Welcome to the show. I’m your host, Dr RPG, Jeff Harvey. Last episode we talked about creating strange new worlds, new life, and new civilizations for your group to seek out and explore. If you missed that episode, go back and check it out.
In this episode, we are going to talk about some of the fantastic tech in the STar Trek universe, and ways you can use it to enhance your game, and how to keep your game from being all about the techno-babble.
Speaking of babbling; before I babble too much, let me introduce my co host, the (IM BROG LIO – ed) Imbroglio Michael Dismuke
The goal of this show is to help fans of Star Trek, and of role-playing, better engage with the Star Trek Franchise, the Star Trek Adventures game, and the community at large.
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Ok… before we get really deep into this topic, I think it is best to get an expert on STA and Trek Tech. So, please welcome our Special Guest, writer of more than a little of the tech you see in the STA books, Aaron Pollyea.
– First, let’s give the people some context, what is your actual role with regards to STA?
– What sort of things have you written for STA?
– What got you interested in working on STA, and working on the Tech of Trek for the game?
Ok… let’s get down to it, let’s talk about Tech in Star Trek Adventures:
– Star Trek is definitely high tech SciFi, and I know a lot of players, and even GM’s can get intimidated by all of the “established science” of the show. There is a feeling that Star Trek is “smart” to real science, and that it’s overwhelming for people who don’t speak nerd-en-neese. What do you guys say to new players or GM’s who want to get into Trek, but nervous about their nerd cred?
– There is a famous line in a well known Trek spoof song, “Bounce a graviton particle beam off the main deflector dish That’s the way we do things, lad, we’re making s**t up as we wish”. This mentality is really very pervasive in the pop-culture perception of Star Trek. How do you, as a GM, keep things from devolving into techno-babble solutions? How do you keep the tech in check?
– The Star Trek RPG covers a lot of time, from the Duatronic Enhancers on the OG Enterprise, to starships getting sick from the chefs cooking. So, I have two questions really… 1: what is your favorite bit of Trek Tech, and 2: how much of a role does the Tech really play in your game? Does it matter what era you are playing in, or is the tech just a skin used to add flavor?
– How do you generate your techno-babble?
– Do you guys use any outside resources for you Tech? I have the old TNG and DS9 tech manuals, a bunch of old RPG supplements, the ST:ACTD website, Star Trek Theurgy and other PbP games, the (now ancient) Starship Creator software by Simon and Schuster, the Hayes Manual on Klingon ships (I don’t have that one, but I want it)… other than just watching the shows, what codefies tech for your game, or when you are writing your adventures or new content for the RPG books?
– How do you guys choose to stat your ships and tech?
– Aaron, is there any chance we might someday see a book like the Stardock books that the legendary Steve Long created after the fall of Last Unicorn games?
Starship combat can get very rules specific, and let’s be honest, can kinda bog the game down a little. Character level combat can too if the GM isn’t careful. Micheal, how do you deal with combat in STA? Aaron, from a writer’s perspective, how do you handle the balance of rich combat rules and story pacing?
We are running out of time, but as one final thought on Tech in Trek; Star Trek is a rich world full of wonderful, innovative, and increasingly actually common technologies. From things we have now, like Cellphones, fax machines, 3d Printing, and tablets, to the awesome tech that created the post scarcity utopia we talked about back in episodes 5 and 6. There are a lot of amazing shiny objects that can distract you from what really makes Star Trek so compelling these 50+ years after it first aired… the stories.
It’s a lot of fun to cross wire the phase coupler and routing power through the ODN conduits in a last ditch effort to re-randomize the nutrio spin before the cron-aton buildup shifts us all back to the Bell Riots… but Tech is not a replacement for story or personal drama. It can be used to start the “ticking clock”, complicate your beats, create brick walls, and even find creative solutions to complex problems beyond the understanding of the players… but it is set dressing. It is the flavor that lets us know we are eating at Sisko’s or Quarks and not the Mos Eisley cantina or The Venusville Bar (Total Recall).
Don’t let the tech of Trek get in the way of your story. Use it to sprinkle in the Star Trek flavors, but try not to let yourself get too hung up on the babble or the glitz and glamour of it. It should never, ever… EEEVVVVEEERRR be more important to your story than your players choices.
And on that note, we are gonna call it a wrap. If you want to learn more about Aaron, Micheal had a great one-on-one interview over on Continuing Missions STA.com. You can in a link in the show notes:
Next time, on STA Enage, we are going to get to a much anticipated topic, we have talked a lot on this show about how to be a better GM, and we will do a lot more of that to be sure… but next time, we are going to talk about how you can be a better player
So tune in next time for: The Naked Now; or The Montgomery Scott
Until then, If you like what you hear, and you want to help this show, if you like what we are doing here, all we really ask is that you take a second and share this episode with one other person who might enjoy what we’re doing.
Until next time, I was host, Dr RPG Jeff Harvey, and on behalf of myself, my co-host Michael Dismuke, our Special guest Aaron Pollyea, and everybody that works behind the scenes, Live Long and Prosper.
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