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

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 31: Anarchy

NOTE: Real world issues delayed the last two characters getting posted online.

And here we are to the final day of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. It was very rough for me at the end as a family emergency came up and delayed my last two entries. Today I am using the Anarchy: The Role Playing Game by Dicegeeks. This game is using the Open D6 system which I was able to play (a lot) in the Star Wars Role Playing Game from West End Games.

I picked up this game after reading about it in a series of newsletters about creating your own role playing game. Being a fan of post-apocalyptic games and the D6 system, I elected to check it out and to use it in the challenge.

The PDF is 65 pages long with the character creation process starting on page 10. The character sheet is one page long. The PDF is only bookmarked in the table of contents. The setting for the game is the United States that has twenty cities destroyed by nuclear explosions. The concept for the game is that the players begin the game alone three-years after the nuclear war and the winters it has caused has ravaged the planet.

Step one is to determine what your character was doing before the war. There is a list to choose from or you can roll randomly. Since I wanted to throw some dice, I let fate decide. This character was a college graduate student working towards a higher degree. Age is 28 and he was at an Ivy League school (both of these were part of the random roll charts.

Step two is what changed over the past three years. A roll of 1 resulted in a close family member or friend died from disease. I would assume that there would be a lot of that in a nuclear winter Earth. The RAW states work with your GM to create the details of the recent change. Talking with the voices in my head we decided that the character’s wife is the person who died.

Step three is the character’s goals that, if achieved, will be rewarded. There is another chart to roll against and the D10 (there is a different die for each time something needs to be randomly selected). A roll of 5 lists “Found a democratic town as a safe haven for any weary souls.” I think that the first thing the character would want to do is find a location that a town could be safely set up.

Now we are to step four where we set up the attributes. I have 18D to spread between the attributes of Dexterity, Knowledge, Mechanical, Perception, Strength and Technical. No attribute can be less than 2D or higher than 4D. Since this guy was almost done with his masters degree, I gave him high knowledge but lower strength.

Step five is to select advantages and disadvantages. The RAW states that a minimum of two disadvantages must be taken. I can skip any advantages, but it doesn’t give me a limit (which seems wrong) so I’ll match the plusses and negatives listed next to the advantages/disadvantages. Unlike the earlier steps, there is no random chart with the advantages and disadvantages. For the first time I had to go searching for the descriptions of the advantages and disadvantages (having the bookmarks on the left of the PDF would have helped here).

The skills are selected in step six. The RAW states that we get 7D to distributed (and a D can be broken down in to +1, +1, +1 or +1, +2). I went over the character sheet and gave him a lot of +1s and +2s.

Step seven is to determine the health points. 20+a STR roll. I wrote down the 26 health points.

Personal info is the next step. I consulted a random name generator and stopped at Marcell Freeman. I wrote up a brief physical description and a short background based upon what had been rolled above.

Step nine is the starting equipment and we are back to the random charts. All beginning characters start out with some clothes. Then I’m instructed to roll a D10 for each chart of Gear, Tools and Vehicles. This resulted in a sleeping bag, a hacksaw with two blades and two quarts of motor oil (uh… why?).

Starting weapons and armor is step ten. More D10s results in an axe and some motorcycle elbow pads. More D10 rolls for starting food and water resulted in eleven cans of spam (singing: Spam in my mailbox at work) and three gallons of water.

Step twelve determines the starting vehicle for Freeman. We are doing a percentage roll here. Freeman has an SUV that has 10 MPG and GHT of 30. What is GHT? The character sheet has something marked GIT under vehicles? I looked down at the vehicles section and it had some additional items, but nothing on the GHT/GIT question.

Step thirteen is to randomly roll for a personal memento. A D10 roll resulted in a music box. Probably all he has left over from his dead wife.

Step fourteen is to determine the current age of the character. Add three to anything determined earlier (28) results in an age of 31. Adding a single Fate Point is step fifteen. And the steps end here. I looked over the sheet and I noticed that I didn’t have any armor points listed. I looked at the equipment section and wrote them down. Here is the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

So I’ve played this system before and I’d be willing to play it again. I liked some of the random charts, but I wish that there had been some costs involved for obtaining other items. It sounds like there may be a lot of bartering or GM decision making to be made. I doubt I’ll get a chance to play this game, which is too bad.

Additional Notes:

I had a few people ask me how I was going to get Jeremy Clarkson into one of the characters after making Sir Richard Hammond and James “Captain Slow” May characters. I kept waiting for inspiration to strike. When none came, I decided to make the school that Marcell Freeman was studying at Clarkson University. I’m sure they have a great automotive study program.

I received an email from one of the participants in the Character Creation Challenge. He had been posting on his own website for the entire 31 days. I thanked him for his participation and added his site to the links list. In the future, if you are participating let me know as soon as you can. This way I can add the link with the other participants. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the 31 days.

