Although for the first time in a long while I have a stack of games that I want to get to the table, circumstances have aligned to allow for and encourage a return to Star Trek Adventures as an online game. I ran the game for local friends around a real table in a real room in 2017-18 for about a year. That campaign will be resuming locally in a few months – if Covid-19 precautions allow.
My first impression of the game when I read it was that it was one of those that I would be willing to run as GM, but not play as a character. I was very pleasantly surprised in play to discover that I quite enjoyed running it and that it was very effective at helping me as the GM and the players in their various character roles create a synthesis of the things we appreciate in Star Trek and have play feel authentic as Star Trek inside that shared imagined space. I have been very much looking forward to getting back to it.
The online campaign, not yet named for reasons I will share below, is primarily for fun and to make the most of an opportunity to play with some people that I have wanted to game with for awhile. It does, of course, have an ulterior motive of letting me separate the first campaign and its players from my opinions about and undersanding of the game, to let me look at the effect of the system on play more objectively.
The players I am getting to game with for the first time are Ron Edwards (Adept Play) and KC Lee (Questing GM). I am also pleased that an old friend from home, now living in Moscow, Joseph McInnes, will be able to join. He and I have run many Play by e-mail campaigns in the last 20+ years since I moved to Korea, but this will be the first real-time play we have managed since 1997.
The online players have not yet played the game, but have the rules and are in the process of becoming familiar with them at their own pace. We will be introducing rules in play as they come up rather than attempting to teach the game prior to play. This will be helpful to me in terms of getting back into a comfortable familiarity with the system, and to the players for retention by directly connecting the context of our actual play with the experience and understanding of the rules which support that play.
So far, the stages of play have been:
- initial suggestion in a 1:1 conversation to play something at some point
- follow-up suggestion to try Star Trek Adventures (Modiphius, 2d20) ‘soon’
- Preference for the Original Series aesthetic was identified during this conversation between both participants
- follow-up suggestion to try Star Trek Adventures (Modiphius, 2d20) ‘soon’
- recruitment of players
- this was limited by factors such as work schedules and time zones
- establishment of a Teams Channel for the campaign
- A wiki for game information has been started
- A playlist of how-to videos has been archived
- A general forum for scheduling, interaction, and questions has been started
- selection of time and date for the first meeting
- the first meeting
Today, we had our brief introduction to each other as human beings scattered about the globe, and laid the framework for the campaign. This included selection of the ship type, its mission profile, and a first pass and dry run with the lifepath-based character creation method. With this framework in hand, I can now move on to putting together a loose concept of the specific backdrop for the campaign (closer to a traditional pitch) while characters are finalized.
The next session, intended for next Wednesday, will see the finalization of the characters and their integration with the ship and its role. That will then move us toward an understanding of the final form of the campaign pitch – the actual concept. Of course, we will also play~
While observation of a other STA campaigns shared on YouTube and other platforms suggests that most people ignore the process of having the group as a whole establish the era/aesthetic, ship, mission profile, and related elements, I feel that the designer included them as a part of the preparation process on purpose. That purpose, I believe, was partly to help obviate the problem of “After 50+ years, what is Star Trek anyway?” but perhaps more importantly, to lay the groundwork for attachment to the setting and to the ship. This is an essential or nearly-essential element of play that can be overlooked or impeded if the group doesn’t recognize the role that a ship or similar construct can play – as a type of character or a type of bond or both.
I hope that schedules will continue to align and that the campaign can help us to experience and demonstrate the experience of playing the game across many sessions. I also hope, that sharing reports of play will be of interest and lead us into some interesting conversations.
If anyone is curious about how my first campaign with the system went, I have a playlist called 2d20 which includes my first play experience in the system (as run on the Complex Games Apologist channel), commentary on that experience, an introduction to the campaign I ran (To Know the Unknown) and a series of recaps. It can be viewed at the link below.
