Monday, March 23, 2009

LUG Treks - The Lost and Untaken

The Core Rulebooks of Lost Unicorn Games' Star Trek Roleplaying GamesNext to the FASA system, my favorite of the Trek RPG systems out there was that of Last Unicorn Games. Although its ICON system was a bit unusual, the rules were presented clearly and had a simplicity that the other games lacked, in my opinion. And it really feels like Star Trek. Some may disagree with their approach -- that is, releasing separate core books for TOS, TNG and DS9, leading to duplication and making it expensive to be a completist -- but when I compare it to Decipher's one-size-fits-all approach, I think LUG came out ahead.

Unfortunately, the strategy backfired when LUG was cut down in its prime in 2000 by its own finances, the Wizards of the Coast acquisition, and the subsequent granting of the Trek license to Decipher. As a result, a number of key parts of the Star Trek universe that were planned to be detailed by LUG never saw publication.

Thanks be to the Prophets for the Internet.

If you're a long-time LUG fan and player, you probably already know about the "lost" LUGTrek material. But if you're new to the hobby or just now picking up the books from eBay or online retailers, you'll want to check into these sites that have additional resources available for the game, and give you a glimpse of nearly half of the books that never saw the light of day*. Regardless of your favored system, these sites are well worth bookmarking and checking out.

Untaken Treks: The Unpublished LUGtrek Work of S. John Ross - SJR is one of the best writers and designers in the RPG industry. He's contributed to GURPS, WOTC and others, and for LUG wrote the fantastic Star Trek: The Original Series - Narrator's Toolkit and co-authored Among the Clans: The Andorians and others. Untaken Treks is the collection of his unpublished material for the LUGTrek RPG, and features draft excerpts from books such as Final Frontiers: The Star Trek Films, Sky Princes of Orion, The Klingon Empire: Blood and Honor, The Starfleet Exploration Handbook: To Boldly Go and more.

Steve Kenson's Star Trek: The Lost Episodes - Despite his insanely long CV, Steve is probably best known for Green Ronin Publishing's d20 superhero game Mutants and Masterminds and the True20 roleplaying system. As part of the LUG writers pool, he was a contributor to the DS9 Roleplaying Game, Planetary Adventures 1, and the box-sets The Way of D'era and Starfleet Academy. The Lost Episodes features his unpublished contributions to The Cardassian Union: Iron and Ash, The Klingon Empire: Blood and Honor, The Starfleet Security Handbook, and Through a Glass Darkly: The Mirror Universe and more.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't point out Owen Oulton's wonderful Memory Icon, part of his Adventure Gaming in the Star Trek Universe website. Here he hosts the Official Last Unicorn Games support materials, official errata, and many fan creations. Perhaps most notable is SpaceDock! by Steve Long (HERO Games), a collection of rules and resources based on what was planned to be part of the books The Starfleet Starship Construction and Ship Recognition Manuals. Despite the dissolution of LUG, Steve kept working on the texts, and the end result is an incredibly complete and professional set of PDFs -- hundreds of pages that cover nearly everything from TOS to the Dominion War, all for free.

For a "dead system" LUG's Star Trek Roleplaying Game has more life and depth to it than many living, breathing RPGs... all thanks to the talents and contributions of these generous individuals.

* According to Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki, Last Unicorn had planned the following books:

  • Final Frontiers: The Star Trek Films
  • The Star Trek Guide to Parallel Planets: Hodgkin's Law
  • The Klingon Empire: Blood and Honor
  • Operation Stormbird: The Neutral Zone Campaign Vol. 2
  • The Starfleet Exploration Handbook: To Boldly Go
  • The Starfleet Security Handbook
  • Call of the Prophets: The Bajorans
  • Dominion War: The Fires of Armageddon
  • Merchants & Traders: The Latinum Main
  • The Cardassian Union: Iron and Ash
  • Through a Glass Darkly: The Mirror Universe
  • The Starfleet Starship Construction Manual Vol. 1: Spacedock
  • The Starfleet Starship Recognition Manual Vol. 1: The Ships of Starfleet
  • The Borg
  • Deep Space Nine Player's Guide
  • The Orion Syndicate
  • The Rigel System
  • The Dominion Companion
  • Star Trek: Voyager Core Game Book
  • Sky Princes of Orion

1 comment:

  1. Currently preparing to revisit this system Check out the expanded universe.