“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.
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Captain’s Log Supplemental: We have determined the science team entered the jungle to investigate an unknown energy source; one that seems responsible for the sentient, animate plant life we have discovered here on Hubbard’s World. This planet is fraught with danger; we have already lost Ensign Gatwick, and we discovered the body of Ensign Jorgensen, a botanist assigned to Dr. Hubbard’s science team. Further, a Klingon spy managed to escape the camp before we could stop him. What he was doing here is unknown, however it’s a good bet the communications array fell victim to Klingon sabotage, and that the Klingons now know everything we do. We are going into the jungle to find the source of the strange energy and to discover the fate of our missing scientists.
The humidity was oppressive and brutal. Even Spock was showing signs of exertion. All around them, the flora of Hubbard’s World seemed an impenetrable, dark curtain; eerily silent, with none of the insect or animal sounds common to jungles on planets everywhere. Still, Captain James T. Kirk felt as though they were being watched.
Dr. McCoy wiped his forehead with his sleeve. “Are we there yet?”
Spock consulted his tricorder. “I assume you are speaking rhetorically, Doctor. Scans indicate we are still some distance from the source of the energy readings.”
“Your Vulcan physiology may be used to this kind of heat, Spock,” said McCoy, irritably, “but we humans aren’t meant to live like this, breathing soup.”
“Although my planet’s temperatures average several degrees higher than the current temperature here on Hubbard’s World,” Spock replied,”Vulcan is an arid, desert planet with far less atmospheric carbon dioxide. We would all breathe more comfortably there.”
McCoy smirked. “So, you’re saying it’s not the heat, it’s–“
“Finish that sentence at your own risk, Bones,” said Kirk. “What else is that tricorder telling you, Spock?”
“It is presently informing me that we are not alone, Captain.”
At that moment, a disruptor blast incinerated a nearby tree. The three men quickly took cover.
Kirk scowled and drew his phaser. “Klingons!”
Scenario: The crew of the Enterprise, in search of the missing science team, is making their way through the inhospitable jungle to the source of the strange energy readings that seems to be affecting the plant life on Hubbard’s World. The Klingons are doing the same.
Victory Conditions: The teams are searching for clues to find the source of the energy. This is represented by a series of 3 encounter markers. The first team to discover the path to the energy source by finding the last clue may nominate a point within 6″ of the model that discovered it. The first team to move all their models off the board from this point wins.
Dense Foliage: The jungle is dense and difficult to move through. Speeed is halved, and models must pass a Brawn test every round to avoid becoming entangled.
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity: The jungle is oppressive; all models have a penalty of -1 to their Brawn and Melee scores for the scenario. (In addition, any miniature who utters the name of this rule aloud is immediately attacked by his own teammates.)
Ambush!: Because the Klingon player won the last scenario and the spy escaped, the Klingons have been forewarned and have had time to set up ambushes in the jungle. The Klingon player may replace up to 2 encounter cards with ambush cards. When activated by a Starfleet model, place a Klingon model 6″ behind the model that activated the encounter. This model attacks immediately and counts as Gettin’ the Drop on the Starfleet model. The model will activate normally on the next turn. If this encounter is activated by a Klingon model, it counts as no effect. Shuffle the card back into the deck.
Forces: The Enterprise crew is down a man, as Ensign Gatwick fell victim to the dangerous plant-beings of Hubbard’s World last scenario. As a result, only Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Ensign Heathrow are available for this scenario. The Klingons consist of Korgal, a Klingon lieutenant, and four Klingon warriors, plus any that are activated by ambush encounters.
Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gets initiative. Spock activates first and moves to within 3″ of an an encounter marker. Being Observant, he can activate it from there. The card drawn is “What are you doing here?” A friendly Grade 1 model is lost in the jungle, and immediately joins the team. Ensign Stansted, a security officer, somehow got separated from the team. He’s back now! Korgal, the Klingon lieutenant activates, moving towards a nearby encounter marker, but not close enough to activate it.
Dr. McCoy heads off towards another marker. Like Spock, he’s Observant, and soon discovers a clue! Tricorder readings indicate that the energy signature is strongest in this direction. (This is the first of three clues needed to discover the path to the source.)
