By Patrick Goodman, STA Contributing Writer
One of the hardest things for some to get used to with the first season of Star Trek: Picard was the nature of the characters. Used to seeing a show’s heroes more or less in control of themselves and their lives, it was a shock for some to see almost every major character in Picard broken, some of them profoundly.
That something is broken, though, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be discarded. The Japanese art of kintsugi is based on this idea. It’s the art of repairing broken pottery, highlighting the cracks with gold. The resulting piece is once again useful, and as beautiful as it was before, if not more so. I find it’s the same with the characters of Picard.
It’s been my experience in roleplaying games that characters with broken edges are the most interesting ones. Rough surfaces and jagged corners give a player and gamemaster alike something to grab hold of. They offer chances for growth, change, and possibly even redemption over the course of a campaign.
This does, though, present some interesting complications as they’re being created or adapted. So much of the interesting stuff is in backstory, not the stats. Fortunately, though, Star Trek Adventures offers us a character’s values. These come from a character’s history, and are ideal for showing both their ideals and their flaws.
For example, take a look at Admiral Picard himself, who’s no longer the man he once was. A paragon of what Starfleet once stood for, he’s now isolated from the organization where he spent two-thirds of his life. He’s also just learned that his life has been given a much earlier expiration date than he expected. Few things can spur someone to action like being confronted with their own mortality.
More broken, perhaps, is Raffi Musiker. Where Picard resigned from Starfleet in protest, Raffi was cast out, stripped of her security clearance and with it, a key piece of her identity. Where Picard merely hid at his chateau, Raffi spiraled out of control. Her relationships with her husband and her son fell apart as she fell further into addiction and paranoia.
Elnor, orphaned as a young child and raised by warrior nuns, found a father figure in Picard during the evacuation. Then the admiral disappeared and didn’t return for a decade and a half. Elnor grew to manhood hurt and resenting the father figure who abandoned him.
All of these characters are broken, but I’ve discovered over the years as a player that this is where I like to begin. While damaged, these people are rich and colorful. They have plenty of hooks that I could hang new pieces of story on, as either the player or the gamemaster, and that is my ultimate goal when I create a character. Or, as in this case, adapt them from the source. I left you the edges to mend, but ultimately, it's up to you to find the gold to seal the cracks.
I’m very proud of these characters. I hope you enjoy reading, and perhaps playing, them as much as I enjoyed adapting them.
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!