By Al Spader
Welcome to part one of an ongoing series about the FASA Star Trek The Next Generation Officer’s Manual. Produced in 1988, when TNG was really taking off, this book ultimately began the downward spiral between FASA and Paramount. This eventually lead to FASA’s Star Trek RPG License bring revoked.
FASA took several liberties with the Officer’s Manual, including creating many new starship classes which is where we will start. In the coming weeks, I hope to include several new space frames adapted to Star Trek Adventures format. If there is enough interest, I will also include some of the other more interesting equipment and designs FASA put into the book.
We begin with the M’Benga Class Rescue/Medical Ship. Initially, this class drew my attention as it was a starship without any weapons. This provides a very different background for role-playing compared to other frames available in Star Trek Adventures. Named after the Enterprise’s 2nd medical officer Joseph M’benga, the M’Benga class ships were designed in 2280 to be rapid response rescue and hospital ships. Combined with their extensive labs for research and some of the most advanced shields in the fleet, the M’benga class starship was the perfect tool for executing its specific mission.
FASA included a total of thirteen M’Benga ships in the Officer’s Manual, the first of which also carried the class’s name:
- NCC10000 USS M’Benga
- NCC10001 USS Salk
- NCC10002 USS Steuben
- NCC10003 USS Pasteur
- NCC10004 USS Voris
- NCC10005 USS Crenshaw
- NCC10006 USS Shenvala
- NCC10007 USS Barnard
- NCC10008 USS Watson
- NCC10009 USS Crick
- NCC10010 USS Van Gelder
- NCC10011 USS T’Klyrn
- NCC10012 USS Hopewell
When designing the class for Star Trek Adventures, it was decided that, in addition to having the Enhanced Shields talent, the ships would also have a powerful tractor beam just in case an entire ship needed rescuing or needed to be quarantined. Consideration was also given to the Modular Laboratories talent, but it was decided that the ships would already have almost any research laboratories it would need permanently installed. The frame is presented without weapons as FASA had originally attended, though they could be added if your crew decided they were necessary.
It’s a very cool looking ship. But no weapons will be very difficult to roleplay for long
I think this ship is really there to serve the “Ship we have to save this week” role. Although, it would be an interesting challenge to RP this, say during the Dominion War… M.A.S.H. in space.
What’s striking is how fugly all the FASA Next Gen ship designs were, especially when compared to prior FASA designs like the Loknar, Larson, Anton, etc.