Talking Star Trek Adventures with the Continuing Mission STA blog!

People, people, people.

When are you going to learn?

Despite all my attempts to dissuade danger seekers, people insist on wanting to interview me. I do everything I can to make them reconsider the wisdom of granting me airtime or space in their publications. I routinely ignore such requests as, “You need to take this seriously,” “I wish you wouldn’t drink while we’re recording,” or “No, you really, really have to wear pants for this and holy shit but what’s with the purple underwear,” but do they listen?

NooooOOOOoooo.

So, here we are. Again.

This time, the poor soul who stepped into the breach is one Michael Dismuke, he of Continuing Mission, a blog devoted to the Star Trek Adventures role-playing game produced by Modiphius. Those of you who follow this space know that I was involved in some work for the game back during its development and early rollout of its “living campaign” setup.

The game is firing on all thrusters now, with the living campaign in full swing and the core rulebook and other supplements being released at a fairly regular pace. So far as I can tell, response to STA has been overwhelmingly positive, and I know lots of good things are still waiting in the wings as the development team continues to march merrily along.

Michael tossed me a handful of questions about my involvement with the game and how I approached writing for this new platform and audience. As I’ve said before, it was a bit of a learning experience, but also a lot of fun, thanks in large part to friend and fellow writer Scott Pearson, with whom I worked on the living campaign, and other friend and also fellow scribe Jim Johnson, who invited me aboard in the first place. Both of these gents, along with a whole bunch of other cool people, are continuing to create new material for the game, and I’m as interested as anyone in seeing where things go next.

Meanwhile, you can read my interview with Michael here:

Continuing Mission:
New York Times Bestselling Author Dayton Ward Talks STA!

Many thanks to Michael for reaching out. If you’re an STA player, be sure to check back with Continuing Mission, as he has interviewed Jim as well as other game contributors.

Advertisements

Star Trek Adventures core rulebook: It’s almost here!

This is what I get for missing staff meetings.

sta-rulebookcoverYep! The print edition for the brand-spankin’ new Star Trek Adventures role playing game is up for pre-order, and shipping for the shiny new tome is imminent! The e-Book version has been available for several weeks, but I think the big intro for the hardcover print edition was the GenCon convention this past weekend in Indianapolis. Fans were able to buy copies of the book, and the reactions I’ve heard so far are leaning way over toward the positive sign of things.

Long time Star Trek fans and gamers now that this but the latest in a series of Trek-themed role playing games released over the years. My entry point to this genre was in 1983, with FASA’s still awesome Star Trek: The Role Playing Game. Later, game companies Last Unicorn and Decipher got into the act, each releasing the own versions complete with core rules and a slew of supplements and accessories. Each version has its fans, and I still have certain key books from each game that I use for reference or inspiration with my own writing, but if I had to choose one of the older games, it’d have to be FASA. That said, some of the Last Unicorn supplements in particular are pretty dang cool. 🙂

st-old_rpgs
trek_heritageNOTE: This is the point where the truly hardcore fans might remind me that there was a Star Trek RPG which preceded all of these. No, I didn’t forget about you. I actually don’t have a copy of this, published by Heritage Models in 1978, so if anyone out there wants to start thinking Christmas ideas for me, here you go.

There’s also Prime Directive, an RPG off shoot of the venerable Star Fleet Battles tabletop combat game, which was published back in the early 1990s. The entire SFB system has thrived for decades, emphasizing the tactical/military aspects of Star Trek gaming, and Prime Directive extends that into the RPG sphere. So, if that’s your thing, I highly suggest wandering over and checking out the entire line of SFB products from Amarillo Design Bureau.

As or this “next generation” of Star Trek RPGs? Modiphius has gone all out, y’all. They have a slate of supplements, dice, figures, and other nifty doodads ready to roll out, but it all starts with the core rulebook, which you can pre-order RIGHT. NOW.

Though I was involved in writing for the new game’s “living playtest campaign” last fall, I also wrote material that ended up in the new rulebook. That said, I have to emphasize that my contributions to the book are pretty minor when compared to the efforts of so many more people who had a hand in bringing this project to fruition. I mean, have a look at the credits page:

STA-credits(Click to Biggie Size.)

