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Thread: A new beginning OR Star Trek, a Space Odyssey

  1. #1
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    A new beginning OR Star Trek, a Space Odyssey

    Well, my long-running (2001-2020) campaign has come to an end. This is the campaign that began with Star Trek Relic, in the Dyson Sphere. Since then the characters, Lt. M'Rel and Ensigns Seth and Tal, have proceeded through the ranks to Captain and Commanders and have had a variety of assignments from exploration of the Sphere, to undercover missions in the Triangle, to post-Dominion War patrols, to detached duty with DTI. It's been a long glorious series of adventures until finally it saw the three of them rescue the long-lost Chandley class Frigate and its crew, defeat an Iconian invasion and with the Starfleet Medal of Honour. What the future holds for them is anyone's guess but they get to ride into the sunset as heroes, having "won" the role-playing game, as it were.

    Now, I'm going back to the roots of my Star Trek game with the players' original characters from 1988, and picking up the threads of the old FASA campaign, the USS Excalibur. The characters, Commodore McCurrvey and Captains Thelev and Mercer, have a new ship, the second Excelsior class Exploratory Cruiser, the USS Odyssey NCC-2001 in the newest phase of their careers: Star Trek a Space Odyssey (with apologies to Roddenberry, Clarke and Kubrick). I'm picking up a lot of old abandoned threads and running with them, including the Brotherhood of Federation Patriots, a right wing think tank which is a combination of the NRA and Soldier of Fortune Magazine as the main antagonist with shady ties to Section 31 and the plot revealed in Star Trek VI. Since the guys and I have been playing together fot the past 32 years, we're all on the same page as each other in our taste for Star Trek mixed with political intrigue and the odd trans-dimensional, trans-temporal shenanigans.

    Check out the new web page at: http://www.coldnorth.com/owen/game/s...ey/odyssey.htm

    NOTE: We've moved to a new ISP and are currently in the process of getting everything back up and running after having been locked out for a year. Memory: ICON and the Star Trek Deckplan Federation will be back up as as possible. - Owen.
    Last edited by Owen E Oulton; 01-19-2020 at 09:20 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well, the composing of the new, improved "old" setting goes apace. Back in the first few years when I was converting my game to the ICON system, I wrote a conversion chart to redo FASA characters an ICON characters. I scanned and OCRed as many of the characters from the FASA books as I could and worked them into a loose database of NPCs. Well, now that work comes to fruition, as I have a fully fleshed out background for the Odyssey campaign. Some of them still need the actual statistical conversion, but the bulk of the work is done. Since I have the entire FASA system in .pdf format, I also have a plethora of plots to choose from (and, of course, warp to my nefarious ends) in addition to leftover plots from back then to build upon. Coupled with the fact that I find myself compelled to rebuild the Star Trek: Universe site anyway, I find myself going at it with a new enthusiasm, as the TOS/TMS era was definitely my favourite era to game in. I've always maintained a firm continuity with my days running games in the FASA 'Verse, and now I can put all that back to good use. Yes, I've long ditched FASA's somewhat simplistic system in favour of the more elegant ICON system, having resisted the blandishments of Decipher's buffed up and serial numbers ground off "class'n'level" mechanics and the incomprehensible mish-mash that is the Modiphius 2D20 system, and I'm rarin' to go!

    So I find myself echoing Captain Kirk when I say, "Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning!"

  3. #3
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    Well, with the global CoViD 19 pandemic causing a lot of real-world problems, my gaming group and I have decided that, for the duration, we're going online. This is especially important for me as, living in a nursing home, I'm in a place 24/7 where there are a preponderance of elderly people (I'm one of the youngest at 63) many of whom have compromised immune systems. The three players are all working from home at present, so we decided to take advantage of 21st century technology. We have just finished converting 35-year-old characters from FASA to LUG/ICON and have started out. We're playing on RPoL.net, if you're into gaming voyeurism. I'm keeping everything in a public group. Right now there are two threads, one for Dramatis Personnae and one for the game itself. I'm trying to, as much as is possible, keep the tone the same as a face-to-face game.

