By Al Spader, STA Contributing Writer
Art by CBS Studios, Inc.
It can’t be overstated that the ship you choose for your crew is also a member of that crew. So many of the shows we love so dearly are named after the ship (or station) they’re set on for a reason; the ship is the character you see on screen more than any other.
When I heard that we were looking at developing a shipyards book for Star Trek Adventures, my mind began racing. I knew I wanted to frame my sections of the book in much the same way we did for the Gamemaster’s Guide, and set up the ship as a character of the ship or station that campaign is focused on.
Chapter 3 was a true honor to work on as it allowed me to create almost a lifepath for players to follow for the ship they choose. Complete with creating little idiosyncrasies that make the ship different than any others of its frame, while also giving the ship a little personality that characters can interact with while developing scenes.
I also became excited when I heard that we would be bringing in ships and technology from the 25th century and Star Trek Online. I had seen many players asking for this kind of content on different social media platforms so I knew this would be important to get right. While the ships themselves were not part of my assignment, many of the upgrades, weapons, and talents were. I spent weeks scouring sources for weapons and abilities from the game and tried to make them work using the 2d20 system. While many of the upgrades ported quite easily, there were some that didn’t quite fit. I hope if you are into Star Trek Online, you will see some of these talents and see where they stemmed from.
The weapons section was so much fun to write as it provided a similar challenge to porting Star Trek Online abilities to talents. In fact, some of the energy weapons, torpedo types, and mines worked in ways that were different than what Star Trek Adventures currently had for weapon qualities and Stress effects. This led to me creating the Depleting Damage effect which drains extra shields away when an effect is rolled on a challenge dice. I also had to account for the bizarre nature of electromagnetic pulses and chroniton weapons. This led to the development of the Jamming and Slowing weapon qualities.
I then had a chance to work on more narrative stuff for characters to do on a ship during downtime. These table were fun to make and I’m sure most of the games and combat training styles players read will be familiar. I even got to take out and reference some of my supplements from older Star Trek roleplaying games to help fill out the tables. These tables can be used to provide the background of scenes or even be a major part of the plots in a mission and, as always, you don’t have to roll on the tables at all, just choose which activity best drives your story forward.
The legacy of ships in Star Trek is almost as powerful as the vision of a society that lives in peace and values knowledge and culture. We aimed to put that legacy on the forefront with the Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook and, in my opinion, created an amazing supplement that will appeal to players from every Star Trek RPG that has come before and whatever Star Trek games may pop up far into the future.
Preorder the Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook now and receive the final PDF immediately as part of your order. The print editions are expected to ship in late Q4 2022.
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!