Too Far Gorn

STArena

Ahhh…good times.  First contact.  Ripped uniforms.  Foam rocks.  Latex masks.  Double-fisted punches.  Old school choreography.

Last post we talked a bit about the notion of taking a fan-favorite Original Series Star Trek episode and modernizing it for group-style roleplaying.  This post embraces that concept in a full bear-hug, squeezes as hard as it can, and asks for a giant foam rock to throw at your favorite Starfleet officer.

The episode in question is “The Arena”, episode 18 of season 1 of the Original Series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arena_(Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series).  It is a beloved episode that plays much better in memory than in viewing.  The story is fairly solid, and I recall it being pretty intense when I was a kid.  Compared to the frenetic action sequences of today’s media, however, it plays like a snail-race.  Thus, for me, it begged for modernization.

When I rewatched the episode, I noticed something vital for a tabletop game:  as written, it would not play well for group activity.  The majority of the episode involves the crew watching Kirk fight his Gorn opponent as if it were a boxing match.  Certainly, the commentary concerning violence as a sport and the like can be debated, but for most RP groups (mine included) that would not be an enjoyable session.

So, some modifications had to be made to turn the adventure into more of a group activity.  This started as a subtle change that wound up altering the entirety of the episodes presentation and progression.  I strove, however, to maintain a loyalty to the original concept, while putting a greater emphasis on player involvement, as well as discovery, in particular maintaining the core concept of “uncertainty in exploration”.

The end result is for your judgment, however.  Therefore, I proudly introduce episode 4…

Episode 4 Ancient Claim

Making the Old New

One of the many goals I set for myself when I decided to run a Star Trek campaign, especially one set in the earlier years of Starfleet — like those we all saw in the Original Series — was to recreate some of the original episodes, but do so in a way that presented role-playing opportunities for my group.  When the group is nine players strong, that can be somewhat of an issue.  Situations that were compelling for two or three characters may not have enough challenge, and the themes from 50+ years ago are not always relevant (although many, surprisingly, still were).

Mudd's Women

Mudd’s Women (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Mudd’s Women” was the first episode I tackled.  Many of its elements were no longer relevant and the idea of a comic-relief character did not sit well with my vision of Star Trek, so there were a great number of liberties taken.  There was also a later episode, “I, Mudd” that heavily influenced my ideas.

The result is Episode 3 of our Star Trek campaign.  Enjoy!

Episode 3 Mudd’s Angels

To Explore Strange New Worlds…

English: Logo from the television program Star...

English: Logo from the television program Star Trek: TOS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part of the fun of Star Trek is exploration.  Exploration of exotic places as well as concepts.  That was the general idea behind this episode, exploring the unknown.  Another goal of this episode was to mirror the mundane with the unusual in an effort to highlight the broad spectrum of life a Starfleet Officer was likely to find when traveling amongst the stars.

As with all of the episodes I wrote for our game, there are small Easter Eggs hidden here and there within the adventure’s text and action for the astute Trekkie.

This episode lacks new alien species and starships.  Instead it introduces elements and situations encouraging classic Star Trek solutions, urging players to think outside the box and push the narrative influence a system like FATE enables.

Let me know what you think.  If you do play through the episode, I’d love to hear the solutions your crew came up with to overcome their challenges.

Episode 2 Rogue Planet

The Further Adventures Of…

Star Trek TOS logo

Star Trek TOS logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been wrestling with how best to proceed with the remaining Star Trek material I crafted for the campaign I ran.  At first I thought about putting similar items together in specific, supplement-like books, but I didn’t really feel it did the presentation any justice.  It also didn’t provide a frame of reference for whatever it was I was going to put out there.  Plus, this blog is, ultimately, meant as a showcase for my writings, not just a Star Trek FATE library of game mechanics.

So, I settled on publishing it in the same manner my players experienced it:  as an episodic series of adventures.  Each episode was written for my players, meaning that there are inevitably going to be portions that apply to characters specific to the campaign in which they were ran.  My thought is that folks can either tear apart the offered material, take what they want and throw out the rest, or, if anyone is remotely interested, they will ultimately accumulate a Star Trek campaign.

