Continuing our coverage of Gen Con 2016, we got to sit down with Chris Birch, publisher and founder of Modiphius to discuss their latest upcoming project, Star Trek Adventures, the latest tabletop RPG revival of one of sci-fis most beloved franchises.
The system is going to be based on the 2d20 system created by Modiphius for their previous games. It’s a fascinating system for a number of reasons. As Chris explained they are putting characters at the forefront of the system. To further differentiate it from other RPGs, like Pathfinder, is that there are not any levels. You gain experience based on the challenges you defeat and then use those point to purchase new skills, or talents.
The game is also designed to not merely be a tactical game with Star Trek stapled on top of it. As Chris said, “It’s not just about shooting every Klingon that you come across. We’ve made problem solving more interesting than just rolling to fix the engines. Big problems are a series of challenges involving different groups.” He expressed that the game is designed to make everyone with their own roles to handle their on fields.
In addition, each class of ship that the player can select will determine the variety of missions they will receive. The TOS era Constitution class will “a little bit of everything,” and the three TNG era ships will deal with a combination of missions as well, but some will be from their primary role of science, conflict, or diplomacy missions.
You can also start as known characters, bridge crew, cadets, pretty much anything you want.
The core rulebook is designed to function both independently and coincide with the telling of a living campaign played by multiple players simultaneously in two different eras. So you can run your own campaign with your own story, but to me it sounds more fun to jump into the living campaign. The play test is split into four ships, one in the original series era, and three in the The Next Generation era, and the TNG era ships will be “following in the footsteps” of the TOS era ship, on the edge of the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan frontier.
“Star Trek is often about different beliefs being challenged.” The example he gave was about the Prime Directive and how often we see that rule bent or broken by the protagonists of the series.
There will also be bit of information sprinkled throughout the story material giving you background information on settings and characters from say, a Klingon ambassador, or lost messages, each designed to layer upon the overall experience. “It’s people’s stories about Starfleet, about the Romulans, about the Klingons, so it’s really going to come to life through real stories. It’s all going to be influenced by actual episodes.”
He also loves how the original series challenged social conceptions head first with powerful storytelling. Ultimately it’s a game, he said, and they don’t want to start political conversations, but nevertheless there will “little things.” He said, “Star Trek is a positive vision of the Future. Its a positive story where we can work together. I just love the idea of a really uplifting scifi story.”
This isn’t just about the Federation
He said the initial book is about Starfleet, and there will be a book built around each role, but there will also, eventually, be books around the Klingons and Romulans as playable factions.
This will be real Star Trek
One of the most interesting bit of information we got was a lot of the books and background information are being written by veteran scifi writers, some of whom have worked on Star Trek properties in the past, though he can’t divulge some of the names. He did say that there are people essentially demanding to write for it who have been involved previously.
“Star Trek is about a personal story, about people interacting.”
How to buy
It will be available for pre-order, and hobby shops will have the option to sign up at a starbase, or a hub for the interactive living campaign. The actual release will be at Gen Con 2017, but depending on how good the preorder sales are there will be special bonuses like “a special dice, an exclusive figure” just to say thanks for getting on board earlier. “We want the stores to feel a part of the journey. They are the starbase.”
There is an active play test going on and you can sign up here.
He’s more a Kirk guy. He gives props to Picard being British, but he grew up watching TOS.
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