Star Trek: Frontlines – Episode 4: Refugees

A Star Trek: Adventures actual play

Today’s Lesson: Starship combat is complicated. And apparently I didn’t even use the full amount of actions I could have taken. Though I think I need to read more about that to be sure. One of the players claims that each ship has as many actions each round as their scale . . . but, well that would take an eternity. It took quite some time as it was. There was a new player that joined us as ship’s doctor, but who didn’t get a chance to do anything and left early because the others were so engrossed in the combat. well, half of the others. It seems I will never be able to engage all of this group with this game, though I have had more luck at conventions.

I started this episode in the middle of the action. The USS Kidd was assigned to help two transports full of Federation refugees fleeing from territory that the Klingons were now claiming as their own. Their warp engines had been damaged, and they were hiding in a nebula in the Lembatta cluster, hoping to make repairs before the Klingons could find them again. The Kidd arrived, headed into the Nebula – and the captain and XO began to argue about how to address the Klingons.

Commander Collins, having extensive experience with Klingons (ie. he has a Klingon girlfriend) strongly suggested a strong demand for the Klingons to leave Federation space. Several others on the bridge agreed, but the Captain, a Denublian who prefers to reason with his enemies (unless their female Romulans, then he just annoys them) instead led with a request to be allowed to rescue the transport ships. The Klingons answered with disrupter fire.

One of the K’Vort cruisers managed to find the Kidd in the nebula and fired at them, while the massive Negh’var began firing at the transports. They both missed, but Captain Takis was no longer amused. They began to concentrate fire on the K’Vort that had fired on them. There was another K’Vort somewhere in the nebula, but it was having trouble locating the Kidd.

K'Vort Class cruisers

To bolster their defenses, Takis order Nos’grom, the science officer, to fire two probes that would give off signals that would immitate other Federation ships, and hopefully distract one or more of the Klingon birds of prey. The Negh’var however, decided to come after the Kidd, and got several good hits in (disrupter cannons have 11 damage dice guys!). The Engineering crew, bolstered by the quick actions of the Doctor and the scans of the Nos’grom, managed to keep on top of repairs, and bring the shields back up quickly.

The Klingons did not have the same luck. One of the K’vorts was disabled quickly by the Kidd, and the Negh’var was distracted by the possibility of more than one Akira class ship arriving in defense of the transports. The transports managed to get their engines repaired and they and the Kidd hauled it out of the nebula and back into uncontested Federation space.

The Kidd took on some of the injured or dead passangers from the transports, and Captain Takis’s wife, the head counsellor for the ship did her best to help them calm down as they were patched up. She noticed right away that some of the crew was acting very strange. They were demanding back the body of one of their population, just known as Smith. Will, a Vulcan who was acting very un-Vulcan like, was getting in the face of any officer who came on board to demand Smith back. Lt. jg Mooch, probably destined to forever stay a jg, tried to get a bribe out of the refugees in exchange for the immediate return of the body, but since Nos’grom wasn’t playing along, Smith refused.

Nos’grom studied the body and discovered he had swallowed an isolinear rod. It was damaged, but she managed to pull of distorted recordings of the Klingon high council. Rather than allow Smith to have the information back, Takis denied all knowledge of the rod, and turned it in to Commader Sisko when they reached DS9. Collins managed to get to spar with Lt. Worf and held his own, Nos’grom hung out with Lt. Dax, and Shon played spring ball and beat Doctor Bashir.

Join us next week for the next episode, and enjoy momtoast.com which has other rpg goodies, art, and other geeky pursuits.

Star Trek: Frontlines – Episode 3: Marie Celestial

A Star Trek: Adventures actual play

Today’s Lesson: Give the players what they want. When you don’t, it’s torture. It’s torture for you, torture for them, and people can even start to get upset. Granted, I had a bad day yesterday when we played this mission. I was still bent on doing a string of intrigue stories leading them into the Dominion War. Really, though, it seems they really just wanted to start blowing things up. Sigh. I have a feeling this is going to be very boring for me. Especially since we don’t have stats yet for a lot of the Dominion stuff. Ah well, I will see if they are interested in taking part in the Klingon War that happened before. We have a LOT of stats for Klingons.