    The background for the storyline is that the characters were all assigned to the USS Excalibur NCC-1705 in 2285 and have served there (and on the Excalibur NCC-1701-A) ever since. They've had many adventures, including putting down an insurrection within Starfleet Intelligence (Section 31 had not yet been created, so they didn't play an obvious role - although I have retconned that they were indeed involved, though on the side of the angels) during which Captain McCurrvey saved the life of the Federation President in a scene eerily similar to Kirk saving him in Star Trek VI (we were wondering for weeks is Paramount had my living room bugged when Trek VI came out). They also had many adventures concerning what was called the Silver Ball, more formally the experimental Quantum Para-Dimensional Transport Device, a Mirror-Universe invasion, the Questor android and what ever entered my evil GM-mind.

    Now, we've come full-circle. After successfully completing a 20-year-long (real-world-time) post-Dominion War campaign, I got nostalgic and propose to the players we take up the fallen reign of their old, original characters. They agreed and so they find themselves a few years older (it's now 2290) and getting a new ship. They had fought the Mirror counterpart of the USS Odyssey back in 2287 and now they find themselves crewing it. McCurrvey (Alpha Centauran) is now a Commodore and is mission commander, while Thelev (Andorian) is now a Captain and in command of the ship and Mercer (Efrosian) is also a captain and is Thelev's XO and Science Officer. We had established that McCurrvey was married and had a daughter, while Thelev was married to a major NPC and had had a daughter back in 2287 while he and Mercer were MIA. Mercer is still a bachelor. The ship is now officially equipped with the Silver Ball generator as an experiment in cooperation with the Daystrom Institute, with the Questor android (Dr. John Smith) as the project coordinator. The ship is also the pilot project for families accompanying serving officers, which will later become standard practice and is the first ship to be fully outfitted with Dr. Carol Marcus's spin-off from the Genesis Experiment, the replicator. Still no holodecks, but since Grav-Ball was an integral part of the old campaign they have a two-deck tall Grav-Ball court. Also, since this is pre-Khitomer incident, there are still Starfleet Marines, including an old NPC, and Ursan (bear-like alien) Major Korran Bilgebottom, whom Vethia, Thelev and Thoma's 3 year-old daughter Vethia regards as her own living Teddy bear.

    I look forward to many more years gaming in the Star Trek universe. The web page for the Star Trek a Space Odyssey is http://www.coldnorth.com/owen/game/s...ey/odyssey.htm and for the RPoL.net game is https://rpol.net/game.cgi?gi=74875&date=1584582184 . As this is a temporary situation, we're not accepting new players, but you're more than welcome to read along and come for the ride.

  4. #4
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    One thing I've done with Star Trek, a Space Odyssey is incorporate a ginormous amount of FASA background material. While I go by Paramount's official canon timeline (JJTrek and Disco are alternate timelines not unlike the Mirror Universe, in my campaign), I tend to use bits of the Ford/FASA materials with a salt mine the size of Praxis and a lot of rationalisation.

    The book An Informal Guide to the Klingon Empire exists in my game, but it's forged fiction attributed to Emanuel Tagore, a man who'd never been to the Empire. Tagore (2156-2275) actually existed , but the book published "posthumously" was by a group of authors who set about to "prove" his speculations in the final years of his life about the return of the so-called imperial Klingons. He was blissfully unaware of Dr. Pholx and his adjustment to the so-called Augment Virus a century and a quarter earlier and much of his musings were based on second-hand (largely fragmented and often bigoted) information. He came up with the idea of the genetically engineered fusions to explain the discrepancy between the TOS and the Movie Klingons. The unknown authors of the Informal Guide extrapolated this to include Romulan fusions and much of the more silly bits in the theory. Klingonaase was merely the dialect spoken by the majority of the Empire at this time rather than the one favoured by the ridge-headed imperials, thlIngan Hol. Some details they got right, like the existence of the Great Houses, though they made up most of the names, titles and details. They were unaware of the fact that there had been no emperor for over two centuries, or that the real name of the homeworld was Qo'noS. What they (and originally Tagore) lacked in knowledge, they more than made up for in imagination and sheer chutzpah (a concept to which the Klingons can readily relate).

