Review of CHRISTOPHER BENNETT’S “The Whole of the Law” Module

(Don’t know why this review was sitting in my draft’s folder for so long. Well, here it is.)

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 on 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

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.

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 as harrowing an 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 do suggest that, if you chose to run this module, 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.

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.

Though there is 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.

If you want a darker adventure that allows you to offer some memorial scraps, this is the one!

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


Continuing Mission has done so much to support STA that Modiphius wants to give some love back, and so we are pleased to offer this discount code, CMISSION01, which is a 10% off coupon for the STA Starter Set and usable on both the Modiphius UK site and the Modiphius US site.

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