Last night AdventureCo met online and discussed our next move. It was agreed that we would continue with Star Trek Adventures for a few reasons. First, this group likes Star Trek as a property. Second, everyone has gotten the rules more or less down to a science. Third, Star Trek was the initial front-runner in our system selection poll and I don’t think folks have forgotten that when faced with the option to choose another TTRPG. And despite the general “meh” about the planning of the core book, the rules really do lend themselves well to a more narrative experience.
To that end, I am in the midst of writing up my first (in about 30 years) homebrew adventure. The thing I’m most happy about when it comes to Star Trek is that the IP as a rule was born and has existed for 85% of it’s life as short, contained adventures on TV. Star Trek episodes during the heyday of the property had a definite cadence that I feel works as a template for coming up with the kind of beats necessary for a TTRPG module. And the character archetypes, species, locations, and technologies just feel comfortable to work with.
As far as the actual module goes, I have an outline set down already. It was taken from a prompt in one of the source books that came with the fantastic Humble Bundle of Star Trek Adventures content I purchased a while back. I’m pretty happy with the overarching concept, but I need to rework the plot to fit the “traditional” feeling of a TNG-era TV episode. As to whether or not the players will grab hold of the scenery in a similar manner remains to be seen.
In other somewhat related news, I’m happy to announce that we’ll be kicking Roll20 to the curb. I get that a lot of folks like or at least tolerate Roll20, but I suspect most do so mainly because it has an accessible free tier. Would any of those folks give the paid alternatives a shot, I’m sure they’d be blown away by how low a bar Roll20 sets for VTTs in 2021.
Sadly, Fantasy Grounds Star Trek Adventures ruleset has apparently been delayed due to a platform coding change that the ruleset developers need to work around or re-work for, so we’ll be going forward with Foundry VTT. Like FG, Foundry is an installable application that runs on the GM’s machine, but like Roll20 players access the game via web browsers. This means that the GM is the only one who needs to “own” the product.
I have been working with Foundry for the past week and I am suitably impressed. My initial investigation about a year ago was admittedly half-assed, I assume, because this time it didn’t take long for me to uncover the workflow that Foundry is built around. It’s organized very much like Roll20, but also contains the one key feature that I think makes Fantasy Grounds stand above other VTTs: the ability to write or install adventure modules directly in the software. The biggest downside to Foundry is that there doesn’t seem to be an automated way to deal with combat hits and the application of damage; players can roll these values in a ruleset specific way with the click of a button, but the tracking and application of the numbers versus the target needs to be handled au naturel. Not a deal-breaker, of course, but it would be a killer feature to have.
In our next session we’re going to be getting together to re-roll characters. Per my last post, we were in agreement that the party needs to be more “Star Trek-y” and commit their characters to specific roles so folks aren’t tackling tasks by committee. I think we’ll still need to create the two full-blown characters, command and away team, or we’ll at least have to decide exactly what roles the characters fill on the ship, and whether or not the ship can spare them every week for away team missions.