Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Brain Squirrels

Let me tell you about brain squirrels.

Have you ever been just doing your thing, minding your own business, when out of nowhere you get a crazy idea or mad urge to do something and your brain just seizes upon it like a drowning man grabbing hold of a rescue line and refuses to let go? And for the rest of the day (or longer) your brain is obsessed with it, working out the how without even bothering to wonder about the why?

That's a brain squirrel. Although mine often turn into brain hamsters because they just love to run on that squeaky wheel inside my brain, which is how I envision my mind trying to turn a weird idea into something actionable.

Why do I bring this up? I'm glad you asked.

You see, for several months now I've been having this nagging desire to run a Star Trek role-playing game. Now normally this would not be a problem, however:
  1. I already have a perfectly good science fiction RPG (Traveller) on the back burner. I really do want to finish that campaign before I start another one similar to it. 
  2. I haven't seen every episode of every series out there. This is a problem because, as we all know, Trekkies are HUGE canon mavens and someone will inevitably reference something I haven't seen. 
    • Best case scenario: I have to pause the game to look things up. 
    • Worst case scenario: canon conflicts with my adventure and I have to change things. 
  3. Speaking of which, the canon is inconsistent, sometimes even within the same series, and is often contradictory or flat-out nonsensical. 
  4. I'd go mad trying to reconcile it all, and if I force things to make sense I'll end up re-writing the universe so drastically that it will look like a cross between The Orville and Battlestar Galactica.
    • How drastically? If I go down that road, I end up with an alternate universe where the Klingons don't use Cloaking Devices, Starfleet divisions have a fourth color, transporters use quantum tunneling to briefly co-locate people rather than turn them into energy, replicators can't create anything more complex than macromolecules, and it's impossible to have battles at warp speed unless your warp fields touch.
    • Then I start adding things like "Every Starfleet vessel aboard a certain class needs a dedicated Diplomatic Officer" because being a good captain != being a good diplomat. This Diplomatic Officer might, or might not, also work for Starfleet Intelligence...
    • At which point it isn't Star Trek. It's at best a Trek-flavored knock-off.
And yet, despite these very good reasons why I shouldn't do it, my brain squirrel-hamsters have decreed that I must as the very least figure out how to run a Star Trek RPG. That shouldn't be so hard, right? There have been no fewer than four licensed and therefore official RPG adaptions (by FASA, Last Unicorn Games, Decipher, and Modiphius) and approximately umpty-bajillion unofficial ones, so I clearly have an embarrassment of riches from which I can select a game engine, right?


Hahahahah. I scoff at your logic. My brain squirrels have declared that none of the existing Star Trek RPGs are suitable for how I'd want to run things, which means that to make the squeaking wheel in my head stop I'll have to design my own. 

Gentlefolk, this is how Game Masters go mad.

1 comment:

  1. Very familiar with brain squirrels. I keep a sketchbook on my desk so that I can draw ideas out when they appear in my head and won't let me work until I get them out.


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