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Old 11-07-2022, 02:58 PM   #61
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: GURPS Star Trek - Canon Vulcans

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Yeah, that's always been one of the inherent contradictions in the ST setting, from the very beginning: it doesn't really make sense for significantly different species to serve in the same environment. Only very closely similar ones, like Vulcans and Humans, can reasonably be expected to do so at all (both breathe nitroxy, prefer the same basic temperature ranges and air pressures and so forth, their native gravity is close enough), and even then there are issues.
I've always said that Star Trek tries to be faithful to Astronomy, regularly cheats on Physics, and leaves Biology crying and abandoned in a locked basement.

The standard excuses for this setup working are:

1) The galactic bias towards "humanoid" sapient life put in place by a precursor species.

2) Most habitable planets will be "Earthlike" in atmosphere, biology, etc. Because Reasons.

The real reasons were budget, time limits which made extensive special effects impractical, limits on biological knowledge at the time, and what the show-runners assumed the TV-watching American public would accept as plausible.

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
In actual practice, even with closely similar species, you'd probably tend to see human ships, Vulcan ships, Andorian ships, etc. At best.
This seems to be a popular fan theory because it makes sense. The Federation initially standardized around common technologies and ship designs, but crewed them with crews made up of a single species for logistical and medical reasons. As the Federation got bigger, and Starfleet gained institutional experience and improved technology, it became easier to have multi-species crews.

For various reasons, some species maintain their own fleets of ships which work in parallel to Starfleet - notably the Vulcans.

The big advantage of having multi-species crews is that there seems to be strength in diversity - in addition to the plot possibilities. the "sense of wonder," and the harmonious multicultural sensibilities which underlie the franchise.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 11-07-2022 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 11-07-2022, 09:01 PM   #62
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Default Re: GURPS Star Trek - Canon Vulcans

Occasional hassle about the special requirements of alien crew members does seem to crop up in Star Trek, but mainly just at a "local colour" level (again possibly standing in for catering for a crew of many different nationalities).
It's possibly kind of implausible that the difficulties are as small as they are (small enough for having different species on one ship to be practical), but the premise might not work otherwise.

For instance, there's one episode (not sure what series) involving a human who has to use a wheelchair on board their ship because she grew up on a low-gravity world and can't handle normal gravity.

It seems like the Klingons possibly can eat normal food, but if catering for Klingons turns up it's usually in the context of precarious diplomatic negotiations, so if they want raw meat and live worms that's what they get. Similar position with the Ferengi.

And, of course, McCoy seems to frequently grumble about not being able to make sense of Spock's physiology, though some of that may just be McCoy taking the mickey - at one point, he takes Spock's pulse (240 bpm or something silly) and then asks him if that's the right answer, or words to that effect, and McCoy seems far too competent a doctor to have set out on a long voyage knowing that little about one of his patients.

Seriously, though, if the differences between the alien species were more than trivial, a doctor's job on a ship that had more than one or two aliens on it might be completely unfeasible. There might be some overlap between species, but realistically, you might need a different doctor for each species, which might be enough to make just not having mixed crews the easier option!

Replicators might make a big difference to how practicable multi-species crews were, as the computer could just be set up to provide each crew member with food that was suitable for their species.

On ships with Ferengi or other mini species on board, it seems like hassle over providing suitably-sized chairs, equipment, etc. might be part of daily life for the maintenance crew!

I suppose in a game setting like Star Trek, it might make sense to just give all the characters 0-point Unusual Biochemistry relative to each other, the same as how what your temperature range is is a 0-point feature (this may already have been said). Of course, the alien not being poisoned by something that is poisonous to everyone else is possibly as common a plot twist as the other way around - I'm not sure whether there's anything in the rules that covers that.
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Old 11-08-2022, 12:38 AM   #63
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Default Re: GURPS Star Trek - Canon Vulcans

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Originally Posted by naloth View Post
That's amusing, but not terrible relevant.
Itís relevant to interfertility and the existence of Spock.
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Old 11-08-2022, 04:51 AM   #64
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Default Re: GURPS Star Trek - Canon Vulcans

And if it's a diplomatic functions the Klingons are going to be picky as possible to gain a edge. If you can claim or make the host feel they are slighting you that nudges negotiations a bit.
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Old 11-08-2022, 07:32 AM   #65
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Default Re: GURPS Star Trek - Canon Vulcans

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
Occasional hassle about the special requirements of alien crew members does seem to crop up in Star Trek, but mainly just at a "local colour" level.
This is mostly played for laughs, however. Like Bolian worries about shipboard plumbing or a Caitan complaining about the limitations of the sonic showers.

I could see incidents where a food replicator computer (or the equivalent) has to issue dire warnings about a particular dish which is comfort food for one species, but deadly poison to half a dozen others.

