Monday, December 30, 2013

Great Expectations...No Relation - Part I

When you are pressed for inspiration for a gaming blog post, you could do worse than to listen to the Play on Target podcast.

The latest episode is about How to be a Better GM.

Listening to it made me think about a lot of things but the key revelation I took from it is this...

I am awesome. No, seriously. I am an Awesome GM.

Wait...I am an awesome GM...for some people.

I don't doubt there are a ton of people for whom I am not only not that awesome but possibly wouldn't even be considered all that good. I've been pretty lucky over the last 36 years and played with a large number of people who seemed to really like my style of play. The reverse is also true. I've had a lot of fantastic players and I developed the style I have today thanks largely to the style of play most of the people I've gamed with preferred.

***

Now, some notes on my specific brand of awesomeness directly based on thoughts spawned by listening to the podcast.

I am Great At Combat

During the Play on Target podcast, Lowell and Brian mention that Combat, a key element of the vast majority of RPGs, is an area of running games where they feel less comfortable and less engaged.

To some extent they seem to feel that in the vast majority of games they run which have fewer crunchy, involved rules for combat, it's harder to keep the battles interesting. Essentially, having a game that has more rules and tactical options mechanically makes for a game with a cushion that makes combat flow more smoothly.

I kind of don't get what they're saying.

I find if there are too many rules for combat, I feel constrained and can't flex the ol' creativity. My games, and therefore my combats, have never been based on the mechanics of the games as much as the ideas in the players' heads. The game is as tactical as the PCs want it to be.

This concept, which I hope to explain in detail in another post sometime, may go a long way towards explaining why my Champions games have fast combat and my Star Wars D6 games involve such epic battles. I am using a single theory for combat located somewhere in between them regardless of what game I am actually playing.

I am Great At Descriptions

I wasn't always. Yes, this is one area even the amazing Adam has had to work on. For years I would over-describe everything. I wanted everyone at the table to see the exact same picture I saw in my head. As time went on, I learned to describe only distinct or important elements and let the players use their imaginations on the rest. If questions on the appearance, location/position or something came up, I would get more detailed as needed.

I am Great At Puzzles

But my players aren't always.

I am a little guilty of comparing my old groups to my new group but because I am good at puzzles, good at creating puzzles, like creating and putting in puzzles and used to groups with a least one person who is good at puzzles, it's hard for me to get used to my new team NOT having that person. Not a one? Not. A. One.

I am trying to make the clues more obvious, the riddles less complex and number of options other than 'the answer' larger and more adaptable.

I am Very Flexible

Being flexible is perhaps the key to everything you will do as a GM. I strive to be as flexible as possible. I started out flexible and I think that is one of my primary advantages.

I am Great At Listening to My Players

I run games with the players and their PCs in mind. I myself don't like to play as a player and the reason for that (or at least one of the biggest reasons for it) is that I gamed under a number of GMs who made you feel like your PC didn't matter compared to their campaigns and NPCs. Your PC could be anybody. It isn't about them.

If you've ever, as a player, said to yourself, "Gee, I wish this cool backstory I came up with actually mattered in the game", than you'd probably find yourself pretty comfortable at my table.


I am Great At Names for People, Places, Things and Technobabble

Names have always been very easy for me.

One of the reasons is I read a lot and will sometimes borrow part of a name from a character in a book.

I know, and have known, a lot of people from a lot of different places, cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.

Take a first name from a book and a last name from an old friend or vice versa and you have a pretty large supply of names to draw from.

The same is true for places and even things like starships or taverns. Mix something from a film or novel with the name of an old haunt of yours and presto!, instant memorable name.

Another tactic I love is developing 'Naming Conventions'. I've mentioned this one on the blog before. Set up one or more rules on how you name a particular species, race or class of starship and coming up with a name for them on the fly is suddenly much easier.

Vulcan male names tend to start with 'S' and utilize the letters V, L and K a lot, the most common vowels being O, U and A. So, need a Vulcan? No problem. Sovlok, Suvol, Solavak and Savul reporting for duty. Loknar Class Frigates are named for places where battles took place. Launching the USS Alamo, USS Agincourt and the USS Thunder Bay.

The Play on Target guys recommend keeping a list of names handy. I concur and do it all the time. Never let yourself run out of resources.