The rest of the turn (out of sequence) has the remaining Klingons moving into the jungle towards encounter markers, getting closer to the Enterprise crew. Kirk uses his Voice of Command twice, first to allow Ensign Heathrow to move (he promptly gets entangled in the jungle), then to make Ensign Stansted move. Finally, Kirk moves. No one can activate any more encounter markers, and no one else gets entangled.
Turn 2: The Enterprise crew retains initiative. McCoy moves and activates an encounter: it’s an ambush! A Klingon soldier appears behind McCoy and immediately fires, but McCoy manages to dodge aside. Ensign Heathrow fires at the Klingon lieutenant, inflicting one wound!
One of the Klingons meets one of the more dangerous plants on Hubbard’s World: a Deathspitter, so named for its ability to spit death. It immediately does so, dissolving the screaming Klingon into a puddle of goo with its caustic digestive juices.
Kirk uses Voice of Command to command Ensign Stansted to act; he triggers another ambush, this time with fatal consequences. The dirty Klingon shoots him right in the back, and Ensign Stansted’s brief tenure with the landing party comes to an end! Another Klingon finds the second clue: More tricorder readings indicate the energy is this way!
Kirk activates and shoots the Klingon that took a backshot at McCoy, vaporizing him instantly. Spock moves, but doesn’t do much else. Finally, two Klingons team up to take down the Deathspitter, as neither one wants to end up like their friend.
Turn 3: The Klingons gain initiative. Korgal moves towards cover and fires at Ensign Heathrow, killing him! Sadly, that accounts for all the Starfleet security officers in the landing party. Spock stumbles into some quicksand and begins to sink. He’ll have to pass a Brawn test to get out on his own, because the only person close enough to assist him is a Klingon soldier! He shoots Spock instead, causing one wound! McCoy and a Klingon soldier exchange fire, but neither one hits the other.
Captain Kirk sprints towards Korgal, trusting in good old-fashioned brawling to get the job done. He takes a Heroic Action to charge the lieutenant, but it doesn’t go well for him. Kirk falls victim to the Klingon’s Dirty Tricks, which gives Korgal an extra die to roll in Melee. Kirk is bested this round and takes a wound!
Turn 4: The Klingons get initiative, and Korgal must act first. He’s locked in melee with Kirk, so it’s 23rd century fisticuffs right out of the gate. Kirk rolls two 10’s, which not only beats the Klingon’s roll, it increases the strength of the attack by 4! The Klingon lieutenant falls below the double hand chop of Captain Kirk! Then, Kirk acts, firing at the Klingon who is facing down McCoy. He rolls yet another natural 10, increasing the attack strength and vaporizing the Klingon soldier! (That’s why he’s the Captain.)
Spock passes his Brawn test easily and extricates himself from the quicksand, but the Klingon fires at him again, causing another wound. Spock is KO’ed! McCoy finds nothing of interest when he finally gets close to an encounter marker.
Another Klingon blunders into another Deathspitter, with similar results as last time. The Klingon’s Wilhelm scream quickly turns into more of a gurgle as his whole body is reduced to essential salts and amino acids. The final Klingon sprints towards the center of the board, where one of the last two encounter markers is located. Could it be the last clue?
Turn 5: Spock fails his Will test to recover, so he’s still out cold. The Klingons get initiative. The one who moved last takes cover and shoots at Captain Kirk, causing a wound. Kirk only has 1 wound left! Kirk returns fire and kills the Klingon. The sole remaining Klingon fires at the Deathspitter, rolling exceedingly well. Well enough to kill it, in fact. Then he continues his movement towards the encounter marker in the bottom corner of the board. Dr. McCoy moves towards Kirk to administer medical aid, but doesn’t get close enough.
Turn 6: Spock once again fails to pass his Will test and remains unconscious. The Klingon gets initiative again, after a truly abysmal roll by Starfleet. He moves closer to the encounter marker in the corner, betting all his chips on it being the last clue. Captain Kirk activates the encounter marker in the center. It turns out to be nothing, which means the Klingon is going to discover the last clue and likely win the scenario, unless he is stopped! McCoy moves closer to Kirk, but that’s about all he can do…
Turn 7: Spock remains unconscious! The Enterprise crew (what’s left of it, anyway) gains initiative. Kirk uses Voice of Command to order McCoy to fire on the Klingon. Despite rolling a natural 10, McCoy misses! (The Klingon rolled a 10 on his Dodge, which resulted in a tie.) The Klingon can’t reach the encounter marker, so he fires at Kirk. He hits! Kirk goes down!
