So, this is a thing.
LARP Trek started as a jokey conversation at a Metafilter meetup about a year ago; sitting around a fire, a few drinks in me, I pitched the idea that Deep Space Nine wasn’t a real thing that happened in the Star Trek universe, but was in fact a role-playing game that the crew of Next Generation played when they were on one boring milk run or another in between the exciting stuff that we got to see during the weekly episodes. All of the character pairings I proposed (Picard as Sisko, Dr. Crusher as Dax, Riker as Dr. Bashir, Troi as Quark, etc.) were just vehicles for commentary on the Enterprise crew’s psychological foibles and insecurities and delusions of grandeur; DS9 was a soap opera because the people playing it were straight-laced Starfleet bridge officers letting their hair down.
After that night, I tried working up the idea in a few different ways — as a big character x = character y infographic, as a series of character sheets and other pen-and-paper RPG artifacts, as a series of private log entries by Counselor Troi about the game sessions as group therapy — but nothing really felt like it was working, so the idea just sat for the last year.
And then I had another conversation a week ago, at another Metafilter meetup, about that old idea I’d never done anything with, and it got me thinking about a talking-head comic strip type thing. I’ve fiddled around with sort of related ideas before; Mulder’s Big Adventure leaned heavily on screencap and talking-head humor, and Previously on the X-Files and The Big Markovski (and the woefully unfinished ST:TNG vamp on same) played directly with the screenshots-having-a-discussion idea though without any actual coherent scripting on my part.
LARP Trek is a synthesis of all that. I’ve spent the last week mocking up strips, sharing them on mlkshk, getting feedback, and playing with the format to find something that feels right, and I like where the strip is now. Visually it’s pretty cut-and-dried, but I think that works for the kind of humor I’m aiming for, and the upside of the relatively ascetic look is that laying out strips is pretty fast and fun to do; just some screenshotting and some photoshoppery and, blam, it’s a comic strip. A little WordPress hackery and here we are, on a proper website and everything.
I’ve got a lot of ideas in the hopper for how our crew will stumble their way into role-playing their epic sister franchise, and I’m excited to keep putting those ideas down on paper. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do; thanks for reading.