16 responses to “Star Trek Adventures – New Online Campaign – Session 0”
Now for the cheeky version
Anthony, your clinical presentation conceals a multitude of (my) sins. "Preference for the Original Series aesthetic was identified during this conversation" is certainly true but let's unveil the extent thereof in Trek and me, which I posted at the Patreon recently with the article titled "Kobayashi-Maru, my ass." The discussion there was extremely fun and is available to all patrons.
The Seminar conversations at SFTV RPG are also relevant. I have generally shied away from "space and ships" science fiction role-playing – not exclusively by any means, but certainly in proportionate terms, considering my play history of hundreds of titles. The recent Primetime Adventures game seems to have nudged me somehow to jump right into the deep end.
I figured I'd add some specifics to the account so far. I absolutely agree that the group creation process is extremely strong for this game. I've been detaching myself from the assumption that negotiated "committee meeting" prep is always good, but that doesn't mean it doesn't ever work.This game provides an excellent example for when it does (video to be posted later).
Our relationship to the source material is simple: the 1960s series, no add-ons, no franchise. That means that even the later-produced material set in that fictional era is not part of what we're doing. We also talked about the twin undesired positions of (1) slavishly emulating the original show by doing whatever it did and (2) deconstructing metatexting critiquing it. So, think of a show that never existed, but was a great spin-off or companion to the original series.
That led us to talk about a smaller, less generally-badass starship than the Enterprise, but capable enough to manage independent, out-of-contact missions, or general "do this" directives whose details and applications have to be managed on the fly. We haven't named it yet but it's some variant of what the text calls Miranda class (although I think that term comes from the films, so I might dig in my heels about using the name in-fiction). We shared an interest in "border" stories, with a nod toward the edgy, still-unknown Romulans, or anything similar, or similar in problematics regardless of details, that Anthony might come up with.
Once the group has a working idea of "our ship, its job, our show," then character creation includes steps which are all randomized … but when you hit one of them for which you'd like to choose instead, you do that. So one player might have a fully-chosen character and another might have a fully-randomized character.
I've tried, thought, and discussed a lot in the past five years about any given game's steps of character creation, and the roles of choosing, inventing, and being "handed" specific features – which ones and in what order. This game demonstrated to me the satisfying feel of a snap-together process which led later steps, one by one, to make sense to me as either random or chosen. It's built as a sequential lifepath. You choose four Values along the way, and I think it was particularly sound design to have the final Value be described with no textual guidance at all as the final step. That functions to make you look back over "all of it" and decides what the character's most recently-developed priorities or beliefs or gut feelings look like now.
Joseph had to leave a bit early, but KC and I both worked through the "first pass" for our characters, and both of us went mostly random but chose a couple of things too.
My fellow is a human raised on a space station, who stepped away from his diplomatic/political upbringing to become a bit of a roughneck, training for Security at Starfleet Academy. The process led me to a nice "expansion" of this basic idea as he entered the service to become an experienced officer, with a wider range of experiences which led me to invent more measured, thoughtful Values, even ending with a rather hopeful one at the end.
KC's fellow is also human, but from Earth, and as I understand it, is far more "born to command" and institutionally-oriented than mine … and as with mine, the lifepath method's combination of rolls and choices led to a shift in concept. In his case, he was not expecting to end up with with a very young captain; in fact, both of us had originally expressed interest in avoiding top-command roles, but by about halfway through, his character had a remarkably inevitable and satisfying sense of concept that aimed unerringly straight to the command chair which is obviously too big for his heinie. So that's pretty cool.
Joseph rolled for initial species (we all did), and he received Vulcan as a result, so I'm very interested to see where he goes with it – especially since he accurately pointed out that "doing Spock" wouldn't be fun, and I mentioned that contrary to all franchise material, the Starfleet of the original show was obviously a human institution staffed by humans, with the obvious exception being seen as an exception by everyone.
Well, that's where we are so far. A fun game to play with fun people, yes, but conceptually, there are deep waters here. Why are we doing this, what is the "this," even, and what shall we do with it?
I will one day go back to ST:A. When I find the right group for it. But between Runeslinger's previous videos and this new campaign, I am hoping to identify some of the spots where I may have taken missteps as a GM in this system. Cannot wait to see where it goes!
