Posted in: Alien, Character Creation Challenge, Dune, Dungeons and Dragons, Horror, Pirates, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction, Star Trek, Westerns

2023 Character Creation Challenge After Action Report

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

I’m going to declare the 2023 Character Creation Challenge a magnificent success. Yes there were some days that I wondered if I was going to get through this. For the first time ever I had multiple games frustrate me so much that I just said “screw it, I’m done with this system”. But I was able to post for all 31 days (plus an extra day since I forgot that I was going to use a certain game).

I think my most favorite post was the one for Ork! Second Edition. Writing for another voice was fun and I had a blast. Fantasy Age made a little bit more sense than the 2022 entry for Modern Age. The reading of Mutant Future got the creative juices flowing and I hope to actually put thought into action sooner rather than later. When The Moon Hangs Low and BareBones Fantasy also caught my eye. After reading some of the information on the John Carter of Mars RPG, I went and purchased some of the novels to read on my Amazon Kindle.

Here is my 2023 list of characters:

Day 1: Alien Character: Jan Karlsson, Colonial Marine
Day 2: Star Frontiers Character: K’likki the Vrusk
Day 3: Low Fantasy Gaming Character: Golarth
Day 4: Tiny Spies Character: Daniel Drake
Day 5: Swashbuckling Adventures Character: Dirk Clarkson
Day 6: John Carter of Mars Character Jakour Detha
Day 7: Cepheus Deluxe Character: Jess Tokkin
Day 8: When The Moon Hangs Low Character: William “Kitt” Smythe
Day 9: Fantasy Craft Character: Perrich Teagrove
Day 10: The D6 System Character: Paul Reynolds Code Named- Gold Crown
Day 11: XD20 2nd Edition Character: Blix the Barbarian
Day 12: Mutant Future Character: Carath
Day 13: Ork! 2nd Edition Character: Grukk
Day 14: Serenity Character: Steven “Dart” Carter
Day 15: FASA Star Trek-Starfleet Intelligence Character: Roger Taylor
Day 16: Against the Darkmaster Character: Heathgar son of Kragin
Day 17: US Marshals Character: Leonard “Lariat” Daniels
Day 18: OSIRC Character: Myrin
Day 19: The Agency Character: Simon Steele
Day 20: Cyber Generation Character: Side Wire
Day 21: Strike! Tactical Combat and Heedless Adventure Character: Craig “T-Bone” Miller
Day 22: Barebones Fantasy Character: Traxxis
Day 23: D20 Modern Character: Gregory “Max” Mattheson
Day 24: Fantasy Age Character: Yost Rocktapper
Day 25: Traveller D20 (T20) Character: Baaken
Day 26: Star Crawl Characters: Multiple
Day 27: GURPS Character: Dieter “Ace” Tannin
Day 28: White Box Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game Character: Wingar
Day 29: Metamorphosis Alpha Character: Spikeleaf
Day 30: True 20 Character: Markkin
Day 31: They Came From Beyond The Grave Character: Bruce Walters
Day 32: Vampire Hunter$ Character: Jock Barkley

A big thank you to those of you who encouraged me to keep going. Thank you to those who have joined my Discord server that I’m going to start using for more blog feedback. I’m very grateful to those of you who reached out to me to let me know of the blogs and other message boards that were participating in the #CharacterCreationChallenge. On social media I saw a lot of participation on Facebook, MeWe and Mastodon, but not as much on Twitter this year. I think that the platform may be having some additional issues. I’m not on Instagram so I couldn’t tell you if anything was being posted there. If I’m missing any blogs or sites that were participating, please let me know at Carl (at) and I’ll add them to the list.

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

I noticed a lot of participants used Dune: Adventures in the Imperium and Aliens as their “I’m excited about this game” posts. We had more participants using themes this year. One in particular that stood out was a GM who was making future bad-guys to use against his players. I was very excited that Tim Hardin, the artist who drew the map I used in a recent Basic Fantasy game, participated and posted some very good character images for his entries.

So did you complete the challenge and make 31 characters? If so, please email me at Carl (at) My art school kid in college loved hearing about the characters I was making on a daily basis and the challenge in general. She created a badge for those who completed the challenge. It is a variant of the 2022 badge, but the fact that she was able to alter this between college homework assignments makes me happy. Here it is if you want to download it to display.

