Borg Campaign ideas

For my “second season” for the Shackleton Expanse (the main arc of the first season will be the Tilikaal Saga crossed with the Klingon Civil War/echoes of the Dominion War), I’m thinking really hard about doing a Borg arc. Basically, as they wrap up the Tilikaal arc, they come across a silent Akira class approaching. It turns out to be an assimilated ship that they had came across earlier which later had an unfortunate encounter with the Borg.

I’m using a prompt that the Borg Cube from Wolf 359 passed through the Expanse and there’s an infestation caused by the skirmishes it had passing through. That will explain why the Borg will mostly be using weaker ships (it’s still a fledgeling colony) so the heroes can still feaaibly win, even if it is challenging. I think I’ll have the big finale be about trying to prevent a Borg Cube from coming on line.

Any thoughts on what the lead up episodes could be about? I’ll have filler episodes as well (similar to how DS9 had Dominion War episodes interspersed with random one off episodes). So far, I’m thinking:

  • The mandatory traumatised colony where the Borg are “recruiting” for their new ship. Perhaps deal with the colonist’s desire for revenge.
  • Have the Borg turn up in a seemingly unrelated episode, so they cause mayhem but mostly contribute “fear” of them rather than contribute to the plot itself.
  • Perhaps have an episode similar to Voyager’s “Extreme Risk”, except instead of a multispacial probe, it’s a trapped cargo ship with an exotic material that’s important to the construction of the Cube.
  • One similar to TNG’s “I, Borg” where they come across a drone that will allow them to find the Cube…but the complication is that to access the information, it will cause something unethical. Perhaps the drone could be freed…but the procedure to get the information will cause it a painful death. Or perhaps it will provoke a Borg attack on a populated system, so they have to decide whether they should let the Borg attack the system, or risk not finding the Cube in time (obviously, this will come after they discover what the Borg are trying to do).
  • A raid on a Borg vessel to get a transponder so they can get close enough to do something about it.
  • A political episode as they try to unite the factions against the Borg.
  • Perhaps a Borg attack on Narendra station as a semi climax?

I’m trying to have a sketch so I have an idea of what to do when it comes to running it…but keep it at a sketch so I can respond to their in game actions. Any thoughts on other interesting episodes?

I’ve yet to try a Borg battle. How viable is it to have the Cube come online? Threat Protocols (number of actions equal to the combined scale of its enemies) makes it sound like it’s game over when it does, even with fleets present.

Would it be viable to integrate the Klingon-Fed War book to help mediate the war aspect of this?

How long do you tend to find it works for a series arc before they get tired of it?

Sorry a lot of sudden veerings off on tangents with the questions :smile: Just trying my hand at my first homebrew campaign!

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I always thought it would be interesting to explore what happened to the renegade Borg from TNG’s Descent. I assume Hugh leads them and some of them are being rehabilitated, but some may have the desire to remain together or rejoin the Collective. Maybe they have found refuge in the Shackleton Expanse and that attracts the Borg.

Or maybe there is someone stupid enough (Klingons, Ferengi) to lure the Borg into the Expanse in an attempt to steal some valuable tech.

A space battle against a Cube is kind of pointless in my opinion. Even though it’s possible within the rules, Borg Cubes should essentially be unbeatable with conventional weapons and tactics. It’s a good idea to put one up against Narendra Station, but that should be the backdrop to whatever the heroes are doing to stop it.


Yeah, good point about the Lore-Borg (or the Lorg).

As for Cubes being unstoppable, I agree and that’s the point - letting the Cube out would be disastrous. I’m also keen on letting the players’ decisions have consequences, which could include the Cube coming online if they screw up. Again, more spitballing and thinking about strategies to keep the scenario winnable. A strike team mission whole it’s distracted by Narendra is a possible way, if they come up with that idea.

One of the episodes could involve a group of Borg having been unlinked from the collective due to something specific to the Expanse, or the planet they’re ofund on in the Expanse. That could offer one solution to the cube: duplicating the effect and deflector dishing it to the cube.

That cargo ship you mentioned with the exotic material might be another potential solution. If it turns out the material reacts with something in the gas giant or something they do when trying to rescue the ship, they could use that to impact or weaken the cube’s systems.

Basically use early encounters with the Borg to give them solutions to the problem of the week that could be used against the cube later.

I don’t know if the Tactical book would help, but it’s certainly an intriguing idea. Every encounter with the Borg that they have offers something that can help them or hinder the Borg, which determines the final strength of the cube. So they get your cargo ship with the exotic material, which eventually hurts the cube… but the Borg ship they were racing against escape, which contributes later to the number of Borg in the sector.


I always loved how Voyager foreshadowed the Borg Arc: At the end of an episode, Chakotay and Janeway (I think?) find the remnants of Borg drones in a ditch. Surprised and frightened looks are exchanged and - cut, credits.

