Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Star Trek Adventures Again!

I've now had a chance to play Star Trek Adventures, and I am pleased to report that my fears (what few they were) were (mostly) groundless.

The game isn't perfect, don't get me wrong, but it flowed reasonably well and it felt like Star Trek.  That second one is the more important qualifier for me.

Here's where I nitpick the game, though:

  1. The game mentions Communication Officers, but it's not clear which Attribute or Discipline is used for communicating (or languages).  The "Learn a new language" that's in the career events table uses Command, which makes sense, but Communications Officers are Ops Officers. Ops is Security and Engineering, neither of which is a perfect fit for Communications. Especially if they use Command. As to Attribute, I'm likely to go with Insight for learning from scratch and Reason for remembering a language you used to speak.
  2. The adventure that is included in the book starts with a roll that has no consequences for failure. If it were a Difficulty 0 roll, that'd make sense, but it's Difficulty 2. I patched this by deciding that a successful roll would put the party closer to their objective (giving them more time in the timed parts of the adventure and cutting out one or more of the combat bits, as appropriate). I understand that it's (realistically) probably there so that players have a shot at picking up some Momentum early, but that's not explained.
  3. I raised the question on the forums of "Why Bajorans?" - the game doesn't support Bajoran characters very well. There aren't any good Upbringing options for them, and Bajor isn't a part of the Federation. The answer I got ("We know a lot about Bajorans and they're an interesting and popular part of the setting") made sense, but what didn't make sense is why there aren't Lifepath options tailored to them.
  4. A few things are trickier than they appear in character generation. For example, each Species in the game has one or more Talents that are only available to members of that Species. Several of my players took all of those Talents, not realizing that they're optional (except for Betazoids). And then they tried to take additional Talents at each step in the lifepath that grants them. In reality, being a member of one of these species just adds that Talent to the list you can choose from. Also, there's one part of Finishing Touches that caught most of us. There's a paragraph at the end of the section on Attributes that tells players to spend two more points on Attributes. There's a similar paragraph for Disciplines.
Again, though, it was fun. We had a good group of enthusiastic players. I didn't give some players enough of a chance to shine, and I also should have had them introduce their characters before we started, but that's on me. The next session will be better.

And the adventure, despite a few oddities, felt like Star Trek. And did a decent job of hand-holding people through the system's basics.

After the game finished for the night, I dug out my Mutant Chronicles book to compare, and ... it's like a completely different system. STA has six Attributes, MC has eight. MC has a fairly deep skill list, and each skill has multiple abilities that are connected to it. STA adds Values to the game, which help define the character as more than what's on the sheet. MC tracks encumbrance and carrying capacity and ... it's like comparing a bulldozer to a steamroller. Sure, they're both things you use when building a road, but they do different things and can't be realistically compared to one another in any meaningful way.

Then I dug out my copy of the new 2d20 Conan game, and it was different from either of the other two. Closer to Mutant Chronicles, yes, but still different (and not cross-compatible).

The lack of cross-compatibility is a little bit annoying, to be honest. I was hoping to use MC monsters or Conan spells to represent various species and powers and abilities in STA. I still can, it'll just take some work.

All in all, this is definitely a line I will be supporting (with the exception of the books that Skarka has worked on), and I'm very much looking forward to playing more.

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