Session and scene rules

Hi everyone! I’m about to run my first STA game with my regular (mostly D&D) gaming group. We are all experienced tabletop RPGers, but we’ve never played this system. I plan to run the mission in the Quickstart rules as a one-shot with the pre-generated characters. The idea is that we can get a feel for the system before they create their own characters. I’m giving them the starter set rules PDF to read optionally, but I do have the core rulebook.

I’ve noticed there are things that happen at the beginning of the session and in between scenes that are scattered throughout the rules. I put together a concise list to remind me of what to do between sessions and scenes. Does this sound like a full list? Do I have anything wrong? Thanks!

Start of session:

  • Reset the threat pool to 2 threat per player
  • Reset the momentum pool to 0
  • Reset each player’s determination to 1

At the beginning of a scene (or technically between scenes):

  • Recover all stress
  • Recover from non-lethal injuries (but not injury-related complications)

At the end of a scene:

  • Reduce momentum pool by 1
  • Lethal injuries must receive first aid or the character dies

At the start of session you reset each player determination pool - they always start session with 1 point.

Player Characters begin each session with a single point
of Determination, and no character can have more than
three points of Determination at any time (p.87 core)
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Thanks! I edited it to say “reset”. Glad you pointed that out, it will make people want to use determination rather than saving it.

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Welcome and good luck finding the Signal’s origin! :slight_smile:

That’s a default, but no hard rule. See p.86 of the Core Rules saying that “this can be adjusted based on the tone and underlying tension of a given mission.” I’d recommend to stay with the “two per player” formular for the Quick Start Adventure, though.

Also, I’d say that this is at “start of mission” and not necessarily “start of session”, in case the adventure spans over more than one evening of play.

The remove all stress is also not automatic. It’s usually in between scenes, but can (in rather exceptionally cases) happen within a scene. Or not at all if the injury is so severe that the character has to “skip” another scene, so to say.

Healing of lethal injuries would take a check that can be done in between scenes, imho, unless the treatment of the injured patient is a pivotal point in your story – in this case, I’d set a whole scene for this.

On a sidenote: With my D&D group, I did it exactly like you: Playing one-shots to get to know the system before actually creating characters. After the quick start adventure, I used the mini-campaign within the Starter Set (you might even find some hardcopies on Amazon and/or eBay but there’s a digital print & play PDF at the Modiphius shop) as additional one-shots. It uses the same pregenerated characters. I liked it very much and would recommend it to beginners. :slight_smile:

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Thanks @MisterX! I agree, I just want to understand and be able to explain the “normal” rules before tweaking things like threat. Hopefully I can be consistent at first, so when I add excess threat they’ll get a sense that things are a little more dangerous than usual.

I’m glad no one has added any other between-scene rules; I felt like every time I reread the rules I found something new. I also noticed there are things that happen at the end of a “mission” (which seems deliberately undefined) but I’m more concerned about scenes because I don’t want to slow down play.

We normally play really slow D&D, with a lot of time for chatting and character exposition, which is cool. But our games can sometimes drag–for example, the players will be cautious, like let’s check for traps on every door, then listen at the door, then ritually cast detect magic, then peek in stealthily, etc. I watched the Modiphius videos on YouTube of the Signals game, and things seemed so much more streamlined than our typical games. I’m hoping that’s how it goes and we can get through this mission in one night. Then I can ask them if they want to go ahead and create characters next, or move on to the starter set mission with the same characters. Or maybe just do one starship combat before new characters.


Our style of play is very similar to what you describe. I think you will be amazed, how STA supports that kind of play – I certainly was (and still am).

Because it might be interesting for your games: In between scenes you plan, ask for whether one or more of your players want own scenes with one another or specific NPC. Consider not to reduce Momentum after such scenes, when they consisted only of characterplay to not discourage player induced scenes mechanically.

That’s an interesting idea. I will definitely keep that in mind!

We got through the whole quickstart mission. Some struggled with the rules, but it seemed like everyone had fun. They started to help each other with decisions about momentum/threat use, so that was great. I think we’ll continue that way until everyone feels really comfortable with the rules. I can tell that some people are willing to use momentum or add to threat every time while others want to save it as much as possible and are willing to see just what 2d20 will do. It will be interesting to see how that evolves.

I gave them a choice to continue with the same characters a little more or create their own, and they chose to continue with the pre-gen characters. So we’re going to do the Starter Set mission next.

I’m a little concerned with how to handle the Andorian and her Ushaan-tor. She was more than willing to slice up some Romulans with it! Which totally seems to fit with her values, but I might need to read up on the Starfleet disciplinary rules. :smile:

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Can I recommend that (if you have it) you take a few minutes to read over the adjusted character development rules in the Klingon book before your group gets super set in the flow of a session. This would fit into an “end of the mission” section for you.

They are a vast improvement over the core book, but are also much more player facing, meaning you’ll find them easier to incorporate into a campaign if you get the players used to them early. They also provide extra motivation for note taking.


Thanks for the recommendation. I don’t have that book yet, but I’m very curious!

I purchased the Klingon Core PDF and skimmed the character development section. I like it! I’m going to have them start character logs.

I’m pretty sure the definition of an “adventure” or “mission” are intentionally vague to let the GM decide, but I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on the Starter Set campaign…what would you consider the “end of adventure” for the purpose of creating a log entry: the end of each “Part” (there are 3 parts the starter campaign) or the end of the whole thing?

It seems like each of the 3 parts is designed to fit into one session, though I’m going to let them play it out as long as it takes so one part might take more than one evening. Between each part, we’ll reset momentum, determination, and threat. It’s possible that they finish part 1 near the beginning of the 2nd evening of play, so that might be a good time to have them log entries and adjust stats, then begin part 2.

I like the sound of this approach, but I’m wondering if doing it after roughly every play session is too much. **Edit…and also reputation rolls! Every session seems like a lot, but I’m wondering what others have experienced.

It depends a lot on the nature of your players and your own gming.

The scenarios are generally designed for one session per mission (scenario), but like most groups, we talk too much and my pacing is generally bad, so we tend towards two 4 hour sessions per mission. I reset determination, do character advancement and so on between missions, so once every other session. It’s slow, but the players seem happy.

Part of my reasoning is that one mission equals one tv episode, and everything resets during the end credits…


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The starter campaign is a three-part story, with each part being one episode. I would have them create log entries at the end of each part. Each part may take more than one session to complete; no right or wrong answer there.

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I like the idea of treating each part as an episode. In fact, I wrote some lines (like a play) for the characters to read at the beginning of part one. It will function like the teaser scene before the opening credits. I thought this would be a fun way for them to learn the set up without me just reading a block of text.

Thanks for the input everyone. I’ll have the players start noting their use of values during our session tonight, and we’ll see what happens!