9 Feb 2018

Test Run - Star Trek (Last Unicorn Games)

I've been asked to create a few characters for a friend for CanGames this year.  One of the games he wants to run is the out-of-print Star Trek Role Playing Game from Last Unicorn Games.  The game uses a lifepath to create a character, starting from a core template based on species then shipboard position, then adding on through childhood, Star Fleet Academy, and tours of duty.  The first game in the series, the Star Trek: The Next Generation RPG, allowed for players who weren't the senior officers.  For the game I'm preparing for, though, the characters aren't just the senior officers, they're the full crew compliment of a small scout ship during the time of Captain Kirk's command of the USS Enterprise.

The first step is to figure out the position the character will be in.  In today's case, I'll be creating the Chief Engineer.  For extra fun, the character will be a Vulcan, one of the first to follow Commander Spock through Star Fleet Academy.  This sets up steps 1 and 2 as follows.

1) Choose a Template
Templates are based on species, providing the base attributes and skills.  There are four attributes, Fitness, Coordination, Intellect, Presence, and Psi; the typical Human has the first four at 2 and the last at 0.  Vulcans start with the first four at 2 each and Psi at 1, with a +1 to both the Strength and the Logic Edge and a -1 to the Empathy and Range Edge.  Vulcans are strong, logical, but not known for their interpersonal warmth.

The skills the future engineer picks up are mostly cultural, learning about Vulcan culture, history, and language, a science, how to mind meld, and how to use the Vulcan nerve pinch.  Vulcans also have the Curious advantage, being intrigued by the unknown, and the Vulcan Code of Honour and Hides Emotions disadvantages.  Mind, Vulcans don't see the last one as a disadvantage.  I do need to choose which science.  Being an engineer, Physical Sciences, such as physics and chemistry, is the logical choice.

The skills so far:
  Culture 2
    Vulcan 3
  History 1
    Vulcan 2
    Vulcan 2
  Mind Meld 2
  Science, Physical 2
    Chemistry 3
  Unarmed Combat 2
    Nerve Pinch 3
  World Knowledge 1
    Vulcan 2
2) Choose an Overlay
Overlays are the careers.  Sulu and Chekov would use the Helm/Navigation overlay, Uhura the Communications overlay, and Dr. McCoy the Medical overlay.  The Vulcan Engineer will take the Engineer overlay, naturally.  This provides the base skills to be considered competant on board a ship.  There were a few choices to make, the main one being the types of engineering learned.  I went with Propulsion Engineering as the main skill, seeing that the character would be responsible for the engines on the ship; for specialities, the logical choices were Warp and Impulse.  The other engineering skill taken was Material Engineering, taking Metallurgy as the specialty.

3) Early Life
Now I need to figure out how the Vulcan Engineer was raised.  Being Vulcan, the Academic Upbringing is an obvious choice, but not the only one.  Spock could choose from Famous Parents or Political Upbringing, based on Sarek's position as Ambassador.  But, the Engineer will take the Academic Upbringing, providing five points as follows - an academic skill, +1 to the Logic Edge, a Patron at the +2 level, and the Arrogant disadvantage.  However, I will change things up a bit.  I will increase Physical Science (Chemistry) to 4 without increasing the main skill, giving me two points to put elsewhere, which I define to be Psi.  The Patron will be a Vulcan instructor at the Vulcan Science Academy, who recommended the Engineer for Star Fleet Academy.

4) Academy Life
The Engineer now goes off to the Star Fleet Academy.  The logical choice is Advanced Research Engineering, providing a boost to Propulsion Engineering (Warp Drive), a Material Engineering specialty, and a +1 to Intellect.  Since the Engineer already has the skills and is only increasing the specialties, there are four development points left over.  I'll put a +1 into the Psi Edge, Focus, and add the skill Mind Shield at 1.

5) Cadet Cruise
The Cadet Cruise provides just one development point.  I'll use it to increase the Intellect Edge, Perception to +1.

6) Tours of Duty
Since the idea is that the assignment is testing young officers to see if they are ready to become department heads on a larger ship, I'll only go with one tour of duty.  The Vulcan Engineer manages to get assigned to a Shakedown Cruise, testing his knowledge and expanding his experience with actual ship systems.  He gets a specialization for Propulsion Engineering (increasing Impulse to 4), picks up Systems Engineering, and earns the Innovative advantage.  The increase to only Impulse means I have two more development points to spend.  One point is used to get Department Head, for use in the new assignment.  The other is used to increase Personal Equipment (Environmental Suit) to 3.

7) Finishing Touches
Every character starts with 3 Courage Points, to modify die rolls during play.  Humans get extra, but Vulcans get the base amount.  Characters also start with 1 Renown, to be placed in any Aspect; the Vulcan Engineer places his into Discipline.  Rank starts at Ensign, and since the Promotion advantage wasn't purchased, it remains at that level.  Wound Levels are based on Fitness plus Vitality; the Engineer has two, a typical value.  I'll leave the naming for whoever plays the character.

The final character sheet, with formatting destroyed by Blogspot:
Name:    Background History
Rank:  Ensign     Early Youth: Academic Upbringing
Species: Vulcan    Academy Life:  Advance Research Engineering
Position:  Chief Engineer    Cadet Cruise: USS /Venturer/
Current Assignment:     Tours of Duty:  Shakedown Cruise
Attributes: Advantages
Fitness:  2   Curious +1
  Strength:  +1   Patron (Vulcan Science Academy Instructor) +2
  Vitality:    Innovative +1
Coordination: 2   Department Head +1
Intellect:  3 Disadvantages
  Logic:  +2   Code of Honour (Vulcan) -3
  Perception:  +1   Hides Emotion -2
Presence:  2   Arrogant -1
  Empathy:  -1
Psi:  2
  Range:  -1
  Focus:  +1
  Athletics 1
    Running 2
  Computer 2
    Modelling 3
  Culture 2
    Vulcan 3
  Dodge 1
  Energy Weapon 1
    Phaser 2
  Engineering, Material 1
    Metallurgy 2
    Structural/Spaceframe 2
  Engineering, Propulsion 2
    Impulse 4
    Warp Drive 4
  Engineering, Systems 2
    Life Support 3
  History 1
    Federation 2
    Vulcan 2
    Federation Standard 1
    Vulcan 2
  Law 1
    Starfleet Regulations 2
  Mind Meld 2
  Mind Shield 1
  Personal Equipment 1
    Environmental Suit 3
  Planetside Survival 1
    Forest 2
  Science, Physical 2
    Chemistry 4
    Physics 3
  Shipboard Systems 2
    Life Support 3
    Transporter 3
  Unarmed Combat 2
    Nerve Pinch 3
  World Knowledge 1
    Vulcan 2
  Vehicle Operations 1
    Ground Vehicles 2
    Shuttlecraft 2
Status: Resistance:
Courage: 3 Wound Levels
Renown: 1   Healthy         OO
  Aggression   Stunned (+1) OO
  Discipline  1   Injured (+1) OO
  Initiative   Wounded (+2) OO
  Openess   Incapacitated (-) OO
  Skill   Near Death (-) OO
The character will probably be played in May, but if you wind up using the character yourself, please let me know!

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