The Gamma Quadrant Sourcebook for Star Trek Adventures

Discussion in 'Trek Gaming' started by JRoss, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The awesome @Jim Johnson was the best editor ever on this project. I can't believe that I got to write for an actual factual Star Trek book. It was loads of fun, and I really hope that it finds a place at your gaming table.

    The Gamma Quadrant Sourcebook.
     
  2. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Congrats, man. I just downloaded it from Drive-Thru RPG, thanks to having ordered the massive Borg Cube collection way back when. Still very impressed, and very grateful, that Modiphius has kept adding content to it. Can't wait to give the book a closer look over.

    Now, if I only I actually had people to play the game with...
     
  3. Jim Johnson

    Jim Johnson Writer Premium Member

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    Congrats and thanks for your hard work on it, @JRoss.
     
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  4. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    @Jim Johnson. I've given it a readthrough. I can see your hand in the editing. You took my ROUGH stuff and made it nice. I especially like some of the changes to the story sidebars.
     
  5. qstor

    qstor Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'll have to check that out. I got the Beta quadrant book but still have to get the main book.
     
  6. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Will probably get this eventually, but I do have to admit that the Star Trek Adventures game really isn't grabbing me that much.
     
  7. Falconer

    Falconer Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Can someone give me the rundown on the quadrants? The Modiphius sales copy seems to take it for granted you know what they are. My Star Trek knowledge is far from encyclopedic—I have seen all of TOS, a few TAS episodes, most of the movies, most of TNG season 1, some of ENT season 1, all of STD season 1, and have read some books—and I don’t recall the quadrants concept ever being explained. So what would be a high-concept overview of the quadrants? Which one(s) did they explore in TOS? Thanks!
     
  8. Jim Johnson

    Jim Johnson Writer Premium Member

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  9. Markonian

    Markonian Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for making it happen. Great book!
     
  10. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    To touch on @Falconer 's question and @Jim Johnson 's response, I purchased the Beta Quadrant book because as a reviewer somewhere said, it's the go-to quadrant book for TOS: Federations, Klingons, Romulans (also Andorians and Orions). I found the designation a little puzzling, as I thought all those galactic powers would be in the Alpha Quadrant (an admittedly human-centric perspective, but nevertheless my default assumption). The Memory Alpha article seems to confirm my own impression, mentioning that a small portion of the Klingon Empire spills over into the Beta Quadrant.

    The Alpha Quadrant sourcebook for the game, however, looks like a sourcebook for a DS9 game, having Bajor, Cardassia, and Ferengi. This is the opposite of what I would have expected from the aforementioned human-centric guess; I would have assumed all those powers would fall into the Beta Quadrant. It's something I've been wondering about, how the designers came to that decision. Which isn't meant to imply criticism, just honest curiosity as to why they've placed certain races in Alpha and Beta the way they have, why some planets/galactic governments have been placed in the opposite quadrant.

    So, if one is gaming, I guess the breakdown would go like this:

    For TOS: the Beta Quadrant sourcebook
    For TNG: Beta and Alpha
    For DS9: Alpha, for dealing with local conflicts; the Gamma Quadrant book for dealing with anything from the other side of Bajor's wormhole.

    A future potential Delta Quadrant suppliment would be for people who want to visit places that Voyager passed through.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
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  11. Falconer

    Falconer Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks, Desert Kris, for the thoughtful response. I was trying to puzzle it out along similar lines, but, I dunno, I still feel like we’re missing some info, some underlying logic, that’s taken for granted. Maybe not.
     
  12. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    @Desert Kriss thanks for responding. I was not able to log in before this. Kris hit it on the nose. I don't know the exact logic behind the choices, as I'm just a writer, but I assume that it goes by locations. We know that the Klingons and Romulans are in the Beta Quadrant, and that a good deal of the Federation is, too. Since the Klingons and the Romulans are essential to any TOS game, I think it makes a lot of sense to have the Gorn, Orions and others all there. You get the TOS-y goodness in one place.

