Distracted!

Star Trek RP

With a “to-do” list that is far, far too long rather than staying focused I have allowed myself to be dangerously distracted.

While browsing one of my usual online news sources for tabletop wargaming I came across an article about a Humble Bundle PDF sale on the Star Trek Adventures RPG by Modiphius.

Sourcebooks & More; Star Trek: Adventures On Humble Bundle!

As you can see, an incredibly good deal… I could not resist the temptation.

https://www.humblebundle.com/books/more-star-trek-adventures-rpg-modiphius-books?hmb_source=search_bar

So much of today was spent reading RPG material that I will likely never get to play… but it may help inspire some future tabletop wargaming scenarios at the very least. We hope to use our “One Ring” RPG for inspiration to game Middle Earth tabletop wargaming and our “7th Sea” RPG for our Tarnished Splendor tabletop wargaming….so perhaps this Star Trek RPG might help inspire some sci-fi tabletop wargaming.

One of the appeals of this game for me is the idea of making a version of the Star Trek universe tailored to my very own vision. You know, like how JJ Abrams made his own version of Trek with his Kelvin Universe. I want to make a Trek that ignores the JJ Abrams movies, Star Trek: Discovery and the Picard tv series…. instead staying more inline with Gene Roddenberry’s vision. That said, I would also like to add influences from the Star Trek Online (Yes, I am a Lifetime Member with hundreds of hours played even though I no longer own a PC) universe…. before they added the above mentioned material. And no, I have not seen Star Trek: Strange New Worlds yet although I hear it is Trek more along the lines I like.

My Star Trek Online Starfleet Character

Skimming the RPG PDFs, in particular the Klingon Core Book… I really love how it described Klingon culture not so much focused on war but on passion. Cooking, poetry, music… and fighting… all done with extreme passion. That concept adds so much more depth to role playing a Klingon.

Klingons!

Pretty tempting stuff for me although my natural disposition these days is more Starfleet than Klingon Defense Force. While I have always found the Klingons interesting, particularly their starships, I have found the Klingons incredibly fascinating since their reimagining in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I even tried to learn the Klingon language a couple of decades ago. I really did not like the latest reimagining with Star Trek: Discovery. Did I say “really did not like?” Hmm. Perhaps I should have said hate. Yes, hate. I really, really hate how CBS reimagined the Klingons for Discovery.

Another thing I really like about this game is the focus it puts on role playing Prime Directive dilemmas. The scope for ethical debate from this is pretty appealing.

Then there is the whole exploration and discovery aspect. Something I am not familiar with in other games.

And despite my real world reputation for not being very diplomatic I do quite like diplomacy game play…. maybe for the conflict that comes out of my diplomatic failures?

There is also the added benefit of me really liking the artwork in the PDFs. I realize this is very much down to personal taste. Printing hardcopies is going to be problematic though, especially with the Starfleet Core Rule Book having white text on a black background. And I do prefer hardcopies to eBook reading. That said, Mrs. GG suggested having “theater of the mind” RPG material on her Apple Ipad would make for a very portable gaming option. I think she is trying to convince me that I can find a way to enjoy our next holiday abroad….

Did I mention that Shran is one of my all time favorite Star Trek characters? Right up there with Tuvok, Sulu, Worf and Martok…. Who in my opinion all deserve their own, well written spin-off series.

Shran

All that said…..with the Humble Bundle sale price, it really was much too good to pass up on.

In other news…

Valley of the Dead…. a Movie about a Nazi zombie experiment in the middle of the Spanish Civil War… Interestingly fresh premise but would it live up to my expectations?

Valley of the Dead (Malnazidos)

Surprisingly it did.

I mean it is not amazing. It has a lot of the usual tropes and does not really bring a lot new to the genre, beyond its unusual (and fascinatingly appropriate for tabletop wargaming) setting… but it does several of the tropes well.

And I liked most of the characters enough to care if they survived or not. So much so that I wish they had more screen time. I felt like they may have been better served in a TV series format as I wanted to know more about them. That was down to good casting and halfway decent writing for a change. The Nazi characters were the only real miss for me. Just not compelling or interesting enough as villains and their costuming was some of the worst in the movie. Given the uneven quality of the Nazi uniforms I got the impression that perhaps some historical re-enactors were asked to bring in stuff to supplement the costume department stock. What the movie really needed was Nazi villains and costuming like those in Iron Sky or the Indiana Jones movies. Villains you can seriously love to hate.

The ending was disappointingly predictable but overall I found this movie entertaining and better than a lot of the zombie genre. It is dark but has a surprisingly hopeful tone to it, being a little hokey at times. In that it kind of reminded me of Fallout. Levity was repeatedly used to lighten the otherwise expected horrific overtone. In that regard it failed to actually be truly horrific… in fact it reminded me of Deep Rising in regards to its tone.

