted above.

Now I’m not certain I’d call it a survival backpack, it’s just a backpack that I’ve used to make my life easier. Not just at conventions but for quick trips as well. Over the summer I had a chance for a quick day-trip on the train to see some family and this was the first thing I grabbed since I wanted to travel light. I also use this backpack to transport my laptop to and from USS Ticonderoga Star Trek Club meetings since I conduct the video conferencing for the remote attendees.

Matt and Eric had their listing broken down into several categories. I’ll be following it roughly (I don’t have some of the items that they included on their list). This includes the bag itself and several categories of what it contains.

The Backpack:

So after looking over several different options for a laptop backpack, I selected the Matein Travel Laptop Backpack. I’ve had this for a year now and I’ve found it very durable. Besides protecting the laptop with padding, it also protected me by having some good pads on the lower back and shoulders. The top handle and shoulder straps are also very well padded. At one SaltCON I had several hours between games so I put on the backpack and hiked a mile to a nearby mall to meet the family and friends for lunch. Even with all of the items in the backpack it was comfortable to walk in. This backpack also had lots of internal and external pockets. One of these internal pockets was for a cell phone charger that you could connect to an external port on the backpack itself. Allowing me to run a charging cord to this port to power up my phone or tablet.

Out of all of the colors that was available, I selected the grey covering. This gave me an opportunity to allow my geek flag to fly. On the backpack I was able to add several geek pins. These included a Star Trek: The Next Generation combadge that I had retired from cosplay use, a D-20 pin to show off my RPG side, a TARDIS pin for my Doctor Who fandom, a Red Dwarf pin (those were hard to find) and a stylized Boba Fett pin that I had purchased from an artist at a convention. I still have room for another pin or two if I happen to come across any good ones.

Now one point from The Goblin’s Corner video that I’d like to re-state here. You don’t need to fill your bag up all the way. It would be best to limit this to 1/3 full so you have a place to put in your purchases and SWAG. Even when I stuffed in my light jacket into my bag, I could tell the difference.

First Aid and Health Items:

The health items that I pack plus my water bottle

Some of these items I picked up online, other items just came from a local store. Hand sanitizer is a must, and in the small bottles, can be easily stored. When I’ve finished using a bottle filed with prescription medication, I’ve saved the bottle to use for travel/convention purposes. The bottle in the image contains the standard ibuprofen, but I’ve had others that contained my daily allotment of pills and vitamins. A pack of travel tissues has come in handy on several occasions. While I haven’t needed to use it yet, I’m very grateful that the emergency rain poncho is very compact to keep in the backpack. Another compact item is several KN-95 masks. You can use them yourself if you find out that someone is sick at a convention (convention crud is something I’ve had to deal with in the past) plus you can offer one if you have several available.

One of the items that I did add after watching Matt and Eric’s video was a small First Aid kit. I didn’t really have one before but thought it would be a good idea. I selected a small one that was compact enough to slip into the health portion of my backpack.

Snacks and Water:

Snacks, some electronics, dice and other items

The water bottle that I use is in the previous picture because I wanted to show it next to the side mesh pouch on the backpack. I didn’t want one that was bigger than the pouch, but sturdy enough to be knocked about on the outside of my backpack. Most convention centers now have water refilling stations. With the smaller bottle, it also wouldn’t add too much weight when it was full.

I only show some of the granola bars that I had readily available. But I would also include items like nuts and other high protein snacks. These would usually be something that would tide me over until I was able to get to a proper meal. Plus with them being factory sealed, I could offer it to someone without them worrying about what was in it.

Entertainment, Electronics and other items:

Tools and electronics that I can use

I love living in a modern world with some of the technological advances available right now. When I’m going to a convention I leave my laptop at home, but I bring my Kindle tablet (with the special carrying case that has a Bluetooth keyboard). On this tablet I have loaded the rule-books for the games that I have signed up for and several other reading items that I can use.

I do carry a wall charger for my electronic devices and a Bluetooth headset for phone calls or music. One of the pet peeves that I’ve developed is when people walk around holding their phone in front of them like they are going to take a bite. Talking with the person by speaker phone out in public just bugs me. I really don’t want to hear your conversation.

