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).


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) 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) 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) 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) 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 31: Anarchy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Additional Notes:

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

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

Coming Up Next:

2024 Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) or click on my social media links with any comments.

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

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 29: Tiny Frontiers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Additional Notes:

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

Coming Up Next:

Pathfinder 2nd Edition

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) or click on my social media links with any comments.

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

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 27: Cowboy Bebop

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

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

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


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

Additional Notes:

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

Coming Up Next:

Rolemaster Fantasy

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


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 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) or click on my social media links with any comments.

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

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 23: Starfinder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Additional Notes:

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

Coming Up Next:

Crypts & Things

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) 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 20: Shadowrun Anarchy

Welcome to Day 20 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge and today we will be using the Shadowrun Anarchy Alternate Ruleset. I picked up this book from a gaming swap meet at SaltCON last spring for a decent price and decided to use it for the challenge. I have a Shadowrun character from the first edition of the game. I don’t recall very much about that game. Back in the early 90’s the cyberpunk genre was all the rage in gaming and I think the gaming group was just trying out different versions. I know we played the original Cyberpunk quite a bit.

Shadowrun Anarchy was published by Catalyst Game Labs in 2016 and I had never heard of it before I saw the book. The hardbound book has 213 pages and the ISBN number is 978-1-941582-19-0 and had an original cover price of $39.99. Character creation starts on page 61 and there is a one page character sheet.

The first step is to create a character theme. I looked over the sample characters given and elected to go with another Street Samurai that is cybernetically enhanced. He was taken in by an orphanage at a young age and never knew his parents (they could be a plot point to re-appear in a future session). This orphanage trained kids to become adults that would help protect the neighborhood from different street gangs and corporate thugs. So he has a strong sense of community. I’m instructed to create a character name, which will be Spike. The last item in this step is to create some Tags for the character. One or two word descriptions. I selected: Human, Tough, Protective and Street Life.

Step two is to determine the game level. This is done by the player group and not the GM apparently. The decision will determine the character creation stats and range from Gang-level game to Prime-runner game. As a committee of one, I selected the lowest at Gang-level. This gives me 12 attribute points, 10 skill points, 6 shadow amps, 2 weapons and some gear.

Step three is to choose the metatype (aka race). I already had selected human which gives me +1 edge and +1 skill point.

The next step is to determine if your character is awakened or emerged. Basically does the character have magical abilities or the capability to enter the matrix (Shadowrun’s internet) with just your mind. Spike will not have either of these items.

On step five we assign our attribute points. The attributes are Strength, Agility, Willpower, Logic and Charisma. Each starts with one point and I have the 12 to spread around. Now that we have the attributes assigned, some additional stats can be generated such as the Physical Damage Track and the Stun Damage Track (which to appear to function like hit points).

I have 11 skill points to use in step six. There is also a free Knowledge skill that the character has (I selected local neighborhoods to go along with the character concept). Spike fights, Spike shoots and Spike knows how to ride his motorbike to help his neighborhood.

Step seven instructs us to select Spike’s shadow amps These are special powers that enhance the character and I have six points to use. I selected a natural one of Fear (he intimidates people), wired reflexes and cyberarms (both give some bonuses but take two essence.

Next we are instructed to select two positive qualities and one negative quality. I selected Toughness (all damage taken is reduced by 1), Tough as Nails +1 to the Physical Damage Track and Emotional Attachment to the Orphanage organization (they instruct him and he follows those instructions).

The gearing steps are next. Step nine is to assign armor. Since I had an extra shadow amp point left, I used it to get an armored jacket and step ten is to pick Spike’s three weapons. He has a vibrosword, the Browning Ultra-Power Heavy Pistol and HK-227 Submachine Gun. And in the last of the gearing up steps (eleven) is to select other gear. Up to four items of non-combat variety and two contacts. He’s got a Harley-Davidson Scorpion Bike, a commlink, stim patches and a ring that apparently was left with him when the Orphanage found him. As for his contacts, he has the mysterious head of the Orphanage (who seems to be well connected) and the leader of the local street merchants (they are the extra eyes and ears that he depends upon, and in return he helps protect them).