These episodes sometimes borrow from existing Star Trek episodes.  Sometimes, these episodes will completely re-write existing Star Trek episodes into a playable game format.  A good majority of the time, however, these are all original.

The campaign is presented with the assumption that the player characters are assigned to different departments and the captain of their starship remains a non-player character.  While this may differ a bit from classic Star Trek, in that the captain is more of a “mission provider” in this campaign than an active swashbuckler, I felt if was necessary to remove the potential burden of one player possessing greater narrative command over another.  Of course, this is also easily changed for individual campaigns.

This particular episode starts at the very beginning of our Star Trek heroes’ careers — they are fresh from the Academy, serving in departments.  In time, it is intended that they become department heads and provide greater influence over the decisions and directions of each episode.

Furthermore, there is a story arc presented here.  Since it is presented in adventuring format, it may not be quite as clear as I remember it or how it played through for my group.  That’s okay, though.  With this out there, its really no longer “my” story and instead becomes “our” story.

My plan is, like a television series, to get these out to everyone with one episode per week.  I warn ahead of time, as life, work, and everything in between can occasionally get hectic, this may be two weeks at certain periods.  For those left waiting or wanting, I apologize now for any delay.

Finally, I welcome comments, questions, critiques, and plain old conversation.  Feel free to make posts, express opinions and different viewpoints.

So, without further delay, cue the music, and…

Episode 1 Future Reflections

May the Fourth Be With You

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films

English: Opening logo to the Star Wars films (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Star Wars Day!  (Didn’t know?  Here’s a cool site dedicated to the “holiday”:  http://maythe4th.starwars.com/)

What a great time to be a “Starhound”, huh?  We’ve had recent announcements of new movies (http://screenrant.com/new-star-wars-movies-episode-7-summer-release-date-2015/ and an interview with JJ Abrams, here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/movies/j-j-abrams-on-his-new-star-trek-and-star-wars-films.html?pagewanted=all), new cartoon (http://www.newsarama.com/17635-2-minutes-20-seconds-of-brand-new-star-wars-the-clone-wars.html), and a new RPG (http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=232&enmi=Star Wars: Edge of the Empire)!

Celebrate the day and May the Fourth Be With You!

All I Ask is a Tall Ship…

Star Trek: Phase II

Star Trek: Phase II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is definitely true for most science fiction pieces that something as mundane as a vehicle, a simple mode of transportation, becomes as intricate, intimate, and intrinsic as any other character.  Yet, in many forms of science fiction, starships become exactly that.  Whether it is the Millenium Falcon, Serenity, or Enterprise.

Star Trek is filled with intriguing vessels, from the exotic to the exciting and everything in between.  This section of the Star Trek FATE core book presents starships, from small shuttles to the vital vessels that defend, explore, repair, rescue, and research.

This book was written to provide the players of the Star Trek game as complete a picture of the setting as possible, without detailing any of the settings secrets or surprises.  Therefore, you will find only Starfleet vessels detailed.  Furthermore, as the setting was an alternate universe, Original Series era campaign, the ships are older and more specialized; Starfleet was still in its “younger years” and had yet to develop a “jack-of-all-trades” starship.  Thus, the vessels presented are specialized in their capabilities.

In upcoming posts, we will examine alien culture starships as well as take a look at Starfleet’s evolution and introduction of several more “familiar” vehicles.  For now, however, we join Starfleet as they push to explore further and maintain their borders against several hostile cultures.  It is an exciting time to be a crewmember aboard an interstellar vessel.

Star Trek FATE Starships

Coming in from the Black

Firefly (TV series)

Firefly (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Firefly, a sci-fi fan-favorite, is making its roleplaying game comeback!  (If you aren’t sure what Firefly is, go here for the basics:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly_(TV_seriess)

Margaret Weis Productions has just opened their pre-ordering of the GenCon 2013 Firefly special.

Head over to MWP’s website to check it out:  http://www.margaretweis.com/shop#!/~/product/category=5447006&id=22891059