I mentioned above that the backpack has an internal pocket for a rechargeable battery that can be hooked to an external port. The battery I selected was the RETSMR power bank. It was a little more expensive than the smaller rechargeable batteries that you can find, but it recharged my phone just as fast as it was plugged into a wall outlet. I found that the smaller rechargeable batteries would just barely charge my devices keeping them alive until I could get to a wall outlet.

The grey item next to the power bank is the special cover to my Rocketbook Core Reusable Notebook. I could use a special pen to write down my ideas or notes, and then using the app, scan these notes into a PDF format to send to my cloud storage. With just a spray of water and a cloth, the pages could then be wiped clean. It gave me the benefit of writing things down (and allowing me to remember it better) and having it at my fingertips online. I’ve had this for a year and will probably dedicate an entire blog post to it’s uses. For writing on the character sheets that are given to me at a game, I do carry several mechanical pencils.

Other items in the photo include my big dice bag (not always carried) and the small North-to-South Gaming set that I reviewed in 2022. The 20-in-One Card Deck has also come in handy for a variety of reasons (dice, card games, etc.) Most conventions will sell badge holders that you can re-use at other events. These are handy to also hold business cards you pick up before you can scan them. And the last item you see is a glasses emergency repair kit that I got with my last pair of glasses. You never know when you might need them.

Differences in my bag compared to Matt and Eric’s:

So Matt and Eric mentioned several different items that I don’t find necessary, or perhaps I need to consider. At gaming conventions I’m not really cosplaying so I don’t carry a cosplay repair kit. At the conventions I am cosplaying at, I usually have a special bag with those items in it.

While I have partaken of alcohol at past conventions, it is not the primary reason I attend a con. However I will say that I really appreciated some of the safety points that they brought up in the discussion of alcohol and other chemical items.

This last item I’m still thinking about. Spare clothing. The gaming convention I primarily attend is nearby and I could easily run back home if needed. But that may not always be the case. Even just a spare shirt, socks and underwear take up a little bit of room (if my jacket experience has taught me anything). Especially if I have a backpack full of purchased books. The backpack should contain items I may immediately need (like the headache medicine or snacks). Clothing could easily be stored in my car or hotel room. Perhaps an experiment at an upcoming convention is in order.

So there is a look into my convention backpack. Part of my convention ritual is making sure that I have everything packed up (and electronic devices properly charged) before the convention. I write a to-do list in my Rocketbook. Did I miss something that should be in my backpack? Is there something I should take out? 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: Conventions, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

SaltCON-End of Summer After Action Report

SaltCON t-shirts I had picked up at all three conventions

So Father’s Day finally arrived for me on Labor Day Weekend. My wife had purchased my SaltCON-End of Summer ticket as a Father’s Day gift. I had a chance to meet up with some of the friends that I had met at previous conventions. Some people were stating that they had recognized me from before. But I had also missed out on talking with a few others. We saw each other at a distance while getting to different events but didn’t get a chance to stop and talk. So sorry if I missed out on talking with you.

One of the things that I had not mentioned in my SaltCON-Spring and SaltCON-Summer after action reports was the available convention t-shirts (now seen above). These shirts were very reasonably priced for the sizes offered. So I made it a habit of picking one up each con when checking in at the registration desk. I’m grateful that they had a non-blue shirt for the end-of-summer event. And speaking of picking things up.

Some of the loot from this convention

The dealer that I had picked up several Star Trek Adventures sourcebooks now had the Star Trek: Discovery (2256-2258) Campaign Guide. This was one of the last books that I need (I’m only missing the Strange New Worlds Mission Compendium 2 hardback). From the game swap area I was able to track down a used copy of Ninjas & Superspies for a good price. I was also able to pick up a used copy of Rolemaster Fantasy Role Playing as well. Both of these will end up being used in the 2024 Character Creation Challenge as well as other future themed blog posts.

Not in the photo was several gifts that I had picked up for my geek wife. But from one dealer I was able to pick up a Boba Fett pin and a D20 pin to go on my convention backpack. Hopefully you can see them at the bottom of the photo.

Some of the characters that I had a chance to play

I was able to attend all of the games that I had mentioned in my Prepping for SaltCON-End of Summer post. Here is how the games went.