Session 1 is slated for Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Since Session 0 last Wednesday, characters have been finalized and the specific ship type has been chosen. This leaves assigning a few points to the ship's traits, giving it a name, and assigning the characters to roles aboard her. Ideally, this will be finished before play on Wednesday, but if not that will occur as the first order of fun during Session 1.
Information for the players has been placed in a Channel in Microsoft Teams and discussion of the game has begun in the associated chat room. This is not required as all the players now have the core book and play itself does not put a lot of dense information in front of them. Character and ship creation the first time, however, can benefit from opportunities to pause and reflect or to ask questions. Teams is one way to organize that and to collect information generated by play. Teams will allow me to keep easy access to session reports, character sheets, ship sheets, and the schedule all in one place and to start a zoom meeting for all or some of the group at the push of one button. It has a short learning curve for newcomers and it does not work as well with all devices as it should, but I (so far, with other groups) have found the benefits have outweighed the shortcomings. We will see if that holds true for this mix of people, places, and things!
Between now and my Wednesday evening I will need to prepare a premise for the Pilot Episode. The game structures play around the conceit of being episodic television. One session of play will not equate to one episode due to short zoom playtimes, but over the course of the game's run with the group we should be able to see clear episode breaks as well as ongoing season-long developments. What those will turn out to be is anyone's guess, but it will be my responsibility to provide some strong opening frames for some episodes and to draw from play events for others. The way that characters are designed and the way in which they change in play via the values trait and the experience milestones process assists in this.
Good timing, as I have just
Good timing, as I have just finished a brief introduction & reflection on my character Lt. Korsakov, pre-play. I plan to post it after we play, in the understanding that "the real character" appears only through play, so it'll be good to learn which pre-play musings were incorrect or irrelevant.
I decided not to fire-hose drink episodes of the 1960s series, but I am watching some of them in a more relaxed, feel-like-it way. My daughter is enjoying watching them with me too, so I'm treating it more like a fun thing for us than as dedicated pre-play education or analysis. I happen to like the earlier episodes, which are extremely grim, no-win, anti-idealist, rather solid little SF dramas (and feature Yeoman Janice Rand), so we just saw The Man Trap and Charlie X.
Life being what it is, I was unable to get home in time to run the Pilot Episode. Fortunately, two of the three others (Ron and KC) were able to wait and I was eventually able to join them in a video chat they had started through Teams. We talked about Star Trek, the ship, and the characters but we also took the opportunity to simply talk. I really enjoyed it!
We are on course toward the Pilot Episode running next Wednesday and its introduction of the crew of the USS Avicenna~
Delays of this kind are often
Delays of this kind are often deadly. People either fall away from their investment, or – worse, if you can believe it – start over-investing, by second-guessing everything and getting way into their own heads based on prior experiences and expectations.
Fortunately it seems to have worked out well! We spent some time at the Microsoft Teams venue that Anthony set up to work up the ship, and I think the resulting U.S.S. Avicenna is much better than what we might have jumped to over-quickly without that week. It's almost deliberately not very sleek and slick, more of a tough little old-school early-Federation beast, a small fighter repurposed as a medical trouble-shooter. I described it as "a flying saucer with an warp afterburner embedded in its belly."
Given the characters we came up with essentially independently, a certain amount of backstory came into view, in that we've clearly been through the mill before the series began. The ship needs a refit, the captain seems to be out of commision (by medical officer's orders), we're looking at a very young officer in an important bridge role … I don't know what Anthony's cooking up for our pilot episode, but I suspect a certain level of crisis is called for just because of who and what we're looking at.
My own memories of
My own memories of encountering Star Trek are sketchy to say the least. I've seen some episodes (german dubbed) in the late seventies / early eighties and remember that I came away with mixed feelings, especially when it came to encounters with alien species. How much of that was due to translation, sensitivities or something completely different, I don't know. But the curiosity about "what's out there" does resonate with me so I'm looking forward to see you exploring it.
