Star Trek is a sweeping space opera that involves countless worlds and even more alien beings. The numbers are simply staggering, and in the case of individuals, incalculable. Despite this, Star Trek stories are frequently personal. They involve family, loved ones, old friendships tested, betrayals, deceit, and all the stuff that makes drama…well…dramatic.
Whether these personal moments are interactions between established crew members, or those introduced by the events of a particular episode, making a Star Trek story personal makes it actually mean something. This gives the tale a life and feeling, it escalates dangers from being cold and removed to matters of the heart. And for a tabletop environment, it gives the players something to care about beyond the numbers.
This episode of our Star Trek campaign was very personal. In the one I ran, I had a player who played a Caitian Security Officer. In a twist of irony, he came from a family of rogues and ne’er-do-wells. It was this character’s desire to rise above his family’s choices and become something greater, at least in the light of law, order, and civility. From the onset of this character’s genesis, I knew I wanted to target that relationship: it was a plot handed to me on a silver platter.
The Genesis Event offered a prime excuse for a vicious, personal plot: the Genesis Wave had wiped out the Caitian homeworld and the species was in a chaotic state of relocation. This made them prime targets for plunder and exploitation, both by species outside their own and, more tragically, by those selfish few within their own species.
And thus my plot was hatched: rogue/pirate family members would play on familial allegiances to gain access to something powerful that could safeguard their vulnerable peoples versus plundering pirates!
For our group, the episode worked fantastically, with emotional ties being tugged, allegiances questioned, and motivations complicated.
This episode will likely require some tailoring to fit any given group, but it would be well worth the effort!