Thursday, July 6, 2017

Star Trek Adventures - Engage Roleplaying!

Just last week my copy of Modiphius Entertainment's Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook hit my inbox in PDF format! I have to say after my first read through I am really impressed!

Also I noticed that as of today even if you didn't pre-order you can now get your copy direct from DriveThruRPG - and a cost of only $15.51 - I have to say it's a steal for the amount of content in this well written and well designed Pen and Paper RPG.

The first couple of chapters give you a great rundown of the Federation and the state of the universe (as if any of us nerds needed that, but still it was a great summary) - The default era for the game is Stardate 48000-48999 (or 2371 for those of you not so nerdy)  with is cannon TNG (movies) / DS9 / Voyager but can be played in any era, Enterprise, ToS, early TNG, or even hop in your ship and slingshot your way around the sun back to any era in the past or future - just mind the Temporal Prime Directive will you?

The entire game is setup to be one large open world of adventure and exploration, each "mission" can be played out like a single episode with missions strung together to create your awesome career in Starfleet.

The Quartermaster issues you a uniform, a tricorder, and a phaser...
Welcome to Starfleet!

The entire game is created similar to other Modiphius games in that it uses 2d20 - a quick and easy system once you get the basics down - usually easy enough to pick up from help sections that break down scenario based game play as you are reading the core rules with examples like so:

Lieutenant Commander Data hits a Borg drone with a blast from his phaser, and rolls 6 for the damage. He rolls 1, 2, and an Effect, as well as three blank faces for a total score of 4 and can activate an Effect.

The idea of the 2d20 system is pretty easy, you have a serious of attributes (6) and a series of disciplines (6), with additional traits that help you succeed on any given event, say you are on the bridge trying to negotiate with a hostile ship that just fired on you - the GM might say Reason [player has 12] (1d20) + Command [player has 4] (1d20) to help defuse the situation peacefully, in this case there are no traits the player has that impact (good or bad) the negotiation. The GM assigns a difficulty to the encounter - in this case 1 because while the alien started with guns blazing he's since scanned his foe and realized that he's outgunned - the player rolls the dice and gets a 4 & 17 - his command + reason is the "line" he is trying to stay under (16 in this case) so he has 1 success and 1 failure. In 2d20 a 1 is critical (sometimes higher numbers like 6 or lower are critical - this is where traits come in) a 20 is a fail with added complications, so our Captain is able to diffuse the situation and open dialog with our shoot first friend. While this is a very simple overview of 2d20 it's a great way to see that the system offers a lot of flexibility for non-combat as well as combat situations.

The game can be played with a pair of d20s and at least 4 d6s which are called Challenge Dice in the STA world (and Modiphius is even making some custom challenge dice to be released later this year), add a few tokens to track some game mechanics like momentum and threat and you are good to go!

What's great about STA is the ability to "switch" characters on the fly - say you are current assigned to the USS Grumpy Old DM (yeah, that is SO going to be my first ship, ok maybe captains yacht) as the Chief Engineer - a role great for fixing the Plasma Manifolds, but maybe not so much charting a nebula or flying your ship through Borg controlled space - A player or GM can create "supporting characters" which can be played by the players at any given time, meaning that you won't be stuck in Engineering while the rest of the table does something cool, this offers a lot of flexibility in game play and helps keep the entire table engaged on a given mission - and as soon as Ensign Paris flies to close to the Borg Cube and you are stuck in a tractor beam ready for assimilation you can switch right back to your main character and start figuring out how best to redirect plasma back though the tractor beam!

If being on the bridge is your thing, manning sick bay, tuning warp coils, leading a science team, or maybe just kicking back in Astrometrics with the biggest screen on the ship there is a role for everyone, and don't even get me started on the story possibilities with holodecks and time travel (Oh yes Daniels, my crews will be involved a few awesome time travel adventures I'm already cooking up!)

"I've given her all I got Captain" - Starships and such

What would any good Star Trek RPG be without a robust Starship system? You can stick with cannon ships (the core rulebook even has pre-generated most of the ones you'd expect to see) or take a quick shuttle up to Tranquility Base Shipyards and get to designing!

STA has detailed rules for ships, from how they get around to how they fight in combat, the character rules easily adjust to ship to ship combat or exploration and the rules allow for seamless actions - from the bridge or in larger scale battles such Wolf  359 or the Dominion siege of DS9.

From Modulating Shields to using the Tractor Beam, Opening Hailing Frequencies to Engaging Attack Pattern Grumpy7π (oh yes, that should have been in the book!) the core rulebook has you covered!

But it doesn't end there, starbases, plantary outposts and orbital weapons platforms - if you can dream it up it can be used to help enhance your story in the STA game. With a robust damage and repair  system (did someone call for a hull breach?) your players should have no problems finding STA's space missions challenging. There is even a detailed system for how to stop a Warp Core Breach (which NEVER happens in Star Trek, EVER!)

So don't be afraid to go to red alert, arm phasers and load torpedo bays 1, 3, and 5 in STA!

Finishing Touches

The end of this core rule book is filled with plenty of NPCs ready go as either supporting characters or GM controlled - enough to get any story off the ground in record time, but what's that, I'm a hailing frequency, there is even a complete intro adventure -  The Rescue at Xerxex IV right in the book!

Oh and I haven't even gotten to the best part yet, Modiphius already has a release schedule set for a bunch of great addons to STA:

  • These Are The Voyages. Volume 1 Mission Book
  • Command Division Supplement
  • Beta Quadrant Sourcebook
  • Operations Division Supplement
  • Alpha Quadrant Sourcebook
  • Sciences Division Supplement
  • Gamma Quadrant Sourcebook
  • Delta Quadrant Sourcebook

So what are you waiting for? Pick up copy at DriveThruRPG or even better yet, jump over to Modiphius and order a bundle that includes all the source books above (they have print and pdf options available for the core rulebook, and pdf for all the rest) - I will warn you as a UK company you may pay a bit of a fee for currency related banking non-sense, man where is my no need for money Federation!

And don't forget to watch for the adventures of the USS Grumpy Old DM coming to Roll20 very soon (like in I've already created the Roll20 character sheet and submitted it to Roll20's GitHub so you can start your own games too!)