Telling my players "Yes, and..." when they make lore-inaccurate requests

Context hidden to keep the post concise and to the point.

Upcoming Campaign Details

Set during the Lost Era, specifically the year 2325. I’ve invented a Dominion-esque empire (the Yaarck) bordering Federation space (haven’t figured out where on the map yet). Starfleet hasn’t seen or heard any sign of activity from the Yaarck, but relics and artifacts have started popping up on worlds bordering the imperial Neutral Zone. Investigations and interviews with smugglers indicate that patrols on the other side of the NZ disappeared years ago.

Starfleet decides to send a ship into Yaarck space to determine the fate of the empire. Is it preparing for some sort of invasion? Has it withdrawn its troops from the Federation border to deal with a more pressing threat elsewhere? Have natural disasters upset the balance of the polity, and if so will they allow the Federation to offer aid and assistance, opening up the potential for a diplomatic relationship?

I’ve considered some “weird” concepts, like a Klingon ambassador accompanying the PCs on their ship. Part of my request is figuring out what other weird concepts could work, even if it strains canon. I invented a whole empire and plopped it right next to the Feds after all, I don’t mind breaking things even harder.

For instance, even though Romulans aren’t supposed to be seen by the Federation between 2311 and 2364 they continue to have a relationship with the Klingons. If a player wanted to be a Romulan, it’s easy enough to justify that a Romulan diplomatic envoy could be there too.

Harder would be somebody wanting to play a character from the Gamma or Delta Quadrants. Changelings aren’t too odd: Odo and the baby changeling from “The Begotten” establishes precedent that baby Changelings get sent out into space.

A Talaxian, on the other hand, would require a much more involved explanation.

My players aren’t as familiar with Star Trek lore as I am, and I’m not even that familiar with it, only having seen the movies and most of the first 5 live-action TV shows. Everything else I get from the books or searching Memory Alpha.

But I know that my players might ask for something weird and I’d rather work with them to make a concept work than shut down any requests. I’m building a list of questions to ask my players if they make such a request.

  • Why this concept?
  • What are the elements of this concept that you’re most excited about?
  • Here’s why this concept shouldn’t work in the lore. Are there any of those elements that you don’t want to engage with? Do you have any specific notes for me?

Are there any other questions I should add to the list? Does anybody have any other advice?

Thanks in advance! Live long and prosper.


if they are unfamiliar with the series why not making the session 1 with them incarnating support characters, they can switch who play who at each scene. try to be a pilot then an engineer then a doctor, try several races and then at some point create their character.
The other good point you have now a bunch of support characters they are interested in.

Well none of them are Star Trek newbies, and I’d be doing a session 0 to make sure we’re on the same page for the game, tone, and expectations. Everybody I know who I’m considering inviting is at least somewhat aware of the fact that there are multiple time periods and could name a sizeable number of characters and species. They just might look at me funny if I say something like “The Dominion War” or “Khitomer Accords” or “Harry Mudd”.

I’m a little unclear on your purpose?

In the first section, you imply that you dont know the lore, and then in the second section imply that their request doesn’t the match the lore. I’m a little thrown by that and so I’m not sure what the objective of the questions actually is.

I have a tendency to overexplain, my apologies.

How do the good people here work with players who make lore-unfriendly requests?

Regardless of how much of the lore I or my players know, I prefer to “Yes, and…” my players both in and out of the game, so long as the request doesn’t go against the spirit of the campaign.

Hypothetical Scenarios

Say I’m running a Discovery-era game and a player asks to play a Kazon.

  • In an action-oriented campaign about the war between the Federation and Klingons, this is not a problem. Kazon are warlike and mercenary as a people, and we could go the whole campaign without addressing how or why a Kazon is in the Alpha Quadrant fighting in a war. If the player did want to explore those questions, there are enough plausible explanations in the 'Trek verse to make the focus of an episode or two.
  • In a colony-based pastoral game that’s mostly about exploring the characters I’d ask the player what specifically about the Kazon they like, why they think it would fit with the premise, and offer alternatives, but I’d be very permissive.
  • In a campaign with a season-long story arc where connecting characters to the plot is an important element I would need strong justification and a discussion about what the player hopes to get out of the character.

Rule 1 Keep it simple don’t look for trouble: choose PC race in basic book
Rule 2 Please your players if you can safely do so:at some point in a scene that you choose, where you have control of setting, allow him to play a Kazon as an incarnated support character

My personal order of preference forndealing qith such requests would be:

  1. Can we modify your request to be harmonious with lore? To take your Kazon example, can you play a Kazon like species, but isn’t actually Kazon?

  2. If not, can we find a way to make can we find a way to make it work even if it isn’t going to be fully harmonious? Perhaps your Kazon got sent by the Caretaker by accident and ended up in the alpha quadrant and that’s why we have a bona fide Kazon on Picard’s Enterprise for the Encounter at Farpoint.

  3. If there really isn’t a way to do either of those, then at least do it in a way that doesn’t screw over my story. No, you cant be Cochram’s local bartender during First Contact, but maybe you hitched a ride on the Enterprise-E or the Sphere.

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The beatiful thing about Star Trek is as long as everyone is reasonable (players and GM alike) almost anything can fit with a few tweaks. The key really is communication. I have found showing the players where they can look things up is the best way to do this. Show them the tools they need to “master” the universe (memory alpha, the rule book, etc etc) and allow them contribute by providing resources they have found that can enhance the experience for all. Proactive players looking up their own questions can be a relief for all especially the GM (as long as they are reasonable in their findings AKA knowing the limitations and not just seeking their own grandeur)

As with really any system I have played or GMed it comes down to this. And I will reiterate for emphasis

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One thing to be very aware of is that Discovery (S1-2) & Strange New Worlds (S1 eps1-2) have done a bunch of technical things that are well beyond what we see in other shows, esp TOS & TAS. If they’re drawing on those sources, be prepared for some übertech.

The Kelvinverse movies also have similar issues. (And others, besides.)

The tech paradigm got reset at each of TNG, Ent, Kelviverse first movie, Discovery, and Strange New Worlds.

Find out what their understandings are on the tech.