What's the problem with Star Trek games, how do you fix them?

Rainfall

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#11
Charlemagne20 said:
I do think though that Star Trek has an undeserved reputation (much like Superman) due to people's perception of their mission of peace rather their actuality.

Some of the benefits of Star Trek are of course....

* The fact that their ships are all generic functioned rather than specialized. The Federation may not have battleships (barring the Defiant) but they have ships that can certainly serve as them along with scientific vessels and god knows what else.

Probably because the Federation has so much trouble with such WIDE VARITIES of weirdos.

They're small cities in themselves.
My problem with Superman is that 1) He never had to deserve his powers 2) It doesn't take any kind of courage to be a warrior of good when you bouce off bullets. Give my Spidey any day :D

It's a matter of taste really, much like Star Trek. It just doesn't fit the usual adventure story formula. It's really more about those people in that big ship and how they deal with each other and the strange universe around them.
 

LoneWolf23

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#12
How about trying GURPS Prime Directive, set in the universe of Star Fleet Battles? It's founded on the universe of Original Trek and expands on it without ever stepping foot in TNG territory.

-Technology is treated consistently and with a focus on realistic use of technology over mere techno-babble (problems aren't solved by using "magic particles", they're solved by using existing technology creatively).

-The Federation, while a powerful political party, is challenged by other, equally powerful Space powers, especially the Klingon Empire (Old Trek Sneaky Bastard Klingons, not Space Barbarian Klingons).

-Realistic space-politics as the various space powers enjoy diplomatic relations and trade even with rival powers.

Best part is, you can plunder TNG for good material if you want, applying it to Prime Directive with some minor alterations for flavor (like making Ferengis into space pirates again, as in their original appearance).
 

Charlemagne20

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#13
The best balance between varities of technology I find is oddly using what I call

Arthur Clarke's Area 51

The Federation of United Planets is a Technocracy as its been stated, its a society that lives/breeds/and eats from its technological advantage over nearly everything else. The problem is that it largely reached its technological "apex" centuries ago...not long after Captain Kirk.

By this I mean, that the puny mammalian organisms enjoy an idyllic like existence and can comprehend the technology that is presented in front of them without cybernetics or superengineering or god knows what else.

It's why people still walk instead of float, use hand held phasers instead of mental blasts despite nanotechnology being able to provide it, and so on and so on. The federation due to Khan Sing and god knows how many like him...consciously made a decision to keep homo sapien as the model for their existence.

This ironically means that they're restricted in space suits, shuttlecraft, and the ability to design new technologies/comprehend them. Not to mention their ability to solve problems is restricted by human ingenuity.

What's the real difference?

The average Star Trek starship computer on a ship has the collected sums of every single work on the planets of every world ever done by everyone (want to know what people due to keep busy in a utopian society-shag and data entry). Smaller ships won't have it because its a pain but its why the computers can construct perfect replicas of Steven Hawkin to Albert Einstein.

Also, in a Star Trek Lab is a Halo capable of destroying all life in the galaxy. There's also a Matter Warp Gate and god knows what else out there. The only problem was it was made by races that weren't afraid to become Q-like superbeings. It's incomprehensible to human beings at their best and often times blowing up a sun is a matter of digging out the right equipment

Except of course for the fact that even the smartest human on the planet will probably not even know it exists let alone how to sort out through all the data to find the answers.

Man, at one point, made a choice not to evolve and probably doomed him to eventual extinction or at least for species to outpace him (which is why Star Trek is not so utopian after all-their contentment is their undoing)

There's people who don't feel this way of course, Noonian Sungs and the like who want to BUILD that better mankind and often stumble on the works of many people who passed this stagnated stage many years ago. It shocks and horrifies them that...

Well to be perfectly blunt, you really don't NEED a crew with the computers they have. The problem is that if you create a sentient computer with the tech you have now....you've surrendered your piece of the future to a new race entirely.

One of the reasons Exploring is so popular. It gives an outlet for scientists who might otherwise be working on the next Frankenstein.
 

Charlemagne20

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#14
On a similiar note is simple economics.

Yes, its easy to replicate a holomodel to sleep with and a good cup of joe etc etc etc.

Your basic freudian needs being met is one of the reasons you don't see much trouble from most of the holo potato mass.

However, replicating more extensive and complicated stuff (plus whatever laws the Federations have about acquiring the designs for phasers and replicating them) has to be big.

Also, I always imagined replicators for more advanced stuff than organic stuff were fairly draining stuff.

In my games while the Enterprise can beam someone down....beaming more than a few people every day is a hefty energy drain for a normal ship.
 

Kuma

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#15
The basic problem with Star Trek games is that in order to play a game that feels familiar, you have to play on a Federation starship - more precisely, a Starfleet starship. The PCs are constricted in what they can and can't do. There's a heirarchy they have to follow, and telling the captain (or admiral) to go blow himself is only going to float just so many times.

I have a theoretical approach to dealing with these problems, but nothing concrete. But that's my basic view on why the games are never a hit - finding a balance between player freedom and versimilitude of the characters' situations is really hard, and has never really been supported well by the ruleset. At least not the three iterations of the game that I own.
 

