REVIEW OF CHRISTOPHER BENNETT’S “The Whole of the Law” MODULE

How did the Star Trek Adventures The Whole of the Law module rate?

For more on the Revised Tribble Rating System 2021, click here.

The crew of the USS Pioneer (my player group’s Intrepid-class starship) finished playing The Whole of the Law, a crazily fun and equally fearsome story created by Christopher L. Bennett for the Star Trek Adventures Roleplaying Game. It is contained in the Strange New Worlds Mission Compendium Vol. 2 Supplement.

This module allows players with focuses in law, security systems, survival, hand-to-hand combat, investigation, and engineering to shine. Talents related to hacking security systems or cultural studies could prove helpful. Engineers and science officers might enjoy trying to get past the habitat’s privacy shielding.


SYNOPSIS (spoiler alert)

In “The Whole of the Law” the player characters visit a strange disk made of hyperdense matter called Thelema. They must attempt to survive the wholesome and lethal diversions the pleasure planet offers. When several officers are abducted, the Thelemans refuse to believe the officers were taken against their will, so the crew must investigate their abduction and try to prove it to Thelema’s administrator while also attempting to pierce the habitat’s privacy shielding to locate and rescue their crew from the Dark Face, where they are being led into a deathtrap.


THE REVIEW

  • Comprehensibility – 5 Tribbles. I chose this mission to be the first my group played out of the Strange New Worlds compendium because it was such a thrilling plot. Bennett did a good job setting up the plot in a way that left the players unaware of what the true challenge would be. Without railroading, two of the players walked right into the trap totally unawares. All this while the other players enjoyed the pleasure planet. I understood the mechanics of the game after the first read, which lends to such a high rating. As usual, Bennett’s writing style is clear, along with his description of tasks required to help the players succeed in their mission.

    I also found the NPCs well-crafted, their motives clearly outlined. This allowed me to add more breadth to their characters, presenting the Major NPC as the hospitable director. I wanted the characters to feel like they stepped onto the Love Boat. Little did they know Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was happening on the other side of the world.
  • Originality 2 Tribbles. The concept of a pleasure world with sections designed to satisfy even the darkest of desires is not new. But it is still fun to play. This module made for some much-needed shore leave for my crew too. Not everyone was having a harrowing experience as our chief tactical officer and ops manager. So this is a good way to let other characters explore their hobbies, preferences, and backstories. I enjoyed designing the pleasure side of the planet, including pool decks, advanced libraries, and fun entertainment venues. I wanted so much going on that my players had no idea where the action was going to come from.

    I do suggest that, if you chose to run this module, that you have a minimum of two players end up on the dark side of the planet. Fighting to survive is a great way to bond characters together.

  • Sci-Fi Concepts 3 Tribbles. Once again, the sci-fi concept of a pleasure world with a dark side has been done. What I found interesting was the design of the disk-shaped planet and the way Bennett described its functionality. I could see how a gamemaster might use the planet to launch into learning about the original architects and engineers of the structure, a venture my players did not have time for due to the plot of their current campaign. Other groups might have time to stay and study the structure allowing for offshoot adventures that could add more sci-fi wonder to the game.

  • Social Conflict Potential – 2 Tribbles. Though there was plenty of negotiation that must be done for characters on the light side of the pleasure planet, I do not see much of a way for players on the dark side to avoid a violent conflict. Nor do I see this being much of a module without the danger posed by the dark side.

    If you are looking for a module where your players get a respite from the action, this is not the one to select. However, if you have a few security officers and fighters who want to show off their stuff, perfect module!

    Of course, looking back, this would be a kick@$$ module to run with a crew of Klingons. They might very well make Thelema their Risa. Now, that would be fun!

  • Adaptability – 5 Tribbles. This is probably one of the easiest modules to adapt that I have ever played. Any and all of the NPCs can be replaced by never-before-seen aliens, the location of Thelema can be anywhere in the universe, and the plot doesn’t conflict with any major storylines. It would serve well as a one-shot or modified into a larger campaign. Maybe the crew must arrive at Thelema to track down a Major NPC from their current storyline, or perhaps their ship must dock there after sustaining heavy damage in a battle.

    Either way, I highly suggest you take your crew to Thelema. I would love to hear how things turn out.

FINAL SCORE: 3.4

The Whole of the Law is great if you want a rock’em-sock’em adventure that allows some of your players to let loose gladiatorial style. It could also provide a few characters to pursue deeper relationships and some fun on the pleasure side of the planet. Going back and forth with well-timed cut scenes could keep the energy modulated during your gaming session.

(To see our entire play report, see Star Trek Pioneer, Season 3, Episode 2: The Whole of the Law.)

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