Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Character Creation Challenge Day 10: Star Trek Adventures

Creation Challenge Day 10

I’ve always been a big fans of role playing in the Star Trek universe. It is an iconic series so someone will have at least some basic knowledge of it. Plus another geeky activity that Star Trek & SF fans like to do is compare the characters/ships/equipment for series to series or even franchise to franchise (OK, Worf with a Bat’leth vs Chewbacca with his Bowcaster, who would win?) The statistics in role playing games gave fans a chance to at least put these questions in a frame of reference. So when Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius was announced, I was really intrigued. Yes I know that the Klingon Core Rulebook is shown in the picture, but I’m not planning to make a Klingon character as I’m still reading the book. My FLGS just barely got it in stock and my wife got it for a late Christmas present. I was so excited I just had to have it in the picture for this Character Creation Challenge entry.

Stivon is a male Vulcan Science Officer serving on the USS Tacoma, an Excelsior-Class starship during the 2290’s (around the time of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). In STA you have six attributes. Control (How the character controls themselves both physically and mentally. Think dexterity plus focused mind), Fitness (Physical strength, health and endurance), Insight (Understanding others people, their feelings, your self-awareness and wisdom), Presence (Charisma and diplomacy basically) and Reason (Logic, learning and observation). Characters also have six Disciplines. These are Command (Leadership skills), Conn (Piloting skills), Engineering (Fix things and build things skills), Security (Shoot and don’t be shot skills), Science (Understanding things around us skills) and Medicine (Fix up character skills). In the game when facing a challenge the GM will tell you to add an Attribute with a Discipline to come up with a target number that you need to roll under. You roll at least 2d20 (or more if you can pull them from a pool) and each roll under your target number counts as a success. Some more difficult tasks may require a certain number of success in order to succeed the task.

Each character starts with 7 in all Attributes and 1 in each Discipline. Then you go through a “Life Path” creation process with opportunities to add to both Attributes and Disciplines until you get the end. Each character will end up with a maximum of 56 points in Attributes and 16 points in Disciplines. You will also end up with some history, Values, Talents and Focuses. The history gives your GM some possible plot points to use in the game later. The Values are something your character believes in represented in a short quote (example: I’ll give Stivon “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”) The Value can be used in gameplay to gain extra dice to roll or other bonuses if applied at the appropriate time. Focuses are specialized skills (such as Cybernetics or Small Craft Piloting, etc.). These give you additional die or other bonuses during play. Talents are items that come naturally to your character through it’s development (such as Mind Meld or Neck Pinch) but may have specific requirements (Vulcan only, etc.). As with Focuses and Talents, they add bonuses to gameplay and flesh out the character.

Stivon was born and raised on the planet Vulcan so he gains the advantages from this environment. While I selected the homeworld for Stivon’s environment, I randomly rolled for the upbringing which resulted in Artistic & Creative. The RAW state that my character could be accepting or rebelling against the upbringing. Stivon’s parents were musicians so in being accepting, he grew up with the logic of how music was created.

Next Stivon entered Starfleet Academy. He wanted to explore more of this universe and was torn between the path he choose and the Vulcan Science Academy. Eventually the opportunity to see music from other cultures was the deciding factor in selecting Starfleet. This resulted in additional values, attributes, disciplines, focuses and talents. I decided that Stivon would be an experienced officer (other than young officer or veteran officer) and added the value and talent from that step.

There are at least two career events that can happen to a Starfleet Officer durring their many tours that are randomly rolled. These can create plot points for the GM to use as well as adding attributes, disciplines and focuses. For my first event, Stivon discovered an artifact from an extinct civilization. While on Rolvath Prime, Stivon discovered a device that allowed two individuals to instantaneously share each other’s history in a matter of seconds. While this gave a young Caitian ensign a vast appreciation of music, Stivon was unnerved by the encounter in experiencing the family history of many siblings. For the second career event, Stivon was mentored. Inspired by the first event I decided that Stivon would seek out a Vulcan officer to help him meditate and calm his mind. He took ten months of leave on Vulcan and studied various techniques to return his mind to normalcy. While he felt confident enough to resume his duties, he now understands Caitian history and culture.

