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CyrDraconis
Occasional Visitor
Karma: 8/1
45 Posts


Star Trek, and thoughts on narrative games...

Hi folks, long time no post. I guess this counts as a survey!

I've been off and on noodling about with the idea of a Star Trek game with some friends offline, and I'm trying to figure out how to handle a few things before polling the group and even picking things like system and era. By its nature, a Trek game will be way more narratively-driven, whether I use a rules-lite system like Far Trek or take the dive into the Modiphius 2d20 Trek.

I've played in a couple narrative-style games, but I've never GM'ed one. The friends I'm looking at playing with are 100% used to D&D style loot- and reward-based systems, with a distinct tendancy to turn into min-maxing murderhoboes with a taste for Shenanigans. At the same time, the interest is there, I'm just not sure how long a game will hold together with the group.

That said, any general advice for running narrative-type games, broadly speaking? For Trek games in general? Anything specific to online versus face-to-face play? Obviously there will be OOC discussion and setting of expectations, but I guess I'm also looking for ways to nudge them in-game. Conditioning them away from the loot-goblin mindset, if you will.

I have a couple general episode concepts in mind already, even though I'm not even in the chicken-scratch stage, and I know I want to limit the scope of things for a while. Small ship, mid-tier crew so players are neither top of the heap nor face in the crowd, and I could lean on narrative control without being too railroady.

Thoughts?



Posted on 2023-11-08 at 18:22:42.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 371/54
7067 Posts




I have run several successful (and many more fizzled) Trek games over the years.    You can see those here on the Inn.

What I've always done is run games that function like the old school PBEM games.  There are many "fleets" that do PBEM and PBP games.  While there are more rules-based Trek games, I find the strictly narrative approach to be best for this genre - and that's me speaking as a dyed in the wool clickety-clack dice roller.

The Captain is basically a plot device.  They command the ship, yes - you as the GM use the Captain to inform the crew of the mission, and to help keep things moving in the right direction.

Eveyone else plays a lower ranked character, usually a department head or the like.  

You set the scene, they RP their characters, rine and repeat untl you advance the scene.  

The thing is, while RPGs are never about "winning", Trek is even less so.  You have to all agree to share the spotlight, to collaborate on cool solutions.  You have to have buy in that we are making the best story together as opposed to each player just trying to beat the monster or whatnot.  

It's a huge challenge, but in term sof pure story, it's very tough to be a well played Trek game.



Posted on 2023-11-15 at 09:53:58.

CyrDraconis
Occasional Visitor
Karma: 8/1
45 Posts


^

Fair points all, TCatt. And I've read a lot of the Trek games here over the years.

Another thing I think is interesting, since you mentioned it in your third paragraph; I was reading a discussion on...I want to say the ST:Adventures Reddit, on the pros and cons of NPC versus PC captain. My original kneejerk reaction was NPC captain all the way, but I've been ruminating on it - the thought of course being so that one player doesn't hare off and start expecting everyone else to follow orders. I realized that's an awfully quick assumption that someone's going to go off the rails, and really, if an NPC is the captain the players might also start expecting to be railroaded and/or being hand-held through the GM's special-snowflake story.

It's a weird balance that I'm having to think a surprising amount about. There's another game, the Sunless Skies tie-in, that explicitly sets up that the ship's captain is - R.A.W. - both not one of the PCs and actually out of commission in the narrative to avoid both 'player power trip' and 'relying on GM handholding', and the more I think about about it the weirder that particular solution is. Not necessarily wrong, just weird.

That ramble aside, guess I just have to knock their 'winning' mindset down a peg, I suppose; that's pretty much all going to be off-table discussion. Frankly I was a little surprised that there was as much interest in this from a relatively munchkin-y group, haha. And heck, if there's any life left in this place might try some episodes for playtest.



Posted on 2023-11-15 at 15:31:32.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 371/54
7067 Posts




I find that the Captain-as-GM-voice approach works reslly, really well.  It allows the GM to roleplay, but (should) remove the temptation to force their will on everything.  The true joy of a great Trek game is seeing all the inane creative approaches that players have.

I'd love to playtest with you.  I keep worrying the festering sore that is completing the last Trek tale - even if I just do a narrative dump on it.



Posted on 2023-11-16 at 10:19:13.

   
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