Technobabble is easy. Follow these steps...

Original Series:
Keep technobabble low and simple. They have Jefferies Tubes, Transporter Locks and Phaser Overload. They don't Modulate The Proton-Induction Coils. They just didn't really do that.

Next Generation Onward:
Read the technical manuals. Actually get to know a little about the ships and how they are supposed to work. Makes discussions of the technobabble feel more grounded. If that doesn't work, use any of the following words in different combinations: Modulate, Calibrate, Exchange, Realign, Reroute, Induction, Phase, Warp, Subspace, Proton, Ionic, Coil, Field, Manifold, Interface, Dampener and Compensator.

So if the Subspace Field Manifold goes offline, you may need to Realign the Warp Coil Interface. If that doesn't work, check your Subspace Phase Compensator. It could be damaged.

***

Come back tomorrow for more about how great I am. No really. I'm amazing.

AD
Barking Alien




Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Very, Merry Muppets Christmas...No Relation

OK, some relation.

It is Christmas. I am feeling very merry and hope you are feeling very merry as well.

And there will be Muppets. So...


Merry Christmas and Joy to the World
from Barking Alien!

 
 
 
Today I will be running a session of The Muppets Role Playing Game for some friends and I couldn't be more excited, or more nervous. This is my first time running it outside of a convention/event atmosphere and my first Christmas themed session.
 
That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's a Muppets Christmas Special RPG!
 
Cross your fingers for The Muppets Crisscrossed Christmas!
 
 
 
 
Well gang I gotta run. Have a wonderful day, drink some eggnog, open some presents and remember those less fortunate than yourself.
 
Peace on Earth (and elsewhere) and goodwill toward all.
 
-Adam, Delilah and Barkley
 
AD
Barking Alien
 
 



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Faces of The Enemy...No Relation

A recent email conversation with my good friend and player Will prompted me to consider this post and I think it might be an interesting catalyst for some cool conversation with the readers out there.

It goes something like this...

Are Villains Necessary?

Moreover, are antagonists necessary for a good game and is it always useful to make clear cut opponents?

What started my thinking on the subject was this message from Will (paraphrased a bit):

"I was listening to an RPG podcast and they made an interesting point that I was curious about your opinions on. They said that any good RPG needs an antagonist. Not necessarily a villain, though they help, but an antagonist.  I sat there and thought about it for a second and Traveller could use something we all hate, but it doesn't necessarily need it, and Star Trek certainly doesn't need it to function, but Pendragon? I think maybe a real villain to unify against would help. Granted we are (were) still early in the story and keep getting bogged down in details but our Arthurs need a Mordred and Morgana."

I found this interesting on a number of levels.

The first is the basic question or point the podcaster makes; Does a good RPG campaign need an antagonist? Must there be a villain, villainous organization or some unified danger that the PCs are going to be facing on a reoccurring basis?

What do you all think?

Personally I think many a tale can be told, and good ones at that, with no antagonist as they are usually defined. Is a storm an antagonist? An earthquake? A meteor bearing down on your location? What about the decaying and malfunction wreckage of an old space cruiser as it tears itself apart while you are exploring it for salvage?

I may have to revisit this at some later date.

There is another level on which the paragraph above, the one Will wrote, initially had me bordering on gamer nerd rage. After a deep breath and a ten-count I realized that this was an honest question/observation on his part and an incredibly helpful question. It tells me something about my players I wasn't unaware of but didn't really follow through on addressing.

They don't know how to find things in the game. Any game. They need it to be shown to them or at the very least, made more obvious.

My response to Will's message was:

"For some reason this group, regardless of the game, seems to concentrate so heavily on their own characters that they are not looking at the universe. You may all already have a common enemy and your individual antagonists may be connected."
 
In my opinion, Traveller (especially the way we are running it) doesn't explicitly need a villain or distinct enemy to face off against the PCs. Traveller is a game of trade, personal conflict, politics and many other elements that aren't directly hindered by lack of a specific villain or necessarily enhanced if you have one.

That said, 16 sessions in, and they have antagonists. There are a least two distinct enemies I can think of, with numerous minor opponents connected to one of the two opposing powers. The problem is, while fairly proactive and becoming more and more interactive with each other, the PCs are largely still not investigating the universe they're in.

