By Aaron M. Pollyea, STA Contributing Writer
Art by CBS Studios, Inc.
As a child, the only things Star Trek I had around were the original series, The Animated Series, and the Franz Joseph Technical Readout. I used to keep a little sketchbook where I would draw new starships. Each of these silly little sketches I’d write notes beside, such as why was this ship as important as a Constitution? Who built them? What purpose did they have in a fleet? What kind of character were they? I may have been a terrible artist, but thinking about starships wasn’t something that ever left me.
Each time a new movie or television series was released, I’d talk to my friends about what ships we saw, what they could do based on even the smallest details we could see. The same questions would always come up. What is its purpose? Why is it just as important as the other hero ships? What stories could be told about a crew aboard? What technology and real-life science could I tease out of dialogue about the ships, and where could I take my own stories?
Knowing that, when STA project manager Jim Johnson told me his plans for the Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook, you can imagine the grin I had on my face. I’ve always been the person for starships, science, and technology for Star Trek Adventures, and here was a book where starships were not only going to be included, they were going to be the focus. I could dust off my notes from every spaceframe I’d already put into the books you’ve seen, tweak entries, and include more details about whiz-bang gadgets and what the bleeding edge of Federation R&D was developing. Most importantly, I could include story.
Starships are characters in their own right. I’ve said this in podcasts, when speaking to players and gamemasters, and I’m sure I’ve written it in sidebars aplenty. Starships are just as much a part of any story you tell as a player character. And because they are important characters, they deserve story as much as a captain, a chief engineer, or a first-year ensign.
In this book, you’ll not only read some of my story ideas that stem from why these ships were built, what amazing new technology is included in them, or what pivotal moments they either contributed to or evolved from. You will also read about notable starships of each class, ships that I imagined having an impact on the universe of Star Trek. Use these famous vessels to bring backstory to your characters, or include them in your game as guest stars. Maybe there will be a plot point in one of them that clicks with you and you’ll want to include it in your game. Every starship in the book should be able to give your four or five ideas for stories to branch off for your game or for your player character.
I hope all of you enjoy reading the Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook as much as I enjoyed writing on it.
Preorder the Utopia Planitia Starfleet Sourcebook now and receive the final PDF immediately as part of your order. The print edition is 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!