December 30, 2019

First Contact, #ifthiswereaTTRPG

I originally got the idea of #ifthiswereaTTRPG post series from the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 episode “First Contact.” In the episode, the Enterprise crew is clandestinely evaluating whether a planet – which has just achieved warp drive – is ready to join the broader galactic community.

Naturally, a slew of things go wrong and the crew nearly exposes the truth about the rest of the galaxy to the whole planet before its leaders, scientists, and wise folk are able to responsibility evaluate whether they’re ready for that truth.

There’s a scene at the end of the episode where Picard gives the President of Melcor one last chance to decide whether to expose the truth or continue in isolation. It’s a fascinating decision, one that we should be asking ourselves what our own leaders would choose. #ifthiswereaTTRPG, at the critical inflection point in the episode, when Picard asks the President what he choice is: isolation or the truth, the GM would have the player playing the President roll a Wisdom check.

In this case, based on the plot of the episode, it’s clear that the planet’s society is simply not ready to be exposed to the truth about the galaxy. So the result of the player playing the President’s Wisdom roll must reflect that fact: roll poorly, even with the President’s high Wisdom score, and the President exposes his world to the truth and throws it into chaos.

But, per the episode, #ifthiswereaTTRPG, the President rolls well and tells Picard his world needs more time to evolve in order to join the broader galactic community. Wisdom prevails!