The finishing touches wrapped up Stivon’s stats, stress value, damage bonus, department position and assigned equipment. The character sheet is posted below.

Stivon character sheet

Afterthoughts:

With other entries in the Character Creation Challenge, I only used the primary rulebook to create the character. After creating a Star Trek Adventures character last month for an upcoming campaign I elected to use a fan-made character creation guide just because it was all laid out step-by-step. The STA core rulebook has a lot of good rules in it, spread out in different sections. The character creation guide quickly pointed me directly to the page numbers I needed to see. As I mentioned above, I just picked up the new Klingon core rulebook. I’ve heard that it is better organized (I’ll check that soon). I can say that I’m very happy that the Klingon book design was dark text on white pages. The black pages with white and orange text was very hard on the eyes. The character creation process reminded me a little of the FASA Star Trek system. I think if I create a bunch of new characters the system will make a little bit more sense to me. I’m really interested in creating stats for characters we see in the expanded Star Trek universe.

I almost forgot to mention, technically I was suppose to create two characters for STA for a campaign. A secondary character just in case the session doesn’t call for your primary character. An away team is heading down to the planet to rescue the hostages? Instead of the player with the science officer being bored while his character is stuck on the ship, he just grabs his secondary character that is a lower ranked security officer and continues with the game. I thought this was an excellent idea.

Additional Notes:

I have not discovered any new blogs displaying new characters today. But there is an active hashtag in social media for #CharacterCreationChallenge which has been getting used a lot. There is also a lot of players participating in the challenge on the RPG.net message board.

Coming Up Next:

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Character Creation Challenge Day 2: Star Trek The Role Playing Game

Creation Challenge Day 2

Star Trek: The Role Playing Game (note the space between role and playing in the name) by FASA was one of the first non-D&D games that I had the opportunity to play. I was introduced to the game at the tail end of it’s run by some friends in high school and I remember eagerly awaiting the latest release of the new books and supplements. Besides my Father’s introduction to Star Trek, the FASA game was one of the biggest influences in my Star Trek fandom. References from the FASA game continue to show up including season two of Star Trek: Discovery and the IDW Star Trek comics in 2020.

The FASA Star Trek Role Playing Game is based on a percentile (D100) system. I liked this type of statistics for a game based off of a franchise because another thing fans like to do is compare characters on the show (or even with other shows). While a lot of D&D characters could have a Strength of 16, it didn’t help much with the comparison side of the coin. Now if character A had a Strength of 55 and another had a Strength of 60, that would be close, but distinguished.

I decided to make a Human security officer named Lt. Bryant Wilson who will be serving in Starfleet during the time portrayed in the Original Series. While FASA had supplements that moved the game into the Star Trek Movies and the early days of The Next Generation, the primary focus was the Original Series with Kirk and Spock.

For the first five attributes of Strength, Endurance, Intelligence, Dexterity and Charisma, the player rolls 3d10 and adds 40 to the roll. The last two attributes, Luck and Psionic Potential, it was a straight percentile roll (D100). For Lt. Wilson I rolled the following stats. STR: 60 (rolled a 10+6+4). END: 60 (10+9+1), INT: 48 (3+3+2), DEX: 62 (10+7+5), CHA: 58 (10+5+3), LUC: 93 (whoa 93 on a percentile roll), PSI: 61 (again a percentile roll). The only racial modifiers for Humans is -30 to PSI which lowered this score to 31. In the RAW you roll another D100 and divide by two (rounding down). This roll was 23, which resulted in 11 bonus points. PSI cannot be increased and I am now allowed to put more than 30 in one attribute (no issue there). Most of my rolls were pretty good so I elected to put 5 points into STR and 4 points into END to help with his stats as a security officer (which brought both attributes up to 65 and 64) and the remaining 2 points going into INT (raising it to 50).

The next step was to pick my pre-academy skills. The number of points allowed was Lt. Wilson’s INT score divided by 10 and rounding down. So a total of 5. There were two categories to select from, Educational and Personal Development. I elected to put 3 points in General Medicine-First Aid (I figured he had to help in some capacity while growing up which may have led to his decision to join security) for Educational. From Personal Development I put 2 points into Streetwise. He had grown up living in a large North American city on the east coast. I randomly selected Baltimore.

