Posted in: Anime, Character Creation Challenge, Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Humor, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Top Secret, Westerns

2024 Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

And we’ve reached the end of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. If you made it to 31 days, congratulations. Send me a note via email (carl (at) tardiscaptain.com) on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. My daughter is currently working on a new graphic for those that completed the challenge and I’d like to make sure that it gets sent to you upon completion.

I did make it to 31 characters, but I was delayed by a few days due to a family emergency. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me to ask. One poster mentioned that they had seen a lack of entries for the last two days. My mother and grandmother were involved in an automobile accident. The good news is that they are OK with no injuries and they are just fine (other than needing to replace a minivan). But it was a little scary for me when I found out.

I noticed that the Scooby Doo gang was used in a lot of different themes by participants (seeing Velma and Daphne in the Doctor Who RPG was a hoot). It was interesting to see them show up in different gaming systems. On the discord server there was a very good representation of characters from 80’s movies represented in the Power Rangers Roleplaying Game. It was kind of a trip down memory lane since I hadn’t seen some of these moves in a LONG time. There was also a participant who was making Star Trek characters for three different RPG systems for several entries. It was interesting to see the characters side-by-side. One of the most unexpected discoveries wasn’t a current participant, but someone who participated back in the first challenge in 2021. Apparently it got him out of some serious mental funk that he had been dealing with. It got him back into blogging and eventually back into writing RPGs (that he had done before). It was an emotional moment for me when I read his blog post.

Of the entries that I used for 2024, the games that stood out to me were Monty Python, Fallout, White Lies and Star Trek Alpha Quadrant. I really enjoyed making a character for Teenagers from Outerspace and I’ve been watching some classic comedy anime lately While Vintage Space didn’t fully scratch the FASA Star Trek itch that I was trying to recall, it did get some gears turning that may result in a future project. I also appreciated the publishers that responded when I posted characters for their games. They were able to answer some of my questions that I had raised in the blog posts. I tried to post those responses in the “Additional Notes” section of an entry a day or two later.

The disappointments were those games that were needlessly crunchy or overbearing. I had a few readers on Mastodon and a few of the message boards respond with similar experiences, which made me feel like I wasn’t such an idiot. I’m still digesting Cowboy Bebop and I have a few things I want to check out before I post my unboxing and final thoughts entry.

Here is my 2024 list of characters:

Day 1: Fallout Character: Ragnal Walker of Vault 47
Day 2: Hackmaster Basic Character: Cid the Kid
Day 3: White Star Galaxy Edition Character: Jenker Slix
Day 4: Fantasy Quest (Dicing w/ Dragons) Character: Alric Hinman
Day 5: Top Secret S.I. Character: Nick Tanner
Day 6: Tiny Wastelands Character Stewart Barlow
Day 7: The Dark Eye Character: Halmar
Day 8: Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant Character: Tropp
Day 9: Monty Python Character: Sir Richard Hammond
Day 10: Basic Fantasy 4th Edition Character: Durlan Torven
Day 11: Teenagers from Outerspace Character: Prince Zaxxod
Day 12: The Spy Game Character: James “Captain Slow” May
Day 13: Star Ace Character: Balkor
Day 14: Ninjas and Superspies Character: Luke Ward
Day 15: Conan Character: Braga
Day 16: Boot Hill Character: Noah ‘Lasso’ Johnson
Day 17: White Lies 2nd edition Character: Jack Sterling
Day 18: Vintage Space Character: Troxtor
Day 19: Fantasy Hero Character: Drokkin the Dwarf
Day 20: Shadowrun Anarchy Character: Spike
Day 21: Nights Black Agents Character: Kendal Barker
Day 22: Barbarians of Lemuria Character: Kruk
Day 23: Starfinder Character: Sarangari
Day 24: Crypts & Things Character: Azor
Day 25: Cyberpunk Red Character: Indigo
Day 26: Dungeons and Dragons Essentials Characters: Pelloth Graysoul
Day 27: Cowboy Bebop Character: Wayne Wolf
Day 28: Rolemaster Fantasy Character: Hobson Silversting
Day 29: Tiny Frontiers Character: YYZ-2112
Day 30: Pathfinder 2nd edition Character: Rogar of the Granitebender Clan
Day 31: Anarchy Character: Marcell Freeman

