Star Trek knock-off games

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Tulpa Girl

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One of our players has expressed an interest in taking the plunge into GMing a game, specifically something in the vein of Star Trek... but she doesn't want to run anything in the Trek universe, as she doesn't want to deal with canon or trying to stay consistent with the official IP in any way.

So what games are out there that are essentially Trek with the serial numbers off? It wouldn't have to be a ultra-light system, but excessive crunch is not a selling point.
 

finarvyn

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This may not be at all useful, but I ran a Castles & Crusades campaign once which was essentially "fantasy Star Trek" by introducing a flying ship and having it stop off at various locations so that each session was almost totally separate from each other session. My point is that one can create a Star Trek style vibe with pretty much any rules set, and it doesn't have to be a scifi campaign. My players enjoyed the fact that they had essentially a string of one-shot quests and adventures. Most required them to go into a city to acquire something needed to make the ship function, or something which would improve the ship. I had a command structure so that the captain was an NPC and he gave orders for the ship to go to such-and-such location and then orders for the landing party so that they had the quest for that session.
 

David Johansen

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Well, we've got official FASA Trek, Lost Unicorn Trek, Decipher Trek, and 2d20 Trek which is probably the most available one. There's also Prime Directive for original series divergent timeline Trek.

Galaxies In Shadow could do Trek but the work ain't done and I expect that's what you're looking for.

If your friend knows BRP it would be very easy to just narrate the star ships with occasional skill rolls.

My friend uses Star Frontiers for Trek but bends Trek to Star Frontiers rather than the other way around.

I'm not sure how I'd do Trek with Traveller. T5 TL 21 or there abouts really. Most of the weapons would be disintegrators. T5 is very powerful.

Classic Traveller? A Phaser I has the range characteristics of an autopistol and the penetration and damage of a laser carbine. A Phaser II is equivalent to a laser rifle with autopistol ranges and 100 shots. A Phaser Rifle is equivalent to a laser rifle with automatic fire and 1000 shots. You'd need to use High Guard to build the ships I guess.
 

Moonglum

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Personally, i would play Classic Traveller, which provides a very open ended starting point for sci fi play, particularly where characters are more or less human in capabilities and technology is advanced and follows its own internal rules (realistic or not). The specific rules for space travel, phasers, etc. are different, but honestly that stuff is just chrome - you can totally play a campaign that feels like Trek using Traveller; you just need to focus on the community and characters and contexts and motivations for adventure, and dial it in at the top of the tech scale (for the PC's at least). Basically, the Enterprise can be reasonably approximated as a very high tech level navy starship with a crew of several hundred and some scenery-chewing shakespearian actors as commanding officers.
 

Trippy

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If you play Traveller with the Element Class Cruiser box set addition, then it is set up for playing Traveller as a command crew of a large spacecraft and crew. Similarly, if you get The Great Rift box set, that establishes a vast and largely unexplored sector of the setting, that you can ‘boldly go where no man has gone before’. There is a major campaign called Deepnight Revalation, linked to both these two, that could potentially take several years to complete, although this is more of a horror campaign, really. Without giving too many spoilers, here is one word: ‘Prometheus’.

Now, all this comes with an investment cost of course. However, it is entirely possible to just play Traveller from the corebook alone and base it on playing a command crew with a reasonably large craft from the core, or one that you could build with the High Guard rules, and give it a number of crew. There is no reason why, as a GM, you couldn’t just elect to get a blank hex-map and generate your own sector too. The sadly out of print Traveller Starter Set was actually ideal for this as it provided a giant glossy map you could fill in as you go, along with complete rules (not abbreviated in the slightest) and a mini campaign.

Anyway, yes, Traveller can ‘do’ Star Trek.
 

Stan

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Try this thread.

If they're new to running, something like like Where No Man Has Gone Before might work. It's based on Mircolite 20. The classes are red, blue, or yellow shirts. The low complexity would make it easy to adapt.

If you want further from Trek so clean out the canon, something like Stars Without Number might work.
 