At Starfleet Academy there were several skills that were learned as part of the curriculum in order to make a well rounded officer. I won’t list them all since they are in the rules, but I’ve added them to the character sheet. There were a few that I had to select the sub-skills. I selected Language-Orion, Life Sciences-Botany, Physical Sciences-Chemistry, Planetary Sciences-Meteorology, Space Sciences-Astrogation and Space Sciences-Astrophysics. I can select five outside electives at a rating of 10 each. Of these I selected Marksmanship-Archaic Weapon (Archery), Shuttlecraft Pilot, Negotiation/Diplomacy, Sports-Swimming and I added to my Streetwise (now up to 12). In my Advanced Study I get to add stats to the skills I already know. The number of stats I can improve is my INT score (50) divided by 10 (5) and add 5 which means I can roll a 1d10 and add that score to the skills I already know. I elected to add to Marksmanship Modern (rolled a 9, bumping this up to 29), Archery (+1 to 11), Negotiation/Diplomacy (+6 to 16), Computer Operation (+6 to 26), First Aid (+3 to 16), Zero-G Operations (+9 to 19), Federation Law (+7 to 22), Personal Weapons Technology (+10 (nice) to 15), Environmental Suit Operation (+1 to 11) and Personal Combat Unarmed (+4 to 24). I was done with the Academy Skills section.

Now onto the Branch School Skills. Luckily for the Security Branch School curriculum, it was pretty straight forward. Some new skills were added (such as Small Unit Tactics) and several had significant increases (+20 to Marksmanship, Modern) I added these skill points to my character sheet. There were two Outside Electives (any skill gets a 1d10) which I put into Carousing (rolled a 5) and Vehicle Operation-Hovercraft (rolled another 5). There was another round of Advanced Training. I could add a 1d10 to five skills I already knew. The Hovercraft skill got 6 (new total 11), Marksmanship Modern got 9 (new total 58), Small Unit Tactics got a 2 (new total 22), Damage Control Procedures got a 4 (new total 14) and Swimming got a 6 (new total 16). With that the Branch School was done.

Next was Bryant Wilson’s cadet cruise. It was a simple D100 roll with some modifiers for INT and LUC added (or subtracted). I rolled a 25 on the dice. My INT score didn’t alter anything, but since my luck was over 70, I took away 10 from the roll for a final of 15. This was exactly what was needed for a cadet cruise within the Exploration Command on a Constitution class starship. That high LUC really helped out. I marked that on my character sheet. The results of the cadet cruise was another D100 with additional modifiers. I rolled a 71, subtracted 20 for the cruise being on a Constitution Class and subtracted another 10 for the high LUC score for a grand total of 41. This resulted in Bryant Wilson passing his cadet cruise and earning the rank of Ensign. When I saw these results, I decided that Ensign Wilson had taken his cadet cruise on the USS Kongo.

After the cadet cruise, Ensign Wilson was sent to Department Head School which resulted in three things. Several new skills were added/gained (Administration, Computer Operation and Leadership), more Advanced Training. Five skills already known get a 1d10 advancement. These were Negotiation/Diplomacy got a 7 (new total 23), Small Unit Tactics got a 9 (new total 31), Marksmanship-Modern got a 4 (new total 62), Carousing got a 4 (new total 9) and Personal Combat Unarmed got a 5 (new total 49). The last thing earned was a rank advancement to Lieutenant (j.g.).

Next the RAW has Lt. (j.g.) Bryant Wilson going to Command Schools (there are a lot of schools in this game). I can select five skills and take the points listed. Well Starship Combat Strategy Tactics is a huge gain (40 points), Negotiation/Diplomacy is nice (another 10 for a total of 33), 10 more to Leadership (new total 40), Federation Law gets 10 (new total 37) and Federation Culture/History gets 5 (new total 20). Lt. (j.g.) Wilson has now been promoted to Lieutenant.

Now we get to determine the number of tours served. The eventual end goal is to make the character the Chief of Security on a starship. I was instructed to roll a 1d10 and divide by 2 (rounding down). The roll was a 7 resulting in three tours. My high LUC once again came in handing reducing the number of tours by 1. I needed to reach the rank of Lieutenant, so I didn’t need to add a tour for that requirement. However I need to add a tour for becoming a Department Head. The final total of tours needed would be three. If the game was going to be be held on a Constitution-class starship, there would have been one additional tour added. All the tours are determined by a D100 roll with modifiers.

