By Michael Dismuke, STA Contributing Writer
“Wait? I can be funny?”
I can’t tell you how many times I submitted pitches to Star Trek Adventures project manager Jim Johnson and they were sent back with the note “Humor is subjective.”
I’d stare at the comment thinking to myself, “I don’t see what the problem is. There are plenty of Star Trek shows that integrate humor into the stories. Dang. Jim is a sour puss.”
Sitting back in my chair, I’d cross my arms and pout. Eventually, I’d go back to the grindstone, churning out some insipidly humorless sci-fi masterpiece completely absent of chortles and guffaws. At this very moment, I’m traumatized wondering if my normally acerbic wit is going to be trimmed into some tiresome blog piece wherein I am forced to extoll my appreciation for being a freelance writer without quip or pun while explaining why this latest book is the “must-have” release of the year.
But, alas, this should not be the case. (If you never see this blog post, you know now why.)
You can’t imagine how much my nacelle tingled when Jim asked if I would be interested in contributing to the Lower Decks Campaign Guide. I immediately told him, “Wait a second. Something just struck me. If I get to help with Lower Decks, I can lean into my humor!” He responded, “Heh. Thought you’d like that.”
Bounding with unfettered joy, I joined my hands together and began rubbing them like a maniacal Ferengi who just got offered one million bars of gold-pressed latinum to plot the demise of Starfleet. I could be myself! Part geek, part comedian! The cynical and sarcastic remarks that are constantly swirling about in my noggin finally had a place to settle, and in the Star Trek universe to boot.
More than that though, in the book’s second chapter, I got to lay down the background, rules, and procedures for second contacts. This is something that, as of yet, has never shown up in any Star Trek publication to date. (I secretly lay in bed at night wondering if the writers for Star Trek: Lower Decks keep this game as a reference tool when plotting their storylines. The answer is “Yes!”. No matter what you say, it is “Yes!” Let me have my dreams.)
I have to say, I have played RPGs for over 30 years. (I’m 31-years-old.) Humor–even when unintended–creeps into many tabletop RPG sessions. The Lower Decks Campaign Guide encourages gamemasters and players to lean into the humor and get a little crazy. The book itself is a treasure trove of fresh ideas in addition to being a celebration of humor in Star Trek. I made sure to include a good section in chapter six, Gamemastering, on common tropes we see in the shows, films, novels, and comics.
With all this said, Jim will likely tell me to wipe the grin off of my face and get back to work. (Which I will because I am desperate to write anything Star Trek.) Still, I will always have this notch on my belt, contributing to the Lower Decks Campaign Guide.
Preorder the Lower Decks Campaign Guide, right now and receive the digital edition immediately! Purchase the Star Trek Adventures RPG core rulebook or the starter set and get started right away!
Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about the Lower Decks Campaign Guide and other Star Trek Adventures product releases. Live long and prosper!
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