Category Archives: 2d20

Star Trek Adventures: Gamma Quadrant – A First look

A while back Modiphius offered me a review copy of their latest Star Trek Adventures sourcebook, Star Trek Adventures: Gamma Quadrant. Since I haven’t touched Star Trek Adventures since I got the core rules when they first came out, I initially didn’t take them up on their offer. This weekend I watched the first episode of the new Star Trek: Picard series on Amazon Prime. With my interest in all things Star Trek renewed I decided to have a look at Modiphius’ new release after all.

Star Trek Adventures: Gamma Quadrant, is – as the name suggests – a sourcebook about the Milky Way’s so-called Gamma Quadrant. The Gamma Quadrant has initially been unreachable by Federation ships because of its distance. Eventually a stable wormhole near Bajor (and Deep Space 9) was discovered which opened up a whole new region of space for exploration. The events leading up to and following this discovery were the subject of one of the most popular Star Trek series: Deep Space Nine.

At this point I have to admit that while I watched some episodes of the series, I never watched it in its entirety. So if I get something wrong regarding the accepted canon, please don’t be too harsh.

Star Trek Adventures: Gamma Quadrant is a 128-paged book or – in case of my review copy – a 128-paged PDF containing all the information you need to run a game set into the Dominion War era. That’s right, you don’t just get information on the mayor players in the Gamma Quadrant, its species, etc. but the sourcebook also moves the games’ default setting’s (which is TNG) timeline up a few years. If you want to run a game in earlier eras this book might not be as useful, but creative GMs might still be able to get their money’s worth out of the book.

The production values are on par with other Modiphius products and with what you’ve come to expect from the Star Trek Adventures line. The LCARS-like look is definitely pretty but is not particularly printer-friendly. Luckily the digital version of the book comes with a printer-friendly version.

The majority of the book is taken up by Chapter Two: The Dominion. The Dominion is the major power of the Gamma Quadrant, a millennia-old nation, controlled by the so-called Founders. Chapter Two of the book describes the Dominion in some detail including but not limited to its history, its political structure, and the major Dominion races like the the Founders, Vorta or Jem’Hadar. There are detailed descriptions of the major Dominion worlds, as well as the Dominion’s allies and enemies.

The biggest section of Chapter Two gives an expansive overview over the Dominion War, from the Cold War before even first contact between the Federation and the Dominion was made, till the end of the war in 2375. The book gives hints on how you can use especially the Cold War era as a setting for your adventures. Especially if you are into cloak-and-dagger stories, this might be an interesting era to play in.

Chapter Three is all about the species of the Gamma Quadrant. Argrathi, Changelings, Dosi, Drai, Karemma, Lurians, Paradans, Rakhari, Skreeaa, Son’a, Tosk, and Wadi are added to the already quite extensive list of playable species in Star Trek Adventures. To my surprise neither the Jem’Hadar nor the Vorta are given that treatment, especially since these species – aside from the Changelings – are the only Gamma Quadrant species I recognize from the few episodes of DS9 I watched. Unfortunately I couldn’t find an explanation why these species were omitted. Perhaps they just weren’t considered fitting for a roleplaying game where you’re supposed to play the “good guys”. On the other hand it’s possible they were already included in one of the earlier sourcebooks.

Chapter Four provides players and GMs with a slew of new starships from both the Dominion and the Alpha/Beta Quadrant species who fought them in the Dominion war.

The book concludes with Chapter Five called “Encounters and Adversaries”. This chapter provides the GM with a lot of hooks for their own games and a slew of non-player characters fitting the kind of game they want to play. Two themes of play are provides here: a game focused on exploration of the Gamma Quadrant and one focused on the Dominion War.

Star Trek Adventures: Gamma Quadrant contains a two-paged index, and the PDF is fully bookmarked.

So, what are my thoughts on this sourcebook? If you are a fan of both DS9 and Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures, this is a must-have. But if you are more interested in earlier eras of the Star Trek universe you might not get that much out of it. Even then, about 14€ are a fair price for the amount of material players and GMs get with this book. You can get Star Trek Adventures: Gamma Quadrant directly from Modiphius, your FLGS, or digitally from DriveThruRPG. The printed book is about €30, while the PDF sets you back about €14.

