Category Archives: Sci-Fi

Star Trek Adventures: The Big Sleep Part 2

The away team beams back up to the Adventure, which breaks orbit around New Coriolanus to investigate the strange object detected on the fringes of the system. On the viewscreen, the object is revealed to be a featureless cylinder (I know what you’re thinking, but that’s where the similarities end), roughly 2 km long by 1.2 km in diameter. It is moving quite rapidly, but is not moving at warp. The cylinder is rotating around its central axis. Its present course and speed will take it into orbit around New Coriolanus in 3 standard days.

Hails to the object are unanswered. Scans reveal it is hollow; spinning at a rate of .86 rotations per minute, with a rim velocity of 104 m/s. This would, theoretically, create artificial gravity inside the object approximate to standard Earth gravity. The method of propulsion is unknown. There are no readings that would indicate atomic, ion or chemical engines; and, although moving fast, the object is not moving at warp. There are no life signs detected inside.

Commander Logan forms an away team to investigate, consisting of Commander Fulexian (Science Officer) and Lieutenant Commander Suvak (Chief Engineer); accompanied by two supporting characters: Chief Specialist J’zhara (Engineering) and Ensign Mara Tamral (Medical Officer). Commander Logan remains aboard the Adventure to assist Captain Boardman. Lieutenant Beta likewise remains at the helm. The away team brings along a mass spectrometer in addition to their tricorders, to better evaluate and analyze any samples taken from the mysterious object.

The team beams aboard, arriving inside to find themselves in a long, featureless corridor. Tricorder scans reveal that the vast emptiness of the interior of the cylinder is above them. They are traversing the interior surface of the object. It is eerily silent and completely dark. There is no hum of machinery, no vibration of engine operation to be felt. The crew’s voices do not echo, as would be expected. The walls, floors and ceilings have no adornment or markings on them at all, and are made of an unknown metal. The corridor they occupy seems to tun the entire length of the cylinder, with many branching and intersecting passages. Exploring them would take months.

While the team gets it bearings, Suvak, a Vulcan, and Ensign Tamral, a Betazoid, both feel that they are not alone. Despite their tricorders registering no life signs aboard, the two officers can feel the presence of many consciousnesses, utterly alien and incomprehensible.

Meanwhile, outside the strange object, a new arrival to the system drops out of warp. A D’Kora-class Ferengi Marauder, the Prized Possession, hails the Adventure. Appearing onscreen is the huge face of a Ferengi, who identifies himself as Daimon Nogrix. Nogrix claims “sole and proprietary salvage rights to the…object” under the Ferengi Salvage Code. This allows him to take possession of any abandoned property. He discovered this “thing” several days ago and staked a claim to it then, but “circumstances developed” he had to leave the area. Now, he has returned, and he wants his property.

Technically, it’s not the captain’s responsibility to determine what is and isn’t abandoned property, or to regulate trade agreements; but Captain Boardman (played by Zach in this particular scene, as his primary character, Suvak, is aboard the object) immediately denies the Ferengi claim without so much as a hearing.

Predictably, this angers Nogrix. He claims to be “very important” in the Ferengi government, and implies that dire consequences, perhaps of a career-ending or diplomatic incident-causing nature, may result if the crew doesn’t show him proper respect and honor his claim.

Meanwhile, the away team continues to investigate the vast interior of the object. They can find no door, hatch, or means of ingress to the main area of the cylinder; and every passage seems to defy tricorder mapping. They discover that parts of the outer cylinder seem to be spinning at different speeds, which results in corridors shifting and changing constantly.

(In game terms, this investigation is an Extended Task; a series of skill checks that build a number of successes in order to complete a work track. The characters’ success rate is dictated by the difficulty of the task and opposed by a certain amount of resistance, which removes successes, costing more time. A good analogy would be to equate the work track with hit points and resistance with armor; each success removes a hit point, while each level of resistance (armor) prevents a success.)

Commander Fulexian continues to scan the interior using his tricorder, assisted by Chief Specialist J’zhara. Meanwhile, Suvak tries a different approach. Assisted by Ensign Tamral, they attempt to navigate their way around by telepathically “following” the consciousnesses they both can feel. The combination of both methods yields results. About an hour later, they discover the faint outline of a hatch in the ceiling. If accessed, this would presumably lead further towards the center of the cylinder.

Aboard the Adventure, Lieutenant Beta reports that ship sensors are detecting more arrivals to the system: three Cardassian Galor-class cruisers entering at high warp, making a beeline for the Prized Possession. Damon Nogrix hails the Adventure, and demands that Captain Boardman assist him in protecting his property from the Cardassian interlopers. Before Boardman can reply, the commander of the Cardassian squadron, Gul Drazel, hails the Adventure. He states plainly that he intends to destroy the Ferengi vessel in retaliation for a previous attack. He further states the “object” is the property of the Cardassian Union, and that the Ferengi stole it after the Cardassians staked their claim. Gul Drazel warns Captain Boardman not to interfere before terminating communications and adopting an attack formation.

Back aboard the mysterious object, Commander Fulexian attempts to access the hatch by finding its operating mechanism. Before he can, the crew hears sounds indicating new arrivals to the interior: a Ferengi salvage team taking up positions in intersecting corridors, setting up a crossfire. None of the away team are security personnel; and they are very much outgunned (especially since I spent some Threat to increase the number of Ferengi). It’s not looking good…

May is Monster Month (Again)!

For the past couple of years I’ve been trying to establish a loose routine with regards to my painting: I take part in Forgotten Heroes every June, try to clean up the “side-pile” every December, and occasionally, I host a painting challenge like Dwarvember, WizarDecember, or TerrainTime. This year I’ve decided to open up Monster Month to the world!

The “rules”, such as they are, are quite simple. Paint at least one monster in the month of May. The miniature can be any scale or from any genre or game system. The only restriction is that it has to be a MONSTER, not a humanoid. So don’t paint an orc or a zombie. Set your sights higher!

So what qualifies as a monster? Pretty much anything non-humanoid from classic Dungeons and Dragons. Dragons, Giants, Elementals…you name it. Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures and Reaper Bones have put out a lot of these miniatures at ridiculously affordable prices.

You’re by no means restricted to Fantasy miniatures, though. Got some Call of Cthulhu or Pulp creatures? Or how about that Tyranid Carnifex or that nightmarish Malifaux monster you’ve been putting off? Maybe a giant super-villain like Fin Fang Foom or Titano. If it’s a monster, it’s fair game!

If you want to take part, just drop me a comment here or email me at angrypiper@angrypiper.com. I’ll include your blog on the blogroll!

Happy painting!

“We Are The Borg.”

“Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

I bought these Modiphius Borg Collective miniatures at the end of last year, since the price was right at $24 for the set. You get 10 Borg drones, an even mix of male and female. A good amount of them are one-piece castings requiring no assembly (beyond basing), so that’s a plus. The ones that do require assembly are just as fiddly as ever to put together. Sigh.

