Star Trek Adventures has a lot of great material in it but no game is beyond homebrew expansion. In fact, for me the better the game the more I want to write new material for it as well. Certainly, Modiphius has plenty of supplements planned so we’ll definitely see more but if you want to make more in the meantime where do you start? Allow me to offer some suggestions…
The two main places to expand Star Trek Adventures are species and spaceframes. Star Trek is full of dozens of species and tons of spaceships so the material is already out there. Once I set out to write some, though, I found some awesome homemade resources made by “Jester” David Gibson so this post has turned into a combination of my stuff and his. Enjoy!
Creating new species is pretty straightforward in Star Trek Adventures.
- Appropriate Eras: You might feel like you have to do a ton of research here but don’t go crazy: if the species was introduced in Star Trek: Enterprise then put “All Eras of Play,” if it’s first in the original Star Trek series it’s “The Original Series and the Next Generation Eras Only,” and if it’s from any other series it should be “The Next Generation Era Only.” You can definitely include it in other eras if you like (Trills are a good example) so don’t feel locked in.
- Example Value: Come up with a Value or two for characters of this species. Bonus points if you can make it a quote from a series or movie.
- Attributes: Pick three Attributes to get +1 to. Bam. I think it’s possible to have a +2 to something if you don’t exceed +3 total but there’s no precedent and it’s probably more limiting than helpful.
- Traits: this is the trickier one since you’ll have to create something balanced. Just pick one or two things that the species is known for and use existing Traits to give you mechanics. You could also just use a Talent from a published species for your new one.
For some examples, check out Jester’s Homebrew Species folder which is amazing in presentation and breadth. At the time of writing there are twenty-two species in that folder including Bolians, Klingons, Ferengi, Romulans, Freed Borg, Benzites, and Holograms (like the Doctor). It’s only scratched the surface of the Star Trek universe but Jester seems to be on a roll so you can expect to see tons more, I’m sure.
Making a new spaceframe is a more complicated endeavor but I feel like I have a good handle on it after crunching some numbers. You can use the following guidelines to make new spaceframes, including the dozens and dozens found in Star Trek Online.
Systems: The ship’s Systems and refits should add up to around 58 for a game set in 2371. The Galaxy class, for example, has Systems that add up to 58 all together and it hasn’t been in service more than a decade so it gets no refits. The Constellation class’s Systems, on the other hand, only add up to 50 but a Constellation-class ship that entered service around 2285 when the class debuted would have had 8 refits by 2371. With some back calculation you could also figure out other eras if you wanted to play then: for every decade before 2371 you subtract one from the total.
- New spaceframes for games set during the Enterprise era (around 2151, or 220 years before the default year) would have Systems that totaled to around 36 points.
- New spaceframes for games set during the original series (around 2265, or 106 years before the default year) would have Systems that totaled to around 48 points.
- New spaceframes around the time of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (around 2293, or 74 years before the default year) would have Systems that totaled to around 51 points.
- New spaceframes for games around the time of Star Trek Online (starts around 2409, or 38 years later than the default year) would have around 62 points in their Systems. Note that this makes it likely that every System would be near the 12 point cap, so for this special case I’d recommend putting some of those points into Departments.
Departments: A spaceframe gets three points spread throughout its Departments. This shows what sort of mission profiles the spaceframe is particularly suited for, but no published spaceframe has more than +1 to any given Department.
Scale: Generally, older ships are smaller and newer ships are bigger. Early ships like the Miranda and Constitution classes are smaller and tend to be Scale 4. Later ships like the Akira and Excelsior classes are Scale 5 while the impressively large Galaxy class is Scale 6. More recent classes like the Intrepid and Nova classes are reversing this ever-bigger trend while the Defiant class is a special case of a small-but-powerful support ship. In the end, though, this is up to your design and what is shown on screen. It also affects how intimate the ship is: a huge crew like the Enterprise-D or a small and efficient crew like the Defiant.
Weaponry: There is no limit to the number of weapons systems that can be on a spaceframe but the Defiant class’s four weapons is probably a good upper limit. As with personal weapons, more weapons doesn’t mean that the ship will be destroying everything around it since only one gets used at a time. More weapons does mean more options, however, which is better suited for combative mission profiles. Of special note is the Tractor Beam whose strength tends to be one less than the spaceframe’s Scale.
Talents: There is also no limit on Talents since all ships will have five Talents no matter what spaceframe or mission profile they have. More Talents, however, means fewer choices for the crew and mission profiles also provide Talents so consider three an upper limit for this. If a spaceframe has three Talents, another will come from the mission profile and the crew will only have one to pick. This is at least better than zero, which would be the case with four Talents in a spaceframe. [Edit: Game_Mapper on reddit helpfully pointed out that I’d gotten this wrong. You can have as many Talents in the ship as its Scale. So consider two less than its Scale an upper limit.]
Now, these guidelines are mine and not shared with Jester but his folder of amazing spaceframes certainly are awesome additions to the game. There are currently twenty-one spaceframes in this folder including the Sovereign class ship (like the Enterprise-E), the Ambassador class (the Galaxy class’s weird cousin), the Nebula class (which will always for me be “that awesome one that Data captained against the Borg”), and a variant write-up of the Constitution class. There’s even a version of the NX class (from Star Trek: Enterprise) which is both nicely presented and well-balanced.