Geeks A Gogo spoke with Chris Birch, publishing director for Modiphius Entertainment about Star Trek Adventures -- the latest attempt to translate the classic science fiction franchise into a table top roleplaying game. We discussed mechanics, tone and other aspects of the game.
Q: When will your company release the game?
A: Star Trek Adventures will be out in retail the first week of September but you can pre-order now and have it delivered in August or pick up a copy at GenCon.
Q: Can you tell us about the mechanics?
A: It uses a version of our house system 2d20 developed by Jay Little (Star Wars Edge of the
Empire, X-Wing Miniatures Game) which has been finely tuned to better represent the Star Trek universe. Essentially each character has attributes and Disciplines. You add an
Attribute and Discipline together based on the task at hand, and try to roll under the total on either of two twenty-sided dice. If you have a Focus in the discipline that’s relevant such as Warp Core Engineering and you’re trying to fix the Warp Drive then if you roll under the
Discipline then it counts as a bonus success. This then can give you from 1 to 4 successes. Tasks typically require one or more successes and any extras are considered Momentum which you can spend on various cool things. You can buy additional d20 dice to generate more successes, at a cost of adding Threat to a pool that the games master controls. They spend this to dial up the drama and excitement for you.
Ship combat is very fluid and character driven, and when the party inevitably splits up to stay on the ship or go on an Away Team mission then you create secondary characters that stay with the opposite group - this way you’re always in the middle of the action.
Q: How long did it take to develop? Who worked on it?
A: We’ve been working on it for over a year now with the support of around 12,000 play-testers. Nathan Dowdell was the lead developer and Sam Webb has been managing the wide team of artists, writers and layout designers to get this finished (and the rest of the books in work).
Q: Which eras are represented?
A: It’s very focused on 2371 just as the Dominion War is about to break out, there’s lots of tension across the Federation and Galaxy with plenty of opportunity for adventure. However it’s easy to cover any of the TNG period and there’s guidance on running missions during the TOS period.
Q: How will it differ from other Star Trek RPGs?
A: We’ve gone for a more personal story. There’s plenty of Star Trek books that give you the full timeline for example, instead we’ve got a series of reports, communiques, intelligence analysis, letters, etc from Klingon agents, Romulan commanders, Vulcan ambassadors and so on commenting on those key events and so we learn a lot more about the universe from a more personal perspective.
It’s a simpler game, adding in narrative elements, but with enough detail to keep most people happy. It plays fast and we’ve had games of seven or eight people all entertainment.
Q: What are the character options?
A: There’s a whole life path that characters follow randomly or buy their way through to select the character they want. It creates really unique characters with a great balance.