Hyperborea– Yes this was definitely weird and ran pretty smoothly. The GM knew the game pretty well having backed the kickstarter. I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to play this game again.

Dragonbane– This game really impressed me. The character sheet made sense and I could see the logic behind both the system and the setup. I was originally thinking this was going to be my highlight game of the con, but another game knocked it off on Saturday. In this game your player character could be an intelligent duck. I played a wolfkin who was an excellent fighter.

Fallout– And the game that did grab my highlight of the con was Fallout. Most of us at the table were playing this 2d20 RPG for the first time and it actually made a lot of sense. I quickly understood how it ran (and it explained some items I had questions on other games using this same system). One of the players let me look at his dead-tree version of the book and I’m seriously thinking of adding it to my collection. Especially after I stated thinking of what a Salt Lake based Fallout campaign would be like.

Low Fantasy Gaming– This ran like a D20 clone. In true OSR style fashion, it was quick and deadly. Luckily the rolls went our way and we actually finished the scenario before the allotted time had expired.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition- We had to stop some highway bandits while investigating a logging camp that had stopped sending logs down the river. As it turns out, we had to make peace between the loggers and a Fae queen who was not happy.

Star Trek Adventures– A session that a friend ran that was from one of the adventure books. He ran it pretty well, but it also went really late on a Saturday. I took some of the stuff I had learned from Fallout and was able to apply it here. I’m starting to get a better grasp for the game.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition- The first game I was in was part 4 of 5 of a connected story ran over the weekend. The gamemaster gave us a “Previously on…” flashback so that we understood where we were in the storyline. In the last event, we connected all of the clues together and confronted the final boss. The GM had a homebrewed system that he used to allow us to put all of the clues together and find our suspect. Luckily we had rolled well and was able to catch the bad guys before they realized we were on to them. Had we not rolled well, they could have been more prepared for the final confrontation.

Ghostbusters- It was weird when this game ran because most of the other games had concluded for the con. We had a big quiet room to ourselves. I could see where this early D6 system eventually developed into the Star Wars RPG by West End Games. We had to investigate dinosaur ghosts at the New York Museum of Natural History. Yea, we made a lot of Night at the Museum jokes while playing.

Conclusion:

I had a blast at all three events this year. If you are reading this and can make only one event, I’d recommend making it the spring one as it is the largest. The End-of-Summer event was the second largest in scope and layout at the convention center. I was also able to put a bug in the ear of some people to, hopefully, see more of an expanded used-RPG book swap for next year. The bulk of the convention is boardgames, but I’m there for the roleplaying side of things.

Not only am I making plans to attend next year, I’m also starting to give serious thought about GMing a few games. I really like that classic games such as James Bond and Ghostbusters can find themselves on the schedule. Considering I can play 5E or PF2 anytime, I really want to play the more rare games at conventions to make it more unique.

Have you been to any gaming conventions lately? 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 with any comments.

Posted in: Conventions, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Prepping for SaltCON-End of Summer

I’m going to need one of these for the con.

So in my gaming convention trifecta, I’m going to be attending SaltCON-End of Summer over Labor Day Weekend. My wife had purchased a ticket for me as a Father’s Day gift. It will be interesting to compare this event to the big SaltCON in March and the smaller SaltCON-Summer that was in June. While I do have to take off for a birthday, I don’t have any concerts scheduled for this same weekend.

Once again, I’m really grateful that I can schedule my games in advance. While scheduling mishaps can (and have) taken place, I’m sure that I’m going to have fun at this event. I’ve got an opportunity to play several common games, but several rare games as well.

Game line up for SaltCON-End of Summer:

Hyperborea– A game of swords, sorcery and weird science-fantasy. Reading the description sounded really interesting. This will be my first time playing this system.

Dragonbane– A fantasy game released by Free League Publishing (the same company that released the Alien RPG). This will also be the first time I’ve played this game.

Fallout The Roleplaying Game– Based off of the video game series. I’ve only played part of one of these games, but the world they are set in sounds really interesting. This game was released by Modiphius and uses their 2d20 ruleset. It will be interesting to see how this compares with Dune and Star Trek Adventures.

