I’m back with the second half of my Delta Quadrant sourcebook review. Last time I talked about the information chapter and the species of the Delta Quadrant. Today, I’m continuing with the starships and antagonists you’ll find there. Spoiler alert: there are a lot of threats here, and a lot of them are Borg.
This post first appeared on my site, Mephit James’ Blog.
Starships of the Delta Quadrant
This chapter goes right for the jugular here with some new Borg ships. First there’s the Borg octahedron that the Queen uses to move around the galaxy, the small Borg probe ship which is powerful but probably the only one you should think of tangling with a single ship and other options, and the tactical cube which is a massive Scale 13 vessel that’s like a military starbase that can follow you at warp. Sheesh.
A new ship, the Borg torus, is equated to Starfleet’s worker bees, though they are Scale 4 which is remarkably bigger. There are also Auto-Regeneration Units which are robotic engineers that repair the ship automatically (seen working in a dramatic scene in this season of Star Trek: Picard). Grimly, there are also guidelines for making “Assimilated ships” for when the Borg grab a Miranda-class, for instance, and turn it into a Borg-ified monstrosity.
After this nightmare fuel come a few more typical ships. We get a new small craft in the form of the Delta Flyer design created by the U.S.S. Voyager during its long journey, which comes with a new Talent called Hot Rod which might as well be named “Tom Paris contributed to this.” There’s a Talaxian freighter, a Kazon raider (which could also be a Trabe raider), a Kazon Predator-class ship (apparently called Carrier class when they were Trabe vessels), a Hirogen warship (Scale 3, so like a Defiant-class ship), a Hirogen Venatic-class warship (bigger at Scale 5), a Krenim warship as well as a Krenim timeship (with some bonkers rules), a Lokirrim Aria-class patrol ship with a photonic weapon that wrecks holograms (the first new energy weapon type that I can recall since the core rulebook), a smaller Lokirrim Pavteal-class warship, the bioships of Species-8472, a Vidiian warship, and a Voth Palisade-class research vessel and a massive (Scale 15) Voth city ship which both have a phasing cloaking device.
Simply put, there are a lot of options here, more adversarial ships even than are in the core rulebook. This is important since a Delta Quadrant campaign needs to be able to stand on its own (as we saw with Star Trek: Voyager) and there are plenty of tools here for the GM.
Encounters and Adversaries
That same philosophy holds for the adversaries in the book: even discounting the Borg characters there are nearly twice as many as in the core rulebook. This chapter starts, though, with a few encounter seeds to get you started. First there’s an encounter with Overlookers following the crew’s ship, then some Talaxians with silverblood clones presenting a moral conundrum. There’s a seed for fighting in a Tsunkatse, a dangerous situation with a stranded Vidiian, a chance to interact with the temporal scientist Annorax (including his stats), and one seed that’s just a “greatest hits” of everyone you really don’t want to meet up with in the Delta Quadrant.
There is a Devore officer and a Devore mindhunter to chase down any telepaths on your ship, a Haakonian scientist for making wartime atrocities like the metreon cascade, a Malon transporter of antimatter waste, a spy for the Overlookers, a Major NPC Pendari champion for tsunkatse battles, a Notable explorer for the Sikarians, a Srivani field researcher, a Talaxian soldier and a crafty smuggler, and a Voth matriarch as well as one of their scientists.
There’s a Hirogen hunter (a Notable character) and a Hirogen alpha (a Major character), as well as a technician (a Minor character) to keep their ships running and holograms operating. The Kazon have a Minor warrior, a Notable maje, and Jal Culluh as a Major NPC and an example of a first maje. The Ocampa have a Minor explorer, a Notable elder, and a Major disciple with the sort of crazy psychic abilities we saw from late-series Kes. There’s just one statblock for Species-8472 but it’s nuts: immune to pretty much everything, Fast Recovery 2, Menacing, with Resistance 6, and the ability to infect people when injured in melee, just to name some highlights. The Vidiians have a Phage carrier as a Minor NPC, a Notable harvester trying to gather organs, and the hematologist Danara Pel that Voyager once saved.
