I’ve been kicking around a few ideas for a sci-fi campaign for our Saturday group, and started working on a Star Trek campaign.  Trek represents a particular problem for the GM that wants to fiddle with Roddenberry’s universe due to the canon-thumpers in its fandom, but fortunately, I don’t have those in this group.  We’re going back to the original show period, and keeping elements from both the Original Series and the new Abrams movie, but this will be its own universe.

One thing that has to be fleshed out:  the United Federation of Planets… How does it work?  What are the politics?  Is it federal, confederacy, or a unified government?  Working from the Abrams movie and the first six or seven episodes of the show, I’ve chosen a very loose federal system:  most of the worlds and their colonies are ruled from their respective planetary governments, but overall security is handled by the UFP and Starfleet.  Poverty, hunger, energy allocation — that’s all been handled in a post-scarcity economy…on the home worlds.  The colonies are another story.

Most of the colonies are either outposts struggling to get the ecologies of their respective worlds wrestled into shape, or are refusniks — worlds where the settlers are moving to escape the new government, or to preserve their particular culture.  (Remember how often people weren’t happy to see Starfleet in TOS?) One of the players is particularly interested in exploring the identity issue of colonial worlds.

To make things worse, there’s a shortage of usable real estate out there in space; plenty of rocky, desolate worlds to land on, but not too many “Class M” planets.  This gives more reason for the respective great powers of the ST universe to need to squabble over those places that can support humanoid life.

Gone are the “head of the week” aliens.  Our imaginations have a bigger budget than Abrams had, so less head prosthetic and more weirdness.  Most of the TNG and later alien races are aced  — I’m keeping the big boys from the show and a few from the movie — but the gangster and Nazi planets..?  Gone.  So Klingons (with ridges), Romluans (without; they’re a nation of Vulcans that refused the precepts of Sarek), Andorians (Enterprise-style), Tellarites (same), Deltans (not Betazoids — which I might have as human/Deltan hybrids), and possibly Ferengi.  A central theme will be why there are so many humanoid races in this particular area of space, and why some are genetically compatible.

On the trappings side:  the new movie uniforms.  Keeping them.  The gear didn’t go far enough.  Our communicators will be, in essence, smartphones capable of most of the features (with access to a network) of TOS tricorders.  Tricorders will be full-blown sensor platforms and computers.  Phasers have two settings: stun and kill…and no you can’t dodge light.

For the ships — keeping the look of the show, but using some of the fantastic reimaginings that artists on scifi-meshs.com have been turning out.  The Constitution-class is the laters bad boy for the fleet, is roughly the size of the original ship, and the interiors will be closer to the original movies, but with some of the trappings of the new movie.

Right now, the characters’ vessel with be a slightly older frigate, USS Shenandoah.  The player character ideas are coming together:

A super-smart scientist type that comes from a human colony.  His only way off the rock was Starfleet, but his family and community see him as a sell-out (What?  This dirt farmer’s life isn’t good enough for you?)  He is top in his class, but surprised to find he actually has competition here at the academy.  He was raised with the idea that aliens weren’t any smarter/stronger/better than humans, and is finding that to be the case.

An Orion communications/cultural specialist who came to the Federation because she wasn’t quite sexy/dangerous enough to be enslaved (see Enterprise season 4.)

An Andorian security/tactical chief who has been posted on Andorian-only ships to date.  This is his first tour on a primarily human ship.