I am slowly warming up to Star Trek Adventures. At Gen Con I purchased a copy of the new Beta Quadrant Sourcebook and thought it was worthy of a review.
This book is written from a Federation perspective – i.e., primarily if you are playing a Federation character.
Like the original rules book, this one is chock-full of sidebar material designed to fill in gaps in the Star Trek universe or provide adventure hooks. While I like the concept, the sidebars in this book are not as good as those in the original. Example: One titled – “Friday Night Knitting Circle Yarn and Fiber Swap” It explores, “Vulcan spinning” techniques. Shame on the editors for putting this in. We all get it, the Star Trek universe is multicultural. I would have gladly traded pages of this fluff material for more information on the Beta Quadrant.
This sourcebook is good, but does not go into the kind of depth you might be looking for. With FASA’s Star Trek (which I wrote books for) their Klingon boxed set went into immense detail on creating Klingon characters and all of the nuances of the Klingons. This book gives you fifteen pages on Klingon culture et. al. It is good stuff, well written, but not as deep as you might be looking for. Personally, I was looking for some more on the Houses and their impact on character development. It wasn’t there.
The material is pretty broad – including Enterprise’s Xindi – though for the life of me I still can’t find their worlds on the maps in the end-flaps of the book. There are new lifepaths for the Benzite, Bolians, Efrosians, Klingons, even the Zakdorn (and others). While not a lot of material, it is pretty useful.
I enjoyed the chapter on the Orions – which opens up some wonderful RPG options for players. Likewise you get some additional starships with this book which is nice. I would have liked some drawings/artwork of the ships themselves.
The Romulan chapter is solid as well, but again, lacks the kind of depth that I think a lot of characters may be looking for. The Gorn material does not seem like a retread of known history of the Gorn, which makes it quite enjoyable.
We do get more information on the Shackleton Expanse, where a lot of Modiphius’s material on the game seems to be set – which was highly welcome as a reader/player.
So how would I sum this up? The Beta Quadrant Sourcebook is worth picking up – it significantly adds to the material in the rules book for the RPG. It is laid out in a high quality manner with good artwork. It could have been better, but is a good launching point for any campaign you may be planning outside of the Alpha Quadrant.