Posted in: Collecting, Conventions, Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars

SaltCON-Summer 2024 After Action Report

Loot from SaltCON-Summer 2024.

Well I thought the picture of the loot at the top was not so fuzzy, but I’m not going to re-take it now. Hey, I survived another SaltCON both as a player and gamemaster. It was fun, lesson learning, idea forming, friend making and just a little stressful. But I wouldn’t know a convention that didn’t have those.

I did get some loot at this con, but for a while I was worried that I wasn’t going to find anything. The game swap only had one person bring in RPG books and I ended up buying three items from him. The hardbound book Codex of Erde (an earlier edition of the Codex of Aihrde from Troll Lord Games) and two boxed sets of Dungeon Crawl Classic modules called “The Heroes Arise” and “The Saga of the Dragon Cult”. The modules in each boxed set would form a campaign that could take characters from first to high levels. The boxed sets were in really good shape considering their age with only one book showing any damage. I also picked up five token trays that I planned to use for my Star Trek Adventures game. These had been created by a local artist. The convention organizers gave me a set of dice as a thank you for running my games (they were purple, they went to my geek wife) and I also picked up a convention t-shirt. I love how they have a different design each convention.

For the gaming sessions I played in, this is how it went.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition- We had to find a lost puppy owned by the local magistrate. Unfortunately this lost puppy was a three-headed hellhound and was burning up the town. And, as fate would have it, we were not the only party looking for the wayward pet.

The One Ring– Set in the times between the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, our party had been hired by a not-so-trustworty dwarf in an attempt to find a treasure left behind by his recently-deceased uncle. I really liked the system as it worked very well with the Middle Earth universe that we were familiar with. I may have to pick up this system.

Star Wars D6- I missed out going to this game due to real-world issues and I tried to track down the GM to explain why (apparently no one else had shown up for the 9am game either). But the good news is that I was able to track down an AC tech to fix the air-conditioning unit at my house.

Stellar Odyssey– A RPG created by a Utah author. I had been in some of his games at past conventions and since I suddenly had an opening in my schedule, I signed up. This was a Star Trek inspired game where you play the crew of an intrepid starship doing missions for a planetary union. The emphasis is on social combat (with initiatives and different methods you could use to convince others to see your way/perform an action/etc.) with actual combat limited to a single die roll. The system made sense and really encouraged roleplaying. The starship stats (and how they could be used to enhance your dice pool) also made sense. I may have to use this game in an upcoming Character Creation Challenge.

Ter’Ra’Mentia- This was only an hour long intro session and I was the only person present in the time-slot. This allowed me to ask a lot of different questions without feeling guilty that I was taking away from the other players. I’m also a ‘hands on’ person when it comes to learning a game, so this helped very much. While I don’t know if I’d be able to pick up this game, I now have a better understanding of it. It’s basically a 2d12 system+skill points to beat a target number.

The Walking Dead- This was a scenario set in Utah. Which meant that the players were (mostly) familiar with the area. While it did end early (four players in a family had to go) I did get a chance to try the system. It felt like a game where dread was always around because even with the dice pools, we hardly got any successes. We didn’t have all bad luck, but it didn’t feel like we were in a cinematic cake-walk either. I don’t know how I’d feel about this. The constant wear-down of not getting successes might get old in a campaign. I’d probably have to actually try a campaign to see how I felt.

This is how the games I ran turned out.

The Star Trek Adventures game that I was going to run only had one person show up. It was probably the time slot that I had selected on a Sunday that did this in. I would have run this on a Saturday, but originally a family commitment would have kept me out for the whole day. When plans changed and I only needed to leave for the evening, it was too late to change the date. With the single player I sat down and explained the game basics to him. It was his first convention and I think he was excited to just try something more than Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder.