John Carter of Mars Live Play

I don’t actually remember when I first learned about Edgar Rice Burrough’s series of books about a civil war veteran from Virginia who suddenly finds himself on Mars,  but I immediately fell in love with it. I even love the not-so-successful Disney movie from 2012. It took some liberties with the story, but in my opinion has perfectly captured the atmosphere of the books.

And so has done Modiphius’ John Carter of Mars roleplaying game. So it’s no surprise that I just had to support the Kickstarter project back in January 2018.  The fulfilment took a bit longer than expected, but the long wait was definitely worth it. The books I got so far are gorgeous! Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to give the books a closer look yet, that’s why Modiphius’ upcoming Live Play is of interest to me. I have played another game using their in-house 2d20 System before, but John Carter of Mars uses a simplified version which could make things easier for new players and also speed up play. Especially during combats 2d20 always felt a bit slow. But I digress.

The live play will be on Facebook Live and will start on Wednesday, 17th of April, on 3 PM BST. Hopefully this will be a great opportunity to learn more about how the game plays. So save the date!

If you want to learn more about the John Carter roleplaying game, check out the official site, or watch the videos I posted below!


Enjoy!

Games I am excited about: 2018 Edition

Yes, I am easily excited. There are a lot of gamers who are wary of new things, who stick to their old and well-tread ways, but I am not one of those. I love new games. If I could I’d get a new game every day. Leafing through a new rulebook makes me excited about all the games I could run with it. Sure, most of the time, the book ends up on the shelf unused, but if I got at least some excitement out of it, the purchase was IMHO not wasted. And you can always come back to a game later.

2018 is still young, but I thought this might be the right time to talk about a couple of games I am looking forward to. Let’s start which was actually funded on Kickstarter last year: Forbidden Lands.

Forbidden Lands
Forbidden Lands is the latest game created by the people behind Mutant: Year Zero, Coriolis and Tales from the Loop. This time around it’s a fantasy roleplaying game designed with sandbox play in mind. The Forbidden Lands are actually said sandbox where the players can explore countless locations, fight the bad guys, make a name for themselves and build their stronghold. It seems like the perfect combination between everything which makes MY:0 great (check out my review!) and a classic fantasy world. Recently the first three chapters of the rules have been released to backers in English (the Swedish version is almost done), but hopefully the complete package will be available in the early months of 2018.

The Expanse Roleplaying Game
Last year Green Ronin announced that they have secured the license to create a roleplaying game based on the popular book series (and TV show) by James S.A. Corey. If you are at least remotely interested in Science Fiction you definitely should check out the books or the show. I could now add paragraph upon paragraph why I love the series, but this would be way beyond the scope of this article. Let’s just say that it was a breath of fresh air, because of its believable world and characters, and the fact that the authors really cared about the underlying science of space travel (aside from a few aspects like the super-efficient Epstein drive).
Green Ronin is going to use it’s Fantasy Age ruleset adapted to science fiction, which will probably a variant of their upcoming Modern Age game. I have to admit I am a bit skeptic if these rules are really a good fit for a science fiction setting, but I am still looking forward to this release. Even if the rules are not to my liking, the corebook and any sourcebooks will probably worth it for the background alone!

John Carter of Mars
Modiphius is currently raising funds for the production of a roleplaying game based on a streamlined version of their 2d20 system set into the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ book series. I wouldn’t call myself a huge John Carter fan, but I’ve read and enjoyed the first book of the series and I totally loved the 2012 movie. It’s a shame there will never be a sequel.
John Carter of Mars sounds like it could be a very fun game. Barsoom is a great setting for adventure stories and planetary romance is a genre we don’t see that often in roleplaying games nowadays. The 2d20 system is solid, if a little slow at times, but the more streamlined version used in John Carter might do the trick. Modiphius also has a pretty good track record when it comes to Kickstarters, so I was not surprised that the goal was hit in no time and it seems they hit a new stretch goal every other day. Exciting!

These are three upcoming games I am excited about! What are you looking forward to? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!