Star Trek Adventures: Behind-the-Scenes With Writer Ian Lemke

This is part of a continuing series where we get to know the masterminds behind the RPG that goes where no RPG has ever gone before – Star Trek Adventures.


Usually, Ian goes for the pipe that blows bubbles. But, for this photo session, we got him to switch out to one filled with a mixture of almond extract, rosemary, and dried carob potpourri. (Photo credit to his wife.)


The folks at Modiphius bring in some of the best talent to create the adventures that many of us enjoy. One such talent, Ian Lemke, is “a writer, gamer (tabletop RPGs, board games, and computer games), game designer, sci-fi & fantasy fan, Trekkie, foodie, gardener, tinkerer, explorer, and a creator of worlds”, as his bio at Grand Pooka’s Grimoire reports. Let’s get to the juicy parts…

Michael: Ian, *cough* how did you get involved working on the Star Trek Adventures game?

Ian: A friend pointed me toward the Modiphius site where they had a posting that they were looking for freelance writers. I’d been running a Star Trek RPG (Last Unicorn games edition) for about five years and had played and run Trek games all the way back to the FASA edition, so it was something that excited me. I was just getting back into freelance writing, so the timing was perfect. I wrote Modiphius and told them of my experience with Star Trek and my background in RPG writing and design. I heard back from them almost right away and they asked me to send in a pitch for the Living Campaign. Apparently, they liked what I submitted. The rest is history. If anyone is curious, my first submission was actually for the early playtest and is called Fading Suns.

Michael: Ooh. My group hasn’t got a chance to play Fading Suns yet. (Adding to my To-Do list.) Tell us more about your role at Modiphius.

Ian: I am a freelance writer for the Star Trek Adventures Living Campaign. So far, I have four adventures that are part of the Living Campaign with hopefully more to come.

Fun fact: the first adventure I wrote was based on the first adventure I ran for my Star Trek gaming group.  We kept a wiki over the years that holds all the adventure summaries and such, which has turned out to be a great resource for me now.

Michael: I think I want a peek at your wiki. Hmm. That didn’t come out right. You get my point. Changing subject: What is your favorite part of the Star Trek canon and why?

Ian: First, I want to make it clear, that I love all Star Trek. (I even think there are good parts in Star Trek V.)

Michael (Eyes widen in disbelief): You must be referring to the end and…the end.

Ian: However, my favorite is probably Deep Space Nine.

Michael: And Ian with the save!

Ian: I feel that DS9 really opened up the Star Trek Universe and showed life beyond living on a starship. It also showed us the grittier side of the Federation. Not everything could always be resolved neatly and cleanly. Loose ends came back to bite them. Sometimes there was no perfect solution. You might notice some of this reflected in the adventures I write. Also, Sisko is my favorite captain and In the Pale Moon Light is probably my favorite episode.

Michael: I am glad you said that. I think we as readers of your work will be on the lookout for your darker side now. With that said, who is your favorite character in Star Trek? Why?

spock thinking.jpgIan (stroking his beard with a Gandalf wisdom): This is a really hard question. Star Trek has had so many fantastic and wonderfully interesting characters throughout its iterations. If I’m only allowed one, I would have to say, Spock. Leonard Nimoy, as Spock had a tremendous impact on me as a child. I first saw The Original Series with my Dad when I was five and Spock quickly became my hero. I learned about the importance or logic and science from him as well as the importance of avoiding violence whenever possible.

Michael: What excites you the most about Star Trek Adventures? 

Ian: Well, I just restarted my old Star Trek campaign and we converted everything over to Star Trek Adventures.Star-Trek-Art-Cover-Mock-Up-Promo-No-Logos_grande

Michael: How did the players feel about that?

Ian: Some of the players were dubious at first, but I think everyone has come around at this point. There are so many aspects of the system that make it feel and play like Star Trek. I think my favorite part of the game is the Momentum and Teamwork systems. In a Star Trek game, the players should be working together. Coming together to solve a problem is one of the important aspects of Trek, and STA really supports this by making it advantageous for players to work together. There is also the fact that every character is competent in several skills (which again reflects the Star Trek universe), meaning that no player is left with nothing to do. I just love the way everything fits together in a way that allows players to participate in a story that feels very Star Trek.

Michael: I am going to admit, this was the first Star Trek based game I played. And everything you mention rings so true.

Ian: I should probably give a shout out to the Living Campaign here too.

Michael: Go for it, bruh!

Ian: Modiphius is doing something awesome by making a complete campaign available for free. There’s a full campaign setting with an ongoing story for which they’re putting out a new adventure every month. I’m really excited about the overarching story. I think the players and GMs are going to be blown away as it is slowly revealed.

Michael: OMG! The suspense! You’re killing us! So let me ask: What are we most likely going to find you doing if you aren’t absorbed in Star Trek Adventures?

Ian: Watching Star Trek.

Michael: (laughs)

Ian: What else did you expect me to say? When I’m not watching Star Trek or working on adventures for the STA Living Campaign, I’m working on any of a number of freelance assignments for different games or writing something for my blog. I also do a lot of tabletop roleplaying, play some computer games, work in my garden, and spend time with my wife and dog. And sometimes a mixture of several of these. I should give credit to my wife. She’s as much a Trek fan as I am and she helps me bounce around adventure ideas all the time.

Well, Ian, we are now in love with your wife too!

And we are happy that we have such a huge talent on board Star Trek Adventures and the Living Campaign! I, for one, look forward to seeing the darker missions you write. Live long and prosper, bro man!


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