I know, right?

So far, all I’ve seen is the e-Book version, and THAT was gorgeous to behold. I can’t wait to see what the print edition looks like.

It’s not too late to get in on the Star Trek Adventures role playing action. Just slide on over to the Modiphius site and check out all the cool things that are there for the checking out.

Go on. Go. I’ll be here when you get back.

sta-awayteam-1

Yes, this thing still works.

Blog-On-Off

I figure (read: “desperately hope”) there’s at least a couple of you out there wondering where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing the last week or so.

The answer is that I’ve been bussssssssssssssssssssy. There are several things in the hopper at the moment, almost all of which fall into the category of “Things I Can’t Really Talk About…At Least Not Yet.”

I was motoring along at a somewhat leisurely pace for a bit there, enjoying the first few weeks of my kids’ summer vacation, but then several things kicked into gear in rapid succession. On the home front, both kids are attending “summer learning” programs at school. Unlike “summer school” from back in my day, which you attended because your dumb ass flunked a class during the regular school year, this is a completely different kind of thing. For one, the kids volunteer to go, and the classes they attend are fun. Oldest daughter is taking a computer animation class, while youngest is doing one about animal sciences. How cool are those? So, it’s like summer/day camp, but I don’t have to pay for it because it’s offered by the school system (which I kinda sorta already pay for, anyway). Of course, the classes are at two different schools with different start/release times, so I’m running around town in the morning and afternoon doing my best Uber driver impression.

The kids are also on the neighborhood swim team again, this year. This requires them to be at practice a few times a week, and then there’s the weekly swim meets against other neighborhood teams every Wednesday evening throughout June and part of July. The Wednesdays are a 4-5 hour commitment, plus we parents volunteer to help with various things that need doing during the evening. I usually serve as one of the lane timers, for example, with my little stopwatch and clipboard, while Michi helps up front with registration, entering stats, or serving as a runner. When we started this last year I didn’t think I’d enjoy any of it, but it’s been a lot of fun, due in no small part to friends who also have daughters in the program, and with whom we hang during all of this.

(Note: It’s possible that an adult beverage or two may be present at these events. YMMV.)

Youngest daughter had a Taekwondo promotion this past Saturday. It was a midterm promotion for her, and she now has about half of the midterm stars she needs before she can even be considered for testing to earn her Third Degree black belt. She’s taking the rest of the summer off to enjoy swim team and the rest of her vacation before school starts back up, and  then she’ll get back to it. Oldest daughter, also a Second Degree, is taking a hiatus of her own. 

Work wise, things are maintaining pace in the “busy” lane but threatening to swerve into “insane.” As I write this, I have three…count them, three… projects all with deadlines in the next 45-60 days. One was something I was already scheduled to start working on after finishing the previous novel manuscript, and the other two came largely out of nowhere. Both are things I really, really want to do, and each has the potential to lead to more work in their respective realms, so hell yeah I signed on. By themselves, none of them is something that would be in danger of missing its respective deadline, and in truth all are of a size that I can manage together with proper time management and discipline.

(Insert joke about my being doomed here.)

What are these new things? Well, as you may have already guessed, all of them fall under the aforementioned “Things I Can’t Really Talk About…At Least Not Yet” category. Stay tuned for details as I’m given the green light to start blabbing.

Oh, and that novel manuscript I mentioned in passing a few paragraphs ago? The one I turned in on May 22nd? Yeah, I’ve heard back from my editor and the licensor and there will be some rework involved. Nothing too demanding (at least, the way I see it), but requiring more time than I’m able to give it at this precise moment. Thankfully, all parties are sympathetic to my plight, and I’m doing whatever I can to shuffle things around on my calendar so that I can return my updated manuscript sooner rather than later. Luckily, we have a bit of maneuvering room, here, but that doesn’t mean I want this thing to linger any longer than absolutely necessary. Oh, what’s it about? Again, “Things I Can’t Really Talk About…At Least Not Yet.” Sorry. 🙂

As for things I can talk about? Let’s see….today, I’m wrapping up a piece for Modiphius, to be used as part of the communications stream between game developers and players for their upcoming Star Trek Adventures role playing game. Once that’s done, I’m putting the final polish on a guest blog piece that will run in conjunction with the soon-to-be released Hidden Universe Travel Guides – Star Trek: The Klingon Empire from Insight Editions. Like the book itself, I’m writing this piece to be “in character” as though submitted by the same people who write the guides. We’ll see if anyone else thinks I’m as clever or funny as I apparently think I am. Once these are out of the way, I’ll be getting started in earnest on the Three Big Things.

