I’m a huge fan of the FASA Star Trek RPG (“FASA ST”) from the early 80s. It’s long since been out of print, and I’ve played it only once in the past 20 years, but there’s still a small following out there. I also hope to play it again, perhaps even starting a home campaign.
One of the difficulties associated with getting subsequent generations of gamers to play the game is that most of them grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (“TNG”) and later series, but FASA had put out only a couple of half-assed resources covering TNG before their license was revoked. As a result, putting together a game that appeals to the current generation would require a lot of hard-core game redesign, and no one has the motivation and resources to make that happen.
Still, a man can dream, and he can also lower the barriers to introducing players to the game by creating free gaming aids. That’s what this page is about. Anything I post here is free, and always will be, but if you like what you see, please consider contributing to the project by sending whatever you think is appropriate via PayPal. There are larger, more ambitious projects I’m considering for this and other gaming systems, but it’s difficult to find the time to spend on those projects without funds to justify the work.
These tools use the 2nd edition ruleset, including the Cadet’s Orientation Sourcebook, Starfleet Officers’ Manual, Game Operations Manual, Star Trek II Starship Combat Simulator (Books 1-5), 2nd Edition Ship Construction Manual, the Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, 2nd Edition Federation Ship Recognition Manual, 2nd Edition Klingon Ship Recognition Manual, and 2nd Edition Romulan Ship Recognition Manual.
Legalese Alert: You’ll note that all of my work includes a copyright notice. I can’t help it. I’m an attorney focusing my practice on intellectual property law (and real estate law). I have to include it. Note that there’s also a statement of permission to use these materials for personal use. Basically, all that concerns me is the idea that someone might sell my work product. I doubt that’s a problem, and unless it’s your intent to do so, you won’t have any complaints from me. Don’t make money off of my work, and we have no issues between us. Please, by all means, use and share these materials as much as you want.
I hope you enjoy what you find here. Happy gaming!
Star Trek Digital is the most ambitious member of this collection. It’s an access database for both Gamemasters (“GMs”) and players that makes preparation and game play easier. It assists both aspects of the game: starship and personal encounters. The explanations below give you an overview of what the final product will feature, though it will be released soon with only a portion of these features. This database will be republished continuously as new features are developed.
One drawback to this application is that your custom data is stored in the database itself. Ergo, when you download an update, it will delete your data. (The application is free. Try to focus on that, and you won’t be so angry.) 🙂 On the bright side, because most of the work is done by me, reentering your data isn’t likely to take very long. Moreover, as you’ll see below, where reentering data would be a burden (i.e., character generation), I intend to take the time to allow you to store your data externally. Whether I ever provide that functionality for solar system and ship data remains uncertain.
This component stores many (eventually, all) of the starship models published by FASA. You can use it to create specific starships, and then instantly pull up Command & Control Panels or Master Control Panels for that ship. (For an explanation as to what those panels are, see below.) Moreover, it has a battlegroup creation tool that allows you to build balanced battlegroups for mass starship battles, and a solar system and planet-creation tool that can be used to instantly create sites if (when?) your players take the game in an unexpected direction. Finally, it includes a nonsentient alien creature creation tool to create the nonsentient inhabitants of a planet. Note that this does not include the means to create a sentient race, as that will be part of the Personal Encounters component of the application.
Personal Encounters (in development)
This tool contains a character-creation tool, allowing you to create PCs or NPCs quickly and easily with no mathematical errors. It also provides a printable character sheet for those characters, and allows you to save your characters to your hard drive so that they aren’t overwritten when you update your Access datafile. It will also include the means to create sentient races and determine their technological index.
If you have any requests for digital tools, please let me know, and I’ll develop them as soon as possible. If I’m capable of generating enough funds from your contributions, or I just get bored, this tool will be converted to a free, web-based system using .Net accessing an MS SQL Server database. It will also allow you more customization, such as creating your own starship models.
Click here for the current version of the application. (Last uploaded 9/8/2012.)
Please contact me if you have any bugs or defects to report.
Star Trek Rules Summary
If you’re introducing other people to the game, it helps to have a quick summary of the rules available for reference. I’ve provided that here.
STRPGRulesSummary (Word format)
STRPGRulesSummary (Adobe PDF format)
Command & Control Panels
If you played FASA ST as a role-playing game, then you likely used Command & Control (C&C) panels. Each PC had its own panel representing it’s workstation on the starship. Better than any other RPG I’ve played, this immersed me in the game setting, coming as close as realistically possible to making a player feel that the player was actually on the bridge of a starship. These C&C panels are available via the main game, and because you were permitted to photocopy them for personal use, they’re readily available via a quick Google search.
I never liked using tiny, cardboard counters to record power. If someone accidentally hit the table, the counters flew everywhere, and from gaming session to gaming session, your supply of counters always seemed to get smaller as the tiny pieces were lost and eventually swallowed by the vacuum cleaner. Accordingly, my C&C panels are a bit different. Instead of using counters, players simply write in the data for their power distribution. If you insert the panels into some cheap, plastic sheets you can get at any office supply store, you can use wet erase markers, which makes erasing even easier. My panels provide a much simpler user interface, and allows inclusion of the game rules right on the panels, both of which make a traditionally slow game move much faster.