I have watched the original
I have watched the original Star Trek series epsidoes too many times to count during my life, and they are part of my earliest memories. One thing that I am finding in my most recent travels through the series is how differently some aspects of the episodes feel to me now. My perspective has changed as I have aged, of course, and so the story and thematic threads that matter to me have changed. More than that, though, I think that life experience of the last 20 years or so has allowed for some new thoughts about the attitudes and situations presented by the series. As an example, as a child I took the attitidues of the crew about racism as a truth. Humanity in our time was walking away from it! Hooray. That simple belief seemed to be mirrored in the world around me, too. As I got older and travelled more, I could see that my expanding world was still troubled by racism, but I believed that we as a species really were trying to shed ourselves of it. As a person who lives abroad as a visible minority in a very different culture, that belief was shaken, but I could – until the last ten years or so – hang on to the notion that the West was trying to shed racism. Watching Star Trek now, I just feel sad when I hear them say that they had long ago given up such foolish notions as racism. I can see how it is evident in the scripts despite the words the characters say, and how it was one of the small voices in a vast sea of 'don't talk about it'.
Sad, but valuable experience. Similarly the drive to explore and know what is out there…? When I look around at the nation I live in, no one thinks there is any point in going ot space….
I still want to go, with my fellow humans, however~
Here are some thoughts to
Here are some thoughts to accompany Anthony's regarding Original series social content. Not a disagreement or rebuttal.
Good Thoughts, Ron
My comments here on Adept Play were more about an example of how watching and re-watching Star Trek over the course of my life has resulted in different experience of the episodes as my life moves through its different stages (not a revelation, just an acknowledgement) than a declaration of what the series was 'about'. As you note, the series was not set up to really be about a specific platform, though it has some effective elements to communicate some of the ideals of its time – such as the effort made to compose the bridge crew and visible staff aboard the Enterprise from a greater variety of people than many other shows of its era. There are too many writers across the three seasons of the original series for there to be a truly consistent message, but we can see some threads develop and hold, later becoming (and then retroactively reinforced through communication of commentary about the series before people could experience themselves for the first time) a firmly held belief about what the show 'is' .
Elements like the Prime Directive or the 'Non-interference directive', appear across the seasons from the first to the third and are used consistently – if only to give specific decisions more tension than they otherwise would have. We see by the time of TNG, as KC pointed out, that this Prime Directive idea grew into a bedrock belief about Star Trek and so became a regular part of TNG, regardless of its use in the original series. I imagine that like 'Live Long and Prosper' with the Vulcan hand salute, there was a moment where it entered into a script or a scene and it became a solid element thereafter as if it had always been true. You talk about this thing in your excellent 'Star Trek and Me' video.
So, as these days are full of talk about racism it is on my mind – especially being so far from home and looking at news reports of ridiculous and racist behavior in and around places where I grew up. It is a thing I am noticing in my current rewatch of the series. Why is the crew on the bridge as diverse as it is? A younger me took that as a sign of treating all people as people – equally. Why does the episode *Let That Be Your Last Battlefield* come into being? A younger me took it as an affirmation of an inclusive ideology over a dead and senseless one – a lampooning of racism. Episodes like The Omega Glory – about a great many things – also subtly reinforce this inclusive message (which is amazing considering how ham-handed many episodes are).
Anyway, I know you are not asking for a long response or quotations from episodes, but I think a quote from one episode will help me make my intended point above clearer, so please understand and bear with me, if you will. An example of very explicit text from the show about how they live in the 23rd Century, the most overt in my recollection, is '…Last Battlefield':
"KIRK: Let me reaffirm my position, gentlemen. I could put you in the brig for what you have done, but I won't do it because you are new to this part of the galaxy, which is governed by the United Federation of Planets. We live in peace with full exercise of individual rights. The need to resort to violence and force has long since passed, and it will not be tolerated aboard this ship. You are free to move about the ship. I hope that you'll take the opportunity to know more about the Federation through its best representatives, my crew. But let me make it clear. I will stand for no interference with the function of this ship. All hands, return to normal routine. Captain out.
