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Star Trek Adventures - First Response - Session 2 (Pilot, part B)

The video of the second session is now available as are reflections videos from me and from Ron. They are, as usual being added to the Star Trek Adventures Actual Play playlist on my channel, as well as on Ron's with some appearing on KC's. 

Anthony

Ron

I will add KC's below in the comments when it is ready

KC has released several videos since the report for Part A, ranging from a very detailed character creation video through to a scene by scene commentary on the first session. 

Ensign Yang (creation)

AP Commentary

This time we had a lengthy chat after the session which covers ground like surveying the reaction of the players to the balance of play vs learning, the nature of a certain lineage of games where dice outcomes can be affected by the players, and a little bit about the nature of the fiction play produced. In the future, I am curious to see what sort of discussion we can generate about the actual fiction as fiction, about how decisions were made for characters and the GM in regard to description and decision, and (once there is fuel for it) speculation about the characters. 

There will be a 'what were you thinking' video for this session, and a separated Table Talk video which can make that discussion easier to find and view. They will be added below, once they are posted to my playlist during the weekend (Dec. 12-14, 2020). Through this process, I have been making a recording of pre-session preparation. It will be released at the end of the episode. 

The characters are in the fire now, having leapt bravely from the frying pan. The balance of time use will be shifting toward more play and less talk of rules now, as it is less necessary now, so I am looking forward to this ongoing shift in what we are talking about and what comes as a result of that~

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

One of our characters is a young male officer of Asian descent, just out of the Academy, who fails his first in-episode task (session 1).

If anyone out there doesn’t know this, and I’m pretty sure everyone does, as far as science fiction TV shows go, this is a thing. Young Asian men of a particular demographic (college-ish, professional, in European-American cullture) are goofs. They’re out of their depth, deficient in necessary assertion or aggression, awkward, over-eager to please, submissive, unlucky, and generally punked ... all that stuff, over and over. Blatant examples include Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager and Paul Wong from Space: Above and Beyond, but occasional or pervasive examples are legion throughout dozens of shows. As the saying goes regarding Kim, “he can’t even get laid on the holodeck.”

I certainly am not putting myself up as nanny for this or any related issue, for our group. I don’t even want to prefer or recommend anything specific, as a policy statement or suggestion. We are grown-ups, yadda yadda, so however we do it, is how we’ll do it, collectively but without consensus, using the authorities and responsibilities and procedures that this game entails.

So let me know what you think of the following observations.

  • At the very outset of play (session 1), Korsakov (my character) told Yang, more or less out of the blue, that it was “time to toughen up.” This happens to be one of Korsakov’s Values, and I conceive of him saying it or something similar to any new crew, especially officer class at or below his own rank.
  • That’s when Yang bobbled his whole helmsman task – his actual job – to get the ship moving out upon receiving an emergency assignment. [correction: it was for something else; see comment below]
  • When we arrived on-planet, Yang scanned for additional life-signs. We knew about the few in the region we targeted and beamed into (as close as possible), but he checked to see if there were more, and there were.
  • During the ensuing, blood-smeared action, Yang went right into the thick of it and successfully assisted the extraction of a severely wounded person.
  • As our three main characters busted their humps getting the wounded to the transporter lock zone, Korsakov told Yang to scan to see if anyone else was around, only to learn that Yang had already done so.

Because here’s what I think of them.

  • It’s all about (or became) Yang stepping up, which he did. Instead of a defining character moment, the opening botch beautifully set up his commitment and competence when lives were actually on the line.
  • Another one of Korsakov’s Values is, “To hell with the phonies.” Korsakov just saw with his own eyes that Yang is profoundly not one of those.

“Where no one has gone before,” indeed, in this case, relative to long-standing SF tropes. Wish us luck!

Right on!

George Takei as Sulu got off somewhat lucky, typically "only" having to endure being talked about while he was in a scene rather than to. 

As a point of clarification, Yang in no way mishandled operating the ship and handled the exit from spacedock like an old hand. Where he choked on roll #1 was getting a coherent report for the Captain from the chaos of the ship's departments regarding all the mid-refit problems the mission might encounter~

 

Either way:  As a viewing audience, we see Yang not let that stressful moment define or limit him. Thanks for pointing it out!

The separated pre and post game conversation video is now available:

TABLE TALK

 

This file has been replaced. For those who watched it, nothing new was added except a contextualizing intro for newcomers to the playlist who inexplicably discover this video first and get confused. No need to watch it again.

 

Table Talk - Part B (redux)

KC's Reflections

Reflection B 

He also did a walk-through commentary of the session with his observations, speculation, and commentary:

Commentary

 

A lot, as it turns out. The btain works better slightly choked, I guess.

This lengthy video on Paer B, and A to an extent, revolves mainly around how preparation is being considered and conceived - as preparation for background implementation with foreground improvisation within our agreed-upon framework of Our Trek.

This is mainly considered through the lens of character.

What was Anthony thinking?

Rank in Star Trek roleplaying 

Obtain Information and roleplaying 

 

Frequently, a reaction to this game, and more specifically to this version of 2d20, is to state that it keeps play on a level where we spend most of our time talking about what the characters are going to do in connection to the mechanisms of the system rather than on portraying, describing, and/or inhabiting the character doing them. This is typically referred to as an out of character stance, but I tend to classify it as "*In-Character - As Aithor" or "In-Character - As Player" depending on how far from the perspective of the character we get. 

You may have noted in the two actual play sessions shown so far, that the group has a tendency (which we have not yet discussed or formalized) toward communicating character interaction and internal reaction in the third person, meaning the players are typically talking about their characters versus speaking as their characters. This is not consistent, but it is typical of the play so far. 

How much of that is personal habit and how much is the influence of this approach to system has not been explored at all in this group, so far.

As a result of observations of other groups and discussion groups, however, it is fairly common for a how-to video to at least touch on how roleplaying can be incorporated into the procedures.

One thing that it seems like only I am talking about so far, is how the order of operations within the system do not have to be tied to the flow of described action and interaction. 

That is no doubt fuel for a totally different post.

 

 

Ron Edwards's picture

I really like your points in the "What was I thinking" video about how Starfleet ideals & experiences put so much pressure on the captains that they apparently melt down or even go batshit crazy, almost as a default rather than exceptions. I thought a bit past the obvious examples from the original series, and realized that the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," is a great example too.

Maybe I'm reading too much depth into it, but my viewing, anyway, suggests that Gary Mitchell is, in fact, a "better" officer and potential captain than Kirk ... which is why he's exactly the wrong person to be gifted with the powers he gets. In that episode, Kirk's relative vulnerabilities or worries turn out to be something the rest of us can be grateful for.

Damn it, now you got me thinking about C. P. Snow and how so much 1950s and 1960s science fiction took ferociously opposed sides regarding his ideas.

Ron Edwards's picture

I've posted a very quick thought-video at the Patreon regarding your thoughts on phrasing about one's character. It's available to all patrons and we can mess with it there, then see what may come of it back here some day.

Mitchell in contrrast to Kirk is a nice example to cite, especially as it also quietly highlights the system that puts these people in place. I have no conscious exposure to C.P. Snow, so I have no comment about his contributions to SF at this time, but I will take a look. 

//

We can talk about the video you have made at the Patreon, although the comment function there is not intended for much more than a, "Yeah!" or a "Woot!" 

 

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