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

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: Alien, Conventions, Dungeons and Dragons, James Bond, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek

#RPGaDay2023 Day 1: First RPG Played (this year)

Alright I was able to get through the month of July, so let’s start the #RPGaDAY2023 challenge that I had posted about previously. The day 1 topic is “First RPG played (this year)”. OK, this should be easy.

Except it wasn’t. I had to go back and check. I thought it was my FarTrek game, but it appears that the first half of the year was under the dreaded “schedule curse”. So my first games were at SaltCON in March. At this gaming convention I was able to play the following roleplaying games in one shots.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition- The GM was really good. If I had a good GM like that, I could see myself participating in a campaign. Lots of stuff in Pathfinder that could become too overwhelming if not handled well.

Alien– I had a lot of fun in this game. It was my first try at the system and I could see that I’d prefer a character that I had made instead of a pre-made one. Besides being a big fan of the Alien franchise, I had met the author of the RPG at a previous FanX: The Salt Lake Comic Convention.

Dungeon Crawl Classics– I’ve always wanted to play in a level-0 funnel and SaltCON gave me the opportunity to try this out. DCC is another game that I could see myself playing as part of a campaign.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition- A filler game after another game I had scheduled was canceled.

Mistborn– I didn’t really have fun on this game. See the SaltCON Spring 2023 After Action blog post.

James Bond 007– The classic game from the 80’s. It was my first time playing it and I had a blast.

Star Trek Adventures– The GM ran us through a scenario that was inspired by Star Trek: Lower Decks. This was before the new Lower Decks Campaign Guide had come out.

GURPS– The scenario was set in the Aliens universe. This was where I was glad that I didn’t have to create a character.

Cyberpunk RED– It was good to step back into this universe after I had played the original Cyberpunk many years ago.

What was the first role playing game you played this year? 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: Alien, Conventions, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, James Bond, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek

SaltCON Spring 2023 After Action Report

Loot from SaltCON Spring 2023

So I finally had a chance to recover from my first SaltCON (apparently I was not capitalizing CON as I should have been) and I’m putting my thoughts down here before they all escape my head. TL/DR section: I had a blast and I can’t wait to attend another one.

As you can see from the photo above, I was able to walk away with some loot that I gathered at the con. Three games in the swap meet room that I can use for the 2024 Character Creation Challenge (and another upcoming secret project that I hope to announce soon). These are Barbarians of Lemuria Legendary Edition, Crypts & Things and Shadowrun Anarchy. Three books I didn’t know existed. I also picked up the Star Trek Adventures Player’s Guide and Star Trek Adventures Gamemaster’s Guide from a dealer that I only see at conventions, and always buy Star Trek books from. It’s almost become a tradition that we’ve been doing since the early 2000’s. I also picked up a t-shirt for the convention.

So if you read my Prepping for SaltCon 2023 blog entry, you will know that I had a signed up for a lot of different roleplaying sessions. Here is how they went.

Some of the characters I played over the weekend.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition by Pazio: I played a half-elf rogue who was working with several other party members to help a merchant named Nelar in recovering some heirlooms from his family crypts. He was planning to sell them in order to save his business. The PF2 system was pretty straight forward. The gamemaster explained the differences in the rules and was very helpful. I liked how he used colored poker chips to represent each “bad guy” and then had a colored stand to represent where each person was in the initiative order. The adventure was very simplistic (get in, get past the defenses and get out) and I’m not certain if it was published or an original adventure. The GM was understanding when my paranoid PC brain went into effect. I thought that someone was attempting to stop us so that they could ruin the merchant’s business. The PF2 rules were not too bad and I’d be interested in playing more. A pre-generated character was used and I’ll probably make a character for the next Character Creation Challenge. I picked up a bunch of the books on PDF from a recent bundle sale. However I really wish that Pazio’s website didn’t suck when it comes to downloading the PDF purchases.

