This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?  (Read 3796 times)

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4575
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2022, 05:20:31 PM »
To be fair to the later series, I think the *ratio* of time travel episodes within the series remained didn't increase - it may have even gone down. There were a lot more episodes later that involved time travel, but there were a lot more episodes total. Here's one person's summary:

https://www.higgypop.com/news/star-trek-time-travel/

That's 5 out of 79 in the original series, 10 out of 178 in The Next Generation, 10 out of 176 in Deep Space Nine, 11 out of 172 in Voyager, and 12 out of 98 in Enterprise.

That's a large number of episodes, but the vast majority of episodes have no time travel - so I agree that retconning them out isn't that difficult. Taking out transporters would be a lot more difficult, as they are used in nearly every episode.

Problem is that Enterprise skews this in a roundabout way as theres that whole "Temporal Cold War" arc. And Discovery has been doling out the time travel elements left and right. Picard too. Prior to that I'd say yes. It was not as prevalent or in some cases was time travel only in the most roundabout or superficial manner.

It even pops up as a story arc in the Star Trek early NES/SNES console games. And its all over the ST MMO.

As for Transporters. Those could actually also be easily removed and replaced with shuttles. A few episodes would need some sort of fast emergency pod like a suped up workbee for the rare few really close calls. Or other tech to extricate characters from whatever problem, or to get them into whatever problem.

Just a matter of how many hoops you want to jump through to get what you want. Much akin to say removing magic from Shadowrun. In some ways it impacts the setting not one bit as it's always treated the magic as an afterthought even when its supposedly prominent to a story.

I don't think removing transporters would change much at all to the overall story - except we'd lose Mirror, Mirror (which by itself was an interesting episode like Remember Me, but got out of hand with the mirror universe episodes in DS9) and Second Chances - since a lot of the time the writers had to find some reason that transporters didn't work to maintain tension.
That last part is why the Modiphius version is a heavily narrative game. In traditional games, people expect their gear (magic, tech, or magical tech) to have predictable results and not to go on the fritz for story reasons. In the narrative games, you always expect the gear to relatively unimportant unless you metacurrency it into being the most important thing.

I think that by plagiarizing getting your inspiration from sources other than ST you might solve the transporter problem without getting rid of it altogether.

In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

I don't remember the exact number but you were limited to certain ammount of kilometers, you needed several jumps between different cabins to manage to go around the globe (earth).

The speed limitation meant that both cabins had to be at a constant distance from each other and travelling at the same speed in the same direction.

Later the Pierson (titerotes in spanish sorry) are shown to have an open system which only requires a transmiter pad + receiver pad and has greater reach and tolerance for speed differentials.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

HappyDaze

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • H
  • Posts: 4872
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2022, 05:29:29 PM »
To be fair to the later series, I think the *ratio* of time travel episodes within the series remained didn't increase - it may have even gone down. There were a lot more episodes later that involved time travel, but there were a lot more episodes total. Here's one person's summary:

https://www.higgypop.com/news/star-trek-time-travel/

That's 5 out of 79 in the original series, 10 out of 178 in The Next Generation, 10 out of 176 in Deep Space Nine, 11 out of 172 in Voyager, and 12 out of 98 in Enterprise.

That's a large number of episodes, but the vast majority of episodes have no time travel - so I agree that retconning them out isn't that difficult. Taking out transporters would be a lot more difficult, as they are used in nearly every episode.

Problem is that Enterprise skews this in a roundabout way as theres that whole "Temporal Cold War" arc. And Discovery has been doling out the time travel elements left and right. Picard too. Prior to that I'd say yes. It was not as prevalent or in some cases was time travel only in the most roundabout or superficial manner.

It even pops up as a story arc in the Star Trek early NES/SNES console games. And its all over the ST MMO.

As for Transporters. Those could actually also be easily removed and replaced with shuttles. A few episodes would need some sort of fast emergency pod like a suped up workbee for the rare few really close calls. Or other tech to extricate characters from whatever problem, or to get them into whatever problem.

