Monday, March 16, 2009

These are the voyages of the battleship Alliance...

Continuing my 'Trek' down memory lane; it was a couple of days later on a warm and breezey Sunday in 1982 that my friends and I assembled to play our very first game of Star Trek. I had spent all my free time reading and re-reading the book that came inside the FASA Star Trek RPG boxed set. I read through any and all the Star Trek books I owned and gathered together any appropriate props (toy phasers, communicators, tricorders, a Star Trek t-shirt I owned) and made lots of notes and drawings in one of those composition notebooks. I brought the game, the notebook, my props and ten-sided dice over to my friend Joe's house.

Joe's apartment was huge and his bedroom, originally shared with his older brother, was no different. I spread my stuff out before me and Joe added a bunch of his Star Trek items to the mix. It was myself, Joe and a mutual friend who lived in Joe's building named Flavio.

I started by telling them I had a great game worked out and just needed to know what they wanted to make as far characters. They were both ready for me. Flavio wanted to be the captain and had what is still one of the coolest freakin' PC names I've ever heard. Flavio had a bit of an accent, a dark tan and thick black hair; imagine a very young Ricardo Montalban speaking...

Flavio: "You know...Caesar Augustus."

Me: "From Roman history. Yeah. I remember from school."*

Flavio: "You known...Caesar Romero?"

Me: (Blink twice) "The Joker?"*

Flavio: "My name is Captain Augustus Romero."

Augustus Romero. Holy Crap. It was like Khan as Kirk. He was smooth, confident, great with the ladies regardless of species and quick to retaliate if he felt you had wronged the honor of his ship or his crew. This was already shaping up to be the coolest game ever.

Now as for Joe, I knew him well and I knew his favorite character was McCoy. When he told me he was going to play the ship's doctor I was not surprised. Then he said...

Joe: "My character is Dr. Sollock."

Me: "A...Vulcan?"

Joe: "Half Vulcan, half Human like Spock. I was raised on Earth though so I'm not very up on my Vulcan heritage. I can't mind meld."**

Me: "Wow. So do you show emotion?"

Joe: "Yes, though I try to rein it in. I have a bad habit of smiling and laughing at jokes."

I finished out the ensemble by rolling up an Andorian Helmsman and the ship's first officer, Lt. Commander Sh'Hasta Zihl. Zihl was a bit of a hot head (Andorian pun intended) and often threw a challenging point of view at the Captain to make each situation even more interesting.

The three of us were assigned to a top secret Starfleet mission to aid a radical group of Romulan military and intelligence personnel in defeating an alien threat called the Borogrove. The Romulans would probably be executed for revealing this enemy and their war with it to the Federation but without Starfleet's help, they would likely lose the conflict.

Our ship was also top secret. It was one of several prototype Dreadnoughts. Dubbed the USS Alliance, NCC-2182X, this vessel was of the Allegiance Class. Inspired by, though not identical to, the Dreadnought from Franz Joseph's Starfleet Technical Manual, it was a powerful, three naccelle starship designed to fight unaided for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the ship was so powerful it made those we went to help uneasy, especially the Romulans...


*This post and the events therein definitely date me. I was in school at a time when reruns of the 60's Batman was on TV and school actually taught ancient world history to thirteen year olds..

**When was the last time a player in one of your campaigns said, "I'll be less powerful than is standard for my race/species because it adds character to my PC"? I have been very lucky over the years. Maybe even a little spoiled.

Barking Alien

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