I’ve been enjoying Star Trek Adventures a lot and think it’s well-poised to become the sort of sweeping Star Trek RPG that Last Unicorn Game’s Star Trek RPG was. To do this, though, it needs to expand beyond Federation starships and into territory that Star Trek fans are interested in and don’t necessarily have an on-screen model for. To help with that process, I’m starting with a short guide on how to play STA as everyone’s favorite xenophobes: the Romulans.
Let’s just get this out of the way: this article is not going to give you everything you need to play Romulans. I just don’t have the space and it’s already been covered in many other places. No doubt we’ll have information on the Romulans in the upcoming Beta Quadrant Sourcebook, and there’s information at Memory Alpha and Memory Beta that you can pull from, not to mention a Romulan faction in Star Trek Online. If you can get your hands on previous game’s books, A Fragile Peace details the Romulan Neutral Zone and outlines a campaign there while The Way of D’era is the definitive guide to roleplaying as a Romulan.
So… That’s where you should go for some background info. If you’re feeling really out to sea, here’s a brief overview of Star Trek‘s Romulans.
- Origins: The Romulans used to be Vulcans, long ago when the Vulcan people were warlike and filled with rage. Great teachers came forward to spread philosophies of self-control and mastery of emotion. Not everyone agreed they should control these emotions and some of them left, becoming the Romulans.
- Conflict: The Romulans have gone through long periods of self-imposed isolation, establishing Neutral Zones that they enforce with deadly effect. They maintained a long isolation, broken only when the original Enterprise made contact and realized that the mysterious Romulans were related to the Vulcans. They allied with the Klingons and then went back to isolation broken when the Enterprise-D (shocker) made contact with the bigger, deadlier Romulan fleet. At the time of Star Trek Adventures, they have stayed out of all military concerns with the Dominion but might yet ally with the Federation against them.
- Government: The Romulans are ruled by a Senate made up of elected officials who are either former military or future military. They’re all about the military. The executive branch is the Praetor who typically wields immense power.
- D’era: This is the Romulans’ cultural philosophy, the counterpart to the Vulcan Kolinahr. It stresses obedience, duty, and family strength.
- The Tal Shiar: The Romulans are definitely obsessed with military, but they are very different from groups like the Cardassians or Klingons. Their secret police and intelligence bureau, the Tal Shiar, is really good at its job and they much prefer slipping a knife into your back than charging at your front.
The first thing you want to do for your Romulan game is to download “Jester” David Gibson’s Romulan species profile for all your players use. Unlike a Federation crew, Romulan vessels tend to be homogenous so it will be up to specific Talents and character creation choices to differentiate the crew. Although it’s not widely seen in the series, Remans also serve onboard Romulan vessels and you can use this species profile to create those characters as well.
Of course, a Romulan crew needs a Romulan ship. Check out this document for six Romulan spaceframes, some new Ship Talents, and a new Mission Profile for sneaky espionage vessels. The spaceframes here come from a variety of places and they might vary from the Romulan vessels you like from novels, miniatures games, The Way of D’era, or Star Trek Online. If you have no preconceptions about Romulan ships aside from the classic Bird-of-Prey and the mean, green D’deridex warbird then this document is probably all you need. If you want to make sure your favorite vessel is represented, check out my guidelines for homebrew spaceframes and assemble your own in mere minutes!