    However, I make use of this information in my adaptation of the FASA concept of the Imperial Klingon States. My take on the IKS is that in the late 2260's when the ramaining reclusive ridge-headed TMS-style Klingons began working on a cure for the Augment Virus (only a minority of whom were immune to the Levodian flu which made the original virus so... well, virulent) and began to revert the Klingon populace on a wholesale basis, the IKS as described in the FASA Triangle Sourcebook closed their borders and severed relations with the Klingon Empire. They maintain a shaky alliance with the Romulans and a steadfast hostility towards the Federation. They believe the cure to the mutated Augment Virus is a genocide against them.

    The USS Odyssey, NCC-2001, the second of the Excelsior class Exploratory Cruisers, is assigned to Starbase 31 on the border to patrol parts of the Romulan Neutral Zone, parts on the Triangle including the Baker's Dozen and the Kellinan Reach including Bridgetown. It's almost as much fun creating and adapting this material as it is actually running it.

  5. #5
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    Well, I've been putting more work into developing the patrol area for the USS Odyssey. It involves the sector nearest to part of the border between the Triangle (FASA), the area of the Triangle immediately adjacent including the Baker's Dozen, the edge of the border with the Romulan Star Empire (and the Neutral Zone) and some of the space to zenith (above) the Federation. Included in this space is the Kellinan Reach and, of course, Bridgetown. I'm largely using Steve Kenson's treatment from his old website, still available on the Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20070209...nstudio/treks/ ; the treatment of the Kellinan Reach I'm using is from an old Angelfire site by a chap named Ian Martell from British Columbia, which is still partially up at http://www.angelfire.com/ia/imartell...r/overveiw.htm (sic) and lots of my own ideas sprinkled in. For instance I've long thought about incorporating a setting called "Sam's Place", an abandoned alien space station discovered and claimed by a mysterious Human (well seemingly), known only as Sam. I'm substituting the character of Sam for Evets G'nol from Steve Kenson's Star Trek: The Lost Episodes Bridgetown write-up. I've also used some of the bits on Bridgetown posted here over the years, substituting Tkon ruins for Dan Stack's Iconian portal, f'rinstance.

    Adding to the fun is a 35-year-old former PC from my Star Trek campaign, a pirate named Calista the Damned, a Human/Orion hybrid pirate who is possessed by what she believes to be a demon (really a capricious non-corporeal entity like so many from TOS - think Redjac with the personality of Q); and her first mate, a psychopathic former dander named Jasmine (obviously a pseudonym), also a former PC. They have an old Orion Lightning named Armida IV, now based out of Bridgetown.

  6. #6
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    Marines in Star Trek - my take.

    The following is an opinion piece describing the place of Marines in the Star Trek, a Space Odyssey campaign. It does not prescribe anything for any other campaign just a rationale for what may appear to be (but in fact is not) a reversal on my part.

    Introduction
    The subject of Marines in Star Trek is a contentious one in fandom. This is in part due to a tendency among some parochial groups of fans to insist that the UFP and Starfleet are the USA on a galactic scale. Thus, the Federation becomes a US-style congessional republic, Starfleet becomes the US Navy and there are Marines patterned after the USMC. Some extreme elements in fandom (one might even say fanatics) even insist that these Marines are a separate service with their own uniforms and a separate command structure.

    A Brief History of Marines
    On Earth, the first organized marine corps was created in Venice by the Doge Enrico Dandolo when he created the first regiment of ten companies spread on several ships. That Corps participated to the conquest of Byzantium (1203-1204), later officially called Fanti da Mar (sea infantry) in 1550. Later also the Spanish king, Carlos I, assigned the naval infantry of the Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles (Naples Sea Old Companies) to the Escuadras de Galeras del Mediterráneo (Mediterranean Galley Squadrons) in 1537, progenitors of the current Spanish Navy Marines (Infantería de Marina) corps, making them the oldest marine corps still in active service in the world (as of 2020). The third oldest marine corps in the world was founded as the Terço of the Navy of the Crown of Portugal in 1618, predecessor to the modern Portuguese Marine Corps.