(Bele leaves, with an escort.)
LOKAI: You speak very well, Captain. Your words promise justice for all.
KIRK: We try, sir.
LOKAI: Yes, well, I have learned to wait for actions. After Ariannus, what is justice? I shall wait to see it dispensed.
SPOCK: Fascinating. Two irrevocably hostile humanoids.
SCOTT: Disgusting is what I call them.
SPOCK: That description is not scientifically accurate.
SCOTT: Mister Spock, the word disgusting describes exactly what I feel about those two.
KIRK: That's enough for today. Those two are beginning to affect you.
KIRK: I can assure you, Commissioner, that our minds will not be twisted, not by Lokai, nor by you. BELE: It is obvious to the most simpleminded that Lokai is of an inferior breed.
SPOCK: The obvious visual evidence, Commissioner, is that he is of the same breed as yourself.
BELE: Are you blind, Commander Spock? Well, look at me. Look at me!
KIRK: You're black on one side and white on the other.
BELE: I am black on the right side.
KIRK: I fail to see the significant difference.
BELE: Lokai is white on the right side. All of his people are white on the right side.
SPOCK: Commissioner, perhaps the experience of my own planet Vulcan may set an example of some value to you. Vulcan was in danger of being destroyed by the same conditions and characteristics which threaten to destroy Cheron. We were once a people like yourselves, wildly emotional, often committed to irrationally opposing points of view, leading, of course, to death and destruction. Only the discipline of logic saved my planet from extinction.
BELE: Commander Spock, I am delighted that Vulcan was saved, but you cannot expect Lokai and people like him to act with self-discipline any more than you can expect a planet to stop orbiting its sun.
KIRK: Let Lokai state his grievances. Hear him, listen to him. Maybe he can change. Maybe he wants to change his image.
BELE: He cannot change.
SPOCK: Change is the essential process of all existence. For instance, the people of Cheron must have once been mono-coloured.
BELE: You mean like both of you?
KIRK: There must have been a time, long ago no doubt, when that was true.
BELE: You're finished, Lokai! We've got your kind penned in on Cheron into little districts, and it's not going to change. You've combed the galaxy and come up with nothing but mono-coloured trash, do-gooders and bleeding hearts. You're dead, you half-white!
LOKAI: You useless pieces of bland flesh. I'll take you with me, you half-black.
(They lunge for each others throats, and send off electrical charges.)
KIRK: Bele, you keep this up, and you'll never get to Cheron with your prisoner. The rest of this ship will be irreparably damaged. This will be your final battlefield. Your fifty thousand years of pursuit will have been wasted.
(Bele and Lokai separate)
KIRK: And you, Lokai, will die here in space. You'll inspire no more disciples. Your cause will be ended.
LOKAI: Remember, Captain, political sanctuary is my right. I am your prisoner. Honour that right, or the fight will go on and your ship will burn up.
KIRK: You've made your point.
BELE: If you listen to his legalistic trickery, I shall have to destroy this ship and everybody aboard.
KIRK: I understand. Will you return the Enterprise to my control?
BELE: Why not?
SPOCK: Captain, we are within scanning range of Cheron.
KIRK: Is it within visual range?
SPOCK: Coming within visual range now, Captain.
KIRK: Chekov, put it on the screen. Extreme magnification. What are you picking up?
SPOCK: Several large cities, uninhabited. Extensive traffic systems, barren of traffic. Lower animal sand vegetation encroaching on the cities. No sapient life-forms registering at all, Captain. There is no evidence of natural disaster, yet there are vast numbers of unburied corpses in all cities.
KIRK: You mean, all the people are dead?
SPOCK: All dead, Captain. They have annihilated each other totally.
BELE: My people, all dead?
KIRK: Yes, Commissioner, all of them.
LOKAI: No one alive?
SPOCK: None at all, sir.
BELE: Your band of murderers did this.
LOKAI: Your genocidal maniacs did this!
(They attack each other again.)
