Monday, December 17, 2012

The Pulp Core of Trek

I was musing on Google+ the other day about how all the speculation on the identity of Cumberbatch's character in the upcoming second Abrams Star Trek film had got me thinking about playing a Trek game. There was some enthusiasm for that so I've thought about it a bit more--even though I don't know if anything would ever come of it.

While I've enjoyed all the Trek series (well, maybe not Voyager) to one degree or another, my favorite has always been the original. It's very much of it's era which gives it a cool design sense and adapts a lot of Golden Age and pulp science fiction elements. The "core canon" for my game would be the original series.

(As an aside, I'd say that a lot of later accretations on the Trek universe have served to downplay the old school science fiction feel. Genetic supermen and a interplanetary sleeper ship coming from the 1990s does not suggest the 20th century history of space travel in Trek played out like it did in our history, but rather more like the imaginings of Werner von Braun and Willy Ley.)

I mean, what would Trek be without Rigel II cabaret dancers?

I wouldn't leave it there, though. The now-noncanonical animated series adds the Kzinti (among other stuff) to the mix. Got to have these guys:

James Blish's novelizations of the original episodes give them a subtle sci-fi lit spin: I think Trek is better with a mysterious Vegan Tyranny in it's past than without it. Always early fan documents add a lot of stuff. The Starfleet Officer's Manual and Star Trek Maps are definitely in--as are parts of the totally out there on its on but well illustrated Spaceflight Chronology.

Anyway, that's the idea. We'll see.


Jens D. said...

Sounds great :) Maybe you'd find this usefull:

It's a DIY Star Trek Script Flowchart I bookmarked some time ago for no other reason than "Maybe one day...".

Sean Robson said...

Yep, the original series was certainly a product of its times and of the pulp science fiction stories that Gene Roddenberry undoubtedly grew up reading. The Forbidden Planet was almost certainly a blue-print for Star Trek, and Leslie Nielson's Commander John Adams an earlier model of Shatner's James Kirk.

I think that modern Trek series have strayed too far from the source material and lost a lot of the flavour that made the original series so special. That, and I really miss female crew members in mini-skirts and go-go boots. ;)

knobgobbler said...

TOS is the era that feels most gameable to me... the earlier 'anything goes' stage, before all the codification... before the rabid fans started talking about canon vs. non-canon. It's wild and weird and colorful, wide open to whatever players might come up with.

Trey said...

@JD - Thanks!

@Knobgobbler - I totally agree.

Ekimus said...

Take a look at these rules:

Where No Man Has Gone Before

They're awesome!