Coming Up Next:

2024 Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 30: Pathfinder 2nd Edition

NOTE: Real world issues delayed the last two characters getting posted online.

Day 30 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge and I am using the Pathfinder 2nd Edition system by Paizo. I had picked this up on the same charity bundle that I had also picked up Starfinder with. And I had a devil of a time getting the files downloaded from Paizo’s website. But I was finally able to gain them.

I’ve had a chance to play Pathfinder 2nd Edition at my first SaltCON last spring. I was really impressed with how the GM presented the game (and the tools that he used for a one-shot). The characters were pre-made so this is my first attempt at making one. I wonder how it will compare with the earlier Starfinder entry?

The PDF I own contains 642 pages with the character creation chapter starting on page 19. The actual character creation list (with character sheet breakdown) starts on page 21. The character sheet is four pages long.

OK so step one is to create a concept. I’ve felt the need to play a dwarven cleric so I’m going with that. I named him Rogar of Clan Granitebender.

Step two is to start building ability scores. I rolled for these scores because it was an option and I wanted to throw some dice. But apparently you don’t just use these scores. Depending upon your ancestry (aka race), background (aka growing up), and class there aer some ability boosts (that add or subtract from the ability scores. It was an interesting concept at first. But I make the mistake of trying to write everything down on a notepad before transferring it over to the character sheet. With the real-life interruptions that happened, I had to back-track over a few things to make sure I got them right when I was transferring the information.

Steps three, four and five (as mentioned above) was the selection of ancestry, background and class. I tried to make sure I had all of the parts put together (a little from here, then add some from over there, etc.) Thank heavens for the PDF being properly bookmarked.

The next step is to determine the ability scores. Basically you are going over all of the items assembled from above and making sure they are in the right place with modifiers. Step six is a companion step where you record your class details.

Step eight, finally buying equipment. Prices were really different than they were in other D20 games. But I appreciated that there was the “Adventurer’s kit” available.

Step nine is to calculate the modifieres (again you are going over everything, which I think I did right)

Step ten is the finishing details. I pushed my way through this, I really wanted to be done after going over (and re-going over) a lot of details.

Apparently I didn’t get my spells, so I at least wrote down the name. I really wanted to be done with this character. Here are the sheets. Yes there is some missing information, but I need to finish this because of how far behind I am due to real-world issues.

Afterthoughts:

When I wasn’t getting interrupted by real-world events, I was starting to get caught up in the character creation. I was actually wanting to play this character. A physical book purchase may be in the future. Would I run a game? I don’t know with the ton of books that are out there (that a GM needs to know about), but I could very easily see myself playing Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

I hope that some of the steps presented in character creation for PF2e get integrated in the upcoming 2nd edition of Starfinder that they are working on now. One of the things that caught my attention on the character sheet is the breakdown of proficiency from Untrained (+0) to Legendary (8+Level). In the different sections of the character sheet, if you had one of these proficiencies, you just check the level. However while I was trying to fit in all of the details on the character sheet, I’m starting to think that I should just move to fillable sheets. Copy and past if I’m pulling from a PDF.

When I was finally done, I longed for the simplicity of OSR. But I still want to participate a PF2e campaign.

Additional Notes:

I’m very thankful for the readers who have interacted with me both on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server and on social media. On Mastodon a couple of readers have started a long discussion to my Rolemaster Fantasy entry. Comments included that the game was an artifact of it’s era with the volume turned up to 11 with crunch going beyond the competitors of the time. Another comment was “you wouldn’t get me playing Rolemaster or RuneQuest due to the crunch”. “I’m absolutely horrified when I look at the design and layout of some of the games that I use to think were wonderful because now they are nothing but a solid medium-density pile of mushy text which beyond being poorly edited are just badly laid out.” I think there is a big reason we see D20 variants everywhere but no clones of these games.

So if I know, or think, that a game might be too crunchy or badly presented why do I use them in the challenge? I want to at least dip my toe in the pool and see how it is. There have been a few games that have been a surprise on the good side. And there have been others that still make me shake my head and wonder how these books are popular.

Coming Up Next:

Anarchy

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 29: Tiny Frontiers

For day 29 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge I am using another game in the Tiny D6 line. Today we are creating a character for Tiny Frontiers Revised. Now earlier this month I created a character for Tiny Wastelands (by request) and in past years I’ve used Tiny Dungeons 2nd Edition and Tiny Spies. Part of the reason I selected this game on this day is for two reasons. I really like the system, and I knew that it was going to be one of my busier days and I needed something that I could whip up quickly.