Basic Fantasy went better than I expected. I got to use a new GMs tool to help draw out the map of the bandit’s lair that the party was trying to escape from (I’ll have a review blog post very soon on this). Most of the players were use to 5e so I had to explain some OSR styles (running away is an option, your character may die if you are not careful, etc.) Well they took this to heart and actually worked together very well to facilitate their escape. While looking up a rule really quick, I reminded myself of one of the basic guidelines for running a game. Keep the flow going and don’t be afraid to make judgment calls instead of slowing down play by looking up rules. I had one player tell me afterwards that he hadn’t been a fan of the D20 games, but would play more Basic Fantasy if offered because he had fun in my game.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, getting together is one of the highlights of playing RPGs. On the first day I bumped into a GM for Savage Worlds. He asked if I wanted to go through a quick demo, which I jumped at since it gave me the chance to check out a system I had never played. Turns out this guy runs an RPG video blog on YouTube called the Ace Roleplaying Games Club. He even named dropped my blog in his own SaltCON after-action report. Thanks Mason.

Once again I’d like to thank the army of volunteers and coordinators for putting SaltCON-Summer together. While I was disappointed in the swap meet (I really wish more people would bring their RPG books looking for new homes) I could see how people were having fun over the weekend. Even the convention organizers. I got to meet up with some friends that I only seem to see at these conventions as well. That is an added bonus to attending the convention.

Also note to self, don’t forget to pack some antacid tablets in your convention backpack just in case the nacho cheese served at the convention center affects me again.

Have you been to any gaming conventions lately? Tell me about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

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

Prepping for SaltCON Summer 2024

The two games that I am running at SaltCON-Summer 2024.

Soon I’ll be enjoying another gaming weekend at SaltCON-Summer 2024 at the Davis Convention Center. As you can see above, I signed up to run two more games again. You can read about my past adventures at SaltCON in my past blog entries. I will be packing my Convention Backpack that I have documented in a previous blog post.

For this convention, I’ll be running two adventures that I did not write. I wanted to try some of the adventures that others had put out. The first will be for Basic Fantasy 4th Edition. Just in case any of the people signing up for my game might be reading, I’ll reveal the adventure after the convention. The second game is going to be a Star Trek Adventures game. Which one, however, I couldn’t say. When I originally signed up, I elected to run a Star Trek Adventures Klingon Empire adventure. However, just after I had signed up, Modiphius had released the Star Trek Adventures 2nd Edition Quickstart Rules. So I’m going to give the players who show up a choice. Klingon or 2nd Edition Quickstart. It will be interesting to see how this goes. I’ve read through the Quickstart rules and they sound better. I can’t wait for the 2nd Edition core rulebook to come out.

Here are the games that I’ve signed up to play at SaltCON-Summer 2024.

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition- The adventure sounded interesting. It’s also being run by a friend of mine so I wanted to support him.

The One Ring– I’ve never played this system before so I thought I’d try it out. Plus I’ve always been a fan of the Lord of the Rings books.

Star Wars D6– A fan-continuation of the original West End Games D6 Star Wars roleplaying game. I haven’t played this system in years.

Ter’Ra’Mentia– This is the fantasy game written by some Utah authors. I met them at last year’s FanX when they were promoting their KickStarter. This will be a demo of the game.

The Walking Dead Universe RPG– The GM is running a scenario set in Utah. I’m very interested to see how this runs.

I know it doesn’t sound like many games. But SaltCON-Summer is only three days instead of the spring event which has four. But, I’m looking forward to sitting down with some friends (or soon-to-be new friends) and throwing some dice. I wonder if I’ll find any RPG bargains in the game swap? Look for the after-action report soon.

What should I be on the look out for? Any recommendations for the games I’m going to be playing? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

The Federation-Klingon War Tactical Campaign First Look

Last year, my Father’s Day gift was the Star Trek: Lower Decks Campaign Guide for use with the Star Trek: Adventures system by Modiphius. This year the Father’s Day gift arrived early with the release of The Federation-Klingon War Tactical Campaign. As with the Lower Decks book and the Utopia Planitia sourcebook, I’ll be writing up a review and initial look through.

The book that was ordered from the Modiphius website arrived shrink-wrapped and in a bubble-wrap filled shipping box. It is a hardbound book with 231 color filled pages and contains a bookmark ribbon. In the book breakdown there is an introduction, eight chapters, and appendices and an index. The ISBN number is 978-1-80281-079-0 with the product number of MUH0142308. The project manager is Jim Johnson and the lead writer is Al Spader. There are a large number of additional writers listed as well. Reading through the credits, I have to wonder… how can I get a job as a canon editor? (Tremble before my encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek!)

