Al Spader’s “Follow the Leader”—A Review of the “Anomalies” Mission Brief Packet

To Truly Lead, One Must First Follow

By Troy Mepyans

For the second episode of Pioneer’s fifth season, one of our “actors”, Al Spader, took a turn behind the camera instead of in front of it.

There were two plots to the episode, involving a split of characters between shipboard events and what was happening on a planet one of our allies had lost contact with shortly after placing a subspace communications array there. As Captain of the ship, I stayed with the Pioneer after we launched the Away Team in a shuttle for the surface.

We had been sent to collect rubidium from a comet in the same system, with the timetable of a week before we needed to be back at the station that’s our base of operations. Needless to say, things went wrong almost immediately. The ship was damaged during the approach, and we then realized we were being held in place by a stream of gluons from the comet, along with another ship of aliens we have a somewhat contentious history with.

Over the rest of the adventure, we came face to face with several Trek moments, such as aiding an adversary in distress, thinking outside the box to survive and save the ship, and also coming face to face with new life in the place we least expected it. We were challenged to think and act like Starfleet Officers in situations unlike any we’d seen before, and to fight our more base instincts to react violently to being held captive. We had to truly see what was happening; but, more importantly, why those things were happening.

The crew came together and were able to discover just that, formulating a plan to deal with the crisis and save not only ourselves but our adversary’s ship and the new life form we had discovered was desperately crying for help from any that could understand it.

“Follow the Leader” is a Mission Brief in the “Anomalies” Brief Packet by Al Spader, and was one of the most challenging experiences the Pioneer crew has faced, due to the fact we were experiencing the near panic of a completely new lifeform as it realized its death was fast approaching if it could not find help. Combined with having to rescue ourselves and another trapped vessel at the same time, made finding the solution was more complex, but also much more rewarding once we put the pieces together and figured out what was really going on.

A+ marks to Al for creating a compelling mission that truly captured the look and feel of Star Trek; the wonder and danger of exploration in deep space, and the willingness to see something so alien as a potential friend, rather than simply an enemy bent on their destruction.

As a Brief, “Follow the Leader” can easily be placed in any campaign and era as an A or B plot that will be a solid challenge to even experienced crews (this was Pioneer’s fifty-fourth episode) to come up with solutions that don’t fit the norm. On a personal level, it challenged Captain Jilel – and myself by extension – to remember that no situation is cut and dried, there are always reasons for events that you may not see or understand right away. “Follow the Leader” makes the players face that truth and think the way someone in 22nd through 24th Century Starfleet would when confronted with a life or death crisis.

I can summarize by saying I can’t recommend this Brief enough, especially if you’re looking for a unique take on the seeking out of new life in the galaxy. Mission Briefs are available free from Modiphius, so there’s no reason not to grab this packet and play “Follow the Leader” with your crew as well.

– “Captain Jilel” out.

(To see our entire play report, see Star Trek Pioneer, Season 5, Episode 2: “Through the Woods”)

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.

All Star Trek artwork on this page TM & © 2022 CBS Studios Inc. © 2022 Paramount Pictures Corp. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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