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

RPGaDay2023 Day 18: Favorite game system

OK so Favorite Game System is the subject for Day 18 of the #RPGaDAY2023 challenge. And I have to think about this one. While there are a few systems I’d prefer not to play (such as something really crunchy or overly-complicated) I’m pretty much open to playing just about anything at least once.

There is the old standby of the standard D20 system that has been seen in the various flavors of Dungeons and Dragons or the various retro-clones such as Basic Fantasy, Castles and Crusades, OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord. There are a ton of other options in this category as well that covers other genres.

Lately, I’ve been impressed with the 2d20 system put out by Modiphius such as Star Trek Adventures, Dune: Adventures in the Imperium or John Carter of Mars. I even picked up the Conan books before they lost the license and I look forward to creating a character for the 2024 Character Creation Challenge.

Probably on the not-so-well known stage is the d100Lite system that is seen in such games as Barebones Fantasy, Covert Ops and Frontier Space. While I haven’t had a chance to play these systems yet, they look and read amazing.

There are also several other systems that I haven’t really mentioned here. But I’m sure my readers don’t have time for me to list just about everything. So my answer is kind of like Bubba’s answer to what his favorite beer is. But replace beer with what game system is currently being played at the table.

What is your favorite #TTRPG system (or systems)? 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: Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek

RPGaDay2023 Day 6: Favorite game you never get to play

So I had to think about this topic for Day 6 of the #RPGaDAY2023 Challenge. “Favorite game you never get to play.” Between physical copies and PDFs purchased online through DriveThruRPG or charity bundles I have a lot of games. Some I’ve read and they were OK, while others I’ve read and I’ve really wanted to try them out. So which one do I choose? Some of these covered science fiction, espionage, post-apocalyptic and more. I’ve never played the Star Trek RPG that was released by Last Unicorn Games, but considering how big of a fan I am of FASA Star Trek and Star Trek Adventures, I wouldn’t mind playing LUG Trek once to try it out, but it’s not really at the top of my list. I want to pick a game that not only would I want to play in a campaign, but I’d want to homebrew for like I have with FASA Trek and STA Trek.

So when I narrowed it down, I felt that Frontier Space by DWD Studios is my selection for this topic. It barely beats out Castles and Crusades (I’ve been told that I can hopefully get into a C&C game if I can get on their discord), Apes Victorious (I don’t know anyone who plays this, but it’s a D20 retro so it should be easy to pick up) and White Lies (an espionage game also by DWD Studios).

I’ve created a character for Frontier Space in a past Character Creation Challenge. The system is rolling a percentile to see if you succeed in a task with your Ability and Skill scores combined creating your target number to roll under (kinda similar to the 2d20 system seen in Star Trek Adventures) The character creation process is pretty straight forward and I thought was easy to understand. The universe it is set in sounds intriguing to play, but the system could easily be adapted for other franchises if desired. I love the use of percentile dice and I am a big fan of science fiction. So perhaps, someday I’ll be able to get some friends into a game?

I’ve actually talked with some RPG fans in my local Star Trek club about an idea of them showing up for a game night not knowing which game we will be experimenting with. I’d run a one-shot for them, explaining the rules and gathering their feedback for a future blog post. I need to get this done because I think it would be fun. Now I just need to get the time set aside to put something like this together. I hate the dreaded real-life/schedule curse.

What roleplaying game would you like to play that you haven’t had a chance to yet? 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: Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games

Introducing OSR to 5E players

Which rule-set should I use?

One of the proud geek-dad moments that I have is knowing that my oldest daughter has been playing 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons with her friends for many years now. Even when all of the friends went to different colleges, they found a way to continue the campaign online (when schedules allow). My daughter mentioned that they wanted to get together over winter break and try to have a game. I mentioned that, if they were interested, I’d be willing to run a one-shot game introducing them to one of the old school rules. To my surprise, they accepted.

Oh boy, now what?

The first question I have to tackle is, which rule-set should I use? The only stipulation from the group was “we don’t want to play fourth edition“. I quickly explained that the OSR style are usually something before Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 or 3.5. So I started looking at all of the original and clone books (and PDFs) that I have available to choose from.

