🖖 Star Trek's official solo RPG
Also: Pocket Quest '23 game highlights, The Inquiracle, and more!
1. Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log
Modiphius is expanding its Star Trek RPG universe with Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log, the franchise’s first solo/GM-less release.
Why it matters: As a huge (326-page) standalone solo game tied to one of Sci-Fi’s biggest franchises, Captain’s Log is a milestone signaling the significance of single-player RPGs.
Specifications: Captain’s Log is a full-color, digest-sized rulebook that provides:
A streamlined version of the Star Trek Adventures RPG
A Star Trek primer including societies and tech across every era
Lifepath generation for any type of character, not just Starfleet captains
Rules for creating your own starship or starbase
Guidance on implementing rules and telling Star Trek stories
Over 100 random tables and oracles (aka probability matrixes)
I spoke with Jim Johnson who leads Modiphius’ Star Trek franchise. Jim has 30 years of writing experience (with several short stories published in Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek anthologies) and has worked in the RPG industry for decades.
Project Genesis: Jim and the Star Trek Adventures team started production on a solo game after witnessing the genre’s growth in the indie scene and listening to Adventures players who wanted an alternative to group play. Captain’s Log was developed in 19 months by a core team of 8 people, supported by dozens of designers, editors, and Star Trek consultants.
Players start with detailed lifepath character creation or a flexible “creation in play” approach. Then they choose and customize their ship or starbase based on the era of play.
Players then embark on a mission, encountering a variety of incidents that can begin with advantages or complications.
Probability matrixes can influence encounters with non-player characters and help shape characters’ goals.
The game provides a mission tracker to guide the length and progression of the story based on the players’ preferences.
Fan fiction’s final frontier: I was surprised by the depth of advice Captain’s Log provides for creating compelling Star Trek stories. The book covers concepts like the three-act structure, cold opens, and how to write a captain’s log.
“If you watch Star Trek, you know how it flows, you know the beats. On some intuitive level everyone has that story in them, that story concept. We try to give a lot of writing advice in the book focused towards Star Trek storytelling and how to use the series’ tropes.”
“The tools we have in the book would be fantastic for a fiction writer because you’re figuring out what’s the inciting incident, what are the characters motivations?”
“I read all the time, and I love Star Trek novels and short stories. When we were in layout — when you see the book start coming together — I knew that once it came out, whoever got it would be creating their own Star Trek stories and probably sharing them online. That got me really excited because I was like, ‘oh, now I’ll have thousands of new Star Trek stories to read.’”
Pre-orders for Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log are now open. Purchasers will immediately receive a PDF copy. While there are 4 different era covers to choose from, the content of the books are identical.
2. Pocket Quest ‘23
Pocket Quest ‘23, the annual RPG game jam hosted on the DriveThruRPG digital marketplace, wrapped up on July 21 with 107 new games published.
Why it matters: DriveThruRPG is the leading digital tabletop game marketplace. By providing marketing support and front-page promotion, Pocket Quest offers creators a significant opportunity to get their work noticed.
This summer creators developed 20-page max games themed “Space — Not of This World”.
They received benefits like templates, marketing opportunities, and support through the jam’s Discord channel.
Of the 107 titles launched this year, half came from first-time DriveThruRPG publishing partners.
🔭 Looking ahead: A 2024 edition is in development and will be refined based on participant feedback according to Meredith Gerber, DriveThruRPG’s Partner Relations Manager. Future editions might include creator workshops and additional marketing opportunities.
Solo and co-op Pocket Quest ‘23 highlights
🛰️ Lemuria Space Station: Hunt and capture VoidDroids — new luxury toys gone rogue — and earn enough to get off the station. Awesome art!
🌌 RADD Infinitum!: Explore the galaxy, face dangers, search for lost tech, and discover why the Terran Empire collapsed. 20 packed pages!
📦 Delivered!: Pilot a courier vessel completing deliveries and exploring the galaxy. Deadlines and promotions!
🏀 SpaceSport: Lead your team of militarized athletes in interplanetary athletic contests through plots of intrigue, subterfuge, and dominance.
🧑🚀 Bottom Feeders: Scavenge cosmic trash belts on the edges of civilization. FTL meets S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
🧑🎤 Cthulhu Stardust: Fight the forces of the Great Old Ones awakening on Mars in a Bowie-flavored horror game. From the creator of Pinkysworn!
☄️ Into the Starlit Sky: Assemble a crew of specialists for your starship and use a Tarot deck to generate prompts for your adventure. Star Trek vibes.
🚀Protomancer: Traverse the ghost ship SS Eurydice, scavenge weapons and supplies, and defeat whatever killed the original crew. Deck-building survival.
Pocket Quest ‘23 bundle deals
First Time Partners bundle includes 52 games for $30.26.
Solo RPGs bundle includes 9 single-player games for $20.00.
Space Horror bundle includes 8 haunting sci-fi titles for $13.51.
3. 🔮 The Inquiracle
The Inquiracle is The Soloist’s self-interview microgame where creators roll a 20-sided die to determine a “theme” and a “subject” to make a question they answer.
🎭 Game designer and host of my favorite AP podcast, Party of One
Theme: (13) collaboration | Subject: (20) media
Q: Party of One spotlights a variety of first-time guests. What’s your advice on being a good collaborator when it comes to media projects such as podcasts?
“Do your homework! Listening to an episode or two of the show you’re fixing to appear on can do wonders in making you comfortable and familiar with the flow of things, what to expect, and how to best contribute. And if you have questions … ask them! Someone who is curious enough to ask a question is someone who I'm excited to work with, because it’s clear they want to give it their best.”
🎭 Host of Science Fantasy Awesome, a solo RPG actual play
Theme: (5) inspirational | Subject: (1) project
Q: What projects inspire you?
“Easy! I would have never created Science Fantasy Awesome if it weren’t for Trevor Devall’s Me, Myself & Die. As soon as I watched his videos, I thought, ‘I’m an actor who loves games! I could do that!’ I try to improve the quality of each of my series to get closer to the very high bar Trevor has set.”
🎲 Designer of over a dozen RPGs
Theme: (3) disappointing | Subject: (4) design
Q: What is a disappointing design, to you?
“I think the most disappointing thing in game design is when a brilliant premise, the sort of thing that really makes you sit up and take notice, or gets you excited, is let down by mediocre (or just plain bad) mechanics. They don’t have to be groundbreaking or transcendental works of genius — I’m fine with a PbtA or FitD — but you’ve gotta put some thought into helping them support your main ideas.”
4. 🎲 Last roll
Today (July 23) is the last day to vote for the ENNIE Awards 2023. The ENNIEs are an annual fan-based celebration of excellence in tabletop RPGs recognizing game designers, writers, and artists. DriveThruRPG has gathered a list of the nominated titles they carry.
I’m listening to…
The Splatbook podcast, hosted by John Corey and Kyle Latino (aka Map Crow), covers game design and tips for GMs while mixing in actual play sessions. It’s a nice blend of discussion, humor, and insight that gets my wheels spinning.
Where the Wheat Grows Tall, a fantasy adventure inspired by Slavic myth. I loved the pre-generated characters with just enough personality and built-in bonds to get right into character. The adventure felt fresh and the players were able to establish our own goals — no railroading! The illustrations by Evlyn Moreau brought so much life and character to the world.
The Shadow of the Gods, the epic Norse-inspired fantasy novel by John Gwynne. Set in a world shattered by a god-war, the story follows three characters – Orka, Varg, and Elvar – seeking vengeance or glory. It’s a must-read for fans of Viking-inspired fantasy, grittily realistic worldbuilding, and complex character relationships.
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