While including the rules for Skill Rolls during combat, I tried to give each player more than one option for how to make themselves useful during combat. That is, during any turn where the ship has no damaged systems, the player would have a “go to” roll that’s always useful (e.g., the Helmsman’s Starship Weaponry Technology skill roll to get a +1 bonus to attack rolls), but under situations of stress, could choose instead to make a different roll (e.g., the Helmsman’s Starship Helm Operations skill roll to reduce by 1 point the amount of stress to the engines from an emergency heading change where such a maneuver might be useful). In fact, only the Navigator has only one roll to make with respect to the Navigation system. Even the Chief Medical Officer has a role to play, though only once combat has started.
House rule alert: The Sciences Station has a house rule for resolving Bridge Hits. First, on a bridge hit, all bridge personnel must make a DEX saving roll to avoid losing a turn. Second, on the follow up roll to determine the system shaken, I replaced the “reroll # times” entries with Tractor Beam, Life Support, and Transporter systems. This required a separate house rule to handle life support systems failing and opened the door to a house rule for “calling shots” in combat. With such a tactic, targeting the life support systems is a popular choice.
With that, I give you my Command & Control Panels.
CommandAndControlPanel-USSFife This is the USS Fife, NCC-2300A, a Mark IV version of this Chandley class frigate used in my own adventure, Anything But Routine. The NCC-2300 MK I version of the ship appeared in the FASA adventure, a Doomsday Like Any Other.
Obviously, you can create panels specific to a ship. With that, I provide you the Word format of the C&C Panel template.
CommandAndControlPanel (Template in Word format — *.docx)
Master Control Panels
For GMs, even my simplified C&C panels aren’t simple enough. There’s far too much going on for the GM to be referencing six different panels, especially if the GM is managing two or three ships simultaneously (a common occurrence). Instead, the GM used a Master Control Panels (“MCP”) for each ship. Every aspect of combat fit nicely onto a single page (two-sided, though). The MCP was also used by players who were using the Star Trek Ship Combat System as a board game. In such a case, each player managed one or more ships themselves, so it was easier to have
Again, the standard MCPs are available via a Google search, so obviously my MCPs are intended to improve upon those MCPs. Even though everything is at the players’ fingertips, the MCP didn’t alleviate the inherent complexity of the system. The player still had to calculate total power, allot it to each system (i.e., shields, weapons, and movement), and then allot the allotted power accordingly (i.e., determine exactly which shield was powered and by how much, and determine exactly which weapon was powered and by how much). I’m sure that sounds more confusing than it actually is, but it’s a fair representation of the complexity of the most basic aspects of the game. On top of all of this, players still had to reference charts to tell them how much stress they suffered, how they were damaged if their shields were penetrated, etc.
Accordingly, my MCPs use a new system that alleviates just a bit of that complexity. For example, if your forward shield has a maximum power of 14, then you have two choices: either power the shield to 14, or don’t power it at all. Similarly, if your phaser has a maximum power of 6, you have two choices: either power the phaser to 6, or don’t power it at all. This simplified your math a small bit for one of your phases, and did so in a way that usually has no effect on combat. The MCPs I provide assume that house rule. If you don’t like it, there’s no reason not to use the standard MCPs.
As with the C&C panels, you’ll need the template in Word format to create your own MCPs, so here it is:
GMMCP (Template in Word format — *.docx)
Anything But Routine
This was an adventure I wrote to (re)introduce some players to the FASA ST system at a gaming convention. This means two things: 1) it’s rather simple; and 2.) it runs in 4 hours assuming that players won’t participate in every encounter. Having extraneous encounters gives the PCs multiple paths to success, so that if they fail to make a particular choice, the adventure isn’t over. Unfortunately, having run it only once, this means that not all of the encounters have been tested. The D/WDF system for comparing starship battlegroups indicates the first starship combat is extraordinarily balanced, and it certainly played out that way, but I didn’t get to test either of the personal combat encounters. You might have to adjust on the fly if your table runs those encounters.
As this is an investigatory adventure with more than one path to success, the GM should assume the need to improvise. The GM should also note that in an adventure such as this one, what stops the PCs from resolving this mission in 30 seconds is that there are Federation laws and regulations that prevent invasions of privacy and trespass. I know this is the attorney in me coming out, but considering that a Chandley class frigate represents seemingly infinite power and resources, the only way to allow for adventures such as these is to make sure the players know they’re bound by the law. This is the nature of the game, so you’re probably aware of this, but I note it just in case.
The adventure is set in the Original TV Series movie timeline (e.g., Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan), so it makes appropriate assumptions. It’s also laden with geek-culture references because 1) I’m a geek, and 2) I’m a smart-ass. I license this adventure to the public on the condition that you at least keep the name of the Admiral the same, but I can’t truly enforce that. 🙂
Again, happy gaming!
I fixed a typo, added a copyright notice, and added a stock image matching what I envisioned for the hathri. Think velociraptor.
Again, if you like what you see, please consider contributing to the project by sending whatever you think is appropriate via PayPal.
Follow me on Twitter @GSLLC