Session 0 in STA

Hello everyone

So in a week this will be session 0 for my first STA campaigne and I am preparing a google doc to summarize what topics will be in that session.

I am not considering myself as as a beginner game master but “session zero” is pretty new to me (in fact when reading Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master last year).

I have already done one for my Tomb of Annihilation D&D campaign (which is in standby for now for personal reasons) in January 2018 but D&D and STA are not the same kind of RPG so I’m looking for advice about topics I should cover next week.

There are some point which has already been covered on our Discord server :

  • we will play in the default era of the game
  • character have already been created
  • roles have already been decided
  • I have already created a ship because initially it was supposed to be a test one-shot because one player had asked for it but this player has left the boat meanwhile and the other are pretty sure they want a campaign so maybe they will create their ship
  • The only thing they want to test at this stage during is the 2d20 system (2 players have tested it with me in 2018 but want to test it again, 1 player have played another Star Trek previous game but dont remember which one and 1 player has never played any Star Trek RPG)

Thanks and regards fellow trekkies GM :slight_smile:

1 Like

It’s great to have players create their ship together. It fosters a sense of ownership for them. I’d suggest running a first session where you introduce Tasks (including First Aid), but not necessarily Extended Tasks or any kind of Combat. Get them used to Advantages and Ship Roles.

I remember than during my test drive in 2018, Extended Tasks was the thing we had difficulties with :slight_smile:

Le dim. 2 févr. 2020 à 16:13, TonyPi via Modiphius Forums a écrit :

Some other initial concepts to introduce: Complication Ranges, Assistance (other characters and ship assistance), buying dice with Momentum/Threat (especially how the cost goes up when you already have bonus dice).

1 Like

So for now mainly a rule primer?

You may be busy just getting characters and the ship ready. Once that’s done, I’d recommend a short rules-primer adventure, such as the repair of a damaged weather control system on a colony world, and helping the colonists cope with some disasters on the ground. That could help them think about Attribute and Discipline combos, Focuses, and so forth.

The session zero I ran for my campaign effectively boiled down to the CO being assigned command of their ship and putting together their senior staff. This allowed for a bit of in character RP, but nothing too mechanically heavy.

Session zero can be a great chance to work out how the crew will fit together as well as simply giving an insight into the rules.

It really depends what you want to achieve from the session.

Is it necessary for your group to talk about expectations and limits? If the group played D&D before, STA will be very different in style of gaming and definetly in the mechanics. It could be worth the two minutes to just make this clear.

When I did a one-shot test game of STA, I had one player complaining about the mechanics of armour/protection, claiming it was ‘highly illogical’ compared to the mechanics he knew from D&D. We could eventually talk through it, I hope, but it could have been avoided by properly setting expectations.

Regarding the limits: Star Trek can be (and should be, in my opinion) a very politically themed game. I love to see it as a game of moral choices and conflicting values (pun intended). But it can be difficult. So it might be worth it to discuss the ‘red lines’ of the players that must not be crossed by plots. Take this discussion about trigger warnings in/before adventures as an example.

I don’t know your group and maybe you were gaming for the last decades or so and this is not necessary for you and your group. But these are the things I will discuss out of character with my group in our session zero. :slight_smile:

Have fun, fellow GM. :slight_smile:

My group and I are “veteran players” what I mean by that is we are all in our 40’s (except one which is in his mid 30’s) and we have all played other games than D&D, so I think most of them do know this is not “D&D in spaaace” :wink:

But anyway, this is out first STA campaign so I am modest and assume any advices is good, hence the reason I posted this topic :slight_smile:

So yes, players expectation is important.

At this time I have made my campaign concept using this PDF : (This is an affiliate link, don’t hesitate to remove it from the URL if you don’t like affiliate links).

Here is the concept

STA campaign concept

  • Who GMing? Merlyn.
  • Who are the players? Greewi, Thomas, Bruno and Friedrich.
  • Do we really want to play a campaign? Yes
  • What game system will we use? The 2d20 system
  • Where will the campaign take place? the campaign will take place in the Star Trek universe and more specifically in 2371 in the Beta quadrant.
  • What will be the central story of the campaign? The story will center on the PC’s assignment to a space station on the edge of the Klingon Empire and a vast, unexplored expanse.
  • What role will the PCs play? The PCs will be senior Starfleet officers on board a spacecraft.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that the STA system is much more narrative than D&D. If something is not covered in the rules, you should ask yourselves “how are similar situations handled in the shows?” The most flexible thing in the system is the “Create Advantage” Task which can be used for basically anything.

Also, don’t worry about what characters can or can’t achieve. Let players make suggestions, if it sounds cool or like something that we could see in the shows, tell them how much Momentum it will cost and make it happen.


I have no issue with the rolling mechanics but, indeed, the narrative mechanics are what I have the more difficulty with althought I have ran Icons without a problem ^^

Well, let’s just say that I re-evaluated my perception of us being ‘veteran players’ as well when we ran into the little anecdote I shared. But, on the other hand, we’re still in our 30’s so it’s probably the next ten years we’re still missing until we grow white beards of wisdom. :wink: :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing the concept that I already stole for my next campaign. :slight_smile:

I forgot one thing: Talk about the chain of command aboard a starship and about the hierarchy of a military – and whether you want to play this game. Very strict like a military science fiction story or more (and this is, in my opinion, the way Star Trek approaches it) like a military-themed space opera? At least my own group of veteran players might need some practice to make themselves familiar with this, as their ‘regular group of adventurers’ runs very well without formalised hierarchy, orders and chains of command.

As for the hierarchy of a military, I will have my players create their ship, and then I will have them create their captain as a sort of supporting character. I say sort of because it will not count against the total of supporting characters allowed by their ship. I do this because of poor experiences in the past with people in a command position over the other players. I know, there typically will be a CO anyway, no matter what they do, but I (and they) will have the captain over them.

Because I just stumbled over it and think this might be valuable for anyone else preparing for a session zero:

Discuss whether and to what extent personal trauma (cf. Sciences Division Supplement) will have a role in your game. If you want to include personal trauma, please(!) make sure everybody is on the same page regarding red lines not to be crossed.

In other words: The advice in the sidebar on p. 94 of the Sciences Division Supplement should be read and included into any session zero. :slight_smile:

1 Like