Saturday, 23 March 2013

My Hobby: Crushing the Maquis Rebellion

I reported 2 months ago on the first season of the Star Trek Roleplaying I've been running for the crew of the USS Dauntless, and now we're finished with season 2 too. It's been quite a change of pace. Originally, everyone was barely competent and all they had was a junky old science ship, the Hur'Un, but they improved themselves and upgraded the hell out of their ship, to the point that the little Hur'Un could possibly even give the mighty (yet, ironically, even smaller) Dauntless itself a bit of a challenge now. Naturally, this changes the feel of the game a little, and there was a lot less running away in terror and a lot more blowing up ships 3 or 4 times their own size.
Sirco's Run

Where season 1 was mainly about getting the player crew and ship running at all, with lots of relatively minor missions to procure and set up their Maquis operation in the space of a few months, season 2 was quite a bit grander, with major interstellar politics, weird subspace phenomena and, ultimately, the fall of the whole Maquis movement, covering almost 2 years of in-game time. I had considered stretching this out and splitting it up, adding a third Maquis season, but I thought a sudden, unexpected jump to the uncomfortable ending might help to make that ending all the more uncomfortable. Whether that was smart or not, it's done now, and the Maquis have been crushed under the pitiless shared heel of Dukat and the Dominion. (Sharing heels is a pretty unpleasant exercise and would make you pitiless too.) That said, there will still be a season 3, it just won't be about the Maquis per se, but rather about how our ex-Maquis convicts (currently serving time in the New Zealand Penal Settlement) get conscripted into Starfleet to help fight the Dominion War. Think of it as The Dirty Dozen... In... SPAAAAAAAAACE!

I'll be changing the name of the series slightly, to reflect this change of format, from Star Trek: Edge of Nirvana, to Star Trek: Edge of Apocalypse, for what I hope are obvious reasons. This shouldn't be a big deal, partly because we never really refer to this game by its official title anyway, and partly because it's already a sort of continuation of (or at least, borrows elements from) two earlier series, Jason Green's Star Trek: Saracen and my old Star Trek: Last Voyage of the Rutan. As I think I was telling Petty Officer Alex a couple weeks ago, it's nice to have a game with so much personal history to draw on (up to 13 years back, if I use the old USS Saracen logs), when so many of the other games I've ever played have stood in total isolation from each other. Crossovers are fun and legacy is neat.

I'll also be giving the players the option of a new starship next season, though retaining their Hur'Un (which Starfleet would most likely want painted grey-white and renamed Rutan again) is also acceptable to me. I haven't quite finalised the list of options, but it'll be interesting to see what class they go for and what effect this has on season 3's tone and plot line.

I think Decipher's rule-writers may have confused the K'vort and B'rel classes in the official book's stats, because that thing was damn fragile in episode 2, but I did say K'vort at the time, so we're staying with that.


We had a couple new players this season, most notably a young cadet, about the same age I was when I started roleplaying, and who is the absolute youngest player I've ever GMed. In my very first attempt at running a game, I and most of my friends present were probably about a year or two older (because I only tried GMing when I'd been playing for about 2 years), but that was a million years ago now, and I can't actually remember for sure the last time I played with anyone who couldn't legally buy alcohol.

I was very surprised, at the end of our last session, when the players awarded me, for running the campaign, a gift of a new ST:Tactics booster, which turned out to be this handsome figurine of the Romulan Imperial Starship Pi (picture below). The name of that one alone fascinates me: Since no other Romulan ship name is given in English, is it just a coincidence that this one appears to be named after π? Did the Romulans write the actual number on the hull to however many decimal places they could fit it, or perhaps one of the formulae for calculating it, and Starfleet Intelligence/the script writers conveniently summarised it to one Human word? But I digress. This was an amazingly unexpected gift, because nobody ever rewards the GM, except with free snacks and drinks and freedom to express his or her megalomania. My public and grateful gratitude. It's one more reason why the Dauntless is a great ship.
π

We're going to take a 2 month break now, because I'm worn flat by running two campaigns at the same time (the Warhammer campaign was due to end this week too, but that damn Power Behind the Throne plot just won't finish, so it's got one more week in it before its break begins). I also need to start putting more time into my master's and moving house and hunting for a better job and my new hobby of taking STARFLEET Academy courses and probably 500 other things I've been putting off. Hopefully when we start again, I'll be full of new ideas and ready to run an even better season. It'd also be great to add some new faces, so feel free to let me know any time between now and eventually if you'd be interested.

Finally, I have an interesting thought for other local Trek GMs or potential GMs, especially but not exclusively those also serving on the Dauntless. I've thought for a long time now that it might be fun to run parallel campaigns, with multiple groups under different GMs each flying on their own starship, in a bigger, interwoven super-campaign, where the success or failure of one group can have an impact on the next mission faced by another group, and vice versa. And, perhaps, for a special session the groups could blob together for a big fleet operation of some sort. It would take a lot of preparation and coordination, but Obsidian Portal is already kind of set up for some of that admin. And if ever there were a period in Trek history that encourages large fleet operations, it's the Dominion War.

[EDIT: I realised I forgot to give the running death total per episode, as I did with season 1. I won't repeat that for season 3, since that's not a very Starfleet thing, but it does fit the Maquis tone pretty well. I won't give the episode plot summaries here either, as you can look on Obsidian Portal for those.]

Total deaths from season 1: 899

Deaths in Episode 1: Survival of the Fittest: 42
Deaths in Episode 2: Carrying Capacity: 1
Deaths in Episode 3: Viscera: 0
Deaths in Episode 4: Basic Plummage: 0
Deaths in Episode 5: Brood Parasite: 1,435
Deaths in Episode 6: Gamma Diversity: 316
Deaths in Episode 7: Edge Habitat: 60
Deaths in Episode 8: Extinction: 51

Total deaths from season 2: 1,905

Combined total deaths: 2,804

More than half of those were Cardassians, so that's ok, I guess. But the next biggest figure is Federation citizens, which is probably less good, from the Maquis perspective.