We’re all nerds here, right? While we all may fly nerd flags, everyone’s nerd-dom is a little bit different. The books, shows, games, movies, and fandoms which comprise our little kingdoms of nerdiness can vary greatly from person to person; and that’s awesome! But what happens when you need to fit into a foreign fandom?
This is currently happening to me. My nerd tapestry is woven with the strands of many fandoms, predominantly fantasy in nature (LotR, DnD, Redwall, Elder Scrolls), though with a few sci-fi (Star Wars, Mass Effect) mixed in for color. I have recently begun playing in HLG’s live-streamed Star Trek Adventures. Prior to the campaign, I had not seen a single Star Trek episode, of any series (gasp! shock!); I saw the first of the movie reboots in college, but even I knew that wasn’t right. Suddenly being dropped into a fandom older than I am with no more than the most basic of knowledge is a harrowing experience. For example, the extent of my Star Trek knowledge was that there was a character named Spock, the term ‘Kobayashi Maru’ meant something Trekky, and I knew how to do a Vulcan salute, though, full disclosure, I had to search google for ‘Star Trek hand sign’ to assign it the proper name. As an adult with a family and a job, I just don’t have the time to catch up on all the content that I’ve missed, but at the same time I want to play this awesome game with my group. What was a fella to do?
1) Hit The Highlights
My game group was aware of my STD (Star Trek Deficiency) when we were planning the campaign. They put together a list of the ten most important episodes that I should see to get a sense of the world in which I was going to be playing. While I still feel like a noob when we’re playing, those episodes laid a good ground work in the source material so that I can at least function within the universe (I now know what the Prime Directive is! Go me!). You don’t need to know every detail about the foreign fandom, just enough to get you going.
2) Minimize The Knowledge Deficiency
One way of limiting the issues caused by my STD was to create a character who was more punchy than thinky. It doesn’t matter what universe you are in, a punch to the face is still a punch to the face, be it orc or Klingon. Had I created a character with a greater emphasis in knowledge, history, or politics, I would have had many more issues, having to learn these things before I’d be able to effectively communicate them in-game. You should take steps to keep yourself out of positions where your lack of knowledge is easily perceived.
3) Ask A Lot Of Questions
We nerds love our fandoms. We also love sharing the ridiculous amount of information we have about our fandoms with anyone interested (or just willing to listen). If you are involved in a fandom that’s not your own, everyone in that fandom wants you to be there! Another person with which to share in the wonderful experience that is (insert fandom here)! If you ask, and I speak from experience here, you’ll often get more information than you were looking for. You’ll receive too much, more than you are interested in, or, quite frankly, even deserve; but there’s no better way to learn.
4) Buzzwords And Catchphrases
To really feel like a part of the group, you need to speak like them. Every fandom has lingo associated with it. It’s important to learn it and use it, even if you’re not 100% sure if you’re pronouncing words correctly or using them in the correct context. I think the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” is appropriate here. In addition to sounding awesome, something that I’ve found is that you learn about the source material unintentionally while you’re learning the lingo.
5) Wikis Are Your Best Friend
While your friends may be a seemingly endless source of knowledge about their fandoms, the internet is an even better source, which you can more readily shut up if you ever have enough. There is a Wiki for every conceivable fandom out there that can provide all the information (and speculation) about a topic that exists. This is one of the situations where going down the rabbit hole of links that the internet often takes you down can actually be a good thing. The thread can lead to all sorts of interesting, and sometimes disturbing, information about your fandom. For example, I found myself reading all about Denobulan mating rituals, something I did not know about; which I apparently needed to know, which I now know.
Dive into those new fandoms without fear and enjoy yourself! May you live long and prosper. (I’m fitting in!!)
Jake is now a huge fan of Star Trek and will be working to lessen his STD by watching all the original Star Trek episodes (albeit eventually).
Picture Refrence: https://repsub13.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/stark-trek-fandom-the-federation-alliance-of-misfits/
You know how anticipation works. The daydreams are all a flutter. The mind is fixated. You eat, sleep, sleep, and breathe it all. You choreograph different situations including conversations, laughs, jokes, and actions. Waking in the middle of the night or not sleeping because your brain races with possibilities is not abnormal. I am about to begin two new games in the next couple weeks and both are new systems to me and both characters are going to be vastly different.