KIRK: Stop it! What's the matter with you two? Didn't you hear Spock? Your planet is dead! There's nobody alive on Cheron because of hate. The cause you fought about no longer exists. Give yourselves time to breathe. Give up your hate. You're welcome to live with us. Listen to me. You both must end up dead if you don't stop hating.
LOKAI: You're an idealistic dreamer.
KIRK: Bele. The chase is finished.
BELE: He must not escape me.
SPOCK: Where can he go?
UHURA: Shall I alert security, sir?
KIRK: No, Lieutenant. Where can they run?
(Through the ship, knocking over crewmen, whilst imagining the buildings burning on their home planet.)
SPOCK: Captain, I have located them on ship's sensors. Bele is chasing Lokai on deck three. Bele is passing recreation room three, approaching the crewmen's lounge. Lokai is running past the crewmen's lounge. Lokai has just arrived on deck five. Passing recreation room three.
(Lokai beams himself away)
UHURA: Captain, someone has activated the transporter mechanism.
KIRK: Spock, anyone in the transporter room?
SPOCK: Negative, Captain. Transporter room is clear. However, there is a life-form materialising on the planet. It is Lokai. He is back on Cheron.
KIRK: There's nobody there to try him. His judges are all dead.
UHURA: Captain, the transporter mechanism has been activated again.
KIRK: Of course.
SPOCK: It is Bele, Captain. And another life-form has appeared on Cheron.
UHURA: It doesn't make any sense.
SPOCK: To expect sense from two mentalities of such extreme viewpoints is not logical.
SULU: But their planet's dead. Does it matter now which one's right?
SPOCK: Not to Lokai and Bele. All that matters to them is their hate.
UHURA: Do you suppose that's all they ever had, sir?
KIRK: No, but that's all they have left. Warp factor two, Mister Sulu. Set course for Starbase Four. [end]
Again, heavy-handed to an extreme – even for this series – but this type of overt message overlaps and combines with the anti-war and freedom of choice messages of some episodes, the role of a military as defensive and to protect all, the messages of unity represented on the bridge and in the notion of a United Federation of Planets, of the repeated experiences with highly-evolved beings who saw fighting and hatred as primitive, etc. to lay the groundwork for a belief that the show was "about" a place where people were free to be people, not people with a load of adjectives to properly place them in a hierarchy of types and valuations of people. As a child, I drew the assumption that this was what all people felt. As I aged and gathered more experience, I saw it more and more as the hope of a number of people who – as time has passed for me – I have sadly come to believe is much smaller than 'logic' and the 'human spirit' can account for.
Another instance is in the
Another instance is in the season 3 episode, Savage Curtain. Space-Abraham Lincoln encounters Uhura and there is an exchange between the two, with an addendum from Kirk and Spock. Uhura let's Abe know that in their century, they are not afraid of words. Lincoln acknowledges that the word he used was often used in a pejorative way during his time. There is some further dialogue about how everyone accepts who they are now.
My only comment in this case is that it espouses a kind of "both sides" argument or that there is some responsibility in the oppressed for their "bad" behavior, and by default their continued oppression. At least that is how I read it. An interesting part of an episode that has a few highlights, and quite a few low-lights I think.
In general, my own feeling about Star Trek is that, like a lot of shows, it was fumbling with these questions of social justice and how to handle them. And while I think we are right to point out, for purposes of discussion, where they dropped the ball and that having your heart in the right place is often not enough, there should be credit for where its due. And Star Trek takes a stand, in my opinion, that racism is bad, embodied best (again in my opinion) in McCoy's good ole boy commentary on his "friend" Spock, and Spock's own extreme distaste for his human side. Yes their back and forth is often accompanied by silly music that cues us into this is all in good fun, but just as often you can see its ugly face and can tell that there is an undercurrent there.
Both of those episodes are
That's really well-stated, Sean.
Both of those episodes are well-known to me from an early age, and both of them display what I've been trying to describe.
