Published Dec 9, 2020
A Gift Guide For Your Star Trek Adventures GM
....that aren't just more Star Trek Adventures books! ?
By Rob Wieland
If you’re lucky enough to have a Star Trek Adventures GM in your life, it can be very difficult to shop for them. There are a lot of great books out for the game, but the same drive that makes someone want to put together a regular RPG night also likely already has several of those excellent books. We’ve put together a collection of other books for the GM that are full of inspiration and information to enrich the stories that you are all telling together.
We’re skipping past classics like Mike Okuda’s Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual and Marc Okrand’s The Klingon Dictionary. The books on this list are a bit more recent, but if you don’t have those foundational titles, add them to the top of your holiday list too.
One of the most important characters of any Star Trek story is the vessel. Enterprise is just as famous a name as Kirk or Picard. The game understands this by allowing the group to create their ship together. The Star Trek Shipyards book series contains wonderful illustrations of several federation ships, including ships that were only seen for a second or two in the background of a show or movie. Many of these match up with ships already detailed in the game. The line is also expanding to cover ships outside the Federation; there’s already a Klingon Fleet book perfect for Game Masters starting up a Klingon Empire campaign and Delta Quadrant ships including the Borg due out early next year.
Books written from inside the universe offer a great perspective for Game Masters looking to immerse in the lore without reading dry wiki pages. This series of books produced a pair of travel guides for two iconic planets in the Star Trek universe. Vulcan covers Spock’s home planet while The Klingon Empire details Qo’noS and a few select locations within the boundaries of the empire. There are a lot of great location ideas in these books along with customs that Vulcan and Klingon might want to incorporate into their characters. These books are also the best choices on this list for reading on a Kindle or other e-reader for an added little bit of PADD flavor.
Gamers love maps. Star Trek Adventures provides excellent maps of the quadrants in its core book, but for those tables who want more, Star Trek: Stellar Cartography provides ones from multiple sources including the Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans and more. The book explains the context of each map but the key draw are the fold-out prop quality maps included. Looking at them makes it easy to imagine a story about hacking a Romulan star cruiser’s navigational computer to find a lost world or a diplomatic intrigue over an ancient Vulcan map being auctioned to private collectors.
Our last book on this list written from inside the Star Trek universe is also the hardest to find. This history of the Federation that covers the time period from Zephram Cochrane to the death of James T. Kirk features some wonderful first hand sources that give unique perspectives on the events of the media set before the Next Generation period. It is currently out of print but can be found in secondary markets, online auction sites and second-hand book stores. The deluxe version even includes a special display stand with an audio introduction from Admiral Hikaru Sulu.
Costumes is a book full of lavish, detailed photographs of the costumes used throughout multiple series and films. It also discusses what goes into making these costumes from specific storylines to cultural details. The production sketches that went unused are also a great resource for original characters on either side of the screen. How a character looks is an important detail when they first appear in the game. This book expands the Game Master’s descriptive vocabulary when introducing new characters. It also has some excellent choices for the colorful off-duty wear fans can use for their own characters.
Star Trek stories tend to have a kernel of science truth inside of their science fiction. The science may get bent in service of the story but it’s still in there. Treknology looks at many of the most famous devices in the franchise like warp drives and phasers and sees how close we might be to having them in the real world. Star Trek characters are famous for pushing the envelope on their equipment to save the day. Game masters don’t need an advanced degree in theoretical physics to run the game, but knowing how a warp field in simple terms helps them consider ideas players might have to use technological solutions within their games.
A Timeline Through the Star Trek Universe
Rob Wieland (he/him) is an author, game designer and professional nerd who developed the adventure classifications for Star Trek Adventures. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife, two cats and a future Starfleet Admiral.