Deep Rising

And that is despite the fact that there is an oft repeated theme of the horror as well as the pointless absurdity of war. So it is definitely an anti-war movie that reminded me that fascists can indeed win a civil war and define a nation for generations. A cautionary tale for Americans given the current contemporary political situation.


But to be clear, I enjoyed the movie. And it would make a great setting for tabletop wargaming. So I can definitely recommend it if the premise sounds interesting to you.

It looks like enough folks liked it to make a video game out of it….

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1887730/Valley_of_the_Dead_MalnaZidos/


Did you watch the TV series or play the game? What did you think?

And as for my Star Trek distraction, are you a Trekkie? Do you think I am being unfair? What do you love about Trek? Have you played the RPG?

Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below!

PS: Recommendations for 28-32mm Star Trek miniatures welcome since it seems Modiphius have discontinued theirs.

21 comments

  1. Long time Star Trek fan, more so when it what is now called appointment tv. Haven’t really watched much now that it on streaming/pay.

    Your link didn’t work for me, sale over?

    I did pull out by blueprints of the original Enterprise and got distracted for awhile.

    https://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/star-trek-blueprints.php

    I’ve watched the trailer for Valley of the Dead several times but had other things to watch, will give it a try. As you said, looks good for a wargame scenario.

    When is the great unboxing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Link repaired and another added for “belt and braces” security. It is a great deal, costing a fraction of the usual retail.

      We did the unboxing earlier today with several photos taken but I am not sure when I will get the write up done as I have a lot on my plate right now.

      I will say that we were very pleased with what we got but the problem with Dwarven Forge is the more you get the more you want!

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  2. You are risking some dangerous distractions here, mate! 🙂 I have never played a tabletop RPG and while I bought a humble bundle for One Ring (probably the exact same thing you’re talking about), I didn’t really find it that interesting or inspirational for painting minis like I had hoped. With that said, I used to love buying and reading the Star Wars RPG books to expand the universe (no pun intended). Now I wish there was some quality control and the Star Wars universe wasn’t constantly expanding under Disney, but here we are.

    With that said, I didn’t get into Star Trek until the JJ Abrams movies and those are really the only Trek things I’ve dabbled in (outside of the comics inspired by the movies which are pretty good). I barely know my Gorn from my Tribbles so I don’t think I’m a strong candidate for the RPG or any miniature games but if you decide to go for either, I’ll certainly watch with interest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah… I went from 110% French Indochina obsession to 110% Star Trek obsession in a heartbeat. So frustrating, especially as we started the Dwarven Forge unboxing yesterday and here I am distracted thinking about options for Star Trek miniatures.

      For me Star Trek and Star wars are, and should be, two distinct flavors. Both of which I enjoy. Star Trek should be talky, thought provoking science fiction and Star Was should be fun pulpy space opera. They can cross over occasionally but right now they are crossing over way too much… and it feels to me like “Studio desire for maximum profit” being the main driver for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is hard to avoid the temptation of new games and other flavors of things you enjoy. I’ve been wanting to get into something Roman/Greek/Egyptian with some mythology in it lately but I just don’t have the time and effort to put into a project, let alone the storage space so I’m going to have to let it for now and probably years, if we’re being honest.

        That is well said on Star Wars and Star Trek. They’re both enjoyable to me even if I’ve been more into Star Wars overall in the course of my life. I think its hard to focus or love multiple because every franchise and hobby is trying to be THE hobby for people. There is so much content being thrown at us that it is overwhelming and becoming impossible to keep up. For me it is dispiriting as well because I want to do all of the different things and can’t but hopefully others out there take it better than myself.

        Liked by 1 person

    • One thing I am thinking is… “How can I translate cool ideas from RPGs to solo friendly tabletop wargames?” The key points being both the visual element and being solo play.

      So many of the great sci-fi tabletop wargames I have are based on self-interested civilian “adventurers” (Core Space, Stargrave, 5 Parsecs from Home) and cool as they may be they lack some of the narrative appeal of being part of Starfleet or the Klingon Defense Force. However they have plenty of support to help make them look good and have decent solo play. That does not really work so well for RPG “theater of the mind.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is a great question to try and tackle. I wonder if Modiphius’s Fallout RPG which can cross over to the minis game might give you any ideas. I haven’t delved into the RPG at all but I know they’re meant to be easy to use together if you’re inclined. I’m surprised Modiphius hasn’t done something similar for Star Trek now that we’re talking about it… I guess it could be a licensing thing that is preventing that from happening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Its funny you mention this because I was just telling Bret about this since we both are interested in Broken Legions. He is much closer to actually playing it than me since he has minis for it already but I am definitely going to watch this one from Modiphius with interest!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Watched the Valley of the Dead tonight, quite enjoyable. I liked the different characters and their personalities, I think in a television series the majority of them would have been written into the background or become caricatures instead of personalities to relate to.

    Just wished they had left out the post credits scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you liked it! And I agree it was better without the post credit scene. You may be right in that the characters may have become caricatures, that is a fair point.