The first chapter includes several new lifepath options with several new races. The blind Aenar (first seen in Star Trek: Enterprise), the Arcadians (first seen in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), the centaur like Ariolo (also from Star Trek IV), the Betelgeusians, the Cordanites (seen in Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery) and the Megarites (both the Betelgeusians and Megarites were first seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture). Previously we had seen roleplaying stats for Arcadians and Ariolo in the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Sourcebook Update from FASA. Out of curiosity I looked up the attribute stats for the Arcadians and Ariolo. If I was going to homebrew the stats based off of the information from the FASA sourcebook, I’m sure I would have come up with the same attributes listed in this book.

There are also several new traits, values, talents and equipment listed as well in chapter one. I thought it was interesting that there was random tables for some of the different options and several quickbuild rules for the different roles.

Chapter two is dedicated to the game master for a wartime campaign. It gives advice on a session zero and a safety checklist (very well done by-the-way). The books talks about campaign stages and turns and the types of missions that would be needed. A timeline of key events in the Klingon-Federation war is also presented. I really liked the section for notable star systems. They had a lot more details on the systems involved as compared to previous publications. Planetary classification, land mass, number of moons, etc. The last section in this chapter is some optional rules for “The Admiralty Game”.

In Chapter three we are introduced to the campaign rules of play. It discusses the various resource assets and the power levels they contain. There are also various random charts for some of these. I’m not certain if I’ll be able to play these myself, but I’m interested in keeping an eye on them.

Chapter four talks about the early war campaign, chapter five covers the mid-war and the late war by chapter six. These all contains several mission briefs that can be used by the game master.

Starships are the focus of chapter seven. Some we have seen, some that look new. There is also information on fleet organization, logistics and planning.

The various adversaries and allies are listed in chapter eight. Not only are they from Star Trek: Discovery, but from Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

The appendices contains the Gamemaster Campaign Tracker, the Player Campaign Tracker and the Safety Checklist.

This is the last publication for the first edition of the Star Trek Adventures RPG. For those of you who don’t know, a second edition of the core rulebook was announced and will be released at Gen Con this August. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the release of that book. While I had some suggestions for it when I first heard the announcement, I felt that Modiphius was probably past the point of using them. So I’ll just have faith in them and eagerly await the publication. I’ve also seen several posters on social media wonder if the Federation-Klingon War Tactical Campaign that could only be used for the Star Trek: Discovery timeframe. The publishers have provided enough information and details that this could be used for wartime conflicts as seen other eras. This will be a book that both gamemasters and players will get use out of.

Have you picked up this book? What did you think of the game information, internal art, or new gaming options that were provided. 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: Collecting, Conventions, Horror, James Bond, Red Dwarf, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars

SaltCON-Spring 2024 After Action Report

Loot from the 2024 SaltCON Spring

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

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

A special pin just for the convention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

Have you been to any gaming conventions lately? Tell me about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

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

Prepping for SaltCON Spring 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What should I be on the look out for? Any recommendations for the games I’m going to be playing? This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: 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

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 15: Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of

We are half way through the month and half way through the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Today I will be using Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of by Modiphius. This is part of their 2d20 system. I’ve created characters under this system for Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook, Star Trek Adventures Klingon Core Rulebook, Dune Adventures in the Imperium, John Carter of Mars and earlier this month, Fallout. So it will be interesting to see how the character creation process stacks up. Conan came out before Star Trek Adventures. So we will see.

There isn’t any availability for this game other than the physical books through Ebay. Modiphius gave up the license after they decided that they had completed the line. I’ve heard that another company will be picking up the Conan line, but I don’t think it will be using the same system. Just before the Modiphius license expired last year, they had a massive sale for all of the PDF books at a very good price. So I had to pick it up to use in the Character Creation Challenge.

The PDF of the core rulebook has 440 pages and contains bookmarks. The character creation process starts in chapter 2 on page 13. The character sheet is three pages long with the last page reserved for spells.

There are ten steps in the process. The first step is to select a homeland. The RAW states to roll 2d20 and check the chart. A roll of 21 resulted in the character being from Brythunia (and it gives a page number for more information). This gives us the Talent of Cosmopolitan and the language of Brythunian. The Cosmopolitan talent allows you to talk with other characters who also posses this talent.

