The Keyhole of Eternity
Authors: Nathan Dowdell, Sam Webb, Jim Johnson, et al
Page Count: 44
Available Formats: PDF & Print
$11.00 (standalone) / $40.00 (Tricorder Edition PDF Collection)
Print/Digital Combo (Tricorder Edition) – $81.97 (US) / $81.97 (UK)
The Keyhole of Eternity is a mini-campaign that comes with Modiphius’ Star Trek Tricorder Boxed Set. Also available digitally as a standalone PDF. It is a 44-page book, including covers. The physical version is printed on the same glossy paper as the Rules Digest of the boxed set. Its presentation uses original artwork and design elements inspired by the classic Star Trek series.
Though its design elements and default setting are in the late 2260s of the classic Star Trek series, there is nothing about it that precludes it from being used in other eras—it could be used in any period from the 22nd century of Enterprise or the 32nd century of the later seasons of Discovery. Also, note that there would be no difficulty in using this with any of the core rules for Star Trek currently published by Modiphius (running the adventure with Klingon protagonists would certainly make for a different experience, mind you).
Referring to it as a mini-campaign is a somewhat curious choice of terminology—it is essentially a three-part adventure with no “breathers” between the parts—it is more akin to a multiple-part Star Trek episode.
The mini-campaign has the crew of a Federation starship visiting the city of Hefner Bay, the most populated city of the planet of Hefner Bay, the main world of the system Hefner Bay. Hey, I’m from New York City, in New York County, in the state of New York. Makes perfect sense to me.
Unfortunately for the crew, a Klingon Battlecruiser comes in for a visit as well. However, that proves to be just the tip of the iceberg of problems for the characters, in a scenario which features Orion pirates, temporal anomalies, gravimetric disturbances that can destroy entire systems, and extradimensional aliens. (I’m consciously not recapping the entire adventure but rather endeavoring to give an idea as to what you’re getting and how useful you might find it.
The mini-campaign is very flexible on how the Gamemaster and players might choose to run it. The characters might find themselves in starship combats and dealing with hostile boarders trying to commandeer their vessel. They might find themselves later allied with these same adversaries. The characters will find themselves in temporal loops, revisiting the opening scene of the first adventure—and revisiting moments from their pasts.
Though it comes with the Tricorder Boxed Set, which is a potential core rules set for the Star Trek RPG, I’d hesitate to call it an introductory adventure. Though it has great GM notes and suggestions for different ways the scenario might play out, I’d say it’s probably a little too open-ended for a novice GM.
That said, it could certainly make for a great campaign opener, especially if players have built their characters through a lifepath (as is one of the standard character generation paths). The scenes revisiting moments in characters’ pasts make for great opportunity to flesh out those past events.
The extradimensional aliens introduced in this mini-campaign are a nice break from the all-powerful Squires of Gothos or Qs. They’re not malevolent, but they are definitely alien—and bound by their own prime directive when dealing with more primitive species.
My biggest concern with The Keyhole of Eternity is it would seem to have the potential to be a little complicated/confusing (adventures with time travel elements can run that risk). I’d strongly advise Gamemasters to give this a careful read, keeping in mind their own groups to make sure they’re prepared to keep the game moving.
With that caveat in mind, I think The Keyhole of Eternity has the potential for several enjoyable sessions of play. While offering action, it steers clear of encouraging “we come in peace, shoot to kill” moments. Characters have the opportunity to overcome great challenges and threats and potentially save a star system from destruction. It offers NPCs raging from a “so-so” Klingon commander to a band of Orion pirates, who, should they survive, may make for great recurring NPCs.
~ Daniel Stack
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