Expand Your Star Trek Adventures With New Guides For Players And Gamemasters

star-trek-adventures-players-guide-star-trek-adventures-modiphius-entertainment-468883_1000x.jpg


Good RPG advice can be hard to find. There are often some nuggets in the GM section of the core book, but those are usually too busy running through the rules for broader topics like theme and feel. Star Trek stories play out in a certain way, usually with a moral quandary in the center, with characters we know and love debating the pros and cons of the issue. Modiphius recently released the Star Trek Adventures Player’s Guide and the Star Trek Adventures Gamemaster’s Guide to help tables expand the options available to tell stories in this universe. Modiphius sent me a pair of review copies and I’m tackling both books here. Are these books worth your hard-earned gold-pressed latinum? Let’s play together to find out.

Each guide is digest sized. The physical editions come in a faux leather cover that looks handsome and feels good. The internal layout also differs from previous products with a crisp cleanliness that’s easy to read. While I’ve enjoyed the line’s adherence to the LCARS aesthetic of Next Generation and the brief dip into a grungier look for the Klingon Empire book, I wouldn't mind seeing future books using this style. Some pieces of art have been pulled from other books, but these are also the first books able to feature cast members from Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.

The Player’s Guide features a lot of advice on making a good character. There’s discussion about specific roles and archetypes in Star Trek and how to build characters for them. There’s also good general advice on how to work together as a team and how to support each other as players. These sorts of books often feature tons and tons of character options and mechanical toys. There is some of that here, but it’s also nice to see a discussion of play styles and techniques to make sure players don’t hog the spotlight.

The Gamemaster’s Guide has plenty of advice along a similar vein for the other side of the screen. There’s a discussion about safety tools and session zero that goes into a bit more detail about deciding what sort of Star Trek story everyone wants to tell. There’s also a segment on essential viewing to get up to speed as well as discussions of campaigns beyond the standard default Starfleet game. That’s followed up with some alternate character creation rules and even different sets of skills and attributes to support non-Starfleet adventures in the setting.

There’s also an excellent discussion of technology in Star Trek. This seems like stuff anyone playing the game should know already or could find on a wiki, but the text focuses on important, gameable elements. It breaks down different moments in time when the tech is upgraded across the different time periods which helps players grasp whether or not they need to push to get their results and solutions. These tech discussions also can inspire Gamemasters by showing them what these wondrous devices can’t do and constructing plots around their limitations.

Themes of the franchise also take up some word count. These discussions are great because they help Gamemasters get the feel of an episode right. It’s okay to have funny episodes. It’s okay to show the wonder of the universe. These discussions feel a little like agendas from indie games and go a great distance to illustrate how the franchise stands on its own besides other big name science fiction.

The main caveat I have about these books is that this discussion is so nice, they printed it twice. There’s duplicated content in these books and that can rub people the wrong way if they feel they are buying the same thing twice. If the table shares book purchases, this would be a good one to split, but completists will likely want to get both volumes just to compliment each other.

If you’re looking for some great advice on how to run a Star Trek game, these books offer a lot of fascinating discussion.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland


Reynard

Legend
It amazes me -- and irritates me, a little -- that STA gets such amazing support while Fallout 2d20 is left with next to nothing. Grrr.
 

N01H3r3

Explorer
It amazes me -- and irritates me, a little -- that STA gets such amazing support while Fallout 2d20 is left with next to nothing. Grrr.
Fallout is significantly more recent, while Star Trek Adventures has been around for several years, and it takes time to produce things and publish a library of supporting material. When Star Trek Adventures first came out, it took quite a while for the first sourcebooks to be released. Plus, different licensors: Paramount has one approach to licensing an RPG, Bethesda has another, and the project managers, writers, and editors need to navigate those differences to get products approved.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
It amazes me -- and irritates me, a little -- that STA gets such amazing support while Fallout 2d20 is left with next to nothing. Grrr.
Fallout is significantly more recent, while Star Trek Adventures has been around for several years, and it takes time to produce things and publish a library of supporting material. When Star Trek Adventures first came out, it took quite a while for the first sourcebooks to be released. Plus, different licensors: Paramount has one approach to licensing an RPG, Bethesda has another, and the project managers, writers, and editors need to navigate those differences to get products approved.
While I sympathize with you, Reynard, I would add to N01H3r3's comments that the Star Trek books probably have a significantly larger audience, so it makes sense (and dollars) to target that larger market.
 

Reynard

Legend
Fallout is significantly more recent, while Star Trek Adventures has been around for several years, and it takes time to produce things and publish a library of supporting material. When Star Trek Adventures first came out, it took quite a while for the first sourcebooks to be released. Plus, different licensors: Paramount has one approach to licensing an RPG, Bethesda has another, and the project managers, writers, and editors need to navigate those differences to get products approved.

While I sympathize with you, Reynard, I would add to N01H3r3's comments that the Star Trek books probably have a significantly larger audience, so it makes sense (and dollars) to target that larger market.