Step two is the attributes. These are Agility, Awareness, Brawn, Coordination, Intelligence, Personality and Willpower and range from 6-12 when the process is completed. All of these attributes start with a value of 7. Now I am instructed to roll a d20 twice to determine the character’s two attribute aspects. These resulted in “Wise and Friendly” and “Socially Adept”. These both came with two mandatory attribute increases and I can pick one of two optional attribute increases. I adjusted my notes after making my choices.

The Caste is step three in the process. This is the social class that the character came out of. The caste will give the character two talents, one skill and a story. From the chart I rolled a Farmer. I wrote down the skills, effects and social standing and moved onto step four, the story.

A story has the background elements of the character and is rolled on a chart for the caste determined in step three. I found the Farmer stories and rolled a four “Ample for Winter”. For some reason there was a second line for caste on the character sheet, but none for story. So I assumed this was a mistake and wrote my story information there. No skills or other adjustments were provided here that I could see.

Here in step five we get to roll (or choose) an Archetype. This sounds like a class. I looked over the descriptions and decided to let the dice roll. If I didn’t like it, the example stated that I could just pick one. The d20 clacks on the table resulting in 11, a Pirate. Pirates are kewl, but how would a Farmer become a Pirate? Yea, I’m making the choice that this guy will be a Mercenary. More of a land based guy since he was once a farmer. Not only are there several skills obtained, but the first equipment items that I wrote down.

Next on step six, Nature we roll for what the character does or act in a certain way. Sticking with the randomness of the dice I rolled a 13: Sneaky. I looked up what is gained from this. +1 to a single attribute (awareness) and some more skills and my first talent (at least the first that I can see, the example had two listed for them by now, but they were on a different path so??)

Education is step seven. The dice rolled a 15 “On Your Own Terms”. More mandatory and elective skills were adjusted or added. Another talent was selected (perhaps I was just impatient). No new equipment however.

The War Story is step eight. I’m suddenly having to stop myself from saying “There I was…” It was a previous experience of some sort that happened to your character before the campaign started. I know that Star Trek Adventures has something similar to this. While STA has two of these events, Conan characters only get one. And for this guy I rolled a 19 which is “Survived witchcraft or sorcery”. This gave me a +1 Expertise and Focus to Discipline and Sorcery. Interesting.

On step nine we have some finishing touches. I can add +2 to one attribute or +1 to two attributes. I selected the later and decided to bump up my two lowest scores. I can then add several scores of Expertise and Focus to any skills (including skills that the character doesn’t have yet). I made my choices and altered the character sheet. It also explained that while expertise and focus were raised together during the creation process, during game play these would be increased separately. I was starting to wonder about this. I am also instructed to pick one additional talent as long as I can meet the prerequisite. I should also select a second language. The starting character gets three fortune points (i.e. luck points). For personal belongings, I get to roll twice on a table.

Step ten is the remaining aspects of the character. These include Vigor, Resolve and starting gold. It talks about courage and armor soak. It states that his persistent soak for courage is the sum of all soak bonuses bestowed by talents? But I don’t see any. Yea, I’d be asking a GM to clarify the soak stuff so I’ll leave this blank for now. Name, Age, Personality and Appearance discussions are here as well. I was thankful for the name examples.

I think I’m done because the book goes into some alternate character creation options. I know that the weapons and animals don’t have stats, but I’m sure I could look them up. I didn’t scan the third page since Braga (name selected from the homeland list) has no spells.

Afterthoughts:

I liked the fact that this core rulebook got straight into the explanation of RPGs (standard in most books) and character creation process. Several of the other Modiphiuis books for different media franchises had contained a long explanation of the world. As a gamer, I just wanted the rules. This was very much appreciated.

Not bad for a character creation process. No annoying pop ups with sides of information. I did have to re-read a few sections to make sure I understood what they were trying to say. If I did anything wrong, please let me know. But after the annoying character creation process of the last two nights, this was a blessed change.

This game sounds more combaty than Star Trek Adventures and Dune. I wonder how it would play at a table. Hopefully someone would run it at a convention. I don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to participate in a campaign for Conan. But I’d love to see how it runs at the table.

