The Worf Effect
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Basic Information

Poor Worf. He's a member of a Proud Warrior Race, trained in combat from birth, possessing superior strength to humans, sharper teeth and lethal bumps on his forehead. He should be anybody's definition of a bad-ass. But what happens? Every time an alien threat visits the Enterprise, they feel a need to demonstrate how formidable they are by testing their powers against the toughest fighter in the crew. Which is Worf. And he invariably gets humiliated.

Now this sort of thing can be a useful plot device: using known characters as a benchmark to evaluate the toughness of a bad guy. But it happened so frequently to Worf that the fans noticed and began making fun of him, the tough guy who never wins a fight.



Game and Story Use

  • This can be an effective way to establish an NPC threat as someone to take seriously. But it carries the risk that whoever gets stuck being the punching bag will no longer be taken seriously.
  • You probably don't want one of the PC's to be the "Worf" in this situation.
    • Unless the player asks for it. heh heh.
  • It's probably better to have an NPC be the one to endure the humiliation.
    • Especially if the NPC is a jerk whom the players hate anyway.
  • Absolutely vital to make sure that the players understand that not everything that appears will be a level appropriate combat encounter so that they don't fling their characters into action and then complain when they are reduced to a paste.
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