It’s nice to be busy.

evil-dayton

So, enough about me. What’s up with you?

Star Trek Adventures: Pre-Orders are live!

I’m a little behind the curve posting about this, but hey! This is the kind of news that only gets better the longer it’s around, amirite?

Modiphius, purveyors of cool games far and wide, kicked things up a few notches this past week in the realm of Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game. In addition to the ginormous core rule book that will drive the action and fun for all involved, Modiphius is also offering several sets of miniature figures and dice as well as other accessories to enhance gameplay.

“Wait!” I can hear someone shouting from the cheap seats. “How do I get in on this?”

Hey! I’m glad you asked. Check it out:

Star Trek Adventures: Pre-Order Now Live!

There are a whole bunch of deals and bundles to be had, depending on how much disposable income you happen to have.

As for now, I’m just jazzed to be a part of something so cool. Those of you keeping score know that I worked last year with fellow Star Trek scribe Scott Pearson to develop the storyline that drove the game’s “living campaign” playtest. That storyline, along with some other material I provided, will be included in the core book, which is jammed to overflowing with the rules, tables, and other descriptive and narrative material as created by a talented bunch of writers and game developers. Many thanks to fellow word-pusher Jim Johnson for introducing me to the Modiphius crew, who in turn saw fit to bring be aboard to play for a while.

So far, early response to the playtest campaign and the game itself has largely been positive, and I know fans are champing at the bit to get their hands on the finished game materials. I know I can’t wait to see it. As stated in the Modiphius bulletin, the pre-order period is underway and goes through August, so you need to get over there if you want to be among the first to own Star Trek Adventures!

sta-bridge-1_orig

Is this thing on? An overdue update!

Previously, on The Fog of Ward:

test-pattern

Yes, things have been quiet around here, lately. Sorry about that. My last couple of weeks were dominated by finishing up the manuscript for what will be my 25th novel, if the publishing gods are kind.

What can I tell you about the new book?

Um…..it’s about 97,000 words, give or take, and that’s exactly all I can tell you about it at this point. Hopefully I’ll be able to spill at least a few juicy deets soon, but until then, as Sid Hudgens might put it in L.A. Confidential, everything’s “Off the record, on the QT, and very hushhush.”

So….oh, well. 🙂

With that manuscript delivered, my attention will soon be turning to my next novel, for which an outline has been with my editor the past few weeks. I’m anxious to get started on this one because it promises to be tremendous fun. What’s it about?

Um…..it’s going to be about 50,000 words, give or take, and that’s exactly all I can tell you about it at this point. Hopefully I’ll be able to spill at least a few juicy deets soon, but until then, as Sid Hudgens might put it in L.A. Confidential, everything’s “Off the record, on the QT, and very hushhush.”

No, that’s not a temporal loop. Just the state of my writing life, at the moment.

What’s that? What can I talk about? I suppose I can give an update on things that are “Coming Soon!”

hearts-and-minds-coverFirst up, my Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Hearts and Minds is already starting to pop up in stores, ahead of its “official” publication date of next Tuesday, May 30th. It’s both a (largely) standalone TNG tale for Captain Picard and his merry band aboard the Enterprise-E as well as a loose sequel to my earlier novels From History’s Shadow and Elusive Salvation.

(You’ve all read both of those, right?)