The Tiny Frontiers Revised PDF is 162 pages in length. It was written by Alan Bahr and released by Gallant Knight Games. The character sheet is one page and the Explorer Creation steps start on page 20. The basics for the system is a standard test roll is 2d6 and if you roll a 5 or 6 you complete the task. If you have an advantage, you roll 3d6 and only 1d6 if you have a disadvantage.

The first step is to select a heritage (aka a race). These range from the standard Human, genially modified humans (called Gens) and more. With this being the revised edition there are more heritages to choose from including a hard-light hologram (I wonder if he’s a smeg head?) Each heritage gives you your starting hit points and a species-specific trait. I elected to go with a Gen character as it sounded interesting. I decided that he was a security officer born on the Control Ship Red Barchetta and was named YYZ-2112 since he was grown in a lab. Points if you can catch the popular band reference in the name and history.

The next step is to select three traits from a list of available options. There were no prerequisites or other barriers, if you wanted a trait, you got it. This allowed players to make a character that might be a big ox and still make him graceful and athletic. I didn’t compare the traits against those in the other Tiny games that I own. I’ll have to sit down and do a comparison one of these days.

Step three is to select the weapon group (and specialty weapon) that YYZ-2112 is proficient with. Since was a genetically modified warrior, he had a second one as well. This guy is going to be a gun specialists. Besides selecting the weapon, we also write down the equipment the character has (basically your weapons, your space suit or armor and an explorer’s pack). You also get 10 GalCreds (money).

Now we choose the family trade. This is what the character was doing before they went out into space. Uh, he was grown in a lab so the family was a training regiment. So YYZ-2112 is also a drill instructor.

The last step is to select a belief. This is represented in the form of a quote. I decided upon “I will train others to survive.” And after filling in a few spots, I scanned the sheet (then realized that I missed a few spots, oh well, I’ll get them filled in).

Afterthoughts:

When I was showing my daughter the artwork for this (and other Tiny D6 games) she loved it. She also loved that she could quickly grasp the system mechanics from the quick description. In fact, just after reading it, she asked if I would be willing to run a one shot of a Tiny D6 game for her and her gaming buddies sometime this summer. Hmmmm….. yes, and thank you for proving my point that if you can quickly explain the game mechanics, you can easily convince others to play the game.

Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps a Tiny Wastelands game would be a good way to test this system out. I’ll have to think about which genre I want to run (I’ve already been told, no zombies, darn). They all sound pretty easy to set up and play.

Additional Notes:

The end is in sight and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. How are you doing with your Character Creation Challenge? If you are behind, feel free to catch up. You can make it. There are some participants who have gone into February to finish up. I just talked with my daughter who drew up the award logo for those who have completed the challenge and she is working on a new one now.

Coming Up Next:

Pathfinder 2nd Edition

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 28: Rolemaster Fantasy

Here we are at Day 28 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Today we will be using another game that I was able to pick up cheaply at the SaltCON game swap. Rolemaster Fantasy Role Playing by I.C.E. Inc.

This book was published in 1999 and is a second edition. I had read a challenge entry from someone who had used an earlier version of Rolemaster and they expressed a lot of frustration. I wonder if I’ll run into the same thing. The physical book is 255 pages in length and has an ISDN number of 9-781558-065505.

This appears to be a percentage system. I like the percentage system in the FASA Star Trek RPG so I’m hopeful for this. The character creation steps are listed on page 11. The character sheet is four pages long.

Step one is the character concept. Since I haven’t made any halfling characters yet, this guy will be a thief from that race. Using a random name generator I came up with Hobson Silversting.

Step two is to select the race (done, see above), I wrote down the halfling stats that were provided. Choose a profession (again see above) and choose a realm of power. Which is something that has to do with spell casting. So I don’t know why a thief would need this, but I selected one after reading the descriptions

Step three is to generate the stats for the character. The attributes are Agility, Constitution, Memory (the ability to retain what your character has learned), Reasoning (i.e. intelligence), Self Discipline (control of mind over body), Empathy (aka wisdom), Intuition (luck and precognition and stuff), Presence (control of one’s own mind. How is this different from Self Discipline?), Quickness and Strength. Now you don’t get the stats themselves, you generate the temporary stats (which you then use in the game if I’m understanding this correctly). Then you generate the stat potential (uh…. yea…. OK). I think I followed the math and math and math and math.

Steps four, five and six all have to deal with skill groups and individual skills. You get some when the character was young, when they were trained and in their profession. More math came out of the woodwork and I’m starting to get annoyed. I don’t mind some math, but school assignments are long behind me.

By now I’m skipping ahead. I write down some items that it states that the character gets. I didn’t write down anything else because I decided that I was done. I have to agree with the person who posted about the first-edition of Rolemaster, it’s too much and it’s scattered everywhere in different sections of the book. I threw the sheets in the scanner and here they are.

