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, Horror, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 21: Night’s Black Agents

Welcome to Day 21 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge and today we will be using a Horror/Espionage based roleplaying game called Night’s Black Agents. I had picked this up in the same DriveThruRPG sale that had Boot Hill and several other games that I had been wanting to get my hands on. I had also seen this game mentioned on some of the gaming blogs that I read so I thought I’d check it out at the discounted price that was offered. Yes I do buy a lot of games when they are on sale since I am a bargain hunter.

This game is using something called the Gumshoe system, that I’ve never used. I hope that the book explains the system enough for me to create a character. In the universe of this game, your character is a secret agent (or ex-secret agent) that discovers that vampires are real and are attempting to rule the world. Sounds interesting. The PDF is 236 pages long. The character creation steps start on page 9. The character sheet is only one page in length.

The rules state that the character creation process is broken down into four broad steps. Choose one or more backgrounds, choose your investigative abilities, choose general abilities and building your personality and dossier. A player has build points for the different sections.

After looking over the different backgrounds for the first step, I selected Bagman. This is basically a courier what handles the money and gets it from point A to point B. This guy was an American OTIF agent monitoring SWIFT transactions in Switzerland. I wrote down the Investigative Abilities and General Abilities that slated for the background.

Selecting the investigative abilities is the next step. These are abilities that do not fail. The amount of build points is determined by the number of players in the game. (Boy, they must believe that our gaming schedules can all coordinate) For the purpose of this build I’m going to pretend that we have four players involved for a total of 22 investigative build points. Oh, I’m already down 6 points to pay for my background package. I like that the rules explain that if you don’t use all of the build points now, you can use them in-game to add a skill that your character always had, but hadn’t been seen until now. The RAW advises that having a variety of 1-point skills are better than having a few specialties. I looked over the descriptions and wrote some down spending my remaining 16 points.

Third step is to select the general abilities. I have 70 points to spend on these (with some already coming from the background at a cost of 18 points, so 52 is the actual starting point). The general abilities do have a possibility of failure unlike the investigative abilities. The rules advise me to put many points into a few different abilities because you spend these points during the game. I also followed some of the other advice the book gave on these including a good athletics (to make the character harder to hit).

OK, last step. Building a personality and dossier. This is broken down into three smaller parts. Picking a sources of stability, the character’s drive and the character’s trust. This is also where we pick the name for the character (pulling up the random name generator and it gives us… Kendall Barker). Ken’s sources of stability are what keep him sane when the life of an espionage agent hunting vampires gets too stressful. If these sources get threatened or taken away, the character can’t refresh his stability. I can see this being part of the horror aspect of RPGs that I hardly get. These sources of stability should connect with the character’s drive or motivation for doing what they do. Since this isn’t a mechanical part of the game, sometimes I trip over this, especially when I’m under a time-limit like I am right now. Screw it, Ken’s partner was killed by vampires (which is how he found out about them) and he’s trying to find the particular vampire that caused the death. The symbol is his partner’s badge, the solace is the partner’s widowed wife and the solace is the motorboat that his partner once owned. OK, onto something called trust. You get something called trust points (5 of them) and you assign 3 points to an other agent (is this supposed to be another member of the party? Yea, I think it is). Another agent gets 0 points (i.e. you don’t trust them) and then the remaining get 1 point each. I can tell the other players who I chose or I can keep it a secret. I’m still not understanding this gaming currency. I think it adds to a dice pool, maybe? I’m really confused by the wording. I guess I’d have to see it in play to see if I really understand this. Since I really don’t have a group of friends around a table to experiment this with, I guess we’ll skip this part. And I think this is the end of the process. Write up a background on how Ken got into the espionage business. We know he got out when his partner was killed. So I’m done? I still don’t know the health score or some other items. I’m confused, but here is the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

I had to laugh that one of the abilities was “Bullshit Detector”. I know that I get a lot of use out of that in real life.

The investigative steps seemed a little straightforward, but I’d still have to see it in play before I really decided if I understood this gumshoe system. I wonder if this is just a settings book and not the actual core rules? I can’t find a gumshoe core rules on DriveThruRPG. I guess the original game was a crime drama if I’m understanding correctly. There is a ‘discovering of information’ portion of the game and then a ‘confronting/escaping the opposition’ portion. Is this a game that acts like an episode of CSI? I really wish there had been a “core mechanic is…” page where I could get a good idea. Until I understand more, I can’t say if I’d play or do more with this game.

