Goodbye Challenge Dice!

By Nathan Dowdell, 2d20 System Developer
Art by Rodrigo Gonzalez Toledo


As mentioned in the previous STA 2e blog post, challenge dice are no longer present in Star Trek Adventures: the new edition only uses 20-sided dice.

This, as long-time fans can probably imagine, has a number of knock-on effects across the rest of the system. I won’t explain all of those effects here—we have to leave some things for the rulebook—but there are a few areas where this has a major impact.


With extended tasks in their new form, succeeding at a task marks off a set number of spaces on the progress track. This number, called Impact, is normally equal to the department you used for the task: if you were attempting an engineering task, and your Engineering rating is 4, then your Impact is 4. This can be modified down by complications, or up by spending Momentum, and some extended tasks still have Resistance, which reduces Impact.

Once you fill the progress track, you complete the extended task. Some extended tasks can have breakthroughs: points along the track which can trigger events or changes in circumstances.

All in all, these should be quicker to resolve and easier to apply in play, and perhaps a little less unpredictable at the table.


A ship’s shields in starship combat function similarly to an extended task: the ship’s shields are the progress track, and a ship’s weapons systems have damage values which function as the Impact. When a ship makes an attack, subtract the target’s Resistance from the weapon’s damage, and reduce the target’s Shields by whatever is left. A ship suffers breaches when the shields reach 0.

There’s potential for a ship to become shaken and suffer additional effects from damage as the shields weaken, similar to breakthroughs on an extended task.


Personal combat has been significantly reworked to account for the removal of challenge dice. Attacks and hazards inflict Injuries—a kind of negative trait—which also leads to them being Defeated and no longer able to take part in a scene. However, characters can choose to suffer some Stress in order to avoid suffering an Injury (NPCs just spend Threat for this). A character who takes too much Stress becomes Fatigued, but they’re still able to act, just with a penalty.

Stress is recovered with Momentum, getting help from allies, or when characters take the time to rest and recover. Characters who work too hard might find themselves being ordered to rest by the ship’s doctor. Rest can cover relaxation with friends and colleagues, which provides opportunities for roleplay.

For those familiar with Dreams & Machines, this concept may sound familiar. In fact, this idea was originally an unused design idea developed for the first edition of Star Trek Adventures, but never made it to the finished game. This is a return to that idea, with the years of experience allowing us to make the mechanism function effectively.

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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