Ship-shape and Bristol Fashion

By Nathan Dowdell, 2d20 System Developer
Art by Justin Usher


Starships are a vital part of Star Trek, and just as vital to games of Star Trek Adventures. Starships in 1st edition were something of a mixed bag and had a few rough edges that could do with refinement. There were three main areas that we focused on for second edition:

  • Better guidance for out-of-combat use. The new edition provides players and gamemasters alike with a better sense of the ship as a location where adventure can happen, and more guidance for determining whether the ship assists a task (and how it assists).
  • Refined starship combat. While phasers and photon torpedoes should be a last resort, violence is still a possibility out along the frontiers of space. Ship combat actions have been overhauled and adjusted to give players clear and meaningful options during play, especially those who aren’t act the helm or tactical. Further, the revised damage mechanics mentioned in the last blog post allowed an opportunity to rebalance ship combat and to make big starships a bit less fragile, especially at the start of a fight when shields are freshly-raised.
  • Less resource tracking. Momentum, Determination, and Threat are already quite enough to keep track of moment-to-moment during play, and practice has shown that a ship’s Power was an additional, and often fiddly, extra resource to track that didn’t really add enough by itself to justify the effort.


A ship’s Reserve Power represents an extra reserve of energy available after all the essential systems had been powered. In first edition, ships had a pool of Power points that could be spent to add bonus Momentum to a successful roll; a relatively minor effect. Now, however, Reserve Power is something you either have or don’t: each scene, the ship gains the use of Reserve Power, which can be used in a couple of simple ways:

  • Reroute power! You direct power to a specific system (such as Structure, or Engines, or Weapons), and when a task is attempted which would be assisted by that system, the ship’s assist die counts as if it had rolled a 1. However, if you roll any complications on that task, they each generate two complications rather than one, as the excess power is mismanaged and results in overloads and problems.
  • Powered actions. Certain actions can only be taken if Reserve Power is used, such as regenerating shields during battle, or going to warp speed. These powerful actions can make all the difference, and thus their use is limited.

Once you’ve used Reserve Power during a scene, it’s no longer available for use, but a skilled engineer can attempt to Regain Power during a scene, giving you a new use of Reserve Power. There’s only so long that a character can keep this up, and a ship might well lose Reserve Power as a result of damage taken. This ensures that choosing to draw upon the ship’s reserves during a tricky situation is a big, impactful moment, and getting the best out of it requires decisive action and teamwork.

We hope these refinements to starships, along with the others included in the core rulebook help to make starship operations and conflict more evocative and exciting for you and your group.

Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about other upcoming Star Trek Adventures product releases. Live long and prosper! 


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