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[Where I Read] Star Trek Adventures (sight unseen)

So, I had some store credit at DriveThruRPG and I decided to splash out on a print copy of Modiphius's Star Trek Adventures. It's not the first Star Trek game I've owned. I have a copy of the old FASA Star Trek RPG, along with the Starship Combat Simulator that went with it. But I never owned the Decipher Star Trek RPG.

The book arrived a few minutes ago (it's bigger than I expected), and I've not read any of it yet - I've just very briefly opened it and flicked through to see if there's any obvious defects like loose pages or the like (which there isn't).

I know very little about the game, other than that it uses a "2d20" system similar to that in Modiphius's other games; but I've not read any of those either, so I don't know how the "2d20" system works (I'm going to go out on a limb here, and guess that it uses two d20s for task resolution).

When it comes to the source material, I'm a big Star Trek fan, but pretty old-school about it. I love TOS and Next Gen, but think that everything after that: namely Deep Space 9 and Voyager (I've not seen Enterprise or Discovery) went sharply downhill - with the exception of the rebooted films, which I also like but don't really consider to be the same thing as original Trek.

So - is anyone interested in a "Where I Read" of the game, from the point of view of someone who is a fan of the source material but knows next to nothing about the game?
 

harlokin

Sinister Henchman
Validated User
"Tell me many tales, O benign maleficent daemon, but tell me none that I have ever heard or have even dreamt of otherwise than obscurely or infrequently. Nay, tell me not of anything that lies between the bourns of time or the limits of space: for I am a little weary of all recorded years and charted lands"...... I mean, yes :)
 

Tensen01

Go, Play; For Justice!
Validated User
Would be interested, but take umbrage at the idea that Deep Space Nine was "Going Sharply Downhill".
 
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Okay, so lets get started...

We start off - after the usual contents and credits pages and the like - wwith an introductory chapter. It's quite common, in fact I'd go so far as to say quite usual, for games to stick a piece of fiction before the introduction to give you the feel of the setting. We don't get that here; instead getting a labelled diagram of a Star Fleet ship. I guess that serves a similar purpose of getting us into the right mood for the book, since we don't need fiction to introduce us to the Star Trek universe.

Speaking of getting us into the right mood, the layout of the book bears a strong similarity to that of the control panels used in Next Gen onwards, with the curved geometric shapes. That gives a good first impression, but a book is a very different medium to a control panel and I wonder if it will get in the way as we go through.

Anyway, back to the introduction.

We're quickly told that the game is set in 2371, which puts us after the Next Gen series but before the Next Gen films and before DS9 and Voyager. I actually think that's ideal for me, because it means that I can treat the Next Gen episodes as canonical established history but my campaigns can end up with different events happening to those that happen in the later shows. Having said that, we're given a sidebar telling us that it will be easy to set the game in a different era (such as the TOS era, which I have to say would have been my first choice; old fogey that I am). The sidebar says it's just a simple matter of ignoring tech that doesn't exist in your chose era, although I'm not entirely convinced by that. Still, it says that there will be more guidance in the Gamemaster chapter - so we'll wait and see.

The intro makes it clear that the intent of the game is for characters to be in a Star Fleet ship doing missions, which seems sensible to me. We're also told that while each player will have a primary PC, they should also have a "Supporting Character" PC too. The example they give is that when a session is based around the activities of a security away team, the player whose character is the chief engineer back on the ship won't have much to do unless they have a secondary character who is on that away team.

I'm a long-time player of Ars Magica, so this is very familiar territory to me. I can immediately see that the Bridge Crew/Supporting Character/Redshirt set-up is very similar to the Mage/Companion/Grog set-up in that game.

Although it doesn't go into the mechanics of how they're used yet, the intro does tell us that we'll need up to 5d20 and 6d6 per player. That's a little bit of a surprise to me. Since the system is actually called the "2d20" system, I kind of expected that it would require, well, two d20s, not up to five of them. We'll see how that works when we get to the game mechanics. It's not a problem - just a bit of a surprise. We're also told that we'll need poker chips to represent "Momentum" and "Threat", but again what these are isn't explained yet.

Having said that - we do finish the intro with a brief summary of the system. Apparently, characters have Attributes and Disciplines, and the basic mechanic is a dice pool of d20s where you count successes, but with roll-under rather than roll-over (the target normally being the sum of the character's appropriate attribute and discipline).

The introduction then finishes properly with a brief (3/4 page) example of play, and a couple more tech diagrams for flavour - a star chart and another ship.

I must say, the example of play is particularly difficult to read. The book uses a sans-serif typeface (which are designed to be easier to read on a screen than on a page) and has quite a small font, so there's a lot of writing on each page. This isn't normally too much of a problem, but in the example of play the text is in a fairly pale orange colour and italicised - and that makes it very tricky to read for my old eyes.

The play example also uses all sorts of game mechanics that haven't been described yet. There's dice scoring extra successes because of "Focus", and there's using "Threat" to roll extra dice. It seems to indicate that supporting characters don't work in the same way as main PCs, and there's a whole section where the GM appears to be spending resources to change the scene which has a whiff of "Storygame" style narrative mechanics about it to me - I hope I'm wrong about that, or at least if there are narrative mechanics they'll be kept to a minimum.

We'll see, when these things are further explained in later chapters...
 

pdwmartin

10th Level Vice President
Validated User
2371 is the first year after the Dominion is discovered, so not quite pre-DS9 (series 3 I believe).
 

LoneWolf23

Registered User
Validated User
Not sure I want to get this game, but if I did, I'd be running a campaign in the Star Trek Online era. Though with slight changes in the setting, such as the Borg going really "out there" with Drone modifications, Romulan space being in a civil war between the Romulan Empire and the Romulan Republic, with the Federation and Klingons being drawn to help one side or the other. And perhaps introducing new species drawn from my favorite other sci-fi settings.
 
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