Monday, April 26, 2004

No news is no news

Will Enterprise be back for a fourth season? Will there be another Star Trek movie? Has Decipher given up on the Star Trek role playing game? Will those Amazon orders I placed ever actually ship? There are plenty of rumours, reported at TrekToday, TrekWeb, and other places, to answer the first two, but ultimately it's all a waiting game. For all of the above, really.

Star Trek seems to be cursed when it comes to role playing games. I've never played an RPG myself, but back in the late 1980s I picked up one of the FASA role playing game books (the Federation sourcebook) and was fascinated. There was a lot of creativity evident in both the reference sources and the adventures. FASA's writers not only fleshed out the background of the Romulans and the Klingons (with the assistance of novelist John M. Ford, author of The Final Reflection, on the latter), they explored the culture of the Orions and civilian traders. Then they ran headlong into the TNG years and the Star Trek office's new constraints on licencees, and bang! Game over.

About a decade later came the Last Unicorn Games attempt at a Trek RPG. They were ambitious and optimistic -- so much so that many of their planned books never materialized. (Some made it out unofficially in pdf format;someone at may be able to identify their current home on the web.) Last Unicorn lost their licence, but very quickly Decipher picked up the licence and some of the key creators. And they've managed to hit maybe one of their deadlines, they shut down the Los Angeles studio doing most of the work, and haven't made their intentions known, even though there are several completed books ready for publication. Their message board may as well be a ghost town. The only new items since last summer are some adventures available as pdfs from Decipher's website.

There's another alternative, GURPS Prime Directive, from the folks behind Star Fleet Battles, but that's essentially an alternate universe version of Star Trek, and one I'm not very familiar with. I do hope eventually to have a page on SFB on my website, but it's going to take more homework.

(Now playing: Fields of the Nephilim, "At the Gates of Silent Memory," Elizium.)


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