Posted in: Reviews, Role Playing Games, Star Trek

Lower Decks Campaign Guide First Look

Star Trek Adventures Core Rulebook (left) and the Star Trek: Lower Decks Campaign Guide (right)

My Father’s Day gift finally arrived. Around the time of the holiday my wife ordered the Star Trek: Lower Decks Campaign Guide for use with the Star Trek: Adventures system by Modiphius. This was a pre-order so it took a few months to arrive in my eagerly awaiting hands. I’ve talked about some of the other Star Trek: Lower Decks products for STA previously. In that blog post I had noted that one of the strengths of Lower Decks, the Star Trek Easter Eggs, had been played upon. I’m happy to report that I’ve seen several strands of the Star Trek minutia listed in the campaign guide. A good example of this is the chart of random items that a member of the Collector’s Guild could be looking for on page 26. For myself, half the fun of watching Lower Decks episodes was the various Easter Eggs that were hidden (or not so hidden) in the episode.

This hardbound book was put together by Project Manager Jim Johnson and a host of writers, editors, artists and more. The ISBN number for the book is 978-1-80281-042-4 and it contains nine chapters on 237 pages. In the image above I placed the Lower Decks campaign guide next to the core rulebook. According to a video interview with Jim Johnson, the similarities between the two were on purpose. I had wondered about this before I had seen the video (and seen an image of the cover). There is an introduction by Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan where he talks about his RPG experiences.

The book was very well protected for shipping.

The first chapter covers the “State of the Galaxy” in 2380 giving updates on the Federation, Klingon Empire, Romulan Empire, Pakleds (of course) and other Polities (such as the Collector’s Guild and the Drookmani). There is also a listing of notable worlds. I particularly enjoyed reading the log entries from the various USS Cerritos crew members which tell a story.

Chapter two covers Starfleet Support Operations. This covers what would happen in the duties that the Lower Deckers would find themselves in. It also covers what type of second contact missions that a smaller starship would be assigned to by the Admiralty. It also covers some topics such as dead crew members returning to life or dealing with family members.

The title of chapter three is “The Lower Decks”. This covers careers in Starfleet, Lower Deck style adventures for other fleets (from Klingon to Vulcan to Borg), various jobs that junior officers may be assigned and the mysterious “buffer time”.

Science and Technology is the topic for chapter four. Here you can find information on various phenomena and creating new life forms.

Chapter five gives us several new character lifepath options (including Cetacean, Exocomps, Gorn, Pakled and Tamarians). We also get new tools and weapons (anyone want a Starfleet Excursion Helmet?).

The gamemaster gets an entire section in chapter six. There are sections about engaging the characters, story components and knowing the tropes. There are also several Lower Deck style mission briefs present to help inspire gamemasters.

Woot, one of my favorite sections of the book is in chapter seven. Starships, starsbases and vehicles. We get the California, Luna, Osler, Obena, Parliament classes for Starfleet. We also see the Vulan T’Kalat and the Andorian/Teleraite Ganashia classes. There is a good section on the Pakled vessels including Clumpship construction. There are also several other notable starships listed as well. A section is also listed for ground vehicles (including construction notes).

The Allies and Adversaries are found in chapter eight. This contains the stats for various characters seen on the show that haven’t already been covered by the Season One and Season Two crew packs. There is a minor section on Kzinti characters that I wish had been written up as a full lifepath, but I’m glad to have some information on one of my favorite races. And for those of you wanting to bring the Renaissance Fair feeling to your Lower Decks games, there are some notes about the Hysperians.

Chapter nine is a Star Trek: Lower Decks inspired Mini-Campaign with four adventures. Let me just say this. There are stats for holographic Orcs. It looks like meat is back on the menu boys. After this chapter is an index which could be very helpful when quickly trying to look up a stat or rule.

As with other Star Trek Adventures books, there are various quotes from Star Trek episodes and movies used to help bring in some flavor. I’ve found that this helps when referencing for those fully immersed (or not so immersed) in the fandom. Badgey has several tidbits of information here and there (because he’s always monitoring comms). There is enough side-bar information present to make things interesting without too many of them (creating a pop-up problem). The book flowed pretty smoothly when I was looking for various things. The built in book-ribbon impressed my daughter when she looked through the book the first time. I was glad to see this addition that started with the STA Klingon core book continuing on here. You can tell that the production has come along way since the STA core rulebook.

I’m really glad that my wife pre-ordered this book when it came out. Hopefully when Star Trek: Lower Decks gets several more future seasons, a second Lower Decks Campaign Guide will be generated by Modiphius. I enjoyed playing a Lower Decks inspired Star Trek Adventures game at SaltCON and I’m looking forward to more.

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

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