By Troy Mepyans, STA Contributing Writer
With byline Art by Paolo Puggioni
My name is Troy Mepyans and I have been an author and writer for 35 years and have worked with Modiphius since 2017 when I wrote the standalone mission “Ends and Means.”
For “Upsetting the Balance,” I was challenged to write a mission for Klingon player characters that would capture the feel of the iconic species and yet maintain its focus on what makes Star Trek unique. For that I decided that I wanted to portray the Klingons very much as the warriors who seek glory and victory in battle; but also, that they are a people of high honor and will stand by those they share alliance with. The part that I wanted to be different than other portrayals that I’d seen on screen – aside from Worf, by and large – is I wanted the players to feel like their characters were true heroes and not simply chasing glory for its own sake.
For this I fell back on some of my gaming roots and decided to incorporate a scenario common in many TTRPGs: the caravan that has been attacked and it is up to the PCs to discover who attacked the caravan and why; but also, to save the survivors and mete out justice to those that attacked it in the first place. STA project manager Jim Johnson suggested I bring in a villain seldom seen in Star Trek, but instantly recognizable to those that are familiar with it without having to be an expert. So, I brought the Gorn in to play the role of antagonist and the worthy foes the Klingons would face in order to save the survivors and dispense justice.
The twist that needed to take place in order for this to not simply be a complete rehash of old trope, was the “why” of the attack in the first place. Why would the Gorn attack the “caravan”? What did they hope to gain? The idea of a scientist theorizing that stable wormholes could be created for travel far beyond what warp drives could accomplish would be more than enough to draw in our reptilian antagonists to take their place on the galactic stage as a major power, and even shift the balance of power firmly in their direction since they would be able to travel almost anywhere at will if such technology were made reality.
Now that the pieces were in place and ready for the PCs to board their ship and begin their mission, it was a matter of making sure that all of the different character types had enough to do in order for the mission to be enjoyable for everyone at the table without being too much of a juggling act for the gamemaster.
I believe that we have achieved that with “Upsetting the Balance” and I look forward to the songs and stories of all the warriors that undertake this mission and gain glory and honor for themselves and their House. Qapla’!
Grab a copy of “Upsetting the Balance” now at www.modiphius.net, www.modiphius.us, or DrivethruRPG!
Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about additional STA products in the coming months. Live long and prosper!