When Star Trek: Discovery came out in 2017 it became one of the most polarizing shows in all of Star Trek. Some fans enjoyed the modern take on the story with season-long arcs and big bad villains. Others were upset that it strayed too far away from what had already been established by previous media for a prequel series. I feel that shows like Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks have done a better job capturing the spirit of the franchise, but that didn’t stop me from accepting a review copy of the Star Trek Adventures Discovery Campaign Guide for review. Is this book only useful to fans of this specific show? Let’s play to find out.
Project manager Jim Johnson along with writers Derrick Tyler Attico, Tilly & Susan Bridges, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Carlos Cisco, Alison Cybe, John Kennedy, Chris McCarver, Fred Love, and Aaron M. Pollyea dive into this new era of Star Trek. It holds a middle ground between Enterprise and the original series. The Federation is still finding its legs after the first big war with the Klingons, Kirk is years away from the Enterprise and we see the first few adventures of Christopher Pike before the terrible accident that changes his life forever. The book covers the first two seasons of the show and gives the period its own look. Not only does the layout change once again, Modiphuis takes advantage of its expanded partnerships with CBS and Star Trek Online to include character stills and concept art. The book provides new info on species and ships from the show as well as elements from the overarching storylines from those seasons. These elements are provided in a manner useful for games set in any Star Trek era or timeline.
One of the big strengths of Star Trek Adventures is how well it supports different styles of play. This book is no different, with sidebars offering advice on how to use story elements in different timelines to incorporate the information in this book for games that use the Klingon Empire core book. This includes a dozen page long mission briefs which are my favorite way to run the game. Eight are built for Starfleet crews, four for Klingons. In addition a short min campaign rounds out the book. Even for Game Master with zero interest in the era, fifteen nights of low prep gaming is an excellent value.
My favorite section offers a look at a popular element of Star Trek that hasn;t seen much exploration in RPGs. Because of how it connects to the storylines of the first two seasons of the show, this book has a chapter on the famous Mirror Universe full of sexy uniforms and evil goatees. The chapter contains everything from details on the structure of the Terran Empire to suggestions on how your players can get mixed up with some alternate dimension shenanigans. I never would have considered including the Mirror Empire in my games without this book.
Discovery Campaign Guide surprised me. I’m not a huge fan of the series but it included several things that I would use in a baseline Star Trek Adventures campaign. Whether it would be one of the adventure briefs, a stopover in the Mirror Universe, or even a few choice pieces of info on Captain Pike to hold me over until the Strange New Worlds book comes out. If you’re a Star Trek Adventures GM don’t let this book pass you by.