Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier

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For other Star Trek role-playing games, see History of Star Trek games#Role-playing games.
Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier
Designer(s) Michael Scott
Publisher(s) Heritage Models
Publication date 1978
Genre(s) Science fiction (Star Trek)
System(s) Custom

Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier is a role-playing game set in the fictional Star Trek universe. The game was published and edited by Heritage Models from 1978 until Heritage Models dropped the Star Trek gaming license.

Setting[edit]

Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier was principally set on unexplored planets within the United Federation of Planets Starfleet. Most player characters were assumed to be members of Star Fleet, engaged in planetary exploration missions. They typically held senior posts on a starship bridge, and visited alien planets as part of landing parties.

For the most part, the game's rules were set in the original TV series era (a.d. 2260s) and Star Trek: The Animated Series TV series.

Because of the simplicity of the game's structure, all of the supplements, regardless of their "era", could be easily re-set to suit a different era.

Heritage Models Trek[edit]

Michael Scott designed his Star Trek game universe nearly nine years before Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) (1987–1994) first aired. The game's designer built his "game universe" when there was no official canon, and he borrowed heavily from ideas in the Star Trek original series and the Star Trek animated series.

Heritage Models was a miniature figures company founded by Jim Oden from Miniature Figurines USA, inc. (Dallas) in 1974. Heritage Models begins casting Hinchlife figures under license.

The Companies[edit]

That same year Custom Cast maker of 25mm Fantastiques (fantasy figures) is founded by Duke Seifried. Duke Seifried also founded Der Kriegspielers, and both companies ultimately merged with Minifigs USA (Beatie; GAMA). Three years later, in 1977, Custom Cast and Heritage Models merges and will begin doing business as Heritage USA (Beatie; GAMA). Duke Seifried directed Heritage USA, then the largest US war-game miniatures manufacturer (Beatie; GAMA).

At Heritage USA Seifried innovated by bundling rules, organization books, and painting guides together with figures to form a complete game line. Because he didn’t like his units looking rigid and identical on the game table, he developed unit packs of figures in varied poses. He led the gaming hobby in the development and marketing of acrylic paints to simplify and enhance the craft aspects of miniatures gaming as well (Beatie; GAMA).

The First Star Trek RPG License[edit]

Heritage Models thus became a small-press maker, under license, of the early RPGs John Carter, Warlord of Mars (1978), Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier (1978), Knights and Magick (1980), and Swordbearer (1982). They had two books and a whole line of figures for John Carter, Warlord of Mars at the 1978 Origins in Michigan. Additionally, they produced the first official RPG and figure line for Conan the Barbarian and Lord of the Rings. In fact, all those licenses are what more than likely brought the company down.

Thus Heritage Models' was licensed by Paramount Pictures to produce the first official Star Trek RPG and figure line based on Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series. Influences of the Star Trek: The Animated Series were allowed in the license.

System[edit]

The rules were split into a “Basic Game” using pre-generated characters from the series, and an “Advanced Game” with full character creation and additional combat rules like random initiative.

The Basics[edit]

The basic rules are just what the word implies, but they are complete. They were deliberately written for newcomers to the hobby. Michael J. Scott eliminated much of the guesswork found in earlier RPGs as to how the parts fit together. A section on preparing to play and explanations of the six very familiar characteristics opens up the basic segment of the rules, followed by movement, hand-to-hand, and ranged combat rules, a sequence of play for the “action phase,” and a list of twenty personalities along with their characteristic values. This segment also includes some brief descriptions of Star Trek equipment and an example of play.

Character Generation[edit]

Characters have six attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, Luck, and Mentality) generated by 3d6 rolls modified by race. There is a “Hand-to-Hand Class” bonus, but no other skills and no experience rules. Melee combat is resolved in a single damage step. The attacker rolls 1d6-6d6 (depending on weapon) plus Strength, Dexterity, and Hand-to-Hand Class modifiers. The defender subtracts 1d6 plus Luck and Hand-to-Hand Class modifiers from this total to determine damage. Ranged combat requires a 1d6 roll under a hit number which depends on range and the attacker’s Dexterity.

Players had the option of playing virtually any humanoid character introduced in the original Star Trek TV series or the animated series. They included: Humans, Vulcans, Tellarites, Andorians, Orions, Klingons, Romulans. Two other races introduced in the animated series - Caitians and Edoans - could also be played.

Using the Basic Rules, the players used the pregenerated Bridge Crew to assume the roles of the Star Trek characters, including Captain Kirk, Mr Spock, Lieutenant Uhura and Yeoman Janice Rand from Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series and included M’res and Arex from Paramount's Star Trek: The Animated Series.

Advanced Rules[edit]

About twenty pages of information charts and rule expansions allows for more advanced play. The Advanced section contains rules for creating original characters, a list of lifeforms and their characteristics from the TV series, advanced combat rules, and a more extensive list of equipment.

The rules included descriptions of several alien races including Larry Niven’s Kzin, an extensive equipment list, tables for randomly generated aliens, and two introductory scenarios. The scenario plots were very limited in scope compared to the average Star Trek episode. Both scenarios were essentially “dungeon crawls” complete with monsters, radioactive rocks, and traps.

Core Rules Limitations and Strengths[edit]

The rules lacked ways for characters to gain Experience or Skills. Rules were lacking to address Aging and Salaries. There were no guidelines for costs and no price Lists. The Referee’s Role was defined more by the use of miniature than anything else. It is not surprising that the rules expected players to use miniatures—the combat rules would be difficult to run without them. Chain of Command and World Generation rules were also absent.

Chain of Command rules would, however, violated one of the basic concepts of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series, that the captain of the ship was "out there" having to make the hard decisions.

