I’m working on a homebrew variant of the Where No Man Has Gone Before Star Trek RPG rules. I’ve spent a few hundred dollars on the Star Trek Adventures RPG, but in running this game a few times (as well as Conan, another 2d20 game from Modiphius), I’ve gotten a bit frustrated by the rules. Or, to be more precise, the rules organization. Here is one quote I found on a forum that sums up my frustration pretty well (emphasis below is mine):
I have been thinking a lot about this. I will give more examples of what I mean. Look up healing wounded characters in combat. Nothing in the index directly points to an answer. The table of contents is no help either. OK, where do I look – let me try in the Combat section…on page 177 there is a section “Injury and Healing”. OK, why wasn’t that listed in the Index? Curious. Ok let me read the section. The section starts out by saying injured characters cannot take any actions and are out of the fight. Right, I want to know how to get them back in the fight, so I read on. OK, finally at the bottom of the left had column we find the answer. Another character can perform First Aid… – “First Aid”? Let me see if that is listed in the Index – nope. Well hell, how do folks expect gamers learning the system to find things to run the game properly?
Don’t get me wrong — Star Trek: Adventures is a monumental undertaking, and I think the authors have done an excellent job crafting the rules. To my mind an editor should have stepped in to make them more readable.
After playing the game a while, it seems obvious that the GM would tell the Ships Medical Officer to do a Conn+Medicine roll. The GM is thinking “You are in combat doing a precise job under great stress, so Conn is best because it judges self control under duress.” But the First Aid rule calls for a Daring+Medicine, difficulty 1, to stabilize the wounded PC. Daring is for acting on instinct. I have been a Paramedic for over thirty years, and I can promise you what I do is very carefully reasoned and thought out, under extreme duress. Physicians “healing” the patient in a hospital setting have only the stress of not trying to kill the patient and provide the best chance of recovery. But then the section goes on to explain that healing requires Control+Medicine with a Difficulty of 2, and discusses tools on hand, environmental factors (Like being in Sickbay versus a tent in the field)…ok.
Some will say “This guy is nitpicking”, and that may be true, but something as common as healing characters in combat is a twenty minute process of determining the rule, where it could be handled much more simply, yes – with an entry in the Index for “Injury and Healing Pg 177”. Now think about the GM running her first campaign trying to quickly locate the rule. Good luck. An experienced GM would make a call based on their experience with the rules, and that is fine – but the way the rules are written and organized leaves the neophyte scratching their head. Source
Or, to put it another way, Star Trek Adventures is a great set of rules presented very poorly. This can definitely make learning and running the game a challenge. If they came out with a second edition that was well edited, I would consider the game, but for now, it will gather dust on my shelf.
In the meantime, I’ll be working on my homebrew Star Trek RPG game, tuning it for easy use while still maintaining the flavor of the genre which Star Trek Adventures emulates.