Must Read—Does Your Character Have the Diplomacy Focus?

I was blown away the other day as I was perusing the net and came across the U.S. State Department bio of Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley. I oftentimes read people’s bios because I enjoy studing the journey people took to get to where they are. However, it was the last paragraph of her bio that made me jump for joy and get choked up.

It reads, “She is the co-author of two papers published in the New York Review of Science Fiction on “Diplomacy in Star Trek” and “The Representation of Disability in Star Trek.” In 2019, she was voted into the American Academy of Diplomacy.”


STARFLEET INTELLIGENCE FILE: Bolian Starfleet Officer in diplomatic uniform  with Captain Jean-Luc Pi… | Star trek insurrection, Star trek movies, Star  trek universe
It takes a lot to be a good diplomat, including knowing how to make macrame fashionable.

Of course, I now had to scour the net for the papers. Happily, they were easy to find.

What blew me away, even more, was that the article, which she co-wrote with Professor Victor Grech of the University of Malta, “Diplomacy in Star Trek” offered an amazing insight into the Focus we call Diplomacy in Star Trek Adventures. I read it immediately and, furthermore, I suggest anyone else who has a character with this focus gives it a once-over. It will shed more light on how this fantastic focus can be powerfully employed in STA.

In this well-researched article, Grach and Abercrombie-Winstanley break down the diplomacy we have witnessed in the Original Series, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise. The opening to the research paper spells it out nicely when, speaking of the genre, they state:

“This narrative places humanity within the United Federation of Planets, a polity of allied worlds that comprises a “(l)iberal, post-capitalist, almost perfectly socialist utopian democracy … a constitutional republic” (Grech, “Philosophical Concepts” 1). The Federation behaves like a Kantian “league of nations,” a supranational grouping that facilitates amicable internal relations, permits defence against external threats (Kant, 1785), and attempts to respect the ideals of national sovereignty outlined in the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 (Grech, “Philosophical Concepts” 2). These ideals are based on (1) the right of political self-determination, (2) the tenet of legal equality between states, and (3) the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states (Gross, 1948).”

United Federation Of Planets Inspired Digital Art by Rainbow Drop

And from there the article really takes off!

By the end of it, I walked away with a new way to define the Diplomacy focus in game terms with some amazing cited examples and quotes I can pass onto players. This is a must-read for the diplomats on our crew and, hopefully, you can use it too.

Let us know in the comments below what you think about the article.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of these papers. I have to say I was more interested by the 2nd paper on disabilities. Though both gave me food for thought. The Diplomacy paper did indeed add to my knowledge and that gave me some ideas.

  2. Wonderful paper and post. Thank you, Michael, so much for sharing this. Very informative. These kinds of things make me want to pay this game even more. And it’s this kind of depth that just adds to the, er, tapestry of ST.

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