Sunday, October 7, 2018

Asteroid Ship Corridor Encounter

Initial test set up of the asteroid ship interior. This configuration ended up as the first area. Note my helpful assistant being helpful.

This post describes a set of encounters that I ran for our Star Trek Adventures campaign a few months ago. My hope was to present the players with an exciting and visually interesting session. My other goal was to provide some motivation to make more progress on the pile of miniatures and terrain that I've purchased over the years.


The player characters' vessel - USS Yamato, an Akira-class starship - was investigating a century-old Starfleet distress signal. The trail led to an enormous sublight ship constructed from an asteroid. The asteroid ship was similar in principle to, but clearly of different origins from, the world ship Yonada from "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" (TOS). The player characters had reason to believe that Starfleet personnel in cryogenic stasis were aboard the asteroid ship. Unfortunately, the dense rock of the asteroid and the materials used to turn it into a functioning spaceship were interfering with USS Yamato's sensors. An Away Team mission would need to board the asteroid ship to investigate further. Naturally, the Away Team deployed from USS Yamato was composed for the player characters - the Captain*, the Science Officer, and the Chief of Security.

*TNG establishes that starship captains do not lead Away Teams, but DS9 and Voyager tend to ignore the idea. Since this was very early in the campaign, I preferred to have the player running the Captain use his character rather than putting him into the shoes of the First Officer or other Supporting Character. My justification for the purposes of the campaign was that the relevant regulation existed, but was sporadically enforced.

Planning phase. Always need coffee for the planning phase.

Rules Overview

Once aboard the asteroid ship, the Away Team found that their tricorders were limited to short range due to the same factors that interfered with USS Yamato's sensors. Tricorder scans also lacked definition - the operator was able to detect that something unusual was in a given location, but could not identify it without further analysis. Communications between the Away Team and USS Yamato were also degraded. It was quickly determined that the amount of static would increase as the Away Team ventured deeper into the asteroid ship, but that contact would not be lost entirely.

The rules were fairly simple. After the corridor board was set up and the miniatures representing the Away Team were placed, the Science Officer would roll for their tricorder scan. The scan would reveal anything of interest within short range. Technological items such as data terminals and cryogenic stasis tanks detected by the scan would be placed on the board. Biological sensor contacts would be represented by "blip" tokens placed on the board. The Science Officer could select a blip token and use each success rolled to determine its exact nature. A given blip could be revealed to be anything from the corpse of an asteroid ship crewmember to a group of alien predators to a type not previously encountered. A new board was set up when the Away Team entered another area of the asteroid ship. There were two boards set up in total.

Data terminals could be accessed to gather information about the asteroid ship. However, extensive security protocols limited access to the asteroid ship's data networks.

Cryogenic stasis tanks could hold a member of the asteroid ship's crew or a long-lost Starfleet officer.

Corpses of the asteroid ship crew littered the corridors. The corpses showed signs of predation.

Running into a group of predators resulted in a combat encounter. Curiously, the predators showed signs of a communal intelligence that communicated through the use of natural radio transmitter/receivers. The predators were clearly of different biological origin than the asteroid ship crew.

Test set up of the second area of the asteroid ship. Note the closed doors blocking free movement of the critters (represented by "blips") and the cryogenic stasis tubes.


The encounter was mechanically inspired by Star Trek Adventures' rules for gathering information. Each successful result behind what is needed to succeed at such a Task allows the player to ask a question of the gamemaster. In this case, each additional success allowed the Science Officer's player to ask what each "blip" token represented. Within the context of the game setting, this reflects the Science Officer's efforts to use her tricorder to dial in on a specific sensor contact.

Visually, it was inspired by a certain board game about investigating a massive derelict in space. The board game is based in a certain grimdark space fantasy setting where there is only unending military conflicts and endless debates over what is considered canon. That board game was, in turn, clearly inspired by the second installment of the "Alien" movie franchise.

The full set up of the first area during actual play. The Away Team just cleared this section of the asteroid ship and are preparing to press on.

Miniatures and Terrain Sources

The asteroid ship interiors area single set of Creative Gamescapes Spaceship X modular spaceship corridor tiles. As shown, the tiles are not in a complete state. They are assembled with a silver basecoat and a layer of wash, but still need some work. I intend to write a separate post on them when I finish that project.

The Away Team was represented by Effigy Miniatures' Havoc Girls. They were featured in a post earlier this year.

Litko Scanner Blip Tokens, Fluorescent Blue were used for the tricorder contacts. In retrospect, green might have been more thematic.

The alien predators prowling the corridors of the asteroid ship were represented by the Parasachnid Warriors from Khurasan Miniatures. They are featured in their own post.

The data terminals were Warsenal's Access Terminals. They were featured in a post from April.

The cryogenic stasis pods were a "trash bash" built from bits I had in storage. See this post for details.

The crates and other small terrain pieces scattered along the corridors were Spartan Scenics Warehouse Accessories. They were featured in a post from way back in 2015.

Wrapping Up

The encounters worked as designed and were well received by the players. I was also happy to get a few more painting and assembly projects completed. Having an immediate use for specific miniatures and terrain helped to maintain my focus.

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