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Star Trek Adventures: A Star Beyond the Stars

A Star Beyond the Stars

Billed as a 'starter campaign', this work presents three interlinked missions to get any Star Trek Adventures game off to a flying start. The intent is that a novice game master should be able to run it, never mind players new to this particular game system, and as such it introduces various aspects of the game mechanics in an orderly and easy to understand fashion.

In the first mission, called The Alcubierre, the party is sent as part of a starship crew to retrieve an experimental ship that was testing out a new warp drive. The adventure is introduced neatly, by providing an entry from the captain's log to be read aloud (much as in many episodes of the TV show) that sets the scene and states the mission. As the players' ship approaches, you are talked through the likely sensor rolls that could be made - and there's even advice for dealing with failed rolls. Eventually, an away team will take a shuttlecraft over to the ship and enter to discover why it's drifting in space. Unfortunately when they get there, they discover that they are not the only people trying to salvage it. The backstory of what went wrong is laid out clearly, the characters of course will have to discover it through investigation, as well as dealing with the intruders. Everything is explained as you go along, so there is no need to be completely familiar with the rules before you start... both you and your players will have the hang of them by the end. There's a lot of exploring, and the chance for combat, before the ship is under the party's control, the engines repaired and you're ready to move on to the next mission.

The next mission is called We Are Not Ourselves, and involves the party being sent to investigate a Klingon station that has gone dark. The evidence unearthed there leads them on to a nearby planetary system, where they can begin to get to the bottom of what is going on in both this and the previous mission...

Everything comes together in the final mission, The Pierced Veil, with high excitement as a Romulan Warbird arrives, negotiates with the Federation ship... and then exploders. It's not long before another Warbird turns up and quite naturally leaps to the conclusion that the Federation blew it up... oh, and the party's ship has somehow acquired a computer viruse which must be dealt with before the second Warbird can be beaten off. This provides opportunity to learn more rules, including those for starship combat, in a situation that should have the players on the edge of their seats.

There's a lot to get your head around here, yet it is done so skillfully that everything comes naturally, and the main effect is just of a cracking good adventure rather than a set-piece designed to teach the rules. There's enough hand-holding for even a novice GM - one new to GMing, never mind this game system - to be able to handle it with confidence, yet it's not so intrusive that a more experienced one feels patronised. There are no easy outcomes to the plot, however, giving the players some nice moral issues with which to wrestle, and likely repercussions are covered ready for you to apply them in future events. This should get your voyages off to a flying start, an excellent introduction to the game!

Return to A Star Beyond the Stars page.

Reviewed: 20 July 2019