Just a matter of how many hoops you want to jump through to get what you want. Much akin to say removing magic from Shadowrun. In some ways it impacts the setting not one bit as it's always treated the magic as an afterthought even when its supposedly prominent to a story.

I don't think removing transporters would change much at all to the overall story - except we'd lose Mirror, Mirror (which by itself was an interesting episode like Remember Me, but got out of hand with the mirror universe episodes in DS9) and Second Chances - since a lot of the time the writers had to find some reason that transporters didn't work to maintain tension.
That last part is why the Modiphius version is a heavily narrative game. In traditional games, people expect their gear (magic, tech, or magical tech) to have predictable results and not to go on the fritz for story reasons. In the narrative games, you always expect the gear to relatively unimportant unless you metacurrency it into being the most important thing.

I think that by plagiarizing getting your inspiration from sources other than ST you might solve the transporter problem without getting rid of it altogether.

In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

I don't remember the exact number but you were limited to certain ammount of kilometers, you needed several jumps between different cabins to manage to go around the globe (earth).

The speed limitation meant that both cabins had to be at a constant distance from each other and travelling at the same speed in the same direction.

Later the Pierson (titerotes in spanish sorry) are shown to have an open system which only requires a transmiter pad + receiver pad and has greater reach and tolerance for speed differentials.
ST transporters already have a distance limit, but it's roughly 40-50k kilometers for Federation (and most other Alpha and Beta powers). OTOH, the Dominion has transporters that can beam people from nearby star systems...but they rarely make full use of it.

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4575
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2022, 06:06:20 PM »
To be fair to the later series, I think the *ratio* of time travel episodes within the series remained didn't increase - it may have even gone down. There were a lot more episodes later that involved time travel, but there were a lot more episodes total. Here's one person's summary:

https://www.higgypop.com/news/star-trek-time-travel/

That's 5 out of 79 in the original series, 10 out of 178 in The Next Generation, 10 out of 176 in Deep Space Nine, 11 out of 172 in Voyager, and 12 out of 98 in Enterprise.

That's a large number of episodes, but the vast majority of episodes have no time travel - so I agree that retconning them out isn't that difficult. Taking out transporters would be a lot more difficult, as they are used in nearly every episode.

Problem is that Enterprise skews this in a roundabout way as theres that whole "Temporal Cold War" arc. And Discovery has been doling out the time travel elements left and right. Picard too. Prior to that I'd say yes. It was not as prevalent or in some cases was time travel only in the most roundabout or superficial manner.

It even pops up as a story arc in the Star Trek early NES/SNES console games. And its all over the ST MMO.

As for Transporters. Those could actually also be easily removed and replaced with shuttles. A few episodes would need some sort of fast emergency pod like a suped up workbee for the rare few really close calls. Or other tech to extricate characters from whatever problem, or to get them into whatever problem.

Just a matter of how many hoops you want to jump through to get what you want. Much akin to say removing magic from Shadowrun. In some ways it impacts the setting not one bit as it's always treated the magic as an afterthought even when its supposedly prominent to a story.

I don't think removing transporters would change much at all to the overall story - except we'd lose Mirror, Mirror (which by itself was an interesting episode like Remember Me, but got out of hand with the mirror universe episodes in DS9) and Second Chances - since a lot of the time the writers had to find some reason that transporters didn't work to maintain tension.
That last part is why the Modiphius version is a heavily narrative game. In traditional games, people expect their gear (magic, tech, or magical tech) to have predictable results and not to go on the fritz for story reasons. In the narrative games, you always expect the gear to relatively unimportant unless you metacurrency it into being the most important thing.

I think that by plagiarizing getting your inspiration from sources other than ST you might solve the transporter problem without getting rid of it altogether.

In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

I don't remember the exact number but you were limited to certain ammount of kilometers, you needed several jumps between different cabins to manage to go around the globe (earth).

The speed limitation meant that both cabins had to be at a constant distance from each other and travelling at the same speed in the same direction.

