Sunday, October 24, 2010

This Fine Ship, This Fine Crew

OK, back to Galaxy Quest faithful Questarians (like you, I despise being called a 'Questie'. Ugh.)!

This is the starship from our Galaxy Quest game, originally designed by the incomparable Chris Reyes (aka Atolm), a personal friend and a friggin' genius when it comes to creating spacecraft that both fit in and expand upon a known universe's repertoire of vessels. May the next publisher of a Star Trek RPG take have no excuse for bad starship designs!

Our ship is the NTR-6240, NSEA Galient. NTR stands for "Not The Reliant", just the way the Protector in the movie was designated NTE-3120 for "Not the Enterprise". Also, since the Protector went with a reverse design theory to that of the Constitution Class (long, cylindrical primary hull and curved engineering section), I went with an Atolm design that seemed reverse of the Miranda Class. You'll note the engines are on top while the weapon array/rollbar is swung underneath. Neat huh? The number following NTR is simply double that of the Protector's number. No biggie.

Our crew consisted of four player characters: Rebecca as The Commander, Allen as the Science Officer and Token Alien, Lynn as the Pilot, Selina as The Doctor and finally Ken as Security. The PCs were rounded out by their freeloading mean...esteemed diplomatic guest, Barkley the spider-dog-alien-thing.

Becca's Commander was a straight forward, by-the-book, no nonsense type of space fleet officer. Completely inappropriate for the game. Just teasing. At the same time her style and personality meant she rarely benefited from the Overdramatis Persona. Also, she was often the "straight man", or woman in this case, for many of the humorous antics performed by the rest of the crew.

Allen's Token Alien was a basically humanoid, insect creature named Lt. He Who Glistens In The Autumn Twilight Under The Third and Seventh Moons. His performance was as inspired as his name and both confused the heck out of the rest of the crew. By the end of the first session nearly everyone had taken to calling him Moon Bug and trying not to learn too many personal details about his species.

Lynn's Pilot had the nickname "Speed" and was all about it in every way. Fast living, fast talking and fast moving.

Selina's Doctor was Chinese and we redesigned her Galaxy Quest uniform so it more accurately resembled Chun Li's original outfit from the early Street Fighter video games. She was an Old Country Doctor, firmly convinced that acupuncture, herbal tea and other Ming Dynasty era Chinese remedies could cure all your ills up to and including having your limb incinerated by a plasma discharge.

Last but not least...well not technically anyway...Ken's Security Officer was a hapless fellow well aware of his lot in life. Trust me when I say no one was more surprised than he was when he survived the first adventure. Before long he was Crewman 1st Class Van Pelt. Chalk one up for the extras!

The first adventure and its follow ups dealt with the Galient and her crew investigating a NSEA research outpost that had failed to send its usual report. The PCs arrive at the planet, a dry and desolate waste to discover that it isn't supposed to be. While no garden spot, records indicate that the planet is supposed to have a lot of water and is now almost bone dry.

While on the planet's surface the crew encountered a species of mangy, canine/arachnid creatures who initially appear to attack. After getting into and than sorting out a first contact mishap, the PCs discover that a race of aliens came and stole the water, syphoning it into their massive tanker starships.

The players give chase (with spider dog 'Ambassador' Barkley in tow) and eventually get into a heated battle with a species of fish people who are taking the water from other worlds to replenish their own tainted hydrosphere back home. The PCs decide to negotiate peace with the aliens, only to turn around at the last second and kick their sorry, soggy, piscean butts saying, "Just because you're going to return the water in exchange for our help doesn't mean we forget you stole it. Don't. Do. It. Again. GOT IT?"

The fishy alien went home with their fishy tails between their fishy legs.

So there you have it. Until now, much like the film that inspired it, this game has not had a true sequel, although I have threatened to run one many times. Recently, the subject of Becca's birthday came up and I was asked to run a game to celebrate. Since it's her special day I told her I would run anything she wanted. I received a reply by email in under 30 seconds.

Galaxy Quest.

The Journey Continues...

Barking Alien


  1. First reaction: OOOOH PRETTY!

    Second reaction: Where's the frontal shot?

    Third reaction: Galaxy Quest:TNG

  2. First Reaction: Erin Palette just posted a comment on my blog...*faints*

    Second Reaction upon recovery: The lower image is the front view. If you notice, an aft view would have a very different appearance to the engines and you'd see the shuttlebay.

    Third reaction: Precisely!

  3. May the next publisher of a Star Trek RPG take have no excuse for bad starship designs!

    No excuse but budget and deadlines, probably.

  4. @Huth- These will always be a factor but seriously - the original ship designs in the LUG Star Trek books were largely terrible.

    I'm not saying I could do better but there are about three or four forum based websites dedicated to drawing Star Trek ships where the worst of their newbies is a thousand times superior. For Spock's sake deviantart anyone?

    The amount of poor art in American RPGs is a pet peeve of mine. Sorry to rant.

  5. I think they just handed the vector art assignment to the layout guy. Who knows? (We could ask, but they're probably as disappointed as everyone else). At least they got Randy Asplund for the TOS book.

    A lot of the fanwork actually does have a terribly long timeline behind it–I've had a decade do actually post my redesigns of the Meret-class, et al, but you know, there's so much else to draw. And then there's the question of whether they feel comfortable working to art direction.

    I try to do my bit for RPG art quality, but it's a long battle... : P

  6. I hear you brother. Honestly I've done some professional RPG art myself and again, I'm no Elmore or Caldwell but I try.

    Also, you are absolutely right to give credit where credit is due. Asplund did a pretty nice job on the TOS book. Where can I see those Meret-Class designs? I'd love to take a look at them.

    I guess I'm also a bit spoiled. I've always had artists in my gaming groups so our campaign books looked better than most of the rulebooks we were purchasing in the old days.

  7. I merit a faint? Wow. Who knew?

    Regarding the picture: Oh, okay, I see it now. For some reason I thought the "brow ridge" looking thing above the shuttlebay was the bridge. Gave the ship an edgy, Romulan forward-swept look. I'm almost disappointed to learn the front was the other direction.

    Also, shoot me an email at erin dot palette at gmail dot com, if you please.

  8. Wow, That is Amazing! I've been a Galaxy Quest Fan ever since I was a kid. I love the Galient, it is stunning.