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.
As everyone knows, I own a runabout called the U.S.S. Gamemaster. In it, I travel the planet. Sometimes, I get bored of this mudball call Earth. When that happens I head to my favorite quadrant of space, the Gamma Quadrant!
Usually, I don’t see anyone I know there. Or if I do see someone there, I suspect them to be a Changeling. So I can’t fully trust them. Anywho, on my recent travel through the Jenkata Nebula on my way to Gala for a–you guessed it–gala affair, I picked up STA writer Jacob Ross. (Or was he a Changeling?)
He settled into the starboard flight chair in front of Ops. I began interrogating him to determine his true heritage. I will let you, the readers, decide.
Michael: How did you get involved working on the Star Trek Adventures game?
Jacob: Back on the day that Modiphius announced STA there was a bit of a blurb about them looking for freelance writers. I happen to be a freelance writer and a lifelong Star Trek fan. So I tracked down the application link and tossed my hat into the ring.
Michael (thinking “Any changeling would know that.”): So, “Jacob”, what is your role at Modiphius?
Jacob: I write what they ask me to write.
Michael: Hmm. That is very submissive of you. A lot like a Jem’Hadar.
Michael: Nothing. Go on. You were talking about obeying your masters at Modiphius.
Jacob: Like I was saying, so far I have written a couple of adventures–Abyss Station and Fury of the Hive. I also wrote eight or nine sidebars in the core book. Right now, I’ve got the enormous privilege to be a lead writer on the upcoming Gamma Quadrant sourcebook. I get to flesh out some of my favorite baddies, the Dominion.
Michael (reaching for phaser tucked under port flight chair): Favorites you say?
Jacob: Truth be told, I can empathize with the Dominion. So I’m happy to have the chance to write them as something more than a monolithic evil.
Michael (with the weapon still hidden, setting phaser to kill): Favorites you say? “More than a monolithic evil” you claim?
Jacob: Yeah. That’s what I said. Are you okay? There’s a little bead of sweat running down your face. (Turning back to Michael to adjust the environmental control on Ops station.) Let’s drop it a few degrees.
Michael (slowly raising phaser and pointing it at “Jacob’s back): Wow. Gamma Quadrant book. Do you think we can dig into that a bit more? Give our readers a little sneak peek into what to expect? Maybe a wee sample? I think they would really dig that. [Dang it. I can’t kill him until I hear the answers.]
Jacob (pausing to think while looking out of starboard viewport). Um, well, let’s see. We all sign non-disclosure agreements, you know. And the book is far enough out that things could conceivably change.
Michael: (placing finger on fire button): [If he doesn’t have any useful intel…]
Jacob: I can say that there is a lot of material here in comparison to other quadrants in the franchise. (Turning to face Michael again.)
Michael: (hiding phaser at his side while nodding head in understanding): You don’t say?
Jacob: The Gamma Quadrant is the one sector that has been explored the least in Star Trek. But it’s also (at least from what we’ve seen of it) dominated by a culture that we see many times throughout the show. Onscreen, we only saw a handful of worlds in the Gamma Quadrant, though other planets were implied or described but not shown. We can get into those a bit.
Michael: That will be fascinating reading. What is it like to write about the Dominion?
Jacob: It’s fun writing about the Dominion. Still, I take this job seriously since an RPG has to offer a firm logical structure. The writers of the show had the freedom to invent things every week. Now, we’re building a sandbox for gamemasters and players. We have to make sure that everything fits in a logical manner.
Even before I got this gig, I would sometimes stop and think about how the first season and later episodes seemed to portray things that you’d think the Dominion wouldn’t want around in their space. So it was a lot of fun creating the reasons as to why some things are the way they are in the Gamma Quadrant.
Michael: I think this guy is legit.
Jacob: Pardon me?
Michael: Sorry. I meant to say, “Bro, you’re legit!”
Jacob: Okay? Thanks?
Michael: Back to the interview. What is your favorite part of the Star Trek canon? Why?
Jacob: Out of what, now, 31 seasons and 13 movies? Yikes. Um, favorite series is Deep Space Nine. It’s not just the war, but the characters, the tone, the look, everything. What I like about Star Trek that sets it apart from everything else is the combination of the rich worldbuilding and the sense of discovering something new.
Michael: True. True. Who is your favorite character in Star Trek? Why?
Jacob: So, having gone back and seen your other reviews…
Jacob: I think you’re not gonna be happy to hear me say it, but Garak.
Michael (falling on knees and holding hands together): Oh! He is my all-time favorite!
Jacob (wondering why Michael has a phaser in his hand): He is something just so diagonal to everything else that we’ve seen on Trek before. Spock, Data, Dax and THE Sisko are close behind, with Guinan and Sarek rounding them out.
Michael (quickly tucking the phaser away and returning to flight chair): What excites you the most about Star Trek Adventures?
Jacob: I like the chance to see Trek back on tabletops after a dozen years. I love the production values and getting to work with bosses like Chris and Sam and Jim. I love having my expectations subverted. When I read the rules draft my first thought was “How many types of narrative currency?” Then I really read it in-depth and found that the systems that run this game are really complementary.
Michael: What are we going to find you doing if you aren’t absorbed in Star Trek Adventures?
Jacob: Working at my day job. But if you mean should I have some free time, I guess spending time with my family. I love exploring the Pacific Northwest or spending time in Portland with the wife.
I also write RPGs for myself. I’ve got one called Kaigaku, which is a samurai game.
Oh, there is one other thing I like doing.
Michael: Oh. What’s that?
Jacob: Impersonating Star Trek Adventure writers. (Transforms into orange gelatinous liquid, knocks Michael out of his chair, slinks to the back of the runabout, activates transport controls, and disappears in a spiral of energized particles.)
Okay. That was a close one.
But I think I still managed to get some pretty good information out of “Jacob”. I’m glad Modiphius is an equal opportunity employer. Jacob’s insights into the gamma quadrant seem pretty extensive. Can’t wait to see how the new sourcebook pans out.