What Do I Know About Reviews? IDW Year Five Tie-In (Star Trek Adventures)
When a property has lots of different media presentation, some of which “count” and some of which don’t, I enjoy the opportunity to use the storylines from those “non-canon” works as a framework for RPG scenarios. For example, when I was running a Star Wars Age of Rebellion campaign, I used the Black Fleet Crisis as a jumping off point for that campaign. The events of the novel didn’t happen, but the existence of the secret Imperial shipyards and the political turmoil of the Yevetha were what I was utilizing to frame a campaign.
I know I just crossed the streams by mentioning Star Wars in a Star Trek product review, the what I’m looking at today is a Star Trek Adventures product that uses the IDW Star Trek Year Five comic as the basis from which to draw materials for the RPG. If you aren’t familiar, Year Five is a comic series that serves as a “wrap up” to the original series and transitions the characters from the original series from where they were in the television series, to where we see them in Star Trek the Motion Picture.
I was provided with a review copy of this PDF from Modiphius.
This is a 26-page PDF supplement for Star Trek Adventures. This includes a credits page, a table of contents, an ad for the IDW series, as well as an ad for Star Trek Adventures. The PDF has a two-column layout, and the artwork in the product is taken from the IDW comics which inspired the supplement. The formatting of Modiphius’ Star Trek products is guided by the era in which the story takes place, meaning this one has similar colors, displays, and block lettering consistent with The Original Series.
As an accessibility note, this PDF has the same quirk that other Modiphius’ Star Trek PDFs have. If you are using a PDF reader for Text to Speech capabilities, it will read out every number in the decorative “readout” sidebars, meaning that you get to hear a string of numbers on every page that has this kind of artistic flourish.
The PDF is broken up into five section, including the following:
- Year Five Factions
- New Lifepath Options
- Non-Player Characters
Year Five plays with several ideas that evolve over time, including the Originalist organization within the Federation, which wants to make the Federation great again, Aegis, an extra-temporal alien organization trying to slow the advancement of the galaxy, and the Tholians.
New playable species statistics are given for the I’Qosa (a new aquatic species introduced in the comic book series), the Iotians (those people that built a society based on Chicago gangsters, but they have a new fixation now), and Tholians.
NPC statistics include several characters important to the Year Five storyline, but also includes some recurring Original Series characters, like Gary Seven and Isis, Harry Mudd, and multiple Tholian stat blocks. Oh, and some guy named Surak, that I guess is important for some reason.
Ships in this product include the USS Theseus, two I’Qosan ships, and two Tholian ships. My biggest regret here is that the USS Theseus isn’t extensively illustrated, because the comic itself doesn’t have any long, lovingly rendered shots of it from every angle. Must not have been THAT much of a transition to Star Trek the Motion Picture.
Even if you aren’t going to run the entire storyline of Year Five, or if you aren’t going to run an Original Series era game, there are a lot of items that can be used from this supplement. Since Aegis is at least somewhat “extra-temporal,” they can show up in multiple eras, and may even clash with other temporal meddlers established in the setting. The I’Qosa make for another nice playable character species, and the Tholians are one of those species that ends up getting name checked a lot in later series, without directly appearing.
If you are running a game in the Original Series era, the Originalists are a great movement to include if you want to really grab onto Star Trek’s themes of taking modern political commentary and viewing it through the lens of a future civilization.
I hope to see more of these Star Trek expanded properties getting their own supplements. I was hoping for this kind of cross pollination when I saw that the Conan lines included products that crossed over with the Conan board game and the Conan MMO. I know some of this was complicated until recently due to the divided nature of Trek ownership, although that issue seems to have been resolved. I know that we’re increasingly seeing the post-Nemesis timeline being filled in with official content, but I would love to see a Star Trek Online supplement like this one, introducing some of the elements of that timeline.
This PDF has a lot of great ideas that can be mined in multiple ways by a GM running Star Trek Adventures. The broad introduction of the factions and some utilitarian stat blocks are a strong addition to the toolbox that a GM might have available to them.
It’s a minor thing, because for the scope of what this is, the product does its job well, but I would have loved to have seen an even longer supplement with a little more fleshed out. That would have warranted a bigger price point, and this does pack a lot in to it’s 26 pages.
Recommended—If the product fits in your broad area of gaming interests, you are likely to be happy with this purchase
I’m an easy mark for products that manage to retroactively connect things that make sense to be connected, and I love wider campaign arc antagonists, and this provides both. Also, part of me enjoys seeing the Discovery era image of Harry Mudd showing up in the pages of an Original Series story, because I loved Rainn Wilson’s portrayal of the character.