Sunday, 3 November 2013

Back to the Front

In the pattern of the last two seasons of our Star Trek roleplaying campaign that I run for the Joburg crew of the USS Dauntless, this is the now-traditional inter-season post. It's pretty damn late, considering we ended the last season at the end of July, but better late than stuck in Pretoria forever. (Because I'm leaving Pretoria! Huzzah!)

The third season (confusingly but officially known as season 1 of the Edge of Apocalypse sub-series; a million points to the first person to correctly guess the title I've already picked for the next sub-series) focused on the Dominion War, in parallel with Deep Space 9's 6th season. This ongoing war storyline was a major shift in style for the episodic and peace-loving Star Trek franchise, but it was handled really well and ended up fitting perfectly. It contrasted starkly with the awkward and largely pointless Bajoran religious plot thread the series had tried to mangle in from the start.

It's hard to judge how well my plots have fitted into the grander scheme of the war, but then it wasn't quite meant to. The pressed convicts left over from the earlier Maquis sub-series were intended to go off on sneaky covert operations, a Dirty Dozen in space. They've been doing Starfleet's odd-jobs and dirty work, using an even older, clunkier starship than the one they stole acquired back in their Maquis days. I sent them off to subvert diplomacy and snatch up psychopathic telepaths; I had a big blob creature swallow their ship; I threw swarms of Jem'Hadar at them, and even occasional Tribbles and Borg. Oh, and Hobbits. In return, my players blasted whole mountains to lava, re-introduced dread diseases and stoically kept their old clunker in combat against terrible odds, fighting (and winning) til their ship was no better than scrap.

Pac-amoeba wants delicious subspace field

I was also impressed at the improving quality of character roleplaying I'm seeing. We've been at it for nearly a year now, so I guess everyone's quite familiar with their characters. In fact, our next scheduled session, the start of the next season, will be a day short of the campaign's first anniversary.

The next season starts from an interesting cliffhanger. Our crew, while sneaking around behind enemy lines in the Gamma Quadrant, have had their ship shot out from under them and then the Bajoran wormhole leading back to the Alpha Quadrant vanished before they could flee through it. I look forward to seeing how they get out of this mess. If they do, they get rewarded with a shiny new Intrepid class starship, which will be nice.

We're also getting a new venue, moving into the shiny new DeeTwenty gaming club, because it's awesome [EDIT: I no longer associate with DeeTwenty and can not endorse it in any way]. This does imply some cost per player, but technically we've been putting the cost entirely on whoever our host has been up til now. And it's not like it's very much, especially once you account for the free coffee and myriad other activities the club offers. I'm planning on going there regularly for Monday night roleplaying, monthly Skeptics in the Club, Sunday morning Attack Wing, and whenever the generic boardgames sessions end up happening (I guess any time we feel like it?). There's also been some initial talk of getting a Warhammer group set up, which could get me back into that. And those are just the things I actively intend to get involved in, not the impromptu whims. So there's plenty I'll be squeezing out of my membership fee.

But I digress. Space. The final frontier. Getting back to it. In a couple weeks. It'll be great.