Dungeons and Dragons Holmes Basic– One of the earliest games that I’ve got in my library. But I don’t know if the players could find a copy of the rules. I have many memories of looking through this book.

Dungeons and Dragons B/X- This is the game that I cut my teeth on. The rules are available on DriveThruRPG if the players wanted. It is one of the most popular old-school rules.

Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia- BECMI was the first set that I owned. Both the Basic red book and the Rules Cyclopedia are available on DTRPG. I would love to introduce this edition to my daughter’s group.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons- The first edition of the AD&D rules. As I’ve mentioned previously in my blog, my early gaming group would rotate between B/X, BECMI and AD&D depending upon who is running. AD&D does give more options for players and this is an experienced group. But would it be good for a one-shot?

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition- I still have the original player’s handbook for this game from 1989. It is available on DTRPG. It is slightly different from first edition. I’d have to think about this one.

Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game- A big advantage for this retro-clone is that the rules are available for free on their website. It combines some old-school feel with some modernization in the rules that have impressed me. I also like the modular setup so if I wanted to add some additional rules (classes, races, special rules, etc.) I just announce which add-ons the players should look at. This option is very tempting.

White Box: Fantasy Medieval Adventure Game- This is a clone of the original Dungeons and Dragons white box. I picked up a POD copy of this game earlier this year. But it is also available on DTRPG for free. This would be a learning experience for both of us if this game is selected.

Castles and Crusades- I had a chance to make a character for this system in the Character Creation Challenge and it impressed me. I’m not certain about a one shot, but I’d love to play this game in a campaign.

There are also quite a few other retro-clones that I haven’t mentioned. I didn’t want to go through my entire collection, but there are a several other options as well.

The next question I need to decide is: do I want to have the players experience the character creation of the selected OSR? We are playing in person and will only have 4-7 hours of gaming time. I could easily create several characters for them to choose from. But I remember rolling up characters all of the time in my early years. If I have the players create their own characters, I want to be available to answer questions. I may set up an online session zero to create the characters so we can spend most of the in-person time actually playing.

And finally, what scenario should I select? With this being a one-shot I could easily run one of the many modules that are out there. I have memories of The Keep on the Borderland, but could I fit it into the time allotted? I modified the adventure, The Jade Hare, when my nephew wanted an introduction session to Dungeons and Dragons. I’m really leaning towards a published module. If this was an actual campaign, I might consider more of a homebewed world.

So what system and one-shot module would you use to introduce some experienced 5E players to OSR? Pre-make the characters or have the players experience OSR character creation styles? While I’m leaning in the direction of a few options, I’m still open to suggestions. Feel free to shoot me ideas to Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com.

Yes, there will be several follow up posts on this event. I would like to keep you informed. Stay tuned.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Dune, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi, Star Trek

2022 Character Creation Challenge after action report

Note: If you made it through 31 days of the challenge, read to the bottom of the post.

So the 2022 Character Creation Challenge is now in the books and this was a bit different from the 2021 challenge. I don’t know if I was more enthusiastic about the games in 2021 or if it was something else. Not knowing if there was going to be a 2nd challenge, I used a lot of games that I really wanted to run/play. For 2022 there were more games of “well it’s there, let’s take a look at it” which may have been the wrong attitude. But I’m glad that I used those games. While there are some that I’ll never play and may even trade the games away, I can still say that I’ve dipped my toe into the water. I was worried that my lack of enthusiasm for that game may affect the creation process. There was a few times I told myself “smeg it, I’m done”. I still want to do a variety of games, but I’m wondering if I should just limit it to the games I would actually want to play? I’ve got some time to think about this.

I tried to use the time that would have been allotted to me in a session zero time frame to create a character for the challenge. For some games that I am not familiar with I would probably need a lot more time to learn the system. For games that I am familiar with, I would need time to think about a character concept that would go with a party. During the 31 day challenge I also made a Far Trek character for an online game. That was done in free time and it took a few days because I had to confirm what positions were still available. Unfortunately the Engineering spot had already been taken up otherwise I would have requested the use of the character I made in 2021.