We begin with the crew of the USS Kidd on a mission to escort Partha, an Orion informant for Starfleet, back to Libertalia station, an independent, unaligned station between the borders. They are to see she arrives safely, and await the information she is gathering there. The Kidd has no trouble escorting her towards the station, but rather than roll in and scatter the slimy roaches Partha is there to meet, she takes the smuggler’s ship that the Kidd had impounded last time, and they part ways. The smuggling ship carried a tracking device encoded to send messages back to the Kidd.

As they continue along the border to wait from a safe distance, they pick up an uncloaked Romulan Warbird, floating just inside Federation space. As the Neutral Zone has been very quiet lately, this is an odd discovery. The Kidd comes along to investigate.

Romulan D'Deridex warbird

They find the ship is in perfect working order, but there are no life signs on board. Considering a warbird of this size can carry 2,000 people, this is a disturbing discovery. The crew beams over a tricorder to get some more readings at a safe distance. They find that there are plenty of bodies still there, but nothing in the air or wrong with the ship that would cause the deaths of so many. To prevent further trouble from arizing, the Kidd uses its tractor beam to start pushing the ship back into the Neutral Zone.

Just as they begin to do this, another Romulan ship decloaks, demanding to know what the Federation is doing with their ship, and why everyone is dead. Quick and open sharing of the information they had discovered disarms the Romulan Commander, Modex, who requests they be given a moment to assess the situation, if the Kidd is willing to stick around. The Captain agreed, and they allowed the Romulans to study their data as well as scan the ship of dead. In exchange for some more information about the possible desease that killed all the Romulans aboard, the Captain lets the Romulans know about the smuggling ship that it seems met with this derelict ship not long ago. The Kidd then moves away, leaving the Romulans to deal with their dead.

As they start moving off, the signal coming from the smuggling ship changes to the call for help. The Kidd makes an impresive entrance, dropping out of warp as close to the Libertalia Station as they dare, to find a furball of a fight happening around the smuggling vessel. Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi and other ships are buzzing around, trying to win the prize.

The Kidd target locks as many ships as it can, and broadcasts an announcement that it is claiming the ship as its own. Most of the ships scatter. The Romulans try to lay claim, but the Captain quickly shuts them down. Finally, after a discussion with the Klingons, who are fairly civil considering the current tension between the two governments, they let the Captain know that this ship was known to be smuggling weapons from the Romulans into Klingon space. Partha confirms this once they get her back on the ship, and they head back to Starbase 234 with the information.

Star Trek: Frontlines – Episode 2: Contraband

A Star Trek: Adventures actual play

Today’s lesson: chain of command is hard. Especially for RPGers, who are used to being part of a ragtag bunch of heroes who are allowed to do whatever they want, so long as they don’t get the party killed. My general feeling is that there is no wrong way to play an RPG, so long as you aren’t a jerk. But in Star Trek, there is the added layer of a command structure, and a very defnite set of rules that your character is meant to play by. Also, the missions tend to be not combat heavy. Sure, there are fights, and ship battles, but mostly its about solving problems. Our new player is having trouble adjusting. I hope he is still enjoying the game.

This week found our heros aboard the USS Kidd patrolling the Klingon/Federation/Romulan border in their impressive Akira class starship. They spotted no Romulans so far, but there were several Klingon ships the kept dropping in and out of cloak on their side of the border, just to remind the crew of the Kidd that they were there. With the Klingon Empire having pulled out of the Khitomer Accords, both sides seem to want to make a show of power along the borders.

After a time they caught a distress call from a freighter close to the border. A long range scan relvealed they were being attacked by Orion pirates. As soon as the Akira came within firing range, however, the Orions bolted into Klingon space. Where they were met by a decloaking Vor’cha class ship. The Klingons gave chase to the Orions, while the Kidd stopped to help the freighter.

Right away, Lt. Cmdr. Collins, the by the book XO, knew there was something fishy about Mick, the captain of the small freighter. He had questionable registration, and was less than enthusiastic about discussing his inventory. It was finally revealed that he had quite a bit of hard to get Romulan and Klingon items in the cargo hold. He explained that business used to be fine, there were few patrols in the area, and even a few Feds appreciated his wares. But now, with the war on, no one could get any work done.