Elsewhere, I was also happy earlier this week to find out the core rulebook and a few other tasty accessories have been finalized and approved for Star Trek Adventures, the new tabletop role-playing game coming at ya later this summer from the good folks at Modiphius. Accosta-bridge-1_origrding to the gang putting the game together, the option to pre-order these items will be available in a few weeks, and the stuff will begin shipping in late August to be in stores by September. Those of you who visit this space know I  helped contribute a storyline to drive the game’s initial, “living campaign playtest,” and that “startup” story as well as some scenarios for gaming in that setting are being packaged into the book. I also contributed some other “sidebar” material, but I have no idea what form that stuff will take. I’m as excited to see the finished book as everyone else. 🙂

predator-antho-coverCurrently, I’m tending to a few items on my “To Do List” this week, before I head out with the family for a quick vacation and then come back to get started on the new book. Chief among those To Do Items are reviewing and making any needed fixes to the copyedited manuscript for my short story “Recon,” which will be included in a forthcoming anthology, Predator: If It Bleeds edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and published by Titan Books.

Also, I’m turning some attention and a few brain cells to the outline for an original science fiction novel concept, that I’m hoping to pitch to publishers this summer. It’s been lying dormant for a long while, owing to my focus being elsewhere, but my goal is to have the outline completed by the end of June. Keep those fingers crossed!

There are a few other things percolating, but at present they’re all rather amorphous, so I’m not going to jinx any of them by talking too much.

So, that’s what’s up with me. ‘sup with you?

 

Talking about Star Trek Adventures for MODIPHIA!

One of the more unexpected developments to come out of 2016 was my getting involved with Modiphius Entertainment and their still-gestating Star Trek Adventures role-playing game.

Hey. I have a weird job, sometimes.

sta-awayteam-1

I spent a good bit of last fall working with friends Scott Pearson and Jim Johnson to carry out the task I’d been given: fleshing out a storyline that could be used as part of a “living campaign playtest,” during which the game’s rules would be run through the wringer and kinks addressed and worked out. Players would participate in this testing phase, playing through scenarios developed by the game’s designers and other contributors and offering feedback on what worked and didn’t work for them. The results of this effort will eventually find their way into the game’s core rulebook, scheduled to be released later this summer, and set the stage for many more storylines and scenarios to come within the game’s setting.

So, yeah. That sounded like some cool action to get in on.

Want to learn more about what we came up with, and how I ended up as a part of this snazzy new thing? You can read about all of that and more in the very first, minty-fresh issue of Modiphia, the “official digital magazine” of Modiphius Entertainment, which is now available in PDF form as a free download from the game publisher’s webstore.

modiphia1-cover.pngIn addition to extensive coverage of Star Trek Adventures – including a peak at the storyline we developed and an article I wrote about my own involvement – Modiphia #1 also includes new articles and content for several other games in the Modiphius stable, including Achtung! Cthulhu, Conan, and Thunderbirds.

Many thanks to Chris Birch and Sam Webb at Modiphius for inviting me into their sandbox to play for a bit. I’m honestly not sure what my level of involvement will be in the short term, as everything now is focused on the living campaign and fine-tuning the rules, scenarios, and other info that will be included in the core gaming materials. Those are tasks better left to people who know what they’re doing in those arenas.

Look for more info on Star Trek Adventures in this space, as I’m given the thumbs up to share details. Meanwhile? Get gamin’, yo.

sta-01

 

 

Interview with Priority One Podcast about Star Trek Adventures!

Yes, once again I have been yammering into a microphone while someone records it so that other people can listen to it.

I don’t get it, either.

priorityonepodcast-logoThis time, I was invited to sit down with hosts Elijah and Kenna from the Priority One Podcast to talk about Star Trek Adventures, the new tabletop role playing game coming soon from Modiphius Entertainment. While I was asked to talk about the storyline I helped develop with the able assistance of friend and fellow Trek nerd Scott Pearson, and how such writing differs from what I might do for other projects like–for example–a novel, a good bit of the discussion focused on the game itself, including its mechanics, rules, and so on.

Fortunately for everyone involved, game designer Nathan Dowdell was with me, fielding with ease every question the hosts threw at him. Nathan is heading up the game’s development team and it’s obvious that a lot of thought and effort has gone into creating the rules that will drive the game while at the same time appealing to hard core fans as well as gamers who might only have a casual interest in Star Trek. From what I’ve read and observed so far, he definitely knows Trek as well as game design, and I’m confident Star Trek Adventures is in good hands.