Afterthoughts:

I liked how they showed different sections of the character sheet being filled in during the character creation process. It did help answer a few questions, especially with how spread out everything was on the four sheets.

While the writing was OK and the flow had a good start, it dived into the curse that alternative games had in the 80’s and 90’s. Too much crunch and too much math. They were trying to be a little too realistic. Most participants in the hobby know that you can’t come up with a system that is going to be 100 percent accurate. Just give us a system that will not interrupt the flow of the game while giving us the randomness of a failure/success process.

I don’t see myself playing this game or homebrewing for it. After I’ve used it in a secondary project, I may put this game in the trade pile.

Additional Notes:

I had a different reader comment on Mastodon that he would play fourth-edition Dungeons and Dragons, as long as someone else ran it. He liked the miniatures-first/heavy combat play because he had a large wargame collection. I had heard from several other RPGers prior that they thought that fourth-edition was a good tactical game, but not a very good roleplaying game. Had it been a side game called D&D Tactics, it probably would have been better received.

A few of you wanted to hear more about Cowboy Bebop. I’ll do an unboxing post in February. By then I hope to have more information to share about my thoughts. I’m going to explore another avenue after the Character Creation Challenge is done.

Coming Up Next:

Tiny Frontiers

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 27: Cowboy Bebop

As we near the end of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge, I am using the new Cowboy Bebop Roleplaying Game for Day 27. As a fan of the anime and the live-action series (curse you Netflix for the cancellation) I backed a Kickstarter to get the game launched. I wanted to use it in the challenge so I didn’t look at the PDF before today (I usually like looking at a physical book when trying to learn a new system).

I’m not going to go into the stats for the book since I will do that in an upcoming unboxing blog post. But the character sheet is only one page long and the character creation chapter starts on page 56 with the creation steps (which are different than earlier in the chapter) on page 74. They recommended that the characters be made when all players are together at the table before the campaign starts.

Let me be blunt. I have no idea how this game system works. I don’t understand the concepts. So I’m going to say that I think the character is done. Wayne Wolf (thank you random name generator) left a slum lifestyle and eventually found his way into the occupation of bounty hunter in an attempt to escape poverty (and the control of his family that he left behind). I really wish I could give you a breakdown of the character and what each item is that I wrote down, but I don’t understand it myself. So I’m just going to post the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

I sat down in a couch, after taking photos of the unboxing for a future blog post, and I attempted to read some of the basic concepts of the rules. I didn’t understand any of them. This in-turn, caused my confusion when it came to character creation. I’m saving my final thoughts on the purchase for the unboxing post that will come later, but I’m really scared that I may have buyers remorse. Before I officially declare that, I’ve reached out on the RPG.net forums to see if anyone else can help explain (or if they are feeling the same way that I do?)

Additional Notes:

I did have one person respond to yesterday’s post about Dungeons & Dragons Essentials. They stated that they had liked fourth-edition. When I asked why, their response was: “Game Play: Tons of character options, great background fluff and world building. Always something for every character to do. Design: the design of the game was tight, everything had a purpose from character options to lay-out. Plus the designers were not afraid to make new choices and throw out bad ideas in favor new ones. Not everything worked mind you. Combat was a slog and sometimes there was too much emphasis on where everyone was.” I agree very much on that last point. This was the first I had actually heard anyone say anything positive about the fourth-edition so I wanted to give some equal time. When I offered to run an OSR game for my daughter and her fifth-edition playing friends, the first words out of their mouths were “no fourth-edition.” Perhaps if I had been actively gaming during the fourth-edition era, perhaps I’d feel different. But just reading the raw rules and trying to make sense of them, I don’t see it as a system I’d want to use.

Coming Up Next:

Rolemaster Fantasy

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: Character Creation Challenge, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 26: Dungeons and Dragons Essentials

Day 26 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge is not a repeat from my 2021 Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition entry. I am using a book titled Dungeons and Dragons Essentials: Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms. I had picked up this book from a thrift store in 2022 and added it to the bookshelf thinking it was just a fourth edition supplement. Then last year I was looking through the book and noticed that it contained some rules, a character sheet and a character creation process. I looked up the book online and discovered that it was published a few years after the fourth edition core books came out. It appeared that WotC may have attempted to streamline the rules if I understood it correctly. So is Essentials a version 4.5? I figured that I would add it to the 2024 challenge and see how it compared.

This is a digest sized book with 365 pages. The ISBN number is 978-0-7869-5619-7 and the original cover price was $19.95 (I still had the receipt from the thrift store, I paid $5.35 after tax). The character sheet is two pages and the character creation steps starts on page 32.