My biggest suggestions for game writers, a checklist or worksheet is a big help. Give a start and an end to the character creation process that includes the allocation of equipment. There were some really funky and weird equipment guidelines in some of the games. Some kewl and some made me scratch my head and wonder what they were smoking. Also explain your system before character creation starts. I mean explain it simply and save the extra details for later in the book. If you are going to have a player pick a value or belief for the character, give more than 2-3 examples. Even if they don’t get used they may inspire other ideas.

I would like to say that I’m very surprised by a couple of things. A thank you has to go out to the companies that still have character sheets available online for games that they haven’t touched in years. I was also surprised that some of the dead games were still available on DriveThruRPG. Especially the Farscape RPG since it is based on an intellectual property.

Last year I only printed out the character sheets just before I needed to use them. This year I had this drive to have all sheets printed out and ready to go before the challenge started. I was really glad I did this. When I discovered that one game (sideways glance at Fantasy Imperium) had a six-page character sheet and that I had scheduled it for a weekday, I moved that game to a day I had off. I’ve played with character sheets in excel, fillable character sheets and even sheets provided in a virtual table top. But I have fond memories of writing things down on a printed out sheet and loved doing that as part of this challenge. When I found my three-ringed binder full of old characters that I had played, I had a blast remembering the past games.

Yes there will be a 2023 Character Creation Challenge. Details won’t be posted for quite some time however as I’ve got to decompress.

The reaction to this year’s challenge is one of the many things that blew me away. The 2022 Character Creation thread on the RPG.net forums was named a Staff Pick by the moderators. This year’s thread has made it up to (at the time of this posting) 128 pages. This was three times larger than the 2021 thread of 42 pages. I loved reading all of the different blogs that participated. If I don’t have your blog on the Character Creation Page, please send me the URL. On social media I could not keep up with all of the entries using the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge. This was particularly true on twitter, that place was gangbusters. I tried to like and re-tweet as much as I could but some days that got to be too much. If I missed your post, don’t feel bad. Ten days into the challenge I realized that I should have kept a tally of how many entries there were for each system, but in 20/20 hindsight I’m glad I didn’t. That could have taken up a ton of time. Perhaps I’d do this if I wasn’t actually creating characters, but I really want to roll dice since I haven’t been able to get together with friends on a regular basis. There was a number of entries also posted on Facebook and MeWe. It wouldn’t surprise me if similar threads were popping up on other social media sites and message boards. If you hear of any that I don’t follow, please let me know.

Speaking of reactions, I added a new plugin for my site this year that tracked the number of visitors. It showed the sites that you guys would read. The top five games that brought in the most visitors was Dungeons & Dragons: Holmes Basic, Classic Traveller, Espionage! and Dungeons & Dragons: B/X edition. I still need to find a way to enable followers to comment on blog posts without having to worry about spambots infiltrating everything.

The 2022 games that made the most impression on me are Dune: Adventures in the Imperium, Star Trek Adventures-The Klingon Empire, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Boldly Go!, White Lies! and Covert Ops. I want to take deeper looks at Tiny Dungeon 2nd edition, Amazing Adventures 5E, Modern Age, Castle & Crusades and Classic Traveller. While I may never get a chance to play them, I do have a greater appreciation for Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Paranoia 2nd Edition. The low points of this challenge were Fantasy Imperium and Blue Rose.

A lot of participants were posting their list of games before the challenge started. While I had a spreadsheet created to help me with my entries, I’m glad that I didn’t post it. I swapped out a couple of games when two new games came into my possession. The two I rotated out was Rocket Age and The Frontier, which should be on my 2023 challenge list.