Wrapping things up we have some special case exotic lifeforms. The Maw of Bliss is a Lovecraftian sort of spaceborne entity that makes for an awesome encounter. A sidenote on photonic lifeforms (such as those fighting with the Lokirrim) let’s you make all sorts of holographic encounters and isomorphs are provided as an example.
Exploring Borg Space
As in all things, the Borg are a special case. They get their own “Encounters and Adversaries” chapter which supplements the three drones (engineering, tactical, and medical) that are found in the core rulebook. The chapter offers some plot hooks for different ways to engage the Borg, from crossing Borg territory to evacuating colonies caught in their path, and some notes on adjusting the Borg and running campaigns centered around the Borg threat. There’s also a chilling sidebar on how to easily assimilate supporting characters (cold, Modiphius) that really drives the danger home.
Now on to the statblocks. There’s an example liberated Borg, a former Starfleet conn officer named Sate (formerly Six of Eight), and the self-aware Borg drone Hugh (TNG version, not Picard). Another Borg drone option is the Adjunct Drone, still a Minor character but one that offers a mobile iterlink for groups of Borg away from a ship. There’s also an assimilated creature for, say, if someone’s pet targ gets assimilated… extra tragic. Finally, there are two Starfleet officers: the Borg-expert Commander Shelby and an original character named Captain Melville Ceely who survived Wolf-359 and is now obsessed with destroying the Borg (get it? Melville? get it?).
Did I say “finally?” Well, those are the NPCs your most likely to use in a campaign, but there is one more: the Borg Queen. She gets a full page of information and most of it is a long list of details. She’s a Major NPC with strong-but-normal Attributes and Disciplines but has Resistance 4 and some good abilities like Night Vision and Machine 4 (typical for Borg). However, the really great abilities have to do with supporting other Borg in the scene: basically when the Borg Queen is around other Borg NPCs they get a lot more effective, and that’s the whole point. Her ability called “The One Who Is Many” lets her assist any other Borg in the scene as a free action by spending 2 Threat. “Override Threat Protocols” lets her activate Borg Drones without spending Threat and the whammy is “Temptation of the Queen” which lets her play mind games with characters like she does with Data and Picard in Star Trek: First Contact or Janeway in Voyager. This is a really well-designed NPC and avoids the temptation of making a super-powerful juggernaut but what the Queen actually offers is changing how the Borg act and behave while also shifting the encounter from a hostile one to a more complex one.
Lastly, there’s a two-page sidebar on “Defeating the Collective.” The Borg are an overwhelming threat, but Starfleet always finds a way to fight them. This gives the GM mechanics for these situations from reprogramming nanoprobes, reprogramming drones (like Hugh), and hacking into the Collective to mess it up. Every one of these is a great campaign tool and also excellent teaching examples of Linear and/or Timed Challenges.
Unsurprisingly, if your campaign is going to the Delta Quadrant or you’d like it to, this book is a must-buy. It’s got lots of information on the quadrant and the species and ships found there, plus tons of plot hooks to keep your Delta Quadrant campaign from just being a Voyager rehash.
The real utility, though, is the Borg. There is tons of information on the Borg and it multiplies the ways to include this threat by an order of magnitude at least. If you want to use the Borg in your campaign more than once, and especially if you want them to be a recurring threat, then this book will let you do that spectacularly.If you aren’t interested in going to the Delta Quadrant or including the Borg in your campaign, this book moves down your to-purchase list. Now that we have all four quadrant sourcebooks, if you don’t have a special interest in a particular quadrant then I recommend you buy them in this order: Alpha Quadrant (many species and new stuff), Beta Quadrant (the other half, though the better-documented half), Gamma Quadrant (more accessible than Delta, and outlines the Dominion War), then Delta (isolated but with lots of Borg info). I love this book, though, and recommend that you not skip any quadrant book at all since they all add many new depths to your campaign options.