Turn 7: Spock fails his Will test AGAIN. Kirk fails his Quick Recovery test. Both remain unconscious. On the last turn, it’s just Dr. McCoy and the last Klingon. McCoy takes his (thematically appropriate) action to revive Kirk, but the Klingon has more than enough time to discover the final clue and make his escape.
Victory to the Klingons!
The hiss of a hypospray preceded Kirk’s return to consciousness by several seconds. His eyes fluttered open. Instantly alert, he tried to stand, only to be firmly pushed prone.
“Easy, Jim,” McCoy said. “You’re not there yet.”
“Bones!” Kirk sat up anyway, ignoring his doctor. “The Klingons-“
“Got away,” McCoy said. “With Spock.”
“We have to go after him!”
“How convenient for you,” said a sneering voice. “for here he is.” Korgal and several Klingons surrounded the pair, disruptors drawn. Two of them held Spock between them. The Vulcan was bound and unconscious.
“Take them,” ordered Korgal.
Analysis: This was a dramatic game! The final clue was the last encounter marker activated, so the encounter deck was fully exhausted. It didn’t go very well for Starfleet; despite having better quality forces, they were just outnumbered. The Klingon ambushes really gave them an advantage, both with the free attacks and additional forces.
Although we were pretty good about making the recovery rolls for Spock, we forgot all about Korgal. As a Grade 2 model, he was entitled to recovery rolls too. Also, I’m pretty sure we forgot to roll for entanglements due to Dense Foliage most of the time.
The next scenario was supposed to be the last of the campaign, but in true Fantastic Worlds/.45 Adventure fashion, we need to play a “Captured” scenario first, as all the heroes have been taken prisoner.
Check back soon for “Captured!” (I couldn’t think of another title.)
Captain’s Log: Stardate 1315.9: We have received word that Federation Outpost Laertes, a science station on the newly-discovered Hubbard’s World in the Klingon neutral zone, has gone silent. We arrived in the system to discover a Klingon battle cruiser in orbit around the planet. Our repeated hails to the outpost remain unanswered. Of course, the Klingons deny any knowledge of the outpost’s fate and would like us to leave. Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and I, accompanied by Ensigns Gatwick and Heathrow from Starfleet security, are beaming down to the planet’s surface to investigate. Chief Engineer Scott has been given command of Enterprise in my absence.
Outpost Laertes looked abandoned. Vines and creepers already encroached on the small clearing where the science team’s supplies still lay neatly stacked in crates and barrels. The jungle seemed poised to quickly reclaim the ground where the Federation outpost stood. A standard Starfleet communications array, clearly damaged and inoperative, sat atop the basic, prefab building that served as both laboratory and living quarters to the missing scientists.
Spock regarded his tricorder. “Fascinating.”
Kirk and McCoy traded glances, but the Vulcan didn’t elaborate. “Well, don’t keep us in suspense, Spock,” said the Captain. “What is it?”
“Life sign readings are overwhelmingly vegetable in origin. I estimate some 97.56%”
McCoy’s uneasy gaze took in the vast jungle around them. “You don’t say. That’s fascinating, all right.”
“There is no trace of the science team,” continued Spock, coolly ignoring the doctor, “at least not in the immediate area.”
Kirk whirled and focused his attention where McCoy indicated. Four bipedal, plantlike creatures began to shamble out of the surrounding jungle. They looked like walking flowers, but much more menacing. They began to converge on the clearing.
“It’s like the jungle is coming alive,” said McCoy.
“Incorrect, Doctor,” said Spock. “These beings were certainly alive prior to our arrival, and did not spontaneously animate, as you suggest.”
McCoy flushed angrily. Before he could respond, Kirk stepped forward. “I am Captain James T. Kirk of the United Federation of Planets. We come in peace and mean you no harm.” In response, one of the plant-things ejected a stream of liquid in Kirk’s direction. He quickly stepped aside as it splashed on one of the supply crates nearby. Immediately, it began to smoke and hiss as the outer casing began to dissolve.
“Well, that’s darn rude,” said McCoy.
“Rude perhaps, though likely unintentionally so,” said Spock. “There is no indication that attempts at verbal communication should be effective, or that these beings possess any sense of hearing, at least not in the way we understand.” The plant things crept closer. “Phasers on stun, Captain?”
