Embarking on an RPG adventure is always an exciting experience, especially when you have the opportunity to explore different systems and modules. In my TTRPG group, we recently concluded a captivating campaign that began with the Star Trek Adventures (STA) RPG system but took an intriguing turn with the introduction of Captain’s Log Solo RPG. This blog post aims to shed light on the differences between the two systems, our experiences with the module “Unforeseen Consequences,” and the wonderful insights we had along the way.
Setting the Stage with Star Trek Adventures: Our TTRPG journey commenced with the widely acclaimed Star Trek Adventures system. STA provided a solid foundation for our exploration of the final frontier, offering a structured gameplay experience with a focus on storytelling and exploration. The module we chose, “Unforeseen Consequences” by James Spahn, offered a compelling mystery that greatly excited the players and set the stage for the adventure to come.
Captain’s Log Solo RPG: A New Perspective: With the release of Captain’s Log Solo RPG, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try out the guided play option and breathe new life into our ongoing campaign. This system introduced a different approach, shifting the focus to a more streamlined and narrative-driven gameplay style. As the GM, I adapted the “Unforeseen Consequences” module to align with our existing campaign plot, making alterations to ensure a seamless integration.
Excellent Insights and Varied Preferences: Upon the conversion to Captain’s Log, we encountered a range of opinions within our group. A couple of players expressed their love for the new system, praising the simplified rolls and the increased pace at which the game flowed. They found the streamlined mechanics of Captain’s Log to be refreshing, as it eliminated some of the complexities they experienced with the STA system. However, a couple of players held onto their preference for the mechanics of STA, appreciating the clarity it provided and the inclusion of the threat and momentum pool option, which added an extra layer of strategic decision-making.
Seeking a Blend of Systems: While we had contrasting preferences, we ultimately reached a consensus: a desire for a mix of both systems. We acknowledged the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and recognized that a perfect blend could enhance our gaming experience further. STA’s loose story-based setup with embedded clues allowed for a more open-ended exploration, while Captain’s Log’s probability matrixes fostered a creative and unpredictable gameplay experience.
Navigating the Challenge: One challenge we faced was the inherent difference in the design philosophy between the two systems. Captain’s Log thrives on unpredictability, unfolding the story through the player’s rolls on the probability matrixes. On the other hand, STA modules typically provide baked-in clues for players to discover within a loosely structured narrative. Striking a balance between adhering to the main beats of the “Unforeseen Consequences” module and allowing the creative freedom of the players was a delicate task. Some players felt that using Captain’s Log’s system along with a module constrained their choices, potentially leading to a feeling of being railroaded, while others embraced the opportunity to let their imagination run wild within the constraints of the matrixes.
Individual Perspectives: Interestingly, we observed how individual player preferences influenced their reception of Captain’s Log. One player, who identified themselves as less inclined towards creative thinking, preferred the structure and guidance offered by STA. The system’s pre-established framework allowed them to navigate the game world more comfortably. Conversely, another player, who spoke English as a second language and possessed a remarkable creative spark, thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and unpredictability that Captain’s Log provided. They reveled in the chance to generate unique solutions and eagerly embraced the Yes-No matrix to determine the success of their character’s actions.
What are some ideas to make it work?
- Use the STA RPG system as the foundation, providing a structured framework and familiar mechanics for the players who prefer a clearer gameplay experience.
- Incorporate elements from Captain’s Log Solo RPG’s guided play option, allowing for a more narrative-driven and streamlined gameplay style.
- Introduce the probability matrixes from Captain’s Log to add an element of unpredictability and creativity to the game, while still adhering to the main beats of the STA module or campaign plot.
- Incorporate the threat and momentum pool option from STA, providing strategic decision-making opportunities and enhancing the collaborative aspect of the game.
- Allow players to have agency in shaping the story by using the probability matrixes to determine the outcomes of their character’s actions, while still ensuring that key plot points and clues from the module are discovered.
- Encourage players to creatively contribute to the game by allowing them to suggest story elements, solutions, or plot twists, which can be incorporated within the framework of the STA module.
- Provide a mix of structured scenarios and open-ended exploration within the gameplay sessions, catering to different player preferences.
- Maintain a balance between maintaining the integrity of the STA module’s narrative and incorporating the improvisational and creative elements of Captain’s Log.
- Provide clear communication and transparency with the players regarding the blended gameplay style, ensuring that everyone understands the expectations and possibilities of the Guided Play mode.
- Regularly seek feedback from the players to gauge their satisfaction and make adjustments accordingly, fine-tuning the blend of the two systems to create a satisfying experience for all.
Our RPG journey with Star Trek Adventures and Captain’s Log Solo RPG was a compelling exploration of two distinct systems. We uncovered some great insights regarding the conversion to Captain’s Log, and discovered that a blend of both systems would be the ideal approach for our group. The structured nature of STA appealed to some players, while others found joy in the creative freedom and unpredictability of Captain’s Log. As we continue our RPG adventures, we aim to strike a balance between these systems, embracing the best of both worlds and fostering an immersive and enjoyable experience for all.
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