Step one was to select a class. This book only had classes for Druids, Paladins, Rangers and Warlocks (oh my). Out of these, I selected a Ranger. When I read the description, I needed to choose a sub-class, so I selected scout. I wrote down the details including the special powers that made this game feel like an off-brand MMORPG that cursed the fourth-edition.

Next we were instructed to select a race. While all of the races were mentioned, only the Dragonborn, Drow, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Humans and Tieflings. Since the Drow was a race I had not used, I elected to use that one. I wrote down the racial stats and abilities (and powers) that were listed.

Step three is to determine the ability scores. These are the same that we commonly know from Dungeons and Dragons. But instead of rolling them, we selected one of three predetermined sets. I selected one that with the racial abilities, made a lot of sense, but I ended up with two ability scores at 18. Hey I won’t turn that down.

Now we determined the skills. I think I did it right. I had to go look at the skills section to double check a few things, but I’m not certain. But moving on.

Step five is choosing powers. I think they over-used this term in this game (again probably in a vain attempt to attract the MMORPG crowd). I think I selected these correctly, but I didn’t write down everything they did because of a lack of space on the character sheet.

Feats don’t fail me now. But I only get one feat at first level so I selected one quickly.

Step seven is to fill in the equipment. The rules stated that I only had 100 GP to spend on stuff. Luckily there was an adventurer’s kit that had a lot of the basic items. I selected the weapons I thought a Drow Ranger-Scout would have.

The last part was filling in the numbers. Some sections I got or were able to locate. Others I could not. I just left them blank. But I did select a character name from the list of name examples listed in the book for the Drow. This guy is known as Pelloth Graysoul. Ooohhh, sound gothic and mysterious. Here are the character sheets.

Afterthoughts:

I remember being impressed by the fourth-edition character sheet when I used it in the 2021 challenge. This character sheet was lacking and seemed to be missing a few sections.

There was a section in the character creation process about roles, but nothing about what they meant in the game. So I skipped it as it seemed unnecessary. There was a lot of fluff in this book for “simplified rules”.

When I closed the book after making this character, the comment I made to my wife was “Fourth edition still sucks.” Now that I’ve had a chance to go through this process, I don’t think of this as a version 4.5, I’m thinking it was another attempt to try to explain the fourth edition. Perhaps if I had read the D&D Rule Compendium (4e) it may make better sense. But I seriously doubt it. I’m not going to go out of my way to pick up these books. If I find them at a thrift store like I did with Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, I’ll grab them. But that’s about it.

Come to think about it. I don’t think I know anyone who has told me that they actually played fourth-edition. Did we just dream this up? Did these books come from an alternate universe?

Additional Notes:

This is the third day in a row where I make up the character first without stopping to type in my thoughts. I’m getting through the creation process (somewhat) faster, but it’s still taking a while with systems that I don’t have a lot of familiarity with. I’m also concerned that I might miss a thought when I go to type these in later. What do you guys think of these last few entries?

Coming Up Next:

Cowboy Bebop

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 25: Cyberpunk Red

On the 25th Day of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge and I am using the Cyberpunk Red system. I had the opportunity to play this system at SaltCON-Spring and I really enjoyed it. But I will admit that it was a one-shot where the GM guided the characters around the rough spots.

I had picked up the PDF of this game when DriveThruRPG had a sale last September. This was on the week of Science Fiction games if I recall correctly. Since I had played Cyberpunk when it first came out in the 90’s, I wanted to see how this new system stacked up.

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, I am trying the technique of creating the character first and then writing the blog post later.

The PDF is 458 pages long. The character creation process starts on page 40. The character sheet is three pages long. I saw the Rockerboy entry (aka Cyberpunk bard) I thought, I’ve never made a bard like character before. So this will be my first. I decided to, loosely, base him on the 80s/90s Peter Murphy with the same look.

There are three options for character creation. Streetrats, which is just take one of the ready made templates as described in the book. This was for the quickest play with those not familiar with the system yet. Next was Edgerunners (aka Fast and Dirty) where some items were selected for you, but you also had some freedom to make the character yours. The last option was the Complete Packages. This was for those very familiar with the game and wanted to get into the nuts and bolts of character creation. As tempting as the last option is, I elected for Edgerunners because I’m still learning, but I wanted more than to pick a template.

There is a very well done flowchart on page 41 that also contains hyperlinks (in the PDF) to the pages they reference. Step 1 was to pick a roll, which as mentioned above, is the Rockerboy. Step 2 is the Lifepath. This was both from your culture (where in the world you were born and raised) and role-based lifepath (Rockerboy history). You could roll randomly or select for the image of the character you had. I did a little of both.