If something happens, say, a shuttle docking accident, the PCs might try to help or they might mind their own business or they might try to purchase some of the salvage from the shuttle afterwards.

What they won't do is find out if the shuttle really had an accident. I could drop clues, make references to an unsavory character or whatever and it won't really matter to them. They weren't on the Shuttle and neither were any of their important NPC contacts so it never occurs to them that the incident might be important. Important to what? The story. The adventure.
 
Suggesting to me that our Pendragon game (which I am unlikely to continue for this and other reasons) could have used a unified enemy got my blood pressure up initially because...Each and every one of the PCs has HATES SAXONS on their sheets. The story begins with Saxon Raiders attacking and kidnapping able-bodied men from A PC's HOME VILLAGE WHILE THEY WERE THERE. In addition, these Saxons seem to be able to mysteriously avoid road patrols and navigate difficult terrain with ease. Maybe it's MAGIC?

If only there was someone everybody could hate and unify against. *Facepalm*
If only there was some Mordred or Morgana type individual. You know, like with dark magic and such. *Facepalm*.

Me: "I'm inviting everyone over for dinner. I know what you like to eat so I made that."
 
Them:"Adam, where is all the food?"
 
Me: "Blink. Blink. On the table. Did you look?"

Them: "Huh? Oh!"

Will goes on to suggest areas and individuals who could connect the PCs better, cementing an alliance between them because they share a common enemy and so forth. Again, they already do. If no one realizes a number of seemingly disparate events and individuals are connected, I will drop clues. In some cases, a good number of clues. If you still don't see the relationships is it me, the GM or is something missing from your approach as a PC? Or is it both? It could certainly be both.

On a related note that does go a bit off the main topic...

Many GMs, when creating a campaign, don't really concern themselves with the Player Characters. They simply construct their world and/or plan their adventures and the PCs, whoever and whatever they are, undertake expeditions into these places and events.
 
I on the other hand enjoy taking into account the background, personality, interests and ideas the players have created for their PCs. This means, if Joe likes combat and action, rest assured there will be decent chance for a good fight or a chase sequence fairly often. Bill likes brainy characters and his PC is a Cyborg who can jack-into machines and navigate through the net with his mind. Cool. Expect a lot of secret computer files, mysteries and conspiracies and the opportunity to get involved with these things. Samantha is a role player and loves to get to know the NPCs. She enjoys conversing with her contacts and getting the inside scoop through character interaction. Excellent. Expect a lot of NPCs with a desire to chat, but info they need, to be available.
 
The key words here are chance, opportunity and available.
 
If the fighting guy never gets into a fight that is not my fault. If I don't provide antagonists or sufficient reasons for him to get into a fight than THAT IS my fault. If the catalysts and opportunities are there and you don't participate in them, well that's on you, the player.
 
If Samantha is the party 'Face' but never strikes up a conversation with anyone, she shouldn't complain that there is nothing for her to do.
 
There are numerous things happening in our campaigns outside of the five to seven PCs. There are also numerous things going on involving the PCs. Many of these things, both within and without, are interconnected.
 
I can take a friend to Barnes & Noble but I can't make him read if he only came with for their Starbucks.
 
AD
Barking Alien
 
***

If I may be serious for a moment...

I am still experiencing a serious financial crunch (more a crush) this holiday season and would like to once again ask for a little assistance from my friends and fellow gamers out there if it wouldn't be too much trouble or hinder you and yours. Even a small donation will go a long way. I would not ask it I did not have need. Thank you.

***

As I sometimes do on this blog, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the recent passing of some true icons and remember the life of another on the anniversary of her departure.

***

I do not know exactly what to say that will convey the profound admiration I have for this first man but I can say the world had best take heed and remember him. Nelson Mandela, passed on at the age of 95.

***

From World Leader to the leader of the Velvet Underground, my ears are pained by the silence. A salute from the Satellite of Love to the one and only Lou Reed, who died in his home in Southampton, NY at the age of 71.

***

Peter O'Toole, the famed actor who starred in such classics of American film as Lawrence of ArabiaA Lion in Winter and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, passed away on the 14th of this month at the age of 81.

A great deal was made during his lifetime of the fact that he was an Irishman, trained in the arts of theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and appearing with the English Stage Company before breaking into the movies some time later. The truth is he was of mixed Irish and Scottish heritage and yet holds an American cinematic record. O'Toole had the most Academy Award nominations without a win.