Additional Notes:

I had a couple of readers reach out to me on Mastodon regarding my attempt to make a Fantasy Hero character. The phrase used was “Congratulations, you have now been exposed to the wonder that is Champions/Hero, or as I like to put it ‘the greatest programming language in all of RPGs.'” In the USENET days there were competitions to see who could design a single power to destroy the planet with the least number of points. Others would use the system to describe a toaster using only game power descriptors. They would do everything but play the game as an RPG. There were a lot of comparisons to GURPS (just as I had come to the same conclusion) and there were a lot of “You couldn’t pay me to play the Heroes system again” comments. I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who had his eyes bleeding from the game.

Coming Up Next:

Barbarians of Lemuria

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, Spy-Fi

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 17: White Lies 2nd Edition

Day 17 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge is here. And today we are using the White Lies 2nd Edition roleplaying game. Now if this sounds familiar, I used the White Lies 1st edition back in 2022 to create a character. It was based off of the D20 based White Box RPG that used the Open Gaming License (hence the name White Lies). After Wizards of the Coast had their disastrous OGL fiasco last January, the author wisely decided to remove all OGL items from this game and release a second edition. DwD Studios wasn’t the only publisher that decided to pull up stakes and head out to the land of Creative Commons licensees. This is also the reason we got a 4th edition of Basic Fantasy RPG.

The White Lies 2nd Edition PDF is 188 pages long. The character creation process starts on page 10. The character sheet is one page in length.

The ability assessment is the first step in creating an agent. In the 1st edition, the abilities were the familiar batch as seen in most D20 fantasy games. However with this 2nd edition the abilities have been re-tooled to resemble an espionage game with Toughness, Dexterity, Intellect, Discipline (self control) and Influence (physical appeal and charisma). I rolled a D20 five times and compare it to a chart. This gives a score from -2 to +5 and you assign one per ability. Since all of the scores rolled were nigher than a +2 added together (from the chart) I didn’t need to re-roll the abilities and I assigned them to the character sheet.

The next step is your Division Training. This is basically your class. After reading them over, I elected to go with the Elimination Division. I’m instructed to note all of the division qualification (aka skills) and details.

Step three is the outfitting. There are some items that each agent has automatically, pistol, operative kit with some stuff, etc. Then the division training also provides some additional items and another equipment kit of my choice. I then roll 3d6x100 for starting money to buy additional gear. In the Elimination Division I get two ammo upgrades for my weapons, but is that just clips of ammo or picking two of the improvements listed in the outfitting chapter? The pistol already had one ammo upgrade? I did a search in the PDF and I think it’s just spare clips.

The last step is the final assessment. Rank and merit is 1 and 0. Filled in stamina, defense, movement and initiative. Selected a second language. As for a name, we are going to pull up the handy dandy name generator and this guy is named: Jack Sterling. Here is the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

With the speed that was needed to get the product out, I can understand why the author went with AI generated graphics. The product was free to those who had purchased the 1st edition and it is PWYW afterwards. But some of the AI art still freaks me out for a second. I think its the eyes and some of the skin in the images. The guy in the center looks like he is losing his right eye. The eyes on the tiger on page 142 is like a cross-eyed lion. Some of the images looks like the skin is peeling off. But I did laugh at the “Typical Person” image that was used.

There are lots of good add-ons to this game both in the book and from the publisher’s social media (Me-We or Discord). I like the enemy organization charts to make up some opponents and master villains. I also liked the references to a possible campaign ideas using references like GI Joe, The A Team, RED, and more. There are quick write ups for everything from a mall cop (I also laughed at “some of them even have real guns”) to James Bond type superagents. Also included are details on aliens and supernatural creatures (needs zombies please) if the GM is so inclined to throw them at the agents.

The system was pretty straight forward and I could see the logical changes after dropping the OGL items. I liked how the new attribute names and how they were generated. It still seemed OSR with a new coat of paint. I really want to see how this plays at the table and I could easily see myself homebrewing for this system. I might even want to borrow the system (or some elements) for a core rulebook that I’ve got in mind to write up.