An impressive job of scanning was done by Lt. Cmdr. Nos’Grum also revealed a secret compartment underneath the ship. Though Lt. Shawn, a fiesty Andorian security officer, wanted to break into the compartment, they convinced Mick to let them in. It was already empty.

As the crew of the Kidd examined the ship, and locked up Mick, the Klingon ship, one IKS Chal’kul captained by Karuk reappeared nearby, hauling what was left of the Orion ship behind it. Captain Takis hailed the Klingons and basically asked if they were willing to share any information about their prize. Karuk told him to get lost in typical Klingon fashion. So the Kidd began to scan the Orion ship. It still had lifesigns, though it was in bad shape. There was an odd flicker in the Klingon’s shields during the scan. Surprisingly, the Klingons let it go to drift near the Kidd and cloaked.

The Akira class, not necessarily according to the ST:A rule book, but according to this amazing website, has the ability to scan and tell some information about what cloaked ships are up to, particularly if they go to warp. Nos’Grum was able to tell that the Klingons had indeed warped away.

The Orion’s then opened a channel and panicked screaming ensued, and the crew realized that the Orion ship was about to explode. They beamed the Orion aboard and warped away as the ship blew to pieces.

Now, in addition to Mick in the brig, they had three Orion pirates, their captain, and one slave girl.

The Orion captain was angry, and paced most of the way, while the others poked fun at Mick. The slave girl stayed quiet. Even when Lt. jg Mooch arrived to try and talk to her some. He has had a bit of a past with Orion women, and thought he had a chance.

They were all taken to Starbase 234 to be tried for their crimes, and so the Kidd could start cataloging all the contraband they had collected, including Romulan Ale, Klingon Bloodwine, various Klingon weapons, and Romulan eyebrow wax and shoulder pads. Though the Admiral at the starbase was happy to have the criminals in custody, she told the crew that Partha, the Orion woman, was to be liberated, and escorted back to a station known as Libertalia, a nuetral station in an unclaimed part of space.

Join us next week for the next installment of Star Trek: Frontlines, and join us on Patreon for more gaming goodness, or story bites.

Star Trek: Frontlines – Preparation and Episode 1

A Star Trek: Adventures Actual Play

I have a very . . . ambitious playing group. So for this campaign, I am trying to be more prepared. Think I have enough books?

All the star trek resource books

Star Trek Adventures Books

Core Rulebook

These are the Voyages: Mission Companion, Vol 1

The Command Division: Supplemental Rulebook

Beta Quadrant: Sourcebook

Other Resources

The Star Trek Encycolpedia: A Reference Guide to the Future

The First Line: Starfleet Intelligence Handbook (ST:TNG RPG)

A Fragile Peace: The Romulan Nuetral Zone (ST:TNG RPG)

List basic plot structure, timeline choices

The Crew

Captain Takis (Denobulan) – The crew is his family. Lost a ship to Orion pirates, and then lost the Zephyr to Klingons

First Officer, Lt. Cmmdr. Jackson Collins (Human) – fast tracked lifer in Starfleet, very by the book

Security Chief, The New Guy (Andorian) – the newest crewmember, not afraid of a fight

Chief Science Officer, Lt. Cmmdr. Nos’Grum (Tellarite) – everyone around her is an idiot and she can prove it mathematically

CONN, Lt. jg Mooch (Joined Trill) – likes the thrills of flying and women

Episode 1 – Valhalla

This is the second campaign I have played with this crew. The last campaign ended with their Nova Class ship, the USS Zephyr, facing off against three Berel Class Klingon warbirds. It ended in a stale mate, with all the ships engines being blown to bits. The players had been begging me for an Akira class for ages, and I told them they would just cause trouble. This seemed to prove my point. But I could see they were itching for more action, so we began this season with an Akira.