Another issue, yet unexplored by canon, is "life support wars" - where the Vulcan wants the ship's atmosphere at 0.9 ATM, 35 *C, and 20% humidity, the human wants it at 1 ATM, 20 *C, and 50%, and the Andorian wants 1.05 ATM, 10* C, and 40% (or whatever Andorians consider to be home-like). (That's my rationale for assuming that the first function of Starfleet uniforms is temperature regulation for their wearer, since the standard duty uniform seems to work just fine at just about any temperature from 0-35 *C and keeps everyone from squabbling over thermostat temperatures.)

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
For instance, there's one episode (not sure what series) involving a human who has to use a wheelchair on board their ship because she grew up on a low-gravity world and can't handle normal gravity.
Actually it was a member of a very low-gravity species, the Elaysians, who looked very much like ordinary humans rather than having "light worlder" physiology (other than ridiculously brittle bones). One of the preachier episodes with a strong "handicapable" plotline.

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
It seems like the Klingons possibly can eat normal food, but if catering for Klingons turns up it's usually in the context of precarious diplomatic negotiations, so if they want raw meat and live worms that's what they get. Similar position with the Ferengi.
I'd imagine that the Klingons can eat just about anything given their robust physiologies, but they get dangerously grumpy if they don't get their preferred diet of live, raw, or recently deceased protein-on-the-hoof.

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
McCoy seems far too competent a doctor to have set out on a long voyage knowing that little about one of his patients.
I could imagine McCoy starting off from default with Vulcan medicine, since he regularly seems startled by aspects of Vulcan physiology that even a competent cross-species paramedic should know about. Sheer talent, luck, and hard study gets him up to speed quickly, however. There's an episode where Spock nearly gets killed and Dr. M'benga - an actual Vulcan specialist - steps in.

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
Seriously, though, if the differences between the alien species were more than trivial, a doctor's job on a ship that had more than one or two aliens on it might be completely unfeasible.
Either that or there are as-yet-unknown commonalities to humanoid physiology that make medical treatment far easier. Starfleet doctors seem to be about to do everything from dentistry to heart transplants on just about any humanoid species without too much trouble.

I call it ridiculous bonuses from excellent equipment, very high levels of EO (Medical) and a "core" Pharmacy, Physician, and Surgery skills, and maybe Wild Talent. (But rather pitiable First Aid levels, so instead of trying CPR or putting the patient in stasis they just wave a medical tricorder over them and gravely announce their death.)

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
On ships with Ferengi or other mini species on board, it seems like hassle over providing suitably-sized chairs, equipment, etc. might be part of daily life for the maintenance crew!
I gave Ferengi Size -1, which is generally good enough that they can deal with human-sized equipment. If the issue comes up, things like anti-grav belts which allow limited flight might allow Size -2 or smaller species to function. (Think Rygel from the Farscape franchise.) I also like to imagine that control stations have adaptable interfaces to allow for things like different hand size & layout.

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
I suppose in a game setting like Star Trek, it might make sense to just give all the characters 0-point Unusual Biochemistry relative to each other, the same as how what your temperature range is is a 0-point feature (this may already have been said).
This is how I've designed my Star Trek species. Unless a particular hazard, pathogen, or toxin is extremely common in the universe, or very hard to avoid, being susceptible to a particular very rare substance is just a racial Feature, and the GM can roll vs. 3d to determine how members of a given species react to a newly discovered threat.

For example, Vulcan susceptibility to Trellium-D is a feature, their susceptibility to nitrous oxide is Susceptibility (Rare). My rationale is that Trellium-D is virtually unknown outside of the Delphic Expanse, but NO2 could easily crop up as part of a planetary atmosphere.

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Old 11-08-2022, 09:25 AM   #66
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Default Re: GURPS Star Trek - Canon Vulcans

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Originally Posted by Agemegos View Post
Spockís parents were way beyond bestiality ó they were less closely-related than a penguin is to a palm tree.
Depends on how you look at things. Bestiality is morally problematic largely because one party cannot give consent, but that's not the case for a human-Vulcan relationship. And the fact they are interfertile indicates they are markedly more genetically similar to each other than a penguin is to a palm tree, despite ostensibly evolving on different planets - presumably, whatever mechanism causes species that look human to be common must force them to conform to markedly similar genetics, making them more akin to subspecies of each other.

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
And if it's a diplomatic functions the Klingons are going to be picky as possible to gain a edge. If you can claim or make the host feel they are slighting you that nudges negotiations a bit.
It can also be useful for making the host uneasy and on the backfoot, if you require something they find unpalatable, which a lot of humans (and I'd imagine other species) would think of raw meat and live worms as. Me, I'd serve them that, then for myself have some breaded and deep-fried worms alongside a steak that is seared on the outside but raw in the center, a side of tartar (both steak and tartar made of the same meat they are eating raw), and a nice salad. Eating largely the same meal, but prepared in a manner palatable to my species.