However, the one that holds my attention and catches my imagination the most is the new Star Trek Adventures game. If I were to track both my geekiness and my nerdiness back to one place, it would be Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched that show with my dad and I was in love with the entire idea of exploration paired with science fiction. So in finding out that I would be playing in this universe, I thought about the things I want to see happen and things that are quintessential Trek.
1) Exploration And Science
Star Trek is the best at making science sound awesome. Sometimes science is just clever names and science-sounding terms. One of the things I am excited to come across is an anomaly, which is basically just something unknown in space (though temporal anomalies can GDIAF). There are so many spatial anomalies to explore with not all of them being what they seem. Maybe the anomalies are alive or maybe some are caused by old machines, abandoned by their makers long ago. How will the anomalies affect the crew, the ship, or the situation? The universe is still unknown and it will be our job to decipher the world we live in. To take it even further, I want us to name one of these things.
2) New Culture; Breaking The Law
I want to see the different cultures the Federation will explore. These cultures may range from being very similar to humans in their advancement to being much more technological, like the Caretaker or the Borg. Or less technologically advanced, like indigenous cultures and those without the technology of the Federation. One main theme comes when exploring the cultures, which is to say, looking to understand where they are coming from. The idea that we need to seek understanding first is a noble one and one that I personally gravitate towards in Trek episodes.
As we fumble through this world, we will break the law. Some member of the crew will not heed warnings, will not review protocol, will be too caught up in the world and we will screw something up. It will be up to us to defend ourselves using their laws or their courts or their systems of morality. I want one courtroom drama episode.
3) Crazy Disease
My position on the ship is Chief Medical, so I am anticipating what may afflict our crew or those around us. Will we cure entire cultures, save entire ships, manage to spread a disease amongst ourselves, or discover innoculations that will help others in the future? I have high hopes for our ragtag crew.
Along with ye old usuals for diseases and viruses, I am also hoping for some medical issues that push the crew into odd interpersonal interactions. I love a good “fish out of water” dynamic to add some levity to the situation. It will be through these points that our crew may learn to get along better and appreciate each other all the more.
Since we are all essentially ambassadors in space (which sounds unappealing), I am hoping to see some interaction with people that have far reaching implications for the entire Federation. Another thing that I would love to see is how other people in the Federation affect our daily lives on the ship. What falling outs has the Federation had or what battles have raged that makes our lives a little more difficult? How do we react to these things as an entire crew, as our own species, or as an individual? I want to see how actions have consequences that are far reaching. This will allow us to take things seriously for our missions.
5) Interpersonal Connections
This may be my favourite thing about roleplaying, but it is also of great interest to me in the Trek world. I love the interaction and the negotiation of roles within the cogs of the machine. With so many different personalities and cultures, we must find some common ground. We will not all be BFFs but we’ll all need to work together and that may take some time. How we achieve cohesiveness as a crew will be something I will look for during the game. I had an idea of my character and what I wanted her to be, but those connections were truly established when we made our characters.
6) Prime Directive Pondering
The Prime Directive of the Federation is the guiding principle for Star Trek. It is essentially a non-interference clause. It doesn’t allow you to interfere with the customs and development of other species that you encounter. If, for example, you come across a planet with two factions at war with each other and they both have rudimentary weaponry and technology; you would not (even with their urging) be able to provide those things for one side to gain the advantage.
As good as the rule is, what is a rule if not bent and massaged to your own liking? The interpretation of the Prime Directive has been, and will continue to be, debated. Do we allow the destruction of an undeveloped species ravaged by disease by intervening with gene therapy? Do we help the other side in a war, if the others have had the Ferrengi providing technology? It’s here that we look further into our philosophy and make decisions. Only then we will see our results for good or for ill.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all things Trek that I want to see. There are so many awesome things to explore in this new world:
I want to see Worf.
I want to be terrified of the Dominion.
I want to see how the Bonaventure stacks up against foes.
I want to be a part of the “B” side crew.
I want all things Trek.
I am excited to play.
This article was written by Vanessa who is a sarcastic, 30-something wife and mother. She likes things and stuff, but not simultaneously. When she isn’t involved in things and stuff, she teaches and coaches debate. She thinks everyone should be roleplaying. She is also trying out this new twitter handle at @sarasma_nessa ...on second/third thought… I am terrible at twitter. Please send help! She also thinks you should support the writers here that are more clever and can figure out twitter.
Image Source: Modiphius
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.