Akira class starship

The crew is sent on a mission along the Romulan Nuetral Zone, where the Klingon border meets it, to make a show of Federation strength in this rough time. Almost as soon as the USS Kidd leaves Narendra Station, they receive a distress signal from Balduk, a small planet not very far away. They head to the planet, and find a Federation shuttle on the planet, giving off an automated distress signal. There are no life signs. The captain contacted a nearby science outpost, and confirmed that they were missing an officer who took a shuttle to survey nearbay planets. An away team heads down in a shuttle to investigate. Once they hit the atmosphere the shuttle rocked wildly, the engines began to lose energy, and thousands of life signs appeared on the planet.

Thanks to some quick work by the XO and the science officer, they managed to polarize the hull of the shuttle and stop the energy from draining. They then landed easily beside the stranded shuttle. The life signs on the planet were of all kinds of races, Klingons, Romulans, Human and more, all a short distance away and moving in battle line patterns. The security cheif and others made a sweep around the shuttle, and discovered a very frightened science officer, holding on to a type 1 phaser like his life depended on it.

They get Lt. Doleo back onto the shuttle and head back up to the ship. Once clear of the planet’s atmosphere, however, they notice that whatever was draining the shuttle was still there, like a cloud around the ship. After further investigation, they discovered part mechanical part biological microscopic creatures that were feeding on the engines of the shuttle. They were also busy repairing extensive injuries to Lt. Deleo. After looking more closely in sickbay they discovered he had suffered extensive injuries that already only appeared to be superficial because of the creatures.

To the Doctor, Lt. Deleo went on about how terrifying the planet is, and how the people there do nothing but kill each other, and that there were large winged women that carried off the dead. He also insisted on speaking to the captain alone, and there he revealed that he was in fact an intelligence agent, and that the crew was tasked to look for three known spies in the area. They are sent back down to the planet to retrieve the data from the stranded shuttle, managing to avoid a direct confrontation with either the people there who were now defending the shuttle, or the large winged being that came to retreive a dead Romulan from within the shuttle.

They beamed aboard a Viking long enough to retrieve the data chip, and sent him back quickly. They sent information back to command about the strange planet, and headed on their way.

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Titan Academy: The rest of the story

Sadly I began blogging about this great adventure far to late in playing it to really keep up with things. I can’t continue to do justice to each episode that we played. I’m going to do my best to sum up the ending of this game for those who were following it. My next game, which will be Star Trek: Adventures, I will try to blog as we go, so as not to lose hold of the story.

Ryan was overjoyed to be reunited with his mother, who he had never believed was dead all this time. The group heads over to Ryan’s house to surprise his father, and there is a tearful and happy reunion-for Ryan. Some of the others in the group are still having troubles, and after trying to kiss and being rejected by Liv, Hiro heads out into the city.

While out, an attack beings on the Spire, the headquarters of Aegis. The attackers: Dryad, Becky, and Nexus, friends and trusted teachers from their school. The team eventually meets up to figure out what’s going on, and which side they need to be on. Aegis is up in arms and ready to go full on war against the attacking supers, so the team split up, some to keep Aegis busy, and others to find out why the supers are attacking Aegis. It turns out they are being controlled by extradimensional beings, that Hiro quickly builds a device to detect. Aether creates a bubble around the supers that knocks the beings off, and returns them to their right minds.

In the aftermath, some of the Aegis agents recognize Liv, referring to her as 12, even though she has only ever known herself as 9. They are met by Alcazar, the new president of Aegis, who offers to have a meeting with them. And the gang takes him up on it. In the meeting they find out that Alcazar is hoping to win them and the public over with more humane treatment of supers, and a more open policy. He has released all Level 5 supers that were not criminal, and removed the brain stem controls from the telelpaths. He shows them Firefly as an example. But to Hiro and Liv it is too little too late. Even when Alcazar offers them all the files they have on Project Oblivion and Chimera. The group argues together whether they should be going after Chimera, or bringing down what is left of Aegis.