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
I could imagine McCoy starting off from default with Vulcan medicine, since he regularly seems startled by aspects of Vulcan physiology that even a competent cross-species paramedic should know about. Sheer talent, luck, and hard study gets him up to speed quickly, however. There's an episode where Spock nearly gets killed and Dr. M'benga - an actual Vulcan specialist - steps in.
Arguably, a more realistic treatment would be to have McCoy not be entirely certain what is normal for Spock - not because he is Vulcan, but specifically because he is a human-Vulcan hybrid, and there haven't been enough of those for proper baselines to be established.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Either that or there are as-yet-unknown commonalities to humanoid physiology that make medical treatment far easier. Starfleet doctors seem to be about to do everything from dentistry to heart transplants on just about any humanoid species without too much trouble.

I call it ridiculous bonuses from excellent equipment, very high levels of EO (Medical) and a "core" Pharmacy, Physician, and Surgery skills, and maybe Wild Talent. (But rather pitiable First Aid levels, so instead of trying CPR or putting the patient in stasis they just wave a medical tricorder over them and gravely announce their death.)
Interfertility implies a good degree of commonality, yeah. They may also have adaptive medicines of some sort - maybe those airhypos they use so often have a variety of drugs (or drug precursors that can be instantly synthesized), and they interface with the medical scanning equipment to determine give the proper dosage of the proper drug(s). For not bothering with CPR or similar, maybe they've got immediate treatments that can do anything traditional first aid can - and do it better - and when they announce someone is dead, it's because the tricorder indicates there is no method available to revive them (for someone who's heart has merely stopped, they hit them with a "revive" hypo and they're back on their feet in no time).
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Old 11-08-2022, 04:49 PM   #67
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: GURPS Star Trek - Canon Vulcans

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Arguably, a more realistic treatment would be to have McCoy not be entirely certain what is normal for Spock - not because he is Vulcan, but specifically because he is a human-Vulcan hybrid, and there haven't been enough of those for proper baselines to be established.
That makes the most sense.

It might also explain McCoy constantly needling Spock - he's trying to get a "psychological baseline" on just how Spock's Human/Vulcan hybrid brain works. McCoy might have no more problems with full-blooded Vulcans than most humans, but Spock sort of freaks him out.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Interfertility implies a good degree of commonality, yeah. They may also have adaptive medicines of some sort - maybe those airhypos they use so often have a variety of drugs (or drug precursors that can be instantly synthesized), and they interface with the medical scanning equipment to determine give the proper dosage of the proper drug(s).
This is a fantastic idea, although never specifically mentioned in canon.

Assume that the medical tricorder has all pertinent physiological data on various crew, and that it can almost instantly gather vital statistics like weight, blood pressure, species, sex, approximate age, blood type, genotype, phenotype, epigenetics, etc. on patients whose medical history is unknown. The SAI in the tricorder can then make routine dosing and treatment calculations based on its diagnostic software.

The hypospray isn't just filled with one drug, but a compound of chemical precursors which the hypospray can synthesize into a whole multitude of drugs as necessary to treat a given patient, using data sent to it by the medical tricorder or other medical diagnostic equipment. It then dispenses exactly the right amount and combination of drugs necessary to treat a given medical condition. No risk of drug interactions, overdose due to getting the patient's weight wrong, or unwanted side effects because the doctor missed an underlying condition. "Wonder drugs" like Inaprovaline, which seem to be able to cure everything from acne to the Levodian Flu, could actually be suitable precursor compounds.

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
For not bothering with CPR or similar, maybe they've got immediate treatments that can do anything traditional first aid can - and do it better - and when they announce someone is dead, it's because the tricorder indicates there is no method available to revive them (for someone who's heart has merely stopped, they hit them with a "revive" hypo and they're back on their feet in no time).
That makes sense for people zapped by phasers or strange alien attacks, but there are cases where crew get taken down by low tech weapons. In some cases, it's obvious that fast action could save the patient even using early 21st c. medicine, but the doctor does nothing other than give a death diagnosis.

Admittedly, that's more of a TOS thing, and mostly a way of streamlining the plot (why waste 2 minutes of a 46-52 minute show on a meaningless side plot where the ship's doctor saves/doesn't save Ensign Bitplayer?), but it still gripes me.

(It could also reflect 1960s era medical knowledge. The whole idea of modern trauma medicine evolved in the late 1960s, partially due to the experience gained during the Vietnam war, and the modern notions of "the Golden Hour" and the "Platinum Minute" for immediate treatment of massive trauma date to the 1980s and the Iraq War era, respectively.)

Later on the TNG era shows got a bit better about "medical realism." Ensign Bitplayer takes a rock to the head and goes down. Dr. Bridgecrew waves a medical tricorder over them, proclaims a grave diagnosis, and orders an emergency transport to sickbay. This allows the writers to demonstrate that "Stuff Just Got Real" without depleting Starfleet's life insurance funds.
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