Our interview with Elijah and Kenna is but one portion of this latest episode of Priority One, which also includes a look back at Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on the occasion of the film’s 25th anniversary, and the latest news and rumors from the development of the next Star Trek movie as well as next year’s new TV series, Star Trek: Discovery, and updates for the Star Trek Online game. The result?

Priority One Podcast Episode 298: The Undiscovered Country

Many thanks to Elijah, Kenna, and the Priority One team for having us on their show, and to Nathan for joining me to provide all sorts of juicy details about the game.

For more info on Star Trek Adventures, be sure to visit the Modiphius website!

sta-tng01

Star Trek Adventures Living Playtest launches! Guess who’s mucking about behind the scenes?

For those who may not be aware, Modiphius, a UK-based publisher with its fingers in any number of creative pots such as roleplaying games, boardgames, miniatures, novels, and all sorts of other stuff, is currently neck deep in developing Star Trek Adventures. This brand new, kick-ass role playing game where gamers participate in a constantly evolving “living campaign.” In this format, thousands of players get to take advantage of a shared setting, doing their own thing individually or as part of a team or group, with their progress tracked by the game designers/owners. With various feedback mechanisms including forums, e-mail, “mission orders” and “mission reports” and so on, players will be interacting with each other as well as the game developers, who in turn can and will use such feedback to shape new directions for the games to take.

Check it out this brand-spankin’ new press release from the good folks at Modiphius:

modiphius-logo

STAR TREK ™ ADVENTURES LIVING PLAYTEST LAUNCHES WITH THOUSANDS OF GAMERS WORLDWIDE AND STELLAR WRITING LINE-UP LED BY NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLING AUTHOR DAYTON WARD

sta-awayteam-1

Written and Developed By Famed Star Trek Novelists and Game Designers, Players Will Make Star Trek History as the Course is Plotted for Exploration and Adventure

LONDON, ENGLAND (December 1, 2016): Modiphius Entertainment, publisher of the Achtung! Cthulhu, Mutant Chronicles, Conan, Infinity and John Carter of Mars roleplaying games, announces the missions for the Star Trek Adventures™ living campaign playtest, to develop the first official Star Trek RPG in more than a decade, are now live with more than 5,000 players and counting.

Thousands of players around the world will adventure through the Star Trek universe like never before in an epic storyline written by New York Times Bestselling Star Trek author Dayton Ward and Scott Pearson (Star Trek novellas: The More Things Change, Among the Clouds, Terra Tonight), developed by Nathan Dowdell (Black Crusade, Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition, Corvus Belli’s Infinity: The Roleplaying Game and Robert E Howard’s Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of) and lead writer David F Chapman (Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Roleplaying Game, Conspiracy X 2.0, Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG). Joining them are an interstellar line-up including writers from all previous editions of the Star Trek roleplaying game, as well as big names from across the tabletop gaming industry including:

Shawn Merwin (Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition: War of Everlasting Darkness, Halls of Undermountain, Dungeon Delve), Jim Johnson (Lord of the Rings RPG, Mage: The Awakening, Shadowrun Augmentation), Jacob Ross (Legend of the Five Rings, Mongoose Traveller, Kaigaku), Patrick Goodman (Shadowrun: Fifth Edition, Shadowrun: Street Legends, Shadowrun: Storm Front), Ross Isaacs (Line Developer Star Trek RPG (Decipher) and Star Trek: The Next Generation Roleplaying Game (Last Unicorn Games), Ian Lemke (Changeling: The Dreaming, White Wolf Publishing, Earth Down), John Snead (Mindjammer: Traveller, Eclipse Phase, Star Trek Next Generation RPG Last Unicorn Games.), Dan Taylor (IDW Publishing’s Star Trek comics), Bill Maxwell (Fading Suns, Star Trek Roleplaying Game, Mage: The Awakening), Tim Beach (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Red Steel, Maztica Campaign Set, Hail the Heroes, Dungeons of Mastery, City of Delights) and Andrew Peregrine (Doctor Who, 7th Sea, Victoriana)