Six of the models are duplicates (three male, three female), while the remaining four have different poses. Since one Borg drone is pretty much the same as any other (kinda the Borg raison d’etre), this lack of variety doesn’t really bother me much. Same goes for the “scenic” bases; they’re standard deck plates, which makes sense for the Borg as they’re constantly assimilating starships.

Painting them was ridiculously easy, although tedious. I used mostly Citadel paints: the skin (what little there is of it) was based in Rakarth Flesh, then washed with Agrax Earthshade. Then I applied a highlight of Flayed One Flesh and a final highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh. This is the same skin recipe I used for Solomon Grundy. He’s a pasty fellow, too.

The Borg “uniform” was based in Vallejo Heavy Charcoal, drybrushed with Citadel Celestra Grey. washed with Citadel Nuln Oil, then given a final highlight of Citadel Longbeard Grey. The metal bits were based in Vallejo Gunmetal Grey and highighted with Citadel Mithril Silver.

Between composing this post and actually publishing it, I acquired another box of Borg (part of a two-box deal with the Next Generation-era away team). I didn’t plan it, but I guess having more Borg isn’t a bad thing, as every time they assimilate someone, they make a new Borg.

Since the price was also right ($18.97), I bought the Star Trek Iconic Villains set, too (I wouldn’t have bought it, otherwise). I’ll eventually get around to painting that set, but it’s a pretty low priority. I mention it here because three of the iconic villains are Lore, Locutus of Borg and the Borg Queen, who actually does have a scenic base other than a deck plate, complete with snaking cables and power conduits. Since I can’t see using either Locutus or the Queen without some standard Borg drones (and since I painted them at the same time as this set) I included them here, along with Lore.

Locutus and the One Who is Many.

These make up the entirety of the miniatures I have painted thus far in 2020, which is a pitiful output, considering current circumstances are pretty much confining me to my home. I have been wholly preoccupied with The Witcher 3 and running my Star Trek Adventures campaign (game tonight! woohoo!), and thus my painting has suffered.

BUT: Around the corner is May, which has traditionally been “Monster Month” over here at Dead Dick’s Tavern. This year I think I’ll open it up as a painting challenge to any and all who want to participate. More on that soon.

For this year, I decided to “reset the clock” on the Insanity Pile, that way it will give me a more accurate account at the end of the year.

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Purchased in 2020: 20

Miniatures Painted in 2020: 23

Total +3

Star Trek Adventures: The Big Sleep Part 1

On Tuesday, my friends and I met via Discord/Jamboard/Roll for Your Party to continue our Star Trek Adventures game, and I must say it was pretty successful and fun all around. There were far fewer technical issues than I was expecting; and it seems we can all function pretty well gaming online. The next session is Monday, which should bring us to the end of the first mission of the U.S.S. Adventure, her “Shakedown Cruise”.

Having uncovered and shut down a Maquis resistance cell operating on an unnamed moon along the Cardassian/Federation Neutral Zone, the Adventure continued on its primary mission: delivering supplies to a remote Federation science outpost on New Coriolanus. The Adventure arrives at New Coriolanus to find a mostly empty star system orbiting a sun very much in the latter part of its life. None of the four planetary bodies can support humanoid life; even the closest planet is far too cold. Neither do they have much in the way of exploitable resources. It was a dead system of little interest to anyone, until Dr. Detog Gron, a Tellarite microbiologist, thought to use it as a staging ground for his experiments on microbes that thrive in extreme environments. Dr. Gron and his team of seven Starfleet science personnel have made remarkable achievements in the fields of microbiology and virology because of his research on New Coriolanus; as a result, other Federation scientists have sought to use the planet for their own projects. A civilian Andorian engineering team petitioned Starfleet for permission to use the facility to conduct their own experiments and was granted access.

Once in orbit around New Coriolanus, the crew hails the outpost. It’s immediately apparent that there are some domestic issues between the two research teams, as Dr. Gron and his Andorian counterpart, Dr. Therak Shrav, can barely stop arguing long enough to respond to the hail. An away team consisting of First Officer Commander Logan, Science Officer Commander Fulexian, and Chief Specialist J’zhara, an Andorian Engineering Officer, beams down to the outpost to gather more information.

The “domestic problem” on New Coriolanus is very simple. First, the scientists are all Starfleet personnel, while the five Andorian engineers are not. Second, there isn’t enough room in the facility for both teams to conduct their experiments without alternating lab time and resources, and it goes without saying that each team feels their work is more important than the other team’s.  Add the fact that Dr. Gron wasn’t informed that the Andorians were even coming to New Coriolanus until their ship arrived in orbit, and it’s easy to see that nerves are frayed all around.

From the start, the two men harangue the away team with questions and demands. Dr. Gron insists that as a Starfleet officer he should be deferred to; while Dr. Shrav says since he isn’t Starfleet, he doesn’t have to listen to Gron at all. Gron complains that no one in Command ever asks the Science Division about command decisions, like forcing him to share lab space with civilian engineers; Shrav implies that now that a Starfleet ship has arrived, Gron is sure to get his way on everything. Both accuse each other of being unreasonable, stubborn, intractable and annoying.

Beneath all the vitriol, the two men want the exact same thing: a separate facility for the Andorians to run their experiments. The problem is that they resent and dislike each other so much that they can’t see that cooperation is the only way to get what they want.

First, the two sides must be convinced that they share the same common goal. Simply pointing this out doesn’t work, because they aren’t listening. In game terms, each of the men has a Trait that must be removed before any negotiation can truly begin.

Dr. Gron has the Trait: Command Division doesn’t respect scientists. He’s fed up with not being shown common courtesy, as the sudden and unexpected arrival of the Andorians wasn’t the first time his input wasn’t requested about a project he led. Although he feels relatively confident the away team will side with him, he’s wary, because two of the three members of the team are Andorians.

Dr. Shrav has the Trait: Starfleet sides with Starfleet. Like Gron, he doesn’t trust the crew to mediate fairly since they all wear the same uniform. The crew is bound to give Dr. Gron anything he wants at the Andorians’ expense. The fact that Captain Boardman implied as much in the initial conversation has put him in a more foul temper than usual, which is saying something.

(I had the two players who were not controlling characters on the away team play the roles of Dr. Gron and Dr. Shrav, to keep everyone involved. It worked out well!)

Commander Logan and her team are successful in reassuring both sides that they can come to an equitable arrangement (no mean feat). The first step to giving the Andorians their own space and allowing everyone to spread out a little is to dig a foundation for their facility; sadly, the ground is frozen for a kilometer below the surface. Nothing on New Coriolanus could even attempt excavation.

