So I've had Star Trek back on the brain a lot lately. The new film kicked it off, then I watched the entire run of Deep Space 9, and finally came across and ordered the Decipher version of the game (at $35 for the whole set, a bargain). The urge to run a Trek game is hard on me although I have no idea how such a thing might be accomplished. Originally I thought of doing something post-Nemesis, but then the idea of a reboot based more closely on TOS took hold. I just thought I might as well post my mental notes here in case I want to eventually come back to them.
Why a reboot? Well, there's over seven hundred hours of the old TV shows plus the various other media, and it's hard to get away from the knowledge that everything is a certain way. Plus, the other series have set a pretty well defined tone for Trek that loses some of the major qualities of the original. Having rewatched DS9, I sympathize with those who say it's not really Trek, even though it remains a show I really enjoyed. In the final analysis, I just think a game would be more fun if one could put new twists on old tropes. It's not keeping track of canon that bothers me so much as it is that it's too easy to say, for instance, "that's not how Klingons act".
So what would it look like? I'd use Gabe Koerner's version of the Enterprise for the Constitution-class, just because it looks different from any of the existing ships while still being very recognizable.
For a similar reason, I'd be inclined to use these uniform designs. The late TNG-era uniforms and their followups have way too much black in them for Starfleet (it's an aesthetic thing, but military or paramilitary groups that dress heavily in black always seem to be up to no good).
On the tech front, I'd combine the communicator, PADD and tricorder into an iPhone-like thing. No transporters. The flight deck would be a lot bigger inside the ship, because I like the idea of it taking on more of an aircraft carrier like role and having a bunch of small craft that can be sent away on missions (besides, with no transporters this is important). The interior would have a similar feel to an aircraft carrier as well--less so than a sub but more than the traditional Trek ships.
The Federation itself would be a lot more like TOS's, with a clear desire to build a Roddenberian utopia but definitely not there yet. I don't like what some of the later shows did, where the Federation turns out to be a utopia with evil fascists lurking about. I think a genuinely "good" society that is trying to become better is more interesting. It allows me to play with ideas like prison planets or rehabilitation centres, and look at ways in which good intentions can lead to bad results.
Aliens are a mix of forehead people and really alien creatures. The forehead people are all derived from human stock, spread around the galaxy by the Preservers (basically the Ancients from Traveller, although I know a lot of fans had this scenario in mind for Trek before Traveller existed). I haven't tried to flesh out how I would change all the traditional adversaries, but here's what I'm thinking so far:
- Klingons: They would be the honorable enemy, with the proud warrior people/samurai vibe. I was initially tempted to go with the Klingons as the vicious clear badguy, but I wanted the Gorn to fill that role. Maybe they're descended from Neanderthals?
- Romulans: A faction or ethnic group within the Vulcans who want them to abandon their pacifism and embrace their emotional side. The Romulans are also Vulcan supremacists or isolationists or both, and some are involved in terrorism against the Federation.
- Gorn: The nasty, brutal badguys. Like intelligent velociraptors from Jurassic Park as opposed to real ones. The intention is that they're going to be very difficult for the Federation to co-exist with, at least not without significant change on their part (the idea that it's actually impossible to find a way to co-exist is unTrek, but they don't have a lot of redeeming features from our POV).
- Tholians: the weird adversaries, where the biggest challenge is generally figuring out what they even want.
- Borg: A transhumanist group operating within the Federation.
- Ferengi: Less comedy, more mafia. They would take over some of the role the Orions are supposed to play. The Orions could be elevated into that role too but the Ferengi are more visually interesting.