After coming up with the location for my solo Star Trek game, I feel ready to create a character. Star Trek Adventures (STA) has a life path creation system that I am excited to try out. I envision my character in the one role that I usually feel uncomfortable claiming in a group game: the Captain.
Reporting For Duty begins in Page 74 of the Rules Digest. Let’s dive in!
The first point to note is that I like the idea of Main Characters and Supporting Characters introduced up front – the idea of each player having a Main Character but being able to take on the roles of Supporting Characters when their primary dude isn’t in the current scene.
It feels conducive to solo play for me to have a single Main Character and then generate Supporting Characters as they arise through play. I decide to skip on to Lifepath Creation and take things from there.
MAKING The Captain
For Species I roll on the table and get a Human. Fair enough. I get to add +1 to three Attributes so I choose bonuses for Control, Presence, and Daring. I gain access to the talents Resolute and Spirit Of Discovery, so I decide to note those down.
Background Environment is next. I decide to roll for random birth environment and get Busy Colony. I like the idea of him coming from Mars, so I create the first of my Values: “Mankind was destined to colonise the stars.” He also gets to increase either Daring or Presence, so I decide to add +1 to his Presence. Finally, he gets to increase Command, Security, or Science by +1 so I decide to add to Security. I’m imagining a strong-willed officer who was always the strongest in class and who will evolve into a Captain.
Step three is Upbringing, defining the character’s family background. I roll on the upbringing table and get Business or Trade. Interesting. This paints the picture of a family connected across many worlds within the Federation and beyond, giving our character encounters with many species and people as a youth. I see him as rejecting the path of trade and profit in favour of the idealism Starfleet offers. Rebelling and seeking his own identity gives him Insight +2 and Reason +1. He can increase one of Command, Engineering, or Science and it feels natural to opt for Command +1. Gaining a Focus, I select Negotiation from the list of examples because it seems like it might fit my concept well. For my first Talent, it seems apt to choose Spirit Of Discovery and propel him into a life of curiosity.
On to step four, Starfleet Academy. Given my goal of being Captain, I choose the Command track at the Academy. For my new Value, I select “Inexperienced and Idealistic” because it will help to channel my own inexperience as a player and open up a tone of positivity. I also like the idea of him being the first Captain of a new line of Constitution-class vessels and the crew being pretty new to deep space exploration. I get three points to split between two or three Attributes: I choose Fitness, Control, and Daring for +1 each so he is more well-rounded. He must increase Command or Conn by +2, so I go with Command. He increases two other Disciplines by +1, so I choose Conn and Science. For the three Foci, I like the idea of Team Dynamics and Composure; as you’re allowed a Focus outside of the track, I also choose Anthropology to reflect his wider interests. For the Talent, I choose Resolute from his Human heritage.
Career comes next. Not knowing much about the game, I decide to default to Experienced Officer and get to choose a Value and a Talent. For the Value, I opt for “The Price of Peace is Vigilance” and for the Talent, I select Bold with the Security Discipline. I have this idea of a Captain who is ever-vigilant to danger and seeks to protect the Federation.
Career Events arise in step six. I opt to roll the two events randomly and get ‘Encounter With A Truly Alien Being’ and ‘Special Commendation’.
For the first event, the idea of an encounter with a Q pops into my head. I know this is a species from the later eras but I also love Q as an idea, so decide to run with it. I think my character doesn’t fully comprehend the nature of the Q (explaining the reasons why Starfleet doesn’t recognise this encounter until the TNG era) but the encounter involves meeting a being with godlike-powers while on an early mission. He gains +1 Reason, +1 Science, and a Xenobiology focus.
For the second event, the character has saved the lives of several colleagues, and I like the idea of there being an incident with Klingons in the past. This is the era of Federation-Klingon tension so perhaps they were involved in a rescue mission wherein he piloted a bunch of colonists off a world claimed by the Empire under fire. He gets +1 Fitness and +1 to any Discipline; given the story, I go for Conn. I give him the Emergency Medicine focus to enhance this narrative.
Finally, it’s time to put on the Finishing Touches. The character gets one Value and, thinking about it, I decide to add, “Fast Ships and Strange New Worlds” to echo what I love about Trek. He also gets +1 to any two Attributes, so I boost Control and Presence. I can add +1 to any two Disciplines and I choose Command (maxing it out) and Security. For my final Talent, I choose Quick To Action using my Security Discipline to qualify. I like the riff of the guy in charge who is also a pretty mean security officer. From here, I work out the derived statistics.
I decide to name the character Thaddeus Emmerson. He will be the Commanding Officer for the USS Spartan, ranked as Captain. I see him as newly-minted and while experienced, this is his first starship command. He gets a uniform, communicator, Tricorder, and a Type-2 Phaser as equipment. And that’s him done.
SOME Quick Reflections
Coming back to the predictions I made in my last post, it’s useful to reflect on the process so far. Three of the initial predictions are relevant at this time:
- While I will feel enthusiastic initially, I will become unable to play because I will be mired in the desire to “get it right”.
- STA is too complex to be fun.
- I won’t know where to start and I will flounder around until I give up.
I have enjoyed coming up with a starting location for adventure and found character creation really engaging. I like being able to shape my character but also enjoyed making some random rolls. It’s nicely playful and I was relaxed about the details most of the time.
The main area where I did flounder is with canon details, like the ship name – I actually played around with the idea of using USS Excalibur but then got mired in canon notes. In the end, I managed to extricate myself by picking a name from an old list of British warships. The USS Spartan is named after an old British Cruiser from 1891 – just because I liked the name, really.
The decision to have encountered the Q was a good moment because I was embracing the principle that My Star Trek Will Vary. It’s nice to make choices that feel good and fit my vision rather than limiting myself.
As for the game being too complex, this is not true thus far. Actually, STA is pretty straight-forward and I have an intuitive sense of how it’ll run already. I am keen to roll forward into action. Put another way, I’m not floundering nor ready to give up.
I think that if I were to follow in your steps, I’d likely create a lower decks character that would observe and interact with situation, but not get bogged down with the decision making required by command.