Next we have step twelve where we create cues for the character. These are phrases (quotes basically) that the character might state during gameplay. These sound like the personal quotes from the D6 Star Wars game from WEG or the Values from Star Trek Adventures. I wrote down some, but would probably ask the GM to let me come up with some on the fly while gaming (when inspiration strikes).

Step thirteen instructs us to create a character background. I thought we did that at the first step? I added some personal data (weight, height, etc.) and history (as seen above). The final step is tweaking where you can adjust things now that you have the character down on paper. Does something not look right or needs to be adjusted, do that here.


I like how at the end of the steps it gives you a chance to adjust a few things. I’ve also loved the use of quotes to help define a character. The steps were pretty straight forward. I did have to do a lot of page flipping, but I was able to track some things down. The book did reference the 5th edition Shadowrun core book once to reference additional equipment, but I didn’t really feel like I was missing anything. This sounds like a rules-lite version of the game when I read the core die-rolling process. I’ve been hearing that this game might be played at a local game store or at SaltCON. I may have to check it out.

I don’t know if I’d do any homebrewing for this. The cyberpunk genre, while interesting to play, hasn’t started any creative juices flowing. So that’s more of a me thing than an issue with the game.

Additional Notes:

If you are still reading my posts after twenty days of the Character Creation Challenge, I thank you. I know that some have been entertained by this. Feel free to send me any feedback on the characters or the site in general. I am getting some creative ideas from my attempts (even the unsuccessful ones) and the entries of others. One I’m really intrigued by may even lead to my first homebrewed RPG system.

Coming Up Next:

Night’s Black Agents

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) 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 18: Vintage Space

On Day 18 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge I elected to use Vintage Space: Retro Disco Sci-Fi Roleplaying. I don’t recall where I read this from, but this game is a retro-clone/refit of the FASA Star Trek RPG with some serial numbers filed off. So I thought I’d check it out and see how it stacks up.

The PDF is 70 pages long and lacks any bookmarks. The character creation process is listed on page six of the index but is found on page 12 of the PDF. There is no character sheet. Because of this I almost dropped the game from my list. But I remembered that in my early years of participating in roleplaying games that I just used a sheet of paper to write my characters down on. So I’ll whip something up on the word processor and see how it turns out.

Generating the character’s attributes is the first step. They are Strength (STR), Endurance (END), Intelligence (INT), Dexterity (DEX), Charisma (CHA) Luck (LUC) and Psychic Potential (PSY). These were the same attributes found in the FASA Star Trek RPG. However instead of using percentage scores, you have attributes plus skill added together for a number to roll under. To generate the attribute scores, some generic guidelines are listed, but on the next page it has the same guidelines adjusted with racial adjustments. So it would make sense to decide which race the character will be first and then follow those guidelines.

The races are Humans, Satora (aka Vulcans), Korrin (aka Andorians), Inush (Tellerites but dog based instead of pigs), Neyokso (aka Caitians) and Takka (an octopus based race that seems to be original). Since there are six of them, I rolled a D6 to randomly select one, which was Satoran. I rolled up the attributes and wrote them down on the home-made character sheet.

Next is the Hit Points. This is equal to your END attribute. Simple enough, I wrote it down.

Now the character is going through the Starfleet…. err…. Star Corps Academy. There I choose a division (aka department) to join which will determine the course of study. Yea pointy ear boy is going to be a member of the science department. I wrote down the skills as instructed.

Now if the character was just starting off as a newly minted Ensign, the training would stop there. While this is tempting, I think I’ll make this guy a Lieutenant who is the Chief Science Officer on a smaller vessel. So he gets to add one rank to any one skill for Lt. (junior grade) and one rank for full Lieutenant.

