Star Trek occupies a very large and versatile universe. In a previous article, we gave you 10 ideas for Star Trek roleplaying games. We didn’t want to just stop there, so here are 10 more.
Starfleet Academy – Saved by the Bell
All Starfleet officers have to be educated and trained before they can become the confident officers we know them to be. This happens in Starfleet Academy; a place we’ve seen in various episodes and films, most famously when Kirk cheated in his Kobayashi Maru training simulation. How about using this as a setting? Showing characters having to make tough decisions and training hard. We might not know too much about what happens at the Academy but we can take inspiration from the many films and TV shows set in schools and colleges. Do the standard plot devices, like cheating, drug addiction, teenage angst and relationship drama still exist in the future?
Parallel Universe Sliding
Have you ever seen the TV show Sliders? It was about a group of people who jumped through wormholes into different parallel realities. Every episode, they’d find another version of Earth, which might be similar or vastly different to their own reality.
Now think of the episode of the original series in which Kirk and Spock went to a parallel universe where everyone was a bit more evil (and the DS9 episodes that expanded the same universe). It was refreshing to see the Star Trek universe we know and love being twisted into something more sinister. Imagine if your characters had access to an infinite number of different parallel universes. Imagine the freedom you’d have to create multiple parallel realities using the many aliens you know and love. Your crew could be travelling between different dimensions while trying to get home to their own and having adventures along the way.
Federation: Blade Runner
In the 1982 film Blade Runner, Harrison Ford is a cop ordered to track down and kill illegal androids. In Star Trek we’re familiar with the harmless android Data. While Data wouldn’t swat a fly on Picard’s head, his brother Lore is emotionally unstable, jealous and dangerous. This shows that androids can make great enemies and that someone needs to be in charge of finding and deactivating them.
This story could be set on any planet in the Star Trek universe, and feature a character or group of characters tasked with deactivating all rogue androids.
A larger storyline could be the slow invasion and infiltration of an entire planet by replacement androids. Your characters could uncover the plot and flush them out.
Star Trek: Tribble
This might be the least sensible idea on the list. The Federation is made up of many different alien species, some of which have been previously misunderstood (like the Horta), so why not the Tribbles? These fluffy little creatures might have a previously unknown intelligence, even their own language and culture. At a stretch of the imagination they might even be intelligent enough to operate a starship. Possibly?
If you can figure out how these small furry things can stop breeding for long enough to form a crew and fly themselves into space you could use a Tribble-only starship as the setting for your story.
We were introduced to Section 31 in the later series of DS9. A secret and sinister Starfleet service, they operate missions secret missions with questionable motives and are not subject to the normal constraints of Starfleet’s strict ethics. This was the first time we saw Starfleet in a sinister light (although most Starfleet officers are openly against Section 31). This would make a great premise for a story or game. Your characters could be employees of Section 31 and conduct secret missions which might include spying on alien ambassadors, secretly eliminating threats to the Federation or bringing down a dangerous regime from the inside. Alternatively your story could be about people trying to bring down the corrupt Section 31 and bring the major players to justice.
In an early episode of Voyager, several holographic illusions are used in the form of Talaxian spaceships. This fools the Kazon into thinking that Voyager is not alone. The holograms were created by Voyager, which had temporarily been fitted with external holographic emitters. Theoretically, a ship using this technology could change its own outward appearance. The ship could disguise itself as anything and look like any other type of ship. Furthermore, the entire ship could actually be a hologram, projected and controlled by a central holographic core.
In the Voyager episode Flesh and Blood, The Doctor was recruited by a crew of holograms who had escaped from the Hirogen. Your story could be about a similar group of holographic humanoids on a holographic spaceship. The look of the ship could change, including the interior rooms and corridors which are also holographic. Characters could also have a sort of immortality, as their programs are stored in the ship’s computer memory. When they are killed on an away mission, they’ll be able to download back into the computer’s core. They would also have all the weaknesses of computer programmes such as hacking, deletion and degradation.
Star Trek DSV (Deep Sea Vehicle)
The TV show Seaquest DSV was about a large submarine exploring Earth’s deepest oceans. It was essentially Star Trek underwater. It’s possible that this concept could work on any planet in the Galaxy, not just Earth. Starfleet’s mission to explore strange new worlds also includes the deep oceans of each planet. Some planets might be made entirely from water like the Monean ocean planet discovered by Voyager in the episode Thirty Days. Your story could be set on a Starfleet submarine on a world rich with monsters and civilisations that you can visit. You might also be able to travel to different planets, either by flying through space (perhaps being carried by a larger starship) or through a network of ‘stargate’-like magic doorways.
Star Trek: Top Gun
I’ve always wondered why we never see the Enterprise or Voyager launching shuttles while doing battle with a larger ship. This would give additional firepower and give the enemy more targets to worry about. When I first saw the short, fan-made Star Trek: Top Gun I was inspired. There’s no reason why this can’t happen in the Star Trek universe. We’re used to seeing large ships vs large ships, but we have also seen small fighters used during the dominion war.
Your story could be about a team of elite fighter pilots, who are called upon when the situation requires small, light ships rather than a large lumbering Galaxy-class. Of course, they could be launched from a larger ship, or from a space station or planet.
The Malon in Voyager use large lumbering ships to take away their dangerous antimatter waste. Have you ever wondered what the Federation worlds do with their waste? Most likely they recycle it as the Federation are quite environmentally friendly, but there must be some waste that the Federation need to get rid of.
Garbage scows are occasionally mentioned in the series, describing the most mundane and disgusting work, hauling garbage across the galaxy. But someone has to do it, which means there’s a story to be told. Your story could be set on a garbage scow – a ship not fit for fighting or exploring, it’s only purpose to transport rubbish from one planet to another. Unlike the starships we’re used to seeing, where the crew are the crème-de-la-crème of Starfleet officers, the crew tasked with hauling garbage would probably be less educated, less responsible and less trustworthy. They would also be pretty miserable, having the worst job in the galaxy. Perhaps they flunked out of Starfleet Academy or annoyed an admiral, or maybe they were born to the profession.
Pirates of the Federation
The most notable space pirates mentioned in Star Trek are the Maquis, a band of freedom fighters risking their lives for a cause they believe in. But throughout the galaxy there will be more people like this, struggling to survive. We’re always shown that life for anyone inside the Federation is great, but outside on the edge of Federation space things might not be quite so rosy. Federation prosperity and Federation law might not reach this far.
In the TV series Firefly we’re shown that life for those on the outer planets is difficult. They’re poorer, have limited technology and resources, and live in a lawless society, much like the Old West. Imagine this is what it’s like living just outside the Federation and how some people might take to cheating and stealing to survive. Your characters could be the crew of a small trading ship. When they can’t trade they’ll salvage and steal anything they can, just to survive. They could be villains or they might be desperate people forced into a life of crime.
With a universe as large and diverse as Star Trek there really are an infinite number of stories to tell. If you have any ideas, why not share them in the comments thread below.
If you are thinking of creating a new roleplaying game using one of these ideas, OngoingWorlds is the perfect place to host, promote and run your game.