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One of our players has expressed an interest in taking the plunge into GMing a game, specifically something in the vein of Star Trek... but she doesn't want to run anything in the Trek universe, as she doesn't want to deal with canon or trying to stay consistent with the official IP in any way.

So what games are out there that are essentially Trek with the serial numbers off? It wouldn't have to be a ultra-light system, but excessive crunch is not a selling point.
There's a fan-made skin of Scum and Villainy called To Boldly Go, although if one isn't actually playing in the Trek universe it's not strictly necessary to split one's infinitives.
 
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burbles

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Beat me to it by like 5 seconds! :smile:

That's why you shouldn't add pretty pictures of the item to a post. Those 5 seconds were taken up finding the cover image....

Far Trek (based upon Where No Man Has Gome Before) is another possibility. Clicking on the 'Far Trek' cover takes you to the downloads.
 
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Ralph Dula

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Rogue Trader. Someone once described it as “Intergalactic Amway Salesman Who Will Raze Your Planet To Get A Sale,” and if that isn’t off-brand “Shoving Federation Values Down Everyone’s Throats, Prime Directive Be Damned,” I don’t know what is.
 

Johndesmarais

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Don't know anything about it, but Goblinoid Games has this:

<pic of Starships & Spacemen cover snipped>
Goblinoid presents it as a 2nd edition of the old FGU game from the 1970s, but mechanically is built on the Labyrinth Lord (~BD&D) rules. Easy to learn and play (assuming you like the core rules), and with a strong Star Trek feel.
 

Picaroon Jack

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There is a supplement for White Star called "Five Year Mission" and Scum and Villainy has a hack called "the Final Frontier" but those might be a little too close to Star Trek.

Traveller's Naval Adventure series might do the trick.
 

David Johansen

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Twerps had a Star Twek supplement. Punny little counters and battlemaps.

Challenge Magazine had rules for playing in a Whole Nother Generation which had a lovely TNG plot generator. It's certainly the system I'd run Galaxy Quest with. Obnoxoids have Irritate Everyone skill at 98% and Chief Geek Westley has it a 99%.
 

Gringnr

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My canned answer to this will always be Prime Directive. Available as (so-so) scans from dtrpg, and cheap on the secondary market, this game, based on the Star Fleet Battles universe rather than "canon" Trek, is and always will be my favorite iteration of "Trek" even if it's only "kind of" Star Trek. They only use stuff from TOS, TAS, and some of Larry Niven's stuff, I think.

I love this game, warts and all, but boy does it have warts. It can be fairly crunchy, but the core isn't really that tough to grok, and it has an alternate, simplified combat system. It doesn't have rules for starship combat (the idea being that players would just use Star Fleet Battles). And it's got a WAY more militaristic bent than canon ST. And character generation is a fucking CHORE. But, it's fun, and yields some neat results.

I started (and never finished - sound familiar?) a read-through here. Though incomplete, it should at least give you a basic idea of how the system works. Nearly everything works off a single mechanic. It also has the best initiative system I've ever seen.

The other issue you may have with any dead game is adventure support. There's a sample adventure in the corebook. There were two stand-alone modules (1 with GM screen), and two more supplements, one for The Federation and one called Prime Adventures.

Despite its flaws, this game really owns.
 

Tulpa Girl

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Well, we've got official FASA Trek, Lost Unicorn Trek, Decipher Trek, and 2d20 Trek which is probably the most available one. There's also Prime Directive for original series divergent timeline Trek.

She specifically doesn't want any official games, as she's more interested in a knock-off, serial numbers filed off, please don't sue us kind of almost-Trek, sort of like Galaxy Quest or The Orville (but played reasonably straight).

Try this thread.

If they're new to running, something like like Where No Man Has Gone Before might work. It's based on Mircolite 20. The classes are red, blue, or yellow shirts. The low complexity would make it easy to adapt.

That might be an option. And thanks for the link to the prior thread.

