Today we’re going to take another SF classic and subject it to our evil whims. Your target du jour is Star Trek, and we’re not talking any of that revisionist stuff. No Enterprise, no Next Generation, no Deep Space Nine. We’re doing Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and the five year journey. Or the movies, cause hey, everyone loves Ricardo.
The core characters of Star Trek were officers in charge of an exploration mission. They were often caught between duty and humanity; I wouldn’t give Star Trek the same props I give Horatio Hornblower, but Roddenberry knew what drove his conflicts. I think there are some interesting possibilities for mashing.
My choice of game is gonna be Shadowrun, not for any particularly thematic reason except that I like the setting. It’s corny, but it’s fun. In this campaign, we’ll deviate from canon and decide that something terrible has happened to Western Europe. Britain is still Britain, and the Scandanavian countries are more or less intact, but something happened to France and Germany and Spain and now most of the continent is terra incognita.
One side effect, of course, is that communication into and out of Europe is messed up. Sometimes it works; sometimes it fails. Sometimes (although the rest of the world probably doesn’t realize this) something hijacks the communication and pretends to be to one side or the other.
The PCs have a mission. Explore, reestablish contact, figure out what happened, and come back alive. You could break from Shadowrun altogether and have the PCs be actual competent operatives, but I sort of think it’d be more fun to make up shadowrunners who got caught and have this one chance to get their sentences commuted. Of course, that’s less Star Trek, so I guess it’s government agents after all.