I will always remember him most fondly as Allan Swann, the swashbuckling analog to Errol Flynn in the comedy My Favorite Year. Great movie. If you haven't seen it, see it.

***

On December 18th, 2008, we suffered the passing of the 'First Lady of Star Trek', Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who died at the spry young age of 76 due to a brief but ultimately fatal bout with leukemia. She was a fascinating woman and a true pioneer of the television medium.


Monday, December 16, 2013

The Future Begins...No Relation

This is my 700th Post.

Continuing my recap of the Pilot Episode of our new Star Trek RPG campaign 'Star Trek: Journey':

Pilot Episode: "Look Into The Future"

Part II:...

As Helmsman deRivera maneuvers the Journey just above and slightly starboard of the damaged USS Kelvin, Communications Officer Nesmith makes contact with the Kelvin's Comm Officer, or at least she thinks she does, as his voice sounds very strange. It is difficult to determine if he is an alien or there is trouble with the communication system just by listening.

Nesmith also notes the time stamps on the messages don't make sense. Some were received hours ago according to the computer. Some haven't been received yet and won't be sent for another few hours.

She is informed that the Kelvin's commanding officer, Captain Robert Robau, was slightly injured but is still alive and on duty. Nesmith conveys the Journey's intention to help, eventually speaking with the Kelvin's first officer, George Kirk. Kirk decides to check on his ship's badly damaged engineering section to make sure everyone is out of there and it's secure. Nesmith transfers the channel to Captain West of the Journey so he may speak with Robau directly.

During their conversation, the image of Captain Robau shift and changes slightly, revealing him in an unfamiliar uniform and slightly different bridge. The Science Officer reports sensor shadows showing an alternate design for the Kelvin that quickly goes back to normal.


USS Kelvin? Is that you?

It is quickly determined that the Journey will beam anyone who is badly injured to that ship from the Kelvin. Lt. Ma'Harra, the Security Chief ,recommends they not beam anyone mortally wounded as that will just occupy valuable personnel, resources and time we don't have. Accused of being cold by the crew and captain, she explains her reasoning further, suggesting the first people beamed over should be able bodied engineers and technicians who can help the Journey clear up it's sensor and communication issues, work the transporters and boost power in engineering for a more effective evacuation.

While it goes against his gut, Captain West can't help but agree given the circumstance. His is not a mainline starship but a flying test bed for better craft to come. 

The only exception West makes is not for an injured crewman but a pregnant one. West learns that Lt. Commander Kirk's wife, Wiona, a Starfleet Botanist, is aboard the Kelvin and he insists she accompany the first people off. As Navigation prepares to lower the shields for transport, Lt. Commander Thorest, the Journey's first officer, and Security Chief Ma'Harra of Altair go down to the Transporter Room to receive the Kelvin's crew.

Transporter locks are made thanks to help from the Kelvin and the amazing skill of the Journey's (NPC) Transporter Chief, Hank 'Skippy' Whipple. The first group come over no problem. The second batch seems to include two very unusual transporter signatures. As the forms begin to coalesce, Thorest and Ma'Harra immediately know these are not members of the Kelvin's compliment. Dressed in heavy duty, black leather gear for either mining or harsh weather or both, the two individuals are also wearing sealed helmets of an unknown make.

Up on the bridge, Kate Nesmith sends Starfleet Command an update on the situation, her communication system is flooded by a burst of 'Comm Chatter' that appears to be encoded. Unable to decipher the code on her own, she receives assistance from Lt. T'Amar, an intelligence agent with the Vulcan High Command assigned to the ship to root out anyone trying to steal or sabotage the experimental designs the Journey is testing. The strange code seems familiar, but even she can't seem to break it just yet.

Meanwhile, back down in the Transporter Room, Thorest yells "Freeze!' as he fires his Laser Pistol at one of the two mysterious intruders, but the stun beam passes through the not-yet-completely materialized being. Ma'Harra's shot strikes her target square in the chest, throwing him against the rear wall. She quickly lets off a second shot at Thorest's previous target, with another perfect hit. Don't mess with the purple gal, that much is certain.

