Joseph Erwin – Freelance Dungeon Master

Join in the Adventures!

Star Trek RPGs

…and why the micro-RPG Lasers and Feelings is the best one.

Star Trek is a universe which simply does not lend itself well to large rulebooks and complex rules. Or rather, it lends itself to complexity too well.

Star Trek is a richly textured universe (at least, the golden age of Star Trek is), and what are fans but people who obsess over small details? The problem is that that is exactly what causes most of the issues I see in Star Trek RPGs.

Pictured: Someone’s love and dedication to a thing they enjoy.

I’m not here to dress them down; play what you want! I am no stranger to owning and enjoying systems which can be a little more complex than they need to be in order to tell a good story (Vampire: The Masquerade, Dungeons and Dragons, and Coyote and Crow spring to mind), but I still love them!

But here’s the thing about Star Trek: It is based primarily on TV shows, with the structure and presentation of something made for getting across a good story in around 40 minutes. As such, the plots which lend themselves well to Star Trek follow a similar structure, at least as far as making an adventure which feels “authentically” Star Trek.

Pictured: a very rare occurrence in any Star Trek adventure. This is from the new Trek, if anything.

And though Star Trek has a deal of complexity, most of it is simply consistency of language (i.e. regular reference of familiar technology items), and complex language which hints at greater detail. On the whole, the source material of Star Trek is more about characters and drama than it is about the tech or combat.

Most Star Trek RPGs have excessive skill lists and details which not only prolong character creation but make it harder to play fast-and-loose with a character and the things that make them, well, them.

This is why Lasers and Feelings is the best Star Trek RPG.

It boils down everything about a character to a single number representing one’s capacity to function in situations which require Lasers (knowledge, logic, cool-headed thinking), of Feelings (fighting, quick action, passion, social situations).

With a few other details to generally give guidelines for personality, you can get going with playing them like the Star Trek character they are; a being too complex to be simply encapsulated with exact ratings for skill levels, traits with exacting rules, and a pigeon-holed character class which limits their choices.

It’s enough to know that they are a brilliant strategist, a bold risk-taking captain, a sensitive ensign engineer, or a misanthropic warrior who needs to learn how to crack their own shell, just a bit.

Published by Joe Erwin

I am an independent creator and GM with a deep love of storytelling and adventure! I desire most to share these things with others, and I hope to do that through my work and my writing.

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