Step 3 was the Statistics. The heart and soul of most games. Our stats included Intelligence, Reflexes, Dexterity, Technical, Cool, Will, Luck, Move, Body and Empathy. Pretty standard for most RPG. I followed the guidelines and while I still rolled, it was for a random part of the chart. This lead to step 4 where you calculated your derived statistics like hit points and humanity (which I noticed that I hadn’t transferred it to the character sheet before I scanned it).

Step 5 was selecting your skills. With the quick and dirty I already had my skills selected, but I had 86 points to spread around between them. I gave more points to those that I thought would match the punk musician that I was creating.

The next step was recording the weapons and armor. Most of it was pre-selected but I did get to make a couple of choices. Step 7 was your outfit. In cyberpunk games fashion is a major part of the game. I wrote down the clothing and lifestyle information (including the housing).

Step 8 was the cyberwear. I wrote down what was provided to me. I came up with a German sounding name (from a random name generator) and elected to use the handle of Indigo (pulled from one of Peter Murphy’s popular songs). Here are the character sheets.

Afterthoughts:

I liked how they had three different options for character creation depending upon how familiar you were with the game. I also really liked how each chart in the step had an arrow pointing you towards the next chart in line. I had read on Reddit that someone really didn’t like how the book was laid out. While I haven’t gone from cover-to-cover, I can say that I liked the character creation process and how the bookmarked sections helped lead me to the next area I needed to go to.

I wouldn’t turn down a game of Cyberpunk Red. But I don’t know if I’ve got the bandwidth to think about running or homebrewing for this system.

Additional Notes:

I posted my Crypts & Things character on the D101 Games discord channel. The publisher responded with some interesting information. They said: “Nice You’ve got a real piece of history there, in the 1st edition of the game. In answer to your question, Remastered is twice as big, with all new art. There’s lots of new content. Characters get two life events, one for their homeland and one for their character class. The magicians losing hit points was dropped, but you still gain corruption for casting black magic.” Now I really want to check out the remastered Crypts & Things book.

I really like it when the smaller game companies interact with their fanbase. DwD Games has done the same thing when I’ve posted about FrontierSpace and their other publications.

On the RPG.net Forums I had a reader that uses the handle “Hunter” respond about the use of The Breakfast Club as RPG characters. They had also used the same characters in the 2023 Character Creation Challenge in the Leverage RPG system.

Coming Up Next:

Dungeons and Dragons Essentials

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 24: Crypts & Things

And here we are at Day 24 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Today I am using Crypts & Things: The Chronicles of Zarth from D101 Games. I had picked this book up at a game swap held at SaltCON Spring for a decent price. I figured that it would be a good entry in the challenge, plus another blog series that I hope to release soon.

This hardbound book has 149 pages and was written by Newt Newport. This is a first printing book that was released in 2012. A one page character sheet is found in the back of the book. The character creation steps start on page 8.

Being a retro-clone I’m not surprised to find that we roll 3d6 down the line. I like this because I don’t know what type of character this will turn out until then. Well the highest is Intelligence and Charisma. So he’s a good looking magic user (which I found out is called the magician). I wrote down the different bonuses from the attributes. A high wisdom and high charisma can earn you an XP bonus of 5% each. Then you get an extra 5% for the prime attribute of your character. So you could end up with +15%. There wasn’t any rules written about moving attribute points around. But I’ll let the scores stand as they are.

OK so Magician it is. As it turns out the spells are broken down into White, Grey and Black magic. White is like the clerics, grey is standard stuff and black is harmful magic. There was some very interesting magic rules about using grey and black magic (it hurts you to use it in the form of HP and savings throws needed, ouch). Because of my high INT I get an extra 1st level spell during character creation. You write down three 1st level spells and one 2nd level spell in your spell book. Then if you want more, you have to find them or pay another magician to help you write it down. I like this idea. Magicians can use leather armor without losing any spell casting ability (nice) and can use standard weapons as long as they are not two-handed (other than the staff) but they have a -1 to damage if they use them. This helps match the Gandalf using a sword as well as his spells.

Next comes the Generating Life Events chart. Roll a D20 three times and check the numbers on page 19. Some gave me some bonuses to certain savings throws. But the one that really made me raise my eyebrow was the “I was a slave at a royal court” which increased the character’s charisma by +2. So now it’s a 17 so he’s a really good looking magician.

Last step was to roll for gold (standard 3d6x10) and buy some equipment. I did so and then filled in the blanks that I may have had on the sheet. This included a name (hey random name generator) which came up with Azor. After scanning the character sheet I realized that I probably should have put down Azor the Charming or Azor the Handsome. Oh well, here is the scan.

