Star Trek: First Response

Because the universe has a sense of humor, I find myself having arranged to run Star Trek Adventures as a campaign again. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy running it, it’s just that for the first time in a long time I have a number of games that I want to play for the first time, and here I am running this one again.

There are three players taking on Main Character roles, and I will be the GM. With luck, I may be able to arrange for some guest stars, but I am not going to hold my breath. Space is too vast and time zones matter. Two of the three players are people that I know from online interactions, but am getting to game with for the first time. They are Ron Edwards (Adept Play) and KC Lee (Questing GM). I am also pleased that an old friend from home, now living in Moscow, and friend of the blog, BF Wolf, will be able to join. He and I have run many Play by e-mail campaigns in the last 20+ years since I moved to Korea, but this will be the first real-time play we have managed since 1997. You may remember him from our lengthy A Time of War campaigns early on in the blog’s history.

The players have met online for character creation, ship creation, and setting discussion. We have also played the first session of what will be one or two more to round out the Pilot Episode. This group was a pleasant surprise in that each of them got the rules and started the process of becoming familiar with them at their own pace prior to Session 0. We will be introducing rules in play as they come up rather than attempting to teach the game prior to play, but their enthusiasm is making all of that much easier. Being open to and open with rules look-ups during recorded and shared play will be helpful to me in terms of getting back into a comfortable familiarity with the system. It will also aid the players in retention by directly connecting the context of our actual play with the experience and understanding of the rules which support that play.

So far, the stages of play have been:
  • initial suggestion in a 1:1 conversation to play something at some point
    • follow-up suggestion to try Star Trek Adventures (Modiphius, 2d20) ‘soon’
      • Preference for the Original Series aesthetic was identified during this conversation between both participants
  • recruitment of players
    • this was limited by factors such as work schedules and time zones
  • establishment of a Teams Channel for the campaign
    • A wiki for game information has been started
    • A playlist of CGA how-to videos has been archived
    • A general forum for scheduling, interaction, and questions has been started
    • selection of time and date for the first meeting
  • the first meeting (Session 0)
    • discussion of unfinished business from the session in Teams
    • selection of time and date for Session A of the Pilot
  • Pilot: The Nature of Threat – Part A – delayed due to life
    • some members of the group met anyway to discuss the game
    • ongoing setting development in teams
  • Pilot: The Nature of Threat – Part A
    • editing the AP, recording reflections and commentary
    • discussion of Part A for any necessary alterations

Play was delayed by a week due to life issues on my end. I think, that despite the potential risk of lost momentum (pun intended?) this turned out to be for the best as it gave us more opportunities for the players to get a sense of each other, and for me to gather resources to help support those all-important senses of size, shape, and crew for the ship. It also gave some time to ponder about what was ahead and that means recordings: .

Campaign Announcement

Ron’s Pre-game Reflections

Delay Reflections

Play Begins

The first session ran on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 with my low-tech approach to play which no doubt detracts from the viewing experience for some, but serves our purposes and – I think – matches the feel and concept of friends (and potential friends) gathering together to play for fun. 

Imagine a Star Trek series that never was, launching on September 9, 1970…

The first session constitutes a pilot both literally and figuratively. It is a test of concept and so I will be experimenting with GM techniques to get a better sense of the players and their known and unknown preferences, while they in turn are getting a better sense of their characters. Over the 2 or 3 sessions it will take to resolve the Pilot Episode, a number of different things will be tried, not all of which will go on to be permanent aspects of the campaign. Session 0 can only go so far, and some practical testing and flexibility at the beginning can help fine tune things for a more satisfying game – if one can be had. 

This first session introduced the Main Characters and the first mission in their new duty assignment of Crisis Response. Those Main Characters are Acting Captain T’Lyak, Security Chief Korsakov, and Flight Controller Yang. We also got a hint of the ship, a single-nacelle former destroyer part-way through a refit from being a dedicated ship of war to its new role as part of a Crisis Response fleet.

In the briefest of terms, we had an opportunity for some insight into each character before they encountered the perplexing and threatening situation which is the backbone of the episode: a deserted hospital ship, an outpost being torn apart by tremendous tectonic activity, and a chilling message from the surface: “You’ve killed us all! Why did you do it?

I am really looking forward to seeing where the players take us from there!

A ship in perfect working order, but without its crew…

Ongoing ‘Play’ Begins

After play, a few reflections were made on the experience of that first session. This is a common feature of the games I run and share on YouTube. These are optional for participants and are recorded in isolation before watching the AP video or the reflections videos of others. I like to encourage this process, in whatever way a player chooses to pursue it, in order to deepen the learning experience and help reveal more of what is really going on under imagined skies and in the minds of each participant. These are usually not exhaustive analyses, generally featuring the more important things on the players’ minds. Ideally, we do them right after play. Discussion, once we have viewed each others’ reactions and reflections, proceeds from there. 

Reflections on Part A

Ron’s Reflections on Part A

What were you thinking?! 

As it stands, an unusually high number of videos were produced for this first session. This volume of production will not be the norm. Some videos will be released on a per session basis, but more often on the per episode basis (2-4 sessions)

Next Steps

Where will things go from here? I have hopes that we will be able to keep schedules synced long enough to play what feels like a season of our imaginary series, demonstrating the particular elements that make the game do what it is does – and more importantly, living long and eventfully aboard the USS Avicenna.

2 Responses to “Star Trek: First Response”
  1. I’ll be interested to see how the campaign goes!

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