They decide their first target will be one of the Chimera stronghold/prisons that remain, one of those Aegis hasn’t gotten to cleaning up yet. There they find several supers imprisoned, and in the middle, Carbine, a former Aegis agent, attached to a strange machine. She manages to use the machine to put Takar to sleep, but Liv soon beats her down. Carbine escapes, but not before Liv realizes this is the sort of place where she grew up, inside a Level 5 prison cell. There she finally meets 12, and they fight, almost completely evenly matched. Takar finally recovers and helps Liv defeat 12. A voice tells 12 that she has failed, and that 9 has passed.

Happy with their success in freeing the supers, and having Ryan’s mother back, and having Liv and Hiro become like family, the gang gets ready to attend the event of the year. Titan Academy is reopening its doors, their principle Stewart is marrying Rydel the local Aegis patrol woman, and the city is welcoming back the newly freed supers. All of this will be held in the new Titan Academy gym. Everyone in the city will be there, guarded by Aegis, city officials and supers. Becky and Ryan take charge of the refreshments, and Becky is a bit crazy about it. The others all start finding dates, Liv with Dryad, Takar with the Fates, and Hiro with Hopper. While at the party, a strange song comes over the speakers, and Liv gets a feeling of dread as he hears the words that they discovered activates her. A fight breaks out, many flee, but it is soon discovered that Alcazar’s daughter has been kidnapped.

Takar and the other level 5s get together, and head off with the group, led by Ryan’s dad, to find Dr. Quintessence and bring him to the bridge, as Chimera is demanding. When they arrive they realize they are missing Hiro. They head into the abandoned warehouse to find Dr. Quintessence in an Aether bubble being attacked by those same interdimensional beings, now known as Howlers, riding Aether caterpillers. They rescue Ryan’s grandfather, and emerge from the warehouse to see the city ablaze, and Cosmic Bond arriving to let them know they have to go stop Hiro before this happens. Wait, did he say before? Before the kids can ask any questions, Cosmic Bond rewinds time, helps them save Dr. Q, and they all head over to stop Hiro together.

It turns out that Hiro has been brainwashed as well, in the same way Liv was, by Project Winter, another division of Chimera. They commanded him to come to the bridge warehouse to help them prepare the Sentinal robots to receive their Howler masters. It turns out that though the Howlers like to feed off the energy of supers, and ride along on humans, it is much easier for them to take over a robot body. The Howlers, as explaned by the Dread Queen, are her people, stuck in another dimension alongside Earth, and ready to take over. Hiro is the only one able to hack into the robots and help them build the portal that will bring them into the robots.

All the supers band together in one massive strike against the Chimera team. But just as it seems they are winning, HIro’s old robot, the one that used to house his brother’s memories, arrives. He still is Hiro’s brother, he claims, but so much more, now also the Dread Queen’s brother. He thanks Hiro for providing a body for him, and tries to talk him into joining him in taking over the world. Hiro was ready to die in this fight against his brother, even though is whole family, even his ellusive mother Jishaku, and her long imprisoned brother Atomic Shadow, and his other mother Friction show up to assist him. Hiro uses his moment of truth, reverses the portal to the other dimension, and succeeds in getting rid of all the Howlers, and destroys Count Zero, and all that is left of his brother.

Everything isn’t perfect at the end, but its better than most expected to be. There are a lot of touching moments, as people find new or old loves, new family, and new strengths.

Titan Academy – Episode 8: Unforgetable

Last time our heroes narrowly averted a riot in front of city hall surrounding the vote on a bill that would require the open registration of all supers. We rejoin them now, dealing with the changes this is causing throughout Halcyon City.

Hello Halcyon City, this is Anna Fresh, coming to you on WHCY the Voice of Halcyon with your daily dose of Fresh Air. The city council has decided that the most recent version of the super registration bill was put together too quickly without enough consideration, so it has been sent back to committee. Also, Blake Harrison has been replaced as the head of AEGIS. The new director, Xavier Alcazar, a former marine, is promising big changes to the way AEGIS is handled, now that they have rooted out all of the Chimera agents. Or so they say. Call in and give your opinion.

So the team got together and decided that they needed to choose what issue to deal with first. Takar and Hiro were very set on making AEGIS pay for their foolishness in allowing Chimera to infiltrate their ranks. Ryan and Liv wanted to focus more on Chimera itself. They managed to convince the others that they should deal with Chimera first since they were the ones actually causing the problems. So they decided to get in touch with whoever was in charge at Catalyst, by talking with the Lost Boys.

