By Fred Love, STA Contributing Writer
The new Star Trek: Lower Decks Campaign Guide for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game comes stocked with a meaty three-part mini-campaign featuring a series of second-contact missions perfect for the overlooked and overworked junior officers of a California-class starship or similar vessel.
These missions aren’t intended to spotlight the finest crew in the fleet or the biggest and most advanced starships that ever graced a drawing board at Utopia Planitia. Rather, gaming groups that lean into the scrappy underdog archetype for their characters are likely to get the most out of this campaign.
The three missions contained in the campaign strike an important balance in keeping with the stories depicted on Star Trek: Lower Decks. On the show, we see Boimler, Mariner, Tendi, and Rutherford take care of essential business and uphold the values of Starfleet, but they’re usually pushed to the periphery of the story so the senior crew can claim all the glory. The missions in the new guide are designed with similar lower decker player characters in mind, rather than senior officers, to recreate this dynamic.
The trick is to give the lower deckers essential and exciting tasks to carry out but to make sure they stay confined to the “B-plot” of the story. At first blush, that might sound odd, especially in a hobby like tabletop roleplaying that emphasizes the centrality and agency of player characters. But it’s actually a great setup for comedy and a fresh dynamic you probably won’t get with other arrangements in your Star Trek Adventures campaign.
Imagine the unique roleplaying possibilities when the player characters risk life and limb to make the mission a success, only to have the ambitious (and ruggedly chiseled) first officer receive the congratulatory message from Starfleet Command. Most Star Trek Adventures campaigns revolve around player characters in leadership positions. Here, players who would like a change of pace get to experience life with fewer pips on their collar or stripes on their sleeves. Are they ambitious young ensigns desperate for a chance to rank up? Or are they slackers who have been passed over for promotion time and again? Do they desperately seek the approval of their superiors, or do they barely try to hide their contempt for their bosses? All these possibilities open new character dynamics for your gaming group to explore.
And please don’t assume that, just because lower deckers receive little credit, they don’t get in on the excitement and the risk of life in Starfleet. The campaign will throw player characters up against android war machines, life-threatening holodeck malfunctions, and even send them to the heart of a quantum singularity where their consciousnesses are separated from their physical bodies!
So, assemble your rough-and-ragtag cast of junior officers and set phasers to hijinks. Leave the heroic speechmaking and the big promotions to the senior staff, and get down to the real work of Starfleet on the lower decks.
Preorder the Lower Decks Campaign Guide, right now and receive the digital edition immediately! Purchase the Star Trek Adventures RPG core rulebook or the starter set and get started right away!
Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about the Lower Decks Campaign Guide and other Star Trek Adventures product releases. Live long and prosper!
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