Star Fleet Manual & Blueprints

Star-Trek-Manuals

I got these to give as a gift. That probably won’t happen.

Star-Trek-Manual Star-Trek-BlueprintWhat a find! I got both of these books for $10 at a flea market near Waukegan, IL: Star Trek Blueprints and Star Fleet Manual. Their overall condition is fair to good.

The Star Fleet Manual is from ’75. The depth of content is really impressive, and according to Memory Alpha, this manual exclusively informed the setting of the Star Fleet Universe series of games.  The two forwards for the book are written in the Trek-verse, under the conceit that this information, a transmission sent from the Enterprise to Earth, somehow traveled back in time to 1970, and was subsequently regarded as a hoax. That’s such a quaint premise it could only come from  classic science fiction.

But the map maker and graphic artist in me just oozes over the blueprints. From the cover:

From the Bridge to Dr. McCoy’s Sick Bay, from the Crew’s Quarters to the Shuttlecraft Hangar, from the Photon Torpedo Bank to the Science Labs of Mr. Spock—every foot of every level of the Enterprise laid out in exact detail!

Without being cluttered, these blue prints are detailed and evocative and inspire the imagination and are just begging to get used at the game table. (As a way to track the tribble infestation!?)

I’d never heard of Franz Joseph before seeing these prints. He’s responsible for both these books, and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for his name on the shelf from now on.

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The Return

Oh, hey, website. I forgot you were there.

It’s been over two years since my last update. Here’s why.

I had already (more-or-less) stopped freelance writing in ’13. This was because I hadn’t been in any games for quite some time, and without that inspiration driving me, writing became a chore rather than a diversion.

Since, by that time, Dorkistan had become primarily a repository for Pathfinder material that I couldn’t sell for one reason or another, that left me generating zero new content. Also, in early 2015 my computer was taken hostage by some aggressive malware, and nearly 20 years of notes, article seeds, campaign ideas, and other design-related files were lost. :sadface:

This, combined with a bevy of new(-ish) hobbies that started taking more of my time, caused Dorkistan to fall by the wayside.

Well starting in May that changes. While I haven’t picked up a regular gaming group, regretably, some of those new hobbies are worth sharing and I am deep into designing a board game with some friends. I’ve also got an inkling to take up fiction writing again.

So any past projects that are unfinished on this site will sadly remain that way forever. I do have a plan for at least one big RPG-related project, but most of my posts from here on out will be small vignettes of something new(-ish).

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Ivalice Campaign Setting: Races

This is sure, by far, to be the most polarizing chapter of the book. Liberties were taken. Regrets were ignored.

Suffice to say that the source games weren’t written with consistency and world building in mind. That’s how you end up with several races without gender differentiation and overwhelming prejudices and stereotypes. In reconciling these “problems,” I made some stuff up. Beyond that, there are some hints at how I’ve imported other aspects from the video games that will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows.

Download Chapter 2: Races

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Best DM: D&D 30-Day Challenge, Day 30

I grew up near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, ancestral home of D&D and TSR until 1997. The Game Guild, perhaps the first modern game store in the U.S., was my old stomping ground, where I cut my teeth on RPGs. I played with some fantastic GMs before I even know what made a good GM.

Trouble is, I don’t remember most of their names.

I *do* remember Dave Arneson. He ran an epic game. And I mean that literally, not in the “high-level character” sense. His game was expansive, beyond what we know of today as a megadungeon. With an inordinate number of players. I tried a game with nine players once, and it was too many to keep track of, yet Dave would run games with a dozen or more and every player was engaged and interested, somehow. Amazing.

Was he the best? Probably not, but he was definitely up there.

Thing is, I can find something to enjoy about almost any game, even if the GM stinks. For me, the best GM is one who wants his players to have fun, and has fun doing it.

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Probable Sin: D&D 30-Day Challenge, Day 29

“Which number on a d20 do you roll the most?” I realize that we as humans try to recognize patterns in an otherwise random sample. Considering that it’s arbitrary which number you roll each time (more or less), I’m going to instead talk about the sin of using counters as dice. Continue reading

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Least Favorite Character: D&D 30-Day Challenge, Day 28

One of my first GM experiences I used an NPC who was a former PC of mine: Sir Tamen, a haughty noble, stern, severe even, but whose heart was in the right place. I meant for Tamen to be a patron of the party, directing them toward their next mission, aiding them when necessary, nudging them if needed. Continue reading

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Favorite Character Part 4: D&D 30-Day Challenge, Day 27

The rook is a Pathfinder class I designed for Purple Duck Games. The goal was to replace the 3.5 beguiler, a charm-based rogue/mage. Continue reading

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Mundane Item: D&D 30-Day Challenge, Day 26

Mundane (non-magic) items are where it’s at in D&D. They have all the creativity and discovery of inventing new magics without countless “templates” or things-that-came-before to compare them to (and steal thunder from) your new item. Continue reading

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Magic Items: D&D 30-Day Challenge, Day 25

I’ve never been a fan of the simple +X magic item. Cloaks of resistance, rings of protection, sword, bow, armor: they’re all boring. Continue reading

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Well of Wounded Souls

I came across an old entry of mine for the one-page dungeon contest. I believe this was my 2010 entry. If memory serves, I was disqualified for not including a Creative Commons license link. The contest has since fallen off my radar, but I remember it being a fun exercise. Continue reading

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