Later the Pierson (titerotes in spanish sorry) are shown to have an open system which only requires a transmiter pad + receiver pad and has greater reach and tolerance for speed differentials.
ST transporters already have a distance limit, but it's roughly 40-50k kilometers for Federation (and most other Alpha and Beta powers). OTOH, the Dominion has transporters that can beam people from nearby star systems...but they rarely make full use of it.

Yeah, much less for ringworld humanity ones, plus the need of TWO cabins and the speed limitations.

This means you could still have one in a shuttle but the party needs to get to it and then beam themselves (one at the time) to the mothership assuming it's in a stationary orbit around the planet.

Instead of ST matter replicators Ringworld food kitchens. The latter need to be re stocked with organic matter and can't replicate a wellington steak, they just produce nutritious bars.

In the mother ship you still get more complex kitchens that do replicate more complex foods, but still need the organic matter source. It's a little less unobtanium or handwavium or whatever.

But fuck time travel, that shit only gives me head ache.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

HappyDaze

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • H
  • Posts: 4872
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2022, 08:38:34 PM »
This is pretty easily handwaved as happening according to the original timeline. The Enterprise E did not arrive - but neither did the Borg sphere that it was chasing, so the warp flight and contact happened - just not in the altered way portrayed in the "First Contact" movie.

In general, I think Star Trek would require some changes to the canon - but other than the score or so of individual incidents, I don't think that any of the broader background needs to change. The Federation wasn't portrayed as having a time police or similar organization.

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Temporal_Integrity_Commission

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Department_of_Temporal_Investigations

OK, it's a fair cop - I was wrong. Still, these aren't integral to the series, since they appear in only one episode each, it seems. Single episode continuity is pretty easy to cut. It doesn't change anything about the Federation broadly to cut these out of continuity.

I think the more significant is the Temporal Cold War that is central to the Star Trek: Enterprise, but even that doesn't affect most of the rest of the background.

I think the foundation was laid with the Gary Seven episode that demonstrated that time travel was safe and reliable enough for the Federation to use it for historical research.

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Assignment:_Earth_(episode)

The first thing I would retcon regarding time travel in Trek, is that it's a dangerous and unreliable tech, not only because of the danger of altering the timeline, but simply attempting it can strand a ship in some era where there's no backup, or wind up smashing the ship into a sun. (In the case of the warp-slingshot) A desperate technique not to be used for simple sightseeing.
I agree with this. If I was going to include time travel in the setting it would be hazardous and unreliable regardless of the tech involved (otherwise the obvious answer is to seek out more advanced tech for time travel). This is part of why I considered having the "time cops" not be humanoids from the future, but instead "timeless" aliens like Q running something like the organization from Loki (perhaps with El-Aurians being their agents).
SPOILER




















Picard Spoiler:
Quoting myself to add that apparently Picard (the series, not the character) has now.shown that the Travellers (including Wesley Crusher) do police the timeline and recruit agents to help them.

Chris24601

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • C
  • Posts: 2303
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2022, 10:59:05 AM »
When I ran Star Trek, the most interesting thing I noticed was that players initially had a hard time breaking away from the adventurer mindset of doing everything themselves when there’s a ship with a crew of 200 specialists in orbit just waiting to help you fulfill your mission. Once they broke that (with the honor of breaking it going to them calling upon the ship’s logistics officer who turned out to be a damned fine forensic accountant) I was free to set up challenges beyond those the actual PCs had the skills for because they knew that in most situations they could call upon the ship (where the captain was established as a ‘reasonable authority figure’).

The only change to the lore I had to make for practicality’s sake was establish that you can’t actually replicate a replicator (in the game I established that key components are made from latinum; which DS9 established as intrinsically valuable because it can’t be replicated… making it a key element of replicators established WHY it was so valuable in my campaign)… and the need for and disappearance of a number of industrial replicators was a key plot point during the middle stages of that campaign.

Honestly, the easiest way to deal with time travel isn’t to outright ban it, just don’t have it come up and say the current Federation warp drives can’t perform the slingshot maneuver… it was something specific to the 23rd Century drives and the retrofit from lithium to dilithium that made it possible… modern drives just don’t have the imprecision needed to allow the time travel equations to work.