They decide to use the Adventure’s phasers instead. One precision blast later (and after much Momentum is spent), they are successful! The next step was to deploy some portable force field generators to enclose the foundation, allowing the engineers to work in the harsh environment, since New Coriolanus is too cold even for Andorians. A quick trip outside in EVA suits, and the generators are deployed and calibrated successfully.

Finally, Lieutenant Beta delivers the supplies needed: two industrial replicators, several heating units, and a Danube-class runabout customized with precision sensors and extra cargo space. Once the engineers have this, they no longer need the crew’s help to construct the facility (they are engineers, after all). Dr. Gron and Dr. Shrav seem to already be on better terms, so the crew is free to leave. They prepare to beam up to the Adventure.

And not a moment too soon, for the Adventure has detected an unidentified object entering the system at high speed, bound for New Coriolanus!

Star Trek Adventures: New Assignments

After much deliberation, I decided that Roll20 wasn’t really for me. It seems to be great for Dungeons and Dragons, especially if you want to play published adventures. But since I’m neither playing D&D or interested in published adventures, and it’s not free, I decided to look elsewhere. One of my friends, who lives on the “other” coast, has had luck using three programs/apps: Discord (for chat, voice and/or video); Jamboard (for visuals, such as maps, drawings and pictures); and Roll for Your Party, for dice rolling and tokens.

This Tuesday, we will attempt to continue our Star Trek Adventures campaign using these virtual aides. Last night, we did a test run to see how things should work; and while none of us are experts, we can probably figure it out. (We could all chat and see each other, the dice-roller works fine, and my friend immediately drew a hairy, ejaculating dick in Jamboard; so all is well. He’s older than me, and a scientist, by the way.) It’s certainly better than not playing at all, since actual face-to-face-play is out of the question at the moment.

The good news is that I’ve managed to corral two more of my friends into playing. Both are experienced role-players who will be assets to the campaign; ironically, both would probably not be playing at all were it not for present circumstances being what they are.

Owen is playing Shazak Fulexian, “Skip” to his friends (of which he has few), an Andorian science officer. Skip is a Starfleet veteran by circumstance, not by choice. He never attended Starfleet Academy, but was responsible for one of the most significant xenogenetic breakthroughs in Federation science history. As such, Starfleet recruited him from the private sector, promising him access to the best laboratories and research libraries available within the Federation. He accepted. Twenty or so years later, he’s still in Starfleet, but all he cares about is the science. He’s not exactly a people person.

Zach is playing Suvak, a Vulcan Out of Time. Forty years ago, Suvak was the Chief Engineer on the U.S.S. Savitar, an Excelsior-class ship carrying a prototype warp drive enhancement. They were attacked by Klingons and were forced to eject their warp core before the entire bridge compliment was killed. The resulting blast shifted the Savitar out of phase with our dimension. Suvak assumed command from main engineering and quickly realized that everyone would die unless he acted quickly. Using the transporters, he kept the remaining crew in “flux” until the Savitar reappeared in our dimension. Once returned, Suvak discovered his revived crew-mates all suffered from incurable transporter psychosis; and that his engineering knowledge was 40 years behind current practice. Nevertheless, he was (eventually) able to find a berth aboard the U.S.S. Adventure, bound once more for the unknown.

Tuesday night, they will join the rest of the crew, continuing on the inaugural “Shakedown Cruise” of the U.S.S. Adventure. Wish us luck. We are exploring strange new apps together.

Star Trek Adventures: Shakedown Cruise Part 2

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here, with COVID-19 scaring everyone shitless. Although our governor has resisted implementing a statewide shelter in place order (for now), there are plenty of closed businesses and people working from home; including me. You think I’d be happy about being required to stay home and play video games, paint miniatures and work on gaming projects; but as a guy who owns a business, I can tell you that this whole situation sucks out loud. Yesterday I got together with two friends at my office, which isn’t getting used much lately, to play what will probably be our last session for a while, at least in person.

So, continuing where we left off…

Commander Logan didn’t let on that she knew Hoddek was concealing anything, after discovering that Hoddek’s “temporary mining license” was a forgery. She and the away team returned to the Adventure to discuss strategy. On their way out, everyone noticed that for a mine, there was a distinct lack of mining equipment around.

Gathered in the Captain’s ready room, the crew informed Captain Boardman of the situation on the moon. Although no one knew what the “miners” were doing down there, there was no doubt that it wasn’t mining. Hoddek told a convincing tale and said all the right things, but he didn’t count on Logan spotting the forged license. The Captain ordered the away team to return to the moon with some science and engineering personnel, to give the unregistered operation a “safety inspection.” Because the ionic interference on the moon, communication between the Adventure and the mining outpost was impossible. This actually worked to the crew’s advantage as Hoddek would have less time to prepare for the crew’s return once they showed up at his door. Nonetheless, Lieutenant Commander Pak pointed out that a return trip would certainly signal to Hoddek that Starfleet suspected some shenanigans were afoot, and cautioned the team to be ready.

Once again, Lieutenant Beta skillfully piloted the away team down to the moon’s surface without incident. This time the team included Lieutenant Ditko from the Science Division, and Lieutenant J’Zahra from Engineering (two supporting characters). Hoddek opened the airlock at the team’s request, and once again met them at the elevator. He looked puzzled, but seemed resigned to the inspection. He informed the away team that unfortunately, they could not enter the mine itself, as it was currently undergoing radiation decontamination. Radiation was a natural product of vionium mining, and the mine needed to shut down periodically for a couple of weeks at a time until rad levels returned to normal.

While Logan was talking to Hoddek, Lt. Ditko went inside Hoddek’s office and hacked into his computer. He noticed a few things. First, the computer was surprisingly difficult to access, with many layers of security that would certainly be uncommon for a mining operation. Second, the computer was devoid of any programs or files that would indicate mining was occurring: no manifests, supply requests, geological reports or anything similar. It seemed the only thing the computer was doing, other than running the facility’s power and life support, was running a generator projecting a high level of ionic interference on the surface. Lt. Ditko shut that off, and discovered he could immediately communicate with the Adventure if need be.

Meanwhile, Lt. J’zhara and Commander Logan scanned the huge blast door to determine if there was any radiation beyond it, as Hoddek claimed. Their tricorders couldn’t penetrate the door, so their readings were inconclusive. For the first time, Hoddek seemed to be angry. He claimed he had cooperated fully, that any omission of registration was an error of the Harelian Mining Authority, and that Starfleet had no right to treat him and his men like criminals.

That’s when Commander Logan informed him that his mining license was fake, that they knew this facility sent the coded transmission and deliberately projected ionic interference to block communications and transporters, and that she knew he wasn’t running a mine of any kind.

Hoddek sighed resignedly and told Commander Logan that if she keeps looking into this, it’s on her head. He claimed he and his team are part of a top secret project for the Federation Science Council, which is why it’s unregistered. He can’t tell her what they’re doing on the planet, but he can show her and she can decide what to do. He took out an old-style communicator and signaled someone behind the blast door to open the lock.

