Having watched Episode 7 of strange new worlds made me wonder how often other GM’s have their player’\s get captured? My group never had all of the main character’s captured at the same time and rarely got captured at all even as individuals, though there was plenty of times when they were on the run. The players were really good about reacting fast when things started to go down. Some people might consider their responses cowardly (especially by Klingon standards) but they had come to an agreement that in those situations that getting captured always made things worse. Their XO’s motto was “you can’t save anyone while you’re drowning.” In general they were very good at hiding and evasion, as well as having a sixth sense that things were going south. They always were setting up check in times, pass phrases, and even had code words they could use on non secured channels to alert their fellow crew members to danger and give them general instructions. They were near paranoid about security. Though with their campaign setting after the Dominion War, half the characters were Dominion War veterans and the others were on core worlds when the changeling scare was in full force it always made sense to me, why they would be very vigilant about their surroundings and situations.
The easy way: the episode starts and they are already captured or surrounded, you can play the evasion scenario
The hard way capture players first. Drawback if you don’t manage to capture them your scenario is wasted.
Don’t do the same errors that always occurs in the series. If you capture a ship you have to put on detention 500 people (Since we play with series budget in mind, yes all the crew is locked on decks 4 and 5 but you can’t see them because we can’t pay for so much extras.)
Capturing my players ship will be very hard. Romulans will be sick (the trap is already in place). There’s an independant IA in computer, Roger (if somebody can capture the Ship Roger is a candidate, but the Ship Councilor has educated him well), Even. the Syndicalist Janitor that they play from time to time has a total lockdown routine (rolled 1,1,2) that will impair invasion.
If you want to capture players make the main ship go away to cut backup.
If your players are so suspicious that they have several levels of failsafes which were installed to prevent a capture then you have done something wrong, because such behavior contradicts the optimistic atmosphere of Star Trek.
If you really want to capture the PCs of such a group of players then use your threat to disable all failsafes.
My players have had individuals held hostage, but weve not had the whole group captured at once.
If i wanted to run that in a mission I would agree with @betatester and start in media res allowing my players to help dictate how they were captured (and all the extra bits of planning you can pack into leverage style flashbacks).
Trying to force a situation which relies on your players doing something is always a risky gamble.
My players frequently throw curve ■■■■■ (seriously, spherical, throwable sports objects are banned? ) at me that any railroaded scenario would end up in a train wreck.
100% in agreement with starting In Media Res otherwise players will do anything to avoid capture. It’s instilled in many of them from experience with killer DMs in the past. Relying on capturing them in game is a non-starter.
I’m not a fan of it in general but there was a time I wanted all my players to get captured. I basically threw all the treat needed to make it happen.
The players needed to collect a retired Admiral Dr. who was living on a colony located in Federation territory but very close to the Klingon border. War was imminent with the Klingons so colonies were being evacuated. The Dr. had found an underground alien device that reanimated matter and he brought his wife back from the dead using it. He then turned the colony into zombies trying to perfect the process. I wanted the players to get swarmed by zombies and taken down to set up the final scene. In the end, there was no time to retrieve the alien device as Klingons were near the planet and it ended up being photoned to keep it out of Klingon hands.
I just try to keep an open mind to the story taking an alternate course if for some reason, despite my use of threat, things go in a different direction.
In a non STA game, the campaign started with all characters in a cell, captured.
I never needed my characters to be captured in any my missions, and I don’t punish players for taking what I consider basic precautions, ones we have seen before in Star Trek. In Star Trek II it is quoted as a regulation to use coded communication if you are speaking on an open channel and think you are being monitored by an enemy. All my players did was to make these procedures SOP for their crew and away team which worked fine for their small crew. I was just curious how often other GM’s had characters get captured as it came up in conversation with my players after a few of them watched episode 7 of Strange New Worlds.
Personally I am not really fond of prisoner scenario’s in RPG’s, though there have been situations where particular individuals were left behind which resulted in those individuals getting captured and that was fine, a good old rescue is fun and the player’s character being able to take control of their favorite support character makes sure everyone continues to be part of the action. That is my most favorite feature of STA.
Again with the campaign being set in the aftermath of the Dominion War, I felt the extra precautions were justified, I mean their ship even has the trait - Dominion War Veteran.
I don’t think I’ve ever had PCs captured in non-SFU trek… not in FASA, not in LUG, not in the abortive failed campaign of Decipher…
Twice in Prime Directive, but not as an intentional plot complication. Time 1: ship’s power blown out…
Time 2: lost the fight with the baddies at the end of “Graduation Exercise”… one of the best adventures from the TFG Prime Directive line. The Vulcan was able to get them out… his discipline was maxed out. Not a VPM, but a line officer. (And a throwback Vulcan from before ST V came out.)
I think there’s a difference between being captured during an adventure and being captured as part of the adventure and how you approach that is super important.
Being captured during an adventure is usually a result of people being taken out of combat and the NPCs not wanting to kill the characters/the GM not wanting to kill the characters. It happens but it’s super hard because players will fight tooth and nail to not be captured. Doesn’t matter if they’re outnumbered 1000 to 1, surrender isn’t in the vocabulary of most players.
Being captured as part of the adventure is a different beast and simply requires doing away with the dice rolls and communicating with the players that this is part of the plot. There’s some great stories that can be played out using this trope and it is a trope for a reason. However you can’t hinge the plot on the chance of the PCs being captured - doesn’t matter if you spend threat or not.
A strong piece of advice - it’s okay to take a railroad to the destination but make sure to let the players off the train ASAP to do their own tour.
One of the major reasons that I think players do not get captured in Star Trek is because of the transporters. With my players being really on top of things, will pull out via transporter very quickly, and if the transporter doesn’t work it verifies to them that there is something wrong. The largest group of player of my six players that got captured through play was three. They actually surrendered to some Romulans, though at this point in the Campaign they had a good indication that the captain would end up returning them to there ship eventually.
Threat spend on a reversal. Out of 8 episodes used it in two, creates some great moments.