Something that people consistently have talked about since the debut of Stark Trek Adventures, and something that Jester and I have tried to address with our series of space station frames, is running an STA game based on a space station rather than a starship. While most of the Star Trek series feature the crews of starships roaming the galaxy, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does not and it is arguably the closest thing to an on-screen version of a Star Trek RPG campaign.
It’s not an episodic romp through planet after planet with lots of new characters: there are repeating villains and plots that run through the whole series. In fact, it’s the clear lead in terms of story arc (as opposed to episodic) stories and it’s the only Star Trek series with an extended war until Star Trek: Discovery. (No, I’m not counting the Xindi War in Star Trek: Enterprise, that was a lot more sailing through space to the Xindi homeworld than a real wartime story).
But there’s a problem. Deep Space Nine, as a show and as a space station, was only interesting because there was a big, unique problem that it faced: the Bajoran wormhole. There were plenty of stories that didn’t involve the wormhole at all but the reason for all the attention and drama on DS9 was the fact that nowhere else in the Federation (or galaxy) had the unique confluence of forces that Captain Sisko and his crew faced. With some planning, of course, a GM could make a similar situation with some elements of Star Trek lore and their own imaginations, but therer’s already a ready option for your space station campaign: Narendra Station.
Location, Location, Location
Narendra Station (formally called Starbase 364), from Modiphius’s Star Trek Adventures living campaign, is positioned on the edge of the Shackleton Expanse. This vast region of space, on the far side of both Romulan and Klingon space and far from the Federation core, is shrouded in mystery and wracked by gravimetric and electromagnetic anomalies. It is dangerous and difficult to traverse, but the Federation is making a go of it with some help from allies.
There are resources in the Shackleton Expanse, though, and the remoteness means that Narendra station is really the only port of call for ships coming to the area from Federation space. Like the Bajoran wormhole, this is an opportunity with a lot of question marks so it provides a ready story element while not feeling like an imminent danger right next door. Being near the major Beta Quadrant powers means that there’s opportunity to bring agents of other galactic powers into the mix, which leads us to the next point.
Already a Story
The informal name for Starbase 364 comes from the planet Narendra III which held a Klingon colony that was attacked by Romulans in 2344. Every Klingon colonist would have been lost in the attack if it weren’t for the intervention of the U.S.S. Enterprise-C which was lost with (nearly) all hands buying time for the evacuation of the planet. This makes it a perfect name for the starbase on the edge of the Shackleton Expanse which is a joint operation between Starfleet and the Klingon Empire. So Klingon ships are constantly docking there, Klingon crews are walking the halls, and Klingon customs need to be acknowledged and respected to avoid incidents. How the Klingons on the station will react when the Empire withdraws from the Khitomer Accords shortly after the default starting time for Star Trek Adventures and whether Romulans show up when the three states ally against the Dominion… well those details are up to the GM and (potentially) the player characters’ actions.
Even without those big-picture details (and this maybe goes without saying) there’s an ongoing campaign of adventures for this area. This isn’t a small thing, and it could easily make this station into something like the late 1990s when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager were both on the air at the same time and movies about the Next Generation crew were in theaters. Missions by the U.S.S. Thunderchild, U.S.S. Belerephon, and U.S.S. Venture can serve as jumping-off points for adventures that the Narendra Station crew faces or maybe some of the Nadrendra crew goes on a mission with another ship. You could even create your own Defiant, Intrepid, or other small ship permanently assigned to Starbase 364 and periodically send your crew out on these pre-written adventure (but not until your later
seasons game sessions).
Mission and Purpose
In illustrations from Modiphius, Narendra station seems to be a Stardock-class station but there’s no reason you have to stick to that. It can very easily be a Sigma-class station or one of the other space station frames that we haven’t posted yet but are working hard on. Likewise, the mission of Narendra station isn’t clearly defined in the living campaign: it’s a port for ships in the Shackleton Expanse but is it a tactical base, a commercial center, a service station, or something else?
It’s even unclear where the location of Narendra Station is. Is it floating in the middle of deep space? Is it in an uninhabited system? Is it over a planet with a colony? Who lives in that colony? Is it Federation/Klingon as well, just one government, or a wholy different and neutral species? Whether there’s a colony or not, what else is in that system?
Above, I talked about how much material you already have on Narendra Station but don’t feel like it’s all written since there is so much room for you to make the station your own. If you’re looking to get a space station Star Trek Adventure campaign going, Narendra Station and the living campaign setting is right there and perfectly situated.