There are a few things you need to play a game of Star Trek Adventures. You'll want at least one copy of the rules, though more than one will speed up game play. Same goes for the 20-sided dice to determine whether your characters succeed or fail. You will also need something to record character details and notes for events on the game. Then there are the optional things that might make gameplay a bit more comfortable, like a nice snack spread or spinning tracks off Star Trek soundtracks to get players in the mood.
We’ve scoured the internet for resources that will make your game easier to prep, more immersive and more fun. There are plenty of great options from Modiphius, the producers of the game, but we also wanted to focus on free and easy things that will make your game feel more authentically like Star Trek.
A Character Generation Website
Everyone playing Star Trek Adventures needs to make a character. That’s your gateway into the setting. Making characters for the game is a bit of a mini game because you follow your character through their upbringing and early career in Starfleet. These decisions can be chosen by the player or rolled randomly for those who like the challenge of assembling a character from elements that might be contradictory.
You can also make a Star Trek Adventures character online right here. This creation tool allows players to make main characters, starships, and supporting characters. It supports the main three eras of play (Enterprise, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation) and also lets users choose what supplemental books they have access to for additional species and talents. If you don’t own those books, building characters through this tool offers a great way to try before you buy. It’s also a great tool even if you’re not playing the tabletop RPG thanks to the lifepath system. The process creates characters and ships with interesting histories and dramatic hooks that can launch fanfiction just as easily.
Looking for a little extra immersion? Load up the website and PDF on your tablet or touchscreen computer and skip the paper and pencils. Flipping through the rules on handheld tablets adds a perfect amount of futuristic-Trek flavor.
A Living Campaign
RPGs are often supported by pre-written adventures. These are great to read as inspiration, to pull bits and pieces from to use
in your own stories or even to be run off the page for those times when you need a pre-built story because you haven’t had time to put an idea for a session together. Star Trek Adventures has dozens of adventures for sale as individual episodes or in collections like These Are The Voyages and Strange New Worlds. But it also has a massive campaign that can be played for free that spans multiple parts of the Star Trek timeline.
The Shackleton Expanse campaign not only offers a brand new part of the galaxy to explore, it offers missions set in the 2269 era of The Original Series and the 2371 era of The Next Generation. Any mission can be customized for any era, but these two timelines play to the long history of the Star Trek timeline. An ambitious Game Master might even decide to run two separate games of Star Trek Adventures with a different group in each era influencing each other. Play groups that want to be part of the living campaign can choose to be on one of the four ships included in the campaign: the Lexington in The Original Series era, or the Venture, Thunderchild or Bellerophon in The Next Generation era.
What is a living campaign? It means that, after each adventure, there’s a small questionnaire the group can send back to the company talking about the details of their game. The game designers and developers take this feedback into consideration and incorporate it into the next adventure of the game. That means players and game masters taking part influence this piece of the Star Trek setting after every new adventure is released!
Visualizing Your Character
Drawing a character adds even more life into their portrayal. You may not be an artist or be unable to afford to hire one to draw your character. That’s okay! There are still plenty of ways you can visualize your character without going the most common routes.
Screen Capture: There are about 556 hours of Star Trek media between the shows and movies. The next time you watch something, keep an eye out in the background for characters who might fit your character’s description. All it takes is a screen capture and quick crop or two to send to a game master as a character portrait.
Star Trek Online: The character creator for Star Trek Online has a lot of great options in its free to play mode. For those groups willing to buy a few costume packs, those options expand the options for crewmembers by a lot. A screenshot and a crop also works here too, but the extra control allows for more custom looks and alien type characters.
Miniature Maker: Star Trek Adventures offers an excellent line of miniatures for iconic characters. For those unwilling or unable to customize their own, this online miniature maker is surprisingly robust. Customize your character with the proper uniform and props, print them out, cut and fold, and your character exists in the real world. Even for games that don’t use miniatures, taking the time to create these cut-outs can breath another dimension into your Star Trek Adventures character.
Start Playing Now
You can download this Quickstart PDF right now to start playing Star Trek Adventures. It includes six premade characters, an essential rules brief, and a copy of the episode “Signals” featuring a lost runabout, Romulan intrigue and Ferengi negotiations! All you need are dice and friends to play.
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 future Starfleet Admiral daughter.