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Kobayashi Maru-like intro scenario

So I’m trying to brain storm up some ideas on how to run a scenario that introduces new players to the rules, and was thinking something like the Kobayashi-Maru might be appropriate, but that it may involve more of the player-on-the-ground type stuff instead of specifically ship combat, but could probably involve as much of everything as I could fit in.

Any input would be cool.
I was thinking that maybe… players start on a planet dealing with something, or maybe they start on the ship in their off-duty shift, when surprise boarders get on the ship and they have to like… make their way to the bridge and then get to do ship combat. Something like that maybe…

I am, to be honest, not entirely sure whether a scenario that is ‘no win!’ by design, was appropriate for an introductional scenario. I would strongly recommend to have the players succeed (or have a real chance to do so) in their first mission.

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Just start your characters out on patrol in the appropriate sector. Once the scenario has played out the front door to the simulator/holodeck arch appears, an engineer enters asking the crew how they like the updated scenario. At that point they know they were in a simulation. I did this for my players back in the days of Decipher. They really appreciated it.


Well I don’t nessisarily mean its a no-win situation so much as something like… maybe a starfleet academy simulation as part of the graduation exams. And then maybe it would have been a flashback for the characters remembering it or something.

Okay, then I misunderstood your charactarisation of the scenario. To me, the ‘Kobayashi Maru’ is synonym for a test involving ethical dilemmas, or, in other words, an excercise where you are tested in facing your inevitable defeat. While this clearly is a very interesting topic for an adventure (I, personally, like those ethical plots very much and include them in every RPG I GM), I do not think that it would be appropriate for a first session (exceptions possible).

The idea of running a holodeck simulation on the other hand is one I like very much. When I thought about running STA at a convention, I began planning a mission based on this idea, because it then would be very easy to include all sorts of characters, even from different timelines (“It’s also a simulation of the past/projection of the future!”) and have easy explanations for nearly every plot twist there could be. Go on with this!

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I really like this idea: there’s a precedent from the old Elite Force game. The opening scenario there has the player taking part in defending against a boarding operation.

Something like this, with melee and ranged combat, plus couple of minor non-combat problems to resolve (open the door or escape the breached corridor) and you’d have a nice little group exercise scenario that covers most of the basic rules.

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I am combining the Kobayashi Maru scenario with another Star Trek trope. (Don’t want to say too much, as some of my players watch this board) In short, I am creating this scenario “for real” as opposed to the simulation concept. I am reserving the right to suddenly crack open the view screen and order “BLOWERS ON” if they completely screw up and kill themselves. My shtick happens in Klingon territory, just like the KM scenario, the command staff will have to decide if they will violate Klingon territory. Here is the rub - it is set during a time of detente between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. A delicate balance…If they do not respond they will affect the entire campaign scheme. If they do and are destroyed, then I whip out the simulation scenario. If they succeed at the monumental task I have set for them, they will call me an Evil Bas^%% and positively affect Fed/Klingon relations for a century to come - think The Battle Narendra 3. (I will rather enjoy being called an Evil Bast%^#, BTW) Their ship may require months in space dock, but so be it! They will win accolades, time off, and be worthy of a real Star Trek episode.

The characters would know it was a simulation if it was a simulation. And the players thus should be told. Had a GM pull the very similar “it was a nightmare” on a bad session after the fact… and I, along with all but one of the 6 players, was peeved by it. It invalidated 4 hours of good character development RP…

So, it needs careful framing if you have players who’ll be unhappy about the reveal it was a sim. (I can’t think of any player I’ve played with who’d be happy unless their character had been maimed or killed.)

You’ve got to explain how they wound up in sim without knowing it was a sim to pull off the reveal as a gotcha moment, and even then, it’s not likely to be a happy reaction.

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The cadets fell asleep in their starfleet academy bunkers, a sleeping agent was filtered in the air system to keep them asleep, VR headsets and body responce suits were put on them while they slept. Or something similar to “the matrix” kind of was put on over their heads while they slept, so the entire “day” they experienced was simulated?

@JohnDW Unless they’re all cadets, that’s not going to be sufficient for most players. If they are all cadets, then why do they wake up on ship?

they don’t they wake up in their bunks and get told they are going on a ship for their next lesson, so maybe they end up being in the “VR” for almost a week.

Edit: and come on man, if you run games you know you could make it work with a little thought, you don’t need to be so nit-picky about it :smiley:

Secret Transport to the Holodeck? I’m sure we already saw this in some Trek.

Random thought if you have the right sort of group:

Have the characters know exactly what it is in advance. They learn that within the next few days they are to be run through a simulation as a test that is a guaranteed loss for those not using “creative” solutions, and encourage them to pursue such solutions (maybe they have a superior that has given them such poor marks that they need the win just to keep position, or winning would guarantee a spot on a favored vessel).

So then they have a few days to engage in hacking, building tools to give themselves an advantage, bribing people for advance information on the specifics, etc. And of course they then have to cover up the worst of what they just did, so it just looks they were so smart / lucky that they managed a legit win that the simulation just didn’t account for. Not ideal Starfleet behavior but as I said, you need the right sort of group.

And the upside is that if they don’t succeed after all their efforts, they knew they were swimming uphill anyway. And there willingness to pursue out-of-the-box solutions might still catch the eye of some of the more Machiavellian arms of the Federation, potentially earning them a unique career track (which would still feel like a win) even if they lose. :slight_smile: