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  • Writer's pictureG R Matthews

Star Trek - The School DnD Club edition

My place of employment, the day job that pays the bills, asked what club I could run for the pupils and, of course, Dungeons and Dragons was the obvious answer and so it began.

Our first adventure/campaign was set in the World of Albain (you can find the maps etc on this very site) and although it went quite well, teaching them the mechanics of the system, there was a tendency to mischief making, to attempting to murder or set up the demise of the other characters, or generally just shout very loud (I am going deaf in self-defence). The Campaign took just over a year of play and eventually, they fought and slew the avatar of the returning God, keeping the world safe an opening up the north to further exploration.

Yes, we could have carried on playing, but I was feeling that they weren't really getting the concept of cooperative play - too much mucking about, too much trying to get one over the other, no matter how much peril I threw them into, no matter that I transported the two worst offenders to a mystical plane where they were forced to fight and LOSE to their mirror image.

So, I had just bought the Star Trek Solo RPG and was playing that (you'll find some logs on this site from my play through), and I also own a lot of books for the full RPG (they are great reads even if you don't play the RPG). The solo version is a slimmed down, simplified version of the full game and that suits my players perfectly. I also thought that a game that forces cooperation, that makes some characters/pupils become leaders would be perfect for my little group.

A fun game in an IP they know, and one that can teach them to work together.

The first few scenes (sessions) were a little rocky as they got used to the new system, to the new world, and to understanding what their mission actually was. However, by scene 7 (we played 11 scenes in the end) they actually all sat down, in character, in the Starship's Briefing Room and actually had a staff meeting, discussing solutions, coming up with plans, reviewing the evidence they had found, and formulating a solution to the problems they faced.

This, in itself, may not seem like much, but for this group it was a major breakthrough, and breathtaking moment for me as GM to just sit back and watch them communicate with each other properly for the first time ever (maybe).

Placing one pupil in the position of Captain, the one who pushed himself forward the least during DnD, was a good choice. He hated it at first, but it is easy to see why so many of us fall into hierarchies. Once he became a little more comfortable, with some assistance from me, the others started to look to him for answers and he to them for options. Even our most excitable member of the group, one of those sent to fight himself in DnD, became a little calmer, a little more open to making suggestions and looking for the group to decide.

Two female pupils played Star Trek too - both quiet and unassuming - but determined to be involved and to play. They were great opposites and brought a new dimension to the table and to the group.

After that, working together, they accomplished their goals - saved the Romulan Town, forced the Cardassians to back down, and saved the environment of the whole planet. Receiving praise, in character, from the Romulan Commander, and the curses of the Cardassian Gul, was a big moment for them all; I could see the pride on their faces, the little nods to each, the feeling that they had done something good.

We may come back to Star Trek, but our next adventure will be in Middle Earth using The One Ring (2e).

Let's see if they've taken the lessons from Star Trek onboard as they move forward.

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