What Do I Know About Reviews? The Sleeping Beast (Star Trek Adventures)
Today’s review is going to be a little strange, because it’s a review of a pack in of another product. I’m looking at the adventure included with the Klingon GM Screen, which, at the time of this writing, is only available as part of the GM Screen bundle, either in PDF or physical form. As far as GM Screens go, you can decide if you feel motivated to own one. Like the Star Trek Adventures screen, it includes handouts for different ship positions, but filtered through the Klingon Core Rulebook’s assumption, meaning, for example, that the Ship’s Cook is one of the ship positions with a handout.
I’m a completionist, so if I end up running a Klingon game in person, I’ll probably get the screen. I really like the size, sturdiness, form factor, and details on the Star Trek Adventures screen. I also know that GM screens are often low on the priority level of some gamers. However, I like getting a better look at the kinds of adventures that Modiphius is envisioning for the Klingon line of products, which is why I want to look at The Sleeping Beast.
I was sent a copy of the PDF of the Klingon GM Screen for review by Modiphius.
The PDF for The Sleeping Beast is 20 pages long. There is a cover, table of contents, and credit page, as well as a back cover and two pages of Modiphius ads. The rest of the 14 pages is adventure content, which includes a single page “mission brief” that outlines a second adventure based on the events of this adventure.
This has the same formatting as the Klingon Core book, which means there are a lot of angled red, orange, and green framing lines that resemble Klingon ship displays, on a greying, almost stone background for the pages.
Captain’s Log (Spoilers Starting Soon)
This adventure involves something that looks like an asteroid, which is heading towards a Klingon agricultural planet. The asteroid is actually an alien ship, and the Klingons that went on board to set charges to blow up the ship have not returned and can’t be detected onboard.
The PCs are called in to support the first ship. Their primary job is to keep the asteroid from crashing into the Klingon settlement, but a few twists are introduced to this scenario. This ship is manned by a formerly unknown lifeform, the crew members that went aboard are incapacitated and linked to the ship’s intelligence, and the other ship’s captain demands to go along so she can determine the fate of the crew she sent aboard.
What I was wondering about in a Klingon adventure is, how do you make something feel like Star Trek, but still angle the adventures for Klingons? In this case, the answer seems to be to keep similar elements, but cant them towards a more Klingon priority.
For example, Klingons may not worry as much about killing a newly encountered lifeform if it means protecting the empire and Klingons citizens. That said, there is some tempting technology that the Klingon Empire might really want to understand, that would be better to study than destroy.
While it wouldn’t be a blemish on the PCs honor, the Klingons on the ship being controlled by the ship’s intelligence may not have an opportunity to die a glorious death. And even if the PCs perform their task, they may still end up being challenged by the captain of the ship they are supporting, because they did nothing to help her crew get free or at least die in battle.
In addition to all of the above, the PCs will be debriefed on the actions of the other ship’s captain.
That means that while this is a Klingon adventure, it’s not just about seeking and destroying. It involves science, interaction, and moral quandaries, even if the moral quandaries are different than the style of moral quandary that would be presented to a Federation ship. Even in the debriefing, they will be reflecting on the honor of the captain of the first ship on the scene.
In addition to a compelling mission that does a good job walking the line between general Star Trek feel and specific Klingon concerns, this adventure does what I have noticed missing in some other Star Trek Adventures missions. There are limits to the number of times a work track can be engaged, and intervals are listed for progress, which really makes the extended tasks feel relevant and satisfying to resolve.
The single page mission brief is a quick summary of a potential follow up adventure, which assumes the alien ship survives and doesn’t crash into the Klingon settlement. In this case, the mission is a bit more “straightforward” from a Klingon standpoint, with ancient enemies of the aliens on the asteroid ship being hunted down, with Klingon targets getting caught in the crossfire.
This is a strong adventure to showcase how a Klingon campaign should work. Klingons may love battle and may not always be the most empathetic characters, but the adventure still finds moral quandaries, tough decisions, and scientific challenges to introduce to the game. I also enjoy that there is a quick follow up adventure that, while not heavily detailed, is open-ended enough to fill a night’s worth of entertainment, and reinforces continuity in the campaign by calling back to an earlier adventure.
There isn’t a lot that I’m critical about in this adventure. One strength of Star Trek Adventures is that in many cases, you can present problems, but don’t need to worry quite as much about guessing and the one specific way to resolve that problem. If there is a weakness in that approach, it’s that anyone that is either too used to less open ended rules, or not familiar with the source material, may stall out in trying to figure out THE solution. I also wish that the ship’s brain had a little more to say on its own behalf, and explicitly gave the Klingon PCs more reason to be intrigued by the ship, in case they don’t quite realize the potential of some of the technology they have stumbled across.
Qualified Recommendation–A product with lots of positive aspects, but buyers may want to understand the context of the product and what it contains before moving it ahead of other purchases.
So, this is a weird feeling recommendation. I think this is a solid adventure that does a great job of presenting what a Klingon mission should look like. I hope there are Klingon mission anthologies just as there have been Federation anthologies. That said, while I think it’s worth it, if you aren’t the kind of person that is picking up a GM Screen, will it be such a good adventure that you would pick up something you normally wouldn’t? Maybe?
If you aren’t the GM screen type, and this adventure ever comes out on it’s own, or as part of an anthology, however, you should definitely consider picking it up.