Lurkndog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 483
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2022, 12:43:59 PM »
If I was going to handle time travel for a Trek-like game, I'd ban it in the primary sourcebook. Just no.

And then if I really thought I had a good idea for a time travel adventure, I'd put it into a standalone module/splatbook. And then playtest the hell out of it so it would stand up to player actions.

That way GMs can opt to use it, and have a rigorously tested set of rules for it, or they can say "We don't use the 'Time Travel Doesn't Suck' expansion, because time travel always sucks."

You would also be able to say "that was only for that module" if you didn't want player characters trying to change time every single time they hit an obstacle after that point.

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4575
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2022, 03:33:17 PM »
When I ran Star Trek, the most interesting thing I noticed was that players initially had a hard time breaking away from the adventurer mindset of doing everything themselves when there’s a ship with a crew of 200 specialists in orbit just waiting to help you fulfill your mission. Once they broke that (with the honor of breaking it going to them calling upon the ship’s logistics officer who turned out to be a damned fine forensic accountant) I was free to set up challenges beyond those the actual PCs had the skills for because they knew that in most situations they could call upon the ship (where the captain was established as a ‘reasonable authority figure’).

The only change to the lore I had to make for practicality’s sake was establish that you can’t actually replicate a replicator (in the game I established that key components are made from latinum; which DS9 established as intrinsically valuable because it can’t be replicated… making it a key element of replicators established WHY it was so valuable in my campaign)… and the need for and disappearance of a number of industrial replicators was a key plot point during the middle stages of that campaign.

Honestly, the easiest way to deal with time travel isn’t to outright ban it, just don’t have it come up and say the current Federation warp drives can’t perform the slingshot maneuver… it was something specific to the 23rd Century drives and the retrofit from lithium to dilithium that made it possible… modern drives just don’t have the imprecision needed to allow the time travel equations to work.

Nice, now I can have my space pirates raiding any ship for their latinum, and/or the mines/ore transports/whatever.

IF I was to run any space game with big ships I would hand the crew to the players, ALL the crew are PCs, let them work for their glory while I handle the sector/universe and the baddies/NPCs.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Omega

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • O
  • Posts: 15933
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2022, 07:06:44 PM »
In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

Big problem is that Ringworld teleporters kill you.

Star Trek transporters do not. (despite a hateful claim by at least one TNG writer that has been proven false.)

No one in their right mind is ever going to submit to being killed and a copy takes their place.

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4575
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2022, 02:26:11 AM »
In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

Big problem is that Ringworld teleporters kill you.

Star Trek transporters do not. (despite a hateful claim by at least one TNG writer that has been proven false.)

No one in their right mind is ever going to submit to being killed and a copy takes their place.

HUH? Where do you get that from?
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Tantavalist

  • Newbie
  • *
  • T
  • Posts: 44
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2022, 04:00:03 AM »
The latest Modiphius version of Star Trek actually has a way to simulate the non-PC crew. One of the metacurrencies is the "Crew Pool" and spending a point allows players to activate a secondary character who they can also play for the rest of the session. These can be generated pretty quickly if you need a character who's not available and "Recurring Characters" get a stat bump each time they're re-used until they become the equal of an actual main PC. (Arguably, seen through this lens Kirk, Spock and McCoy were the Main PCs of the original crew and anyone else was a minor character who in some cases got re-used often enough to reach Main equivalency.)

This means that if a session requires skills that no PC has or there's a narrative reason that a player's Main can't take part in the primary focus of the session then they just use another crew member. There's hundreds if (in some cases thousands) of NPC crew members on the ship. This lets the players hand a task to them without then having to twiddle their thumbs while the GM rolls dice. It's protected from over-abuse by being a limited pool (based on the size of the ship and therefore the size of the crew) and it also solves the issue of "But what if no player wants to be the Pilot/Engineer/Whatever".


