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Thread: Starting a new campaign!

  1. #1
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    Starting a new campaign!

    Hi folks! Newly minted member here, been scanning some of the threads for a little while...

    A group of friends and I are avid boardgamers and, about a year and a half ago, began a Pathfinder campaign. Three of us had a fair bit of RPG experience, while the other two were completely new to it. Anyway, after spending a lot of time fighting dragons and orcs, I suggested to the gang that I dust off my old First edition FASA Star Trek RPG and run a campaign as a change of pace from the swords and sorcery stuff (and also to allow our excellent gamemaster a chance to play as a character).

    We're about 75% of the way through the character creation process at this point—everyone has been through Cadet training and is about to go on their Cadet tours. My plan is to introduce them to the hand-to-hand combat system and the ship combat system at this point "as part of their Cadet training" since the two systems require some learning compared to what they already know from Pathfinder. Obviously, the ship combat lesson will be the Kobayashi Maru scenario.

    I've decided to put my players on a Constitution-Class ship, since a couple of them are pretty hard-core Star Trek fans as well, so this gives them a level of familiarity with their so-called surroundings. They have decided as a group to go with a primarily Caitian crew, which adds a little extra flavour to the process. And I've decided to give them the Exeter, a few months after the events of "The Omega Glory." My premise is that the ship is completely intact, but perhaps considered a bit of a jinx, since the entire crew was lost. That has allowed the players to generate characters that are competent Starfleet officers, but maybe a little broken—just the sort of crew one might put on a ship nobody wants to mess with, even though it's a capital ship.

    So what do you think? I'm very open to suggestions and other input. I'm planning to run them through several of the FASA adventures, but I'm also thinking about what to do with creating my own scenarios.

  2. #2
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    At one point, Walter Emanual Jones, aka Zack from Power Rangers, was going to be the Exeter's Captain in a fan film, that could be an interesting thing to show at some point.

    And some bits and pieces from SFB, especially Don Miller (http://web.archive.org/web/200612041...eylich.com/sfb), as well as looking at some surreal Extrasolar Planet Art could also be a plus.
    "Always beware of anything said by a person with a smile." -Cronan-sama
    http://www.cronan-memorial.com

    http://sites.google.com/site/memoryeta
    Initially Trek, but haphazard Archival Site, no need to make it a Wiki.

    http://web.archive.org/web/200410151.../ssd/ssds.html
    Don Miller's SSDs for Star Fleet Battles are here, axing the URL past sfb takes you to the main site.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meteo View Post
    At one point, Walter Emanual Jones, aka Zack from Power Rangers, was going to be the Exeter's Captain in a fan film, that could be an interesting thing to show at some point.

    And some bits and pieces from SFB, especially Don Miller (http://web.archive.org/web/200612041...eylich.com/sfb), as well as looking at some surreal Extrasolar Planet Art could also be a plus.
    Thanks for the input, Meteo!

    There is an Exeter fan-fic episode on YouTube, which I'm in the process of watching—also might be worthwhile to show the gang!

  4. #4
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    Engaging all players

    So here's a discussion question that I'd really appreciate your thoughts on: In a RPG environment with a fairly rigid hierarchy, how do you keep all the players involved and active, rather than just following orders? I've bumped into this a couple times now where two of my four players basically wind up sitting back and just doing as they're told by the captain and first officer, rather than thinking for themselves and angaging in the game. My best game night was one where I split the story into two pieces with each side having to deal with their own stuff independently and this seemed to manage the situation, but any other input you might have would be greatly appreciated!