The Lost Boys arrange the meeting – and the team ends up outside an old abandoned train station, waiting to be let in. Once inside, they see several Lost Boys hanging out, some working in the impressive labs and offices in the station, and are led to a large plush office. No one is surprised when Cosmic Bond himself joins them there. He explains that he has been working to bring down Chimera for some time, but had been unable to break them out of AEGIS, and that he had not been sure he could trust our heroes. After all, one was the grandson of Dr. Quintessence, who had worked on much of the Chimera project, one was interning with AEGIS, and one, he said, motioning to Liv, was a Chimera project herself.

He knows now, however, after talking with the Lost Boys and others, that they can be trusted. As he talks, Crystal appears and comes to take his hand. She looks happy, and healthy, and is excited to see Liv and the others again. She lets them know how well they have been taking care of her, and reveals to Liv that she too has similar nightmares of the Sorroweater and a metal room. They let Crystal head out of the office, and then face Cosmic Bond again.

“I have a favor to ask of you,” he says, looking over them all. “And I am more than willing to give you anything you need, find a way to help Takar control his abilities, give Liv as much information about Project Oblivion as I am able, even help get Aether’s mother out from where she is trapped, if you are willing to help me contact my daughter, and make sure she has not been compromised by Chimera.”

This statement brought up a million questions from our heroes. First, who was his daughter? Omega is Cosmic Bond’s daughter by Rivet. Next, how does he know about Ryan/Aether’s mother? How does he know they can get her out? Cosmic Bod explains that strange things happen when you combine his powers with the Aether powers of Ryan’s family. Their paths crossed several times over the years, but the final time was an attack against Chimera. Unfortunately, through a mixture of Cosmic Bond’s and Dr. Quintessance’s and Dark Matter’s powers, Ryan’s mother was sent to a dimension on the other side of Aether space. Cosmic Bond has located her, but is unable to get to her alone.

Hiro speaks up before any of the others are able, and says they will do what he wants, but they are going to get Ryan’s mother back right now. The rest of the team is very surprised, but Cosmic Bond agrees, and they get to work.

Hiro directs the building of a large device that will help stabilize whatever pathway Cosmic Bond and Aether are able to make into the Aether space. Volt charges it up, and a tunnel forms through the grey cloud that they remember from their last trip into this plane. They walk through the tunnel, Aether doing his best to keep the currents from attracting any more of the massive centipedes that dwell here, and they reach the other side.

The tunnel opens onto a large black space that as far as they can tell goes on forever. There doesn’t even seem to be anything for them to be walking on. Ahead of them they see a massive bubble, something Aether remembers from his youth. There was a time when he was in danger, and his father placed a similar bubble around him, for protection. Inside the bubble, his mother is standing in front of an infinite array of chalkboards that stretch back into the darkness, working on calculations.

“Mom!” Aether knocks on the bubble, and she turns, releived to see him, and waves happily. But then a worried look crosses her face.

“If you’re here to get me out we have to hurry, before he gets back.”

“Before who gets back?”

“The alien,” she says simply. Between Aether and Liv, they crack through the bubble and squeeze the mother out, just as the alien comes into view, a tall, white/gray creature with claws and hollow eyes. As they get back to the tunnel, they notice it is growing smaller. Liv and Volt stay behind to fight off the alien and any centipedes following, and Volt is bitten by one of the creatures as he is escaping. Hiro rushes them all through, himself only making it out as he ejects himself from his mech suit, launching out of the tunnel as it collapses behind them.

They find Cosmic Bond exhausted and dying on the ground as they emerge. Aether reaches deep into his powers and calls up a load of healing energies that brings Cosmic Bond back to life. The others begin to care for their wounds as well, as Ryan and his mother rejoice at being back together. But Hiro goes off by himself, as his mech suit, and all that remained of his brother’s memories, are reduced to a pile of bolts in the Aether space.

Join us next time on Titan Academy to find out what our heroes find out about Omega, and how they welcom back Mrs. Manett.

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