“When was the last time you stunned a houseplant, Spock?” asked McCoy. The Vulcan raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.
“Let’s not do anything we regret,” said Kirk, adjusting his phaser. “Low heat setting should be enough to show them we can defend ourselves if need be.”
Scenario: The Enterprise crew beams down to the site of the science outpost to find it deserted. They must search for clues to discover what happened to the science team. While they do so, they are attacked by some of the plant creatures of Hubbard’s World. Meanwhile, a Klingon spy is hiding near the camp, hoping to learn everything he can before he makes his escape, both about the Federation technology that now lies abandoned and about the landing party from the Enterprise.
Victory Conditions: The Enterprise crew must find three clues in order to discover what happened to the science team and in order to discover the strange energy readings. For every clue the Enterprise team discovers, the Klingon spy automatically gets one piece of information that is of value to his superiors. Once all clues have been found, the first team to move all the surviving models off the nearest board edge wins the scenario. (Only the Klingon spy needs to leave the board for the Klingon player to end the scenario.)
The Enterprise crew beams down to the science outpost.
Turn 1: The Enterprise crew gains initiative. McCoy activates first, and heads immediately towards the building. He activates the encounter marker there and discovers a clue: the remains of a Federation science officer, Ensign Jorgensen, one of the botanists assigned to the science team. He’s been partially dissolved. McCoy passes his Will check, and as a result he doesn’t have to spend next turn throwing up. One of the plant creepers spits its corrosive liquid at Ensign Gatwick, but misses him by a country mile.
Spock activates and heads into the jungle. He passes his Brawn check and is not entangled by the dense foliage. He activates an encounter marker (no effect). Another plant creeper spits at Spock, but the Vulcan ducks aside. Kirk uses his ability, Voice of Command, to make Ensign Gatwick act next. Gatwick fires at a shambling plant creature, but fails to hit.
A plant creeper creeps closer. Kirk shows Gatwick how it’s done. He steps forward and blasts one of the shambling plant creatures that spit at his first officer, killing it. Ensign Heathrow takes aim at an approaching plant creature, but he misses.
Turn two starts off with one of the plant creepers spitting its caustic juices all over Ensign Gatwick, who lets out a Wilhelm scream and dies horribly. Oh, the humanity!
Kirk uses his Voice of Command ability again, this time to allow Ensign Heathrow to go first. He spends a Hero Point, takes a deep breath, and vaporizes the nearest plant creeper to his position.
The plant creeper nearest to Dr. McCoy attacks, but the doctor has no intention of ending up like poor Jorgensen. The plant misses, McCoy returns fire and kills it. Kirk fires at the plant creeper that killed Ensign Gatwick and kills it, too. Spock heads deeper into the jungle and activates another encounter marker. Another clue! Tricorder readings indicate a strange energy coming from farther off in the jungle. All the vegetation on the planet seems imbued with this strange energy. Did the science team go investigate?
Turn 3: No plant creepers remain, so the Enterprise crew has the run of the board. Ensign Heathrow heads off into the jungle, but fails his Brawn test and gets entangled in the thick vegetation before going too far.
Dr, McCoy stumbles directly into a slumbering plant beast! This one’s huge, and it’s not happy!
The Plant Beast wastes no time. It swats Dr. McCoy hard, knocking him back and inflicting one wound!
McCoy is down, but not out. Spock activates next, moving back into the clearing and firing his phaser. He hits the Plant Beast squarely, inflicting a wound. The Plant Beast barely feels it! Kirk fires at the Plant Beast, wounding it; then immediately spends 2 Hero Points to take a Heroic Action, charging forward and firing again for another wound! Now the Plant Beast takes notice!
Turn 4: The Plant Beast gets initiative and charges Kirk, but Kirk spends another Hero Point and manages to evade the Beast’s grasping tendrils. Spock fires again but misses; McCoy tries to administer aid to himself but is too stunned and fails his roll. Kirk fires at point-blank range and finally kills the huge Plant Beast. Ensign Heathrow manages to extricate himself from the clinging foliage, but blunders into a spore cloud and is knocked unconscious for 2 turns!
