Star trek adventures, published by Modiphius, is the manual through which you can live the experience of playing in the Star Trek universe.
In the previous weeks we had been able to deal with the quickstart of the basic rules and a free downloadable adventure based on the experience of Kobayashi Maru.
As we mentioned earlier, this is perhaps the best product out there for playing in the Star Trek universe. In each page that I have read I have found a very precise work, especially in the treatment of the storyline and in the various peculiarities found in all the series.
Let's leave room for the initials and start analyzing the manual.
Review of the Star Trek Adventures manual
After a brief introduction, to which all of us role players are used to, the manual immediately launches us into the universe of Gene Roddenberry. The first fifty pages are dedicated to the history of Federation. Since its foundation, thanks to the work of the captain Jonathan Archer and the crew of the Enterprise ship, until the war with the Mastery, hegemonic power of Gamma Quadrant.
The story continues in the next chapter, in which the reasons for the foundation of the United Federation of Planets: search for peace and brotherhood, scientific discoveries and both individual and social self-improvement. In short, all those things that we humans should aim for.
The explanation of the rules for carrying out the first missions and the difficulty tests to be overcome to succeed in an action are explained in the following chapters. This choice of dividing the rules into various chapters had raised several perplexities, as already mentioned in the previous article regarding the quickstart analysis, seeing it again proposed in the basic manual left me completely baffled.
In the next two chapters all the rules for creating Starfleet cadets are set out very clearly. In addition to the ability to choose your species among the many that populate the Star Trek universe, you can also use a table to randomly choose your heritage. Among the species that can be selected are Andorians, Bajorans, Betazoids, Denobulans, Humans, Tellarites, Trill and the inevitable Vulcans. Each of these has unique peculiar traits that well represent what is narrated both in the books and in the various episodes of the series Star Trek through the decades.
Another interesting paragraph related to the creation of the character is the place of origin. There are many differences between growing up aboard a spaceship, in an isolated colony, on one of the Federation's main worlds or its a space station. Each character will therefore have to face a style of growth linked to this environment bio-social.
Those who are lucky enough to grow up on a federal border station will find themselves growing up in a multicultural environment that will improve their ability to deal with alien species and individuals. Those who grew up on an isolated colony, on the other hand, will have had a sort of more practical training regarding survival and the ability to know how to "manage".
This concept of growth bio-social has always been one of the themes most dear to me related to the narrative of this universe, and I am happy that the creators of the game Star trek adventures have decided to emphasize this concept.
The Strange New Worlds of Star Trek Adventures
As the manual continues, we move deeper and deeper into theLast Frontier di Star trek adventures. The manual examines the classification of the planets, which I had already mentioned in a previous article, from the planets of class D (Demon) to those of class M (Minshara). For each of these, the dimensions, the severity, but above all the possible dangers that the explorers could encounter are examined.
Often, in fact, wandering during the five-year missions, the starships can discover new unexplored planets or star clusters in formation. The study and exploration of these phenomena is the most intriguing and engaging that the universe of Star Trek has ever given us, in addition of course to social and military clashes, no doubt.
After the explanation of the planets and possible stellar phenomena, there is also a roundup of environmental dangers that can be used to make the world even more interesting. Carnivorous alien creatures capable of tearing apart the armor of a small exploration ship, unknown parasites and viruses that the transporter bioscanner was unable to decontaminate. And, as Dr. Leonard McCoy said:
[...] A tiny crack and our blood will boil in thirteen seconds, or a solar flare can cook us on our seats. And wait until you get a nice Andorian herpes, you won't be so calm when your eye balls bleed. Space is disease and danger, in darkness and silence [...]Star Trek, 2009
What can ever go wrong? But don't worry, the situation will not always be critical!
Finally a few rules
In the following chapters, the rules of the game itself are dealt with. Actions, special conflicts, combat, technology, starships and their conformations and the combat rules of the same. There really is something for everyone!
One of the things that I liked most of all about these chapters are the sections on technology and ships. When I see a new ship in Star Trek, I go straight to peek at the blueprints, not even if I were stationed on Utopia Planitia, home to the federal ship building and design institute.
Seeing the number of bridges, the armaments, the sensors, have always been things that have taken hold of me, so much so as to have also made me approach the MMORPG of Star Trek Universe, which I nevertheless abandoned being somewhat alone.
As I said, a few lines ago, technology is fundamental in this universe, as is the study of the technology of the empires that preceded the current history. In an episode of Star Trek: Picard I had hinted that there could be references to the technology of the Iconians, whose scientific discoveries had allowed this species to open portals and transport itself directly to the worlds, without using starships. Here in this paragraph of the book many of the alien technologies of the now extinct species are collected. Needless to say, I was in seventh heaven. Yes, sure, I knew them all, but observing the accuracy of this manual made me really happy!
How to play the game in Star Trek Adventures
The last sections help the Game Master organize the game. Administer the rules, create the so-called “Notable NPCs”, that is iconic characters who can help players during their missions. But the chapters don't stop there. In the penultimate, for example, all the enemies that “afflict” the Star Trek universe are examined. Come on violent Deposit to the concealers Romulans, passing through the greedy Ferenghi up to the proud Cardassians. I would like to spend hundreds of words to describe the latter. One of my favorite characters from all the Star Trek series belongs to this very species, but now is not the time. But I leave you with a name: Garak.
Finally, in the last chapter, it is possible to find an adventure ready to be played, in which it is possible to find an immense reference to one of the episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I don't want to do any more spoilers.
Regarding this paragraph I would like to leave my personal consideration. The preparation that the Master must do to make the world alive is remarkable. I'm not ashamed to think that a non-fan of the series may find himself overwhelmed by the search for information to make everything more "credible".
I like the product. The system, complex as it may seem, is quite lean and despite some doubts about how the rules have been divided, these are easily accessible. The images are very evocative and the layout, which takes up the themes of the Federation, is quite funny. Finally I would like to focus on the paragraphs explaining the events. In the various pages, all the stories, memories, travel diaries of the most famous captains and much more that make this universe to which I am so fond of come alive.
Last, but not least, is the language the manual recommends using: Star Trek it is science fiction and as such we recommend the use of invented words to create the atmosphere: hearing a xenobiologist talking about life on other planets is one thing, but inventing words to describe life forms is the most trekky one can imagine.
Are you ready to step on the bridge and reach for the stars?