Saturday, January 28, 2017

The RPG Character Library: Star Trek (Decipher)

To finish out the Star Trek section of the character library, I made a character for the most recent, officially-licensed Star Trek game (at least, until Modiphius releases their game, unless it's already released, in which case, I'm at least one game behind). This version was published by Decipher Roleplaying & Miniatures Studio in 2002, and it allows you to play a character from any era of Star Trek except for Enterprise. It also boasts, "Original Star Trek canon consistent with previous versions of the Star Trek RPG."

There are quite a lot of similarities between this game and the version of the game made by Last Unicorn Games, though the rules are different enough that you couldn't easily switch a character between the two without serious reworking. Comparing the two, I like the Last Unicorn Games version a bit better because it's a lot more dialed-in on what you can play and where (and when) you're playing. Decipher's version allows you to play anything from any era and, because of this, adds in a lot of complexity and a lot of explanation.

As an aside: Last Unicorn's game is complete in one book. The Decipher book, while a bit smaller than the LU book, is just the player's guide, meaning I need at least one more book in order to properly play this game.

I won't say that the breadth of what you can do in this game is bad, necessarily, just daunting. This is also the first Star Trek RPG that explicitly allows you to play someone who doesn't work for Starfleet. I can understand the allure, but I also don't understand why you would do this. In my limited experience with Boldly Go, making a character that doesn't fit into the ship's hierarchy tends to leave one a bit outside of, and without a clearly-defined role in, the player group. Still, though, I suppose it's nice to have options.

Character creation sort of follows Last Unicorn Games. You pick your species, which gives you bonus skills, edges, and powers. You generate your stats. You pick a Personal Development template, which gives you some skills and edges. You pick a Professional Development template, which involves picking, say, "Rogue," and the one of the three options given under "Rogue," which gives you more skills and edges. If you want to be a member of Starfleet, you need to take one of the "Starship X Officer" development templates, which include: Command, Operations, and Science. Each of these covers way more than three templates, allowing you a lot of leeway in picking what you want to do.

As has become tradition with these games, the species you can pick from in the Decipher version is different from any species list in any of the other games. Decipher lets you pick from:  Bajoran, Betazoids, Cardassians, Ferengi, Humans, Klingons, Ocampa, Talaxians, Trill, and Vulcans. They also have rules to allow you to make a Mixed Species character and, though they are a bit clunky, they are a welcome addition to the game.

Amused and encouraged by the idea that I could literally make anything I wanted, I went ahead and made a Klingon who was a Starfleet ship's counselor. I gave him the Nomadic Childhood Personal Development, explaining why he's met so many different people and why he may not think about things the same way as more "typical" Klingons. I suspect much of his therapy involves forcing the patient to confront their problems head on and, possibly, using pain sticks whenever necessary.

Also: The character sheets provided in the book are very pretty and done up to look like something printed on a Starfleet computer in LCARS. Not all that easy to photocopy and probably very easily mangled once you had to change your character, but top-notch in the looks department.

T’ang the Intractable

Klingon, Starship Officer (Starfleet), Ship’s Counselor with a Nomadic Childhood



*Favored Reaction

Abilities: Pathos (Make people feel comfortable. Ignore all social penalties when making an Inquire (Interview) roll.)
Edges:  High Pain Threshold, Skill Focus (Persuasive), Brak’lul (Extra bones and organs. +2 Stamina reaction bonus. Half effect from stun weapons), Ferocity: RAMPAGE! (+2 Armed Combat +2 Unarmed Combat +1 Health. Spend 1 Courage point to break out of it prior to the end of the duration), Honor (Add Renown modifier when interacting with Klingons.)
Fluent Languages: Klingon, Federation Standard

Armed Combat (Klingon Traditional Weapons) +3
Athletics: +1
Computer Use (Retrieve) +1
Culture (Ferengi) +2
Culture (Earth) +2
Energy Weapon +1
First Aid +2
History (The Klingon Empire) +3
Influence (Charm) +1
Inquire (Interview) +4
Language (Ferengi) +2
Language (Vulcan) +1
Medicine (Psychology) +3
Negotiate +1
Politics (Federation) +3
Repair: +1
Specific World (Ferenginar) +2
Specific World (Earth) +3
Specific World (Vulcan) +1
Survival: +1
System Operation (Command) +1
Unarmed Combat (Shat-Fu) +1

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