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U.S.S Bellerophon Open Channel

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DavidRosson said Feb 09, 2017

So the email says 20 days until “Starfleet will send requests for mission status”. So is that how long it is till a feedback form is created? From there how long will we have to actually get feedback in? I’m basically trying to figure out how much time we will have to do stuff for session scheduling purposes.

“It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.” - Q
Star Trek RPG Files (Character Build Reference and Constellation Class Starship)


Karrell said Feb 09, 2017

Does anyone else see a missing sentence on page 2?

The expedition to locate <redacted> uncovers a <redacted>. Lormeans some time, but …

Something is missing there. :slight_smile:


Mike Stanley said Feb 09, 2017

Something is missing there. :slight_smile:

Agreed. After reading the scene in question I believe I would extrapolate it as by doing a certain activity to the <redacted> it saves the Lormeans some time. :slight_smile:


ChaoticGM said Feb 11, 2017

So, I feel this is not a great adventure, mostly because there is no outcome at all that could be considered “good”. Yes, that is also part of Trek but as the first mission? This is a rough one, and I can already tell that my players will hate it. It has great moral dilemma, but I have no idea how to run this without the players saying “■■■■ you GM” at the end. I am personally really unwilling to run this as written as it depresses me greatly. I think this could be a great adventure after a bit of player investment in the characters and established universe. Here I feel it is a kick in the groin. [Edited] I may have to run the Venture one simply based on that.

[Last edited Feb 11, 2017]


Elijah said Feb 12, 2017

My players realized at the beginning, when I said that Prime Directive was in effect, that it was gonna end like with a choice. The Captain decided at the onset that he was gonna obey the Prime Directive and let the scientist stay, so he was not really feeling any pressure at the end game. After the lead scientist took a hostage and was knocked out cold, the Captain player just lost his ■■■■ and decided he was gonna arrest all the scientist and the locals be damned.


ChaoticGM said Feb 13, 2017

I believe if most of your players are Star Trek fans it will work better. I have 2 Trekkies, 2 who know Trek from TV TNG only a bit and 2 who are there to have fun and have no attachment to Trek in any way. When I say “Prime Directive” only 2 of 6 Players will know what I am talking about. I think this is simply the wrong adventure for my group sadly. My first impression really is too harsh.


DavidRosson said Feb 13, 2017

So open with a military style briefing from the NPC captain or Starfleet Command (if the Captain is a PC) reviewing the rules of the Prime Directive as a discrete mission parameter. For people unfamiliar with the setting it is not any different then saying “you can’t be taken alive for questioning” or “don’t touch the dragon’s treasure while sneaking into the temple.” Most people understand that when assigned a job by their boss they will have certain rules to follow or face reprimand (or potential harm if it is a safety rule).

[Last edited Feb 13, 2017]

“It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.” - Q
Star Trek RPG Files (Character Build Reference and Constellation Class Starship)


ChaoticGM said Feb 15, 2017

I will probably do that, but under these circumstances the best solution for the players is to bug right off the planet as soon as they realize the scientists are gone to avoid further contamination. That`s why i do not like the adventure much, the “best” solution would be to never learn of the fate of the natives and leave the planet well alone. The more they interact the more problematic it becomes. Still not sure what I will do. But yea, still not a fan of the adventure in general. But, they wanted science ship so I will oblige them.


Elijah said Feb 16, 2017

@ChaoticGM The Prime Directive also states that they need to recover any personnel and technology if possible. So the players need to find where the scientists are and “rescue” them. And there is no “best” or “worst” solution to this problem. Just a decision to be made. But yeah, it was kinda underwhelming as a mission on the whole.
My players wanted to actually land the ship, since Intrepid class starships can land. I had to give some interference and Prime Directive excuse for that not to happen.
One of my players decided to bring holo emitters to camouflage the S.S. Tesla, like in Beyond. I liked the idea, but it really did not work out since the Adventure was contingent on them going to the city.
Maybe as a GM I should have let them try to land the starship with a 5 Difficulty?