Afterthoughts:

This is a D20 OGL clone with some interesting twists. Combining the cleric and magic user together into one class and then having a payment system (usually in lost HP) was an interesting idea, but not one that I think I’d go with if I was running a game. I think I’d have the cost for grey magic on a roll of 1 out of 20 and dark magic on a higher scale (1-2? 1-3? I’d have to test). I can just see a magician rolling a repair spell (a grey spell) and then suddenly dying because it took his hit points. In the middle of a massive battle and you need the magician to strike with the spell that may bring the big bad guy down? Sorry, he doesn’t have enough hit points to cast the spell and survive. The rules did state that magic was rare and dangerous, but I don’t know about that dangerous.

I liked the Life Events chart. I’d probably expand the idea to more than twenty entries. But it did make for some interesting twists (and possible back story) for the character. I also liked that there was a choice of ascending or descending armor classes.

There is a remastered version of this game. I wonder how that book compares to this one?

Additional Notes:

Because of my schedules today, I ended up taking the book with me and creating the character away from my computer. I think it added to this being one of my less stressful character creations. I’d usually type down my thoughts while I was creating the character. With this entry, I had to note them down in my head for later. Which could have been a bad thing considering all of the items rolling around in there. I may have to try this same technique with tomorrow’s entry.

Coming Up Next:

Cyberpunk Red

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 23: Starfinder

Day 23 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge and I elected to use the Starfinder RPG by Paizo. Now I actually participated in a Starfinder campaign in 2021 so I’m familiar with the system. But I didn’t create a character using just the book since we were all playing on Fantasy Grounds. While I will never let Fantasy Grounds soil any of my computers again (another blog post for another day), I did enjoy the game and the company.

I picked up my PDF of Starfinder at a charity bundle sale last year where I also picked up 2nd edition of Pathfinder (which will be used later in the challenge). When I had created the character we used the online tools in the virtual tabletop which did a lot of heavy lifting inserting information from multiple books. But I’m only going to use the core rulebook and follow the steps as written.

The PDF is 531 pages long with the character creation steps (actually listed this way) on page 14. The PDF is bookmarked (thank you). The core book has an ISDN of 9-781601-259561 and…. the cover price isn’t listed on the PDF. The character sheet is two pages long. The D20 core mechanic is based off of the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition, but it is a stand-alone book.

The first step listed is to create a character concept for a science fantasy game. I already know what race I want this character to be, a Vesk. I had been trying to write up the racial Star Trek RPG stats for a reptilian race called the Tarn that came from a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel. But for the longest time I couldn’t find a good image of a sci-fi based reptilian race. There were lots of fantasy based images, but no sci-fi, at least until the Vesk arrived from Starfinder. They met the description of the race that had formed in my minds eye while reading The Forgotten War. So I’m going to give back by making a Vesk character. Looking at the racial description, I’m going to use the name “Sarangari.” Yea he’ll be a mercenary type character who is also a pilot.

Step two, choose a race. See above. I wrote down the stat information for the Vesk.

Next is selecting a theme. This represents a core aspect of the background and possible motivations. Again as mentioned above, Sarangari is going to be a mercenary. Reading the description the character gains an attribute increase and a knowledge skill.

Step four is selecting a class. Well it’s going to have to be soldier. I wrote it down on the character sheet, but they instructed me not to add the other abilities until I get to step six.

Now we finalize the ability scores. Each ability score starts at 10. Adjust for racial and theme adjustments. Then you have 10 more points to spread through out the abilities. I made my selections and wrote down the modifiers.

As mentioned in step four, we will now be applying the class features for the soldier. These include the base attack bonus and savings throws. It also includes the class skills and how many skill ranks I can use at the first level. I tried to make sure that I had everything written down.

And speaking of skill ranks, in step five we allocate the skill points (four) and also select the feats. This character only gets one feat at first level.

Now we are onto purchasing equipment. The book states we have 1,000 credits to start with. And wow, that doesn’t cover very much. I knew that I wasn’t going to get some advanced weaponry and equipment right away, but holy cow some of these prices. I know I went over, but I would have probably come up with some story to the GM how the 95 credit survival knife was a gift/inheritance/found or something. After weapons and armor, there was nothing left over for other equipment. Soooooooo I hope the GM has a good way to get us taken care of.

Final step is the finishing details. Alignment (Neutral Good), Deity (need to look that up) and the like. I filled in what I could.

Afterthoughts:

Because of how many choices there were and my familiarity with the D20 system, I kept trying to stop myself from jumping ahead in the process. I wanted to make sure that I was following the rules as written. Especially with all of the additions that the Starfinder system seems to have in it. I keep hearing it’s so players can make any character they want, but they should just stick to the basics for the core rulebook and add more with the additional books (of which Piazo has a lot). It seemed overwhelming at times in just the core rulebook. But I’ve heard fans of Starfinder and Pathfinder talk about how they liked having all of the different options and choices from the different books. So I can see that appeal if you are into that.