Additional Notes:

It has been a very cold and snowy day. I was wondering if I was going to get this character completed in time. Because of this, I haven’t had a chance to look for other sites/message boards that have been participating in the challenge. If I’m missing any from the link list, please let me know. Did I mention that I hate snow?

Coming Up Next:

Vintage Space

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, Spy-Fi

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 14: Ninjas & Superspies

And welcome to Day 14 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge. Today we will be using Ninjas & Superspies Revised that was writen by Erick Wujick and published by Palladium Books in 1990. I picked up this book at a gaming swap meet at SaltCON-End of Summer for a decent price.

I saw several friends play a lot of the different Palladium games in the 90’s. I don’t know why I never got into those games. I’m sure they would have let me join the table if I had asked. I think it was a time that they were playing when I was working the graveyard shift. So let’s pretend that I’m not being hit by the dreaded scheduling curse and I can finally make a character for a game.

The physical book has 176 pages and is softbound. The ISBN number is 0-916211-31-2 with the original cover price of $14.95. The character creation steps start on page eight. The character sheet is one page long and can be found on page 173.

So I don’t have a concept for this character yet. No, he won’t be based on Jeremy Clarkson. The first step is to generate scores for the eight attributes. These are Intelligent Quotient (I.Q.), Mental Endurance (M.E.) which helps vs hypnotism, Mental Affinity (M.A.) which is charm and charisma, Physical Strength (P.S.), Physical Prowess (P.P.) which is dexterity, Physical Endurance (P.E.), Physical Beauty (P.B.) and Speed (Spd). I roll 3d6 to determine these scores. It doesn’t say I pick which score goes with which attribute so I’ll do them in order. One item of note, if I roll a 16, 17 or 18, I get to roll one more d6 and add the number. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any rolls in that range.

On step two we select the character’s O.C.C. aka Occupational Character Class. They are not listed here nor is there a referenced page number. Flipping through the book I found them on page 47. I like how these are broken down into five categories with several sub-categories each. Martial Artist, Espionage Agent, Free Agent, Gizmoteer and Mercenary. Of course I want to make an Espionage Agent, with Gadgeteer Agent being the final decision.

Step three, what martial arts forms and skills do I want to select for the character. According to the RAW the Gagetter Agent can choose any except for exclusive forms. I’m not a big martial arts aficionado so I stuck with Basic Hand-to-Hand. The O.C.C. gives a list of basic minimum skills. Then it lists the number of skills from different categories to choose from. There was quite a bit to write down, and I don’t know if I understand how the skill scores are generated. I had to do a lot of page hopping and I may have missed something.

Step four is listed as optional, but I’m going to use it because it involves dice rolling. It is the character’s background. I already know he’s going to be American (make it easy for me), but the rest I’m going to roll. So he’s 6’2″ and weighs 172 lbs. He is straight. No not the sexual orientation, straight as in he’s a “true believer” of his side. He was the third of five kids in his family. Apparently the GM rolls to see if the family is still alive or not. So I’ll skip that for now.

On step five we calculate the Hit Points, SDC (aka Structural Damage Capacity) and Chi. Wow, could they have made this any more complicated. You don’t just get a basic HP, you have to calculate your PE with your martial arts form with additional skills. He only has basic hand-to-hand. Nothing is listed in the Martial Arts Forms on page 83. Come on guys, this should be a simple step and not needing a masters degree. I really would have been leaning on an experienced GM here to help explain what this mess is. I think it’s the character’s P.E. score plus a D6 since he’s 1st level. Screw it, I’m going with that. SDC wasn’t any better. It’s the physical toughness of the body. Huh? Why separate these two? At least the score was determined by your OCC and not some unexplained mathematical formula. This character has a 10 SDC. And now the Chi, or living energy. (suddenly I’m hearing Yoda in my head) Perhaps this is something more on the martial arts side of the game that I have little interest in. It appears that since I didn’t take anything more than a basic hand-to-hand, the Chi score is the character’s Physical Endurance (PE) score.

Mercifully we are now to step six. Attribute bonuses (why this couldn’t have been next to the generate attributes step, I don’t know). Since this character had no attributes 16 or higher, he had no bonuses. That was quick.