The first tour rolled a 73, high LUC reduced this by 10 to 63. Wilson would be serving in the Merchant Marine Command (I decided he was serving onboard a Starfleet operated freighter known as the USS Whitlock). He must have done a good job because he ha a total Officer Efficiency Report of 15 (25 roll -10 for high LUC) which gave a rating of Excellent. The tour lasted 1 year (1d10 roll resulted in a 2, divided by 2 to get the one year) For serving in the Merchant Marines, I was able to add a 1d10 to either Carousing or Streetwise. I rolled a 4 that was added to Carousing (new total 13).

For the second tour I rolled another D100 and consulted the Tour Assignment Table. My Excellent rating gave me a -10 and my high LUC gave me another -10, so I rolled on the table for -10 to -20 (this way was set up that poor performances would not be rewarded with plumb assignments such as the coveted Constitution-class starships). I rolled a 42 (hey the answer to life, the universe and everything) which resulted in a tour within the Military Operations Command. I decided that Wilson was transferred to the USS Joan of Arc, a Larson class-destroyer. The tour lasted 3 years (1d10 roll resulted in a 7, divided by 2 and rounded down). For an Officer Efficiency Rating I rolled 41, modified by the high LUC to 31 resulting in As Expected.

The third tour rolled an 06 (Wow!) which consulting the table resulted in an assignment to a Constitution-class starship. That’s a feather in the cap for Wilson as he got to serve on the USS Constitution for three years (length roll on a 1d10 was a 7). There he earned an Officer Efficiency Rating of Excellent (roll of 35 minus 10 for the high LUC resulting in an OER of 25). This excellent rating is what probably got him noticed for his in-game assignment as the Chief of Security on the USS El Cid, an Anton-class cruiser.

Now these tours resulted in several skill increases. We already mentioned the Carousing from the Merchant Marine tour listed above. There was a total of seven years in service so one additional 1d10 can be added to skills already known for each two years (3 rolls total). Since at least two years was spent on a Constitution-Class, that adds another roll. High LUC scores again adding two additional rolls. So for the six rolls in total I added the following. Leadership gets a 10 (for a new total of 50). Small Unit Tactics gets a 3 (new total 34). Personal Combat Unarmed gets a 3 (new total 52), Security Procedures gets an 8 (new total 48). Zero-G Operations gets a 2 (new total 21) and Marksmanship-Modern gets a 9 (new total 71).

Lt. Wilson’s age is 33. He was 18 when we started the academy which took 4 years to complete. Half a year for the cadet cruise. 1.5 years for the branch school. A year each for department head school and command school and the three tours took 7 years.

Max Operating Endurance and Current Operating Endurance equals the END score. The Wound Heal Rate for Wilson is a 3 (END divided by 20, rounded down) and the Fatigue Heal Rate is 6 (END divided by 10, rounded down). Action Points came up as a 10 (DEX divided by 10, rounded down then add 4). The To-Hit Mod score is the average of the DEX score with the skill of Modern Marksmanship (62 added to 71 divided by 2 and rounded up = 67). To-Hit HTH (Hand to Hand) score is the average of the DEX (62) score with the skill of Personal Combat-Unarmed (52) which resulted in 57. Bare-hand damage is 1d10+3 due to his STR score of 65. Here is the final character:

Character sheet for Bryant Wilson.

Afterthoughts:

While discussing character creation for Star Trek Adventures, a friend stated that he preferred it over FASAs +5 to a skill here and +5 to a skill there. The FASA system was a little bit longer, but I felt that I could see the character forming before my eyes. Character creation would definitely have to be a session zero meeting between players and game master. If I was the GM for new players I’d also give them a little bit of leeway to go back and change some skills. In hindsight I should have given Lt. Wilson a skill in armed combat with sword or some unique weapon. I also like the Trivia catch all skill (even thought I didn’t use it on Wilson).