    We also know that Cardassia is in the Alpha Quadrant. So you put Ferenginar and the other powers that were introduced in TNG and later in that book. It does make it seem like you have to get two books for TNG, and two books for DS9, but I think that's just the way the cookie crumbles. One galaxy-spanning omnibus would be prohibitively large and expensive.

    Here are my recommendations for series replication, according to splat books:

    TOS: Beta. Honorable mentions: Command, which has Connie Refit and Oberth ship stats, and Alpha Quadrant, which has Caitians and Edosians.
    TNG: Beta and Alpha. Command, which has Ambassador, Nebula, Sovreign and Olympic ship stats.
    DS9: Alpha for the Bajor side and Gamma for the Dominion.
    VOY: Delta, tho it isn't out quite yet.
    ENT: Command, which has NX and Daedelaus ship stats, plus Beta, which has old-school Rom and Kling ship stats and the Xindi.

    While I didn't list the Operations or Science books in those setups, I do recommend them. They've got some awesome adventure ideas, plus cool talents for players.

    ETA: Oh, and Science has a picture of Q playing pool with the Earth as the cue ball while Geordi looks on in horror. It's my single favorite piece of art in the series, even more so than the Klingons playing hockey against the Andorians.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
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  13. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That underlying logic may be that Four Quadrant system wasn't invented until TNG season 3, whereas beforehand the term "quadrant" was undefined, and sometimes used interchangeably with "sector." And when the TNG system was created, the designers placed Earth on the meridian line between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, splitting the Federation between the two, though DS9 only ever referred to "the Alpha Quadrant" for simplicity sake.

    To further the confusion, after the Alpha-Beta-Gamma-Delta system was codified, TPTB tried to retcon previous uses of the term to fit, most notably Kirk's claim in The Wrath of Khan that "the Enterprise is the only ship in the quadrant." When those assumptions were written into the Star Trek Encyclopedia, future writers built off them, and we get to the point where the Klingons and Romulans are in the Beta Quadrant, despite being called "Alpha Quadrant powers" in DS9. It's a bit of a mess.

    Right now, Star Trek: Picard is, I believe, the first series to actually mention Romulan space as being in the Beta Quadrant. It always was, but the term "quadrant" in this sense, didn't matter until DS9 came along, which only dealt with the Alpha-Gamma contact, so bringing Beta into it as a technicality didn't happen.

    Hope that helps some.
     
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  14. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    @TJ Sinclair you are absolutely correct that it hadn't been mentioned onscreen before now. None of the maps are "canon", but most writers use them. And it's never been stated onscreen that the Klingons are in the Beta Quadrant.

    The TOS stuff had to be a different system. No other way to rationalize it.

    I always took it to mean that the Dominion spearheaded into the Alpha Quadrant, but obviously had designs on the whole area. I think it was just easier for the writers to say one location, rather than "They're going to spill from the Alpha Quadrant into the Beta Quadrant after they take the Federation." Who knows?
     
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  15. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Exactly, but without having the extra context, it's confusing for new fans, or those who aren't well versed in this kind of minutiae.

    FWIW, The Undiscovered Country was the first (and only) TOS production after the Four Quadrant System was invented, and it pretty heavily implied that Klingon and Romulan space were in the Beta Quadrant, since that's where Excelsior was when she got hit by the Praxis wave, and they were a significant distance from Khitomer (near the Romulan border) when Sulu told Kirk "we are now in Alpha Quadrant," later in the film. So the assertion about Klingon and Romulan space goes back that far, but DS9 just didn't reference it for the sake of narrative clarity.
     
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  16. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree with you on that, too. Leads to questions and explanations like this one. I bet if you and I each had a dollar for every time we've seen the topic come up, we could go on a spree.
     
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  17. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    I figured to a certain extent some of the division of homeworlds/galactic governments was evening out the amount of content per book, which I don't object too. As you say, it makes it less overwhelming than having it all in one book that is too expensive to even buy.

    Thanks for expanding on the recommendations to include the Command, Ops and Science books. When I bought Command, I looked at it from a overly simplified perspective as "Movie-era" material for both TOS and TNG. But I also wanted information about running a game for players on the command track. I got the Ops division for information about running games in the vein of SCE.