With the door open, Hoddek led the away team down a corridor towards what looked like a lab. The path took them through stacked crates of supplies and machinery. All the while, Hoddek apologized about the necessity of the deception. But Lieutenant Commander Pak spotted the ambush a split second before it happened, anyway.

Several of the miners, brandishing old-style phasers, began to fire on the away team from the cover of the boxes. Hoddek took off towards the lab while his men traded shots with the away team. Pak blasted a miner off his feet, but was soon felled by a phaser shot herself. Stunned, she was out of the fight.

One of the miners blasted a crate of some kind of particulate, and the dust further hampered visibility. Outnumbered, outgunned, and with her tactical officer down, Commander Logan signaled the Adventure for an emergency beam out. A medical team met them in the transporter room, taking charge of the unconscious Lt. Cmdr. Pak.

Meanwhile, a small ship had entered the system, flying in the general direction of the moon, but not coming too close. They answered a hail immediately, and identified themselves as couriers just passing through the system. They seemed intimidated by the Adventure and its obvious superior armament. Now that the ionic interference was gone, Lt. Beta was monitoring the moon closely, which is how he noticed the fourteen life signs in the mine were suddenly reduced to nine. The ship was beaming the miners aboard!

By the time he could alert Captain Boardman, the ship had managed to beam out six more miners, leaving two on the moon. The ship immediately took off at warp, making a run for the Cardassian neutral zone. The Adventure pursued them and caught them just shy of the neutral zone, but before they could lock on a tractor beam the ship fled again. The Adventure gave chase and caught it just inside the neutral zone.

The turbolift doors opened, and a grim-faced Lt. Cmdr. Pak stepped onto the bridge. She quickly took her position at the tactical station and fired the Adventure’s phaser arrays, targeting the engines of the small courier craft. The ship was quickly and efficiently disabled, but not before Lt. Beta reported a new threat: three Cardassian Hideki-class corvettes entering the neutral zone, on course to intercept the Adventure!

The Cardassians hailed the Adventure. On the view screen, an imposing Cardassian stared down his nose at Captain Boardman. He identified himself as Legate Jabrel, and demanded to know why the Adventure had crossed into the neutral zone. He also said that they have identified the courier ship as a Maquis vessel wanted for crimes against the Cardassian Union, and demanded the terrorists be handed over to them for prosecution, conviction and eventual execution.

Captain Boardman had no intention of complying with this order, and pointed out that the Cardassians had also violated the neutral zone. He beamed the Maquis aboard the Adventure, where they were promptly taken into custody by Lt. Cmdr. Pak and a team of security officers. The Adventure was well-suited for combat, but three-to-one odds are still three-to-one odds. Boardman ordered the Adventure to set course for Federation space at maximum warp, knowing the Cardassians would not cross over the border in pursuit and risk open conflict.

The ship returned to the moon to round up the last two Maquis members, only to find that any evidence of their activity was destroyed by Hoddek prior to his departure from the moon. Now, however, he was sitting in a holding cell, so Starfleet could question him at their leisure, once the Adventure got back to Outpost 51.

First, though, the ship had supplies to deliver to the science outpost on New Coriolanus, which is where it was originally bound before getting sidetracked by the strange transmission broadcast by the Maquis. But that would have to wait until next time…

Star Trek Adventures: Shakedown Cruise

These are the voyages of the U.S.S. Adventure. It’s mission: to patrol the Cardassian Neutral Zone and provide support to Outpost 51, a Federation bastion on the fringes of the Alpha Quadrant.

My Star Trek Adventures game kicked off on Sunday with the first session. Sadly, only two of my three regular players were able to attend, but we managed nonetheless.

I decided the first adventure would serve several purposes. First, it would introduce my players to the dramatis personae of my campaign, particularly the personnel of Outpost 51 and the Denali Docking Substation, as well as other captains and vessels using the outpost as a base of operations in the quadrant. Second, it would give the players a familiarity with starship rules, particularly starship combat; which is something we haven’t really done a lot of in previous games.

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63088705

With that in mind, I decided to adapt a published adventure from the previous Star Trek game; “Shakedown Cruise”, from the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek TNG RPG. I made some minor changes to make sure it fit snugly into my setting, and so far, so good.

The first thing we needed to do as a group was create a captain for the U.S.S. Adventure. The captain will usually be a NPC, but the role of the captain can be taken by any of the players in any scenes where their primary character is not present. We created Captain Frederick Douglass Boardman, a veteran of Wolf 359 and of the Cardassian Wars of the 2350’s. He’s an experienced military officer with a lot of combat experience, which is why he’s been given command of the new Akira-class vessel, Adventure. We didn’t get too much farther into Captain Boardman’s history and background, other than he was born in the United States of Africa (much like Nyota Uhura and Geordi La Forge) and is a veteran officer (like Picard).

With this detail ironed out, we dove right in to the story.

Outpost 51 is commanded by Captain Tomek, a Vulcan veteran of the Klingon-Federation War of 2256-2257. (Yeah. That was over 100 years ago.) Tomek is a military genius whose treatises on tactics are required study at Starfleet Academy. He’s a Starfleet legend, on par with Zephram Cochrane or James T. Kirk; the difference being he’s still alive in 2369.

The Adventure is one of several vessels that will be using Outpost 51 as a base of operations in the Alpha Quadrant. Starfleet command hosted a reception for the captains of these ships in the main observation lounge of the station, which allowed the captains and crews of the respective ships to meet and exchange information. Also in attendance were the Klingon ambassador, K’Varg, and Captain Brule, the Klingon captain in charge of the small detachment of Klingon troops stationed at Outpost 51.

Captain Tomek didn’t make an appearance until about an hour into the reception, when he quickly took the podium to extend his greetings and welcome to the new arrivals. Then he requested a meeting with the command staff of the vessels, to take place in one hour. So much for the party.

The captains met with Tomek and he briefed them on the situation in the Alpha Quadrant. He explained that a stable wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant had opened in the Bajoran system, and that, in light of this information, the Cardassians were reconsidering their military withdrawal from Bajor. Only the Federation presence in the quadrant seems to be keeping them at bay, so it is imperative that the Federation-Cardassian treaty be enforced. The Cardassians would like nothing more than an excuse to break the treaty and resume their occupation of Bajor, thereby seizing control of the wormhole, the strategic importance of which can not be overstated.

Tomek made clear that he considers the Maquis, a group of former Federation citizens who lived on worlds ceded to the Cardassian Union as a result of the treaty, to be a terrorist organization. The Maquis often attack Cardassian targets in retaliation for aggressions perpetrated by the Cardassian government on those it considers its subjects. Tomek stated flatly that any captain who holds Maquis sympathies should inform him of the fact so that they may be transferred to other assignments, without fear of repercussion or consequence. Likewise, if any captain is aware of such sympathies among their crew, those crew members should likewise be transferred. Maquis sympathies are, quite simply, incompatible with Starfleet’s mission at Outpost 51.

