Saturday, May 11, 2024

Live Long and Prosperity

Yesterday evening, my Friday night gaming group completed the second half of the first 'episode' of 'Season 8' of our Star Trek Adventures campaign, Star Trek: Prosperity.

Passed through the Universal Translator, this means we played the second session of the eighth year of our game, finishing a two-part adventure. Eight years marks the longest running campaign I've ever Gamemastered. It has gone on for nearly twice the length of any of my previous Star Trek campaigns across three different systems (FASA, Last Unicorn Games, and Star Trek Adventures itself).

The four Player Characters (first row) and cast of Major NPCs - Seasons 3 to 7

The game's sessions have been an average of four hours long and run roughly biweekly. We've missed or skipped a get together here and there due to personal or work related issues and holidays but I estimate we've had around 140 sessions. For the first few months of the campaign, we used the Last Unicorn Games ICON System version of the Star Trek RPG but, after a brief hiatus, we converted everything over to Star Trek Adventures. 

In the earliest sessions, which occurred 'in-person' prior to the Covid Global Pandemic, there were a few additional players who came in and out but the same four key players who have been there since the beginning are still here. 

It hasn't always been easy, as this group is made up of some strong and occasionally conflicting personalities. Add to that the fact that some of them have core viewpoints on adventure and campaign design that differ from my own. Still and all, we've all pursued the same goal of ensuring the game works to the best of each of our abilities. The entire group is committed to making the game fun for each of us and all of us. 

Character Progression occurs every even numbered 'Season', with the Players gaining bonuses ranging from increases to their Attributes and/or Disciplines, a new Focus, or a new Talent. Usually it's some combo of these as it happened only once a year.  

Every odd numbered year they get an upgrade to their starship, the USS Prosperity. In addition to the advantages of Rugged Design and a Rear Mounted Photon Torpedo Tube (a rarity in The Original Series era in which we play), the ship started with two flaws:

The Nacelle Warp Coils were stressed and/or damaged by maintaining high warp for an extended period - especially the Port Side Nacelle. 

each time the Prototype Rear Photon Torpedo was fired the launch tube was knocked out of alignment. This required additional Task Checks between each shot. Also, whereas firing Photon Torpedoes adds a point of Threat (an in-game Gamemaster currency), the Rear Mounted Photon Torpedo generated two. 

Over time the flaws were repaired and Advanced Sensors, an Improved Warp Drive, and the ability to Rapid Fire their forward Torpedo Tube were added. Thanks to the Prosperity and her crew, the aging Ventura Class vessels still in operation were being upgraded (usually a couple of steps behind the Prosperity itself). Unfortunately, the class as a whole was originally scheduled to be mothballed, with no new such ship having been commissioned in years. A 'B plot' had the PC Chief Engineer, Commander Bhoth, work with the NPC Asst. Chief in order to prove to Starfleet Command that the Ventura Class was still viable. In the end they saved the design, with the first brand new Ventura due to be completed soon (in Season 8). 

In the two-part 'opener', the Prosperity's First Officer and Chief Science Officer Commander Solok returns to Vulcan along with the other PCs in order to marry his long term romantic interest, the ship's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Margaret 'Maggie' Hanover. Following the wedding, Solok's player essentially retired the character. After eight years of playing the Vulcan Science Officer, my friend Leo wanted to try something else. 

The rest of the team left Solok and the NPC Doctor to the next stage of their lives while they traveled back to the USS Prosperity. En route, the established command crew meet a young Helmsman, Lt. Charles 'Charlie' Wilder, Leo's new character. When the transport bringing them 'home' was attacked by religious zealots and a creepy space kaiju, the level-headed and action oriented Captain Ann Fletcher took command. Tapping each PCs unique set of skills, Fletcher organized and facilitated the transport's escape from the massive monster. The episode ended with the wounded ship pulling up alongside the USS Prosperity and Deep Space 5. 

Alien Friends and Foes

The next episode and Season 8 as a whole will see a considerable paradigm shift in the game and it's one the group and I are definitely down for. Our perfectionist, poor-work-to-life-balance Chief Engineer is going to become the First Officer. New PC Charlie Wilder, a more action oriented character, gives me an excuse to switch up the type of adventures I run, with fewer science mysteries and more fights against alien gladiators (and such). We'll have a new NPC Doctor. I've got sooo many things planned. 

After 8 years, over 50 different adventure ideas, and 140 sessions I am still inspired to run this game. Amazing. 

'Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning'...

Barking Alien

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome, thanks for sharing it! I have recently toyed with the idea of starting a potentially long-term Trek campaign (or maybe even a Trek-ish campaign in the Star Fleet Universe). The odds of my pulling it off are pretty low, but the episodic nature and space for unlimited characters seem like they would provide a great framework for (as I think Tim K. has referred to it) a "forever campaign."