    To return to the Quadrant end of the spectrum, the books' material can still work well if you have one book for TNG or DS9. Watching through the first Season of DS9, a lot of focus is on the Alpha Quadrant gearing up to explore the other side, and steeling themselves for potential dangers. I imagine a really ambitious, creative gamemaster could come up with entirely brand-new alien races and situations encroaching from the other side of the Wormhole, if they only had the Beta book to start with. That would be very Star Trek.

    A TNG-ish game could be run focusing only on newer aspects of continuity (Cardassians, Bajor, Betazed and Ferengi) or could mainly be geared towards how TOS material is different in the Next Generation time period, decades later. The actual TNG show had both, but the Discovery and Picard shows are interesting examples of focused storytelling that is satisfying in its own way, and could work well for a roleplaying game. Discovery's actually pretty great at showing a storyline built around characters who are not part of the bridge crew.
     
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  18. Falconer

    Falconer Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks, guys, this has been a very interesting and illuminating discussion. I appreciate it very much.

    So I looked at the maps materials I had, Star Fleet Technical Manual and Star Trek Maps, which don’t necessarily line up well with the present system, but, it’s a start. So here is my work in the form of simplified (grayscale negatives) and annotated maps. Starting with the SFTM, we get a galaxy map…

    [​IMG]

    I added the quadrant names in red. So far so good, except it looks like Klingons are in the Alpha Quadrant and Romulans in the Beta Quadrant. The next map from SFTM zooms in on the Federation “Exploration Territory”:

    [​IMG]

    Again, Klingons are west and Romulans are east. Gorns and the First Federation are also to the east. Note the UFP proper is a small dot on this map, at the center point of Rigel, Deneb, and Antares. SFTM finally gives as a map of that little dot:

    [​IMG]

    Okay, moving on to STM. STM scales back the ambition of Federation Space to be basically the Rigel-Deneb-Antares region, and then moves all the neighboring empires closer around that:

    [​IMG]

    I have drawn the red line through Sol, because that’s supposed to be the dividing point between Alpha and Beta. However, STM doesn’t operate under that assumption at all. The quadrants here are of course the quadrants of Federation space, which is here not centered on Earth. I think, taking this map on its own terms, it is best to still think of Romulans to the east, i.e., in the Beta sector, and Klingons wrapping around the south (mostly west but also having plenty of presence to the east). Note that Gorns and First Federation are swapped, and the Tholians are also moved drastically. STM also has a map of the Enterprise’s area of patrol, which is the southeast corner of the previous map:

    [​IMG]

    So this basically established that TOS covers the southern half of the (proto-) Beta Quadrant. You can’t really see (I didn’t want to post very high resolution images), but many features that SFTM had had on the west are moved to this southeast area. STM contains many other interesting maps, but of interest is its map of the Federation “original boundary”:

    [​IMG]

    I think STM had a better sense of scale than SFTM, but, it remains to be seen (by me) whether later products match either of these sources at all, or whether they were evolutionary dead ends. (Well, I know the SFU follows SFTM.)
     
  19. Falconer

    Falconer Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Came across a couple maps from FASA which appear to follow STM. The second one is from The Klingons.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's a bit of a reach, but there's also VGR: "Eye of the Needle." When they first contact the Romulan Telek R'Mor, he announces that he's in the Alpha Quadrant -- before they've told him they're in the Delta Quadrant. He'd have had no reason to mention being in Alpha at that point unless it were unusual for a Romulan ship to be in Alpha. Of course, it's really just a bit of sloppy writing, but it fits.


    When they talked in DS9 about everyone including Romulans and Klingons being "Alpha Quadrant powers," I just took it as shorthand defined relative to the show's own concerns, the wormhole and the Dominion. It basically meant "the powers within range of the Alpha Quadrant terminus of the wormhole."

    Anyway, there is precedent in real life. We refer to Europe as part of "the West" even though nearly all of the continent is in the Eastern Hemisphere. So I figure that by the same token, the Federation thinks of itself as an Alpha Quadrant nation despite much of it extending into Beta, and thus Federation people might sloppily refer to the UFP and its immediate neighbors as all being AQ nations.