So I’ll be attending my first gaming convention in a very llllooonnnggg time. SaltCON is a gaming convention that has been running in Utah for years and will be running this weekend. However until recently, I thought it was just a convention for board games. Some friends would be running the Artemis spaceship bridge simulator (complete with lights, sound effects and more) so I’d stop by to help them set up or bring Seventh Fleet flyers. But I never stuck around, again thinking it was just board games. I don’t mind board games, they just are not my draw to a convention.
SaltCON in March is their biggest event (2,000+ attendees). They also hold smaller events in the summer (600 attendees) and late summer (800 attendees). So to my surprise, one of my friends was telling me about how he ran the Stargate RPG at the last convention. I was a little amazed actually and after some thinking (and before the ticket prices went up) I purchased my pass several months ago. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the upcoming con. I wanted to sit down and play as many role-playing games as possible. Thanks to the patience of the convention organizers (who responded to my emails in a timely manner) and the advice from some friends who had attended in the past, I was able to get several games reserved. I’m a little sad because the Dune: Adventures in the Imperium session filled up before I had a chance to grab a seat. But I was able to get seats for the following games.
-Pathfinder 2nd Edition (The scenario sounded interesting and it will give me a chance to check out this system)
–GURPS (The adventure sounds like it is set in Aliens and I don’t have to make the character)
–Cyberpunk RED (I’ve never had a chance to try this new version yet)
Because of the time schedules, there were a couple of other games that were presented that I couldn’t fit in. These included Low Fantasy Gaming and Tiny D6 Frontiers. Perhaps I’ll be able to get in on a pick-up game when I have some free slots open during the con.
The very first “con” I went to was a gaming convention at a local library back in the late 80’s. I don’t recall if it had a name but I remember playing Dungeons and Dragons for several hours. In the early 90’s a local comic and gaming store called Comics Utah ran Kubla Khan for several years. Another gaming store (of a name that I can’t remember) ran several conventions in the mall they were in called WinterGameFest, SpringGameFest, etc. There was also gaming at the various CONduits in which I was able to sneak in a game or two. In a past website, I had a convention resume listed. I need to get that finished for the Blog of Holding.
So I will write up an after-action report when SaltCON is done to let you know how it went. I’ve been planning and prepping (backpack, dice, meals, books, etc.) for quite some time. I’m very grateful that the con is in my county (as compared to most cons in Salt Lake or other distant areas). It will be nice to sleep in my own bed each night after the convention.
Let’s roll some dice.
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.
After I had posted my daily entry for Modern Age yesterday, I kept thinking that I should have done a deeper dive into the rules. I had assumed that since the rules explained the basics of the game quickly at the start of the book that the character creation steps would have also been as quick. I’m thinking that I didn’t give the game a good enough shake in my comments. So I started looking at getting a dead-tree version of the rulebook because I could easily flip back and forth between chapters while trying to get a handle on the rules (as compared to trying to scroll back and forth on a screen). I had found a copy on Amazon, but I didn’t pull the trigger just yet because I had just bought a new (to me) book a few days ago and I needed to stay within a budget. That book that was just purchased was slotted into Day 11 of the Character Creation Challenge. The book is the Farscape Roleplaying Game by AEG. I didn’t know this book existed until I saw it at a local store that had new and used books just this past weekend. I wasn’t expecting to find anything when I checked the RPG shelf and was pleasantly surprised. So I pulled one of the games I was planning to use (Rocket Age, I’ll probably add it to the 2023 challenge) and placed this one in it’s place. The flexibility to make changes like this is the reason I don’t post my entire list of games prior to the start of the challenge.
I didn’t watch the Farscape TV series when it first came out. About a year ago I started watching the series and I’ve gotten through the first year and a half (I need to pick it up again and finish it out). There were four seasons in total plus a TV mini-series . So I am somewhat familiar with this universe setting.
There are a few items that you would need from the Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 Players Handbook for this roleplaying game. The Farscape game is a D20 based system that uses the OGL. So this should be a quick review mostly talking about the differences that were introduced in the Farscape game.
Wow, the character creation information doesn’t come up until chapter 5 on page 145. The earlier pages gave a Farscape short story (written by Keith R.A. DeCandio) an episode guide, a guide to the characters, aliens and planets (none have stat information). All with a weird column setup that starts in one corner of the page and slides down at an angle to the other.
