The crew at Modiphius.net has been doing a great job giving GMs plenty of fodder for our gamemastering needs. I have especially enjoyed the Living Campaign playtest. This allows players to try out rules as set out in the Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook.
In my past gaming experience (non-Star Trek), I always wrote my own stories. I thought I was going to do the same, but, honestly, the plots presented in the Living Campaign series have me salivating.
So far, my crew had completed Decision Point. And we have just launched Convoy SE-199 written by Jim Johnson. We have completed Scene One and are just wrapping up Scene Two and, boy-oh-boy, my players are really getting into it.
Even though I will post the finished event, I wanted to give you a taste of how those two scenes have turned out, just in case you are on the fence about joining the living campaign.
CAPTAIN’S LOG (B’Elanna Torres)
(Stardate: 60246.46 [April 1, 2383. 1105 hours])
“Our shore leave at Narendra Station was..challenging, to say the least. While we were docked at the starbase, the crew worked like dogs to resupply the Pioneer. Our engineers and technicians are exhausted, having spent weeks adjusting our new sensor suites for more efficient and effective use while exploring the Shackleton Expanse.
Ensign James has been dealt with, his asinine actions at Risa’s Rendevous almost leading to a violent incident with the crew of the Mupwl‘. After learning about his illegal retrofit of the gaming parlor’s replicators, I confined him to quarters with the exception of pulling double duty between his bridge shifts and scrubbing Jeffries tubes with microlasers. Long days of grunt work and no holodeck privileges should give him ample time to think about his immature infraction.
I thought that the incident at Risa’s Rendevous would be the end of having to deal with Captain Akul’s crew of rowdy Klingons. I was wrong. After Admiral Janeway tore me a new one for the incident in the gaming parlor, I learned that our next mission was about to become more complex.
Starfleet Command wasted little time in giving us the means to test our refined sensor systems—we’ve been tasked with shepherding a supply convoy into the Shackleton Expanse. As fate would have it, we are assigned to work with the crew of the Mupwl’, escorting six cargo Federation transports from Narendra Station toward the deep-space research outpost, Array 3-5, located within the Expanse.
It has been two weeks since we left Narendra Station. While some crewmen have been able to catch up on hobbies or individual pursuits, others, particularly the engineers and scientists, are still putting in long hours tweaking the enhanced sensor systems and tracking down gremlins introduced during the upgrade. The officers manning the conn station are also tense, as navigating the ship and convoy through pockets of electromagnetic eddies is making for a challenging few days at the helm. Echo, our newly appointed holographic senior staff member and conn officer, is performing admirably. He is making his progenitors, Barclay and Seven, very proud.
I am hoping this mission remains uneventful. And, after what has now been dubbed the “Ping Pong Incident”, we are hoping to limit interaction with the crew of the Mupwl‘.”
On the bridge of the U.S.S. Pioneer
“I have never seen a spatial phenomenon like this before,” Echo said as he navigated through the swirling mass of stellar anomalies that permeated the route to the deep space outpost called Array 3-5. The main viewscreen displayed the six transport ships and Mupwl‘ in a line flying through this strange area of the Expanse.
“Understandable,” Seven dryly responded from her position at the science station. “You have only been on active duty for less than two months. Your experiences are insufficient to warrant a large catalog of reference material.”
Echo thought about his co-creator’s comment and nodded his head in a symbol of undeniable acquiescence.
Captain Torres sat in the command chair. Jilel was to her left. Dr. Bedford, eager to observe the anomalies, sat to her right. They had been traveling through the pockets of electromagnetic eddies for nearly two weeks but the anomalies had picked up in size and scope over the past few days making for a few challenging days at the helm for the flight control officers.
The Pioneer had been suffering from unexplained glitches in their shipboard systems: flickering lights, momentary lags in computer processing speed, ghostly images appearing then disappearing on sensors, and the like. It was clear that something was amiss on the ship. Initial speculation from the engineering team was that the glitches were merely temporary power fluctuations as the new system modifications settled in.
The convoy traveled at warp 5.7, the maximum speed the six transport ships could muster under these conditions.
