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Star Trek: Pioneer

posted Apr 13, 2017 12:33:14 by TomK
I know it's early days yet, but I've been playing around with campaign ideas. Thus, Star Trek: Pioneer was born... Enjoy, and I look forward to some constructive criticism and any additional tasks you might think of.

"It's easy to cling to your principles when you're standing on a vessel with its bulkheads intact, manned by a crew that's not starving."

+++The mission.+++ To transport colonists and supplies to a newly discovered M-class planet (fourth planet in the KAM 81-10Σ star system) rich in resources, minable asteroids, etc. Probe contact. Players are junior members of the crew of the escort assigned to the colonists’ ship. Relay back to confirm delivery, wait for reinforcements. Enough supplies for 1 year (standard procedure). Colonists can name the planet when they get there.

+++Ships.+++ USS Valiant (NCC-14), the Columbia-class starship. USS Strehë (NAR-12), a DY-800-class cargo/colonisation vessel, carrying colonists, supplies and building materials.

+++Background/Timeframe.+++ The year is 2165. It’s a time of great enthusiasm and hope. War with the Romulans is over. The Federation is four years old, with member the Andorians, the Vulcans, the Tellarites and the Humans all working well together. The Franklin was lost one year ago on the date of the first session. The Romulan Neutral Zone has been established and the Earth Outposts on the border are shiny and new. Deneva has not yet been colonised, and Admiral Archer is a Rear Admiral coming to the end of his posting as Director-General Exploratory Division (DG-ED).

===| PHASE I – Initiate! |===

+++Mission Briefing.+++ As outlined above. Admiral Martinez gives a full run-down of the mission, which is simple enough. Run through the situation; a succinct who/what/when/where/why of the mission; how it is to be carried out (Phases: Phase 1 is loading supplies and making ready (two weeks), Phase 2 is the flight itself (no known difficulties, but ‘actions on’ just in case), Phase 3 (landing and unloading), Phase 4 (patrols and exploration), Phase 5 (arrival of reinforcements, hand-over/take-over, travel home)); and then list command positions, communications arrangements, administration for the trip, and end point.

+++Loading supplies.+++ Extended task to load stuff correctly. Complications and failures mean stuff has to be left behind, or colonists must be left behind. Alternate difficulties could lie in the communications between the colonists and the escort’s crew, or even the Space Movements staff at the starport.

+++Lay-over.+++ A stop-over at Starbase 10 to off-load supplies leads to discipline issues with the crew. Investigations must take place prior to departure.

+++Navigate a nebula+++ close to the KAM 81-10Σ star system that wasn’t on the charts. Drop out of warp. Can scan for extra credit. Allows a source of fuel for starships and power generators.

+++Emergency.+++ Minimise damage to craft, colonists and supplies on crash landing after what seems like an asteroid impact. End on a cliff-hanger, if possible. (Abandoning ships is a viable option, as is launching the shuttle-craft. This will have significant repercussions on the remainder of the campaign.)

===| PHASE II – Recover! |===

+++Landing and Shelter.+++ Sorting out the stores, making sure colonists are alright. Taking stock of what’s left. Depending on successes during Emergency, this will allow slightly more stock to be present. Failures reduce stores from Food, Water, Energy, Crops, Labour, Vehicles, Sensors, Scientific Supplies, Medical Supplies, Oxygen reserves. Shuttle craft busted. No warp capable shuttles.

+++Clean-up.+++ Lots to do, burying the dead, cleaning up broken supplies, etc.

+++Lost.+++ A group of colonists managed to launch a shuttle without command approval, crashing some ways away from the main body. An away team must be sent to investigate and bring back survivors. Successes and speed of mission will influence results. 40pax missing.10 died on impact.

+++First Contact.+++ Local fauna are curious. Set up a perimeter, man it, and secure supplies. Not predatory, just opportunitistic. No intelligent life at this stage. Successes in Landing and Shelter will determine whether this is easy or difficult, are their enough supplies, people, etc., to run the security grid. Alternate options? Sonic? Pheromonal?

+++Storm.+++ A cyclonic system rumbles over the top of the crash site. Successes in Landing and Shelter determine how much warning they get, and the scope of the damage, incl. casualties.

+++Stolen Supplies.+++ Someone steals essential equipment from a warehouse. Initial inspection looks like local wildlife, but digging deeper reveals inconsistencies (based in part upon how the First Contact scenario played out.


