By Nathan Dowdell, 2d20 System Developer
Basic Rules: Characters
The Star Trek universe is one ripe for exploration, and Star Trek Adventures is designed to allow you to do exactly that, whether you do it via the Starfleet-themed core rulebook or The Klingon Empire core rulebook. But, if you’ve never played a roleplaying game, or if you’ve only encountered one or two other RPGs before, getting to grips with how Star Trek Adventures works can seem daunting. So, we’ve decided to produce a series of short articles to help explain the basics of the game.
The first place to look is the character sheet which you can download for FREE here. It’s what you’ll be looking at most often during a game, so knowing what the important parts mean is helpful.
There are six main things that make up a player character:
- Traits, such as your character’s species, are the central defining facts of who and what the character is. Traits are a bigger subject which we’ll discuss in a later article.
- Values are a set of short phrases or statements which show what a character believes. When your values go against your actions, it can make things more challenging, but when your values support your actions, you can achieve far greater degrees of success.
- Attributes are a series of scores that reflect what the character is good at and how they approach problems. There are six attributes—Control, Daring, Fitness, Insight, Reason, and Presence. Each attribute has a score from 7 to 12, and they’re used when performing tasks.
- Disciplines are a series of scores that represent a character’s skills and training, and they each reflect a different division of Starfleet: Command, Conn, Security, Engineering, Science, and Medicine. Each discipline is rated from 0 to 5, though every player character has at least 1 in each discipline as they’re assumed to have at least basic training in all fields. Along with a character’s attributes, they’re used to perform tasks.
- Focuses are subjects, areas of expertise, and specialties which your character is especially good at. Every engineer knows how a warp drive works, but some are true experts with a focus in warp drive.
- Talents are special tricks and techniques a character knows. They’re special abilities that your character possesses which give them an advantage on their adventures.
Attributes and Disciplines
A character’s attributes can illustrate what they’re like, and how they tend to approach challenges.
- A character with a high Control is likely to be precise, detail-oriented, or highly disciplined.
- A character with a high Daring is bold, courageous, and highly effective under pressure.
- A character with a high Fitness is physically healthy, with high endurance and a good understanding of how to apply physical force.
- High Insight reflects keen instincts, a good understanding of body language and other interpersonal cues, and someone who trusts their gut during difficult situations.
- A high Reason represents a character who is analytical and methodical, highly observant, and good at piecing together the evidence.
- A character with a high Presence is likely to be able to command attention and has a powerful personality. They’re probably strong-willed and self-assured.
Meanwhile, a character’s disciplines represent their skills and training.
- Command covers leadership and interpersonal skills, an understanding of diplomacy, and coordinating others during a crisis.
- Conn covers the operation and piloting of a starship or other vehicle, as well as interstellar navigation, extra-vehicular activities, familiarity with spacecraft, and knowledge of the protocols, procedures, and traditions of spacefaring.
- Security naturally covers fighting in personal and starship combat, but also criminal investigation, espionage, stealth, wilderness survival, and identifying threats.
- Engineering deals with machines and technology, ranging from operating and repairing complex devices, to inventing new machines and adapting technologies to do things they cannot normally do.
- Science covers all fields of scientific inquiry and study, as well as application of the scientific method, performing research, and generally being observant.
- Medicine covers the theory and practice of medicine, from simple first aid to complex surgery, as well as psychology, genetics, pharmacology, and other fields relating to health and well-being.
We’ll look at how you use your attributes and disciplines to attempt tasks during the game in a future article.
A character’s focuses may reflect their professional specialties, their personal interests, or their hobbies. A character may be recognized as an expert or master of some of their focuses, or they may be amateur enthusiasts. If the character is a scientist, a doctor, or engineer, they may have published academic papers. A character with a focus in a martial art or athletic discipline may have medals or trophies from competition.
Not all of a character’s interests are important enough to be focuses, but a character’s focuses are the things they are most deeply interested in and knowledgeable about. We’ll dive into more detail on focuses in a future article.
A character’s values depict what a character believes, and these beliefs help shape the way a character behaves during play. Values are heavily tied into how you use and gain Determination, and they’re a subject that deserves their own article.
A character’s talents are a selection of special abilities. Each talent provides a distinct benefit, option, or exception from the normal rules. As talents vary so much, they can’t really be summarized here, so we’ll examine talents in more detail in a later article.
Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep your frequencies open for additional STA development blogs on a wide variety of game-related topics in the coming months.