Realizing there is a danger of additional invaders, Captain West reluctantly orders the shields raised. The commanding officer and crew discuss options when Ma'Harra makes a rather old school suggestion. She recommends the Journey and the Kelvin physically dock by connecting their airlocks. The crew of the Kelvin and their walk right onto the Journey and by combining their shield frequencies, the weakening shields of the Kelvin will get a major boost. Wow! West says to make it so, likes the phrases, wonders if it will ever catch on.

Over on the Kelvin, George Kirk reaches the Engine Room but wisely avoids entering it as, in all honesty, it isn't there anymore. A massive hull breach and a fractured Warp Core are all that remain of Main Engineering. The room, flooded with radiation and open to the vacuum of space, is devoid of life. The Kelvin's Bridge informs Captain West that they've lost at least a dozen men and women.

Ma'Harra moves the bodies of the invaders to the brig as Thorest proceeds to process the new arrivals and have the med team check them for radiation. After that, he tries to talk to them to ascertain more information about what happened and what that 'Red Hole' is. Following this, Thorest assigns them to other duties to help get the two ships free of the anomaly.

A message comes in from Starfleet Command and even Nesmith is surprised. The new sensors and communication systems are amazing! She didn't expect a response to her report for hours at best.

The message is from Captain L.T. Stone of Starbase 12, former posting of Captain West and others aboard the Journey. Stone gets an update from Lt. Nesmith in what has to be one of the funniest sequences of the game. She is like an over-excited kid talking to her favorite uncle. Awesome portrayal by Emi (wife of my friend Will who plays Lt. Commander Thorest).

Just as Nesmith informs Stone about the weird, coded comm signals coming from the 'Red Hole', T'Amar is able to partially identify them by noting they resemble Romulan codes from the Earth/Romulan War, but far more complex. Standing next to Stone in his office is a female Vulcan who is in fact T'Amar's immediate superior officer. She suggests T'Amar look into ancient forms of the Romulan language as many cultures use older or more obscure languages as bases for encryption, similar to Earth's Native American code talkers during that planet's second World War.

As T'Amar and Nesmith, a linguistics specialist herself, get right on that, Lt. Ma'Harra, Lt. Commander Thorest and Security Officers Jones and Horowitz prepare to interrogate that invaders, only to find...they're dead.

Actually they've been dead for some time...over 150 years.




End of Part II

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Barking Alien




Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Newsroom...No Relation

As the year draws ever closer (and ever more rapidly) toward it's inevitable end, the month of December refuses to let 2013 go quietly.

With a lot of possibilities and an equal number of difficulties, this month, only half over, has been what we in the scientific community call 'A Doozy'.

Before my next full on post, which I hope will be a doozy onto itself, I thought I'd give a shout out to a few very cool people who have kept the positive energy flowing for me this holiday season.

In no particular order:

***

Charles Atkins of the blog Dyvers posted a list of the gaming blogs that are on his blog roll. Many of them will be very familiar to my followers and visitors as well as the gaming community at large. Some, not so much. To me, that's awesome because it lists blogs I may never has known about had such a list not been made. Plus, added bonus, he mentioned Barking Alien and gives it a very positive accompanying blurb.

So, here's a raise cup of Eggnog to Mr. Atkins and his list. Great resource! Thanks Charles.

***

Do you know Joshua Macy? If you don't you should, or at the very least, you should get familiar with his line of currently free RPGs, all using his SFX system. While seeming quirky at first, the system is actually rather brilliant with a nice balance between fluff and crunch and a learning curve that will have you itching to make your own characters, settings and other elements once you get the system.

I say things like 'quirky' and 'get the system' like it's some kind of bizarre approach but really it's not. Rather, it is a twist on familiar concepts that (at least for me) took a second to realize were neither as complicated as it looked or as loose as it seemed.

I have played and recommend Kapow!, the SFX Superheroes RPG and Zap! for Science-Fiction Adventure. Josh used Zap! to run a Google Hangouts Star Trek game I was in and I am currently in his new Supers campaign using Kapow!

Also available are the Medieval Fantasy game Zounds! and Argh!, a Horror RPG.

***

Have I mentioned Star Trek: Axanar to you guys at all? 'Cause, ya'know, Star Trek: Axanar Mother Hubbard!




