Ahhh, the Guardian of Forever, easily one of the Original Series’ most iconic entities. It was introduced in the “The City on the Edge of Forever” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever), an episode heralded by many as the best of the Original Series’ run. That point is up for fair debate, but what is inarguable is the Guardian’s longevity. The entity (or device…or just simply, “thing”) encapsulates much of what Star Trek is about: unknown, exploration of deeper meanings, grand power (and more importantly, what it means to wield it), and place in the universe.
It should be no surprise, then, that the Guardian would make its appearance in my Star Trek game.
Like most Original Series episodes, however, this one would not hold up to traditional table top gaming; there simply isn’t enough material (as is) to entertain a group of nine players. But the Guardian, and its capabilities, intrigued me. The notion of being able to go back in time to witness, or directly impact, an historic moment in time is fascinating. To make things even more tantalizing, with a universe as diverse and detailed as Star Trek, the potential “historic moments” are numerous!
So, I wanted something that would be familiar, something that would grab and entice and compel to keep “correct”. But I also wanted to avoid some elements that had been overused (World War II, for example). Finally, after a great deal of thought and reading, I settled on a Star Trek historical event, one that was entirely fictitious, but utterly necessary to the proper evolution of the universe. I settled on First Contact (the movie; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_First_Contact).
Staging the episode during the night of the Borg attack on the Phoenix provided the episode with a setting and foe that was simultaneously undeniable and exhilarating. This provided the players an opportunity to interact with a reviled and feared enemy, contend with a scene many knew quite well, applied an external pressure not typical of the Star Trek episodic adventures previous detailed, and, ultimately, produced one of the most tragic moments in the game. When a young Trill science cadet was infected with assimilating nanites, the tension at the table was real. As the player ultimately settled on a strange dual-symbiosis between symbiont, nanite, and host the excitement and enthusiasm for the character’s evolution was felt by all.
It was, as all roleplaying sessions ought to be, ridiculously fun and ripe with long-lasting memories.