Star Trek Adventures: Behind-the-Scenes Interview With Jim “Sisko” Johnson

JIM JOHNSON
Jim Johnson and Visa (who is now with the Prophets in the Celestial Temple)

As part of our efforts to be the one-stop-shop for all things in Star Trek Adventures fandom, I am launching a new series where we can get to know the masterminds behind what is arguably the most rocking Star Trek RPG to hit the planet. The folks at Modiphius are working hard to build a game that stands the test of time and gives fans hours of pleasure.

I like to think of the crew at Modiphius like Dr. Leah Brahms. (TNG Episode “Galaxy’s Child”; Season 4, Episode 16) They design the gaming modules. But it is the GMs and players, the La Forges as it were, who fly the ship and test out these engaging modules. And so far the ride has been wild.

I had the privilege of interviewing Jim Johnson, sci-fi author and line editor on STA. Let’s see what he had to say about the game that goes where no game has gone before.

Michael: How did you get involved working on the Star Trek Adventures game?

Jim: Jason Durall, the line manager for Modiphius’s Conan game, and I were freelancers and playtest coordinators on Decipher’s Lord of the Rings RPG. When he found out Modiphius had secured the Star Trek license, he contacted me. He knew I was a huge fan of the IP and then I got in touch with Modiphius. They brought me aboard and put me to work on core book development and other things with the rest of the team.

Michael: Glad they brought you on board! What is your role at Modiphius?

Jim: For lack of a better title, I’m the line editor on STA. Sam Webb’s the Line Developer or manager, effectively the captain of STA, and I’m his Executive Officer, Number One, XO, whatever. I am the lead writer for the TNG-era half of the Living Campaign and also manage the TNG-era LC’s storyline and adventure development, and I work closely with Shawn Merwin, the TOS-era LC lead writer and manager, as well as the stable of writers we have writing adventures for the LC.

modiphius-logoIn addition, I manage the standalone adventure product line for STA, including soliciting, receiving, and reviewing adventure pitches from prospective authors, commissioning adventures, developing and editing the drafts as they come in, and finalizing them for delivery to CBS Studios for approval before they’re pushed over to Sam for final review and then layout and production. I’m also in charge of the Mission Compendium adventure books, of which These Are the Voyages is the first of many to come.

I draw on my lifelong familiarity with Star Trek canon to review, proofread, edit, and offer comments on most of the other products we’ve released or have in development. I haven’t touched everything Modiphius has released STA-wise, but I’ve worked on bits of most of it.

And as if this list wasn’t long enough, I was the lead writer and developer for the upcoming Command Division Supplementary Rulebook, which covers the command and conn departments within Starfleet. Plenty of other STA projects in the works as well that you’ll hear about in coming months.

Michael: We can’t wait to hear about the STA goodness to come. My crew is burning through the modules and we need more. More! So I have to ask, what is your favorite part of the Star Trek canon? Why?

DS9Jim: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favorite, by far. Depth of character, depth of story, the willingness to end some episodes on a darker, more realistic note, the still-relevant storylines…the list goes on. I think it also presents the most diverse and well-rounded cast of main characters of all the Treks. And it has a deep bench of strong recurring characters.
Benjamin-Sisko-benjamin-sisko-13605618-694-530Michael: Who is your favorite character in Star Trek? Why?
Jim: Benjamin Sisko. From the beginning of DS9 to the end, he went on an incredible development arc and ended up being the most complete captain and person we’ve seen in Star Trek. A leader, a father, a son, a builder, etc. Just really amazing character building went into him.
Michael: That is true. It’s funny, the older I get, the more I appreciate DS9 and the crew. Garak and Quark are actually two of my faves from the show. (As I now watch it for the third complete time.) I gotta’ ask, what excites you the most about Star Trek Adventures?
Jim: Practically, I love that it’s the first Star Trek RPG in over a decade. I’ve GMed or played Star Trek for over 25 years, and I’ve played the main ones–FASA, Last Unicorn, Decipher, and homebrews. Having the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time to work on STA for the generations of gamers who grew up on the same games and stories I did, and being able to write for a new generation of Star Trek fans and gamers is just great.Star-Trek-Art-Cover-Mock-Up-Promo-No-Logos_grande
Specifically, about the game, I love that it’s both light and crunchy at the same time. Just as any given Star Trek series can present episodes from deep character drama to all-out action, the STA system enables you to get kinda crunchy with the pew-pew and fisticuffs, or skip the details and get into some Complications and Threat and drama.
I’m also very excited to be working with a great team of writers who all ‘get’ Star Trek and have the felicity of expression to present that knowledge and love to readers and gamers.
Michael: What are we most likely going to find Jim Johnson doing if he isn’t absorbed in Star Trek Adventures?
 
Jim: Lately, most of my non-STA time has been occupied by corrupting my 2-year old son, outlining a new SF novel series, and delving deep into Assassin’s Creed: Origins. I’m constantly thinking about Star Trek and STA though!

I think I echo our readers when I offer deep appreciation for all the heart Jim puts into his work. My players thoroughly enjoyed the Convoy SE-119 written by Mr. Johnson. You can read my module review here at Continuing Missions.
We look forward to more creative works from Jim Johnson in the near future. Make it so!
(Learn more about the talented Jim Johnson at his website (www.scribeineti.com). Also, click this link for an enlightening podcast interview with Jim that explores the making of Star Trek Adventures.)

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