Low Fantasy Gaming– A system that I’ve been interested in for a while. This has been on the schedule at the last two SaltCONs, but the schedule had never lined up so that I could give this game a try.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition- This adventure is called The Mystery of the Moonstream and it sounded interesting.

Star Trek Adventures– This game is being run by a friend of mine.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition- I actually have two sessions for this system (that’s just how the schedule lined up). I’m wondering how it will compare to the first time I played it at my first SaltCON.

Ghostbusters- The original RPG from West End Games with the D6 system. I’m glad when older RPGs are played at conventions. I’d jump on more of these if they were available.

What should I be on the look out for? Any recommendations for the games I’m going to be playing? 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: Conventions, Role Playing Games

RPGaDay2023 Day 15: Favorite Con Module/One-Shot

What is your favorite convention or one-shot module is the theme for Day 15 of the #RPGaDAY2023 Challenge. And welcome to the middle of the month.

I’m going to cheat here. Currently my favorite one-shot is the one that I put together for my daughter and her 5E playing friends when I introduced them to OSR gaming. Not only did I have a blast putting together a Basic Fantasy game, I also had several people ask me if I was going to “publish” it. The answer is yes. I’d like to take the information from the first session, polish it up, and run it again. Possibly at SaltCON or another event. After this, I think I’ll have enough feedback to try to get this locked into a PDF print and ready for future game masters who need a convention scenario.

Do you have a favorite one-shot adventure or an adventure that you experienced at a convention? 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 with any comments.

Posted in: Conventions, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

RPGaDay2023 Day 14: Favorite Convention Purchase

Day 14 of the #RPGaDAY2023 Challenge and the subject is “Favorite Convention Purchase”. Well I’ve been to a ton of conventions. I really need to get my convention resume updated and placed on this site. However since this is a challenge geared towards roleplaying games, I’ll have to think about an item I purchased from an RPG convention.

My very first convention ever back in the late 80’s was an RPG convention. It was held at a local library and there were a ton of D&D games going on. Comics Utah ran Kublai Con when it was still around, but heck if I can remember if I had purchased anything from that event. Another gaming store that had been located in the Southtown mall that ran a quarterly gaming convention (I met several friends there for the first time). But I don’t recall if I had purchased anything from these events. In the 90’s to early 2000’s, CONduit had some gaming going on and I know I purchased items there. But it was primarily a literary convention so I don’t know if this would count?

This year I’ve been to SaltCON-Spring and SaltCON-Summer. And I documented what I had purchased from these events. So from those two events my favorite convention purchase (at least for now) are the Star Trek Adventures Player’s Guide and the Star Trek Adventures Gamemaster’s Guide. I had purchaesed these from a small local RPG store that had a table at the convention. I was able to support a small business. If you read my after action reports for both events, you’ll see that I also picked up several other books that I plan to use in the 2024 Character Creation Challenge. So it is a possibility that I may change this answer in the future.

What is your favorite convention purchase? 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 with any comments.

Posted in: Conventions, Role Playing Games

RPGaDay2023 Day 7: Smartest RPG you’ve played

The Day 7 entry for the #RPGaDAY2023 challenge is “Smartest RPG you’ve played”. Um… I guess I’m not really understanding this one. All systems have different moving parts that work (or don’t) to a different level of degrees.

I think for this topic I’m going to go with a smart game master that I’ve seen running a game that I’ve been in. When I attended my first SaltCON this past March I participated in a Pathfinder 2nd Edition game. Not only was the scenario designed to introduce players to the system, it was also not overly-complicated so it could be ran in a quick time session at a convention. The game master, named Jared Walter, also explained the system to the players (who all had a different degree in RPG experience) and made use of different colored tokens to help keep track of initiative and combat. It was interesting to see how organized he was and it made me appreciate the session more.

On a side note, I also think it’s smart how SaltCON uses the Table Top Events website to help schedule games at the convention. The next SaltCON is coming up on the first part of September and I’ve already got my schedule selected (I had to go over all of the options to maximize my playing time while setting time aside for meals and breaks). I’ve been very impressed with this setup.

Has one of your game masters done something smart to make the game run smoother or more efficient? 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 with any comments.

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