+++Best Site for a Base?+++ Survey teams must be sent out to establish a good, solid, permenant colony site. 3 possible locations, one of which is a ruin (see below). One is unstable geologically (lose some away team surveyors with Failures, but are able to be recovered with good checks and Daring. Only one is truly suitable. Successes in the Landing and Shelter stage will allow better pre-visit assessments, and appropriate gear to be taken.

+++Federation Day.+++ Celebrations must be made for the establishment of the colony (name?) and of the Federation itself (May 8). But something is amiss: colonists are lethargic and grumpy. Local spores are causing the disruption!

+++Imitator.+++ An unwelcome visitor, a crashed member of Species 8472 (Undine), having read new thought patterns, has infiltrated the base to steal supplies for their shuttle. It appears as one of the human, Vulcan, Tellarite or Andorian females (higher the rank, the better) and murders any that seek to stop it. Resistant to all phasers, can morph and change. Protecting its tech, and its friend (still in the wreckage of their ship).

+++Strange Fluctuations.+++ Energy readings from established weather sensors go off the charts for 10min before debris falls nearby. (Another ship has entered the system and been destroyed.) Wreckage may hold supplies; might also have been raised by local fauna (see +++First Contact+++).

===| PHASE IV – Explore! |===

+++Ruins.+++ Space-travel capable civilisation left before asteroid belt contacted (every 2000 years or so, and the reason the asteroids took out the ship in the first place – it wasn’t where it was supposed to be). They might still be in the system on one of the other planets. They built (originally) surface cities, but were forced underground, then eventually off the planet.

+++Assessing culture.+++ None of the above facts is readily evident. Ruins contain catacombs/underground areas, with AI-based security systems. Glyphs, inscriptions, then finally, once power is restored (Extended Test to use a Federation power source, or translation for working out the power-up sequence for the ruin. Access allows information about the planet, its fauna and flora, history, people, etc.

+++Relocating?+++ Moving the colony to the ruin shouldn’t be too hard. If using Fed power sources, much easier to power up lights and stuff, but harder to power up the systems in the ruin. If fixing ruin’s power, much easier to interact with alien tech, much harder to power lights and Federation tech.

+++Over the Wire.+++ A group of colonists go rogue and decide that the Federation leadership is sub-par and they are going to take the gear and do it their own way.

+++Launch a shuttle to map the planet.+++ Assessment from space of geography. Run into civilisation’s last sign, a small satellite with a Rosetta Stone-style puzzle. Also see a band of asteroid craters from the last time the belt crossed paths with the planet.

+++Restore warp engines on a shuttle.+++ Build a shuttle back up to warp-capable flight, in order to visit nearby systems. Limited speed, limited stores of dilithium fuel, but then access to the nebula and asteroids becomes possible, and the colony can start mining or harvesting resources.

+++Deal with ancient defence grid.+++ Cause of crash in first place.

+++Passing Traders / Possible Invaders.+++ The colony is visited by an alien ship, aiming to sell wares to the locals and perhaps gain some rare commodities in turn. Are they just traders, or perhaps they are looking to see how well defended the new outpost is: perhaps it would be better to simply commandeer it instead?

===| Phase V - Reinforcements! |===

+++New News.+++


+++Final Farewell.+++

+++Final Report.+++
[Last edited Jun 29, 2017 13:01:32]
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17 replies
Elijah said Apr 13, 2017 14:00:53
How many Episodes/Mission do you see in this campaign?
Kinda like DS9, you have a single system where most story will take place?
Definitely there needs to be some alien culture left over on the planet, so players can explore.
Is the planet rich on other resources? Maybe awesome alien tech leftover? That would be a good reason for other species to visit and land on the planet. Or even establish their own colonies.
This is Star Trek after all, I assume most people want to encounter strange new cultures and overcome difficulties, and not farm and mine resources.
ScottB said Apr 13, 2017 15:53:26
This is Star Trek after all, I assume most people want to encounter strange new cultures and overcome difficulties, and not farm and mine resources.

I can see how this type of "go it alone, without backup" type of scenario appeals to people though. In the 24th Century it's harder and harder to do that since Starfleet (and other culture's on top of that!) reach is so far. Unless you copy a Voyager type setting (which some groups might surely love!), things like this are a great option. Another would be something along the lines of a temporal anomaly where the ships are thrown into the future or a timeline either of which where the Federation has collapsed and they're on their own. Maybe eventually they get off of the planet they were marooned on and go looking for any remnants. Maybe the planet's "ancient culture" actually isn't so ancient and holds clues as to why the Federation (and likely other cultures) are gone.

