Interview With Star Trek Adventures RPG Writer Fred Love

With the fresh release of Strange New Worlds: Mission Compendium Volume 2 fresh on the minds of Star Trek Adventures fans, I figured it was time to interview the writer many RPG fans like, Fred Love. Fred had already made quite a name for himself as a contributor in These are the Voyages: Volume 1 and in a free, short Star Trek Adventures module in Modiphia #2 (Summer 2017) called “A Vulture Among The Stars”.

My crew is currently playing “Biological Clock”, one of the modules contained in the These are the Voyages mission compendium. My group must weigh up the dilemma of the Prime Directive with an intelligent species that originates outside the confines of normal space and time, subjugated by another civilization. We are thoroughly enjoying the module. Well-written. Great plot. Star Trek 101.

Star Trek Adventures RPG "Biological Clock"
Art from Star Trek Adventures RPG story “Biological Clock” contained in These Are the Voyages Volume 1.

Michael: Let’s get into the mind of Fred Love. Fred, how did you get involved with working on the Star Trek Adventures game?

Fred: I’ve been a fan of Star Trek rpgs going back to the Last Unicorn Games iteration, which came out when I was in middle school. LUG Star Trek was actually my very first tabletop RPG. I’d never heard of Modiphius when they announced they were playtesting a new Trek RPG, but I knew I wanted to be part of it from the start. I found a contact form on the Modiphius website and sent my resume. I got a note back saying they were looking for adventure writers and that I should pitch them an idea. I sent a pitch, and, to my surprise, they accepted my idea and commissioned my adventure. That turned out to be “Biological Clock,” one of the scenarios in the These Are the Voyages compendium.

I also want to mention that I wrote one of the scenarios in the forthcoming Strange New Worlds compendium as well. I don’t want to give away too much about my particular scenario, but I’m really excited to see what my fellow STA gamemasters think of it! And, as with all the STA books to date, the book’s cover art is just gorgeous!

Too late, Fred! Strange New Worlds was released today! Your name is all over your adventure. Haha! And you are right about the cover art. How much creative freedom were you given when you were commissioned to work on the project? 

Editors asked me to adjust my pitch slightly at the very beginning. From there, I just tried to turn in a copy that matched the vision I laid out in my pitch document. My finished draft went through a couple rounds of light editing, but the text that got published in the book ended up pretty darn close to my original pitch. So I’d say Modiphius has been a pleasure to work with as far as making creative decisions for the projects to which I’ve contributed.

Fred Love shows off Star Trek Adventures: These are the Voyages
Fred Love shows off Star Trek Adventures: These are the Voyages mission compendium.

What was your favorite part of doing a gaming module for Star Trek Adventures? How many have you done so far?

It’s just a blast getting to play around in the Star Trek sandbox through tabletop role-playing games, which is a storytelling medium that means a lot to me. I’ve been imagining my own adventures in the Trek universe since grade school, and tabletop role-playing is a great avenue for bringing those adventures to life.

I’m really lucky that my adventure got published in an officially licensed Star Trek book, but every gamemaster who’s ever run a Star Trek RPG has gone through the same process. We get to play around in this incredibly rich and imaginative setting and visit the Final Frontier right at our tables. Whether you publish your adventures or just use them at your own table, that’s just plain awesome!

When did your passion for Star Trek first develop? What was your first exposure to Star Trek?

I was probably in first grade when Star Trek really captured my imagination in the early 1990s. The Next Generation introduced me to Star Trek, and TNG will always be my favorite, but my local ABC affiliate also ran reruns of the original series. I taped as many episodes as I could on my parents’ VCR and watched them over and over and over, even with the commercials.

Do you play Star Trek Adventure on the regular? If so, what is your crew like? 

star trek constellation class starshipI try to play every other week with my home group, though I had to take a couple months off this summer while I worked on organizing a local music festival here in Ames, Iowa. My main campaign is set on the USS Gemini, an aging Constellation-Class starship in the Shackleton Expanse. I’ve run a mix of scenarios published by Modiphius and ones I came up with myself. I keep it episodic and try as much as possible to make my players feel like they’re participating in an episode of The Next Generation, just with their own original characters.

I also ran a campaign online with some friends I met playing games on Google Hangouts. That was set on Starbase 23 near the Romulan Neutral Zone, and I ran that like Deep Space 9, with a longer story arc that involved Section 31 setting up a massive extra-legal surveillance system. I switched that campaign to an original Pulp Cthulhu campaign after about 12 sessions.

What character do you play?

Just as in nearly every RPG I’ve played, I’m pretty much always a GM. I’ve been a player in precisely one session of STA. That session was a memorable one, though, that involved Borg drones who had learned Kung Fu (thanks, Paul!)

What have you noticed about public reaction to the game? What about Star Trek Adventures strikes a different chord with the public do you think?

I think Modiphius did a great job tailoring the 2d20 system to Star Trek. The system stays out of the way to allow the story to take center stage, as it should in any good Trek game. But it also offers satisfying crunch in areas that support that kind of complexity, such as starship combat. The main resolution mechanic is really elegant as well. It’s easy to catch on, but, with momentum and determination, it offers players meaningful choices.

Now, the million-dollar question: Who is your favorite character in Star Trek? Why?

star trek the next generation captain picardCaptain Picard. I admire his intellect and his leadership style. I try to keep a cool head and not let personal biases color my judgment. I don’t always live up to Jean-Luc’s standard, but I think the character is a great role model.

Indeed. Glad we will get so much more of him in the Picard series. What is your favorite part of the Star Trek canon? (TV, movies, book) Which series do you like the best?

I think DS9 is probably the best series, but The Next Generation will always be my favorite. The Enterprise-D just feels like “home” for me.

What would our readers find you doing if it isn’t writing/playing RPGs?

I do public relations and communications for a major land-grant university. I’ve done that full time for over seven years now. I’ve also got two kids, ages 8 and 2, who keep my wife and me really busy. I try to squeeze music and RPGs into the equation whenever I can, but I always feel strapped for time.

If you can find a way to create a pocket dimension unaffected by time so you can play more RPG, I promise not to tell the Department of Temporal Investigations.

Awesome. I’ll get on it.

If you were a specific component of a Federation starship, what part would you be? Why?

I’d probably be the warp core. I’m always trying to generate positive energy for whatever projects I’m involved in.

Bam! Mic drop! You are definitely accomplishing your goal, Fred. Your feelgood adventures such are getting a positive response from my crew and many other Star Trek Adventure fans I’m sure. Keep pumping out the great content, bro!

Or better yet, Make It So!

Connect with Fred via Twitter @trek_lug

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