STA Macros for Roll20

Today we’re coming with some macro tables for making the most of Star Trek Adventures while using the Roll20 virtual tabletop. STA fan Mirco has created some table generators to make technobabble easier for their online campaign, something especially important for non-native English speakers.

Before we get to the technical stuff, here’s an introduction to Mirco in their own words…

I am 49 years old and a Star Trek fan for more then 40 years. My obsession started when I first saw Kirk and crew on German TV, maybe in 1977 or 1978. My gaming experience began in 1985 with the first edition of Das schwarze Auge (“The Dark Eye,” now available in English). Since then I have always been playing one way or the other with just one 6 year break. I played West End Games Star Wars and Paranoia, AD&D, Mutants & Masterminds, D&D 3.5, Pathfinder and many others.

Currently I also play a Cleric in a D&D 5e game and I run a game of Numenera and Star Trek Adventures, all on roll20. I really do enjoy STA because it captures the feeling of “The Next Generation“ in so many ways. I know no other game facilitating cooperation so beautifully. No previous Star Trek game before STA did this for me. And the Star Trek cannon is a very rich background to play in.

We are currently playing the campaign from the Starter Set. Our ship is the U.S.S. Goodall, NCC 73434, a humble Nova-class vessel, the inspirational motto on the dedication plaque being “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make – Jane Goodall”

Making Tables in Roll20

The idea to do a generator in Roll20 originally came to Mirco when they read our article on Technobabble for Your Game, and many of the phrases Mirco has in their table are from the links in that article. For the basic structure of the tables and phrases, Mirco also referred to an Enworld page on technobabble. From all this, Mirco took phrases from the table on page 48 of the Operations Division Handbook and they came up with some of their own as well

From these sources and foundations, Mirco made four tables in Roll20 and made them usable by the players so that they would be able to use the finished generator. The tables were called Technobabble-1 (action words and “the”), Technobabble-2 (one-word descriptions), Technobabble-3 (more one-word descriptions), and Technobabble-4 (objects and systems). Everything you come up with should fit into one of these tables for generating different options.

Building the Macros in Roll20

While not everyone on the Roll20 uses macros, they’re a really excellent way to level up your game in any system. In short, a macro is a code pattern that takes an input and does the same thing with it every time. From a small (micro) bit of code you can trigger a larger (macro) bit of code to create the results you need.

Mirco takes the four tables from earlier and strings them together with this simple bit of macro code:

[[t[Technobabble-1]]] [[t[Technobabble-2]]] [[t[Technobabble-3]]] [[t[Technobabble-4]]]

The command t rolls on a table (see more context here) and the square brackets are used to make “inline rolls“ in the chat window of Roll20. This gives the output in pure text form, not like a dice roll, so essentially this string of code says “get a random result from each table and string them together into a sentence.” This provides an output which looks like “do something to the something something system,” the sort of template that is seen on the show all the time.

As noted before, Mirco made the macro usable by every player so it appears as a button at the bottom of everyone’s screen. Whenever they as the GM or a player needs to say something technical about a bit of equipment in their game, they can just hit the button and get some reasonable-sounding phrases to interject.

The result is something that sounds right at home in Star Trek, phrases like…

  • Decouple the oscillating tri-polymer signal
  • Recalibrate the ultraviolet spatial infuser
  • De-frag the quantum ionic modulator
  • Align the multispectral radiometric coil

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