One element that the game introduced that was unusual comes directly from the series: the concept of a subordinate player’s (junior officer) ability to question the actions of a commanding officer with the request: “Permission to speak freely, sir?”

True to Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series adventurer's did not seek wealth or glory, a player succeeded by completing the mission without wrecking the Prime Directive.

Starships[edit]

There were no starship rules, as adventurers took part in "Landing Party missions” (away team missions) using rules for personal-level roleplaying. This followed the pattern of Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series where the shows were basically either planet based or ship based, with planet based adventures preferred. The ship was just the means to get to the planet.

Official Rulebooks[edit]

  • Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier (1978)

UnOfficial Supplements[edit]

“Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier” was written by Paul Montgomery Crabaugh and appeared in Different Worlds #18 (the January 1982 issue) published by Chaosium, Inc. The article was seven pages in length with fifteen small tables (pages 10–16). Here is the brief editorial blurb from the beginning of the article: “Written to supplement Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier role-playing rules, this variant covers a wide range of topics including Experience, Skills, Aging, Salaries, Price Lists, The Referee’s Role, Chain of Command, and World Generation.”

The author’s influences were stated up-front: Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was over a year away from release at the time Crabaugh finished his article, and he stated that he did not use Star Trek: The Motion Picture simply because there was a lot more useful gaming material available in the TV episodes and their novelizations.

UnOfficial Adventures[edit]

“Kirk on Karit 2: A STAR TREK Scenario Report” was developed by Emmet F. Milestone for use at DunDraCon IV. The intended players were a mix of “old dungeon-mates” and some non-gamer Trekkies who were interested in finding out about role-playing.

Emmet F. Milestone played the out the game scenario with miniature figures, since their visual appeal added so much vitality. He wrote: “I could only afford a couple of packages of Federation figures and an equal number of Klingons at the time, so I pulled some Star Guard miniatures from my shelves and an idea for the scenario began to crystallize. ... My attention wandered across to a horde of Dreenoi. What could be heavier than swarms of the all devouring insect warriors? I got busy writing stats.”

Emmet F. Milestone provided the details of how he constructed the scenario using an old dungeon map (not provided in the article), the Star Trek Blueprints, and the statistics he devised for the Star Guard Dreenoi.

In addition to the scenario, Emmet F. Milestone also added some Romance Rules. The Romance Rules were added to give the characters the opportunity to “Make a Pass” and dealt with “Falling in Love.” The writer felt this gave the player characters the opportunity to emulate some of the events seen on episodes of Paramount's Star Trek: The Original Series that were not provided in the original game rules.

With the publication of the scenario, other RPG Game Masters had a model for scenario development and model for additional rules development.

Related Material[edit]

Different Worlds #18 included an article under its "Metal Marvels" section entitled "Star Trek Figures from Citadel" by John T. Sapienza, Jr. This three page review included pictures of the miniatures and also included a footnote by Yurek Chodak (assistant editor) stating "We have learned that both Heritage's Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier role-playing game and the Citadel line of Star Trek figures have been discontinued."

Space Gamer #30 published by Steve Jackson Games included a review of "Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier" by Jerry Conner.

White Dwarf #18 (April/May 1980) included an article entitled "Star Trek- The Motion Picture: Miniature Rules and Scenarios" by Tony Yates and Steve Jackson. Although not directly affiliated with Heritage Model's "Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier", the rules, adventure and painting guide revolved around the use of Citadel Miniatures, Ltd. "Star Trek- The Motion Picture" miniatures.

Also Known As[edit]

"The designer of Starfleet Voyages Michael Scott is a pseudonym of Michael Scott Kurtick, designer of the games StarFleet Battle Manual and Star Patrol" (Barton 34).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Barton, William. "Capsule Reviews: Starfleet Voyages." The SpaceGamer: The Magazine of Adventure Gaming, May/June 1983. 33-34.

Beattie, Robert. “The Courier: America’s foremost Miniature Wargaming Magazine Presents ‘A Timeline of the Historical Miniatures Wargaming Hobby.’” The Courier <http://www-personal.umich.edu/~beattie/timeline2.html>.

Crabaugh, Paul Montgomery. Reviews. “Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier.” Different Worlds: Magazine of Adventure Role-Playing Games, January 1982. 10-16.

GAMA. Game Manufacturers Association. “2005 Academy Hall of Fame Game Professional: Duke Seifried.” 2 July 2005 <http://www.gama.org/news2/2005-hall-of-fame-inductees-announced-2-july-2005>.

Kim, John H. An Encyclopedia of Role-playing Games. <http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/encyclopedia/index.html>.

Milestone, Emmet F. “Kirk on Karit 2: A Star Trek Scenario Report.” Different Worlds: Magazine of Adventure Role-Playing Games, January 1982. 9-11.

Sapienza, Jr. John T. "Star Trek Figures from Citadel." Different Worlds: Magazine of Adventure Role-Playing Games, January 1982. 18-20.

Scoleri, Joe. "Game Article Index: S: Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier- Heritage." The Maverick's Space and Fantasy Gamer's Guide, 1999. 313.

Swenson, Anders. Reviews. “Starfleet Voyages.” Different Worlds: Magazine of Adventure Role-Playing Games, June 1983. 43.

White, Damon. “A close look at licensed RPGs and the companies who create them.” Licensed to Produce. GamingReport.com. Posted 2003-08-21 21:03:53 <http://www.gamingreport.com/article.php?sid=9805>.

Yates, Tony and Jackson, Steve. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture- Rules for Adventure in the Final Frontier." White Dwarf: The Science Fiction and Fantasy Games and Miniatures Magazine, April/May 1980. 8-11.

External links[edit]