First set of adventures!

A pair of One Sheets and the first Plot Point are online.

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Star Trek Adventures Page

I’m happy to say the first three adventures are now online: two standalone One Sheets, and the first episode of the Plot Point campaign. I had a lot of fun making them, and there are more on the way.

If you’re starting a Trek campaign using No Sound is Heard, I would recommend beginning with the first episode of the Plot Point, which gets everyone together, introduces them to the world of Trek, and puts them in command of a starship.

Setting Intro

In 2380, the Alpha Quadrant is still reeling from the recent Dominion War.

Star Trek: Setting Intro

In 2380, the Alpha Quadrant is still reeling from the recent Dominion War. Although the victory was won, the stability of the Federation has been pushed to its breaking-point. The road to reconstruction will take ingenuity, strength of will, and most of all: time.

Design note: When I decided to attempt a (third!) Star Trek homebrew, I pitched three ‘eras’ to a friend of mine: (1) Kirk’s time, (2) sometime between Archer and Kirk (apparently this is the period the new show will cover?), and (3) post-Deep Space Nine. Basically, I wanted to avoid The Next Generation completely. Which is weird, because that’s my favourite series.

I’ll probably talk more about this topic in a future blog. For now, enjoy the introduction to what I think is a cool concept for a Star Trek setting.

Setting Rules (Starship combat)

Although Star Trek isn’t known for its nonstop action, ship-to-ship combat is still a central aspect of the setting.

Star Trek: Setting Rules

Although Star Trek isn’t known for its nonstop action, ship-to-ship combat is still a central aspect of the setting, so this section mainly deals with space battles. There are a few other notes regarding Starfleet “currency” (in this campaign, Starfleet commanders must earn Requisition Points to upgrade their ships and crew), the Black Market, and the value of boardroom meeting scenes.

Design note: I had a lot of fun trying to balance the inherent complexity of Star Trek ship battles with the desired simplicity of a Savage Worlds game. I think there’s a decent balance here, mostly because two of the more ‘complex’ mechanics (rerouting power and targeting subsystems) are totally optional. They add flavour and a bit of tactical depth to battles, but a campaign can easily survive without them.

(It turns out this balance is tough to strike! One of my players almost mutinied when I told her there would be no ‘rotate shields’ mechanic.)

I also had a lot of fun rewriting the Critical Hits table. It’s always struck me as odd that in most Savage Worlds books, every Critical Hit has a pretty much equal chance of landing. That is, a cannonball has an equal chance of bouncing off your frigate’s hull as it does of blowing up the powder magazine. I tried something a bit different by building the Critical Hits around the 2d6 probabilities made famous by Settlers of Catan. Rolls of 6-8 cause the least ‘dramatic’ Crits, while rolls of 2 and 12 cause nightmare scenarios.

Character Creation

The officers are the heart of every Star Trek story.

Star Trek: Character Creation

The officers are the heart of every Star Trek story. This section gives our heroes the chance to elect their captain, name their ship, and pick a ‘role’, in addition to the usual Savage Worlds character tools of playable races, edges, hindrances, and arcane backgrounds (yes—there are arcane backgrounds!).

Design note: This was one of the first sections I started work on, and the challenge of combining Star Trek with Savage Worlds was an immediate Kirk-punch to the face. With its tactical, medical, and science officers each filling a niche aboard the ship, Star Trek seems to scream ‘character classes’, but we all know Savage Worlds is a system staunchly opposed to classes.

I considered throwing together some broad ‘classes’ based on shirt colour; I considered creating a set of Professional edges (‘Starfleet Engineer’, ‘Starfleet Doctor’, etc.) to give heroes that extra niche; I hummed and hawed quite a bit. In the end, I decided that it’s not the shirt someone wears that makes us remember them, it’s their ability to deal with weirdly specific problems. So, I made a bunch of situational edges that anybody with the right prerequisites could pick up, that would let them shine in difficult moments.

I also reasoned that, given the ‘post-war reconstruction’ theme of the campaign, players should be allowed—even encouraged!—to fill multiple roles aboard the ship if they wish to; that is, Starfleet just doesn’t have as many ultra-specialized officers as they once did. Everyone has to pitch in and do what they can. That’s a much more Savage Worlds approach, I think!