As well as Aaron Pollyea (Battletech), Oz Mills (Fantasy AGE Bestiary, Dragon Age: Faces of Thedas), Ade Smith (Mutants and Masterminds: Atlas of Earth Prime – Northern Europe, Rogue Gallery. Fainting Goat Games: Extreme Earth), Chris Huff (Mutants & Masterminds Freedom’s Most Wanted, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 1, DC Adventures RPG Heroes & Villains Volume 2), John Kennedy (Ninja Crusade 2E, Infinity Tabletop Roleplaying Game, Myth Board Game), Kevin Mickelson (Mask of Death, A Learning Time, A Frightful Time, A Miraculous Time), Ryan Schoon (Fragged Empire, Edara: The Steampunk Renaissance, Baby Bestiary) and Chris Huff (DC Adventures, Mutants & Masterminds, Pathfinder).

The playtest gives fans of the legendary television series and films the opportunity to contribute to the development of the game; to sit in the captain’s chair, seek out new life and new civilizations, give all they’ve got to a warp core breach, or explore their own adventures in the Star Trek universe.

The living campaign begins with playtest missions and will continue with the release of the core rulebook in the summer of 2017. The living campaign takes place in the Shackleton Expanse, an area of space vastly unexplored by both the Federation and the Klingons. Starbase 364, Narendra Station, named after the battle of Narendra III where the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-C was destroyed, serves as the keep on the borderlands for excursions out into the frontier of space.

As the crews of the U.S.S. Venture, U.S.S. Bellerophon, U.S.S. Thunderchild, explore strange anomalies and discover new life while uncovering an ancient civilization and mysterious technologies, those aboard the U.S.S. Lexington will shape historical events for those very ships.

Assignments are still open for Captains and Officers to take their place aboard the bridge and make Star Trek gaming history. Further, local game shops organizing an in-store playtest group will receive starbase status with pre-order promotions for the game’s retail release. Fans attending Dragonmeet in London on Saturday will have the final chance to receive a free Captain Kirk or Captain Picard figure when they sign up for the Star Trek Adventures playtest.

To register yourself or your group online, visit www.modiphius.com/star-trek.

To register as a retailer, visit http://www.modiphius.com/retail-support.html

Under license by CBS Consumer Products, Star Trek Adventures is slated for a Summer 2017 release and the playtest crews will be listed in the Star Trek Adventures book manifest.

™ & ©2016 CBS Studios Inc. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

***
MEDIA CONTACT:
Jenny Bendel
jenny@jennybendel.com
206.979.2202

And, why yes….that Dayton Ward mentioned in the press release is indeed me.

I have friend and fellow word pusher Jim Johnson to thank for my involvement in the game. He had already signed on to Modiphius back in the summer, and it was he who introduced me to Chris Birch. The past couple of months have had be devoting time here and there to helping develop a core storyline for the game’s first “living playtest.” One of the things I was asked to do early on was make sure ideas for this first storyline don’t rub up against anything that’s been done previously, avoid continuity traps and pitfalls, and so on. Other friend and fellow word slinger Scott Pearson is also onboard, acting as something of a overseer of continuity and keeper of the canon as he reviews game scenarios and other materials. I’m helping him a bit on that, too, as well as continuing to write other story-related items as things move forward. It’s been a lot of fun, so far, and I can’t wait to see where things go. More on what exactly I’m doing will be revealed in an upcoming piece I wrote for e-Newsletter Modiphius soon will be publishing.

What’s cool about this game – and what drew me to contributing – is that even though we have this core story in place, things are open-ended enough that things can go wherever, whenever. Something we thought sounded good two months ago can be replaced by something we come up with based on – for example – the way a particular crew handles one of the scenarios thrown at them. So, in a lot of ways, I have pretty much no idea how the story is going to progress.

Buckle up, kids. This is going to be fun.

EDITED TO ADD: StarTrek.com also has an article about the living playtest launch!

sta-bridge-1_orig