Star Trek Troupe Play
I intended to bring this subject up as the second part of my initial foray into Star Trek gaming but it seems a number of the commentors on my previous post beat me too it.
Although I have yet to actually use this method myself in any of the Star Trek games I've run, I am really intrigued by the idea of each player playing more than one character. More specifically, I think having players play a Command Crew/Bridge Character as well as a Junior Officer/Lower Decks Character is a great way to split the difference between what is cool on the Star Trek TV Show and what makes sense.
It is also a great way to explore alternative character types.
It seems (from what others who enjoy Star Trek gaming tell me*) that most players prefer to play Humans by a large percentage. A smaller though still notable group will play the more well known Federation, allied and even enemy species** such as Andorians, Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans and Orions. The lesser known aliens are rarely played, even by those very familiar with Star Trek lore and new, original aliens hardly see 'air time'.
Since your special effects budget is your imagination and therefore pretty much limitless, why not play a Human or Vulcan main Bridge Officer and then a wild alien Lower Decks character. Even better, your Lower Decks Ensign is Human but the Chief Engineer is an Arkenite, a Xelatian or a Zaranite! You've got two characters dude, experiment a little.
Another idea regarding player characters that has come down the Jefferies Tube is the concept of The Prime Team. Yes, it sounds like a superhero group but the truth is it's a pretty good idea.
Originally created for the Star Fleet Battles connected RPG 'Prime Directive', Prime Teams are groups of specialists who serve as the 'Away Teams' or 'Landing Parties' for a Starfleet vessel. The concept was created to facilitate a more traditional RPG adventure format and get rid of the unlikely cliche that saw the commanding officers and highest ranking personnel as the ones aboard the starship who constantly risked their lives and put themselves in danger.
Now, as most people know, I love a good cliche and have no absolutely no problem with a universe that simply excepts that the bridge crew leave their positions to explore hostile planets, derelict spacecraft or ancient alien ruins as a matter of course. Heck, why not? It's more dramatic no? I think so. It works fine for me (I also don't stare at the issue too closely).
What's your preference?
*My experience, as usual, seems to have been unusual. I get the smattering of token Humans here and there but our crews seem to be where all the weird extraterrestrials in Starfleet are hiding.
**Why is it, with tons of undeveloped and cool looking aliens in the Federation to make your own, everybody and their brother wants to come up with some crazy backstory so they can play a Klingon Starfleet Officer. Geez.