I kinda like that scenario, to be honest. Not sure if my Group would want to play it, but it's intriguing. Just make sure you don't spend too many sessions "railroading" the PC's and forcing them into crisis management. After the first session (and maybe the aftermath in after the cliffhanger) let them get back to what makes Star Trek great - exploration of the new planet, with a little bit of combat/conflict thrown in from time to time. The details regarding the Colony and managing can definitely come into play with Scene Traits and Complications that last from adventure to adventure (rather than a single scene), but don't go too crazy with that - unless your group enjoys the thought of a Colony Simulator, in which case have at it! :)

All in all, pretty good stuff @Tom - feels like Trek to me, just with a different vibe than being on a Starship. Kinda like a Trek version of an old TV Show called Earth 2 (or several other shows for that matter).

Eric Stearns said Apr 14, 2017 02:29:20
I like the concept, but you need to move the century to either 22nd or 23rd. Colonization was still very much a normal operation in Starfleet during TOS, not so much on TNG and later (colonies were already established and were in some sort of trouble for the most part). So instead of a Nova & a Shelly, make it a Miranda and a colony ship (not sure they were classed other than that designation in TOS canon). And of course in 22nd century it would be a Columbia and a Botany Bay class (KHAAAAAANN!) Regardless, great work on this, looks promising. :)
TomK said Apr 16, 2017 10:06:19
Thanks for the great feedback, folks. Going back to the 22nd century would be quite interesting. How would the fundamentals that I know from TNG+ onwards change with it being set then? I know the Xindi were pretty worrisome at one point, but it also opens up the options for light exploration once the colony is more settled. There does need to be a specific end-point to the campaign too, so once the discovery of the ruins happens, and some of the contact there, then I'll have the reinforcements come, meaning the Hecate can be assigned to exploration. Would also make sense if it's a Columbia class ship...
Eric Stearns said Apr 17, 2017 04:23:22
@Tom Your fundamentals wouldn't change all that much. The great thing about Trek is that regardless of what era it's in, it's still Trek. The uniforms are different, the jargon is altered slightly, the "villain race of the week" is changed, but the feel, the style, the essence is very much the same.

One of the early arguments in the playtest was 'why doesn't the equipment modify rolls?', we ascertained that the 'arms race" meant that the playfield was basically level and that even though a 23rd century tricorder and a 24h century tricorder are different, they still relay the same basic information, chemical, structural, physical or biological make-up or the scanned item. So your idea is pretty solid, it just makes it easier to 'sell' if you dial the years back.

IOW your basic ground work doesn't really have to change much, just the ship particulars and the uniforms. :)
But as an asides, Tachyon particles were never mentioned until TNG.

Another thought building upon the light exploration idea, once the colony is set up, use it as a forward operating base for further expansion. Similar to US Special Operations A, B, C Team designations. A "C" team is a rear echelon HQ, A "B" team in a field control HQ and an "A" Team is a forward operational element. An A Team is dropped forward; it scouts, makes contact with the locals, sets up a semi permanent base and establishes a forward ops area. Once it's fully established the A team become a B team and then sends 2 - 5 A teams of it's own forward, once those establish as B teams the original A team becomes a C team, and the new B teams send forth their own A teams. It's kind of like a pyramid scheme but with rifles and heavy ordnance.
TomK said Apr 17, 2017 08:27:43
Thanks for the clarification. I figured as much, but wanted to make sure. I'll run it by my group and see what they want to do.

Using a similar graphic to the first post, I did up a graphic as if it were a film coming out soon. It's already piqued the interest of the group, which is good!
Eric Stearns said Apr 18, 2017 05:46:18
@Tom - No problem, and keep us posted on the progress. I might have to use the old five fingered discount on this idea. :)
TomK said Apr 18, 2017 09:46:06
Feel free. I need to add a +++Stolen Supplies+++ episode, where someone steals essential equipment from a warehouse. Initial inspection looks like local wildlife, but digging deeper reveals inconsistencies (based in part upon how the +++First Contact+++ scenario played out.
Eric Stearns said Apr 19, 2017 20:17:35
Yep, good call. Also, you might want to think about +++Over the Wire+++ A group of colonists go rogue and decide that the Federation leadership is sub-par and they are going to take the gear and do it their own way. Could alternately be called +++Mutiny for the Bounty+++.
TomK said Jun 18, 2017 00:27:56
Getting closer now to starting the campaign. Prep continues for the ~2165 start, with a Columbia-class escort and a DY-800 colony ship (later model DY-500, capable of Warp 4).

