STA Blog: Another Roll of the Dice
By Christopher L. Bennett
When Star Trek Adventures editor Jim Johnson told me he was looking for time travel pitches (among other things), my natural first thought was to do something with Agents Lucsly and Dulmur of the Department of Temporal Investigations. My DTI series for Pocket Books seemed unlikely to continue, as it was set in a version of the post-Star Trek: Nemesis continuity incompatible with what Star Trek: Picard has now established. So this might be my last chance to work with the versions of Lucsly and Dulmur (yes, that’s how they’re spelled) that I had so much fun writing in novels and novellas. I welcomed the chance to write up definitive STA character stats and bios for the agents, which I hope players will adopt for campaigns of their own.
A story about actual changes to history is a tricky thing to do in a gaming format, where a story can go in directions the adventure writer can’t predict or control. So I chose to focus Another Roll of the Dice on alternate timelines instead, using a concept that takes advantage of game mechanics in a manner suggested by the title. Just as I had fun incorporating two characters I enjoy into the gaming world, I hope the scenario lets players enjoy exploring alternative possibilities for their characters – and face a new challenge to their role-playing skills. I even left room for players to make certain changes permanent if they so desired.
In addition to the character-based challenges the game presents, there’s also a major scientific problem to solve, and a dangerous conflict situation against a new class of enemy ships that I had to ask fellow STA writer Aaron Pollyea, the go-to guy for ship stats and tech, to come up with for me. I’m grateful to Aaron for his assistance.
Readers of my novellas Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations – The Collectors and Time Lock may recognize the game’s featured artifact, though it’s under a different name here. Even though STA is not really in the same continuity as the novels, and even though that portion of the novel continuity is no longer consistent with canon, I wrote the game essentially as an “origin story” for that artifact, keeping it entirely consistent with the DTI series, but keeping the links implicit. If you’re a fan of my DTI books, you can treat this game as a prequel; if not, it’s just a standalone adventure.
And why not? The campaign itself is about alternate timelines and possibilities. And every group that plays it will create an alternative version of its events, featuring different characters and outcomes. To be honest, I feared the title Another Roll of the Dice might be a bit too on-the-nose for an RPG campaign. But it was really the perfect title for this one.