Friday, January 13, 2017

The RPG Character Library: Star Trek (FASA)

This is the first post in what may turn out to be an EXCITING CROSSOVER EVENT between two of the big themes on this here blog: my continuing quest to make characters for every RPG I own and my continuing quest to get Boldly Go, my Star Trek-inspired game, released to the general public. Here's the plan so far--I'm going to make characters for every version of the Star Trek RPG that I own, many of which I picked up so that I could have inspiration for Boldly Go. Then, once those are all done, I'll talk about how Boldly Go works and describe my design decisions and why I made them.

I may also just make up a character for Boldly Go, too, since it is an RPG I own, this is my blog, and self-aggrandizement is literally a thing I do. 

We're starting off this event with the oldest version of the Star Trek game, which was made by FASA in the early '80s. This version came out well before TNG was a twinkle in Gene Roddenberry's eye, so it uses only the Original Series and the Animated Series (you can play a Caitian if you want, or whatever the hell Arex is, so that's exciting).

Being an RPG from the early period means that the game is filled with crunchy bits. I believe that, since this game was made at around the same time as Starfleet Battles was made, it was designed to interface with the rules for that wargame, which explains where some of the crunch comes from.

After character generation (which took me three different attempts on three different days), I wound up with a character that looks very much like a Call of Cthulhu character or something of that ilk--some stats, some derived stats, and a whole heaping pile of skills at a wide range of percentages. Getting to that point, however, required me to do enough bookkeeping that it made me feel like I was doing my taxes.

Here's how it all came together. NB: People who actually know how to play this game, please bear with me; it's entirely possible that I did some or all portions of character generation incorrectly.

I decided to make a female Andorian. I started out generating my seven primary stats. Luck and Psi are rolled straight percentile. The rest are rolled with 3d10+10. Then I added in my racial modifiers. Then I get to roll percentile die, take 50% of the result, and spend the remainder on anything but Psi. I rolled a 94, did an even split between the other stats, and dumped the remaining 6 points in Luck.

Secondary stats are derived in the usual way (mods to other stats), though some of them are averages of stats and certain skills, and one of them (bare hand damage), I had to look up on a table.

Good so far! Now it comes time to pick skills, and this is where things get hairy. I start of with Background Skills from my childhood times. I get a number of skills equal 1/10th of my Int, which I have to split between Education and Personal. I roll 1d10 for each to get the skill's rating. If I want, I may pick skills twice to show my deep commitment to them, getting a second roll.

Right. Now I get a bunch of basic skills, presumably from my early days in Starfleet. I get them at the listed amounts. I also get 5 elective skills that I can get +5 in, but I can't double up those skills (to get +10 or +15 in one skill). After that I get 6 (1/10th my Int) + 5 skills that I can improve with a d10 roll. I think you can double up on these.

It's about this point that I started to miss how skills worked in Top Secret.

Okay. Now I pick a branch of service and pick those skills. I went with Communications, because why not? I also get two more elective skills, picking two and boosting them by 1d10 each. Then I get to train two more of my branch skills equal to my (Int - 50)/10. So one more skill gets another 1d10 roll.

So I'm done now, right? Hahaha. No. Now I have to go on my cadet cruise. If nothing happens on my cruise, I won't get evaluated and will have to go out for another one. I roll randomly for everything and find out that I was on an Exploration Command ship, and I passed my cruise with high honors, allowing me to be promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade.

Great, so we're done! No! I have to go to Department Head school next. I get a bunch of administrative-type skills for free and get six more skills (Int/10) that I can improve with a d10 roll.

So now I' Now I have to go to Command School. *deep breath* All right. I get a bunch of leadership and political-type skills, plus six more skills with six more improvement rolls. 

And now I'm done. Except that I have to roll to figure out my post-Academy experience. I have to do a number of tours equal to 1d10/2, plus mods. Also, since I went to Command school, I'm destined to be a captain or first officer, so I add +2 tours. 

The tables were especially confusing in this part, so I probably screwed this up badly. The gist of it is that I got an Outstanding evaluation at my first post, then a bunch of Average evaluations at my other posts. My final tour, the one where I was destined to be promoted to Lieutenant Commander, earned me a Poor rating, because all of this is based on random rolls and there are always going to be outliers.

But now I'm do...Wait! I have to roll 1d10/2 for each tour to see how many years I served in it. This makes me 34 years old (I think, there was some confusion as to what my starting age was). I get a bunch more skills that I'm allowed to improve based on how many years I've served, so by calculating my Int and my...

Forget it. Here's my character.

Lt. Commander Othrivo Zh'izalel

Female Andorian, Communications/Damage Control

Action Points
Ranged Weapons
Unarmed Combat
Bare Hand Dmg



Maximum Operating Endurance: 71
Current Operating Endurance: 71
Inaction Save: 20
Unconsciousness Threshold: 5
Wound Healing Rate: 3
Fatigue Healing Rate: 7

Comm Systems Operation
Personal Weapons Technology
Comm Systems Technology
Physical Science (Chemistry)
Computer Operation
Racial/Cultural (Klingon)
Computer Technology
Racial/Cultural (Romulan)
Damage Control Procedures
Shuttlecraft Pilot
Environmental Suit Operation
Small Equip Sys Operation
Gaming (Arcade Games)
S Science (Fed Culture/History)
General Medicine (First Aid)
Social Science (Fed Law)
Space Science (Astronomy)
Language (Klingon)
Space Science (Geology)
Language (Romulan)
Space Science (Hydrology)
Starship Combat 
Life Science (Biology)
Starship Sensors
Marksman (Modern Weapon)
Transporter Operation
Trivia (Arcade Games)
Personal Combat (Armed)
Zero-G Operations
Personal Combat (Unarmed)

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