Improvising and Star Trek Adventures
Over the last few weeks, every Tuesday evening, I have been running some friends through the starter set for the Star Trek Adventures role-playing game from Modiphius. I won’t go through a full review, but as a quick note the game is okay but the starter set has some really important stuff missing from the rulebook and the adventures are linear and very combat heavy. I enjoyed running it, but the starter set made it a bit of a chore sometimes; exacerbated by the need to run the game online due to my players being in various different parts of the country.
But the game was enjoyable enough for people to want to carry on with it, and so the crew of the USS Magellan will continue on it’s new 5 year mission.
Star Trek Adventures as written is a very linear experience, quite a bit like Dungeons and Dragons in space. I’m sure this is largely okay with people but does not gel at all with how I like to run my games, so I have been collating a few bits and pieces to align the ongoing play experience to my normal method of Refereeing.
Generally I like to have only a small amount of preparation work done in advance for an adventure. A paragraph outline of the problem facing the players and a complication or two, some scribbled ideas for phrases that might be used by NPCs, perhaps a few sketch maps. I support this with a bunch of tools and ideas for generating or referencing important stuff if needed. I have learned that you can never fully anticipate the plans and schemes that your players will come up with, so I set up ways to react to what the players want to do rather than plan too heavily in advance.
This is easily doable with Star Trek Adventures, so over the last week I have been putting together some helpful resources for doing just that. Once my players have made it through tomorrow night’s adventure I might share my preparation notes in case they are useful to anyone.
Firstly, adventure ideas. I discovered a very handy adventure outline generator here:
Very basic, but gives you a solid starting point to flesh out an idea or two.
Secondly, names. A random name generator is invaluable. I like to use them to scribble a few names down in advance for use as needed. A great one can be found here:
They also have a few other useful random generators there that are worth a look as well, including ones for randomly generating worlds and so on.
Thirdly, you need a way to be able to generate a quick NPC immediately as needed without spending 10 minutes or so fleshing something out that you’ll only need for a few moments. Fortunately Star Trek Adventures already sort of supplies that, in the form of NPC crew members for starship battles. Simply apply that idea to any NPC needed in a hurry:
You might also assume that an NPC has one area in which they have the next quality up. A Medical Orderly might be Basic for most tasks for example, but Proficient for anything related to medical treatment.
Remember that a character’s Stress value is equal to it’s Fitness + Security.
You can also apply this system for instant starships, if the players encounter something out of the ordinary. Simply use the Quality system above for the ship’s attributes and disciplines and assign it a scale. From that you can swiftly figure out other important statistics as needed:
|Shields||Structure + Security|
|Energy Weapons||Range Medium, Damage = Scale +Security|
Finally you will also want a quick reference for relevant statistics. At least one for your player characters and their ships and equipment, and one for each species you think they might encounter. Here is an example of the one I have put together for the USS Magellan:
I’m not 100% certain on the legality of me uploading the reference sheets of the species I have created for tomorrow night’s adventure, but it should be relatively simple to put together your own using the above as a template.