Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Campaigns A-To-Z: Fedifensor

Last one was a long one. Hopefully an enjoyable one. This one might be a bit long as well.

F is for Fedifensor

Title: Star Trek: Fedifensor

System: Star Trek, The Role Playing Game, FASA System - Second Edition.

Circa: I tried to do the math on this, and it came out off. I'm pretty sure I've made a mistake somewhere. You see, I recall running this campaign in Junior High School. If memory serves, the game should have occurred around 1984. At the same time, the ship we used was from a FASA book that wasn't out until 1985.

Computer, check the chronometer on the Captain's Logs.

Player Base: This was a big group. There were originally seven guys, ages ranging from 14-16. Later, we lost one fellow to scheduling (read below - it's worth it), but gained a female player in the same age range.

Characters: The campaign began with a Human Captain, a Half-Human/Half-Vulcan First Officer/Helmsman, an Arkenite Navigator, a Human Engineer, an Human Security Chief, a Human Science Officer (our Female player) and a Human 'Chief'. The Chief was kind of a homebrew idea. He specialized in things like Transporter Operation and Shuttlecraft Pilot and served as the reoccurring background guy who does what you need for that adventure.

A few other players played occasional drop-in characters, like reoccurring guest stars. 

As I've mentioned in previous posts on the subject of running a Star Trek game, the ship is also a key character in the campaign, not to be forgotten or ignored.

Throughout most of this game, the ship was a Remora Class Escort dubbed the USS Fedifensor (NCC-1984), though the ship was modified a number of times over the course of the campaign. Improvements made to the vessel included improved Impulse Engines and Maneuvering Thrusters, Photon Torpedo Banks (which we did not start with) and upgraded Laboratory, and Medical Facilities (although they were still relatively small).

In addition, the wing-like, wedge shaped objects seen on the port-ventral (bottom left) and starboard-ventral (bottom right) of the Remora are Mission Pods, which can be swapped out for a variety of purposes. We saw the use of a number of different pods during the course of the campaign. Most memorable were the Troop Carrier Pods, the Medical Evac Pods, the Photon Test Pods (before the permanent torpedo tubes were installed), and the 'Party Pods', so nicknamed because they carried a massive diplomatic contingent that spent a large part of that adventure partying, and celebrating. Until the murder that is...Bum Bum BUMMM!


After about two dozen sessions or so, the Player playing the ship's first officer couldn't make it to the scheduled sessions. We decided to run a send off adventure where it's revealed that he has made Captain, and been given his own ship.

About 2 weeks later, I talk to the player of the first officer turned captain, and it turns out he had begun running a Star Trek campaign of his own. His younger brother played his former character, and the campaign followed the adventures of his new ship in the same area of space as my campaign. We stayed in touch, traded notes, and soon it was clear to any player of either campaign that the continuity of the two games was shared.

One additional Player came in to my campaign around this point. Female, same age range.

A few more months go by, and my friend and I met up with a good friend of ours at a local pizza place. We hadn't seen him in forever, as he was older, and had joined the navy (or Coast Guard or something), and was now back for a while it seemed. When he asked us if we still gamed, we told him about our Trek games. He flipped out. A huge fan of Star Trek, and a big gamer he wanted in, but neither game met with his schedule. Using our campaigns as a basis, we helped him develop his own to run with a few friends, and navy buddies. Then it hit me...all three campaigns were in the same sector of space, right?


It all culminated a few months after that. Rumors, and side adventures in all three campaigns led to the belief that a species of energy beings were possessing people throughout the Federation, and the Klingon Empire. Everything led up to a potential take over of our sector headquarters, Starbase Templar.

What happened next became legend in our gaming circles for years afterward (Perhaps that's a bit dramatic. No? Not dramatic enough?). Three GMs, 17 players, three Starships...a 24 hour gaming session that featured a battle between the forces of the alien invasion, and the PC vessels, as well as a lot of running around Starbase Templar trying to figure out exactly what was going on.

In the end, 4 PCs were killed, including the former first officer turned captain, who sacrificed himself, and destroyed his own vessel to eliminate the dimensional portal the aliens were using to enter our reality.