  5. #5
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    I've always maintained that the captain should be a PC. This means of course that the players should be able to work together without the captain bossing the other PC around just because he can, though. Why do people think just because the characters are part of a military/paramilitary organisation that they should suddenly be rigid cogs in some sort of biological machine? Being captain is no different that being party leader or "caller" in an old-school dungeon crawl from 1975!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Owen E Oulton View Post
    I've always maintained that the captain should be a PC. This means of course that the players should be able to work together without the captain bossing the other PC around just because he can, though. Why do people think just because the characters are part of a military/paramilitary organisation that they should suddenly be rigid cogs in some sort of biological machine? Being captain is no different that being party leader or "caller" in an old-school dungeon crawl from 1975!
    Excellent points! Our captain is a PC, but he's excellent at delegating responsibility to the rest of the crew, to the point that the captain hasn't really done much so far. Our 1st officer, on the other hand, is a bit on the bossy side. :/

    I'm working on more storylines that separate the crew into smaller parts where the command structure is a little less rigid and where lower ranked crew are called upon to make their own decisions. Hopefully that keeps the 1st officer thing to a minimum. I'm also actively working to force the captain to jump in and do stuff!

  7. #7
    Separating the player characters is key. If they're not all enagaged on some level, the bored one slowly drags the group into the other room for a Simpsons marathon lol! I usually have the players write a background - which is a goldmine for subplots and side adventures. Then I was always of the "Dropping an Anvil" school of gamemastering, where random things just happen, as if they fall from the sky, just to move things along. The real skill is bringing them all back together for the adventure finale. Then serializing the whole thing, just so it seems like theres a broader plot yet to be unfolded.
    Its a lot of work! I dont think players often realize all the background work that goes into an extended campaign.

    Ok im just prattling on. Good luck on your game, and keep us updated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by UFC465537 View Post
    Separating the player characters is key. If they're not all enagaged on some level, the bored one slowly drags the group into the other room for a Simpsons marathon lol! I usually have the players write a background - which is a goldmine for subplots and side adventures. Then I was always of the "Dropping an Anvil" school of gamemastering, where random things just happen, as if they fall from the sky, just to move things along. The real skill is bringing them all back together for the adventure finale. Then serializing the whole thing, just so it seems like theres a broader plot yet to be unfolded.
    Its a lot of work! I dont think players often realize all the background work that goes into an extended campaign.

    Ok im just prattling on. Good luck on your game, and keep us updated!
    Thanks for the input!

    I'm in the process of writing my first fully independent advanture for the crew for their next mission. It is, in fact, a reworking of the first chapter of Rise of the Runelords, from the Pathfinder RPG. I think sticking the Exeter crew into the middle of a swords and sorcery adventure where they bump into their own characters from a couple years back has lots of potential for silliness and hijinx, which is a nice change of pace from the more serious storylines. But yeah, making sure everyone is engaged and me throwing plot complications in at appropriate intervals to move the story forward is definitely a key focus for what I'm building.

  9. #9
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    I personally would not have both captain and first officer be PC's, since I think its then just a double wammy of authority. However you already have characters assigned and rolled up - so my suggestion is not valid in your case.
    Generally, I take the FASA advice and ask the quietest and/or most collaborative player be captain. Kirk nearly always took Spock and McCoy's advice. So your captain should be seeking advice from his senior officers (your PC's) .
    To assist background (and so immersion) I look at the PC's career histories and see if any characters were in (for example) Millitary Ops Command at the same time. If so then compare their OER scores and suggest they served on the same ship at that time, and why the OER's ended up as they did? Anyway just some thoughts and good luck with your campaign.
    Last edited by C57D; 05-26-2020 at 03:32 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by C57D View Post
    I personally would not have both captain and first officer be PC's, since I think its then just a double wammy of authority. However you already have characters assigned and rolled up - so my suggestion is not valid in your case.
    Generally, I take the FASA advice and ask the quietest and/or most collaborative player be captain. Kirk nearly always took Spock and McCoy's advice. So your captain should be seeking advice from his senior officers (your PC's) .
    To assist background (and so immersion) I look at the PC's career histories and see if any characters were in (for example) Millitary Ops Command at the same time. If so then compare their OER scores and suggest they served on the same ship at that time, and why the OER's ended up as they did? Anyway just some thoughts and good luck with your campaign.
    I appreciate your thoughts!

