This question starts off the first day of 2017’s RPGaDay, and it was a hard one for me. Right now, I’m GMing a “published” RPG (and by that I’m running with “published currently” and not anything that was published): Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. The only other game(s) I would probably want to play at this time are both Ubiquity-powered: returning to our on-hiatus Hollow Earth Expedition game, or turning to the new Space: 1889.

That said, I did pick up an e-copy of Mödiphiüs’ Star Trek Adventures RPG. I was interested to see what they’d done, although I had a taste of 2d20 through the Conan beta testing and was seriously unimpressed. Having read through this iteration of Trek,  continue to be uninspired by the 2d20 rules set. The base die mechanic is fiddly: roll 2d20 (or more, if you use their equivalent of fate/plot/hero points) and get lower than a target number (usually your relevant stat) for a success, or if you get under your focus (skill) you get two giving you up to four possible successes on a normal roll. I just described this basic rule better than any of the 2d20 books — and much of the problem for the game is just that: describing what a player does in simple terms. There’s also momentum and threat — essentially the equivalent of fate points for the player or GM respectively. Simple…except naming these differently — momentum and threat — was a point of failure during our playtesting.

The product was gorgeous, well formatted and bookmarked for the PDF version, but suffered from some of the busy graphic design that favors look over transferring information (namely how to f’ing play) to the reader. It did make me think about running Trek again, but I suspect I would use the Firefly rules that MWP put out a few years ago. (A game that i don’t think models the ‘Verse well, but does a great job for something like Star Wars or Star Trek.)

Anyway — answer: Hollow Earth Expedition or Space: 1889.

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