Recommendation on Trek RPGs

Discussion in 'Trek Gaming' started by Redshirt214, Dec 13, 2020.

  1. Redshirt214

    Redshirt214 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm looking for some recommendations on Trek RPGs, for myself and my friend group specifically. I'm generally a narrative focused, rules light kind of gamer so I'm looking for a ruleset that fits the bill in this regard, and also it is important to note that the group I might run this with are far more casual viewers of Trek than I am, so something not to lore heavy would be useful.

    I'm intending to not be too lore dependent by trying to set the scenarios in a corner of space that isn't embroiled with the usual cast of recurring antagonists (Frengi, Cardassians, Romulan, Klingon, Borg ect ect). This will give me an opportunity to invent new races ect for them to encounter, too. I'm tempted to set the RPG scenario on a Space Station\Starbase, so as to avoid having to draw new maps ever single session and because my players has a penchant for crashing ships repeatedly which very much fits the Runabout\Shuttlecraft tropes!

    Talking things over with my players is trending towards a TNG era setting, plus a general Lower Decks vibe of having everybody start as very low rank characters (which might also help those players who aren't as familiar with the setting, since they and their characters would be in learning mode much of the time).

    Recommendations, people?
     
  2. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    I would suggest Starships & Spacemen 2e.
     
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  3. ThrorII

    ThrorII Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'd suggest Far Trek. It is a simple 3d6 system, 4 attributes, 3 character classes (Gold Shirt, Red Shirt, Blue Shirt) with a handful of skills and talents. It emulates the TOS very well, as long as you like a little camp in your games.
     
  4. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    You second yourself? :lol:
     
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  5. Redshirt214

    Redshirt214 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'll have to check out Far Trek, I do like 3d6 systems. My one thought is that, eventually and unavoidably, there will be a point where the PC's will want to get into a ship battle, something most RPG systems are not known for doing particularly well. Granted, given the low rank characters they are unlikely to be engaged in a big fleet battle (I'm thinking more the rescue a disabled freighter from a BoP type of scenario), but that is something I am considering. Any thoughts on which systems do that in a not-overly complex way? I'm tempted to steal the mechanics from Starfinder as, as a player, I found that starship combat there wasn't too bad (though maybe it was a pain on the DM side, I'll ask my DM tonight what he thought of it).

    I'm rather incapable of taking anything too seriously, so I don't mind a little camp.
     
  6. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    Personally I use Starships & Spacemen for everything to do with ships—the energy system is very simple and intuitive, and the combat system likewise. Perhaps too simple, but that’s okay by me. It’s a great framework that is easy to expand and add detail to if desired. The Lucanii Drift includes some nice rules for giving every station on the ship something to do. There is also a great Starships & Spacemen: The Next Generation Player Supplement supplement which makes shields and damage more interesting. But the point is it is a robust and well-supported system, at its core simple but easily expandable, which is dripping with Star Trek flavor—it can make the dullest space mission feel like an episode of Star Trek.
     
  7. Jim Johnson

    Jim Johnson Writer Premium Member

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    I would recommend Star Trek Adventures since it can be run very rules-light and theater of the mind, but it's deeply focused on canon and lore, so if you're casual fans, it might be too much Star Trek for your tastes. The baseline game assumes you're playing senior bridge officers, but you can easily run a lower decks style game with younger officers. Statistically they'll still be super-capable.

    If you'd rather have a go at a Klingon-oriented campaign, the game also offers a Klingon themed core book alongside the Starfleet themed version.
     
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  8. Redshirt214

    Redshirt214 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think I'm going to go with FAR TREK, as I like what I am seeing for the most part (although I find the "active" vs "static" mechanic rather clunky, I suspect as a DM I will rule that for the most part static actions succeed without needing to role, otherwise things will play less like an episode and more like a blooper reel!).

    Whilst I'm super into lore, but my players aren't so much so I think Far Trek is a basic enough system. I may check out Star Trek Adventures if I ever decide to play with a different group of people who know more about the lore already.
     
  9. tesral

    tesral Captain Captain

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    How large a group? My personal experiences has been the Trek runs best in a small group.

    Decipler was the last Trek RPG made. My son liked it, I have not played it.

    LUG is similar to Decipher, like Decipher was an improvement. Good fluff to be had.

    D20 systems have the issue of the crunch heavy leveling system that does not well suit Trek.

    GURPS is heavy front loading for the GM. Once that is set up it all but runs itself.

    FASA, if you can find it, all the characters end up the same. Simply not enough variation in the crunch part.
     
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  10. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    These guys have a podcast here they are reviewing every Star Trek RPG. https://www.rpgpopclub.com/ They have had 10 episodes so far (plus an interview with Michael Scott, the creator of "Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier" a Star Trek RPG created in 1978. They're using "Starships & Spacemen" for their starship rules.


    Nice signature there, Commander. Thanks for producing your fine podcast.
     
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  11. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    Thank YOU for the very kind feedback, Shawn!
     
