FASA Star Trek RPG Resources

I’m a huge fan of the FASA Star Trek RPG (“FASA ST”) from the early 80s. It’s long since been out of print, and I’ve played it only once in the past 20 years, but there’s still a small following out there. I also hope to play it again, perhaps even starting a home campaign.

One of the difficulties associated with getting subsequent generations of gamers to play the game is that most of them grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (“TNG”) and later series, but FASA had put out only a couple of half-assed resources covering TNG before their license was revoked. As a result, putting together a game that appeals to the current generation would require a lot of hard-core game redesign, and no one has the motivation and resources to make that happen.

Still, a man can dream, and he can also lower the barriers to introducing players to the game by creating free gaming aids. That’s what this page is about. Anything I post here is free, and always will be, but if you like what you see, please consider contributing to the project by sending whatever you think is appropriate via PayPal. There are larger, more ambitious projects I’m considering for this and other gaming systems, but it’s difficult to find the time to spend on those projects without funds to justify the work.

These tools use the 2nd edition ruleset, including the Cadet’s Orientation Sourcebook, Starfleet Officers’ Manual, Game Operations Manual, Star Trek II Starship Combat Simulator (Books 1-5), 2nd Edition Ship Construction Manual, the Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, 2nd Edition Federation Ship Recognition Manual, 2nd Edition Klingon  Ship Recognition Manual, and 2nd Edition Romulan Ship Recognition Manual.

Legalese Alert: You’ll note that all of my work includes a copyright notice. I can’t help it. I’m an attorney focusing my practice on intellectual property law (and real estate law). I have to include it. Note that there’s also a statement of permission to use these materials for personal use. Basically, all that concerns me is the idea that someone might sell my work product. I doubt that’s a problem, and unless it’s your intent to do so, you won’t have any complaints from me. Don’t make money off of my work, and we have no issues between us. Please, by all means, use and share these materials as much as you want.

I hope you enjoy what you find here. Happy gaming!

Star Trek RPG Digital: Access Database

Star Trek Digital is the most ambitious member of this collection. It’s an access database for both Gamemasters (“GMs”) and players that makes preparation and game play easier. It assists both aspects of the game: starship and personal encounters. The explanations below give you an overview of what the final product will feature, though it will be released soon with only a portion of these features. This database will be republished continuously as new features are developed.

One drawback to this application is that your custom data is stored in the database itself. Ergo, when you download an update, it will delete your data. (The application is free. Try to focus on that, and you won’t be so angry.) 🙂 On the bright side, because most of the work is done by me, reentering your data isn’t likely to take very long. Moreover, as you’ll see below, where reentering data would be a burden (i.e., character generation), I intend to take the time to allow you to store your data externally. Whether I ever provide that functionality for solar system and ship data remains uncertain.

Starship Encounters

Screenshot: Creating Starship Battlegroups (click to enlarge)

This component stores many (eventually, all) of the starship models published by FASA. You can use it to create specific starships, and then instantly pull up Command & Control Panels or Master Control Panels for that ship. (For an explanation as to what those panels are, see below.) Moreover, it has a battlegroup creation tool that allows you to build balanced battlegroups for mass starship battles, and a solar system and planet-creation tool that can be used to instantly create sites if (when?) your players take the game in an unexpected direction. Finally, it includes a nonsentient alien creature creation tool to create the nonsentient inhabitants of a planet. Note that this does not include the means to create a sentient race, as that will be part of  the Personal Encounters component of the application.

Personal Encounters (in development)

This tool contains a character-creation tool, allowing you to create PCs or NPCs quickly and easily with no mathematical errors. It also provides a printable character sheet for those characters, and allows you to save your characters to your hard drive so that they aren’t overwritten when you update your Access datafile. It will also include the means to create sentient races and determine their technological index.

Future Version

If you have any requests for digital tools, please let me know, and I’ll develop them as soon as possible. If I’m capable of generating enough funds from your contributions, or I just get bored, this tool will be converted to a free, web-based system using .Net accessing an MS SQL Server database. It will also allow you more customization, such as creating your own starship models.

Click here for the current version of the application. (Last uploaded 9/8/2012.)

Please contact me if you have any bugs or defects to report.

Star Trek Rules Summary

If you’re introducing other people to the game, it helps to have a quick summary of the rules available for reference. I’ve provided that here.

STRPGRulesSummary (Word format)

STRPGRulesSummary  (Adobe PDF format)

Command & Control Panels

If you played FASA ST as a role-playing game, then you likely used Command & Control (C&C) panels. Each PC had its own panel representing it’s workstation on the starship. Better than any other RPG I’ve played, this immersed me in the game setting, coming as close as realistically possible to making a player feel that the player was actually on the bridge of a starship. These C&C panels are available via the main game, and because you were permitted to photocopy them for personal use, they’re readily available via a quick Google search.