A fan film motion picture featuring the character of Captain Kelvar Garth of Izar, commanding officer of the USS Ares (pictured above), as he and his allies engage in the famous Battle of Axanar, a major conflict during the Four Years War against the Klingons. I have been following this project very closely and it was this more than anything else that inspired much of my current Star Trek campaign.

The Battle of Axanar occurs around 2245. This is also the year of the launch of the Constitution Class USS Enterprise under Captain Robert April. The start date for our current campaign is 2233, concurrent with the birth year of James T. Kirk. It's all connected. All connected.

Heheheh.

***

That's all for now. I intend to update the rest of the Star Trek: Journey first session and finally finish an entry I've been working on about Superhero RPGs/gaming very soon.

Stay warm and dry East Coast!

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Barking Alien


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Red Matter....No Relation

Well, OK, not no relation but....





Star Trek: Journey is a hit!

The pilot episode sells and WCSB (Compleat Strategist* Broadcasting) picks up the first 12 episode season of the series!
 
The cast and characters:

Captain Bernard Okita West (Ken) - Commanding Officer

A Starfleet Engineer whose parents were Starfleet Engineers, Captain West was literally born at Earth's orbital shipyards. The title of Captain is still new to him and he never expected to be one. The top brass decided that for this shakedown cruise designed to test new technologies and systems for future ship designs, the man they needed in the center chair was a less an explorer than a mechanic.

West is calm, pretty much no-nonsense but approachable. He is still getting used to be in charge.

Lt. Commander Thorest (Will) - First Officer

A second generation Andorian/Aenar mix, Thorest is the son of Tallas, daughter of Shran (Both from ST: Enterprise). Like all hybrids born of that coupling, Thorest is a sea-green color instead of the more familiar Andorian blue.

Thorest is a real 'people person', an administrator and a former Starfleet JAG officer. He serves as the liaison between the Captain and the crew and plays good cop to the Security Chiefs bad cop.

'Lieutenant' T'Amar (Hans) - Intelligence Officer

Because most of the gear aboard the USS Journey is experimental, an Intelligence Officer was stationed on the ship on the recommendation of the Vulcan High Command. The last thing Starfleet wants is a Klingon spy learning anything about the new equipment that would undo the advantage it would give us.

A young, female Vulcan, she excels in her skills but they are very focused. She sometimes has trouble finding your place when espionage isn't called for. She is disciplined and determined but inexperienced.

Lieutenant Ma'Harra (Vazquez) - Security Chief

Mixed species crews are rare at this time but Starfleet maybe testing that possibility as much as new sensors and warp drives with the personnel assigned to the Journey.

Ma'Harra is an Altairian female with strange hunches and a kick butt, take names attitude. She is a little cold compared to her Human counterparts but she makes the tough and uncomfortable choices seem easy. She's also easy on the eyes.

What's that Ensign? Looking to mine borite are we?

Nothing Ma'am! No Ma'am!

Lieutenant James Mason (Ray) - First Contact Specialist

Oh Lt. Mason, you cad. You sly dog.

Mason is a Human with a powerful interest in aliens. That interest first manifested when there was a complicated incident between himself and the daughter of an Andorian Ambassador.

Originally majoring in Exobiology at the Academy, Mason's smooth manner and warm personality eventually lead him to study First Contact procedures and he was recruited by the Starfleet Diplomatic Corps. Now, he serves as the ship's go-to guy for close encounters of the first time. Of course with Mason, those close encounters sometimes end up really close. James T. Kirk close.

(Ray speaks like Sean Connery when playing him).

Lieutenant J.G. Kate Nesmith (Emi) - Chief Communications Officer

Youngest and most starry eyed of the crew, the gregarious and bouncy Lt. Nesmith is, even after 4 years at Starfleet Academy, still going, "Wow!" to pretty much every alien and cool stellar anomaly she encounters.

An eager overachiever, she wants to help in anyway she can, including covering or assisting such diverse positions as Sensors, Security Procedures, Linguistics and First Contact to Landing Parties. When assignments are handed out she can be seen raising her hand and saying, "Pick me, pick me!"

Additional PC Crew Members

The following characters and actors were listed in the credits but didn't have major screen time or speaking parts (they weren't able to make it to the game this time).