ChaoticGM said Feb 17, 2017

The handwaving of “interference” to avoid the transporter solution or orbital scans again is so very heavy handed and will certainly earn an eyeroll. It is a cop out that is OK if used from time to time but seems to become “standard” here. It is cheating the players out of all the cool Star Trek toys. I also never understood the logic behind “retrieve everything”. If you can do it safely, sure. But if you have to send MORE people and material down that would increase the risk of further contamination? The Super Railroady nature is an issue as you say. The adventure hinges on the players going to the city willingly and meeting the scientists. As the Adventure mentions the scientists are civilians and not bound by the prime directive. So simply destroying the Tesla pieces and bugging off feels like a very valid solution to me.


Dirkindaburg said Feb 24, 2017

I think that the curiosity of the players will push them to accept the invitation to the capital city. Or if they decide to decline and leave, you can always have the Lormeans demand them to go. Yes, they’re peaceful; but their entire civilization is on the verge of obliteration. Plus, they’ve been told that this group of people have technology and a star ship capable of saving if not all then most of them. That may drive them to stun the crew and take them to the capital unconscious.


DavidRosson said Feb 26, 2017

The handwaving of “interference” to avoid the transporter solution or orbital scans again is so very heavy handed and will certainly earn an eyeroll.

So as an experiment I ran the adventure without having a general block on transporters and communication use when on the surface. There was a transporter block on the capital building since the scientists rigged something up there specifically to disrupt pattern locks and the mysterious energy source was still to deep underground to just beam down to it. There was no restriction on using the transporters to grab parts of the Tesla but they realized that was unsafe without a direct inspection first, so they were still on the surface to encounter the security force which set all the normal events from there in motion.

The impact to the adventure ended up being… that the crew called for information from and popped to and from the ship a few times to run more scans when nobody was looking… That was pretty much it. So there was no need for any arbitrary “anti transporter plot device” covering the whole planet. Really I figured this would be the case, as unless you are planning on going fully crazy by calling down orbital strikes or beaming down an invasion force what exactly is the big danger of having access to the resources of the ship in orbit early in the adventure? Anything on that scale would be a big regulation violation itself, and a few additional scans or the ability to review some text on the ship computer doesn’t make the diplomatic encounters / legal decisions any easier, and things like repair are still dictated by the skills of the away team.

[Last edited Feb 26, 2017]

“It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.” - Q
Star Trek RPG Files (Character Build Reference and Constellation Class Starship)


ScottB said Mar 19, 2017

@DavidRosson - an excellent experiment with an expected result (in fairness however I have not seen the actual adventure, just what I’ve read here). In the Venture mission, the PC’s are not given any access to the ship due to “plot”. I’m tempted to replay the mission without that stipulation now to see what happens.

STA Community Workbook

I found the adventure flawed in its basic premise of trying the present a “damned if you do” / “damned if you don’t” dichotomy.

If the players agree the PD is in effect then decide to throw it out the window, they’ve just boned themselves potentially to the point of writing themselves out of the game because there’s no way Starfleet is ever going to trust them in this situation again. This is a scenario best tackled when the characters have some sort of reputation/support network (and actual experience) to buffer them against the worst of the fallout.

It also doesn’t allow for the possibility that the crew can actually arrive at the decision to aid the Lemurians within the dictates of the PD, based around the statement “natural and healthy” – the decaying presence of the great machine and its use to move the planet into the system in the first place can be used as the basis of the argument that Lemurian civilisation here did not begin and will not end naturally, and the PD allows for intervention to rectify the effects of such contamination (as so ably demonstrated by Kirk himself).

Well, I have not yet played the adventure. But in general, breaking the Prime Directive is not necessarily an “insta-death” sort of killer. Picard did it within the first 10 episodes of TNG (01x08 when visiting Edo) and he did not only retain command of Starfleet’s Flagship (!) but also eventually became Admiral, years later.

Regarding Starfleet’s trust in their officers: There is even a mechanic for this in STA, called the reputation system. Sure, there is the risk that there may be disciplinary action of some sort at some point – but this also is a starting point for the GM to generate really good drama. :slight_smile:

I’m not arguing against a prime directive-based story, I just disagree with it being the first cab off the rank; using Picard as an example I think proves my point about the necessity of having a degree of padding built up in order to avoid the worst repercussions (not that I’d agree that the events of 1x08 were in any way Prime Directive related when clearly it was about the clash between Federation and local law given the planet was a designated shore leave world despite having only been recently “discovered”).

I also really dislike that way too much science fiction relies on people being bad at their jobs, and then that lack of competency either being overlooked or baked into the status quo