Star Trek Theme/Setting Discussion

  • So it's Friday which means I'm sitting in the office with a limited internet connection and not a lot to do but discuss geeky things with my co-workers. The topics of the day today? The Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game and the new Star Trek Adventures RPG.

    While I'm not sold on Star Trek Adventures as an RPG (might be the best of the Star Trek RPGs but that's not saying much, IMO) I think we did come up with an interesting concept for Star Trek on a MUX.

    Timeline: TNG Era

    Setting: An expanse of space that is largely empty except for all the damn wormholes. Wormholes form the crux of our game. This expanse of space is in Federation territory and they've recently built a star base in the expanse to study the wormholes. The star base serves as our center for RP but also as a hub for our secondary settings...starships.

    The wormholes connect to...well where ever we want them to. As such the Federation has sanctioned a number of ships to go on exploration duty through said wormholes. This would allow for groups of PCs to band up, get a ship, and play out their own Star Trek adventures where ever they want all the while being able to come back to the central RP hub, the star base.

    And that's essentially the game. The star base would be manned as normal with both Federation officers and possibly civilians. Players could be stationed on the base, on player controlled ships, or alternate as ships come and go from the game.

    The area could also be a hub for commerce as species from all around the galaxy can find their way here through the wormholes. It also opens the area up to potential threats who also have access to the worm holes.

    Theme: Exploration, defense, and community building. We kind of envisioned this as a mashing together of DS9, Voyager, and TNG. We think we could fit aspects from all of them onto the game while still keeping the game maintainable and easily accessible to new players.

    They're just thoughts though. And, as normal, I figured I'd post them here to see what other people thought.

  • Unfortunately you're probably going to have a hard time finding enough
    players to crew even a single ship, and an even harder time once all of the
    command positions on that ship are filled (because everyone wants to be
    Captain Kirk, no one wants to be Ensign Redshirt). There's little interest
    in Trek these days because there's no current series to pull people in (but
    that could change this fall, when the new 'series' starts to 'air').

    There's also not going to be a lot for players to do when they're not off
    exploring the Random Wormhole of the Week (which is going to get boring very
    quickly). We really don't need another Federation Bureaucracy MU* where RP
    consists mainly of reporting to your CO and filing reports.

    It could still work so long as you're content with a small game.

  • Well, I think you might be overthinking things a bit. Three players could make a "crew" and take on a ship if they wanted while just spoofing other characters. I don't see a reason to make things complicated. If a small handful of people, say, wanted to get a ship and explore things on the edge of the Romulan Neutral Zone I don't see why staff should stand in the way of that. Crew could even be rotated on that ship.

    And I never said anything about "wormhole of the week". The wormholes are always there (or open frequently enough to be counted on) and could be used for regular RP. What we liked about it was that you could do an RP arc in a certain area doing a certain thing and then transition to another area doing an entirely different thing all the while maintaining a common hub for regular RP.

    I also never mentioned anything about bureaucracy and filing reports.

  • Pretty much what @RnMissionRun said.

    In my opinion, nothing about Star Trek really feels suited to a MU. Once you have your game's 'Kirk' and 'Spock'-esque spots filled, there's not a lot for anybody else to be doing except having space sex.

    Star Trek doesn't really strike me as having the 'background' to really suit a MU either. I'm not aware of any detailed in-depth systems for different Star Trek weapons or ships floating around or anything and don't recall any, so it's not like 'combat' will really be anything special. It doesn't seem like there'd be a lot of opportunity for plots outside of "make up a random planet and alien species" either, where Star Wars has a billion things you could do plot-wise.

    I don't play on a Star Wars MU or anything, but....I really see 0 reason why if you want 'space genre' for a MU, you would /ever/ pick Star Trek.

    Star Wars or Serenity or something else would just offer a hundred times more.

    Star Trek as a MU would have literally nothing except --

    1. Storyteller runs a thing with some made up planet you're exploring/whatever. (The problem here is Star Trek feels like it pigeonholes you into basically only being able to do this one specific type of plot which drastically cuts down your pool of people willing to run stuff. WTF else happens in Star Trek?)

    2. You're fucking on a spaceship.

    Other space settings just are way better suited to a MU environment.

    Edit : As a movie series and TV show, Star Trek is great fun. As a MU, it just feels way too "narrow" in the scope of things for players to "do". Star Wars, you have space wars, bounty hunting, planet-specific wars, galactic crime organizations, jedi peacekeeping, jedi vs sith, sith plotting, etc, etc.