      Like

      • Thought more about the movie, I think one of the reasons I liked it was because it was an ensemble cast, reminded me of Kelly’s Heroes in a way.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The Humble Bundle was good value but I am not a Trekkie or much of an RPG player either so not tempted, The Humble site looks great and thanks for putting me on to it. The Valley of the Dead looks great as well. great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very much a Trekkie. One of the very first prosthetic pieces I created was a Bajorian nose for my first Trek Convention back in the mid 80’s. Got to see both Nimoy and Shatner together on stage taking questions. At another one, I was became part of an ad-hoc security detail for Michael Dorn and wound up literally wrestling a Klingon on the ground for his D’k tahg. But that’s a long yet entertaining story for another day…

    I do agree that recent Trek has left the original series direction. Though Star Trek has always been political (a Japanese individual flying the ship a couple decades after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and having a Ruskie at weapons control during the height of the cold war) the show still gave us a glimpse at what humanity could be like if we worked for a better world. The recent shows are more about showing how terrible things are and even when you do your best to make things better, you’re still the villain.

    Although I forced myself to watch the first season of ST:D in order to give it a ‘fair shake’, the pilot showed me that they threw all concepts of it out the window. A human raised with Vulcan philosophy who is the first officer of a ship performs a mutiny and yet is brought with the Captain later to carry out an abduction, only to go mental when the captain is killed and slays the target. So much wrong with it. And I won’t get into the Klingons. The thing that really got me though is how often people listened to the main character instead of the captain – and even the captain took their ideas over his own.

    I have been watching the Orville and, after getting past the first couple episodes that had typical MacFarland humor in it, it really turned into an homage of ST:TNG. The main difference to get by it is that it is a lot less military and more like what if a bunch of friends were in charge of a starship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You never cease to amaze me my friend.

      Yet again we are in complete agreement. I hear Discovery gets better and that Strange New Worlds is more like “Classic Trek” but I have not gotten past season 1 of Discovery and Picard. At this moment I just can not face any more of it.

      I struggled with Orville for a long time but it finally caught me after a couple of failed starts and now I am looking forward to season 3 eventually making it to Germany. That said it is not military or even paramilitary. I even struggle to call that organization professional. I have seen more professional paintball teams. But I do like some of the characters and plot lines. And it is not fashionably edgy, gritty, bitter, cynical or Grimdark… which is refreshing. They do way too much substance abuse however.

      Think on this… imagine if Space 1999 was made today….

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      • Oooh…. space 2099. Now that’s an idea. I remember building their sidearm out of Lego – love that thing so much I glued it into place.

        I could totally see a starship piloted by all my friends behaving somewhat in the same manner as that in the Orville. I was really sad to see them take away the original Security Chief Kitan. Even that had a way of showing female empowerment by making her stronger than any other person on the ship and yet nothing was really brought forth about it other than when the Captain needed a door opened. And the end of that episode when she left, and that jar of pickles on his desk. I’m getting a little teary eyed over it right now.

        I have a friend watching Picard 2 who is a huge Q fan and the first couple of episodes he was so giddy over seeing the actor/character back in action. But this was his last comment:

        “…in the home stretch and ah, I have absolutely no idea what the hell anyone is talking about anymore.
        It’s just a bunch of Star Trek characters wandering around Los Angeles speaking mostly gobelty gook punctuated with bouts of great acting and beautiful writing.
        We both enjoyed and treasure Picard: Season 1 and are pressing on.”

        And it’s a little sad because I was looking forward to learning more about the Q/Guinan connection. Guess I’ll just have to read about it in the trades.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think that there have been a lack of a lot of other main characters that aren’t white males in entertainment media for a while and I like seeing when Hollywood gets it right. But when their answer to make a strong, independent female character is to give them the traits that in men they call toxic and have them belittle beloved characters just isn’t the way to go. And there’s ways to introduce current social issues into stories that don’t overpower the actual plot and characters.

        Anyways, stay safe and happy!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would like to know more about the Q/Guinan connection but from what I was presented in Picard season 1 am not prepared to see the same writers and showrunner present their take on it.

        There was a time in my life that I could not identify with a female lead but skin color was never a barrier for me and these days I am quite comfortable identifying with a female lead protagonist… but the toxic behavior you mention is exactly the problem with so many shows pushing a diversity agenda that I would otherwise support.

        With the Orville and their security chief, it feels to me like they had to replace the actor for some reason but did not want to replace the character concept… and that has been a mistake as the two characters have started to blur for me. I like how a small, young but very strong female security officer subverted expectations just as a Vulcan security chief subverted expectations on Voyager in a different way… I would have liked Orville to have introduced a new security chief subverting expectations in another way. Perhaps a very old, wise security chief that always finds a way to redirect conflict like a Zen/Jedi master… although that is kind of a well worn trope. Perhaps better to have a character who looks like a big, physical bruiser who instead of using their strength use their mind to solve security issues? You get what I am aiming for I think.

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