Archive for June 22, 2017


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Today we start checking out the setting chapters of the new Star Trek Adventures RPG from Modiphius!

This chapter talks about The United Federation of Planets as well as the various other known factions in the Star Trek Universe. It’s divided into four subsections that we’ll tackle in order:

Overview

As a newbie to the Star Trek universe, the Overview served as a swift introduction to the Star Trek Galaxy, with small sections talking about the four Quadrants and the various factions and races that live there, along with what the current situation is with each of them.

While some familiarity with the setting helps here, as I’m unable to tell a Bajoran from a Cardassian at this point (though I suspect I’ll figure that out once we get to Character Creation) the way it was written was clear enough to at least follow along and get the broad strokes as to the conflicts and issues plaguing each of these groups.

There’s also mention here of some of the other truly alien threats like the Borg and the Q, which I’m sure will be a cause of no end of misery (or amusement) to the players when confronted by these threats in the game.

Early History

In a surprising shift, the Early History section switches to a “show, don’t tell” approach by presenting this entire section in the form of several missives taken from various personalities from different factions.

These range from diary entries to excerpts of a lecture talking about the origins of the infamous Khan Noonien Singh, to entries from the personal log of Captain James T. Kirk. While each of these offers insight to a slice of time, and the mindset of their respective authors, the overall effect was a bit confusing.

I came out of this section feeling a little more lost than enlightened, and I wasn’t certain how to parse the information in the letters in a way that would help me run the game.

The Twenty Third Century

This segment deals with the role of Starfleet in the greater scheme of things, and the expectations of the people that serve in it. Rather than delve into the history of things, the section talks about the nature of those that serve Starfleet as explorers as a primary function.

There’s some fine talk here about the virtues of improvisation in the face of the uncertain, the importance of their jobs as Diplomats, Explorers and Peacekeepers. It’s a great read honestly, and one that helps pin down just what makes members of Starfleet so heroic in the way they uphold these virtues.

Recent Federation History

Here we go back to the letters and missives. Again while I do appreciate the insight, I wish that there was some more structure provided to give someone like myself who doesn’t have an extensive familiarity with the setting something to hold on to in terms of context for each of these entries.

Again, I suspect that these letters are great if you’re familiar with the setting, but for someone like myself, I found them to be something that I would skip over at least on my first read-through.

Next up we’ll be taking a look at the next chapter: Your Continuing Mission. This section details the more relatable details of being a member of Starfleet, and it’s a chapter that I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into given the fact that I’ve always admired Star Trek’s focus on stories that revolve around the missions that don’t involve eradicating an alien species, but rather tackling the issues surrounding the nature of contact while working under The Prime Directive.

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After an overwhelming victory on votes against Shadowrun 5th Edition in a Twitter poll, we’ll be doing a Let’s Study on the freshly minted Star Trek Adventures RPG from Modiphius!

Disclaimers and Background

I was lucky enough to receive this electronic review copy from Modiphius. Also, I’m not all that familiar with the world of Star Trek, having only watched a few of the movies and some episodes of the original Star Trek, and Star Trek: TNG on local TV.

Introduction

“Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, ,to boldly go where no one has gone before.” – Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

As a geek of any stripe it’s not difficult to get goosebumps at this opening line, and in my head it rings with the same weight as Conan’s “Know, oh, prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis…”

It’s a daunting thing to tackle Star Trek, with such a heavy legacy from so many sources, but the book jumps right into it.  What I really appreciated is how easily they broke down the kinds of adventures you can expect. For those used to the lore of the setting, you can participate in any of the various hotspots of the Federation against its neighbors.

There’s mention of the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-D, the U.S.S. Voyager and the U.S.S. Defiant, as well as the conflicts and missions they were to encounter. These would be the template of the kinds of adventures that the player characters, as members of Starfleet can expect to participate in: from high-stakes politics, to first contact with strange and alien species and participating in exploratory and scientific missions.

The Basic Mechanics

Star Trek Adventures uses the 2d20 system that Modiphius has used in several other games, such as Conan, Mutant Chronicles and the upcoming Infinity RPG.

Whenever an action is taken with a risk of failure the character rolls a pool of 20-sided dice (usually 2, but that can be increased with other factors) and tries to roll below a value determined by their Attribute and Discipline.

Of course, there’s more to it than just rolling 2d20 under a target number, but we’ll talk about those as we run into them on the rules.

In our next installment, we’ll be taking a look at the setting and history of the Start Trek Adventures RPG. It’s a hefty chunk of the book but I’m looking forward to checking it out as I want to better appreciate the next bit after that Starfleet and Character Creation!

If you’re interested in buying it on PDF, you can purchase a copy of Star Trek Adventures over at DriveThruRPG for only $15.56!

EDIT: Seeing as a lot of you are finding the first article linked in various sites, I figure I might as well link to the rest of the entries as I write them: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 (Mechanics), Part 5 (Character Creation), Part 6 (Scientific Discoveries), Part 7a (Social Conflict), Part 7b (Combat), Part 8 (Tech, Weapons and Equipment), Part 9a (Starships), Part 9b (Starship Combat), Part 9c (Starship Creation & Alien Vessels), Part 10 (GMing, NPCs, Review)

Also if you’d like to support my efforts in writing Let’s Study style reviews, consider being part of my Patreon.

Thanks for reading!