I wondered how you guys deal with logs. They are an integral part of the shows, for sure, if only to rep up what happend for those tuning in later/returning after ad breaks.
For the way I play RPGs nowadays (meaning: only a handful of sessions a year, or, only one session per three to four months), keeping logs is essential. The games I run are storys of intrigue with meaningless sidequests becoming integral parts of the main story arch and vice versa. So, keeping note of everything that happens is quite important. I have installed a local wiki at my laptop computer where I keep notes of events, track NPC that show up etc. Some of my players also keep notes on their writing pads (I try to ban every electronics while I can; this might not be suitable for Star Trek, but that’s a different story altogether), and sometimes they appoint someone among themselves to be the chronicler of that evening’s session.
At first, I thought that, because keeping logs is essential for the way Trek is narrated, this would perfectly blend in with the game I hope to run in the hopefully not too distant future. Since the characters on screen often keep logs, an off-game necessity would become an in-game part of the story (while they obviously could, none of my players in my fantasy campaign keeps logs from subjective first-person-perspective but choose an objective third-person narrator instead; with an in-game starlog, this would obviously change), enriching the game.
Another point: The players’ logs are important to me for my own notes are not complete. I am part of the game I run and especially when tension rises, it’s hard for me to keep track of everything happening (most of the time I improvise…). So I award every player who sends me his/her notes with XP, because it really helps seeing whether I missed something in the last game session.
So my first idea was: Hey, just make mandatory log-entries (of three or four sentences) part of the requirements of a spotlight and/or arc milestone and everything will be more than fine.
But then I thought: Logs are a story-telling device usable by DMs, as well. In some missions I read, there is an introductionary log-entry, just like in the show. The game would start with ‘Captain’s log, Stardate…’ – written by the GM instead of the character who plays the captain. For some of my players, this would be a breach of their sovereignty over their own characters. If I was playing the captain, I would certainly ask my GM to refrain from putting words in my chracter’s mouth (does this idiom translate?). So, I am not sure whether I should use logs as a story-telling device, as well.
So, how do you deal with logs? Who writes them? The GM? The players? Both? Are they kept private or do you share them within the group for more character background? Are they a storytelling-device or part of the panorama in background? Are you/your players rewarded for logs? Or is this strictly story and not related to game-mechanics, at all?
And, last but not least, have you ever thought of running an adventure in the style of a story narrated in forms of a letter, or log entry (cf. Voyager 5x09, ‘Thirty Days’)?