I never liked using tiny, cardboard counters to record power. If someone accidentally hit the table, the counters flew everywhere, and from gaming session to gaming session, your supply of counters always seemed to get smaller as the tiny pieces were lost and eventually swallowed by the vacuum cleaner. Accordingly, my C&C panels are a bit different. Instead of using counters, players simply write in the data for their power distribution. If you insert the panels into some cheap, plastic sheets you can get at any office supply store, you can use wet erase markers, which makes erasing even easier.  My panels provide a much simpler user interface, and allows inclusion of the game rules right on the panels, both of which make a traditionally slow game move much faster.

While including the rules for Skill Rolls during combat, I tried to give each player more than one option for how to make themselves useful during combat. That is, during any turn where the ship has no damaged systems, the player would have a “go to” roll that’s always useful (e.g., the Helmsman’s Starship Weaponry Technology skill roll to get a +1 bonus to attack rolls), but under situations of stress, could choose instead to make a different roll (e.g., the Helmsman’s Starship Helm Operations skill roll to reduce by 1 point the amount of stress to the engines from an emergency heading change where such a maneuver might be useful). In fact, only the Navigator has only one roll to make with respect to the Navigation system. Even the Chief Medical Officer has a role to play, though only once combat has started.

House rule alert: The Sciences Station has a house rule for resolving Bridge Hits. First, on a bridge hit, all bridge personnel must make a DEX saving roll to avoid losing a turn. Second, on the follow up roll to determine the system shaken, I replaced the “reroll # times” entries with Tractor Beam, Life Support, and Transporter systems. This required a separate house rule to handle life support systems failing and opened the door to a house rule for “calling shots” in combat. With such a tactic, targeting the life support systems is a popular choice.

With that, I give you my Command & Control Panels.

CommandAndControlPanel

CommandAndControlPanel-EnterpriseD

CommandAndControlPanel-EnterpriseDSaucerOnly

CommandAndControlPanel-USSFife This is the USS Fife, NCC-2300A, a Mark IV version of this Chandley class frigate used in my own adventure, Anything But Routine. The NCC-2300 MK I version of the ship appeared in the FASA adventure, a Doomsday Like Any Other.

Obviously, you can create panels specific to a ship. With that, I provide you the Word format of the C&C Panel template.

CommandAndControlPanel (Template in Word format — *.docx)

Master Control Panels

For GMs, even my simplified C&C panels aren’t simple enough. There’s far too much going on for the GM to be referencing six different panels, especially if the GM is managing two or three ships simultaneously (a common occurrence). Instead, the GM used a Master Control Panels (“MCP”) for each ship. Every aspect of combat fit nicely onto a single page (two-sided, though). The MCP was also used by players who were using the Star Trek Ship Combat System as a board game. In such a case, each player managed one or more ships themselves, so it was easier to have

Again, the standard MCPs are available via a Google search, so obviously my MCPs are intended to improve upon those MCPs. Even though everything is at the players’ fingertips, the MCP didn’t alleviate the inherent complexity of the system. The player still had to calculate total power, allot it to each system (i.e., shields, weapons, and movement), and then allot the allotted power accordingly (i.e., determine exactly which shield was powered and by how much, and determine exactly which weapon was powered and by how much). I’m sure that sounds more confusing than it actually is, but it’s a fair representation of the complexity of the most basic aspects of the game. On top of all of this, players still had to reference charts to tell them how much stress they suffered, how they were damaged if their shields were penetrated, etc.

Accordingly, my MCPs use a new system that alleviates just a bit of that complexity. For example, if your forward shield has a maximum power of 14, then you have two choices: either power the shield to 14, or don’t power it at all. Similarly, if your phaser has a maximum power of 6, you have two choices: either power the phaser to 6, or don’t power it at all. This simplified your math a small bit for one of your phases, and did so in a way that usually has no effect on combat. The MCPs I provide assume that house rule. If you don’t like it, there’s no reason not to use the standard MCPs.