A lot of people (especially here) don't like narrative games and metacurrency. But from a mechanical perspective I'd argue that Narrative rules are the only way to make the events in a session of a Star Trek RPG feel like an episode of a Star Trek TV show without GM fiat. Attempting to run Star Trek with a simulationist ruleset ends up with something that's not actually Star Trek and just dressin up as it. The Star Fleet Battles universe is the best example of this; it looks like Star Trek but it's actually it's own very different thing (even if that thing isn't bad).

Omega

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • O
  • Posts: 15933
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2022, 04:21:58 AM »
In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

Big problem is that Ringworld teleporters kill you.

Star Trek transporters do not. (despite a hateful claim by at least one TNG writer that has been proven false.)

No one in their right mind is ever going to submit to being killed and a copy takes their place.

HUH? Where do you get that from?

Which part?
The Ringworld teleporter secret was discovered in the Gill the Arm stories. If I recall right he opts to keep it a secret as people would flip out if they ever found out. Im rather surprised the Puppeteers use them at all considering how paranoid about any harm they are.

The TNG bit was in an interview with one of the writers.

Koltar

  • Openly GURPS Loving
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8181
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2022, 03:51:04 PM »
Whats the Big deal here??

Are you the GM of the game or campaign?

Easy solution then - there is NO 'time travel' with your player characters.
See?

 Its just that easy.

However, Within 'Starfleet' there may be rumors that time travel has happened before and had ripple effects - but all of that is classified and player characters don't have to be bothered with it.

- Ed C
The return of 'You can't take the Sky From me!'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUn-eN8mkDw&feature=rec-fresh+div

This is what a really cool FANTASY RPG should be like :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-WnjVUBDbs

Still here, still alive, at least Seven years now...

Mishihari

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • M
  • Posts: 642
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2022, 05:06:21 PM »
In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

Star Trek transporters do not. (despite a hateful claim by at least one TNG writer that has been proven false.)

No one in their right mind is ever going to submit to being killed and a copy takes their place.

In conversations I've had with Trek fans, they seem split about 50/50 on whether transporters move a person or kill them and make a new copy.    I specifically remember reading in the books that McCoy believes that it kills the original.  For me, I haven't seen enough about hot it's supposed to work to have a firm opinion.  Or seen a canonical opinion of whether the soul moves, which I  would consider the greater issue.

Koltar

  • Openly GURPS Loving
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8181
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2022, 05:28:03 PM »
Oy Vey!!
 There s no "Transporter question" or 'controversy - just people ho like to argue too much.

The setting r rules f the universe say that Transporters 'work!' and SHOW them working quite often.

There....Done with it.

Everything else is geeks or nerds with too much time on their hands (Really FUN song by STYX by-the-way)

Its your campaign - just say that transporters work as advertised.
-Ed C.
The return of 'You can't take the Sky From me!'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUn-eN8mkDw&feature=rec-fresh+div

This is what a really cool FANTASY RPG should be like :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-WnjVUBDbs

Still here, still alive, at least Seven years now...

GeekyBugle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4575
  • Now even more Toxic
Re: Star Trek RPG... What if there is no time travel?
« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2022, 10:13:47 PM »
In Ringworld humanity has transporters, they are closed cabins and have a distance/speed limitation.

Big problem is that Ringworld teleporters kill you.

Star Trek transporters do not. (despite a hateful claim by at least one TNG writer that has been proven false.)

No one in their right mind is ever going to submit to being killed and a copy takes their place.

HUH? Where do you get that from?

Which part?
The Ringworld teleporter secret was discovered in the Gill the Arm stories. If I recall right he opts to keep it a secret as people would flip out if they ever found out. Im rather surprised the Puppeteers use them at all considering how paranoid about any harm they are.

The TNG bit was in an interview with one of the writers.

Yes, the Ringwolrd part.

I don't remember those stories, where are they published if you remember?

Now, lets get phylosophical for a bit:

How the fuck would anyone KNOW that what came out on the other side was a copy? I mean exact same DNA, exact same memories, how would anyone prove it wasn't YOU but YOUp?
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell