Hi Everyone, I’m Gareth a Trekkie from South Wales, in the UK. I GM a small but dedicated group of explorers in the Welsh Valleys and we are just making the switch from Full Fat STA to the Semi Skimmed Captains Log. (we are taking a couple of things with us, but as its a guided game it helps – I’m talking Momentum and threat, but with an upper limit of 1 per player.) One of the main reasons for making this change was the simplified ruleset (2 of the group are neurodiverse and it helps them to keep track of the game and enjoy it as much as everyone else, plus, the fact players can then carry on playing when not in a guided session if they want to.
I’ve been a Trekkie as long as I remember, but it was definitely the Mid ‘70s, my Dad sat me down in front of the sofa and we watched together and I was hooked. I remember my Dad surprising me with a trip to the Cinema to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture when it came out and I was devastated because I didn’t have my DINKY USS Enterprise toy with me!
Then in 1987, a couple of months before Joining the Royal Navy, Star Trek: The Next Generation was released. I was hooked again. TNG helped me through some tough times and as much as I love all interations of Trek, TNG is my touchstone.
So to prepare for the switch to guided Captains Log, I made my players some new notepads; these were for them to take notes, record rolls and, if they chose to, continue their character’s story in between the guided sessions.
I wanted the notepads to be thematic and I settled on them looking like PADD’s and this is how I made them. (the image files are included, there are 6 different designs on 3 a4 pages.)
I had made cards for my players’ Talents so they had them as quick references had proved really useful so this was an easy option.
The first part of the project was finding the appropriate sized notebooks, I opted for 21cm x 15cm note pads that came in a pack of 3 for £3.00. These pads arent huge with some 40 pages in but they are recycled notepads so Im kind of OK with them not being the biggest.
Another aspect of this I particularly like is that as they are so cheap to buy, my group can “collect em all” with the different Padd covers for different adventures. That’s the idea, hopefully, that will work, I guess it just depends on how many notes they take in their sessions.
(Obviously, this works for thicker notepads, which will last longer).
I also opted for black covers for the notepads as again I think this helps sell the pretty simple graphics on the front and it kind of makes the glued-on covers disappear.
So with some searching on the internet, well actually my hard drive as whenever I see cool LCARS graphics I always download them thinking, “Hmm that might come in handy some day”. As it happens some of them did. (There are literally thousands of images online if you want to add your own to the basic files.)
The Padd itself is a very simple vector graphic with some basic shading on. It’s not trying to be a “Realistic” prop, just needs to sell the illusion of the Padd. Again if you look online there are some “prop” images that can be used.
All that I needed to do then was add the LCARS images into the Padd to give it some life, I used a very old version of Photoshop to resize the images to fit, but there are many online image editors, such as Pixlr-e, that can do that. It’s really nothing too grand.
With the images sorted, I placed them on a “page”, 2 per page, and printed them out onto A4 using 200GSM paper. I find this is pretty good as the colours stay vibrant and deep and it’s not too expensive per pack.
My printer is an Epson EcoTank ET1810, it’s probably the cheapest of the Eco Tank range and I have had nothing but great prints from it. (I dont work for Epson by the way ).
Once they have printed and given a little time to dry out thoroughly, I trimmed them, then rounded the corners of the images. I do this mainly as sharp corners are usually the first bits that catch on things when you are stacking them, putting them on shelves or in a bag. Rounding them seems to reduce the likelyhood of it happening and I think it looks a little more proffessional. You can pick up a corner cutter from most craft shops or online retailers.
Then it was simply a case of gluing the covers in place. For that I used a generic store glue stick. I considered using “sticker” sheets, but there are some real disadvantages to doing so. Firstly, the nonsticky side doesn’t tend to be great for printing on, secondly, once the sticky side touches the surface of the thing its sticking to, it can be a nightmare to move and readjust. Glue stick however is great, you can peel it back off and reposition for some time after if you arent happy with the positioning.
And that’s it! Nothing too challenging and you end up with some great gifts for players and they fit right into the theme.
You can also take this further and glue in the Character sheet if you want, there are lots of options open to you.
This is quite a simple tutorial but my best advice is, to give it a go, sometimes the simplest of things can produce amazing results.
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