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Thread: Star Trek 11

  1. #1

    Star Trek 11

    I was wondering how many people are going to use information from the newest Star Trek movie in their campaigns. Personally, I see it as a good excuse to re-create Star Trek in my own image though I intend to change one aspect of the movie. Instead of having Vulcan completely destroyed, I intend to have it almost destroyed. The result being an emotional zeitgeist in Vulcan culture that is causing many Vulcans to reconsider their dedication to emotionlessness. The in game consideration is that I would be more willing to allow Vulcan characters to buy off their empathy penalties and code of honor.

    In addition, there are problems I have always had with the Prime Directive, and I intend to nerf if some. I have a problem with the conclusion that a primitive cultures capacity to withstand extra-terrestrial contact is purely based upon their technological advances. I instead I feel that is should be based more on the sociological advancement of the culture. Mainly, I intend to presuppose that the soft sciences have advanced enough that they can better determine when a society is socially able to handle first contact. The mechanical considerations for this idea is that the Code of Honor: Prime Directive will be reduced in power and an as yet unnamed bureaucracy will be created that will be in charge of first contact mission decisions and several new specialty skills will be created. So far I have, Law (Prime Directive) and Administration (prime directive bureau). This will also allow background considerations that are not currently available like races from more primitive homeworlds and characters with primitive contact training and tour backgrounds.

    I am also planning to use the older Spock's knowledge of the future to allow Starfleet to be ready for the Borg incursion. The result is that the Federation is doing a lot research for advanced warships and weaponry with no real enemy in sight, and since all of this preparation is being done in secret, there is much speculation by both enemy governments and Federation citizens about the purpose of the military readiness. Only players who make characters with high security clearances and appropriate backgrounds would be allowed to have knowledge and skills related to the Borg. The Federation will also have advanced awareness of the Dominion War, but I have not decided if the Dominion War is certain. The Dominion might not be so brave if the Federation is a war ready entity.

    One other major change I intend to make to the Star Trek universe is that I am intending to truncate Star Trek history to allow myself the best of all the series and movies. I like the costumes and feel of the TOS series and movies, but I like the ship selection and some of the advances the TNG family of series and movies. I would like to see Constellation and Miranda class ships serving alongside Galaxy and Akira class ships. I like the uniforms and personal equipment of TOS and the replicators of TNG, but I am planning on replacing the holodecks with VR chairs to save space and maintain accessibility. I think holodecks take up too much real estate, but I like holodeck story concepts.

    One final thought before I finish this post is that I am trying to come up with a means of economic transaction, and I am thinking of developing a Wealth trait. The reasoning is that in Star Trek II Bones obtained illegal Romulan ale, and in Star VI, the retiring Captain Scott had just bought a boat. What did Bones and Scotty use to buy their respective treasures? I am still uncertain of the full mechanics, but I have determined that for characters that have regular employment like Starfleet captains and dabo girls have a base pay modified by Intellect, Logic, and appropriate traits and skills. Characters with imprecise income flows like thieves, honest businessmen, and dishonest business man needs some sort of floating Wealth trait to reflect the ins and outs of the business world, but the mechanics would require more work to be useful and may have to be decided on a case by case basis.

    I am curious of what other changes GM's and players have used or would like to use regarding the Star Trek universe for their games.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Rotwang View Post
    One final thought before I finish this post is that I am trying to come up with a means of economic transaction, and I am thinking of developing a Wealth trait. The reasoning is that in Star Trek II Bones obtained illegal Romulan ale, and in Star VI, the retiring Captain Scott had just bought a boat. What did Bones and Scotty use to buy their respective treasures?
    Well, McCoy said he had a freighter captain that brought some in for him every once in a while. It's possible McCoy has access to a non-Earth/Federation currency (possibly gained while he was away from Starfleet before TMP), or that the freighter captain is simply an old friend. Scott's boat might also be some sort of exchange of equivalent credit-value (a boat on Norpin V for an apartment in Aberdeen?).

    So would this trait replace the Wealth advantage from the DS9 core?
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  3. #3
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    My impression of the economics of the future based on TOS and TOS:movies is that there are no physical monies in the Federation, but there is electronic wealth accrual (pizza scene in ST:IV, an ep of TOS where Kirk is yelling at ?Scotty? to earn his pay).
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  4. #4
    I am not that familiar with wealth from the DS9 book. I have a pdf I had downloaded of it, but I haven't really had the time to read it. I might be able to use it as a starting base.

  5. #5
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    I always considered money to be still in existence in the Federation, but mainly in a virtual form.
    That is, every Federation citizen is alloted a base allocation, which is kept mainly as numbers in computers, which is then used to "purchase" transporter credits, replicator rations, and so on (the allocation being of course calculated so that everyone can live a comfortable life with it).
    This allocation is then increased if the citizen engages in an activity useful to others, like being a farmer, chef, scientist, Starfleet officer, etc.
    And finally, some or all of this allocation can be converted to a foreign currency (like latinium for instance), for trade with other powers.

