Star Trek Adventures RPG

Once upon a time I had a couple of Star Trek RPG books published by FASA. They were both destroyed by termites. They were the Federation Sourcebook I got from The Mind Shop maybe 25 years ago, and the Star Trek The Next Generation First Season Sourcebook. Since then, the Star Trek RPG licence had moved on from FASA to Last Unicorn Games to Decipher and currently it is with Modiphius.

Earlier, the core rulebook for Star Trek Adventures arrived by mail, presumably because their transporters were malfunctioning.

Book cover

Book cover

The book is fully painted. Like the Expanse RPG, there is not one frame from any of the live action media. No complaints from me because the artwork is well-illustrated throughout the book.

Alpha Quadrant

Alpha Quadrant

The inner covers, first and final page of the book is a four-page map of the Alpha and the Beta quadrant. The image above shows only a small part of it in the vicinity of Earth. The map covers the Klingon and Romulan Empires and their respective neutral zones, the Cardassian Union, the Breen, the Ferengi Alliance (who’d want an alliance with the Ferengi, I always wondered) and the Tzenkethi Coalition. Who knew Galorndon Core was so close to Algeron.

LCARS

LCARS

The entire book is designed like a TNG-era LCARS display created by Mike Okuda and his art department back in the day. The colours and designs blur the line between in-universe text and graphics, and out-of-universe chapter stops, section headers and such. Even so, the book is highly readable because of its clean fonts. The black background pages tend to pick up oily fingerprints quickly though.

Sample player character

Sample player character

The system is Modiphius’ 2d20 system which is also used by the Mutant Chronicles RPG, Infinity RPG and the John Carter Warlord of Mars RPG. There is a Lifepath character creation system that allows you to create your own Star Trek Starfleet officer player character, creating not just the character, stats, Talents, etc. but their entire backstory.

Player character Attributes are Control, Daring, Fitness, Insight, Presence and Reason. Their Disciplines are Command, Conn, Security, Engineering, Science and Medicine.

In Star Trek Adventures, you roll two twenty-sided dice (2d20) against a Target Number to succeed in your Task. The Target Number is your combined Attribute + Disciplines score. Sometimes you roll more than 2d20 if you spend your group’s Momentum pool or willingly contribute to the Threat pool or spend one of your character’s Determination points. You may not roll more than 5d20.

Your Target Number depends on the Tasks you are doing. If you are trying to get an enemy Cardassian commander to stand down, your Target Number is your Presence+Command score. If you are trying to carefully aim and shoot your phaser pistol at a Tal Shiar agent, your Target Number is Control+Security. If you are jumping into the path of a charging Chalnoth brute and firing your phaser pistol at him, your Target Number is Daring+Security.

Typically, for every d20 rolled under the Target Number, the player gets a Success. The GM sets a Difficulty Number for the Task, from 1-5. This is how many of the d20 Success rolls needed for the Task to be completed successfully. If each d20 roll in the dice pool is higher than the Target Number, then there are no Successes. Any d20 roll in the pool lower or similar to the Target Number is a Success. On a 1, the player gets two Successes. On a 20, the player gets a Complication which would… I dare say, complicate things.

Here’s where it gets interesting: any excess Successes becomes Momentum and goes into the Momentum pool. Players can use Momentum to gain bonuses, such as adding extra d20 to their 2d20 dice pool. Momentum depletes at one point per round.

Besides the d20, the d6 is used as Damage dice, where physical trauma is inflicted onto characters in combat… or if they fell into an empty turbolift shaft like Dr. Pulaski in another universe.

Human and Tellarite

Human and Tellarite

Playable species include Andorian, Bajoran, Betazoid, Denobulan, Human, Tellarite, Trill and Vulcan. Looks like I have to wait a while to create my dream team of non-humanoid Starfleet officers made up of Horta, Excalbian, Sheliak, Tholian and Organian crew members.

Hertzsprung-Russell diagram

Hertzsprung-Russell diagram

Everyone needs a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram on hand for a quick reference.

Akira-class spaceframe

Akira class spaceframe

Stats for Starfleet ship classes available are the Akira, Constellation, Constitution, Defiant, Excelsior, Galaxy, Intrepid, Miranda and the Nova classes. There is a basic set of stats for starship spaceframes, which is the basic abilities of each starship class. Each class has six Systems, which are Comms, Computers, Engines, Sensors, Structure and Weapons, and six Departments which are naturally Command, Conn, Security, Engineering, Science and Medicine. Ships can also aid characters’ Task rolls with these stats.

The stats are modified by the individual ship’s mission profile. Therefore, not all starship classes will have the same stats. For example, a Galaxy-class starship fitted for Scientific and Survey Operations would have different bonuses to their Department stats from one fitted for Tactical Operations.

Ships can also have Talents, such as Extensive Shuttle Bays, Improved Warp Drive and Rugged Design.  Each would give extra abilities to starships.

Random planetary body types

Random planetary body types

There are a whole lot more to talk about with regards to the system, the extremely well written background and setting text, and a scenario entitled Rescue on Xerxes IV.

There’s even a section on Treknobabble which allows GMs and players to assign Traits to the pseudo-scientific made-up terms, allowing bonuses and penalties to dice rolls depending on the situation.

Maybe someday I will be able to run that campaign I have planned for decades that explains early phaser disintegration effects on their targets. They just glow and disappear. Mass to energy conversion do not work that way. Where did the bodies go?

WHAT ACTUALLY ARE PHASERS?

I will read some more on the off chance I stumble across a gaming group who wants me to run Star Trek Adventures.

Posted in Books, Role Playing Games and tagged , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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