Charlemagne20

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#16
Kuma said:
The basic problem with Star Trek games is that in order to play a game that feels familiar, you have to play on a Federation starship - more precisely, a Starfleet starship. The PCs are constricted in what they can and can't do. There's a heirarchy they have to follow, and telling the captain (or admiral) to go blow himself is only going to float just so many times.

I have a theoretical approach to dealing with these problems, but nothing concrete. But that's my basic view on why the games are never a hit - finding a balance between player freedom and versimilitude of the characters' situations is really hard, and has never really been supported well by the ruleset. At least not the three iterations of the game that I own.
I always make the bridge crew the PCs and ask them to work it out.
 

Wombat

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#17
What about making the PC's part of Section 31 (? or whatever it was) doing all manner of behind the scences nastiness "For the good of the Federation" of course.
 

Charlemagne20

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#18
Wombat said:
What about making the PC's part of Section 31 (? or whatever it was) doing all manner of behind the scences nastiness "For the good of the Federation" of course.
Section 31 is one of the best things for PCs because it makes perfect sense there would be a spy network and foreign intelligence service. It goes to show the propaganda the Federation possesses that one doesn't exist in the public's eye.

What's really amusing is the more they try to make people in the Federation shocked, the more sinister they appear.

Seriously, who never thought they had a CIA until they explicitly said no one knew it existed?
 

Agamemnon

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#19
One idea is to change the game so the conflict shifts from players vs. the gm's universe to player vs. player.

The Federation is basically a run by Starfleet. Starfleet handles all scientific, military, and diplomatic matters. Starfleet isn't answerable to any civilian authority, which means either Starfleet High Command runs the Federation or all the top spots in the Federation are filled with Starfleet officer. Powerful Starfleet captains and admirals are the lords of the Federation.

The system maintains popular support only because it is perceived as an egalitarian meritocracy. The higher-ups have to promote skilled officers, even though promotion makes them bigger threats to their own power. There are only so many starships and bases to command.

Officers have to scheme their way to the top by taking all the credit for themselves and shifting the blame to other officers. They secretly change the ship’s course so it gets stuck in interstellar potholes and then take the credit for getting them out while someone else gets the blame for sloppy navigating. Most officers are addicted to the holodecks so they are frequently sabotaged to produce embarrassing or deadly effects. Upstart ensigns and plotting bridge crew are ordered on dangerous away missions. Officers just have to be careful not to get caught violating Starfleet regulations.

In a game, you’d need a mechanism for tracking the status of the players and rules for how that status can be used. Also you’d need a way to determining the rank of new characters. They could all start out the same, be randomly assigned ranks, or bid character points for different positions.
 
#20
shadowjack said:
Finding a comfortable combination of the two will be difficult. How best to combine vacuum suits and zero-gravity toilets with sunbombs and hyperspace monsters?
Use a timespace more akin to Star Trek: Enterprise than the original show or the TNG/DS9/Voyager era?

Granted, I haven't been watching Enterprise very closely, but the scenario you describe is very similar to the Galaxy as presented in Enterprise. The Federation hasn't outgrown, well, anyone, they're barely even the Federation at that point. Which has all the desperate situations you're looking for.

As for Technobabble:

I would handle it as follows. It's a two step process:

a) Player comes up with some convincing sounding technobabble of thier own. Basically, the player has to explain it in as convincing a way as the actor does in presenting the solution to the rest of the crew. Basically, this is a "Options, Mr. Laforge" scene.
b) They then have to make some kind of skill check. The degree of success on the skill check determines how easy it can be pulled off. I'd apply something more than a pass/fail system, I'd probably use a gradiation.

Assuming (a) produces something like the following:

"We can reconfigure the reflector array to emit a taceon signal at the same frequency as the subspace temporal oscillation that is causing the problem, thus sealing the subspace time breach and returning us to normal time flow and real space."

A phenomenal success is "It will take about 15 minutes or so. Assuming I'm right."

A major success is something like the above, but "It will take us about an hour or two, meaning we'll have to weather the subspace time storm for a couple hours. Something quirky could go wrong. Assuming I'm right."

A good success is "It will take us about half a day to a day. Meaning the sheilds are going to take a battering, and we may run out of power before we can even give it a shot. We should be able to swing it by diverting all power to the sheilds except for life suport, and we may have to skimp on that if things get desperate. Assuming I'm right."

A moderate success is "It will take us about a day or two. We're going to have to send someone (probably me, because only I really have this level of technical expertise) out on a space walk in order to attach a device of some sort to the reflector array. Meaning we're really going to have to be concerned about finding the energy to keep the sheilds up. Assuming I'm right."

A minor success is "It will take me a week, because I have to build a device from scratch using rare parts. Then we have to spacewalk to attach it to the reflector array. Meaning we have a serious power problem; sheilds and all. Assuming I'm right."

A basic success is "It might work, but there's no way we could pull it off on time. I just can't do it, Captain!"

A basic failure is "I just can't do it Captain!" and being honest about that. Character realizes something is inherantly flawed with the idea.

A minor to moderate failure is like a success, only the characters aren't told they are wrong, so they try it anyway and it doesn't work. Wasting valuable time. How much time you end up wasting should be varied, depending on the degree of failure.

A major failure is as above, only "I was wrong, and we made it worse."

A phenomenal failure is as above, only "I was wrong, and we made it worse. Way worse. Like critical crisis worse."

BlackFlame
 
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