    That's how I considered wealth to be handled in my version of the Federation. Of course, there are examples in the show that contradict it (including McCoy's comment in STXI about his divorce costing him a lot, but I don't consider this movie to be canon in my universe).
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
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  6. #6
    Here is how I am thinking about handling that. Federation citizens have specially slotted credit cards that can plug into most Federation shopping consoles and when citizens need actual currency the plug them into specially designed replicators that give plastic chips in appropriate denominations and to reduce counterfeiting, this replicator inserts special identification dyes.

  7. #7
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    Here's how I see the "money" situation in ST. Rather than being paid cash, people recieve a "compensation package" for their activities. If their work is socially beneficial, their compensation is higher than other peoples, but generation of personal wealth isn't a motivating factor in people's lives so no one really worries about it much.

    Every person on most Federation worlds has enough food & other resources to live comfortably, what compensation they get above that is probably not worth thinking about on a day to day basis.
    "Star Trekkin' across the universe, On the Starship Enterprise, Under Captain Kirk.
    Star Trekkin' across the universe, Boldly going forward 'cause we can't find reverse."
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  8. #8
    I just think someone should point out... most of these answers rely on some constructed standard of the relative value of a person's contribution to society. While not necessarily something UE or the Federation wouldn't do, it could be looked at by outsiders as a palaeosocial human need to create a hierarchical framework for individuals to judge each other by, and thus, perhaps, constitute a form of arbitrary discrimination. Humans would probably counter that, hey, nobody's starving or killing each other en masse, so it can't be that bad, but I could see certain other species in the Federation looking askance at it.
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  9. #9
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    How is that worse than the system that we use today in Western countries? At least by compensating people for giving back to society (rather than allowing those that can to take all they want) you create a system that encourages people to look out for each other.

    Total Capitalism is as bad as total Communism, both create systems where wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a few elites, while the masses are left to foot the bill.

    In the Federation, I don't think anyone will be getting a fat payout for firing hundreds of people to turn a profit.
    "Star Trekkin' across the universe, On the Starship Enterprise, Under Captain Kirk.
    Star Trekkin' across the universe, Boldly going forward 'cause we can't find reverse."
    Star Trekkin' by The Firm.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroArmour View Post
    In the Federation, I don't think anyone will be getting a fat payout for firing hundreds of people to turn a profit.
    Well, no, there won't be. To a human*, the future of humanity in Star Trek seems pretty decent (except for getting erased due to time travel every week). I'm all for the abolition of capitalism–it's just that the Federation has cultures with different historical contexts and biological imperatives behind their social structures. To, say, an Argelian or Chrysalian or whatever, giving Gideon Seyetik access to more resources due to his popularity or esteeming terraforming over haberdashery might seem as unfair or arbitrary as a caste system. I imagine much of inter-Federation diplomacy and admission procedures is making sure everybody groks were everyone else is coming from in, and why what they want is what they want.

    *Except that stardestroyer.net guy.
    Last edited by The Tatterdemalion King; 12-13-2009 at 03:58 AM.
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  11. #11
    First, a communistic ideal might work for the main planets of the Federation like Earth or Vulcan, but it wouldn't work with planets on the hinterland who might have to trade with other cultures for survival or that might need to offer special incentives to obtain the goods and services they need.

    As for whether capitalism is bad or good, it is necessary to define which style of capitalism you are trying to describe. There are two. The bad capitalism, which is based upon greed and selfishness, is detrimental to any society that practices it. The good capitalism is sometimes called the free market system and maintains a degree of fairness in transactions. The problem is when corporations obtain an unfair legal advantage over smaller enterprises the free market system is overthrown; so, the problem is not capitalism. It is greed.

    I won't go into my opinion about communism, but the main thing I like about role-playing games is the story writing aspect, and I have eclectic story writing interests, and I would like a system and background that gives me the most story opportunities possible without changing systems. I would like to create a new universe from scratch, but I don't have energy or the artistic skills to come up with a complete universe. I have looked at both Star Wars and Star Trek and both universes allow for a wide range of story ideas, but I would like wider still, and I have come to the conclusion that Star Trek is easier to modify to my needs. So, when I say Star Trek, I actually should say Star Trek-like.

    The biggest problem with Star Trek is the universe is based upon philosophical concepts that I have trouble getting my mind around. It is based on the enlightenment's belief in the basic goodness and perfectibility of man. I have difficulty believing this to be true, and true or not, it eliminates a lot of the Man vs Himself conflicts that are common in classic literature, and the communistic society eliminates evil corporations as villains and honest traders as heroes and the story potentials both provide.

  12. #12
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    "- Of course we run. But for recreation. For fun
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    Someone once made on this board a very valid argument on how we judge people in Trek as we would from our century - that is, roughly, how we think of them as people of the 21st century having access to Trek's 24th century technology, instead of people being born there.
    What we now see as work may have become an entertaining hobby in the 24th century - but even for a hobby can people be competitive.