I also don’t know if I’m going to go into so much creation details on future entries. I need to pace myself if I’m going to make it through the 31 day challenge. I just get inspired to start typing and next thing I know I’m just continuing to type.

Additional Notes:

I’ve decided to start adding links to other blogs and message boards where players are participating in the Character Creation Challenge. I’ve had people ask if they can still participate if they didn’t start on January 1st. The answer yes, just pick up from today and move forward. If I don’t have your location linked, send me the URL. For social media (twitter, facebook, etc.) just use the hashtag of #CharacterCreationChallenge. I can’t link all social media sites, but I know they are coming up under that hashtag.

Also thank you to those who gave feedback to my Character Creation Challenge entry for Day 1. I had to go back and make a few minor corrections. I had been a while since I had created a character in the BECMI system.

Coming Up Next:

TSR’s Top Secret

Posted in: My Creations, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Homebrew stats for Starships

Klingon starship K'Teremny

Part of the reason I put this website together was to give a home to some of the creative works I’ve put together. While I don’t have a novel to release (yet), I have created some items including some home-brew stats for various role-playing games.

For the Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat Simulator by FASA, they created a Starship Construction Manual. This book contained charts and rules to create Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Gorn and Orion starships. I used this book in the 90’s for quite a few creations. Usually my targets were the various starships seen in different fan made technical-manuals and blueprints. The ships had already been designed and contained enough statistics to convert into game statistics. I would then type of the stats, photocopy the image of the ship and quite literally cut-and-paste. I was able to make one look really fancy (Belknap), but most were just the text and an image of the ship.

I had made a master book of starships for the game. I had copied all of the ships from the various manuals, modules, magazine articles and fanzines and placed them into a three-ring binder alongside my own creations. As you can imagine, this book became quite thick. Luckily I was able to keep this book through all of my moves and I recently pulled it out of a storage box. I selected three creations at random and scanned them into the PDF format. If I had enough background details, I would include it with the statistics. Since this was the time before Google, I didn’t know the reason behind some of the class names.

I didn’t have any construction stats for the Tholian and Kzinti races, but that didn’t stop me from at least attempting to create game statistics for them. I never had the chance to play test them, but I’ll be presenting them on this site. So for the first three samples I have selected the Belknap Class Strike Cruiser, The Klingon D-15 K’Teremny Class Cruiser and the Kzinti TC-1 Police Cruiser. I may re-write some of these with the computer tools available now, but until then I’ll be presenting them in the format I originally saved them in. Enjoy.

Posted in: Community Service, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Charity on two fronts

Two RPG guidebooks for better play.

Today two things happened that made the season better. I received an unexpected surprise and I had the chance to give to a good charity.

If you recall from an earlier blog post, I talked about The Power of Gaming and how gamers on the RPG.net forums have been helping each other out by participating in a “Secret Satan” (a play on the Secret Santa name) gift exchange. Well apparently the copy of Mutant Crawl Classics wasn’t the only gift coming my way. A package arrived in the mail containing the two books shown in the photo above. The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide and The Ultimate RPG Gameplay Guide both by James D’Amato. Also included in the package was a note that my “Secret Satan” had picked up extra copies of these books in anticipation of gifting to an RPGnetter and that there were two packages coming. Thank you for these gifts. One of my geek kids has already flipped through one of the books and was impressed by what she quickly saw. I plan to read through these books and I’ll write up a review for a future blog post.

Cyrstal Allen as D'nesh on Star Trek Enterprise.
Crystal Allen as D’nesh on Star Trek Enterprise.

Actress Crystal Allen has been in many different shows including Supernatural, Boston Legal, Star Trek Of Gods and Men (a fan film) and Star Trek: Enterprise. The photo above is her as the Orion Slave girl D’nesh. She has been doing something that I think is really wonderful. She has been making home-made meals for medical personnel, firefighters and first responders who have been serving us during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently she is running a GoFundMe page to raise $2,000 to cook healthy meals for these frontline warriors for the holidays. She’s even willing to send an autograph to supporters. I would have picked up her autograph at a convention anyway, but donating to a good charity inspired me to jump at this opportunity. If you are so inspired, click on the link and see if you can help Crystal reach her goal.