Don't know anything about it, but Goblinoid Games has this:

View attachment 35298

Goblinoid presents it as a 2nd edition of the old FGU game from the 1970s, but mechanically is built on the Labyrinth Lord (~BD&D) rules. Easy to learn and play (assuming you like the core rules), and with a strong Star Trek feel.

I'm not real big on D&D mechanics in non-fantasy settings, but I suspect the familiarity of the system might be a selling point for her.

Here's the free, fan-made Cepheus version.


If I were gonna run any Star Trek, I'd use the OG Prime Directive from Task Force Games, but I'm probably in the minority there, it's based on Star Fleet Battles but inspired heavily by TOS, and it's not really canon in any event.

She was a player in my Cepheus Engine campaign, so there's familiarity with the rules, which makes this an option. That said, I think she wants something with a different feel than the Traveller-esque rules of CE.

That said, when I described the concept of dedicated Away Teams that you've described when talking about Prime Directive, she immediately liked the idea. We since talked about the option of every player having two characters, one as part of the bridge crew, the other as part of the away team.
 

Jenx

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I ran the original Starships and Spacemen back in the whenever it came out day and really liked the game. It was easy to play, quick to make characters and does everything you need for an original series trek game.

The problem wasn't the game, it was my players. No stoopid Star Fleet command was gonna tell THEM what to do. Shields to the front, target with all weapons, fire! Yeehaw!

Me: "so, no talking to them first?"

Players: "We use a D20 to hit, right?"

Me: "sigh"
 

Gringnr

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That said, when I described the concept of dedicated Away Teams that you've described when talking about Prime Directive, she immediately liked the idea. We since talked about the option of every player having two characters, one as part of the bridge crew, the other as part of the away team.

Oooh, that's a really good idea. There are rules for playing bridge crew in The Federation sourcebook, which I picked up new in shrink REAL cheap. If you have trouble finding that particular book, lemme know, I game with the author most weeks (different game tho), and a while back he mentioned still having some.
 

Stan

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I ran the original Starships and Spacemen back in the whenever it came out day and really liked the game. It was easy to play, quick to make characters and does everything you need for an original series trek game.

The problem wasn't the game, it was my players. No stoopid Star Fleet command was gonna tell THEM what to do. Shields to the front, target with all weapons, fire! Yeehaw!

Me: "so, no talking to them first?"

Players: "We use a D20 to hit, right?"

Me: "sigh"
You can take the murder hobo out of the dungeon but you can't take the dungeon out of the murder hobo.
 

David Johansen

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She specifically doesn't want any official games, as she's more interested in a knock-off, serial numbers filed off, please don't sue us kind of almost-Trek, sort of like Galaxy Quest or The Orville (but played reasonably straight)

I know, but sometimes an earlier game that's out of print is the right answer. It doesn't hurt to catalog them. In the case of Prime Directive it certainly diverges a great deal and the original series is a series of training videos that actually describes incidents that happened to a number of different ships.

You can take the murder hobo out of the dungeon but you can't take the dungeon out of the murder hobo.
I believe that is the "brain damage" Mr. Edwards spoke of. However, if you destroy the enemy ship, you can't loot it.
 

David Johansen

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She specifically doesn't want any official games, as she's more interested in a knock-off, serial numbers filed off, please don't sue us kind of almost-Trek, sort of like Galaxy Quest or The Orville (but played reasonably straight)
One of our players has expressed an interest in taking the plunge into GMing a game, specifically something in the vein of Star Trek... but she doesn't want to run anything in the Trek universe, as she doesn't want to deal with canon or trying to stay consistent with the official IP in any way.

So what games are out there that are essentially Trek with the serial numbers off? It wouldn't have to be a ultra-light system, but excessive crunch is not a selling point.
I guess I would like to know a few more things about how deeply filed off the serial numbers should be.

Technology: warp drives, phasers, and transporters? Replicators? Holo Decks?
Setting Politics: Cold war, more or less modern, war-time?
Setting Boundaries: Open frontiers or closed borders?
Races: All humans, facial putty, furries, strange ?

