Which RPG System Would Star Trek’s Captains Choose?

Every Friday at 4:00 PM PT, a talented crew roleplays their way through the galaxy to fulfill a mission: to boldly go where no one has gone before. Follow the adventures of the USS Sally Ride on Shield of Tomorrow on Twitch

Real talk: the holodeck, for all intents and purposes, is just a very fancy version of Dungeons & Dragons.  Starfleet crewmembers dress up, play roles and generally unwind in between saving the universe, escaping certain doom with minutes to spare and discovering God-Like Beings who toy with humanity for inscrutable reasons. Once we realized this, we started to consider what tabletop RPGs might be the favorites of some favorite Starfleet’s commanders.  Here’s where we’ve landed.

Kirk: Dungeons & Dragons

D&D cover

It may seem like an easy answer to pair the original captain with the original RPG, but it makes a lot of sense. Kirk plays fast and loose with the rules and older editions tend to roll with this idea. He also comes up with plans on the fly rather than a lot of meticulous planning ahead of time. Kirk’s also not afraid to get into a fight with his own two fists, a phaser or whatever is handy to move his plan along. For fans who want a better look at this classic style of gaming, check out the D&D Rules Cyclopedia.

Picard: Fate Core


Star Trek: The Next Generation considered itself a more thoughtful and nuanced take on the adventures of the Enterprise. It installed a captain to match, someone to whom a diplomatic word is just as effective as a photon torpedo. Picard would love Fate Core‘s more authorial approach to RPGs and it’s ability to reflect mental and physical stress equally. Inflicting mental stress is often how Picard wins conflicts, be it through logic or stubbornness.

Sisko: Vampire: The Masquerade


Deep Space Nine was, in many ways, a product of the 90s in which it debuts with storylines that focused on a grimmer Starfleet embroiled in politics and intrigue. We think his ability to plot against the Cardassians would make him an excellent Storyteller for this classic game of modern vampires pulling strings against rival clans. Watching him match wits with Garak or Odo in a holodeck Elysuim would be worth a lot of gold-pressed latinum to watch.

Janeway: Numenera


Some fans love Voyager. Other fans hated it. But one thing we all can agree on? They went through some weird stuff in the Delta Quadrant. Captain Janeway’s choice for a game should be Numenera. It offers the right mix of exploration, familiarity and strange aliens and technology that her crew could relate. For all she knows, some weird cypher that she might hand out during play would be the key to fixing a problem with some unknown alien technology that gets the crew closer to home.

Archer: Timewatch


Okay, so this game might also be a reference to Scott Bakula’s other well-known sci-fi gig. But Captain Archer went though his share of alternate timelines and time travel, so running a game where his crew races around trying to put things back in the right timeline is a natural fit. Or he could go the other way and let players blow off steam by conspiring to steal some temporal treasures.

Should the crew of the Sally Ride try out one of these games on their holodeck? Tell us in the comments! And be sure to tune into our Star Trek RPG show, Shield of Tomorrow on Geek & Sundry Twitch and Alpha every Friday starting at 4 PM PT, followed by our aftershow on Alpha, Behind The Shield, where the crew discusses the episode and debate topics like this one.

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Feature Image Credit: CBS

Image credits: Wizards of the Coast, Evil Hat Productions, White Wolf, Monte Cook Games, Pelgrane Press

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves and is a writer for the Star Trek Adventures RPG line. His blog is here, where he is currently reviewing classic Star Wars RPG adventures. His Twitter is here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.