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:
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.
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.