GMMCP GMMCP-RomulanT10
GMMCP-GornBH2 GMMCP-RomulanV6
GMMCP-GornMA12 GMMCP-RomulanV8
GMMCP-KlingonD7 GMMCP-RomulanV11
GMMCP-KlingonK22BirdOfPrey GMMCP-RomulanV30
GMMCP-OrionLightning GMMCP-RomulanZ1

As with the C&C panels, you’ll need the template in Word format to create your own MCPs, so here it is:

GMMCP (Template in Word format — *.docx)

Anything But Routine

This was an adventure I wrote to (re)introduce some players to the FASA ST system at a gaming convention. This means two things: 1) it’s rather simple; and 2.) it runs in 4 hours assuming that players won’t participate in every encounter. Having extraneous encounters gives the PCs multiple paths to success, so that if they fail to make a particular choice, the adventure isn’t over. Unfortunately, having run it only once, this means that not all of the encounters have been tested. The D/WDF system for comparing starship battlegroups indicates the first starship combat is extraordinarily balanced, and it certainly played out that way, but I didn’t get to test either of the personal combat encounters. You might have to adjust on the fly if your table runs those encounters.

As this is an investigatory adventure with more than one path to success, the GM should assume the need to improvise. The GM should also note that in an adventure such as this one, what stops the PCs from resolving this mission in 30 seconds is that there are Federation laws and regulations that prevent invasions of privacy and trespass. I know this is the attorney in me coming out, but considering that a Chandley class frigate represents seemingly infinite power and resources, the only way to allow for adventures such as these is to make sure the players know they’re bound by the law. This is the nature of the game, so you’re probably aware of this, but I note it just in case.

The adventure is set in the Original TV Series movie timeline (e.g., Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan), so it makes appropriate assumptions. It’s also laden with geek-culture references because 1) I’m a geek, and 2) I’m a smart-ass. I license this adventure to the public on the condition that you at least keep the name of the Admiral the same, but I can’t truly enforce that. 🙂

Again, happy gaming!

STRPGAdventure-AnythingButRoutine

Again, if you like what you see, please consider contributing to the project by sending whatever you think is appropriate via PayPal.

Follow me on Twitter @GSLLC

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25 responses to “FASA Star Trek RPG Resources

  1. Pingback: New Page: #FASA #StarTrek #RPG Resources #gaming | Frylock's Gaming & Geekery

  2. Pingback: #FASA Trek Digital v1.0 Is Available #startrek #rpg #gaming | Frylock's Gaming & Geekery

  3. I am overcome with joy that I happened upon your site, Sir!! I’ve been playing FASA ST:RPG since Edition One (I still have several of the pages that separated from the binding) and introduced my wife and children to the game about a decade ago. I was very disappointed when I learned FASA had stopped producing the source books, and have over the years purchased other game source materials to convert into my campaigns. I hope you’re still active – I didn’t notice any dates on the site. I absolutely DO have the motivation (I was site scanning due to contemplating publishing my own RPG, as I am all the time generating new game systems for my kids to playtest and they are rather impressed with the level of detail and realism I provide) but have not had the resources to do much but personal production of material (games, adventures, stories) for my family and a couple friends throughout the years. I was impressed with the level of detail you engendered in the control panels as well as descriptions you provided, and at worst I have found a kindred spirit brother I think … at best, I perhaps have stumbled across a partner in a common endeavor. I’ve never had the funding (nor the tech) available to publish, but a friend of mine recently introduced me to Kickstarters.com, which is why my motivation to publish was renewed and I was looking and found you. PLEASE feel free to contact me at the email below. I have many questions and who knows? I may have something useful for you too … Sincerely, John Massie

  4. wow … doing more reading, noticing dates within a few weeks time posted! I’d like to add a question for you: you mentioned the D/WDF system (with regards to starship combat) – I’ve never fully understood and hence, never used, that system. I would much appreciate it if you would explain it to me. I’m a solid fan of the game system, able to generate a character from any branch from memory I’ve made so many NPC’s. :o) Oh and I work full time so email responses may not happen til evenings/weekends, unless you wish to share some quick information with me at my work email, which I’m not putting in here … and speaking of work, my lunch break is nearly over, so this will be all you hear from me. I am eager for a response, though I realize you must be very busy as well. In the meantime, I’ll be generating campaign adventures for my fam using a FASA ST -esque character generation process (with some additional info from Prime Directive, Worlds Beyond, and the Last Unicorn game systems) and establishing their universe in a BSG -esque setting with no transporters and aliens from some of the video games the kids like to play. Hope to hear from you soon! PS- we once had a standard FASA campaign adventure based on a recreational planet called Pokestation Seven … can you guess the kind of fun the characters had there? LOL! I put all the pokemon critters from the original three games into Star Trek critter terms and they were stored in the balls using transporter technology.