The next section was a character creation example. It seems to have followed what I read previously except that each skill point meant that I pick a specialty that would match the skill. I went back up through the earlier pages and I didn’t see that mentioned in the rules. I found some listed specialties later in the book. Also in the example is the note that each character gets one passion skill (interests or hobbies). If you use a specialty your character has, you roll 2D20 and take the best roll.

Because this character is Vulc…. Satoran I looked over the Psionic Abilities. Especially since I had a very high roll when generating the PSY score. The racial description stated that Satoran characters have unrestricted access to psychic education and training, but the section on Psionic Abilities states that you lose the Passions skill and one rank of a skill that is gained at the academy. But is that only for Non-Satorans? Would I list all of the psionic skills or just pick a number of them? It states that there are specialties, but again, how many will this character get? Uh, I’ll just note that the character has them.

The book then goes into some of the system explanations (roll a D20 wanting a low roll for success on both skills and savings throws). I finally made it down to the equipment section. The items your character has is dependent upon a requisition clearance level that is rank based, but there is no chart for the clearance levels. Ugh. There are several items listed. I’ll just write down what a Chief of Science who is a Lieutenant would have. I named him Troxtor and took a screen shot of the document.


I mentioned the AI images (you can’t really call it art) in my White Lies 2nd Edition entry. While those looked like paintings with some emotion, the AI images in this publication were very distracting and pulled me away from the text. Once again the eyes were off on quite a few images (pupils of different sizes and looking in different directions, etc.) No image matched the others in a theme. You couldn’t look at multiple images and say “yes these are from the same in-game universe”. At least the White Lies book had some consistency. I think the worse part is how plastic and soulless everything looked. Characters had no emotion, nothing to express more than “I’m just an action figure in a pose”. Even the ships were just jumbles dumped into a pot and poured out into a bowl.

I wonder if this was an early draft? There was some minor errors that an editor would have caught. While I was going through the creation process and reading some of the sections, I got the urge to re-write some sections to make it smoother.

I can see where the FASA Star Trek RPG inspired this system. It’s not a direct descendant of the game that has a cult following, but the DNA is present. I can see where references were pulled from other shows with the serial numbers filled off. I would often say “Oh, those are Klingons from Star Trek and those are Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.” The system itself looks like it could work at the table pretty easy. I wouldn’t mind getting a few friends together just to try it out. I could even lead to some homebrewing. But it needs something more, it needs something to give it the extra kick needed to say “I want to play this game.” Clean up the character creation steps is something that I would recommend for a start. If there is an update or re-write of the game, I’d even pay a few extra bucks just to have a publication with real art that gives flavor to the universe.

Additional Notes:

Wow, just wow. Yesterday when I was checking the hashtag #CharacterCreationChallenge on Mastodon, I came across a post by Lester Smith. He had posted on his blog about his involvement in the 2021 challenge and how it helped him to climb out of a bout of depression. Creating the characters got him back into writing and he has released several new roleplaying games including one called D6xD6 Dungeons. I decided to buy a copy to check it out. Then I started going through his blog. I eventually had to stop myself because I had items that I needed to get done. Mr. Smith had written the first edition of the Dark Conspiracy RPG and contributed to a lot of other works in the gaming industry. Now he is “retired” and just writes the stuff he wants to because he enjoys it. It sounds like a goal of mine. David Gerrold once said that he writes the books he wants to read. We’ll I’d like to get to the same level as Lester Smith and write the games that I’d love to play. I guess I was taken aback by hearing how the Character Creation Challenge had helped someone. It wonder if this is what Jimmy Doohan felt when he had helped save a fans life from suicide. Note, I’m not saying that Mr. Smith was at that level in his issues, but I got the same feelings that Mr. Doohan had when read this blog post.

I started this challenge to have fun and I invited others to participate in that fun. Having fun was the goal. But I should also remember that participating in the group activity called a roleplaying game can be very therapeutic as well. Even just the act of writing, drawing, painting, getting together, etc. for a game would be therapeutic. I guess I’m just awed.

Coming Up Next:

Fantasy Hero

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) or click on my social media links with any comments.

Back to Top