Lieutenant Rafael deRivera (Nelson) - Chief Helmsman
Lt. Commander G.E. Charleston (Andy) - Chief Science Officer
Unnamed Efrosian (Jeff) - Chief Medical Officer - Not Starfleet. Interspecies Medical Exchange (like Dr. Phlox on Enterprise).

NPC Crew members

Security Officers Jones (Male, Human) and Horowitz (Female, Human)
Unnamed female Ensign - Navigator
Unnamed male 'Crewman', nicknamed Skippy - Transporter Chief (styled after Scruffy from Futurama).





Pilot Episode: "Look Into The Future"

Part I:...


Captain's Log, Stardate 2.3301.04. January 4th, 2233. The USS Journey, a 70 year old Daedalus Class starship, three months out of Starbase 12, is performing it's year long shakedown cruise. It is carrying and testing experimental upgraded components and systems designed to be implemented into the construction of a new series of Starfleet Vessels.

While testing the improved Long Range Sensors and Communication equipment, the Journey receives a distress call from the deep space exploration ship USS Kelvin. The Kelvin has encountered a strange anomaly and then reported that distruptor fire emitted out of the anomaly and damaged them heavily.





 
Prime Universe version of the Einstein Class USS Kelvin.
 

Captain Bernard Okita West, former Chief Engineer and a major participant in the installing of the ship's upgrades, orders his vessel to assist the Kelvin, next to best possible speed (6.5 out of our maximum Warp 7 - Don't want to go save someone and fall apart when we reach them). Even with their improved sensors, the Journey is getting some weird readings and isn't quite sure what they're heading into. Concerned it could be a trap set by the nearby Klingons, the ship comes out of warp with shields up.

A good thing too! The anomaly is designated (unofficially, but I liked what Security Chief Ma'Harra called it) a 'Red Hole' and appears to be a swirling, red hued vortex with periodic discharges of crimson energy. The Kelvin took serious damage from the discharges (which build and release in great waves occasionally) and discharges from within the Red Hole very similar to distruptor blasts. Damage to decks 3, 4 and 5, including loss of Warp Drive, only one working Pulsed Laser Cannon and a hull breach in engineering that cost over a dozen crewmembers their lives.

Well aware that his ship was a testing platform and not a modern cruiser or rescue vessel, Captain West figured it best to avoid the anomaly, save as many people as possible aboard the Kelvin (and the Kelvin itself if possible) and than either head based to a Starbase or rendezvous with a larger ship.

Problem: Interference from the anomaly was making sensor locks for the Transporter and Tractor Beam difficult...though not impossible. The plan they began to form aboard the Journey was risking, but they had to try something. Before long, things was get even more dangerous and the plans more bold. But would they be successful?
 
Find out after the commercial.

End of Part I
 
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Barking Alien



 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Winter Is Coming...No Relation

My posts were all over the place this November...which might explain why comments and views have been so light lately. The holidays have probably contributed to that as well but it makes me a little sad nonetheless.

Seriously distracted by life and our upcoming Star Trek game (Yay Star Trek!), I gave up on the NaGaDeMon challenge early and completely forgot about discussing the things I intended to talk about in last month.

Furthermore, while our Traveller game remains a source of awesomeness and no small amount of pride on my part, Pendragon is a pebble in my shoe that I just can't seem to locate and be rid of. I was hoping that the situation would change in a major way yesterday but it did not. As I matter of fact, my players...my friends that is...and I got into tiff. I use the word tiff when what I mean is a minor blowout. I was as much at fault as anyone. In the end though, I feel I am going to be hard pressed to find it in me to run this thing again.

We had a conversation about it and it would seem a few of them would like to drop the game in favor of something where we are all on the same page in our understanding of the setting and the genre and where perhaps we have a bit more freedom, similar to how we play Traveller. I don't want it to be exactly like Traveller (since we are already playing that and it's great) but more freewheeling and less restrictive and regimented works better for my group.

On the flip side, I've been feeling pretty good today and tonight but oddly I'm also feeling drained. Financial pressures as I go into the Winter season are heavier than I wish they were and I am hoping I can to find a way to remedy that as nothing gets me down quite like them. Too much real life crap impedes my creativity. Real life is like that.

Do I want coffee? No, too much of that already and it's around 11 pm. Hmmm...

Winter is coming...am I prepared?

AD
Barking Alien