This was chilling to all the captains seated at the table, as Tomek was essentially calling for a purge, albeit one with no negative consequences other than reassignment for those with Maquis sympathies. Tomek ended the meeting by saying he would meet with captains individually to give them their assignments.

The next day, the Adventure got her assignment: a shakedown cruise to test the capabilities of the new ship. It would be a typical run to New Coriolanus to drop off some supplies to a science outpost there. Along the way, they would test out the sensors and weapons systems.

The Adventure detected some drones hiding in an asteroid field and obliterated them with her phaser arrays (phaser arrays are cool). Then, without warning, a Klingon K’Vort class Bird of Prey, the Vorath, decloaked off their port bow. Captain Brule hailed the Adventure. “Today is a good day to die!” yelled Brule, before firing a warning shot that rocked the Adventure from bow to stern. Then, the Klingon ship cloaked again.

Captain Boardman assessed the situation and noted that unfortunately, he was now dead, so command of the Adventure must now pass to Commander Logan, the first officer. (He was sure to whisper “no torpedoes” in his “dying” breath, indicating that this attack was merely an exercise.)

Commander Logan efficiently took command and blasted the Klingon vessel, blowing away the shields in one shot (I told you phaser arrays are cool). The Klingon vessel hailed them again, grudgingly conceding defeat. Nonetheless, Captain Brule warned them that the adversaries the Adventure would face in the Alpha Quadrant, particularly the Cardassians, would not abide by any “silly rules”.

The Adventure continued on towards New Coriolanus, but detected a strange transmission coming from what was supposed to be a barren, lifeless moon. Attempts to decode the transmission proved futile, but the fact remained that nothing should be there at all, so they decided to investigate.

Scanning the moon from orbit revealed a relatively new structure on the surface: a dome, not more than a few years old. There were a few life signs centered about a kilometer below the dome, under the moon’s surface. There was no response to hails.

Strong ionic interference prevented transporter use, so they took a shuttle down. The moon had no atmosphere, so the crew was forced to use EVA suits to get from the shuttlecraft to the airlock of the dome. Once there, they used a comm panel to communicate with the people below the surface. These people let them in to an industrial elevator that pressurized slowly as it descended. By the time it got to the bottom, about a kilometer below the surface, the crew could remove their EVA suits.

They were met at the elevator by a green-skinned Harelian named Hoddek. Hoddek claimed they were a vionium mining operation. He seemed surprised to see Starfleet officers, but not particularly concerned. Several other miners were lounging about. When asked why Starfleet had no record of this operation, Hoddek blamed the Harelian Mining Authority, who “couldn’t find their backside with both hands, never mind file paperwork on time.” He denied any knowledge of a transmission and showed the crew into his office, where he produced a temporary mining license.

Upon closer inspection, the crew determined that not only was this license expired, it was a forgery. Rather than confront Hoddek about his lies, Commander Logan opted to return to the Adventure to plan her strategy from there.

And that’s where we left off….

Star Trek Adventures: My First Campaign

Since I purchased Star Trek Adventures a couple of years back, I’ve wanted very much to run it as a campaign. I have been fortunate enough to run two “one-shots” for some old friends; the first, The Vanished, featured the crew of the Original Series; while the second used the Next Generation characters. Both were a lot of fun and gave me and my friends a good opportunity to learn the rules.

Since then, I came across RFord’s (blackjack071 on TMP) blog, Over The Hill Gaming, in which he details several aspects of the Star Trek Adventures game (for STA noobs like me), as well as several YouTube videos, both from Modiphius (these are ok), and the Complex Games Apologist (these are better). To top it off, I listened to a few podcasts that showcase actual play, most notably The Terrible Warriors (thumbs up on this one, even though they sometimes get the rules wrong, they don’t let it stop them from having a great time). I purchased every supplement currently available for Star Trek Adventures, and I subscribed to the Living Campaign. In short, I’m ready to go.

With that in mind, I got my friends together and we discussed what era of play we would be most comfortable with. We decided on the Next Generation/Deep Space Nine era over the Original Series, as TNG was “our” Star Trek growing up. I decided to set my campaign in the year 2369, which, in Star Trek continuity, puts us somewhere around TNG Season 6 and DS9 Season 1. In other words, the Enterprise D hasn’t been destroyed yet, Commander (not yet Captain) Sisko still has hair, and Voyager hasn’t even been built.

Notable recent events include the disastrous Battle of Wolf 359 (2367), in which the Borg, with the help of an assimilated Jean-Luc Picard, annihilated the Federation fleet in that system, destroying 39 ships and killing lots and lots of people before being destroyed by the Enterprise D; and the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor, subsequent formation of the Bajoran provisional government and discovery of the Bajoran wormhole (2369). It’s an exciting time.

I decided the action would take place in the Alpha Quadrant, close (but not too close) to Deep Space Nine and the goings-on there. Home base will be Outpost 51, a Federation facility in the Kratos (yep, named after you-know-who) System along the Cardassian neutral zone. Outpost 51 shares orbit of Kratos 4 with a small asteroid which has been converted to a docking station. Between the main outpost and the asteroid, there’s a lot going on at any given time.

I managed to get three of my friends together to make characters, with the hopes of having another couple of friends join the crew at some point. The Lifepath creation system Modiphius uses is quite involved; by the time you’re done making your character you know a lot about their upbringing, training, personal values and beliefs and the events that have shaped their life thus far. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a session all by itself. Meet the characters:

My friend Matt is playing Commander Sarah Logan (First Officer, Human). Matt played Spock in The Vanished and Commander Riker in the TNG one-shot I ran, so he’s experienced in the first officer role. He dislikes playing pregenerated characters, even established ones like Spock and Riker, so he was happy to finally get to make his own. Logan is a rising star in the Command Division and has been recently assigned to act as First Officer aboard a new starship, the U.S.S. Adventure.

Chris is playing Commander Daris Pak (Security Officer, Bolian). Bolians are generally well-liked and friendly, so his security officer is from the “you catch more flies with honey…” school. If honey doesn’t work, though, she’s a bald, blue-skinned Gina Carano, and you will respect her authoritah. She’s the new Chief of Security aboard the Adventure.

Finally, Thom is playing Ensign Kl’rt Beta (Helmsman, Trill). As the sixth host to the Beta symbiont, Kl’rt has five previous lifetimes of memories to draw upon. His own personal experience is as one of the most talented Conn Officers Starfleet has recently produced. He’s a veteran of Wolf 359, which claimed the lives of many a skilled helmsman. As such he is currently awaiting reassignment to a starship at Outpost 51. (Hint: it’s going to be the U.S.S. Adventure.)