    The English noun marine is from the adjective marine, meaning "of the sea", via French marin (of the sea) from Latin marinus (of the sea) itself from mare (sea), from Proto-Indo-European móri (body of water, lake) (cognate with Old English mere (sea, lake), Dutch meer, German Meer, all from Proto-Germanic mari).

    The word marine was originally used for the marine-type forces of England; however, in many European languages the word marine or marina means "navy" – for example, in Dutch, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Danish, and Norwegian. Because of this use of "marine" to mean "navy", exact one-word translations for the English term "Marines" do not exist in many other languages, which can lead to misunderstandings when translating, with the notable exception of the Dutch word marinier. Typically, marine forces in non-English speaking countries have names that translate in English to naval infantry or coastal infantry. In French-speaking countries, two phrases exist which could be translated as marine, troupes de marine and fusiliers-marins; similar phrases exist elsewhere, e.g., in Portuguese Fuzileiros Navais.

    Marines in Star Trek
    Evidence for Marines in Star Trek is scant. It is possible that the wounded man on Cestus III in the TOS episode Arena was a marine. He wore a uniform of a different colour from the standard gold/red/blue pallette—likely a re-use of the tan pilot tunic for Operations; an argument can be made that it is a Marine uniform. The second, and strongest, piece of evidence for Marines however is the character of Colonel West in Star Trek VI, the Undiscovered Country. The rank of Colonel is a ground forces rank, and Starfleet otherwise uses strictly naval ranks. (The fact that he is wearing Command white and admiral's rank insignia we can write off to his being incognito, delivering operational plans for Operation Retrieve directly to President Ra-ghoratreii.) Colonel West is, of course a
    conspirator in the plot to assassinate Klingon Chancellor Azetbur and Presitent Alistair Fergus.

    Marines are never mentioned again in Star Trek, only vague references to ground troops. Even when they are shown, in DS9's ...Nor the Battle to the Strong and The Siege of AR-558 they are never referred to as "Marines", nor are they mentioned in Sisko, Adm Ross and Martok's discussion of the seige and invasion of Cardassia Prime -- only ground troops.

    In light of this, and the insistence of both Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman that there were NO Starfleet Marines, but allowing for the very existance of Colonel West, it is my contention that after the assassination of Chancellor Gorkon and the assassination attempt at Camp Khitomer on Azetbur, the Starfleet Marine Corps was disbanded, much the way as was done with the Canadian Airborne Regimant after the Somalia Affair at the end of the 20th century.

    Marines in Star Trek, a Space Odyssey
    The Star Trek, a Space Odyssey campaign begins in 2290, three years before the Khitomer Incident. The Starfleet Marines are still a valued and respected component of Starfleet. They are not a separate service but rather an integral part of Starfleet Command. Although they use traditional ground forces rank titles, their uniforms and insignia conform to the rest od Starfleet. They are administratively simply considered a department, like Command, Sciences, Operations, et cetera. Their branch colour is commando green, traditionally the colour of commandos going back as far as WWII on Earth. Contrary to some traditions, Marine captains are not "bumped" up a grade when on a ship. Starfleet officers are intelligent and well-trained enough to distinguish between the ranks from context, though in text the rank is written as Captain(M), just as back on Earth in the 21st century, naval captains were denoted as Captain(N).
    Last edited by Owen E Oulton; Today at 09:34 AM.

  7. #7
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    Updates to the Star Trek, a Space Odyssey web site, including the Triangle, the Imperial Klingon States, the Kellinan Reach, Bridgetown and Starfleet Marines. Loads of 23rd century goodness at: http://www.coldnorth.com/owen/game/s...ey/odyssey.htm

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