STA Dev Blog 004: A Guide to Star Trek Adventures
By Nathan Dowdell, 2d20 System Developer
Basic Rules: Values
In Star Trek Adventures, your character’s Values are an important part of what defines them as a person: they are your character’s most deeply held beliefs, their ideals, and their self-identity.
A character’s Values won’t directly impact every task, but when they do come into play, they can have a major impact, and for this reason, it’s worth looking at them more closely.
During character creation, you’ll be asked to create four Values for your character. The rulebook does provide examples for this, and some advice, but there are lots of possibilities so extra guidance is helpful.
- Values should be easy to understand, so that you and your gamemaster can quickly judge when they’re helpful, when they’re a hindrance, and when they don’t apply at all. Your Values can’t help or hinder you if you don’t know what they mean.
- You will want to have at least one Value that causes you trouble, holds you back from taking certain actions, or compels you to act.
- You’ll want at least one Value which is helpful to your character, or which represents them at their best.
- Your Values can change over time. Because they can change, you don’t need to worry too much about choosing the perfect Values right away, so start simple, and let them develop.
- It doesn’t matter if you have Values that contradict one another. A person can hold conflicting beliefs, and the situations when those conflicting beliefs clash is often a source of drama and tension in play.
Beyond that, a character’s Values can be anything, but they should reflect a character’s deeply held beliefs, their principles, their self-identity, or the relationships that define them (whether those relationships are to another person, a group, or even an institution or culture).
A character’s Values could be shaped by their background, their training, or their upbringing. Many Starfleet officers are driven by an intense curiosity about the universe that drives them to explore, or by a powerful sense of duty to help or protect others. A character may be scrupulously honest, unwilling to deceive others, or have a strong sense of personal honor which cannot allow them to cheat or employ unscrupulous methods. A character may be motivated by powerful loyalty to a particular group or organization, or by the ambition to achieve some feat or attain some status, or by a resentment or animosity for another group.
These are just a few possibilities, of course, but they should provide guidance about how to think about and create a character’s Values.
In play, your character’s Values have the potential to affect the tasks and other actions you perform.
When you attempt any action where one of your Values would support or encourage that action, you may spend a point of Determination, gaining a significant benefit to help with that action. You don’t have to spend Determination in these situations, but acting in line with your Values creates an opportunity to dig deep and push yourself in ways that aren’t normally possible, represented by spending Determination.
On the other side of things, whenever you attempt any action that goes against one of your Values, then your Value may hinder you, impair your judgement, keep you from acting, or otherwise blind you to possibilities. You may suggest situations where this happens, as may the gamemaster. When you’re faced with a situation like this, you have two choices:
- You comply with the Value; you suffer a complication (which can result in you being unable to attempt that action, being compelled to take a specific action, or an action becoming more difficult), but you gain a point of Determination in exchange.
- You challenge the Value: you cross out that Value, and can no longer use it… you’ve tested your belief and found it less important to you than you believed. You gain a point of Determination. You can only challenge a Value once per adventure.
Any action may only involve one Value, either positively or negatively. The exception to this is when you challenge a Value: when you challenge one Value, you may apply a different Value if that other Value supports your action. In that way, you may gain one Determination from challenging a Value, and then immediately spend it with the other Value, essentially choosing one Value over another.
At the end of an adventure, as part of character advancement, you may re-write any Value that was challenged and crossed-out. The new Value should differ at least slightly from what it was before, though it could be significantly different if the character has found something else to believe in.
There are many examples of Values in the core rulebooks and various game supplements (for example, check out Notable and Major NPC write-ups). Here is a short list of example Values. Look to character dialogue for ideas on statements that reflect that character’s Values.
- The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few
- Never Leave Anyone Behind
- Starfleet to the Core
- Words are Some of My Sharpest Weapons
- My Faith Will Keep Me Warm
- Desperation Breeds Inspiration
- There is a Tool for Every Problem
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.