And the final character in the campaign is the ship herself, the U.S.S. Adventure, an Akira-class dreadnought (see above) newly-commissioned in 2368, now awaiting command assignment at Outpost 51. The Akira design was a direct response to the costly battle with the Borg at Wolf 359. As such, she is equipped with extensive shuttle bays, phaser arrays and a state-of-the-art, rapid-fire photon torpedo launcher. (Just in case.)

Our first “official” session with all players (and the ship) is this Sunday, and I’m brimming with glee. I might even record it for eventual podcast…but I’ll have to look into that a bit more.

Tug of War: A Fantastic Worlds Star Trek AAR

Captain’s Log Supplemental: We have escaped the Klingon prison and regrouped in the jungles of Hubbard’s World. Mr. Scott has beamed down a security team to assist us. We managed to retrieve our tricorders and have set off in pursuit of the source of the strange energy that seems to be the cause of the unchecked, sentient plant life here on the the planet. Being above ground again should feel good, but the oppressive humidity hasn’t gone anywhere and once more, it’s difficult to breathe. None of us, except perhaps Mr. Sulu, will be sad to leave this place.

The air shimmered as three humanoid forms began to take shape. A moment later, Lt. Hikaru Sulu and two Starfleet security officers stood in the clearing. They glanced around for a moment before Sulu approached the Captain.

“Security team reporting, sir,” Sulu said.

Kirk grinned. “Nice to see you, Mr. Sulu.”

“Nice to be seen, Captain.”

“Glad you could join us. Although I was expecting Mr. Chekov.”

“I pulled rank on him, sir,” said Sulu. “Sentient plants. I wasn’t about to miss that. Hope you don’t mind, sir.”

“Not at all. Your knowledge of botany could come in handy. It’s a…rather unique…place.”

McCoy grinned at Sulu. “Glad to have you along. At least now we won’t have to hear about how the Russians invented plants.”

“Now that we are all present,” said Spock, “I recommend we proceed with haste to the site of the tricorder readings. The Klingons are certainly not waiting.”

“Agreed,” said Kirk. “Fan out, everyone, and watch for threats. Spock, take point. We’ll follow you.”

A few minutes later, they followed Spock into another underground cavern. They could hear the echoes of raised voices arguing in Klingon. Kirk motioned for the team to take up positions silently and crept forward, accompanied by Spock and McCoy. In the midst of the cavern was a strange machine pulsing with visible energy. The Klingons kept a healthy distance from it, but it was clear it was the focus of their attention.

“That machine is the source of the energy, Captain,” said Spock. “It is almost certainly extraterrestrial in origin; nothing like it has been observed on this world.”

“Jim, look!” McCoy pointed. Guarded closely by a pair of brutish Klingons was a bedraggled and exhausted-looking Dr. Hubbard. A Klingon with the unmistakable aura of authority barked an order and Hubbard began working feverishly with his tricorder. Whatever he attempted must have failed, as a moment later, the Klingon captain swore loudly. He whirled on Hubbard and the scientist quailed.

“Looks like they’re trying to beam that doohickey out of here,” said McCoy. “Hubbard is probably being forced to help.”

“Agreed, Captain,” said Spock. “However, removing the doohickey would ensure the catastrophic destruction of this planet’s ecosystem. It is therefore imperative that the Klingons not succeed at their endeavor.”

Whatever reply Kirk was about to make was cut off as the ground began to tremble violently. “All right,” Kirk said when it subsided, “it seems time is against us. Rescue the doctor if possible, but make sure the Klingons don’t get what they’re after. Let’s go.”

Scenario: It’s the final showdown with the Klingons over the alien technology responsible for the plant life on Hubbard’s World. The Klingons are trying to beam the machine off-world, but they need Dr. Hubbard’s help to do that. The Enterprise crew is trying to stop them and rescue Dr. Hubbard. Meanwhile, the strange alien machine is protecting itself…it doesn’t want to go anywhere!

Victory Conditions: The Klingons win if they succeed at beaming the machine off-world, or if both Kirk and Spock are KO’ed at the same time. The Enterprise crew wins if they manage to KO both the Klingon Captain and the Klingon Lieutenant before the machine is beamed off-world. Should this occur, the remaining Klingons surrender.

Forces: The Klingons have a Klingon Captain (Grade 3), a Klingon Lieutenant (Grade 2), and four Klingon Warriors (Grade 1). The Captain also has two more Klingon Warriors in reserve, not deployed at the start of the game. Starfleet has Captain Kirk (Grade 3), Mr. Spock (Grade 2), Dr. McCoy (Grade 2), Mr Sulu (Grade 1), and two Security Officers (Grade 1). The two teams deploy on opposite table corners, with the alien machine smack in the middle.

Special Rules:

Countdown: There are no encounter markers in this scenario; rather an event deck randomly determines what occurs at the beginning of each round. Three of the cards in the deck represent a Klingon transporter lock; once the third such card is in play, the machine is beamed off-planet at the start of the next round and the Klingons win. If Dr. Hubbard is rescued before the Klingons achieve the third transporter lock, Starfleet wins.

Dr. Hubbard: Dr. Hubbard is crucial to this scenario. The Klingons are holding Dr. Hubbard hostage and forcing him to work for them, as their transporter technology isn’t as good as Starfleet’s. As long as there is a Klingon model within 2″ of Dr. Hubbard, he is captive. If that ever changes, Dr. Hubbard makes a run for it. He can’t sprint of fight, but he will move towards the nearest Starfleet model at his full move. He is recaptured if a Klingon moves within 2″ again. He is automatically rescued if a Starfleet model moves within 2″ of him and there are no Klingons within 2″.

Dr. Hubbard is scared, but he’s still a Starfleet officer and he doesn’t want the Klingons to succeed. Two of the cards in the deck represent intentional miscalculations designed to give the Enterprise crew more time to stop the Klingons. If one of these cards is drawn, shuffle a transporter lock card back into the event deck.

Dr. Hubbard cannot be the target of an attack, nor is he affected by any events in the Event Deck.

The Alien Machine: The machine cannot be attacked or destroyed. The Klingons want it too badly, and Strafleet would never risk damaging the planet.

Turn 1: The Klingons get the first turn. Before they act, an event is drawn from the deck: Dr. Hubbard manages to get a transporter lock on the alien machine! Not off to a good start for Starfleet! The rest of the turn is taken up by movement. The Klingons move towards the machine, maintaining cover for the most part, while the Enterprise crew splits up, attempting to flank the Klingons. One Klingon soldier tries to shoot Ensign S’lyr, the Vulcan security officer, but he misses.

