Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of… many, many gamers. Thousands have joined in on the living playtest of the upcoming RPG by Modiphius Entertainment, Star Trek Adventures. The alpha test adventures include both original generation and Next Generation storylines.
The first Star Trek RPG to be launched in more than a decade, Star Trek Adventures places players in the roles of crew members aboard their own starships exploring the galaxy and battling adversity. It includes rules for adventuring on planets with away teams, as well as operating the ship, fighting space battles, etc. However, what it’s designed mostly to do is reflect the spirit of the show, with exploration and problem solving at the core.
While most games focus on combat, Star Trek Adventures correctly focuses on deciphering how to overcome an obstacle. Mystery, intrigue and managing one’s resources are central to the feel of the game. It’s not that the game lacks action; one could have his or her entire game involve fighting. However, because of the structure of the game, players will be figuring out how to work as a team to best use their resources to overcome adversity rather than simply jumping head first into a battle.
The primary mechanic is one invented by the same person who built the Star Wars RPG system, Jay Little. In it, players use two 20 sided dice to try to get a certain number of successes. Unlike many systems, in this one a player tries to roll low, so you’ll want to leave your D&D dice behind. To have more chances at success, players can “purchase” more dice to roll. These are usually gained through successes that other players have had; thus emphasizing the team building dynamic.
The similarity to the Star Wars RPG is most visible in combat and movement, where characters and ships move in more abstract settings rather than exact locations. So movement on hexes with miniatures is replaced by more broad areas and range bands. This simplifies the game and leaves more to players’ imaginations, but may not be as attractive to miniatures gamers.
There is also a similar encouragement of role playing and having additional complications enter any given situation. For instance, in Star Wars, dice rolls can introduce “threat” and “triumph,” which make something positive or negative happen; and in Star Trek, one can get a “complication,” which brings about some obstacle to their current task, or they can roll a 1, giving them momentum they can pass on to their crew mates.
These game mechanics are currently being tried out by more than 5,000 players around the world in the game’s alpha test. Modiphius sent out scenarios for the Next Generation play testers in December, and the original generation adventure is being tested this month.
There were three Next Generation vessels: the Bellerphon, which focused on science, the Thunderchild, with a focus on conflict, and the Venture, with a broad range of missions. The first playtest did not involve a ship at all, but rather her crew on a mission to save a science team on a supposedly uninhabited planet. The planet turned out to have a species of Neanderthals that are attacking the scientists and crew, and some of the scientists have also devolved into the creatures. The players must figure out which scientists haven’t devolved, and rescue them.
The original generation players have a mission that is almost the exact opposite, taking place entirely on board their ship. In this, the Lexington has experienced a breakdown during warp, and they are hurtling helplessly toward the Klingon border. They must repair their ship before they cross over, or be destroyed and cause war between the two governments.
Modiphius first presented Star Trek Adventures at Gen Con last year, play testing with gamers who received complimentary Picard or Kirk miniatures. They will be releasing more miniatures, as well as geomorphic tile maps to go with the game, which will be released in the summer.
Releasing close to the premier of the new Star Trek Discovery series, the timing couldn’t be better; though it may not be coincidental. There seems to be some coordination going on with the series, which could make the game even more dynamic for those taking part in the living campaign. Modiphius has announced that there will be organized events each year, the results of which can affect the overall living campaign. If a connection exists with the show, this could bring the game to a whole new level.
Which generation of Star Trek do you want to play when it comes out? Comment below.
Images credit: Modiphius Entertainment