    Star Trek is...find a new planet. Maybe have a war with the klingons.

    The problem with 'war' as a thing in Star Trek, is it does not seem like those scenes would be anywhere near as fun to play out as they would in some other Space-themes, because the scope of the battle is "100 people on 1 ship, with none of them really doing anything" rather than "10 people piloting 10 different fighters, all doing something" and foot combat would pretty much be 'phaser guns pew pew'.

  • Throw me in a game set during the Dominion War. Paranoia about changelings. Klingons civil unrest. Rebellion on Cardassia Prime. Romulans being shady little shits.

    That's a ST game I'd play.

    Edit: Or you could set a game where you play the Maquis. Smaller crews, numberous ships.

  • @Monogram said in Star Trek Theme/Setting Discussion:

    Edit: Or you could set a game where you play the Maquis. Smaller crews, numberous ships.

    There actually was a 'MaquisMUSH' back in the early 00's. It was only open for a few months but was a lot of fun while it lasted.

  • @RnMissionRun said in Star Trek Theme/Setting Discussion:

    @Monogram said in Star Trek Theme/Setting Discussion:

    Edit: Or you could set a game where you play the Maquis. Smaller crews, numberous ships.

    There actually was a 'MaquisMUSH' back in the early 00's. It was only open for a few months but was a lot of fun while it lasted.

    MaquisMUSH set during the Dominion War (where Eddington's whole thing either never happened or happened very differently) seems like a very fun campaign as a small, hyper-focused game.

  • Pitcrew

    @ZombieGenesis My suggestion might be - use a single ship as the setting. Have three divisions: Command, Security, and Support. Aside from Captain and XO, don't get too persnickety about rank - Star Trek /rarely/ actually cared much about the chain of command, and technically it is a much kinder and gentler pseudo-military than our own. Instead, encourage people to choose based on the kind of RP they are /primarily/ interested in - Command for diplomatic/political (whether it's First Contact protocols, internal crew issues, or Starfleet Command shenanigans), Security for combat/exploration, or Support for interpersonal and support functions (everything from medbay to bartending).

    Don't worry too much about what people do between plots - they will be having pretend friendships and pretend sex. But I would dedicate at least one staff member per division - one staff member to send along communiques from Starfleet, distress calls, or communications from aliens wanting Starfleet to negotiate/mediate things on their behalf for Command, one to design away missions and combat encounters for Security, and one to do some of those good, meaty social-based plots for Support (not parties, but bizarre disease outbreaks, engineering glitches that summon dimensional rifts, and the like.) Let people 'cross over' freely, because again, Star Trek characters were always getting involved in things outside their technical duty ("Damn it Jim, I'm a doctor, not a...")

    Do NOT attempt to simulate a military. Do not require reports to be written, or allow things to get bottlenecked on the chain of command. You may even want to have an NPC Captain, but I know that's a hard sell. Mostly, focus on what's fun about the setting and the series, rather than the tedious behind the scenes stuff.

  • Pitcrew

    Where dem Orion bitches at?

    Honestly, I'd be happy just to have someplace to flesh out my Vulcan doctor, or make a 2nd or 3rd generation Trill.

  • Anomaly and Gamma One were pretty popular in their day. They had the +report problem, which I will join the masses in not liking, but I don't think a single ship/station Trek setting with an NPC Captain is a hard sell at all. Particularly if you steer it far, far away from RP-by-report and focus on the episodic adventure Trek does so well.

    Games are hard. Starting a game is hard. There's nothing about Star Trek that makes it particularly hard, though, and certain things that I think lend themselves quite well to a persistent environment if the STs focus on those things.

  • For contrast, I'm going to share the setting I came up with for the Star
    Trek game that I (briefly) contemplated working on last summer. Apologies
    in advance if this comes of as rambling or unfocused but I'm working with 4
    hours of sleep and my 3rd Red Bull of the day hasn't fully kicked in yet
    (or, if it has, it ain't doing shit).