Step seven is Buy Equipment. There is a starting cash listed in your OCC. Looking over at the equipment and weapons section, when I finally found it, was heavy on the martial arts side, not so heavy on the other equipment. I decided to skip it. Had this been an actual game I would have written something down, but I’m annoyed right now so this guy is going to have a weapon and some electronic doodads to help him do his job.

Step eight and we are selecting the alignment (good) and discipline (used if you are not using the basic alignments. Nope, not diving into that one, he’s just a good guy.

I think we are done because there are no more step listed (after going through pages 8 through 20 for the character creation process, not counting all of the page flipping to look up different items). I made another attempt to confirm what my skill scores would be (I was only provided with additions that was given to me in my skill programs) and there wasn’t even enough slots to write down all of these skills from my notes. So he’s good with electronics and gadgets but not much of a martial arts guy. Go figure.

Yea I guess I should pick a name. Quickly pulls up a random name generator. Luke Ward. Spy-guy. Here’s the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

I had to chuckle at the disclaimers at the start of the book. Don’t think because your character knows Kung-Fu that you do. Yea, I’ve seen plenty of Mall Ninjas in my day.

So the character creation process started out good, then quickly descended into a quagmire of crunchiness. And not even the good kind. I wonder if I had seen the same thing when I first encountered the game and made a dodge roll then? When I was getting into what should have been basic calculations (like hit points), I was getting ready to throw the book away. While I may try to create a specific type of character in this game for an upcoming project, I doubt I’ll use this system or try to homebrew for it. I’m glad that I didn’t pay too much for the book.

Additional Notes:

There is one reader/participant out there who has been making Character Creation threads on various message boards out on the internet. I found another in my visitor’s history that I can see. If I can confirm it’s for the challenge, I add it to the links section on the Character Creation Challenge page. This latest one has been added. Thank you for attempting to get other RPGers involved. I see your efforts.

Coming Up Next:

Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of

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, Spy-Fi

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 12: The Spy Game

For Day 12 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge I am using The Spy Game RPG. I had seen this book at my local gaming store. It is an espionage game using 5th edition ruleset from the world’s most famous roleplaying game rules. I just hadn’t been able to pull the trigger on the price for the book (perhaps I would have if there was a game that I could have joined at the time). It sat on my wishlist waiting to see if the price would drop, and it did. In 2023 DriveThruRPG had a series of themed sales in September with one of them being espionage games. So now I have a PDF of the game that I wanted to use for the challenge.

The PDF is 271 pages long with the character creation process starting on page 10. The character sheet is two pages long.

After using the name “Sir Richard Hammond” for my Monty Python’s Cocurricular Mediaeval Reenactment Programme entry I received a lot of humorous feedback. While The Spy Game can be a serious RPG, I was inspired to name this character Agent James May (Code Named: Captain Slow) a special transport driver for UNITY. After creating a concept we get into the steps of creating the character.

Wait, who has the wheel?

Step one is to choose your class. I had seen a Transporter/Driver type class in other espionage roleplaying games, but I couldn’t find it as a class in The Spy Game. It turns out the Transporter is a Technician Archetype that I can select when Mr. May reaches second level. So I selected the Technician class. It still fits since the real-world James May would over-explain the technical details on the show. I wrote down the class details on the character sheet.

Step two is picking a background, or what Mr. May was doing before he became an espionage agent. Academic was tempting until I saw Motorist. I wrote down the character features that this background provided. This also included the four background traits which appear to be quotes that would describe your character.

Now we are finally to rolling the ability scores. These are the standard found in 5E. They can be generated by rolling or purchase. I’ve never been a fond of purchasing ability scores, so let’s see what the dice give us. It gives several rolling options, but I’m going to go with Heroic. Roll 2d6+6 and assign to the abilities that I want it to go to. When you select your background, it adds to the ability scores.

Step four was the finishing details. Starting hit points (max for class plus CON bonus), armor class, etc. I searched for all of these and added them to the sheet. The RAW states that each agent has their own standard equipment which includes weapons, armor and tools. Then if anything extra is needed, there is a mission budget. Apparently I get two gadgets, but I don’t see which ones to pick from. If I could, I’d add the gadgets to my vehicle. So I think I’m done, here is the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

I’ve only played Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition a few times at conventions. I’ve never really been in a campaign, so there were a few times I had to look things up which slowed down the creation process. It would have been good to have a GM to answer questions. I even pulled out the D&D 5e Players Handbook out just to make sure I was understanding a few things. But I think I got it.

