By Al Spader, STA Contributor
Art by Ariel Orea
Even though I have loved Star Trek for most of my life, the everyday craziness of family work meant the franchise fell to the back burner for several years. This all changed when I’d heard about Discovery. The idea of a serialized story was exciting for me as I thought Deep Space Nine revolutionized the idea, and it was my favorite Trek series. Even with this excitement, I didn’t start watching the newer Trek series until Picard dropped. It was in that first month of streaming the two new series that I recalled my love for the franchise and decided to check out the roleplaying game.
Fast forward almost two years and I was asked to help design the characters from Discovery so that they can be played in the game that I love. I was honored to be chosen to leave my mark on the game and the franchise as these characters haven’t been made in a Trek RPG before. Even more exciting, I got to write the species page for the Kelpiens, easily one of my favorite species in all of Star Trek.
The first thing I thought about when designing these characters is how easily they show off the milestones and value systems of the game. You will see that characters change slowly throughout the seasons as they have different arcs. Their values change, and sometimes their attributes and disciplines change as well. I tried to reflect these changes as accurately as possible, especially with Saru and Doctor Culber.
The major arc moment for Saru is going through the biological process known as Vahar’ai and facing a lie created by his people’s enemy as a way to control the Kelpiens. When Saru realizes that the reason behind the culling of his people was a lie and unnecessary, Saru sees some major changes in both his values and his abilities.
One of the ways this change is represented is by replacing the value “I will not fear the coming of death” with “I will free my people from the lies of their past”. This value change represents a maturation on the part of Saru and shows him moving more towards a leadership role in his society.
The other way this change is represented, is by the trait Post-Vahar’ai. This trait shows that a Kelpien has gone through the anatomical change and allows for a different species talent to be taken. If a player wishes to use a Kelpien character, they must choose where in the character’s maturation they are and give it either the Pre-Vahar’ai trait or the Post-Vahar’ai trait. Saru’s change over time can be used as a guide for anyone wishing their Kelpien character to go through the Vahar’ai process.
Star Trek: Discovery holds a special place in my heart as it reinvigorated my passion for the franchise. My love for the show inspired me to explore this bold game known as Star Trek Adventures. When I explored the game further, I found a caring and knowledgeable community who would stop at nothing to help another player find a game, assets, or ideas. It was then that I realized I had found something special in the world of tabletop gaming: easily the most supportive family of gamers I’ve ever met.
Thanks for reading this article, and thank you for your interest and support of Star Trek Adventures! Keep frequencies open for news about additional STA products in the coming months. Live long and prosper!