    My idea for a Star Trek game was to set the players in an area known as The
    Triangle, which is a neutral region of space located at the point where the
    territories of the Federation, Klingons and Romulans come the closest
    together ( Players would be
    either crew of one of the various ships patrolling the region, or civilians
    living on the Orion-owned station (which would be the main hub) or one of
    the planets in the area. These patrol ships wouldn't be just UFP, there
    would be Romulan, Klingon, Orion and possibly others as well, and they
    needn't all be warships, either. A science or merchant ship would fit right

    This setting would allow us to do all sorts of things that not normally be
    possible on your typical UFP-centric TrekMUSH. I think that the most
    important of these is, players would be allowed to have non-Federation
    characters, and would allow those characters to fully interact with the rest
    of the player base. There's nothing worse than rolling, say, a Cardasssian
    character only to find out that you're one of 3 Cardassian players and the
    only one in your TZ. Wandering around Cardassia Prime by yourself gets
    pretty old after a while no matter how cool the room descs are and it's not
    like you can just up and go play with the cool UFP kids because the UFP
    doesn't accept Cardassian characters.

    It would allow for meaningful civilian characters. Most Trek games are
    strictly made up of Starfleet characters (or, in the case of multi-faction
    games, their Klingon, Romulan, etc equivalents), which means dealing with
    taking orders, having to obey lots of rules, and similar things that some
    people would rather not have to deal with.

    There would be no end to the (hopefully fun and RP-spawning) drama that
    would arise from having so many mutually antagonistic races living and
    'working' in such close proximity. Want your Bajoran science officer to
    turn some heads when she walks around the Promenade hand-in-hand with her
    Cardassian girlfriend? You could do that! Want to play an Orion Slave
    girl? Go for it! Dishonored Klingon trying to hide his shame by living
    with aliens in the middle of nowhere? Ditto! Tal Shiar agent trying to
    disrupt Federation activities in the area? Sure, why not. The sky really
    would be the limit. Players that want a more typical experience (ie, being crew of a Starfleet vessel) could do that, too.

  • Pitcrew

    @ZombieGenesis You just described what is essentially Stargate SG-1's whole schtick - central base with thousands of worm holes to explore. Why not use that instead? They even have 4-men teams, so you can avoid a starship full of NPCs.

  • Pitcrew

    I do not like ST Adventures. It is (imo) clunky and does not flow readily enough. You mentioned Marvel Heroic; I would (And I'm biased towards the system as I've done this) use Cortex+ for a Star Trek system. Hacking it is very easy and there's great examples in the C+ Hacker's guide.

  • I bought the Star Trek Adventures PDF from DriveThruRPG about a month ago but I have not done much more than skim it. You guys are making me regret buying it :)

    Edit: I was going to use Decipher's CODA system for my game and probably would still do so if STA is as bad as you say.

  • Pitcrew

    I'm basing my opinion on reading not actually playing. But I did watch a vid of a play through. Looked like a lot of rules referncing rather than just playing

  • As far as Star Trek Adventures go...I dunno. There are parts I like but overall I think the game is just 'meh'. They try to hard to meld old school crunchy with new school narrative and it doesn't quite work, IMO. The crunchy isn't really crunchy and the narrative control is not really narrative control. It just all falls flat for me. I like the idea of the 2d20 system but I did not care for how it was implemented in STA. Which is a damn shame.

    And it wasn't Marvel Heroic RPG (Cortex) we were talking about it was the Marvel Universe RPG put out by Marvel a few years back. Diceless. The game has potential I think but it feels a bit rushed.

    And I'd love to see a Cortex+ Hack of Star Trek. I think Cortex might work very well for it!

  • Is Cortext+ the same system that they used in the Firefly RPG?

  • Pitcrew

    Yes. It was used in firefly, marvel heroes, and leverage. Also smallville

  • @RnMissionRun
    Do note that each game does it differently ever so slightly, and each 'version' is titled differently in the Cortex Hacker's Guide. Firefly used Attributes and Skills; Leverage used Attributes and Roles and had a funky Flashback mechanic with their Plot Points. Marvel Heroic changes out Attributes for Affiliations (Solo, Buddy, Team) and Power Sets with SFX and Distinctions. And Smallville uses Virtues and Power Sets with SFX and Distinctions, and relies a GREAT DEAL on building a Relationship Map of who knows who, what, where, etc.

    The easiest one ot hack would be Leverage (you could switch things to Star Trek roles) or Cortex Classic (which is used in Supernatural and Battlestar Galactica). I like the Cortex games but they can be VERY whiffy at times, depending on what you are doing.

  • Pitcrew

    I think Leverage would be the right answer for a Cortex Star Trek hack, change the roles to departments like Security, Science, Medical, etc; if i remember right Leverage had 5 roles, so coming up with a similar number of ST based departments would not be hard.
    I would drop that flashback thing since that was more unique to the Leverage TV show and ST shows have never had many of them, instead use the standard plot point set up and it would be good enough for government work or RP.

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