Turn 5: Once again, with no opposition, the Enterprise crew has board control. McCoy moves into the jungle to revive Ensign Heathrow. He is successful! Spock and Kirk likewise enter the jungle, heading for encounter markers. Spock finds nothing, but Kirk discovers a final clue: the signs of several humanoids passing into the jungle is a clear indication that the science team went in search of the strange energy readings. The vegetation seems to have grown back abnormally fast. If not for their tricorders, the crew may have missed the science team’s tracks altogether!
At that very moment, the Klingon spy makes his move! Armed with the information on the Enterprise crew and their plans to seek the energy source themselves, he quickly attempts to race back to his superiors!
Turn 6: The Klingon spy gains initiative and flees into the jungle. He passes his Brawn test and is not entangled, but is slowed by the dense foliage. Spock activates and attempts to flank him. He fires at the Klingon, but misses. Kirk once again uses his Voice of Command to order Ensign Heathrow to pursue. The Ensign gives chase and fires, but he misses! Kirk all-out sprints into the clearing, trying to get as close to the Klingon as he can. He spends two Hero Points to take another Heroic Action, and fires, but he misses his mark! (Looks like they all need to go back to Starfleet marksman school!) McCoy chases after Ensign Heathrow, but gets entangled in the brush.
Turn 7: The bad luck continues for Starfleet this turn. In a last-ditch effort, Kirk commands Ensign Heathrow to take the shot! Sadly, the Ensign misses again, which allows the Klingon to slip away into the jungle!
Victory to the Klingons!
Analysis: The rules changes I made worked well and sped things up considerably. Not having to roll for wound location and keep track of deteriorating abilities made each shot count.
My first thought was that the scenario favors the Klingon player, since the Klingons only need to move one model off the board to win. Additionally, until the spy is revealed, Starfleet takes all the lumps from the plant creatures. But, considering the Starfleet player can just shoot the spy and win by default, this balances things out a bit. Turns out in my game Starfleet got the yips when it counted most and missed the Klingon with every shot!
I built the characters using a variety of archetypes from both Fantastic Worlds and .45 Adventure 2nd Edition, which was the core rules engine I used for the game mechanics. The Special Abilities listed are taken with my rules changes in mind, so nothing that would require wound location or stat changes. I also changed “Ray Gun” to “Phaser” and “Blade” to “Melee”, purely for thematic reasons.
Captain Kirk (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 4 Will 4 Brawn 3 Guts 10 Phaser 4 Melee 6 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Brawler +2d10, Pugilist +1, Leadership, Tactics +1d10, Nerves of Steel +2, Voice of Command, Quick Recovery, Heroic Action
Mr. Spock (Grade 2): DR 5 Brains 6 Will 5 Brawn 5 Guts 7 Phaser 3 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Genius +2, Observant, Immune to Fear, Incredible Will +1, Nerve Pinch (Dirty Tricks), Undying Loyalty, Well-Prepared
Dr. McCoy (Grade 2): DR 4 Brains 5 Will 5 Brawn 3 Guts 8 Phaser 3 Melee 3 Dodge 3 Speed 5 Genius +1, Leadership, Medical Knowledge, Nerves of Steel +2, Observant, Undying Loyalty
This month went in a surprising direction for me. I had tried to cajole my friend back into the hobby by taunting him with his own miniatures, painted by me; but that didn’t work. (He told me so.) I started work on creating my own rules for a skirmish game I have kicking around, but didn’t get far. I started a new project for Gaslands but abandoned it for now; I rekindled my interest in roleplaying by purchasing a bunch of small-press indie games and listening to a lot of gaming podcasts. Somewhere in the middle of all that I managed to purchase and paint another Modiphius Star Trek set: The Original Series-era Landing Party.
The usual Modiphius annoyances aside (shitty plastic, unnecessary assembly, ridiculous pricing), this is a pretty good set. You get a male and female of five different TOS-era species: Humans, Denobulans, Tellarites, Andorians and Vulcans. What color you paint their attire is entirely up to you: Red, Gold or Blue; but with 10 miniatures in the set, you can’t have an even division. I decided to go heavy on the science/medical personnel.
My only real criticism is that 3 out of 5 of the female miniatures have similar poses. It’s a minor quibble in an otherwise solid set. My favorite miniature is this human male. (I painted him as a redshirt, so I won’t get too attached to him.)
My least favorite is the female Tellarite all the way in back, on the right. You can’t really see it, but I hard a hard time painting her face as it’s sculpted weird. Maybe it’s just me.