Turn 2: The Klingons retain initiative. The event deck draw is a cave-in! The Klingon player nominates an enemy model-in this case, he decides to stick with the Vulcan security officer, Ensign S’lyr. She fails her Dodge test and is buried under a ton of cascading rock! Oh, the humanity (Vulcanity?)!

Now, sadly, as I write this, I have discovered that my iPhone’s voice memos, which I use to record these little game sessions for later transcription, just decided to NOT FUCKING WORK. So, apologies to all. I am winging the rest of this, because my FUCKING iPhone FUCKED ME. So, no turn-by-turn anymore. I’ll just give the general results as I recall them. Above: Kirk kills a Klingon soldier. I forget the context.

At some point, the Klingon Captain made use of his “Meet My Minions” ability, which allows him to instantly “summon” two low-grade henchmen to his person. These Klingons were the models not deployed at the start of the game.

Captain Kirk promptly shot one of them after shooting the Klingon above. He spent Hero Points to do it. The Klingon Captain shoots Kirk, and uses his own Hero Points to activate his Deadly Accuracy ability. This increases the strength of his disruptor enough to cause 2 wounds instead of one. Ouch!

Spock shot the Klingon Captain and managed to KO him. I forget how. I think Kirk might have shot him first. But I forget.

Meanwhile, the Klingon Lieutenant snuck around the rock, trying to flank Sulu. Some Klingon shot and killed the Andorian security officer, Ensign Vendax.

Not sure of the Turn here (FUCK YOU, iPhone!), but the Klingon Lieutenant charged Sulu and put him down hard. I made the Klingons beasts in melee, as they should be. Sulu’s no slouch, but he got charged from behind.

It looks bad for Starfleet, but the event deck draw is an energy burst from the machine that knocks down anyone who fails a Dodge test. Everyone above who is on their ass, except for Sulu and the Klingon Captain, who are both Ko’ed, got knocked over by the burst.

This gave Starfleet some breathing room. McCoy shot the Klingon Captain, who had revived but wasn’t able to stand up in time. He KO’ed him again. Kirk shot the Klingon Lieutenant, KO’ing him, too. With their leadership decimated, the remaining Klingons surrendered!

Victory for Starfleet!

R.I.P. to the fallen Starfleet security officers of the Hubbard’s World campaign. L-R: Ensign Gatwick, Ensign Heathrow, Ensign Stansted, Ensign S’lyr, Ensign Vendax.

Cue the bagpipes, Mr. Scott.

Analysis: This short campaign was a lot of fun. I’m happy with the changes I made to the Fantastic Worlds rules, as they only served to speed play by eliminating some of the bookkeeping. If I had opted to track wound locations and effects, the games would have undoubtedly been longer, but I’m not sure anything would have been gained by it.

To be honest, Starfleet was on a losing streak and I didn’t think they would pull it off. I do know there was an event in the deck that could have made things more interesting: the machine would have animated some of the Deathspitter plants, which would have been another obstacle for both players to deal with. The luck of the draw was with the players, however, and that particular card never appeared.

Starfleet tried to get close enough to the Klingon guarding Dr. Hubbard in the hopes of shooting him and freeing the doctor, but he was deployed too far away.

On a personal note, I am really annoyed with Apple, as my voice memos recorded, but can’t be played back. A quick visit to the Apple forums shows that I’m not the only person to experience this, and Apple doesn’t seem to have a solution beyond “upgrade to the latest iPhone.” Bullshit. From now on I’ll use a digital recorder, circa 1999. At least it will do what it’s supposed to.

I want to do another FW Star Trek campaign soon, perhaps using the TNG crew. I have an idea already…

Captured! A Fantastic Worlds Star Trek AAR

Captain’s Log Supplemental: Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and I have been captured by Klingons and taken to an unknown location. It appears we are in a subterranean cave the Klingons have modified for use as a base of operations. At least we are out of the oppressive heat and humidity of the jungle. They’ve taken our phasers, tricorders and communicators and left us here. Every once in a while, one of them comes by to laugh at us, but for the most part we are left alone. Their arrogance can benefit us. They think we’re helpless. Attempting escape is our first duty. We won’t discover the fate of the science team or the Klingons’ plans by sitting here.

“Klingons sure like their caves dark,” said McCoy. “I can’t see my hand in front of my face.”

“As your hands are presently bound behind your back,” said Spock, “you would be unable to see your hand in any event.”

“The Klingons must want this…strange energy source…very badly,” said Kirk. “Otherwise why risk breaking the Organian Treaty?”

“Klingons aren’t the sharpest tools in the galactic shed, Jim,” McCoy scoffed. “They probably haven’t thought this through very well.”

“Neither are they fools, Doctor,” said Spock. “The energy source seems to have a profound effect on vegetable life, causing exponential growth.”

“That much is obvious, Spock,” McCoy snapped. “You think they’re doing this out of some desire to take up gardening?”

“On the contrary, Doctor, I believe the Klingons are considering harnessing this energy for military purposes. Consider the effect on populated worlds should it be introduced. Plant life would grow unchecked, soon taking over the entire planet.”

“Mother Nature run amok!” Kirk exclaimed. “That has to be it, Spock!”

“It is the most logical of my several working theories, Captain.”

“Well,” said Kirk, “one thing’s for sure. We can’t do much sitting here in this cave. We need to get to the source of that energy and find out what happened to the science team.. We must stop the Klingons!”

“How can we find the source?” McCoy said. “They took our tricorders. They took everything.”

“The tricorders should contain all the data we collected prior to our capture,” Spock said. “If we can recover them, we should be able to find the source.”

“Getting our communicators back would be nice, too,” said Kirk. “We could contact the ship, have Scotty beam down some reinforcements. But first we need to get out of these bonds.”

“How do you suggest we do that, Jim?” asked McCoy. “I’m a doctor, not an escape artist.”

Spock casually dropped his restraints on the floor. “If you will permit me, Doctor, I believe I can soon have you both free.”

McCoy stared at the Vulcan in shock. “Are you telling us you’ve been free this whole time?”

“No, Doctor,” said Spock. “I slipped my bonds 38 seconds ago. I merely thought it prudent to formulate a logical plan of action before we proceed.”

Kirk cut off what was certain to be a loud oath from McCoy. “Gentlemen, I suggest we act quickly, and silently. Our main priority is to locate our gear. We won’t get far without weapons.”

Scenario: The Enterprise crew has been captured by the Klingons and are being held in a cave below ground. They must escape and continue their search for the mysterious energy, and for Dr. Hubbard.

Victory Conditions: In order to win, the Enterprise crew must find their equipment and escape the board via one of two board edges chosen by the Klingon player as escape routes. The Klingons must prevent at least one of the Enterprise crew from escaping in order to win.

Forces: The Enterprise player has Captain Kirk (Grade 3), Mr. Spock (Grade 2) and Dr. McCoy (Grade 2). They begin play in the center of the board. The Klingon player begins with 4 Klingon guards (Grade 1). He also has a Klingon Lieutenant (Grade 2), who is not deployed at the start of the game. The guards are placed at least 10″ away from the Enterprise crew, and at least 6″ away from each other. They begin on guard duty (see below).

