Today, I gave a tongue-in-cheek example on differences between Dungeons & Dragons and Star Trek Adventures adventure/mission setup. Well, I kind of over-enjoyed my own joke to the extent that I can now present you a Mission Brief of a “classical” D&D adventure – in space to be enjoyed by your Starfleet (or Klingon Defense Force) crew!
I hope you can enjoy, as I did – it was a hilarious write-up.
Yet, I would even more enjoy some critique.
(Sorry for all the barely-hidden eastereggs.)
We are responding to an emergency call issued by the colonists of Xaggy Prime, dubbed “the Dungeon” for its rich mineral deposits that are excavated in deep tunnels. The unarmed colonists have asked multiple times for enhanced [Starfleet / KDF] Presence in the area, since with trade, also piracy increased heavily. Interestingly, even though Xaggy Prime was thought to be devoid of animals bigger than small insects, we were asked to render assistance against hostile megafauna. I wonder what is behind this.
Suggested Era of Play: Any
Suggested Spotlight Role: Chief of Security or Science Officer
Upon arrival, Greg Ernest, governor of Xaggy Prime, informs the crew about the incidents: Huge and strange megafauna that resemble an odd chimera of a bear mixed with a hawk. This “Brawks”, as the colonists have dubbed the creatures, are insanely aggressive, attack everyone and everything on sight and fight until their death. The Crew arrives just in the midst of an attack against the small and almost helpless colony, so hands-on assistance with an away-team might be indicated. Colonists injured in the attack might need immediate medical assistance while the away-team fights the Brawks.
After fending off the Brawks, investigations begin. The crew is told that the Brawks attack the colony from an unknown source in the woods. Attack frequency increased, as did the number of individual Brawks participating in the attacks: The Brawk population is growing.
When Gov. Ernest tells the crew that the colonists have no idea where the Brawks originate from, he lies: Gary, one of the colonists and a self-taught genetic engineer with questionable tastes has mixed the genes of haws and bears to create the Brawks as terrifying watchdogs for the colony. He has artificially increased the beasts’ aggressiveness so they would rip any pirate apart, on command.
The crew might catch Ernest lying on the spot, or they might find sources of genetic manipulation when analysing the carcasses of Brawks killed in the attack.
Having uncovered the truth about the Brawks’ origins, the crew is left with the decision how to deal with the threat of Brawks uncontrollably proliferating in the woods. Should the products of a failed experiment be eradicated? Can their aggressive temper be calmed? What is their impact on the planet’s ecosystem and what are the moral implications of eradicating a whole species, even if non-sentient and artificially created?
Atmospheric interferences can force the away-team to land in a shuttle, as can they increase the difficulty of locating the Brawks’ nest(s). The Brawks could be modified with a third (toxic) species so the wounds they cut are even more grieveous. Finally, one or more colonists (maybe including the governor) could steal the away-teams weapons and go hunting Brawks on their own – risking their lives and the safety of the colony as they might lead other Brawks to the colony.
Take the Ferengi Salesman (p. 326) with the following changes:
- Replace Value with “The safety of the colonists on Xaggy Prime is paramount”
- Replace Escalation with Phaser type-2 (cf. eg. Starfleet Conn/Security Officer, p. 314)
- Replace Special Rules with: Tough (talent, p. 136), Defuse the tension (talent, p. 136)
Take the Starfleet Science Officer (p. 315) with the following changes:
- Increase Science Discipline by 1
- Add the following Focuses: Genetic Engineering, Out of the Box Thinking
- Add the follwing Value: Life’s problems are solved with life itself
- Remove phaser type-1 attack
Brawks are genetically engineered chimeras of Bears and Hawks. Adult specimen are larger than 4 m (12–13 ft), have a wingspan of up to 10 m (32–33 ft) and weigh more than two metric tons. They are incabable of flying, yet can use their wings for extremely long jumps. Despite their origin als genetically engineered clones, they are able to reproduce sexually, laying 2 or 3 eggs per nest.
Brawks have an innate fury that compels them to attack any living (moving) creature that is not of their kind on sight. The fury also prevents them from fleeing a fight – these terrifying beasts fight until their death (or, rather, until they have killed anyone and anything).
Traits: Genetically Engineered Beast, Bear-Hawk-Chimera
Values: Furious Destroyer
Attributes: Control 8, Daring 11, Fitness 11, Insight 5, Presence 10, Reason 2
Disciplines: Command 1, Conn –, Security 3, Engineering –, Science –, Medicine –
Focuses: Melee, Tracking
- Claws (Melee, 4 CD, Vicious 1, 1H, Intense)
- Beak (Melee, 5 CD, Piercing 1, 1H)
- Wings (Ranged [Close or Medium], 4 CD Area, Knockdown, 1H)
- Immune to Fear and Pain
- Night Vision
- Threatening 1
- Fly-At-Attack: The Brawk can charge by an attempt to fly. As a Task, the Brawk moves to within Reach of an enemy within Long range, and makes a melee attack with its claws. It cannot use its wings to attack until the end of the following round of combat.
The players will have restored security for the colony – either way. In case all Brawks were eradicated, the question of their origin remains: Will Gary hand over the genetic material? Will it be preserved in a database, or ultimately destroyed? Will Gary flee the planet to protect his creation? And if the Brawks can stay on Xaggy Prime, either further manipulated to be calmed down, or warded off by force fields, pheromones or the like – how will this affect the colony and/or the fragile ecosystem of the planet? Will the Brawks attract trophy hunters, or arms dealers? There will always be a reason to return to “the Dungeon”.
This brief can be thrown into any campaign at virtually any point of its story. It is both a bow to the origins of TTRPG as it is a story about actions and consequences. When playing with a Starfleet crew, it will probably turn out to be a moral piece on the ethics of adventuring. On the other hand, it could be a pretty straight-forward dungeon-crawl for a Klingon crew seeking glory. Yet, still Klingons will have to ask themselves whether there lies honour in smashing Brawk eggs…