Will totally steal this idea if I ever introduce Borg in my game. :slight_smile:

Cool idea!

For your arc:

  • How do the players find out that the Borg are planning to build a Cube on their own (this is what I get from your “remnant fledgelings of a passing Cube” setup)?
  • How do they find out where the Cube is built?
  • Can they try to cut the supply chain? Maybe there’s some rare material the Borg need to build the Cube? Maybe it’s the material the players need to retrieve from the gas giant - becaus they’ve sunk it there in the first place?
  • How have they found out about the supply chain in the first place?
  • Maybe you drop a way to externally sabotage the Cube, first? Maybe it fails because of reasons outside of the players’ control (maybe a third party?), despite the mission itself was a success? So the Cube will attack Narendra station, leading up to the Strike team mission?

Do you have access to the Delta Quadrant supplement? Lots of Crunch on the Borg in there. Have a look at the page about “assimilated ships”, it will sure come in handy for your campaign!

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Thank you for the ideas! I’ll definitely incorporate them in to the campaign. They’ll certainly enrich the episodes with angles I hadn’t considered and spawn new episodes as well. I really like the idea of seeding the episodes with potential future solutions for the Cube. Another possibility is potentially “poisoning” the exotic material from the cargo ship so if it goes back to the Cube, it’s potentially opening a weakness (obviously that’s going to depend on the mentality of the players and how they approach the situation, but it’s a viable avenue for them).

This is why I love the idea of the Borg. Their unique nature allows for the “Extreme Risk” type scenario. The Klingons (in that war scenario) would either blast you or have it make sense to just destroy/disable them, rather than having a fair competition. The Borg generally ignore you, so the former won’t happen unless provoked and the latter is just generally not viable - so it allows for the non violent encounters that are still high stakes that have to be quite contrived with other species.

Yeah, sorry I wasn’t clear, the colony making the Cube was the idea. It’s still a weak Borg presence (I really don’t want Borg ships routinely flying around and I’m hoping the players will be able to eventually eliminate the Borg presence, either through gameplay or indirectly, or at least relegate them to “the occasional adversary in one-off episodes” level) but they’re constructing a Cube to consolidate their presence in the Expanse and then to threaten the Federation. The players will slowly find out about it and their operations and then be de facto tasked with stopping it since no one in the alpha quadrant is ready for another incursion, being in the middle of the Dominion War.

How long do you tend to find that you can do these kinds of arcs before people start getting restless?

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You know, I have this D&D campaign going where the Players try to prevent the re-emergence of an evil, dead deity… it’s now in its 10th year… :see_no_evil:

Why not simply compare to the Tilikaal-Saga that you’ve played through? Did it have a good lentgh? Then go with about 10 adventures in the main storyline with between 5 and 15 (or: around 10) adventures in between. Was the Tilikaal-campaign to long for your players? Cut two main adventures and up to three “in-betweens”. Was there story left untold, because the plot advanced too fast? Fill in random briefs or extend your main campaign by two or three (or…) adventures.

Kudos! However, I bet that’s just general premise of the setting, and you’ve had several adventures in that with more specific goals etc, so it’d be more comparable to my “exploring the Shackleton Expanse” :upside_down_face:

With respect to the Tilikaal Saga, I’m actually still playing it. I like to plan ahead and have ideas for the next stage in embryo and my creative juices are flowing at the moment - I’ve learned to take advantage when they’re flowing and start getting frameworks down.

In short, I don’t know! That’s why I’m trying to gauge how it works. I can alway cut content or inflate it to fine tune, but it’s good to have a rough idea. I work well with frameworks :smile:

Well, you know already your players are still with you, x adventures into the Tilikaal campaign. So, they obviously will probably not gonna start getting restless until at least x+1 adventures. :nerd_face: :wink:

Regarding a “general premise” and the obligatory “several adventures within with more specific goals etc” – yes, of course! Yet, you can use this. As you said: more specific goals. If the players see that every mission brings them closer to their goal, it should be fine. Some sidequests can(!) be nice to not overdo it with all the Borg stuff, but they should not come to often and distract players too much (only one side-quests at a time, maybe two in a row, once, I’d say just as a rule of thumb).

A classic storytelling device (is that the correct term, after all?) you could use would be the so-called “Three-act structure”, with setup (act 1), confrontation (act 2) and resolution (act 3). With two or three missions per act and one or two additional in the second act (as it tends to be a bit longer) you have about 7–11 missions that should be absolutely fine (says my gut and stresses that this is just a feeling based on nothing).
The Tilikaal-Campaign is considerably longer (10–20 adventures), as is the Federation Klingon War Tactical Campaign (15 adventures). As both are written by very experienced and talented writers with years of experience under their belt, I think it’s safe to take these numbers for “should be safe for most groups”.



And to be fair, I’m mostly after that “gut feeling” estimate - I find it tends to be the most useful in creating expectations/framework.