Question: where can I go to get a good overview of Starfleet history/situation, as well as the wider galactic context both in a political and exploratory sense? Is there a State of the Federation style summary somewhere?
TomK said Jun 29, 2017 12:51:41
Thought I should share this with you all:

Work done by Rekkert over at DeviantArt. It's fantastic...

(EDIT: Updated the first post too, to incorporate suggestions and further ideas for episodes.)
[Last edited Jun 29, 2017 12:59:27]
Eric Stearns said Jun 30, 2017 04:11:31
OOooohh, don't know about the State of the Federation history you requested. The most detailed histories were done by FASA, of course all of that was file 13'd with the lawsuit.

Memory Alpha MIGHT have enough that you could do one yourself, but most likely you are going to have to "fill in the blanks" a bit yourself.

The art work is quite 'spiffy'

And I noticed you took my "Over the Wire" idea to heart, thanks for that! :)
[Last edited Jun 30, 2017 04:14:53]
themaskofromek said Jul 02, 2017 10:38:05
Ok. Scenario ideas.

Usually I spitball this kind of thing at about 3am on a night shift but instead it's broad daylight so here goes.

1. Enemy Within. One of the colonists is actually a spy for a rival race. (Romulan Klingon Suliban whatever). They may be either surgically altered holo disguised or just plain human mercenary. I was picturing Zachary Smith from Lost in Space.
Their plan to sabotage the expedition went awry early on. Evidence of the treachery is accidentally uncovered. Cue finger pointing accusations and a witch hunt!
They may even begin a campaign of subversion through either political agitation or sabotage while they try to contact their allies for extraction.

2. Patient Zero. A member of an exploratory team inadvertently contracts a nasty disease after interacting some flora/fauna but is unaffected instead becoming a carrier.
The disease need not be fatal but incapacitating. A nice challenge for medical characters and also for security types to trace the source.

3.Giants in the Playground.
The system hosts a place of religious significance to an ancient and forgotten race who make pilgrimage there every 10,000 years. They possess a staggering level of technology and read the Federation colony as lower life forms unworthy of contact.
The act of pilgrimage may well impact on the colonies safety/welfare. Maybe the colonys water supply is built on a burial mound for example.
This could either play as a diplomatic effort trying to gain the attention of this ancient race while they wipe away months of effort or a science security one if it all goes sideways.

Anyhoo that's all I've got for now. The stress of being in sunlight is degrading my synaptic pathways.

[Last edited Jul 02, 2017 10:41:18]
"There can be no peace while Kirk lives!"
TomK said Jul 03, 2017 23:12:50
Thanks for the extra ideas. a Romulan infiltrator would be interesting. I've got the idea that if the colony survives, it will end up in Romulan space after the Federation peace accord in 2370, and become Maquis. This then gives a solid backstory for any adventures we run in the later timeline, and perhaps a personal link through some of the PCs to the former campaign.

+++Giants in the Playground+++ will be added at the end of the campaign, probably with reference to the ancient civilisation that lived on the planet. I've done some work fleshing out the ruins the players will encounter, including an ancient holodeck that can take them to any point in the civilisation's recorded history (provided the players can decipher the xenolinguistic challenge! "Alyul neit liâsh? (Where do you want to go?)" the computer will ask them, and then expect a response in the ancient tongue. Once it hears a date it can identify, it will say, "Kuara. (Activating.)"

+++Patient Zero+++ sounds good too. Perhaps as a sequel to the Federation Day episode, where the local flora (or whatever threat is used) evolves to affect humanoids again. I imagine it to be a plant that needs protein to survive, thus killing animal life means its new growth is fertilised effectively. The other fauna on the planet (non-sentient) will have learnt to avoid the area at certain times of year -- the colonists won't be so evolved!

The only other hiccough that I've been contemplating is that for Conn-focused PCs, having no ship and no shuttles will be mean that their characters don't experience the full range of use. I've only briefly looked over the rules, but there don't seem to be any land vehicles listed, for use on planets. Any ideas about what I can put together for overland missions?
themaskofromek said Jul 04, 2017 08:10:39
Ok Tom.

Pilot based characters may well be feeling a tad disappointed at the lack of flying time available.

Perhaps an enterprising engineer could knock together a "chariot" to facitate land exploration. Either some kind of wheeled/tracked device bases on the skin of a cargo pod or maybe salvage some starship wreckage for a hover vehicle. He'll why not a boat or airboat if there is any large body of water nearby.

Your other option is a delta flyer.

As another option for role playing Conn characters may well be on the receiving end of some grief from colonists who blame them for their predicament.
[Last edited Jul 04, 2017 08:11:36]
"There can be no peace while Kirk lives!"
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