Doesn't mean I can't be salty about it. :cool:
But, STA had its first adventure compendium within 3 months and both setting and rule supplements within 18 months. Fallout has nothing on the schedule except a starter set. Now, that is very likely a problem with Bethesda and how it approves RPG material, but exactly the robust support both Conan and STA have gotten was one of the driving reasons for me to jump on FO2d20. We will see what happens in the future but unless Bethesda relaxes a little my guess is it will be a dead game within a couple years.
 

STA is definitely not something I'd be interested in buying into let alone playing but looks like they have a very good, large selection of products. Is the core rulebook (Sept 1, 2017), the launch of Modiphius' version of the game?
 

Scribe Ineti

Explorer
STA is definitely not something I'd be interested in buying into let alone playing but looks like they have a very good, large selection of products. Is the core rulebook (Sept 1, 2017), the launch of Modiphius' version of the game?

Yes, there was a public playtest in late 2016/early 2017 and then the game launched Sept 2017.
 

SAVeira

Explorer
Doesn't mean I can't be salty about it. :cool:
But, STA had its first adventure compendium within 3 months and both setting and rule supplements within 18 months. Fallout has nothing on the schedule except a starter set. Now, that is very likely a problem with Bethesda and how it approves RPG material, but exactly the robust support both Conan and STA have gotten was one of the driving reasons for me to jump on FO2d20. We will see what happens in the future but unless Bethesda relaxes a little my guess is it will be a dead game within a couple years.
Fallout 2d20 recently get support on Fantasy Grounds. It has come out well before the promised STA Fantasy Grounds.

You are likely right about the issue being Bethesda. Given that the owners of the Conan and STA IPs have divisions just devoted to approving licencing requests, it is not a surprise that they would have a quick turnaround. However, be that the licencing deal for both Conan and STA demand a certain amount of product be produced each year.
 

Reynard

Legend
Fallout 2d20 recently get support on Fantasy Grounds. It has come out well before the promised STA Fantasy Grounds.

You are likely right about the issue being Bethesda. Given that the owners of the Conan and STA IPs have divisions just devoted to approving licencing requests, it is not a surprise that they would have a quick turnaround. However, be that the licencing deal for both Conan and STA demand a certain amount of product be produced each year.
It just baffles me a little that Paramount would have a faster approval process than Bethesda, who at least are in the games business. There is A LOT of Fallout ephemera out there in the world, and it all has to get approved. But, I guess bobbleheads, board games and miniatures war games don't potentially create new lore the way an RPG can.
 

antiwesley

Unpaid Scientific Adviser (Ret.)
It just baffles me a little that Paramount would have a faster approval process than Bethesda, who at least are in the games business. There is A LOT of Fallout ephemera out there in the world, and it all has to get approved. But, I guess bobbleheads, board games and miniatures war games don't potentially create new lore the way an RPG can.

Paramount has a whole legal/editorial team devoted to IP approval. Their sole existence is to review any requests from people wanting to use the IP and such. Star Trek itself has an editorial team devoted to it. With the manpower, they can process things rather quickly.

I'm not 100% on Bethesda, but I imagine their IP approval process goes through 1 person who does it part time, or is part of the PR team.

More hands makes quicker work.
 

Reynard

Legend
Paramount has a whole legal/editorial team devoted to IP approval. Their sole existence is to review any requests from people wanting to use the IP and such. Star Trek itself has an editorial team devoted to it. With the manpower, they can process things rather quickly.

I'm not 100% on Bethesda, but I imagine their IP approval process goes through 1 person who does it part time, or is part of the PR team.

More hands makes quicker work.
Why would you assume that?
 

aramis erak

Legend


Good RPG advice can be hard to find. There are often some nuggets in the GM section of the core book, but those are usually too busy running through the rules for broader topics like theme and feel. Star Trek stories play out in a certain way, usually with a moral quandary in the center, with characters we know and love debating the pros and cons of the issue. Modiphius recently released the Star Trek Adventures Player’s Guide and the Star Trek Adventures Gamemaster’s Guide to help tables expand the options available to tell stories in this universe. Modiphius sent me a pair of review copies and I’m tackling both books here. Are these books worth your hard-earned gold-pressed latinum? Let’s play together to find out.

Each guide is digest sized. The physical editions come in a faux leather cover that looks handsome and feels good. The internal layout also differs from previous products with a crisp cleanliness that’s easy to read. While I’ve enjoyed the line’s adherence to the LCARS aesthetic of Next Generation and the brief dip into a grungier look for the Klingon Empire book, I wouldn't mind seeing future books using this style. Some pieces of art have been pulled from other books, but these are also the first books able to feature cast members from Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.

The Player’s Guide features a lot of advice on making a good character. There’s discussion about specific roles and archetypes in Star Trek and how to build characters for them. There’s also good general advice on how to work together as a team and how to support each other as players. These sorts of books often feature tons and tons of character options and mechanical toys. There is some of that here, but it’s also nice to see a discussion of play styles and techniques to make sure players don’t hog the spotlight.

The Gamemaster’s Guide has plenty of advice along a similar vein for the other side of the screen. There’s a discussion about safety tools and session zero that goes into a bit more detail about deciding what sort of Star Trek story everyone wants to tell. There’s also a segment on essential viewing to get up to speed as well as discussions of campaigns beyond the standard default Starfleet game. That’s followed up with some alternate character creation rules and even different sets of skills and attributes to support non-Starfleet adventures in the setting.