There will be a 2024 Character Creation Challenge. Keep an eye out around November for the warnings that it is coming up. I’m starting to use the supplements to some of my games to make characters so I suspect that I’ll be using one of the FASA Star Trek race supplements (Not certain if its going to be Klingon, Romulan or Orion). There are also a couple of other games that have similar supplements that I’m going to be using. Plus I backed the KickStarter campaigns for the Monty Python RPG and Cowboy Bebop RPG, so they will certainly be used in 2024.

So once again, if you had fun, if you learned something new, if you participated, thank you. I really appreciated the people who took my idea and ran with it and made it something of their own.

Tally ho

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: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 2: Star Frontiers

So when I posted my entry for Top Secret in the 2021 Character Creation Challenge, I talked about how my gaming buddies had copies of Star Frontiers and Top Secret, but for some reason, we never played either of them. So, just like with the post for Top Secret, I’m going to pretend it’s the 80’s and one of my friends has said “Let’s make characters for a Star Frontiers game that I’m going to run.”

Now there are two books in this hardback POD version. The basic game and the expanded game. As a new player, we would have started our characters in the basic game rules on page 4. I’ll jump over to the expanded rules after the character is made to see what else may be needed.

OK, we are using the percentile dice for this game. Each ability score will range from 1 to 100 with the higher number being better. The attributes appear to be linked in bases. So we have Strength/Stamina, Dexterity/Reaction Speed, Intuition/Logic (basically alertness and problem solving) and Personality/Leadership (yea, it’s charisma). There is also a listing for Initiative which is more of a modifier than an attribute. I roll percentiles and consult a chart to see where each base is from 30-70 and you roll in order. Before writing the results down, I wanted to select my race as there are modifiers. The four races in the core book are Humans (I have no idea who these guys are), Dralasites (short blob lifeforms that can stretch and have mechanical voiceboxes), Vrusk (Many legged insect looking lifeforms) and Yazirians (apes with leather wings between the arms and legs). They all sound cool, but I’m going to let the dice decide (my choice, this wasn’t in the rules). A random D4 latter resulted in this character being a Vrusk. With my adjusted stats I now have STR/STA 50, DEX/RS 45, INT/LOG 45 and PER/LDR 50. I divide the RS score by 10 and round up to get the initiative modifier, which is 5.

Next I select a name. K’likki sounds Vruskish (I only saw one Vrusk name in the start of the book) and that is where the basic rules end on character creation. However I see that on the next few pages are some other items that are listed on the character sheet such as movement information. So I add them to the sheet as well. The rest of the basic rules covers some equipment descriptions (employers provides), how to run combat and an intro adventure. I’m going to jump over to the expanded rules and take a glance at the character creation steps there.

OK, on page 4 of the expanded rules there is a more detailed list of steps. The first few in generating the ability scores and using the racial modifiers are the same. If this character had been human, I could have added 5 points to a single ability score (not base). I also had the option to move points around if I so desired. I’m going to keep my scores as I have them written down. I’m instructed to write down any racial abilities that my race has (Vrusk are Ambidextrous and a comprehension score of 15 percent, which appears to be a special skill). K’likki will be a male. And I get to roll for credits. d100+250 results in 277, but the rules states that I can buy the standard equipment pack for 250. I was going to find the equipment section, but the book (after showing good details on the races) showed the skills section. A starting character chooses their Primary Skill Area (Military, Technological and Biosocial). I’m not certain which one to take with the attributes that I have. As a starting character, I choose a PSA and then select two skills from that group. So I’m going to keep it simple and just choose military with Beam Weapons and Melee Weapons. Perhaps K’likki was the member of a security squad for his company that became disgraced and that is the reason he is out on his own adventuring. Also trying to find a way to clear his name. I think the character is done? From the rules-as-written I can see where the character creation system kind of sputtered out. I would have asked questions to an experienced GM when creating my character to make sure I had everything fleshed out. From what I understand by reading blogs from Star Frontier fans, the later books in the game helped smooth out some of these rough edges. I don’t have access to them for the challenge. I’m wondering if someone re-wrote the character creation steps to make sure everything was in one spot. Here is what I have for the character sheet.


I liked the idea of using a Basic game to learn the ropes and an Expanded game for regular play. I think in the Expanded character creation steps it should have included information on how to obtain my character’s standard starting skills. I finally found the equipment section, but there was no way I could pick up anything with 27 credits (after buying my starting adventures pack).

I am a big fan of the d100 type system. I would love to see how the game actually plays at the table. Oh how I wish I could have lived in that alternate 1980’s. I don’t know if I’ll find someone running this game at the upcoming SaltCon, but perhaps I could find a game on Roll20 that would accept a newbie.