Special Rules:

Guard Duty: The rules for guard duty are in effect for this scenario. I won’t reproduce them here: just understand that the Klingons act like guards (which they are) until the alarm is raised. Once the alarm is raised, they act normally, and the Klingon Lieutenant is deployed immediately.

Darkness: The cave is dark and the Klingons didn’t bring much light. This limits visibility to 8″.

Stealth Takedown: If an Enterprise crewman can engage a Klingon guard in melee and defeat him in one round, then he does so silently and does not alert any other guards. He can then take the Klingon’s weapon. If he fails, the alarm is raised automatically. In addition, if melee occurs within spotting distance of a guard, the guard gets +1 to his roll to spot the attacker.

Initial setup.

The Enterprise crew must exit the board by either the right edge or the bottom edge in order to escape.

Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gets initiative. Kirk activates an encounter marker but it turns out to be nothing. McCoy triggers a restless guard, who activates out of sequence but fails to spot the doctor sneaking around in the darkness. Spock activates an encounter marker and startles a cave-dwelling critter, which makes a noise loud enough to alert the guard nearby. Unfortunately for him, the guard fails his brains test and doesn’t bother investigating the sound, so he doesn’t see Mr. Spock at all, despite being only 6″ away from him. The remaining Klingons all move around, but fail to spot any of the Enterprise crew.

Kancho!

Turn 2: Spock activates first and stealthily moves towards the closest Klingon guard. He applies the Vulcan nerve pinch and the Klingon goes down silently. Spock helps himself to the Klingon’s disruptor. (Game mechanics: Spock and the Klingon both have “Dirty Tricks”; Spock wins and gets an extra d10, which represents his nerve pinch. He handily defeats the Klingon in melee.)

I see nothing.

Despite being within spotting distance and despite Spock engaging in melee, one of the Klingons fails to spot Spock and turns away. Nothing to see here. McCoy activates another encounter marker, but it’s nothing. The remaining Klingons move. (It’s around now that we realized we’ve been playing guard duty rules wrong; that until the alarm is raised only ONE guard is supposed to move each turn. The others can change facing, but that’s about it. We decide to play it correctly from this point on.) Kirk activates and moves closer to the action, but doesn’t really do anything substantive.

Some folks wouldn’t think to use a giant penis as a weapon. Kirk isn’t one of those folks.

Turn 3: The Klingons gain initiative. One of them moves towards Kirk, but he fails to see the Captain. Kirk activates an encounter marker: “I got a rock.” He finds a heavy, interestingly-shaped rock that he can use as a weapon (functions as a club).

Kirk wastes no time, immediately taking a Heroic Action and charging the closest Klingon from behind. He brains the Klingon into unconsciousness and takes the Klingon’s disruptor. (He also inexplicably holds onto the rock.) That’s two guards down, and the remaining Klingons are none the wiser. Spock and McCoy both move off towards other encounters. The remaining Klingons change facing.

Turn 4: The Klingons activate and one returns to his original position. Kirk activates an encounter: reinforcements! Two Klingon guards enter via a table edge that is not an escape route. They’re loud and obnoxious, which makes it harder for the Klingons to spot any of the Enterprise crew this turn. The downside is they’re here to stay!

Turns out those GW artillery dice are still useful.

Spock triggers another restless guard, who moves in a random direction. He walks right between Spock and McCoy, but doesn’t see either one of them. (These guards are bad at guarding.) McCoy ignores the guard and activates an encounter marker. It’s the crew’s gear: communicators, phasers and tricorders! Now that the Enterprise crew has secured their gear, they can move off the board! McCoy and Spock are relatively close to the right edge, but Kirk is still pretty far away…The other Klingons change facing, etc. No one spots any of the Enterprise crew.

Turn 5: The Klingons activate and one immediately spots Mr. Spock. He sounds the alarm and fires at Spock, hitting the Vulcan and inflicting 1 wound!

Behold! I walked through this wall!

The Klingon lieutenant is deployed immediately, from a board edge that is not an escape route. Spock returns fire on the Klingon guard, killing him. The lieutenant charges into combat with Spock. Klingons fight better in melee than with guns, but not this time. Spock wins, inflicting one wound on the Klingon lieutenant!

McCoy adds injury to injury, firing into the melee with his newly-recovered phaser. He hits the Klingon lieutenant and puts him down for good!

The closest Klingon to Kirk charges him from behind, but it doesn’t go well for him. Kirk swings his big, manly rock with abandon, clubbing the Klingon to the ground.

Kirk sprints towards the right side of the board, spending two Hero Points to gets some extra movement.

Turn 6: The Enterprise crew makes a run for it. They can all reach the edge of the board, but can’t exit until next turn. The Klingons pursue, but fail to catch them.

Turn 7: The Enterprise crew gets initiative and escapes! Victory for Starfleet!

Once he realized they were not being pursued, Kirk slowed to a halt. “Now we can contact Scotty. We could use some reinforcements. We have to find Dr. Hubbard and stop whatever it is the Klingons are doing here.”

McCoy stared at the rock in Kirk’s hand. “You know, that thing looks like just about the biggest-“

“That’s enough, Bones,” said Kirk.

“I concur, Doctor,” said Spock. “It certainly bears a remarkable resemblance to a-“

“Yes, yes, Spock,” snapped Kirk, impatiently.

“Look, Jim,” said McCoy, “I’m a doctor. I’ve seen a million of ’em in my day. That one’s definitely noteworthy.”

“Whatever! It served its purpose!” yelled Kirk.

“Right,” said McCoy. “Can’t argue with that. But Jim… why are you still holding it?”

Spock raised an eyebrow.

Kirk tossed the rock aside and flipped open his communicator. “Kirk to Enterprise…come in, Scotty.”

Analysis: We played this scenario a couple of times. This was the most fun. (The first time we played, the Enterprise crew found their gear on the first encounter marker and it quickly degenerated into a firefight with no stealth at all. Boring.) It played very quickly, only about 25 minutes or so.

When creating the encounter markers for this scenario, I just had to include the infamous phallic rock from the classic episode “What are Little Girls Made Of?” Watching that scene really makes you wonder if the props department was deliberately fucking with the network, or if maybe Gene Roddenberry was. How could anyone see that and just see a rock? It had to be deliberate.

This was my first time playing a scenario with the guard duty rules in the 2nd edition. I was struck by just how difficult it is for guards to spot the heroes, even when they’re standing right in front of their faces. At least, it turned out that way the second time.

Coming soon, the final chapter, as Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise face off against the Klingon Captain and his men for control of the strange energy of Hubbard’s World! Watch for “Tug of War!”