Generating the attributes refers to the D&D3.5 PHB so we roll 4d6 and drop the lowest and then assign the score to the attribute you want. Then select your race and add the racial modifiers. Not surprising, Humans are not on the list of available races since John Crichton was the only member of that species in the far side of the galaxy. So our selections are Banik, Delvian, Hynerian, Ilanic, Luxan, Nebari, Scarran, Sebacean, Sheyang, Tavlek, Vorcarian and Zenetan. For this character I’m going to select Banik. I applied the racial stats and abilities. Instead of Hit Points, your character in the Farscape RPG has Wounds. At 1st level they are maxed out (add class and any CON modifier) and randomly rolled afterwards. Something different from a standard D20/3.5 game is Control Points. From the RAW it looks like these are used for mystic powers, combat actions and other common actions. Like Wounds, 1st level are maxed out (add class and any WIS modifier) and rolled for each level afterwards.
Now onto the classes which are Aristocrat, Commando, Diplomat, Mystic, Pirate, Priest, Rogue, Scavenger, Scientist, Tech and Warrior. An option of a pirate is too good to pass up. I filled in the class skills, feats and other details. The characters get to choose two backgrounds which (at the cost of skill points) gives you certain skills and details. These backgrounds kinda made sense. The cost was more expensive than just taking the skills in some cases (but you could also substitute a background for a selected feat). If I was GMing a game, I’d probably give the PCs a little bit more for the cost of skill points. It also sounds like the backgrounds are optional, so I’m just going to select skills on my own. Wrapped up the equipment that a pirate in the uncharted territories would have and added them to the sheet.
Drellith was going to be a craftsman in his city before his transport was taken by the Peacekeepers. They accused everyone on aboard (passenger or not) of being pirates and imprisoned everyone. Learning from the pirates that were incarcerated with Drellith, he learned their tricks. When they had an opportunity to escape, he joined them.
Would I play this game? Yes. Would I homebrew for this game? Yes. Will I get a chance to play? Probably not.
I was a little surprised that AEG still had games like Farscape and Stargate SG-1 still listed on DriveThruRPG. Usually when the license expires, they can no longer offer the product. This is a good thing for fans of the series or games still looking to obtain the product.
I re-visited the blogs from the 2021 challenge (that I had not already moved to the 2022 list) and found two more that had started participating. I’ve added these to the new list. I’m still looking for any additional sites of anyone that is participating.
So I got involved in a discussion on a Stargate fandom page online. The topic was the much debated Stargate Universe series. Some people stated that they liked it, others (including myself) stated that we didn’t like it. The conversation was going pretty well until someone posted the following “You are not a true fan of Stargate unless you’ve watched all of Stargate Universe.” Now this was a statement that I really had to respond to as I’ve heard this “True Fan” comment before and it bugs me a lot. Rant Mode On: I think this meme said it best.
As most of you know (or have probably guessed), I’m a fan of a large number of science fiction and fantasy franchises. And there are some shows that I have not found entertaining. I could never get into the Buffy and Angel series no matter how hard I tried. It seemed like every time I sat down to give The X-Files a chance while it was first airing, it turned out to be the episode of the season with the most blood. There are other series, movies, comics and books that I just couldn’t get into. Some I will talk about in future blog posts.
Even in my favorite franchises, there are stinkers. I’ve only seen the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise once. And I only plan to watch it once again (to mine it for quotes and trivia questions) before I avoid it at all costs afterwards. If someone would have had the misfortune of having that episode be their first introduction to the Star Trek universe, I could understand why they may not like Enterprise or even Star Trek itself. They get to decide what they are fans of, not me nor anyone else.
Using the term “True Fan” is a form of Gatekeeping. Gatekeeping, in the fandom/hobby sense, is allowing only those the “true fans” deem worthy to join them in the fandom. They may use this to keep fans of a certain series in a franchise out of their club/social media group/etc. (i.e. “You can’t be a true Star Trek fan if you like Star Trek: Discovery), or they may use this to keep certain players out of their games (i.e. “You can’t play in our Battletech game with papers figures, you have to only play with painted figs). A note on this last one. A sanctioned tournament for a miniature or card game requiring certain items to use in the tournament is a method of marketing and sales, not gatekeeping. And one I see in cosplay groups is, your cosplay isn’t worthy of inclusion. Really? With how much time, energy and effort goes into cosplay you are going to get upset because it’s not “screen accurate”? Someone who puts their heart into their fandom doesn’t deserve to get it crushed.
