By Al Spader, STA Contributing Writer
Art By Chaim Garcia
Greetings! I recently put together a new set of mission briefs for Star Trek Adventures, “Psychic Incursions.” While the setting says The Next Generation era on the cover, my goal was to create unique, new content that could be used in all eras of play. I hope you and your players enjoy using these briefs to spice up your game!
The great Michio Kaku said, “The brain weighs only three pounds, yet it is the most complex object in the solar system.” This quote has stuck with me for some time and, while the future that Star Trek takes place in seems to have learned much more about this amazing organ, there is still a lot to know about it. From species to species, the brain continues to be one of the great mysteries of the Galaxy and perhaps even universe.
It is clear that Star Trek has used these concepts of the mind from time to time to create new and unexplored content for its heroes to navigate. While quantum physicists who specialize in reality fabrics are quite common, it seems rare to find Federation member who specialize on more abstract things such as interpreting dreams and visions. These mission briefs should open the door for you to create some new and relatively unknown problems for your crew while also attempting to answer questions such as what is consciousness? Why do we dream? What are memories?
Using the mind as a tool for telling stories can provide interesting roleplaying opportunities for your players; however, it can also be a challenging subject for some players to deal with. These mission briefs should never be used at a table of players unless you have first talked with them about how they feel about subjects such as memory loss, mind control, and hallucinations. These subjects could potentially bring up situations that have happened in a player’s real life and could make them feel uncomfortable. If this happens, find another story for your table to play in.
It may seem like stories about the brain and consciousness would always revolve around a chief medical officer; however, this doesn’t always have to be the case. Engineers could create devices that help in interpreting or manipulating consciousness while scientists could produce theories about mental realities or dimensions. The key is to let your crew explore the issues and create ways to solve them. I included some ideas in the briefs as how to solve the problems but, as we all know, the players will inevitably devise something on their own. In these cases, be flexible, and roll with their ideas.
Some of these briefs ask you to alter focuses and even values of your characters. This is to show how their mental faculties are being affected and always have an “out” to return what they were before the events happen. This should, however, give your players a chance to roleplay their characters differently.
Star Trek is about exploring strange new worlds and learning new things. These briefs can be used to open a whole new universe of ideas about the unknown in your Star Trek Adventures game. With the trust of a group of players, you can use these ideas to push their roleplaying and co-storytelling abilities to the next level.
Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about additional STA products in the coming months. Live long and prosper!