Alien by Free League: I’ve already mentioned meeting the author previously and how I wanted to try this game. When we first started, the large room used for RPGs at SaltCON was filling up. This resulted in more noise which ended up helping with the “lots of pressure” portion of the game since we were in uncomfortable situations. There were only two players for this session and we both played Colonial Marines. We were escorting a group of scientists and corporate flunkies to a new planet to explore. As you can imagine, we ended up running into Aliens, Engineers and Predators. I used a pre-generated character, but would have loved to use the character I had made earlier this year in the Character Creation Challenge. I would like to play this system in a campaign.

Dungeon Crawl Classics by Goodman Games: Yes I got to experience a zero-level funnel for this game. I had read about it previously and really wanted to try it. We were going through one of the printed adventures with a full table. It was very interesting attempting to use just the equipment that we were assigned before heading out on the adventure. I was attempting to make the surface under the feet of a summoned demon slippery by using the fine sand carried by a gravedigger. Eventually between all of the zero-level characters we were able to defeat the bad guy. I’d still like to play this system in a campaign.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition: This game was canceled due to the DM falling ill which was too bad because the adventure scenario sounded really fun. Hopefully the DM can run it at the next con. So I went over to the Dungeons and Dragons Adventures League table and created a 1st level dwarven fighter and jumped into an intro game. We had to track down some bandits that had attacked a caravan. The local league handed out some wooden tokens with logos on them for participating.

Mistborn by Crafty Games: I went into this session not knowing anything about the system or the original source material. I was hoping to learn about both. The books were set in a world were only the nobles were supposed to have magic, but you could get magic by sipping vials of liquid with metal flakes in them, or something like that. The system was really, really funky. The scenario was a murder mystery and our criminal gang was like a group of Leverage type characters, I think. We actually had some combat in the last 10 minutes of the game and it was really bad. I do not see myself playing this system in the future. When I made a character for John Carter of Mars, I was inspired to go download the John Carter books for my Kindle. I was not inspired to go look at the source material for this game.

James Bond 007 by Victory Games: Excellent game master with an excellent scenario. He was able to explain the rules quickly and answered any questions that we had. We played members of the ResQ branch of MI-6 and our job was to help James Bond complete his assignment (keep the bad guys away from him, help if something is incomplete or messes up) without him knowing that we are there. So we have to help fight the bad guys as well as keep undercover. There was an excellent group of players (including one that had never seen the Bond films). Now that I’ve had a chance to try the JB007 RPG system, I’m sad that I missed out on it. However, the Classified RPG is a retroclone of the James Bond game and the GM was using parts of that book.

Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius: This scenario was heavily inspired by Star Trek: Lower Decks. We were a band of misfits working together on a California-class starship under a drunk captain. I randomly drew the human helmsman that was fresh out of the academy (where he had annoyed his flight instructor). So I played the character as a kid with his voice breaking the entire game. I got compliments from the other players for that. It was also good to get another dive into the STA system and I’d like to be able to continue in a campaign and homebrew some items.

Artemis- Dominion War: This was a LAN computer game set up like a Star Trek bridge in one of the side rooms at the convention. One computer was set up for the engineer, another for weapons, science, helm, etc. I was asked to play the captain of an Excelsior-class starship trying to defend the Federation. All of the players were new to the game and I thought we did quite well for a bunch of newbies. This was my only non-RPG game of the weekend. Many thanks to the volunteers of the USS White Buffalo for putting this together.

GURPS by Steve Jackson Games: Yes, I gave a not-so-good review when I created a GURPS character in the last challenge, but the gameplay system itself isn’t too bad. If I don’t have to make a character, then I don’t mind playing. The GM ran us through a game set in the Aliens universe. It had a ton of action and we were either laughing at our jokes or running for our lives. I liked how the GM handed us equipment cards with our ammo limits on the cards. Every time we fired, we had to mark off the number of shots we had taken.

Cyberpunk RED by R. Talsorian Games: So I had played the classic Cyberpunk back when it first came out. I had even made a character for Cyberpunk v3.0 in a past challenge. It was interesting catching up with this universe (there had been a lot of changes from the previous products) and the GM ran it really well (he was the same GM that ran the James Bond game). I was impressed with the system and I’ve moved it up on my buy list. I know at least one friend who is/was playing this so I wonder if I could get into a campaign sometime in the future.

Final thoughts:

As I mentioned above, I had a lot of fun at SaltCON. I made sure to give some thanks to one of the organizers at the front desk before I left. I had picked up a con t-shirt as well and I’ve already purchased my ticket for the summer event. The spring event sold out and the summer event has even less tickets available. There are water bottle refill stations at the Davis Convention Center. The food sold at the concessions stand was not bad (and about average price) but I also brought a couple of snacks in my backpack to tide me over until I had a meal break. The con is very very heavy on the board game side that it seems to drown other games out (again it went years before I realized there was more than just D&D Adventures League there). Even the swap meet and flea market were 95-98% board games. I think I was lucky to find the three books that I did. I wonder what it would take to get more of an RPG presence in the swap meet or flea market? I’d hate to haul a bunch of books down only to find out that I brought the wrong things. I did like that the swap meet was set up with the game, a post it note with the price, contact info and venmo info for the seller. I could just text the person and get a confirmation that my purchase was complete.

When I was talking about the con online I had a few responses from Utah players saying “Wait? There’s a gaming con in Utah?” and I would provide some details. So hopefully there will be a few new attendees at future events. This event had 2,000 gamers and it was considered a sell out. I’ve been told that the con is always looking for GMs to run games in exchange for free admission (and the number of hours required was very reasonable). One friend even asked me if I wanted to run a game. But that goes back to my conundrum of “I want SaltCON to be my non-volunteer convention.” If I were to GM anything, I’d probably try to run something non-standard or out-of-print like the James Bond experience I was able to enjoy. There were a few people who came by to see if any openings had become available. You’d want to experience something at a convention that you don’t normally get a chance to play or do. A track of these games would really make the con stand out.

I was warned ahead of time to sign up for my games as soon as possible using the online scheduling system. The gaming schedules were a little weird when I was trying to coordinate my schedule with some overlapping preventing me from trying out a few systems. Games of a similar nature overlapping each other (two STA games within the same timeframe). I found out later that the GMs set their own times. I would hope that someone could coordinate to try to avoid the overlap. The one GM who ran Dune got a lot of “I wish I could have played” responses so he is planning more than one session for SaltCON Summer. I did like the fact that I could download the schedule to a calendar file that I could import into my Google calendar. I then had it at my finger tips when I needed to check what was coming up (or go back and read the original description).

I made some new contacts at the convention which was kewl. I’ve always felt that RPGs was a social interaction that was better experienced in person. I also had the opportunity to meet up with some gaming buddies that I hadn’t seen in a while. With one, we had 30 years of catching up to do. Besides trying out a few different systems I also got to see some techniques and tools in action. When I got home I had to order the 20in1 Card Deck from Precis Intermedia. I was also impressed with the Roll 4 Initiative Dry Erase Dungeon Tiles that was used by one GM. If I had found either one of these, or a copy of Cyberpunk RED, in the dealers room, I would have picked them up then.

The only real negative thing I’d probably say was the game room itself. As I mentioned above, it got really noisy at some times. During our James Bond game there was some sort of multi-table game going on where some in-game yelling was going on and we had to stop until the yelling had ceased. This really disturbed the other tables and probably should have been moved to another area.

I’m glad that SaltCON is here and I’m also glad that it is only a few miles away from where I live. It was very nice not to travel down daily to Salt Lake like I usually do for conventions down there. It was really good to roll the dice and have fun in a few games over the weekend.

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

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