Additional Notes:

I had quite a reaction to my Ninjas & Superspies entry yesterday. On Mastodon, I had several readers tell me that they had the same level of frustration with the system including an attempt at making TMNT characters. One poster on the RPGPub message board told me that the stick figure drawing on the character made them laugh. They could see my frustration in that quick one-second drawing. I don’t know why this person’s laughing made me laugh out loud as well, but I did. And I needed a laugh.

Coming Up Next:

Boot Hill 3rd 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, Science Fiction, Video Game

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 1: Fallout

War. War never changes. But it may use a different dice system to determine the outcome.

So let’s start this thing. Welcome to the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. If you haven’t read up on the idea, click on the link above. Feel free to join the large online community that is participating in this event.

For the past several years, the first game that I create a character for in the challenge is a game that I’m really excited about. In 2022 I created one for Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and in 2023 I used Alien. I had my first chance to play Fallout The Roleplaying Game at SaltCON-End of Summer last year. I remember being very impressed. I’ve made a character for John Carter of Mars and I had played Dune and Star Trek Adventures, but there was always something that I felt that I was missing about the 2d20 system. I don’t know if it was the presentation or the GM, but it all clicked somehow. Since I was really excited about this game, my daughter purchased the book for me from a black Friday sale. Ding, here is my first day already taken care of when I started my list of what games I was going to use..

For those of you not familiar with Fallout, it is a series of video games about a post-apocalyptic world where survivors hid in underground bunkers (called Vaults). After several decades after the bombs drop they come out to a changed world. This has become a franchise with various games and merchandising (where the real money from the movie is made) and soon to be a TV series on Amazon Prime. I’ve attempted to play a few of the video games, with some success and some flat out flopping. But the game world is very well thought out. When I started gathering interest in this series, I started watching some fan-made videos that explain the world and history. They may prove useful to anyone wanting to run an RPG in this series.

The core book is hardbound with 429 pages in full color. The character creation starts in chapter three with the details on page 50. There is a two page character sheet.

Step one is to select the origin of the character. This is basically your race (such as Ghoul (humans suffering from prolonged exposure to radiation), Super Mutant (mutated human big and bulky) or Mister Handy (robot freed from programing) or starting group (such as Brotherhood of Steel (religious knights trying to recover technology), Survivor (humans that survived on the surface) or Vault Dweller (humans that survived in a vault)). Since the first video game I played (Fallout 3) had me starting as a Vault Dweller, I wanted to try another one. This comes with the trait, Vault Kid.

Next comes the attributes. They were pulled straight from the video games. S.P.E.C.I.A.L. or Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. These all start with a score of 5 and I have 5 additional points to allocate. I can reduce a score if I wanted to but only to 4. I made my selections and wrote them down.

Skills is what I select in step 3. Like the attributes, these come from the video game (it was practically a computerized RPG). These skill include Athletics, Barter, Big Guns, Energy Weapons, Explosives, Lockpick, Medicine, Melee Weapons, Pilot, Repair, Science, Small Guns, Sneak, Speech, Survival, Throwing and Unarmed. In this 2d20 system, you tell the GM what you want to do, and they let you know what attribute and skill you add together for your target number. If it is an easy task, you may only need one (or even zero) successes. If it is a more difficult task, it may require three or four successes. I was instructed to pick three skills to be my “tagged” skills. These start with a base score of 2 with the rest starting at 0. I then add 9 plus my INT score to come up with a list of additional skill points that I can allocate. For this character it will be 14 in total. My three tagged skills are Small Guns, Sneak and Pilot. I then allocated my points.

Each character gets a perk. Something that gives him an advantage. There is a large list available to pick from (some with minimum requirements). Think of the Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 traits. By this time I was starting to think of a possible backstory for this currently unnamed character, so I looked for a perk that I thought would fit him and wrote it down.

For step five we get to discover our derived statistics. These include how much the character can carry, damage resistance, defense, initiative, health points and how much damage he can do in a melee fight. I wrote these down.