Specifically, that specific details are certainly resolved, but the phenomena are not gone. The crew have no magic words or super-enlightened social salve to apply to racism. The implication – very strongly, I think – is that humanity has gained a better grip on such things, but luck and pluck were involved, not super-science or some kind of reliable or inevitable progress. The culture didn't find a solution to these problems, but has managed to survive them with a positive balance. I very much like Kirk's only statement toward any such solution: "We try."
Try they might, and well they should, and much remains to try about, even without particularly pointed examples of single-episode aliens. Spock endures racism from both cultures including his crewmates, the crew of the Enterprise is by no means immune to the respective urgings of Lokai and Bele, and more than once it's implied that the human culture is doing its share of the damage in strife with the Klingons.
Whether a given screenwriter or showrunner intended it (I do not care), the net effect throws these difficulties into view, as part of critiquing racism, specifically the viewer's own, in whatever way it seems familiar or may fit to that viewer. It doesn't permit the viewer the luxury of being "above all that."
I don't know if I'm ever going to get this across, at least, not in a way that receives acknowledgment: that the original Star Trek was both bold enough to espouse and strive for a better way regarding social issues, and also honest enough never to present them as actually solved.
By contrast, the rest of the franchise relies on the Underpants Gnomes to have fixed "all that" in the interim.
I wouldn't worry about not being clear here, Ron. If not evident to a viewer on their own, then in conversations such as the ones you are facilitating since 'Trek and Me' it can readily become clear.
Star Trek (original) has been something I have regarded and continue to regard as hopeful, and was an excellent tool for asking viewers to examine things they might be avoiding or unaware of. Thinking back on how long it has been since it aired makes me a little sad that we are travelling so slowly down that road toward hope. It is good that we have things like Trek to act as signposts when we get lost.
In terms of Star Trek Adventures, though, we will find out what "Starfleet Officers" in general and the crew of the Avicenna in partucular are like when have gotten to know them. Like the show, I find play has a way of asking questions without anyone intending or expecting them to be asked at all, but much of the time it is "Shore Leave"
Your final point matches nicely to my thoughts in this video, which I planned to share after we played session 1 ("pilot"). However, considering that I mentioned most of it in the group conversation last week, and since i think we're getting into cross-talk territory due to the delay, here are my thoughts about Lt. Korsakov during character creation, STA pre-play.
Progress Report 2
Our first session took place on Wednesday, December 2. We will not know until it is over how many sessions will be needed to complete the 'Pilot Episode' entitled – The Nature of Threat – but things are now in motion and play is real. I expected it to take 2 sessions, but now speculate that it could take longer given the juicy roleplaying opportunities presented by the mix of characters and the interests of the players.
Commentary videos will be released over the course of the day as will the Actual Play video of the first session. The playlist already has some items in it from me and from Ron ( PLAYLIST LINK ) and more will be added from at least one other player as we go on.
I have good things to report about the readiness of the players to play and make use of the system, so it feels like we are off to a good start – although the crew of the USS Avicenna may think otherwise as they warp into danger to put their lives on the line for others~
Adversity! It’s what I was
Adversity! It's what I was hoping for, and that's what we get!
Anthony had provided a brief episode list from the original series as a rough gestalt/guide. It's not the equivalent of a series bible or sourcebook, more of an aesthetic for the idiom we're after – specifically, to emphasize the frontier, "Gunsmoke in space," not a hint of post-scarcity in sight, a context of settlements and outposts, and as far as alien peoples are concerned, recent contact and tentative arrangements, including sudden or ongoing violence.
Another feature that really jumps out at me from the episodes he named is the impact of very strong personalities on any situation. Sometimes it's an official leader who has to make decisions in crisis, with the strong implication that there's no Federation manual or hierarchy that's easily consulted. Even, perhaps, the implication that the person in question knows that whatever he or she decides, the administrative hierarchy is going to have to treat it as facts on the ground and pretend to like it. Sometimes it's a rebel or a rogue who simply says screw the rules, make me, and as it turns out, "making" them is a lot harder than one might think for a massive warship with all this tech and expertise. And sometimes it's an ordinary person with strong feelings who's trapped in a bad space, and whose actions in the crunch change-up everything for everyone else.