After two very long entries, we’ll be taking a brief look at the next chapter: Strange New Worlds, which discusses the various strange encounters that a member of Starfleet can expect to run into in their voyages.
Strange New Worlds
The first section discusses the various planets and environments that the explorers of Starfleet can find themselves dealing with. This section opens with a rundown of the various Standard Planetary Types, from Class D “relatively small, airless moons and asteroid that are essentially barren balls of rock” to Class Y demon planets “noted for dense, toxic, highly corrosive atmospheres, surface temperatures that exceed 200C and periodic thermionic radiation discharges.”
It’s a great catalog of the different kinds of worlds to explore and is a quick reference for a GM looking for ideas to spruce up their player’s next leg of their voyage.
This section talks about the dangers of different creatures that can be encountered and the threats they represent, ranging form large, aggressive creatures to the dangers of unseen parasitic life forms that can wreak havoc on a crew.
This section tackles the various “space weather” encounters that can complicate a voyage. Ranging from Nebulae, Radiation Storms, Gravitational Distortions and Black Holes there’s plenty here to keep a crew on her feet to make sure that they safely make it to their destination.
Scientific Discoveries and Developments
This section introduces a Research & Development subsystem to the mechanics that come into play when working on tweaking tech as well coming up with new theories and ideas when encountering strange new phenomena.
Step 1: Observe
When encountering a new phenomena, the characters participating in the effort figure out which of the Disciplines this phenomena falls under. The character with the highest rating in the Discipline will then be denoted as the “Research Lead.”
Step 2: Hypothesize
Players then throw out their ideas on what might be happening. The Research Lead then chooses 3 to 5 of these ideas, which are tagged as Hypotheses, and this is explained to the GM.
The GM then determines if any of the Hypotheses fit the truth. If none of the Hypotheses presented fit the actual problem, then the GM immediately gains a point of Threat, and can tell the players to come up with new Hypotheses.
If the players are onto something, the GM then tells them that they are, but NOT which Hypothesis is correct.
Step 3: Testing
The GM then assigns a number of successes needed to determine if a Hypothesis is correct. This ranges from 1 to 10 depending on the difficulty of the research and the problem. This is also often accompanied with a deadline in terms of how many intervals they can work.
The Research Lead then determines which Hypothesis to pursue, and roll for it, in order to try and reach the target number of successes before they run out of intervals.
If they roll enough, then the GM can tell them if the Hypothesis they’re pursuing is successful, or is clearly the wrong one.
This chapter was pretty utilitarian, plenty of useful information to go around, but the Scientific Discoveries sub-system was interesting. I can see it being very important in a “Space CSI” sort of way, given how Star Trek relies more on puzzles rather than overt force to serve as the source of tension.
It’s also a good nod to the team members who put a lot of effort into being the smarter guys of the team, Science Officers will be very happy to be of use, and utilizing the system is a great way to ensure that they’ll make a Spotlight Milestone.
Next up we’ll be taking a look at the chapter covering Conflict, detailing Social Conflict to Combat and if we have enough time, we’ll send our Andorian Security Chief to do some fighting as well!