  5. I’m in the same position. I can’t even look at my blogs until the weekend, and I’m busy looking at a ton of other things on the weekend, leaving my blog as a low priority. To answer your question, the creator of the D/WDF system is on the record relatively recently as not wanting to disclose the system. I find this odd considering it was published by FASA in the 2nd Edition Ship Construction Manual. The formula is out there. If you’re not designing your own ships, though, it’s irrelevant. Here’s what you need to do:

    If you’re comparing the relative strengths of two ships or battlegroups, you use their combat efficiencies. D (defense factor) and WDF (weapon damage factor) are included with each entry in the various ship recognition manuals. Using those two numbers, CE = D * WDF / 100. However, a ship captain’s skill rating in Starship Combat Strategy/Tactics can skew the equation (as can the luck of the die, of course).

    There is a hole in the formula, which I don’t remember off the top of my head and lack the time to research. I think it’s the Damage Penetration Coefficient (DPC). In any case, I remember thinking that the sample calculation given in the manual looks like they made an error in their own calculations. It’s hard to explain. You have to see it. Again, though, this is all meaningless unless you’re creating your own ship designs. If you’re using published ships, you have the WDF and D values available, and those are all you need to evaluate the matchups in your game.

  6. Pingback: #FASA #StarTrek #RPG at #TerpCon, Saturday, November 17, 2012 #gaming | Frylock's Gaming & Geekery

  7. You mentioned somewhere submitting ideas and such, and if you like them, you will use them … where can I send you something that isn’t public access? Also, with respect to well detailed alien races for campaign utilization – do you have many aside from the standard stock? Besides Klingon, Romulans, Orions, Tholians, Gorn, Kzinti, etc. would you like some more? Over the years I’ve generated plenty as well as alternate timelines / universes, should you desire to “compare notes” … keep up the good work! Your dedication has been noted and logged. A promotion may be in order…

  8. You can email me anything, and I’ll take a look, but as the delay in my response demonstrates, my new job has crippled my schedule. I have little free time to blog, let alone update a database application. My email is rob@syndcon.net.

    That being said, I’m not sure what data you’re offering. At this point, the application is dealing with only starships. I haven’t fully developed the player character portion, so it’s not even available. Are you suggesting I add ships from other species? That’s easy enough, but in order to use the battlegroups utility, you’ll have to provide accurate combat efficiencies for those ships.

  9. Hey Frylock, thanks for the resources. At one time I had all of the FASA Trek products published, but marriage to a non gamer and children forced me to sell it off. Drag. Now I’ve got the RPG itch again and am planning to run my own Trek Game again. Thanks, again.

    • Hey Rob, I got married two and a half decades ago and introduced the wife (and thereafter the kids) to RPG’s. She wasn’t a gamer either, but eventually she saw it as part of our relationship, one of the things she could do to add to our happiness and time together. And today, with all those other RPG’s out there, my family prefers FASA STAR TREK to any other! In fact, the teens can be on facebook, computer game, whatever … when Dad says it’s game time, everyone is ready to play in 5-10 minutes. My advice, daddy-person, is get your stuff, do your thing, and if wifey won’t get onboard then she can’t complain when you don’t do something she would like you to do! Marriage is about compromise and caring enough about the other person to do what they want sometimes. Just make sure if she ever does sit down and play, you show her how happy it makes you!

  10. Pingback: Margaret Weis Drops #MarvelRPG #RPG #gaming cc:@GamingMeerkat | Frylock's Gaming & Geekery

  11. Thanks for this site. Back in the 90’s a friend and I play FASA Star Trek weekly. We never got into the Roll Playing games,but stuck with our own star ship combat stories. At our peak I had made a 4ftX8ft game table. This allowed us enough room to have multiple ships outside of each others weapons ranges. He passed away years ago and I’ve not ran across anyone locally that had even heard of FASA ST:Combat Simulator. Reading your site brought back a lot of good memories. Do you know if any has successfully converted FASA ST for internet usage. A skype type of game? There is a DnD group 40 miles from me, but I work nights and they meet once a month on Thursday nights. It rules that out.

    Lewis

  12. Hi! I finally got a copy of the Triangle books, and was hoping to start running my first FASA Trek campaign. However the map of the Triangle is missing. By any chance do you know of any good scans of that map? The only one I can find online is a fuzzy low-res gif that I can’t really read.

  13. You know, the older members of the Star Wars gaming community love WEG d6 SW. They’ve contrived to make gaming materials available to continue gaming in their preferred system, and new players can get new printed copies of what they need. Just saying. I’m not really a SW fan, but I love FASA Trek. I’ll probably adapt it to Chaosium’s BRP system at some point soon, since that’s more intuitive to me, and I will share what I write. But the fans of pure FASA might want something different…

      • I typed a whole long reply, which I don’t see now. I hate when WordPress does that, so if it’s lost I’m not writing up something again. But I’m not asking for anything, just sharing a thought that there can’t be committed new players without a way to share new copies of the rules with them.

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