Gatekeeping by “true fans” makes the base of participants smaller and could kill our fandoms. You never know what was someone’s introduction to the fandom or hobby. While I was manning the USS Ticonderoga recruiting booth during the opening weekend of Star Trek: Into Darkness, a new fan came up to me and stated that the previous Star Trek film had inspired him so much that he went and watched all of the original Star Trek television series. He was now a fan of the franchise itself and was checking out the other shows. Had he been talking to a “true fan”, he could have been discouraged by the belittlement and not checked out the rest of the universe that awaited him.
It’s not just geeky movies and hobbies that his plagued by this. I’ve seen this same “true fan” mentality in sports fandom. “You can’t be a true fan of the (insert team name here) unless you can name a player from their 2009 championship run.” As our Dwight meme says above: “False!”
Now when someone asks a question like “Is the new Superman & Lois television series any good?” I usually respond somewhere along the line of “I’ve enjoyed it.” If I found that I haven’t been a fan of a series, I state that it is something I haven’t enjoyed. If someone says they enjoyed a series that I have not, then I’m glad. Not everyone has to enjoy what I enjoy. I request the same respect in return. The “I’ve enjoyed it” answer is also how I avoid the bait posts where someone is trying to start an opportunity to troll fans of a series.
So to recap, if you were to say to me “I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of the anime Cowboy Bebop and enjoyed it, am I a fan?” my answer would be yes. If you asked if you wanted to cosplay as a gender-bended Robin Hood and his band of thieves in the Sherwood Forest, would I consider you a fan? My answer would still be yes. “I really like Real Salt Lake because they are a local team.” I’d say welcome to the fandom. Would I shun you if you only wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition? No, I would not and I even might ask if there is an opening in your game. You get to decide if you are a fan of something, not these “true fans.” Enjoy what you want to enjoy and don’t let anyone tear you down for it.
Now to get back to the Stargate Universe discussion. I really enjoyed the original Stargate movie ever since I first saw it on opening weekend. It took me a while to get a chance to sit down and watch Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, but I enjoyed them both to the point where I call myself a fan. Because I had enjoyed both of these series so much, I took the opportunity to get season one, disk one DVD of Stargate Universe from Netflix (this should tell you how long ago this was) and my wife and I watched the first five episodes. There was one good episode in that first set (it was about time travel). I liked the nerdy kid who’s name I can’t remember. I really wanted to follow Samantha Carter in command of the USS Hamond and see her adventures. And I thought the concept of being trapped on a living spaceship not under your control sounded interesting. But I found the writing in SGU horrendous. The acting really wasn’t up to snuff despite some good names on the acting list. The use of the tech to switch bodies to go back to Earth and spy on your ex-wife was dumb. It was dark, dreary and depressing and was practically a soap opera. Talking into the floating camera things was too much like how reality TV show contestants would react to a camera between dramatic takes (a major turn off). And the scene where some woman is talking to her floating camera making a message for her husband, and then forgets to turn it off while she cheats on him with another member of the crew really made me roll my eyes. I think I realized this show wasn’t for me when the lead scientist and the lead military guy was fighting in the fifth episode and I turned to my wife and said “I don’t even care who wins this fight.”
Now if you are a fan of Stargate Universe. Good for you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Some of the SGU fans in the discussion stated that it got better in season two and encouraged me to sit down and give the series another try. I could see myself doing this once I’ve gotten all of my other catch-up and new watching completed. I’m really enjoying Superman & Lois and I watch it every week. WandaVision was another series I had to keep up on. I need to finish my first watch through of Farscape (yea I missed it when it first aired) and someday I’ll watch all of the episodes of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda. There are a ton of shows in my streaming lists and interests that I want to watch. And that doesn’t even count the number of books and comics I want to read or games I want to play. Bottom line is that SGU is really down on the priority list. So yes I’d give it another try if my list has been completed, but that will not be for a very very long time.
I think I’ve said enough to end this rant. If you are still reading, thank you. Just remember, you decide what you are a fan of, not other people and not those who gatekeep with the term “true fans”.