I liked the use of quotes to define the different background traits. I need to track down other characters to see if they have the same thing.

Overall things made sense. I’d like to see how a gaming session is run. I could see myself playing and homebrewing for this game.

Additional Notes:

This is the second character sheet where the logo for the game is on the second sheet. I’m not certain about the logic behind this decision. Not enough room on the first page? Were they figuring that the second sheet would be looked at more? It made me scratch my head.

On my entry for Basic Fantasy 4th Edition I had noted that a participant had placed my username in the Dungeon Master entry. I was reminded that this same entry also appeared on the RPGGeek message board as well. Several participants have posted on multiple message boards and social media sites.

Another blog was found and added to the links section of the Character Creation Challenge site. I was able to find this one as well from the history of sites that linked to mine. There was also one for Palladium, but I couldn’t find anything on their message board so I don’t know if it was a generic reference or a reference to the challenge.

Coming Up Next:

Star Ace

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, Spy-Fi

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 5: Top Secret S.I.

Day 5 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge and I will be creating a character for the Top Secret S.I. system. So I’ve been waiting a long time for this entry. There is a little bit of a tragic backstory with me and this game. In the early days of my involvement in the role playing hobby I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. While a friend would have a copy of the original Top Secret espionage role playing game, we never had the chance to play.

When TSR released Top Secret S.I. in 1987, I picked up the original boxed set. Then I picked up the High Stakes Gamble expansion (I walked a long way through Tucson, Arizona to get that box). I lost count but eventually I had the majority of books for this system. But, I never had the chance to play it. I kept this collection when I (foolishly) sold off my D&D collection in the mid 90’s. As I move, and I moved a lot, I kept that collection with me. After one move, I couldn’t find the box. There is a saying that after 3-4 moves it’s the equivalent of a house fire. So somewhere along the line I lost the contents of that box. I kept hoping that I’d open up one of my many storage boxes (something I’ve been planning to get rid of) and I’d suddenly find the collection again, but I had my doubts of seeing it again.

I started looking at re-acquiring the books. However they are not available anywhere except for Ebay. And since these books were popular, they are usually expensive. I lucked out in 2023 when the first boxed set came up for auction at a reasonable price. Sure the box was hammered, but the books and other contents were in good condition. It even had the original dice still sealed in it’s bag. While I’ve kept the box in the shipping package, the books I’ve been able to use to create a character.

In the boxed set there is a Players Guide, an Administrators Guide, an Equipment Inventory, a GMs screen, some cardboard character standees and a foldout map of several generic locations. The Character Dossier (character sheet) is four pages long. There is a character creation summary on the font of the GMs screen with the process listed on page 5 of the Players Guide.

There are seven attributes for a character. STRength, REFlex, INTelligence, WILlpower, CONstitution, MOVement and DEXterity. These are generated by rolling a d6 (for the tens digit) and a d10 (for the ones digit) and adding 10 for the first five attribute in order. After I rolled these, I added them all together. If they didn’t reach 275, I could take the difference and spread them through the different attributes as I saw fit. Luckily my total all together was 290. For MOV and DEX (the secondary attributes) I was instructed to add STR and REF and divide by 2 (for MOV) and REF and INT divided by 2 (for DEX). Whee I love extra math steps in character creation. (not)

OK for step four I’m instructed to determine my character’s sex, nationality, hair color, eye color, general appearance, name, handiness, native language and age. Whew. These are all items that I choose (other than Extremely Ugly, Extremely Attractive or Ambidextrous as they are advantages that I’d have to buy). Nick Tanner was born in Arizona, USA and speaks English as his native language. He is 6’1″ with black hair and blue eyes with no extra-ordinary features. He is right-handed and is 24 years of age. On to step five.

The reality rule? If you want to really round out your character, determine his psychological profile? Loyalty, sanity, cruelty, etc. Let’s see what the book says. Ah, the reality rules make the game more realistic, but may slow down game play. Looking at the section for the psychological profile, it has suggestions, but no tables to roll against. Since the reality rules appear to be optional, I’m going to skip them in favor of getting the basic characteristics down. If this was for a campaign (and not under a time crunch) then perhaps I’d dive deeper into these.