Here is my final 2022 Character Creation Challenge list.
Day 1: Dune Adventures in the Imperium Character: Tarkin Dal of the House Nimoi
Day 2: Wendy’s Feast of Legends Character: Garthos of the Order of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Day 3: Dungeons & Dragons-Holmes Basic Character: Dylath
Day 4: Men in Black The Roleplaying Game Character: Agent C
Day 5: BASH! Sci-Fi Edition Character: TaChar
Day 6: Star Wars Saga Edition Character: Keet Apaal
Day 7: Espionage! Character: Devron Marcus
Day 8: Star Trek Adventures-The Klingon Empire Character: Nurot son of H’unos
Day 9: Pirates and Plunder Character: Jason “Jake” McCabe
Day 10: Modern Age Character: Raymond Ray
Day 11: Farscape Roleplaying Game Character: Drellith
Day 12: Castles and Crusades Character: Godfrey of Cloverdale
Day 13: The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game Character: Judge Stark
Day 14: Boldly Go! Character: Tigrox Carvor of the SFS Valiant
Day 15: Covert Ops Character: William Greene
Day 16: Paranoia 2nd Edition Character: Car-R-PET-1
Day 17: Fantasy Imperium Character: William Moore
Day 18: Cyberpunk v3 Character: Freejack
Day 19: Amazing Adventures 5E Character: Derick Fieldstone
Day 20: Dungeons & Dragons B/X edition Character: Brother Alexander
Day 21: Prime Directive 1st edition Character: Kovil
Day 22: Werewolf The Apocalypse Character: Hans Brulker
Day 23: MERC Character: Mark Powell
Day 24: Dungeon Crawl Classics Character: Multiple
Day 25: White Lies! Character: Ronald Denton
Day 26: Classic Traveller Character: Tyrell Balto
Day 27: Blue Rose Character: Valk Starn
Day 28: Bubblegum Crisis Character: Taxun
Day 29: Technoir Character: Arron “Trench” Chambers
Day 30: Dark Conspiracy Character: Dale Laslow
Day 31: Tiny Dungeon 2nd edition Character: Rek Son of Talk

While I’m not trying to think of the 2023 challenge yet, I’m really hoping that I can find a copy of Star Frontiers for it. I’m also having doubts that I’ll ever find my Top Secret S/I collection. I may have to break down and see if I can acquire the rules again.

Also, if you purchased anything after clicking on the link to DriveThruRPG, thank you. I’m not doing this blog to make money, but the kickback helps when making game purchases for future challenges.

So did you complete the challenge and make 31 characters? If so, please email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com. My art school kid in college loved hearing about the characters I was making on a daily basis and the challenge in general. She created a badge for those who completed the challenge. If you buzz me, I’ll send you the badge to display.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games

2022 Character Creation Challenge Day 12: Castles and Crusades

So the books seen in the photo are dead-tree versions of several Castle and Crusades sourcebooks. I have the 7th Printing of the Castles and Crusades Players Handbook that I picked up one one of the DriveThruRPG specials. This is published by Troll Lord Games who has put out a lot of material for this D20 fantasy game. I’ve read some good reviews on other websites so I thought I’d add it to the 2022 Character Creation Challenge.

So the RAW states that 3d6 are rolled for the attributes (as used in the D20 SRD) and are assigned as desired by the player. You also selected two (possibly more) primary attributes which your character is really good at using when making non-combat checks. Primary attributes are easier to succeed with. I rolled these and the next step was to pick the class (before picking your race). The Knight was a class that I had not seen in other D20 fantasy games so I selected that one. I had to read up the differences between a Fighter and a Knight. The Knight gets some leadership abilities and seems Paladin-like without the minor Cleric powers. Like the classic games, each class has it’s own Experience Point Progression instead of using the same scale for all classes.

I was really tempted to make the character a Halfling Knight, but alas, the RAW do not allow it. I kept trying to pull away from the idea of playing this character as a Human because the image of Prince Charming from the Shrek movies kept popping into my head. I eventually gave in and made him a blond haired human but not as evil as the character in the movies. He will be quite good when it comes to actions and alignments.

All right, equipment time. Thanks to my character being a knight he already has a mount and all of the items that come with it. I didn’t roll enough starting gold pieces to get any type of plate armor, but that will be a goal for him as he travels on his quest as a Knight in the Order of the Griffon.

Afterthoughts:

I’d really like to see how C&C plays at the table. Other than the friend who gave me the books in the photo, I haven’t personally known anyone to collect or play this game.

When I picked up my digital copy of the C&C Players Handbook, it was still the 7th printing. Troll Lord Games has recently released an 8th printing of the Players Handbook. I do not know how the two printings compare.

I also tried something different with this PDF copy of the game. I took advantage of the bookmarks already in the document. I was a little frustrated that I could not make my own bookmarks. I don’t know if there was a technical or permissions issue. I’ll have to explore this further.

Additional Notes:

I’m seeing more people re-tweet posts using the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge. Let’s see some more.

Coming Up Next:

I AM THE LAW!!!! The Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game

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