Multiple editions of Star Trek roleplaying games have been produced by multiple publishing companies. This page focuses on collecting tabletop Star Trek RPGs. Other types of Star Trek roleplaying games exist, but they’re beyond the scope of this site.
Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier
The earliest RPG set specifically in the Star Trek universe is called Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier. Written and published in 1978 by Michael Scott and Heritage Models, Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier was one of a handful of RPGs published by this model company. (Other games included John Carter, Warlord of Mars, Knights and Magic, and Swordbearer.
No official supplements were produced to support Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier, but some unofficial supplementary material was published in Different Worlds magazine and White Dwarf magazine. (You can find more information about RPG magazines here.)
If you want to collect these magazine articles to go along with your copy of Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier, then you’ll want to look for the following issues:
- Different Worlds #18 featured an article about the game titled: “Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier.” The article included rules expansions and variants to the published game.
- Space Gamer #30 featured a review of the game.
Miniatures were also produced by the company for use with the game, which would complete a collection of Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier collection.
Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier is an interesting look at Star Trek gaming from the perspective of gamers who hadn’t seen the motion pictures and had to develop their own canon based on nothing more than the television show and cartoon series.
FASA Star Trek Roleplaying Game
The next Star Trek roleplaying game line to be published was produced by FASA, and the game was titled Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game. This game was released in 1982 and was supported until 1989, when FASA lost the license to the intellectual property of the Star Trek universe.
Like its predecessor from Heritage Models, Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game was developed using primarily material from the original television show. Star Trek The Next Generation wasn’t launched until five years after the launch of the game.
The first edition of FASA’s Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game included a combat game for space battles, which was later spun off into its own game, called Starship Tactical Combat Simulator.
Much of the material for FASA’s Star Trek RPG was set during the movie era, but some of it was also set during the Original Series. Eventually FASA published material for The Next Generation setting, but they lost their license to the game soon after publishing two supplements for the setting. (The rumor was that they included spoilers that Paramount had asked them NOT to include in the game, so the license was pulled.)
The first edition of the basic game came in a box, and it’s considerably more collectible than the second edition. Still, you can find the original rules for between $40 and $100 on the Internet.
FASA Star Trek Materials Set During the Original Series
FASA published several different supplements set during The Original Series. These included:
- The Ship Construction Manual
- The Ship Recognition Manual: Federation
- The Ship Recognition Manual: The Klingon Empire
- The Star Trek Gamemaster’s Kit
- Trader Captains and Merchant Princes
- The Four Years War
All of these supplements were published between 1983 and 1986. Many of them can be found for affordable prices if you don’t mind them being in beat up condition. True collectors will want high quality copies, which will cost considerably more.
FASA Star Trek Supplements Set During the Movie Era
The bulk of FASA’s supplements for their Star Trek RPG were set during the movie era. Some of these included supplements devoted to specific alien races, like The Klingons, The Romulans, and The Orions. Some of their supplements tied in to specific movies, like the Star Trek III Sourcebook Update and the Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update.
One of the more interesting and more popular supplements was The Triangle, which was published in 1985, along with its sequel, The Triangle Campaign. These supplements detailed a previously unmentioned region of space bordered on three sides by the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans. “The Triangle” is a lawless area of space, and it was intended to be the setting for a series of adventures.
FASA Star Trek Supplements Set During The Next Generation
FASA published two supplement for The Next Generation. The first was titled Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer’s Manual, which was published in 1988. The second was titled Star Wars: The Next Generation First Year Sourcebook, which was published in 1989.
FASA Star Trek Adventures
FASA published over a dozen different adventurs for the game, from Denial of Destiny, the first published adventure from 1983, to The Strider Incident, the final adventure, which was published in 1987. Most of these adventures were generic enough that they could be played during any time period in the Star Trek universe.
Many of FASA’s products for Star Trek are hard to find, and often, they’re even harder to find in good condition. Prices range widely based on condition, but if you’re a hard core collector who’s interested in collecting their entire line, you can expect to spend a lot of money doing it.
The Prime Directive Roleplaying Game from Task Force Games
Prime Directive was released in 1993. It’s based on the Star Trek universe as seen through the lense of Star Fleet Battles, a miniatures/war game license that Task Force Games owned. Their license limited them to use only certain aspects of the universe for their game, so all their materials are set during The Original Series and The Animated Series continuity. But their version of the universe is much more military focused and much less exploration and high ideal focused.
A GURPS version and a d20 version of the game were also published. Task Force Games is now a defunct company, and Amarillo Design Bureau has inherited their intellectual property licenses.
The Last Unicorn Star Trek Roleplaying Game
Last Unicorn published multiple Star Trek roleplaying games during the late 1990’s. Each television show had a core rulebook, although Last Unicorn lost the rights to the intellectual property before they were able to publish a Voyager game.
Last Unicorn did publish core rulebooks for the following Star Trek settings though:
- The Next Generation
- Deep Space Nine
- The Original Series
- The Expanded Universe
The Next Generation line had the most supplements available, including a core rulebook, a “narrator’s toolkit,” and a hardcover player’s guide. Other supplements detailed various races and settings, like The Way of Kolinahr, which focused on the Vulcans, and the Starfleet Academy boxed set.
Last Unicorn employed some famous RPG writers to work on this series of games, including S. John Ross, who went on to create Risus, and Steve Kenson, who is best known for Mutants and Masterminds. Both authors later posted their unfinished manuscripts for the game line on the Internet. (Untaken Treks is S. John Ross’s material.)
The Decipher Star Trek Roleplaying Game
The Decipher version of the Star Trek roleplaying game is the most recent version of the game at the time of this writing. Decipher published material for their version of a Star Trek RPG from 2002 to 2005. Only seven books were published in their line, along with a couple of PDFs. This game uses a system called CODA for task resolution, which is similar to the d20 system. (CODA uses a 2d6 roll instead of a d20 roll though.)
The books in this series included a player’s guide, a narrator’s guide, and books about starships, aliens, and creatures. They also published a narrator’s screen. In 2007, Decipher announced that they would no longer be publishing books to include in the line.
Collecting the various Star Trek roleplaying game books that are available could keep you busy for a very long time.