"Alternative Truths"

By Michael Duxbury, STA Contributing Writer
Art by Paolo Puggioni

Sometimes delays to a story you intended to be topical only serve to make its subject more relevant.

I originally pitched the new Star Trek Adventures standalone mission “Alternative Truths” in July 2019, shortly after the premiere of the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. It’s an incredible show, searing in its intensity, with a powerful message about the terrible cost of ignoring scientific fact for the sake of political expediency. Many critics drew comparisons between the series’ narrative and our global climate catastrophe. The announcement that pro-Kremlin networks had begun work on their own Chernobyl series – which falsely credited the disaster to interference by CIA saboteurs – seemed like a bitterly ironic coda.

The film-makers of The Undiscovered Country conceived the destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis as Star Trek’s equivalent of the Chernobyl disaster. It is the inciting incident which ended the Empire’s cold war with the Federation, setting the stage for an uneven peace, which became the status quo of The Next Generation era. While The Undiscovered Country focussed on the road to that peace settlement, it felt like there were many stories left to tell in its aftermath. From that seed emerged a whole new adventure concept, in which Starfleet officers must reckon with the environmental fallout of Praxis, learn a dangerous truth, and reconcile their dual commitments to telling the truth and keeping the peace.

It’s now 2024. The pop-cultural zeitgeist has moved on. But the lessons of Chernobyl, and of “Alternative Truths,” feel more devastatingly relevant than ever. The last four years feel like a slow-motion slideshow of the lessons we failed to learn. Populist demagogues spouting pseudoscientific nonsense. Media mouthpieces sharing provable falsehoods. Autocratic tyrants despatching foot soldiers to their death. It’s enough to make any of us long for a do-gooding roleplaying party to beam down from the stars and make things right. But all we have is each other.

Roleplaying games should be fun, and there’s plenty of fun to be had in “Alternative Truths.” It’s a challenging adventure, which between the political and ethical sparring, still finds time for infiltration missions and spaceship engagements and other futuristic sci-fi excitement. But in the grand tradition of the very best Star Trek stories, I hope it will also hold up a mirror to our present. Sometimes the best way to understand something is not to read or watch something, but experience it. Roleplaying games don’t quite have the total immersion of a holodeck simulation, but they’re probably the closest we have for now.

So please enjoy “Alternative Truths,” and treat yourself to the wish-fulfilment of what can be achieved in utopia. I’d love to hear from your group about what they got up to, and the resolution they achieved. 

Live long and prosper!

Grab a copy of this new mission now!

Core Rulebook:

Starter Set PDF:

Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about additional STA products in the coming months. Live long and prosper!

TM & © 2024 CBS Studios Inc. © 2024 Paramount Pictures Corp. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved

Star trek adventures