The last step is to choose the starting equipment. I’m very grateful that starting packs were made available (depending upon your position with your origin). You also got a trinket, which is a special item that you own. I could make one up, pick from the list or roll for a random one. Since I haven’t rolled any dice yet, let’s see what the dice gives me. A postcard with an address. Interesting. Next is the tagged skill items. The skills I had tagged above came with their own special equipment items. I wrote these down.

There were still a few blank areas on the character sheet. What is my luck points (I think it’s the same as my luck score when starting out). What is TN and tagging in the weapons description? I had to track down some equipment information and I think I found most of it (especially since there is a carrying capacity within the game). I think I’m mostly done with the numbers side of the character, but I know I would have asked a few questions if I was creating this character in a session zero.

Ragnal Walker was born in Vault 47 (I don’t know if that number has been used in the game yet, so subject to change) and was one of the standard kids that got into trouble while growing up. While he didn’t have the smarts to be a doctor or scientist, he was always getting into places he shouldn’t be. In order to keep him out of trouble, the leaders instructed that he be taught how to drive some of the vehicles available to the vault for use in the outside world. While the leaders mostly kept the hidden vault sealed, they knew that they needed to trade with one of the other vaults several miles away. This loose relationship helped keep both vaults running. On one return trip, the caravan was ambushed by a band of raiders. Walker was able to fight his way out of the attack and headed back to Vault 47 on foot. A day later he discovered that the same raiders had just come from the vault and had destroyed it after the raid. Walker had to make a decision, start a new life out on his own amongst the surface dwellers (whom he had little contact with) or try to make it to the other vault to see if they would take him in. His adventure starts.

Here is the character sheet. After I had scanned it, I realized that I hadn’t added my vault kid trait onto the second sheet. So I added that afterwards.

Afterthoughts:

Unlike some of the other Modiphius products, Fallout is avoiding the “pop up” syndrome where you get distracted by the side notes in the book. This made it very easy to read (and I found myself reading more than I needed for character creation). While the creation process wasn’t 100% smooth, it wasn’t a frustrating ball of mess that I’ve experienced in other games.

Do I want to play this game? Oh yea. Do I want to homebrew for this game? At the least I’d like to write up something about the state I live in since I’m familiar with the area. As mentioned above, I’ve played this at SaltCON and I’ve signed up for another session at the next convention in March.

Additional Notes:

I’ve already had a ton of people reach out to me regarding the 2024 Character Creation Challenge. Several of you were looking forward to this event. Thank you, it is nice to know that my efforts have been appreciated. I hope that you all remember that this is for fun, so have fun with it.

A lot of blogs were added to the links section at the Character Creation Challenge page. I’ve also stumbled across another fan run message board for Alternity that apparently has an active thread running since 2021. Another participant has elected to post his entries on the TardisCaptain discord server (under the Character Creation Challenge channel). You are not required to use it, but it is there if you don’t have any other options. And (of course) you can email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain dot com or tag me on one of the social media platforms that I use.

Coming Up Next:

Hackmaster Basic

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: Archer, Character Creation Challenge, Comic Books, Conventions, Doctor Who, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Movies, Music, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Star Wars, Video Game, Website

Moving from 2023 to 2024

Stack of character sheets printed out for the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge

2023 was a weird year to say the least. I was able to see a ton of concerts including several that I wanted to check off of the bucket list. These included Duran Duran, Love and Rockets, The Cure, Garbage, and Depeche Mode. I was able to see a live show that featured some of the comedians from “Who’s Line Is it Anyway” (the show had a different name probably for copyright reasons). I’ll be getting the photos for these up in the photo albums.

For the first time in a long time, I had the opportunity to attend a gaming convention. SaltCON Spring, SaltCON Summer and SaltCON End-of-Summer. I know at the beginning of the year, I stated that I only wanted to participate at this event and not volunteer. Well, after much thought and discussion with others, I’ll be running two games next spring. One will be a one-shot for Basic Fantasy RPG that I already had written up and did some polishing on. The other is a Star Trek Adventures: Lower Decks inspired game where the crew will be meeting the cast of Top Core (a sci-fi parody of the BBC show, Top Gear).