  12. Stibbons

    Stibbons Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Starships and Spacemen is excellent (Paul Kidd's "Lucanii Drift" definitely adds something and, hey, it's Paul Kidd). Far Trek would be my preferred system currently. FASA's is too clunky, Last Unicorn's is ok but you have to pick and choose mechanics, some say Decipher's game is superior to the Last Unicorn one, others say it's an unworkable mess. Not tried Modiphius' one yet but it looks pretty sleek. You can go with the very first one, the previously mentioned Heritage Models' 1978 "Star Trek-Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier" but that's little more than wargaming rules to be honest, you need Different Worlds issue #18 for the unofficial additional rules on skills, experience, etc., to make it useable as an RPG. There's also the Amarillo Design Bureau's "Prime Directive" RPG, available in GURPS or D20 Modern flavours, set in their own "Star Fleet Battles" Star Trek universe.

    I'd go with S&S 2nd ed. or Far Trek unless you're particularly fond of GURPS or D20, in which case consider the Prime Directive. These are oriented towards a TOS era setting though. don't know what Modiphius' game is like, so I can't comment on that, it's pricy but production values are fantastic from what I've seen.

    This might help you make up your mind- https://thetrove.is/Books/Star Trek RPGs/
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  13. tesral

    tesral Captain Captain

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    I forgot Prime Directive and it's on my shelf. No recommendation however as I don't know it.

    TOS/TNG/etc. Mechanics should work regardless. The people do not change. Captains get balder and more comfortable with it. Colors change meaning. But on the RPG side crunch is crunch.

    And frankly ships? A PC Starship is better than 80% of what it is against. This applies regardless of which ship or era. A meta axiom.
     
  14. Stibbons

    Stibbons Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Paul's Lucanii Drift setting is a backwater of the Federation so you could put in anything you want. Provisionally it's set on a Saladin-class sort of Destroyer but there is a DS9/K7 sort of space station there where players could be based. Give them a runabout (or three or four) or just have them dropped off in a short-range shuttlecraft from a mothership as required. Or they could have a commandeered old freighter which has been released for their use, like the Merchantman from WoK.

    https://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/merchantman-federation-class-j.php
     
  15. ChiefWise

    ChiefWise Cadet Newbie

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    My apologies, but I'm up against the arbitrary newbie rule of having to post 14 replies and wait 14 days before I can discuss what I came here for. Since my background was with FASA, I settled on your post to start. If I am allowed to, I will rack up the 13 other required posts by talking to myself.

    I've recently been doing a write-up on calculating scales for miniature gaming. My main source were Larry Bond's "Harpoon" and "Command at Sea" naval games. But then I got copies of Fred Jane's 1906 naval game (for which he created "Jane's Fighting Ships" which eventually became Jane's Books) and Fletcher Pratt's 1940 naval game.

    I also picked up Lou Zocchi's "Star Fleet Battle Manual" miniatures game in 1977. SFBM and FASA's combat simulator all have the same basic problem of making distances arbitrary so that there's no sense of what the scale is (eg, in FASA's construction tables, phasers' ranges are given in hexes). And if I take my SFBM with me to visit my son's family, I would prefer to be in a position to say something about the scales.

    So my question would be whether those scales have been worked out in any of the various miniatures games that appear to exist.

    Obligatory Message 1 of 14
     
  16. ChiefWise

    ChiefWise Cadet Newbie

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  17. ChiefWise

    ChiefWise Cadet Newbie

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    Obligatory Message 3 of 14
     
  18. Stibbons

    Stibbons Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Star Fleet Battles puts their scale as 1 hex = 10,000 kilometres. Obviously a ship is just a tiny pinpoint somewhere in that space. Their miniatures are 1/3788 scale, just a few inches long, a hex at that scale would be around a mile and a half across. They talk about it here-

    http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/Mod_W_Minis_Rules.pdf

    I got the impression SFBM uses a similar scale. You'd have to trawl through Trek episodes for battle sequences where they state the range to the ship they're firing on to get an idea of the canonical range of phasers, torpedoes, etc.
     
  19. ChiefWise

    ChiefWise Cadet Newbie

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    Thank you for the PDF detailing how to convert Star Fleet Battles to a miniatures game.
    I do not remember a discussion of actual scale in Lou Zocchi's Star Fleet Battle Manual (SFBM), but it's been a few decades since I last looked at them (and I'm not sure where the rules booklet is). When I was at USAF tech school in 1977, I participated in Lou Zocchi's playtesting of SFBM. Then I bought a copy when he published it later that year. Movement is measured by a millimeter scale on each status sheet (though the centimeters on it actually measure as 12 mm, which I assume happened during photocopying) and weapons range is limited to 6 feet (the length of the sighting string). There was also no time length assigned to each turn, as I seem to recall.
    Several years ago I came across a PDF of "SPACEDOCK: The Advanced Starship and Construction Manual" by Steven S. Long (2000). In the subsequent two decades, their site seems to have gone away. The book includes rather detailed starship construction rules along with commentary on different systems and some miniatures rules. It appears to have written for the RPG published by Last Unicorn Games.
    I just found on page 96 where he derives "movement units" (MU) and uses them to measure distance. He takes the speed of light (rounded up to 300,000 km/sec) and makes 1 MU 0.1c or 30,000 km per sec -- since combat turns are 5 seconds long that means a ship moves 150,000 km (5 MUs) for each 0.1c speed. He then applies MUs to weapon ranges (point blank, short, medium, long for beam weapons, standard torpedoes, upgraded torpedoes): long range for beam weapons = 300,000 km, for standard torpedoes = 3.5 million km, for upgraded torpedoes = 4 million km.
    Unfortunately, there's no such publication as "Jane's Fighting Starships" that we can consult (or is there?).
     
  20. Stibbons

    Stibbons Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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