Synopsis: Roughly set just after the events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the main focus of the campaign was a Remora Class Escort, the USS Fedifensor, assigned to patrol the Klingon border and Organian Treaty Zone. The vessel's primary purpose was described as, "upholding, and defending the ideals of the Federation and it's people on a hostile frontier".

Most of our early missions were very action/adventure oriented, with numerous battles against Orion Pirates and Klingons, thwarting smuggling operations and escorting convoys, or diplomats, ambassadors and other high ranking officials to, and from their various points of origin, and destinations.

This eventually gave way to a mix of action and espionage, and than some more traditional, science fiction-y type adventures later on. This is one of the rare campaigns I've run where I used a lot of modules. I modified and adapted a number of the FASA Star Trek RPG modules to fit our particular campaign.

If I remember correctly, near the end of the campaign, our ship was decommissioned and the new USS Fedifensor was a Durrett Class Cruiser.

Bonus Features:

The name of the ship, Fedifensor, comes from an adventure in the November 1982 issue of Dragon Magazine (#67). It is the name of a Holy Avenger style sword and the focus of that particular scenario.

We often imagined and illustrated the Mission Pods on the Remora Class very differently from how FASA did (and indeed, differently than later fan depictions as well). For us, they were thicker nearer to where they touched the ship's saucer, more wedge shaped, with a vertical  'dorsal fin' on top. One of the players suggested each type of pod looked different depending on it's function.

This was the first campaign I ran with a regularly attending female player.

Prior to the extravaganza finale described above, no one had died in my campaign.

The Fedifensor's shuttlecraft were named Frazier, Foreman, Ali and Spinks. The Frazier saw the most use and had nose art with the words "Smokin' Joe" painted on the side. The Foreman was badly damaged and replaced by the Ali. Once the ship was upgraded and could handle more shuttles, the Foreman returned and the Spinks was added.

The dedication plaque of the Fedifensor reads, "It is better to fight for something, than live for nothing". George S. Patton.


Star Wars...then Star Trek...what could be next?

It's me. Superheroes of course...

Barking Alien


  1. Junior high school? But you're my age (incredibly, I remember a conversation where I correctly guessed you were 19 at the time, and *I* was 19 at the time), and in 1984 I was smack in the middle of high school proper (Class of '86).

    1. That seems off to the max dude! LOL

      I am 45 now. It's 2014. 1984 was 30 years ago. I was 15. My JHS went from 7th to 9th grade, so I was likely in my last year of Junior High or thereabouts.

    2. I dunno... I'm 45, and I very definitely attended HS (9th to 12th grade) from Fall 1982 - Spring 1986. 1984 for me was either Sophomore year (Fall '83 - Spring '84) or Junior year (Fall '84 - Spring '85). I was on the young side for my class, what with a December birthday.

    3. My birthday is February if that makes a difference.

      Math wise however, I was 15 thirty years ago. 9th grade.

      Used a calculator and then Googled it (since I have little to no sense for such things). ;)

    4. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. With me born at the end of 1968 and you born not far from the start of 1969 (I guess), we'd end up in year-apart grades. I'd be in 10th (HS for me), you'd be in 9th (late JHS for you). That makes sense.

      Still 1984, not 1985--but it occurs to me, didn't books often used to come out earlier than their official publication dates the same way comics did? If so, that could explain your using a book with a 1985 copyright in 1984.

  2. FASA Star Trek was one of the first RPG's I played after D&D. It's pretty cool that you had three interlocking campaigns going at once. I have done that with supers, but never sci-fi. It sounds like a lot of fun.

    1. I would've loved to do that with Supers. A friend of mine did. So jealous! 😉

  3. love those FASA "ship recognition guides." just choosing a ship was a lot of fun. sounds like a fun game for all involved, though I personally prefer exploring uncharted space as in the TV show. we generally played a Constitution class crew, or a Larson. Might've been a Loknar once. to me those are thE REAL ships; the canon stuff is so lame by comparison!

    1. I personally prefer charting unexplored space as well, but for this campaign we wanted to do something different and the players requested a more action packed approach.

    2. Loknars are lovely, which is one more reason I love the NX class...

  4. Ever see the updated, cgi Loknar Class floating around the internet. So beautiful! Used it in a campaign some years back (the USS Thunder Bay):