Would I play this game? Well I already have. And I’d play it again at a con or if someone wanted to run a campaign. Would I run this game? Probably not. There are a lot of other Sci-Fi RPG choices that are not overbearing that I REALLY want to try. Would I homebrew for this game? That’s a possible-maybe. If I’m playing in a campaign, perhaps I’d be inspired to homebrew something. But with the amount of stuff already rattling around my head, coming up with stuff just for Starfinder may be at the bottom of the list.

Additional Notes:

There is a participant in the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge who is posting his entries on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server using the handle of Zonrad. This person is using the Power Rangers Roleplaying Game to make ranger characters out of the teenagers from The Breakfast Club. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that movie, but I’ve never had any interest in Power Rangers. After reading several of these entries, I’m eagerly awaiting the next one. This is the type of creativity that I love seeing from fellow RPG enthusiasts. Keep it up.

Coming Up Next:

Crypts & Things

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 22: Barbarians of Lemuria

Barbarians of Lemuria is my Day 22 entry in the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. I was able to pick up a hardbound copy of this book at a gaming swap meet at SaltCON last year at a good price. So I thought I’d use it for a challenge entry.

The book appears to have been published in 2009. There is no copyright date, but the authors note at the front of the book have the 2009 dates on them. The book is 104 pages in length with and ISDN number of 5-800090-99678. It was written by Simon Washbourne and published by Beyond Belief Games. The character sheet is one page long and the character creation steps start on page 7. The core mechanic (explained on page 6) is to roll 2d6+attribute+combat ability or career skill+modifiers to exceed nine to succeed.

First step is to look over the careers and come up with a character concept. I see the standard class types, but then there are those like farmer, serving wench and beggar. I wonder if some of these were put in for the GM to create NPCs. With the name of the game being Barbarians of Lemuria, I think I’ll make a standard barbarian type character.

The four attributes are Strength, Agility, Mind and Appeal (aka Charisma). You start off with four points to spread between the attributes with no attribute being higher than 3 and you can buy down one attribute if you wanted to gain an extra point. An attribute with 0 represents an average rating. I made my selections.

Step three is to select your combat abilities. You once again have four points to spend between Brawl, Melee, Ranged or Defense (dodging, etc.). Same rules, max of 3 and can buy down if needed. Your Lifeblood (aka hit points) is 10+Str.

Next you choose four careers. I guess this may explain why there were some odd careers listed before. The character could have started out as a farmer then moved over to pirate (wink back at the Dread Pirate Roberts). Most of these don’t say anything about changes to the character stat wise, they just give some background and suggestions. So this guy was a Barbarian from the Valgardian Northlands. He also became a Hunter for his tribe until he was captured by slavers and turned into a Slave. The slavers sold him to be a Gladiator until he escaped.

Next you select your origin, or where you are from. Now you obtain boons an flaws for your character. As mentioned above, this guy is from the Valgardian Northlands, so I wrote down the boons and flaws obtained from his upbringing. He only gets one language, but thanks to one of his boons, he gets one more hero point than the standard five.

I don’t think the character creation process is done yet as the character isn’t equipped yet. The next chapter goes into combat and GMing.

Ah here it is on page 44. And it states “Give the players what they want”. Simple. The GM is advised on how to handle players who get greedy in this step.

Next it goes into spells. Not for this guy. Next. And, the book goes into descriptions of the game world and creatures. So I guess I’m done. I should write down a name. He random name generator come up with the name of a barbarian. Wow, there isn’t a good list on this one. After a few pages of choices came up I settled on Kruk. Here is the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

The system seemed pretty simple and was explained before character creation (and expanded upon afterwards). I really wish that the book had a step-by-step guide as it suffered from next-chapteritis syndrome.

The system seems pretty straightforward and I liked the lightness of the book (especially after some of the doozies I’ve experienced recently). It’s too bad that I’ll probably never get a chance to play this at the table. There are a ton of fantasy RPGs and its hard to get excited about one that you’ll never get a chance to play.

Additional Notes:

After posting yesterday’s entry for Night’s Black Agents, I was able to locate the SRD for Gumshoe online. However I have not had a chance to look at it (I had already moved onto my next entry). I did get a response from a reader on Mastodon who talked a little about the system, but it was still a flavor that you’d have to get use to. It did lead to a discussion that I hadn’t considered with NBA. How the page layout and font size made the book a little hard for the person to read. Perhaps I hadn’t noticed it because I had the PDF set to display over 100%. A reader on the RPG.net forums mentioned that the mechanic was in the first two chapters, but admitted that the crunchiness in the text may have made it easier to overlook. He also informed me that the Trust, Drives and Sources of Stability were optional mechanics in the game. I was glad that he had pointed this out because I thought it had been a requirement.

Coming Up Next:

Starfinder

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.

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