There’s also an excellent discussion of technology in Star Trek. This seems like stuff anyone playing the game should know already or could find on a wiki, but the text focuses on important, gameable elements. It breaks down different moments in time when the tech is upgraded across the different time periods which helps players grasp whether or not they need to push to get their results and solutions. These tech discussions also can inspire Gamemasters by showing them what these wondrous devices can’t do and constructing plots around their limitations.

Themes of the franchise also take up some word count. These discussions are great because they help Gamemasters get the feel of an episode right. It’s okay to have funny episodes. It’s okay to show the wonder of the universe. These discussions feel a little like agendas from indie games and go a great distance to illustrate how the franchise stands on its own besides other big name science fiction.

The main caveat I have about these books is that this discussion is so nice, they printed it twice. There’s duplicated content in these books and that can rub people the wrong way if they feel they are buying the same thing twice. If the table shares book purchases, this would be a good one to split, but completists will likely want to get both volumes just to compliment each other.

If you’re looking for some great advice on how to run a Star Trek game, these books offer a lot of fascinating discussion.
Having both in PDF for several weeks, the GMG has a good number of easy but flavorful optional rules.
The PG giving rules for a variety of non-starfleet characters is nice, too. Especially kids.

At least in PDF, they're worth the price.
Both are filled with good advice.
 

aramis erak

Legend
It just baffles me a little that Paramount would have a faster approval process than Bethesda, who at least are in the games business. There is A LOT of Fallout ephemera out there in the world, and it all has to get approved. But, I guess bobbleheads, board games and miniatures war games don't potentially create new lore the way an RPG can.
Paramount's been managing game licensees since the early 1980s. There's an institutional process, and (usually) a professionalism to it. CBS likewise was doing so since the 1970's.

Bethesda's only been around since 1999, and only had a licensing program since about 2010....

50 years of experience and process vs 10-15? no surprise.

Plus, largely, Paramount Licensing is more worried about not conflating various IPs than about actual canon. Not that they don't care about canon, but it's not as important as not screwing up and including something that some third party owns. Especially given that not all of their licensees are licensed at Paramount's decision. (Some are awarded as part of settlements or as court ordered sentences.)
 

Reynard

Legend
Paramount's been managing game licensees since the early 1980s. There's an institutional process, and (usually) a professionalism to it. CBS likewise was doing so since the 1970's.

Bethesda's only been around since 1999, and only had a licensing program since about 2010....

50 years of experience and process vs 10-15? no surprise.

Plus, largely, Paramount Licensing is more worried about not conflating various IPs than about actual canon. Not that they don't care about canon, but it's not as important as not screwing up and including something that some third party owns. Especially given that not all of their licensees are licensed at Paramount's decision. (Some are awarded as part of settlements or as court ordered sentences.)
It would be interesting to know if their licensing department is especially TTRPG friendly given the regularity with which RPGs appear. Maybe it is related to things like the Technical Manuals and Klingon language stuff, or possibly because Star Trek fandom has always be convention driven and so there is very likely some RPG crossover there. I vaguely remember reading that Star Trek fandom was a place where early roleplaying started to take shape and might have produced LARPs even if wargaming had never evolved into D&D.
 

aramis erak

Legend
It would be interesting to know if their licensing department is especially TTRPG friendly given the regularity with which RPGs appear. Maybe it is related to things like the Technical Manuals and Klingon language stuff, or possibly because Star Trek fandom has always be convention driven and so there is very likely some RPG crossover there. I vaguely remember reading that Star Trek fandom was a place where early roleplaying started to take shape and might have produced LARPs even if wargaming had never evolved into D&D.
Not "Might have" --- did. to a level spoofed in Galaxy Quest.
Many of the Starfleet International clubs are semi-larps.
The issue being that the separations and rejoinders of CBS, Viacom, & Paramount have had a bit of an issue. What I've heard from various developers is that Paramount actually treats it like a business transaction - they're checking to see only that it's in scope of license and not bringing in outside stuff; LFL was doing actual canon-checking at the same time, and treating it as artistic effort.

Now, Chris B of Mōdiphiüs has implied they are doing canon checking, but it's clearly not deep, as the ranks table's been soundly buggered since before release.... (Commodore always was a Starfleet rank, even in TNG, per the costuming and props departments. We even see some on screen in Maroons in ST IV & V.) ;)
 

Scribe Ineti

Explorer
It would be interesting to know if their licensing department is especially TTRPG friendly given the regularity with which RPGs appear. Maybe it is related to things like the Technical Manuals and Klingon language stuff, or possibly because Star Trek fandom has always be convention driven and so there is very likely some RPG crossover there. I vaguely remember reading that Star Trek fandom was a place where early roleplaying started to take shape and might have produced LARPs even if wargaming had never evolved into D&D.
Paramount's review team is extraordinarily friendly to TTRPGs. I don't think we'd be going into our seventh year on the license if they weren't.
 

Related Articles

Visit Our Sponsor

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top