    I think greed and selfishness still can exist in Trek, no matter what Picard says in First Contact (he's an idealist, after all - Quark's speech in The siege of AR-558 and Sisko's comment on how "it's easy to be a saint in paradise" may be closer to the truth), but not in the form we see today.
    These people do live in a world where manufacturing goods costs almost nothing, but not everything else. People can compete for artistic, scientific or athletic achievements. Maybe people like Sisko's father are actually engaged in harsh competition with others to be the best restaurant in the city (or the planet). Scientists can be ready to betray friends to have their names attached to an important discovery. Holonovelists could regroup in some guilds to write the best possible stories and best their fellow guilds. And some people may decide to take trade as a hobby, trying to make more profit than others not for profit itself, but just to best their peers (ends justifying the means - it's not because it's a hobby that you have to be honourable about it).

    And of course, all of this is for Federation core worlds or old colonies. I expect a newly formed colony, or one close to non-Federation worlds, would have to rely on old-fashioned labour and trade to get what they need.

    So there may well be place for an equivalent of wealth in Trek, only it would not be about money, but for instance fame or craftsmanship. Think for instance of how land used to be a measure of wealth in Medieval Europe (and I heard cattle is still used today for Masaļ tribes in Africa), while now we are thinking more in terms of shares. Federation citizens may find the idea of judging wealth based on material possessions stupid, but may be closer to understanding for instance our current fondness for sport competitions.

    For instance... I once invented on the fly a Trill NPC who was a dealer in exotic perfumes, traveling across worlds to sell his creations. I did not develop the character further as the time, but he could be engaged in a race with other people like him to create the best perfumes, using the money (be it virtual Federation credits or other goods or currency) they earn as a way to compare their success.
    Last edited by C5; 12-14-2009 at 03:21 AM.
    "The main difference between Trekkies and Manchester United fans is that Trekkies never trashed a train carriage. So why are the Trekkies the social outcasts?"
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  13. #13
    I admit. I do believe that people can get to where they are not necessarily as money-centric as we are now, but that does not eliminate the need for money or something like it. Trading objects and services would be great for a small village, but society would need something more portable and more consistent in value as it grows larger in population and territory.

    Besides, even within reasonable ranges of wealth desire, some people will want or need more material wealth to obtain their personal goals than others. If your hobby is origami, you would not have the same material need as someone who collects rare art.

  14. #14
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    I often say that we don't get the workings of the UFP the same way a 15th Century nobleman wouldn't get our society. ("You let all your citizens vote? Even the laborers? Surely you don't let serfs vote?")

    There are always references to money, jobs and business in the various Trek programs that point to some kind of money/compensation system. One that stands out is all those miners you see (from the guys in 'Devil in the Dark' to Ezri Dax's family) throughout the franchise. They seem to be earning, since they seem to have disposable income (for wives and nice houses), and they don't like getting behind on production. There has to be some kind incentive there. Kirk said money didn't exist in the 23rd century, Picard said people no longer strive for personal gain (or something like that).
    But in the end, it's your universe. I can't remember who, but someone on this board made the typical FED citizen basicly a fat, lazy couch potato who didn't work and waited for new treasures to be brought to him by SF!
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Rotwang View Post
    First, a communistic ideal might work for the main planets of the Federation like Earth or Vulcan, but it wouldn't work with planets on the hinterland who might have to trade with other cultures for survival or that might need to offer special incentives to obtain the goods and services they need.
    Trade's existed for a lot longer than investment capitalism; the kinds of systemized or informal economic relationships that could exist on the innumerable frontier worlds of the Federation probably number with the stars themselves.

    As for whether capitalism is bad or good, it is necessary to define which style of capitalism you are trying to describe...
    Let's just say I have a dim view of human nature : P

    The biggest problem with Star Trek is the universe is based upon philosophical concepts that I have trouble getting my mind around. It is based on the enlightenment's belief in the basic goodness and perfectibility of man.
    I think that concept varies with the individual writer. TOS did not display a perfected humanity; instead there were examples of enlightened humans. Kirk, Spock and McCoy's sense of ethics weren't a universal. Roddenberry himself became more crazytown utopian as he aged, and it showed in the blandness of early TNG. Given the language they use ("We've evolved since blah blah blah"), you could be forgiven for thinking the humans of TNG were genetically engineered into a new, more placid species. Combined with the replicators, it created an impression of an end-of-history magical utopia, and glossed over the questions which dominate, say, an RPG session ("How many cinder blocks per hour can we make? How long would it take to build a city? Why am I risking my life in space instead of living in a holodeck 24/7?").

    After the end of TNG, there was a bit of a watershed. The writers who came to DS9 posited that there was no essential change to human nature, and that the Federation is built on wise moral choices, learned the hard way ("Past Tense"), and that these choices are constantly before us ("In The Pale Moonlight," "The Seige of AR-558"). The Federation has a history of integrity, but it's not perfect, and DS9 even used groups like the Maquis and the Ferengi–set up in TNG as adversaries–to comment on elements of hypocrisy or darker corners of the Federation presented in the series. VOY, perhaps due to network pressure, perhaps due to lack of cajones, or both, seemed to shrink back from actually confronting the moral difficulties faced by the crew (not to mention the technical ones), thus semi-reinforcing the bland, thoughtless 'better-ness' that TNG seemed to imply.
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