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Redshirts and Stormtroopers

Updated on February 17, 2015


Okay, hear me out…

Since I’ve been working on some serious stuff lately, I decided to lighten up and let you folks in on the ULTIMATE RPG session idea. I’ve been bouncing this around in my otherwise empty head for a few months now.

I was watching STAR TREK: The Next Generation when I got the revelation. I thought about the Original Series, and about the Redshirts. If you’re unfamiliar, the Redshirts were the security officers in the Original Series. At least one died in every episode, protecting the main cast members (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc.) It became so obvious and famous it became its own trope – Redshirts die in every episode.

A similar trope exists concerning Stormtroopers in STAR WARS – but I’m getting ahead of myself.

My idea for the ultimate game session is what we used to call a “kill session.” Think of it as a suicide mission for gamers. You know that few, if any PCs are going to survive. It’s pretty much a given, and everyone goes in with the understanding that to be the last one standing was true victory. Well, my idea is to run a session where the PCs cannot play any of the main characters – they play Redshirts. They’re created for cannon fodder.

I would set it aboard the original Enterprise. After a devastating battle with the Romulans, the security crew is all but obliterated. Captain Kirk is forced to reassign officers from their respective posts to security details until they can reach a Starbase and take on some new crew members. Of course, Kirk is beaming down to an unknown planet for exploration and needs a few security officers to beam down with him, Spock and McCoy. The PCs have twelve hours to get out of going with the away team.

For those who succeed, there will be a bit of excitement aboard the Enterprise as well. Now, the planet’s threats are meant to truly test the Redshirts. Spock’s voice of reason is always ignored by Kirk and his “how dangerous can it be” attitude. And so it goes. I’ve even thought of extending it to where they finally get to Starbase, only to get into even more trouble there. That’s assuming, of course, they survive everything…

Now the Stormtrooper trope is just as famous. For a group of elite soldiers, they can’t hit the broad side of a Star Destroyer. Their armor is useless – even Ewoks took them down with sticks and stones. If the future of the Imperials relied solely on troopers, we wouldn’t have half a movie to watch. I would totally run a trooper game, with the same concepts as the Redshirt game.

Except you have evil overlords, incompetent superior officers, and a group of Rebels that include Jedi and weird aliens. Yet, curiously, no health insurance or chance for promotion…

There’s a running joke about what would happen if a Redshirt and a Stormtrooper had a fight: The Stormtrooper would miss the shot, but the Redshirt would die anyway. As fun as it might sound to have that crossover, I still think those two ideas (honestly, one Ultimate Idea) would be a helluva ride.

Feel free to steal this idea and tell me how it works out!

It's funny because it's true.
It's funny because it's true. | Source


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      William Corpening 

      3 years ago

      Curiously enough (or, perhaps, inevitably) there is a novel written by John Scalzi appropriately named "Redshirts." It covers this precise topic. Darn!

      It should be worth a read; it won the Hugo and Locus Awards.


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