If you want an open setting, with very little set in stone, interesting races that are clearly not humans with a bit of putty on their nose, Star Frontiers might meet your needs quite well.
 

Tulpa Girl

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I guess I would like to know a few more things:

Technology: warp drives, phasers, and transporters? Replicators? Holo Decks?
Setting Politics: Cold war, more or less modern, war-time?
Setting Boundaries: Open frontiers or closed borders?
Races: All humans, facial putty, furries, strange ?
I don't really know the answers to most of those questions. I know that, like me, she grew up primarily on Next Gen, but I also know she likes TOS a lot, and I think that might be a bit more of the feel she wants.
 

CRKrueger

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I ran the original Starships and Spacemen back in the whenever it came out day and really liked the game. It was easy to play, quick to make characters and does everything you need for an original series trek game.

The problem wasn't the game, it was my players. No stoopid Star Fleet command was gonna tell THEM what to do. Shields to the front, target with all weapons, fire! Yeehaw!

Me: "so, no talking to them first?"

Players: "We use a D20 to hit, right?"

Me: "sigh"
Was the Chief Medical Officer a PC or NPC?
 

David Johansen

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TOS doesn't have Holo Decks but is otherwise technologically about the same as TNG.
TOS has Cold War politics whereas TNG is more like modern politics but both are basically the politics of their time.
TOS has more open frontiers, the borders seem to be tighter in TNG.
Both have a wide variety of races.

So, I'm guessing she doesn't want to run in the existing universe because cannon lawyers are annoying to play with. With all the prequels it gets harder and harder to fit a game into a gap in the timeline where the Enterprise wasn't doing everything.

For a first time GM I'm guessing not too much book keeping and not too many bells and whistles. So while a loose, narrative approach might be good half a dozen meta currencies and complex relationship maps probably aren't.
 

3rik

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IIRC HardNova II is somewhat Star Trek-ish.
 

Gringnr

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I don't really know the answers to most of those questions. I know that, like me, she grew up primarily on Next Gen, but I also know she likes TOS a lot, and I think that might be a bit more of the feel she wants.
Mark Costello based Prime Directive on TOS as much as he could within the bounds of the SFB universe. That was his main inspiration. His original concept for the game was far more "meta", with characters being actors on a TV show. But the powers that be didn't like that, and made him change it. A couple of ideas from that concept remain (which, from what I understand, his bosses weren't thrilled about).
 

David Johansen

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Christian Conkle's Light Speed is essentially Star Trek verses Star Wars, it originally used FUZION but I'm not sure where it's at these days.
 

Gabriel

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She specifically doesn't want any official games, as she's more interested in a knock-off, serial numbers filed off, please don't sue us kind of almost-Trek, sort of like Galaxy Quest or The Orville (but played reasonably straight).



That might be an option. And thanks for the link to the prior thread.





I'm not real big on D&D mechanics in non-fantasy settings, but I suspect the familiarity of the system might be a selling point for her.



She was a player in my Cepheus Engine campaign, so there's familiarity with the rules, which makes this an option. That said, I think she wants something with a different feel than the Traveller-esque rules of CE.

That said, when I described the concept of dedicated Away Teams that you've described when talking about Prime Directive, she immediately liked the idea. We since talked about the option of every player having two characters, one as part of the bridge crew, the other as part of the away team.

I'm going to say that Starships & Spacemen 2e from Goblinoid Games is a strong contender for what you're after. It has the familiarity of D&D in space with a quasi-kinda-sorta-Star-Trek coat of paint. Nothing about the game is really Star Trek, but it's clearly and deliberately trying to evoke it without being it. It's much less Star Trek than something like Far Trek is, for example.

It's not really specifically geared towards troupe play style, but you could certainly steer it that way. My impression is that it's geared towards a sort of quasi-D&D type party who has access to a starship for their hexcrawling (the starship rules literally do not seem to work without hexcrawling). All of this is glued together by a sort of not-Federation background body.
 
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