Ensign James stood at ops. He was busy monitoring internal systems that kept redlining. Quick diagnostics indicated everything was alright. Yet, he couldn’t trust that things would stay that way. Plus, he wasn’t going to slack and take the risk of missing something. He was done getting in trouble…for now. Since the incident on the station, Ensign James had kept his head down and focused on his duties. Unfortunately, his punishment kept him from his routine of meeting with the engineering staff that had installed the Pioneer’s sensor arrays to learn as much as he could about the new system. Not that they had much time for such meetings anyways. The ship’s engineering and operations staff had pulled double duty trying to help the Klingon ship ready itself for this mission. Trying to play catch-up and help diagnose the ongoing bugs while in the Shackleton Expanse had frustrated him to no end. What was the bug and what was the source of interference from the Expanse? If those Klingons could hold their liquor, he’s sure they’d be in a better position to help diagnose the issue. What really got his hackles up was they still hadn’t received what was coming to them for insulting Commander Jilel, not to mention the indignity of being thrown across the game parlor. In any case, he continued to run diagnostics and look over schematics to see if he could find something the engineers missed.
“Engineering,” the captain said into the console on her chair, “we need to hammer down these power fluctuations. Figure out where they are coming from.”
“I’m working on it, Captain,” Barclay said over the comm. “I will let you know when we have a solution.”
Torres turned to Seven. “Can you see if there is any correlation between the electromagnetic eddies and the power fluctuations? We may be able to more easily navigate if we can pinpoint how they are affecting the ship.”
While Seven went to work, Odo spoke up from the tactical station. “I recommend we alert the Muwpl‘, Captain,” the CTO said in his customary neutral tone, “Power fluctuations could compromise the shields.” He also thought about the possibility that this was sabotage, in which case the Klingons might be affected too. If it did turn out to be sabotage but the Klingons were not affected…well, that was valuable information too. Odo had learned some time ago, however, that suspicion was best delivered slowly.
Seven had turned to face the rear computer panel at the science station. She ran a diagnostic scan of the ship and timed the results to the course data the computer core had cataloged. After several rounds of running her hands over the buttons, she turned to Captain Torres. “There is indeed a correlation, Captain. As long as we are near these electromagnetic eddies our systems could be compromised.”
“Mr. Odo, open a hail to the Mupwl‘ to warn them of the possible power trouble,” said Torres. “See if they’ve experienced the same. Perhaps Klingon technology is more easily able to handle these issues.”
“Aye,” Odo said. The word sounded as brittle and awkward as always.
The bridge filled with the all-too-familiar sound of the hailing frequency. After a few seconds, Captain Akul’s face appeared on a screen riddled with static interference. He simply said, “What?” in an abrupt and irritating manner.
The crew of the Pioneer could clearly see that the instrumentation on the Klingon bridge was similarly blinking in and out erratically. Echo turned to glance at his Captain and XO to see if they noticed the variating light show.
Odo grunted in bleak amusement at the Klingon’s bravado. In the face of the unknown, the predictable could be a comfort. Even if it was an antisocial Klingon. The tactical officer sent a text message over to Seven’s station. [ARE THE MUPWLS’ DISPLAYS CONSISTENT WITH THE EM SPIKES?]
Seven looked at Odo, nodded in the affirmative, then added, “Captain, sensors are reading a fluctuation in one of the…correction two of the transports warp fields.”
“Captain,” Torres said to Akul. “it appears you’re experiencing the same power fluctuations we are.” She turned to Seven. “Is there any way to stabilize them?”
“Federation rats, how dare you waste my time!” Akul barked. “Why did you hail me if you do not have a solution?
Seven was able to discern from her scans that it might be possible to stabilize intermittent power surges by rotating the force field dynamics. However, this would require a team to constantly track the incoming electromagnetic anomalies and make manual adjustments. She relayed her findings to the captain.
Jilel stepped up to the viewscreen. “Captain Akul. As Captain Torres explained, we are experiencing similar power fluctuations on both our vessels. And it seems the transport vessels as well. As we are…all in this together, we are simply trying to start a dialogue between our two ships.” Jilel spread his hands. “Perhaps we can more readily resolve our mutual issues by sharing information.” Jilel turned ever so slightly to Torres and raised the faintest of eyebrows.
Akul scowled, his patented impatience coming to the fore. “You should have contacted me the moment this started to occur. We thought Starfleet had sabotaged our sensor upgrades. I was planning to blow you from the stars.” He paused and looked off-screen. “We will transmit a copy of our sensor records so that we can perform a comparative analysis.”
Torres kept her cool. “We look forward to working more closely with you. Qapla‘!”
Akul growled, “Just let me know if you find something,” and severed the connection.
Odo confirmed that the Klingons sent the sensor records. He gave a head nod to Captain Torres.
Well, there you have it. Can’t wait to play this out.