Advantages and disadvantages are step six. The standard is to select one of each (there is a point based reality rule option). There is quite a list, or I can make up my own as long as they make sense (and both items don’t cancel each other out). From the list I selected Toughness and Phobia (spiders).

Next we choose the background for the character. This is basically what the character has done for a living besides being an espionage agent. There are several packages available to choose from (or I could make my own). They only had four career packages listed which were pretty generic. So I picked Entertainer. The original idea was that this character was going to be an athlete (wrestler) and that seemed to be the closest one. From the background we get the number of skills known in each category (Mechanical, combat, etc.), starting money and level of career.

And as you probably guessed, the skills are next. There are a set that I can choose from and they are pretty basic as well. If I understood the background information, I have a set of skill points to spend in different categories. I selected the skills I through the character would need. But I’d also be working with the GM to make sure that the background of the character would be viable in the campaign they were setting up. Knowing the Spanish language isn’t going to help if most of our missions are going to be in the Orient, etc. While getting my skills, I noticed a major issue (see Afterthoughts below) so I tried to make the skills match what I thought they should be. It was confusing, but I think I got the basic gist of it right.

The last step is purchasing equipment. But the next chapter is “Playing the game” with basic rules. The index shows no equipment in the players guide, so now I have to pull out the equipment book that came in the boxed set. And that states it’s for administrators (aka the GM) only. I looked through it and just decided that this guy has a pistol and a few spy trinkets that wouldn’t normally be cared by an every-day individual. I really would have been pressing on the GM for guidance on this part. But I’m thinking that the character is mostly done. I didn’t scan the last page since it was cover identities.

Afterthoughts:

Considering how many times we see the typical, “criminal is recruited to be a spy” trope in shows, they didn’t have any criminal options within the character creation. I wonder if this came up in any of the expansions. It had been so long that I had read them that I don’t recall.

The skill costs probably needed some work as well. As an “Entertainer” I had to spend two skill points in the mechanical category. The first (which was a per-requisite for other skills) cost 1 point. All of the other skills costs more just to get to level 0 (basic knowledge of the skill). So I’d have to dip into the extra skill points just to spend my mandatory two. Yea, that would have been homebrewed out if I was GMing this.

The character sheet could also be improved slightly. I don’t know if I’d ever get a chance to play/run this game in a campaign, but if I did, I would consider re-making the character sheet. I’ll have to see if anyone made any videos showing this game in play just so I could see how the system works. It’s a percentage based system (roll under to succeed) so it sounds like it should be simplistic.

Additional Notes:

I’ve really been enjoying reading the various entries on social media and the different message boards. I’m also happy that several of you are posting on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. I’ve seen several veterans returning and quite a few new participants as well. These have included some very interesting ideas. There is one person who appears to be re-creating the Scooby Doo gang in different RPG systems.

Coming Up Next:

Tiny Wastelands

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.

Posted in: Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

RPGaDay2023 Day 27: Game you’d like a new edition of

Day 27 of the #RPGaDAY2023 Challenge and our topic is “Game you’d like to see a new edition of”. I had to think about this one. Various games such as Doctor Who Roleplaying Game, Dungeons and Dragons and others have new editions. Alien, Star Trek Adventures and Dune Adventures in the Imperium are new enough that they don’t need new editions, yet. The recent WotC OGL fiasco has inspired Basic Fantasy and White Lies to update their editions to remove OGL components.

Just as the unplayed games entry used inspiration from my collection, I decided to look that way again. As I look at my shelf full of books, one immediately jumps out.

Character Creation Challenge Day 20

In 2005, AEG released SpyCraft version 2.0. I even remember playing it at a friends house with one of the authors of the game. Later the license would transfer over to Crafty Games along with FantasyCraft. However it’s been a long time since 2005. I’m wondering if an RPG year is like a dog year? I know it’s that way for computers. A newer version with streamlined rules (SpyCraft 2.0 is a D20 system, but it’s a bit on the crunchy side) would probably sell like hotcakes. Plus I’m a sucker for picking up espionage roleplaying games.

What game would you like to see a new edition of? Tell me about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

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

RPGaDay2023 Day 18: Favorite game system

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite #TTRPG system (or systems)? Tell me about it. This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com with any comments.

Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Horror, Role Playing Games, Spy-Fi

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 19: The Agency

I picked up The Agency: A Roleplaying Game of Sixties Spies and the Supernatural in the same Doctors Without Borders charity sale that I picked up When the Moon Hangs Low. I’ve always been interested in espionage games because I am a big fan of the Spy-Fi genre and I wanted to use this one for the Character Creation Challenge. The world setup for The Agency is that the players play the part of 1960’s British spies that are trying to protect the United Kingdom (and the world) from supernatural horrors. Think James Bond and The Avengers vs vampires and evil cultists. The Agency would recruit witnesses to help them fight this threat. This usually resulted in a wide variety of characters

There is a one page character sheet and the creation summary starts on page 25. The first step listed is to create a concept. Basically a background and occupation for the character using the spy series and movies from the 60’s and 70’s as inspiration. This character will be a photographer who shoots both wild animals and wild women. The next step is to pick a name that a 60’s/70’s espionage action hero would have. It gave a list of possible first and last names to choose from or you could choose your own. Pulling names from the list, this character will be named Simon Steele.

A character sketch is the next step. While I didn’t actually need to draw my character (thank the gods) I did have to come up with three things that people would notice when they encountered the character. This would include fashion, mannerisms and a prop. For his prop he either carried a camera with him or a viewing lens to “get the shot”. When he wasn’t trying to get the best photo, he was trying to get under the skirt of a willing model. Steele always wore tight fitting clothing fashionable for the London swinging scene with tweed coats and looked like Michael Caine.

The name is Steele…

Finally we are coming to the skills of the character. There are two sets of skills. Action (fight drive, athletics, etc.) and Ingenuity: (evade, technology, wit, etc.). For Steele, I selected Persuade at 5 (he had to encourage his targets to pose the right way for the photo shoot) and Track at 4 (he had to find the subjects he wanted to photograph both in the urban and jungle environment. For those skills I didn’t select, they are assumed to be ranked at 3 dice.

What are the heroic bonuses and flaws that the character has. This was explained in the rules as “something that would set the character apart both in a positive way and as a flawed human. There is a list provided in the game, but I wonder if the player came up with a good suggestion if the Director would allow it? For Steele, his bonus is resources. He was born into a rich family that allowed him to turn his hobby into a career. Lustful is the flaw that fit this character to a T.

The rules explains that all characters start with one Karma point. This can be spent to power a bonus. Present on the character sheet are three status boxes (Dazed, Disadvantaged and Down, this sounds like the character’s health). There is also a section for Motifs. The rules explain that this is a player resource instead of one used by the character. It can be used to heal or aid a fellow player. The motif is a recurring imagery or fictional element associated with the character. The rules kinda cut off here “What do they do when (line ends)” so I’m not quite sure what this is exactly. Hopefully it explains a little bit better later in the book. Looking down, it appears that if you can incorporate the motif into the roleplay, then you can give an automatic success to another player like they had used a karma point or heal themselves. Looking at the sample characters there was “change of costume”, “flashbacks” or “party lifestyle”. I’m still not certain what to put here so I borrowed “riches & excess” from one of the sample characters. Here is the character sheet.

Afterthoughts:

I’m not much of a “fashonista” so thinking of the look of the character was different for me. Do I go too campy and stereotypical? I tried to keep it within the spirit of the game.

Lots of good introductions to the world. I would have loved to seen a section of how the dice are used in the game. I know there are threat pools and the like but are the players attempting to beat a number or the Director’s rolls? I finally found the answer on page 49. When presented with a challenge the player rolls 3-5 dice (depending upon the skill used) and any roll of 4-6 is counted as a success. The Director rolls threat dice (number depending upon the difficulty) and if the player has more successes than the Director, the player has accomplished the action. For the total number of successes, the player can describer what happened. I guess that gives them some narration in the game as well.

I would be interested in play testing the game. After the play test, I’d probably know more if I wanted to play in a campaign or homebrew for this system.

Additional Notes:

It felt like I was very busy today besides creating this character. I was also trying to decide what games I was going to schedule for the upcoming Salt-Con. In one way it was sad because the lone Dune: Adventures in the Imperium table was quickly filled up. However, it looks like I might get a chance to actually play the James Bond RPG. That would be kewl.

Coming Up Next:

Cyber Generation 2nd edition

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

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