    All my players have gone to the effort of developing fairly deep back stories, which I'm working on weaving into storylines. For example, the ship's navigator is an Effrosian, who are said to be almost able to navigate by instinct—the next story I'm working on includes critical navigational challenges that require that character to essentially navigate the ship blind through what would otherwise be considered unnavigable space. Our communications officer has a similar back story to Tasha Yar and is quietly the biggest badass on the ship and a valuable asset on any landing party. The first officer's father owned a shady bar where questionable activities took place, so I've allowed that character to have some knowledge of Bribery, Trade & Commerce, and Value Estimation from the Merchants and Trader Princes expansion—she was also able to easily identify Cyrano Jones in the Again Troublesome Tribbles adventure from the base game.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreadPirateJim View Post
    I appreciate your thoughts!

    All my players have gone to the effort of developing fairly deep back stories, which I'm working on weaving into storylines. For example, the ship's navigator is an Effrosian, who are said to be almost able to navigate by instinct—the next story I'm working on includes critical navigational challenges that require that character to essentially navigate the ship blind through what would otherwise be considered unnavigable space. Our communications officer has a similar back story to Tasha Yar and is quietly the biggest badass on the ship and a valuable asset on any landing party. The first officer's father owned a shady bar where questionable activities took place, so I've allowed that character to have some knowledge of Bribery, Trade & Commerce, and Value Estimation from the Merchants and Trader Princes expansion—she was also able to easily identify Cyrano Jones in the Again Troublesome Tribbles adventure from the base game.

    Sounds like you have an enthusiastic Player group and some great ideas for rewarding their immersion. I love the shady background for the First Officer. That fits in so well with TOS's better but still less tham perfect humans setting. I also love your Efrosian navigator concept. I am toying with a similar PC concept for a Medusan (also "instinctive" ) Navigator/Space Scientist, living in customised navigation console/quarters just below the bridge, but with an android (from "What are little girls made of"?) body for other duties.
    Last edited by C57D; Yesterday at 09:27 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by C57D View Post
    Sounds like you have an enthusiastic Player group and some great ideas for rewarding their immersion. I love the shady background for the First Officer. That fits in so well with TOS's better but still less tham perfect humans setting. I also love your Efrosian navigator concept. I am toying with a similar PC concept for a Medusan (also "instinctive" ) Navigator/Space Scientist, living in customised navigation console/quarters just below the bridge, but with an android (from "What are little girls made of"?) body for other duties.
    I like the idea of mixing in a Medusan, as it's straight out of TOS, so you've got some background to work with. The android avatar makes for an excellent way to integrate the character right into the crew—very interesting concept! Best of luck with it!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DreadPirateJim View Post
    I like the idea of mixing in a Medusan, as it's straight out of TOS, so you've got some background to work with. The android avatar makes for an excellent way to integrate the character right into the crew—very interesting concept! Best of luck with it!
    Thank you. I am toying with a TOS / cosmic horror mash up campaign, where a portal formed by frequent warp drive usage is wearing a hole in the fabric of space and starting to pull some very unpleasant things from an alternative dimension into our universe. My inspirations are HP Lovecraft, Event Horizon and the Doom videogames. The Medusan's instinctive navigation skills combined with a medic/ life sciences specialist PC would form the investigative core for the campaign. Set during the cold war with the Klingons just before Errand of Mercy, so occasional normal scenarios would break up the metaplot pace.
    I next need to adjust the character lifepath and skills rules to better reflect the Medusan PC.
    Last edited by C57D; Today at 04:03 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by C57D View Post
    Thank you. I am toying with a TOS / cosmic horror mash up campaign, where a portal formed by frequent warp drive usage is wearing a hole in the fabric of space and starting to pull some very unpleasant things from an alternative dimension into our universe. My inspirations are HP Lovecraft, Event Horizon and the Doom videogames. The Medusan's instinctive navigation skills combined with a medic/ life sciences specialist PC would form the investigative core for the campaign. Set during the cold war with the Klingons just before Errand of Mercy, so occasional normal scenarios would break up the metaplot pace.
    I next need to adjust the character lifepath and skills rules to better reflect the Medusan PC.
    That sounds really interesting! A little Cthulhu might work really well in a Star Trek story arc. Best of luck with it—I hope you'll report back with progress as you start your PCs down that campaign.

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