Additional Notes:

I was able to pick up this book in 2022 with the credit I earned from you guys clicking on my DriveThruRPG links and buying games. So thank you for helping me get a POD for this book. I wrote a review of the POD books that I have picked up from DTRPG. The next set of credits that I earn will go towards a game that I will use in the 2024 Character Creation Challenge.

So I’ve been able to update the large list of blogs and message boards participating in the 2023 Character Creation Challenge. This includes the first (to my knowledge) non-English website. If I don’t have your site listed yet, please email me at Carl (at) and I’ll add it. There are some new sites and some sites I recognize instantly. For those of you who have participated in all three years, thank you. For those of you who are new, welcome to the challenge.

Oh, if you are just finding out about the Character Creation Challenge now, you can still jump in. In the past a few participants hadn’t started until day 10 and they were able to catch up. Remember, this is just for fun.

Follow up to yesterday’s character from Alien. I mentioned that he looked like Ivan Draggo in combat fatigues and a reader on the forums sent me this. Once I was able to pull it up, I thought it was perfect.

Coming Up Next:

Low Fantasy Gaming

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server.

Posted in: Collecting, Dungeons and Dragons, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

DriveThruRPG Print on Demand Review

The Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia and Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn print on demand books.

A package arrived for me the other day. It contained my hardcover print-on-demand copy of Star Frontiers Alpha Dawn from DriveThruRPG. This was the second POD that I had ordered from DriveThruRPG. Before the first Character Creation Challenge, I had ordered a POD of the Dungeons and Dragons Rule Cyclopedia hoping that I could use it in the challenge. It had arrived too late for that event, but it made me realize that I could use the POD options to obtain books that I’ve been wanting to add to my collection. While PDFs are good for reference and quick searching, I still like the feel of a book in my hands. Especially when I’m learning a new system or wanting to recall reading the books for the first time. While I had my own copies of the BECMI Red Box books, I’ve been wanting a copy of the Rules Cyclopedia. Star Frontiers was one of those games that my group of gaming friends wanted to play when it first came out, but for one reason or another, we never got the opportunity to do so. With the credits that I had been building up from DriveThruRPG (thank you) I thought I’d pick up a POD for me to enjoy.

Another thought hit me as I was opening the package, I should write a review of the POD copies that came from DTRPG. So I took some pictures and decided to write down my thoughts. This will be a review of the POD, not a review of the games themselves (which will be handled in a later blog post).

Ordering the books was pretty easy in both cases. Go to the entry on the website and see the options available. Just keep in mind that there is a charge for shipping as well. I don’t recall how long the Dungeons and Dragons book took to arrive (I had ordered at the tail end of the holiday season which is probably the worst time to try to get things by mail), but the Star Frontiers book arrived in ten days after ordering. Both books were printed in Tennessee. A USPS tracking number was provided in both cases.

Both books were packaged very well. The container the D&D book did get a little roughed up in transit, but the book itself was just fine. There was no damage to the container that the SF book arrived in.

Top views of the bindings for both books.

As you can see, the bindings for both books look pretty solid. The covers are not attached directly to the prints themselves which has allowed for repeated book opening. While I haven’t had a chance to go through the Star Frontiers book, I have had several sessions where I’ve sat down to read chapters in the Rule Cyclopedia and I cannot see any additional wear from these readings.

View of the spines.

As you can see from the earlier picture, the covers are pretty sharp. The back image on the Star Frontiers book does slightly bleed onto the spine. The Rules Cyclopedia front and back cover appear to be the same as the original publication. As for Star Frontiers, it appears that “The Original” was added to the top of both covers. Another note on the Star Frontiers, book, they did not change the wording of the description on the back. So the hardbound book talks about how “the box set includes…”. Since they had slightly changed the cover, I’m surprised that they didn’t change the description. But it was an interesting read to see what the original box set stated.

A colored map in the Star Frontiers book.
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos map in the Rules Cyclopedia.

Considering these prints are from a scan of the original books, they came out sharp in the publication. The colors stood out just fine (as seen by the photos above). There were a few pages that contained blue text in the Star Frontiers book (which I believe was the same in the original book). The art printed out OK as well. Again, for a scan, these came out readable and usable. Nothing extra blurry or hard to read.

Now that I own Star Frontiers, I’ll be able to use it in the 2023 Character Creation Challenge. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to play it, but I can at least read and understand one of the classic games that I saw advertised early in my RPG days. I’m also planning to pick up a few more POD books that I’d like to have dead tree versions of without having to pay expensive collector prices for.

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