Posted in: Fan Club, Star Trek

Klingon Meal Kit

Klingon Meal Kit
The Klingon Meal Kit

Every year the Star Trek fan club, the USS Ticonderoga, holds a Mugato Gift Exchange (think White Elephant Gift Exchange, with a Star Trek animal replacing the word elephant) to celebrate the various holidays that happen this time of year (even Wookie Life Day). This was a very popular event and had a large number of attendance for this Star Trek family. However, with how 2020 has treated us, the Captain of the Ticonderoga made some changes to event. Since we couldn’t get together in person, the White Elephant format was dropped and replaced with a “Secret Santa” format.

The new name for this year was the “2020 Can Die in a Fire” long distance Secret Santa gift exchange. Participants signed up in advance and random Secret Santas were selected a head of time. If they were purchasing something new the limit was $10. If they were re-gifting something or creating something of their own, then the limit is what they wanted. The gifts had to be to their victims before the regularly scheduled Ticonderoga meeting. Since the meeting was being held by video conference, everyone would get a chance to open up their gift with everyone watching.

When I first heard of this idea, I was worried about the distance involved. Some members of the club live in different counties. I am pleasantly surprised that everyone who participated made it (mostly) work. I understand some gifts were late and I hope that they have made it to their intended recipients.

At the meeting I was overjoyed at the person who opened up my gift. They had a big reaction to the Mugato present. I can’t say anything more about that otherwise I’ll end up giving away who my victim was.

The gift I received was the Klingon Meal Kit seen in the photograph above. I don’t know if that is what my Secret Santa was calling it, but one of my kids blurted it out while I was opening the gift and the name stuck. I hope you can see the detail that went into this home made gift. Home-made Klingon Bloodwine labels were fixed onto glass bottles of special cherry cola (I can’t tell what the original brand was). Another label was attached to a package of black rice noodles advertising “instant gagh”. It was accompanied by a bottle of premium fish sauce, which is something I’ve never tried before. I really love the effort this warrior cook put into the kit. It is truly with honor, well done.

So the next question I ask myself. Am I going to consume the items in this gift or keep it as a memento? I’m really curious how the “instant gagh” would taste and I am a fan of cherry colas. 15+ years ago I purchased the special limited edition Heinz Ketchup which had the special labels on them. It had a quote from William Shatner stating “Fixes burgers at warp speed.” However I did not empty the container and it got nasty looking. I threw it away this year when we were packing to move. I’m not certain how to keep these items in a collectable value so I may just break down and eat the gagh and try one of the bloodwines. If I do, I’ll report it here on the Blog of Holding.

Posted in: Archer, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Technology, The Orville, Transformers

I still buy DVDs & Blu-rays

Raiders of the Lost TARDIS
Yes the search for bargains continue.

So in this modern day of streaming services, why would anyone still buy movies and TV shows on DVDs and Blu-Rays? There are many answers for this. I call my physical media my “Offline Versions” of my favorite shows. There have been times that the internet has failed to function properly (luckily not very often). There have also been times someone needs to stay off of the internet because of a project that takes up a lot of bandwidth. This is when the physical media comes in really handy.

Buying the disks has also become a catch phrase for me when reviewing a show. I remember after watching a stream of the Transformer’s movie “Bumblebee“, I stated that I would buy the movie on DVD. And the next time I saw a copy, I did just that. I also watched the Spy-Fi/Comedy series “Archer” on streaming first and I enjoyed it so much that I picked up the seasons on DVD.

The final reason that I still purchase DVDs is because then I always have a copy of the show so it’s at my fingertips. I’m not wondering “Is The Rocketter on Netflix or Hulu this month?” (spoiler: It’s not found on these services, it’s on Disney+). There have even been some shows that I haven’t been able to find on streaming at all.

Just the other day I was able to find DVDs for season eleven and twelve for the new Doctor Who series. I can’t wait to sit down and watch them. I can’t wait to watch the special features (which may or may not be on streaming).

Now don’t get me wrong. I love streaming services. I see some really off the wall shows on several services. It also gives me a chance to check out the movies that I might enjoy, but not really buy on DVD. Streaming services also give life to genre shows that might not find footing on network and cable television (such as the new Star Trek and the next season of The Orville). But I plan to continue to buy physical media in the near future.

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