I’m still watching a ton of movies at home thanks to the many streaming services that I have access to. In the theater I did enjoy Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. I also saw Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. I also enjoyed this movie and I hope that the ending would lead to another sequel. But I wouldn’t be disappointed if there wasn’t one. My youngest is a Five Nights at Freddy’s fan so we had to go see the movie in the theater. Not knowing much about the video game series, I thought the movie was OK and I wasn’t bored. In 2024 I’m looking forward to seeing Dune: Part Two, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

Television wise I’ve been soaking up all of the various Star Trek franchises (Picard knocked it out of the park and I demand more Lower Decks). The Star Wars episodes have been good as well. I’m sad that Archer is ending, but I’d rather have it end on a high note. What We Do In The Shadows has also continued to entertain me. MST3K season 13 was a blast. I watch so much TV that I am unable to list them all here. On the weekends I’ve still been enjoying Svengoolie and Creature Features. I’m really looking forward to the new Doctor Who episodes after the great introduction from the 60th Anniversary specials and Christmas episode. The Fallout TV series has also caught my attention. I did cancel my Peacock account because there was nothing on it to watch (and I’d go months forgetting it was even there).

Reading wise I’m still going strong on the Star Trek and James Bond comics. While I’m also enjoying the Star Wars comics, I had to move from buying the physical books to a subscription to Marvel Unlimited due to the high cost of the individual issues. Too many Star Wars comics to continuing to buy them all.

I may have made a mistake with my video games. I set up both a Steam account and a GOG account. So I’ve been getting deals on lots of classic games that I use to play. I’ve been trying to play a few others as well such as Fallout New Vegas and a couple of other hidden gems that were tossed my way. But when it comes to time crunch issues, the video games get put off to the side pretty fast. I need to make sure that I’m spending some enjoyment time playing these games.

I want to get some writing done in 2024. I’ve talked about it, but I need to sit down and do it. Hopefully the Basic Fantasy scenario will be good enough to submit to the BFRPG community for consideration. While I also have some fan projects in mind, I’d actually like to have a few publications that I could legitimately sell online.

Keep an eye on this blog for what happens in 2024. Now off to the USS Ticonderoga New Years Eve party. Tomorrow I dive into the deep end of the pool with the Character Creation Challenge.

What did you enjoy about 2023? What geeky things do you want to do in 2024? Tell me about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com or click on my social media links with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Dungeons and Dragons, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

Prepping for the 2024 Character Creation Challenge

Some of the games that I plan to use in the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge

For the three previous years of the Character Creation Challenge (in 2021, 2022 and 2023), I’ve prepped ahead of time to make the challenge a little bit easier. Especially since I try to use a wide variety of games in January 2024. I’ve already had some people reach out to me using various methods to let me know of their participation. Please let me know, Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com if you plan to post your characters up on a blog. I’ll link to it from the Character Creation Challenge section of my website.

If you are posting on any of the social media websites, please use the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge so that other participants can find them. I love seeing what other RPG fans have come up with.

The photo above shows the physical books that I’ll be using. Some have been gifts, others were picked up at local gaming conventions or found at thrift stores. I also have a collection of games purchased from Kickstarter, DriveThruRPG, HumbleBundle and Bundle of Holding.

I’m once again using a spreadsheet with the date, day and game type to schedule my games. This way I won’t have two fantasy games next to each other. I can also plan a game that may take more time and energy on a day off. This is also a good idea for those dates I know are going to be busy, I can schedule the systems I’m more familiar with for these days.

As in the past, I’ll try to walk through the character creation process as I understand them in the rules-as-written (RAW). This also gives me a chance to do a review of the process. I will then scan the character sheet for all to see. And I will have all of the character sheets printed out before the challenge starts. I’ve found that this helps me get everything ready.

My entries will be blog posts on this website. Then I will post links on my various social media sites along with the three main roleplaing message forums at RPG.net, RPGpub and RPGgeek.

If you are reading this after January 1st and you still want to jump into the challenge, please do. A few participants last year either did a quick catch up or just made sure they ran a full 31 days. The choice is yours. This challenge is just for fun with our gaming systems.

Remember to have fun with this. That was one of the primary goals of the challenge.

You can also use this graphic to help promote the #CharacterCreationChallenge.

31 Day Character Creation Challenge
Feel free to share this image on social media to spread the word.

You can also post your characters on my discord server in the #Character-Creation-Challenge channel. 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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