Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Trek Options

So with our recent Trek deluge I have two boys interested in trying out a Trek RPG. This means I am back on the horns of the age-old dilemma:

  • What era? Original Action Flavor? Next Gen? Maybe go off-map and go pre-TOS or use Star Trek Online's background and go post-next-generation?
  • What system? The big 3 are FASA Trek, LUG Trek, and Decipher Trek, but there are other options too - GURPS and Savage Worlds come to mind, Traveller might work with some tweaks, and the microlite version, and maybe even Hero.
  • How big? Do a couple of one-shots and see how they like it, possibly trying a couple of different systems, or go full-campaign and create a new one or dust off the old notebook and go from there?
I'm a big fan of not overdoing it and writing up a bunch of stuff that's just going to sit on a shelf for years - I'd rather just leave it in my head at that point. 

I am also developing a "trilogy" approach to a new game: come up with 3 adventures - your own, some published ones, or a mix - that may or may not share a theme but at least plant some hooks that could be used for future adventures. Trek is pretty easy to run in an episodic format anyway so that makes it easier. Run all 3 and then see how the players feel about the whole thing.

Now some made-up questions from the audience:

"But that would mean I would have to pick up several different sets of rules" you might say. Look, if I only had one set of Trek rules, that's what I would be running. I have all of them (well, not that first thing from Heritage back in the 70's but everything since) so it's a different kind of problem. I can see good things about all of them. 

"Ask Them" you might say - they're teenage boys with no prior experience with Trek RPG's. Since all three of the major Trek games use their own special rules systems, there are no mechanical preferences in place. So no, this is my call.

Thoughts at the moment:
  • I think WNMHGB is a little too Meta, too "inside baseball" to be fun for them. I think they need to play a straight-up Trek game before we go that satirical.
  • I don't really want to build it from scratch so Hero & GURPS are less likely
  • For TOS Trek I think it has to be FASA and I have a ton of stuff for it. Savage Worlds could work but I'd rather tap into the resources I already have.
  • For TNG I lean more towards LUG Trek, likely because that was the first book they did and it's stuck me as a system that fits with the Next Gen style. Plus I feel like I need to give that system a second chance.
  • If I went with the post next-gen STO timeline idea I might try Decipher's CODA Trek a spin. It does cover all the time periods and has a definite "leveling up" type advancement system so it would feel fairly familiar.
I haven't decided anything yet and I am leaning towards running more than one just to give us all a sampling of what they can do. More to come.


Barking Alien said...

You can probably guess my opinions on the subject but the one thing I will say is, don't use CODA.

If you've read it and like it than go ahead, to each their own. For me though, it's simply a slightly less elegant, more rigid and cumbersome, second string LUG Trek.

If you have LUG, play it. If you don't want to, play FASA. If you really want to go outside the box be my guest. Just don't go CODA.

It's like deciding that you're really in the mood for burgers for dinner, you fire up the grill, get all the best ingredients and than end up picking up dinner at McDonalds.

Blacksteel said...

Oh I pretty much knew where you would point and I largely agree. I probably like CODA more than you do but then I haven't played it either.

Miguel de Rojas said...

I have been trying CODA in my very first Star Trek game and I can say it feels a bit bland and very unpolished. After four games, I am switching to d6. You can just take the classic Star Wars, modify the skill list (so you have a few extra science and engineering skills) and you are ready to go. Or you can go a little further, mixing and matching mechanics from d6 Space and other d6 games. Either way, it is a tested, easy to get game that perfectly suits the genre (and you can still use some CODA resources, since the difficulties are the same in both games).

I hope that's of some help.

David Brawley said...

Have you considered Starships and Spacemen? It's definitely more Classic Trek in feel, with basic D&D rules.

CODA was really slick looking, but a little clunky. Not bad though...

I haven't played LUG or FAFSA Trek, so I can't really offer any thoughts on it.