By Michael Dismuke, STA Contributor
When Jim Johnson, Star Trek Adventures project manager at Modiphius, approached me about this project, I was admittedly shaken up. He told me, “I'm developing a character pack for each of the first three seasons of Discovery. The packs would show the characters as they progress and change from season to season and the roster would change a bit from pack to pack. This way we give fans a chance to see how the characters are growing and changing from season to season, which can illustrate how the players could emulate that with their own characters in their own STA campaigns.”
I was like “Wow”. What a challenge! Also, what a good chance to show off the adaptability of the Star Trek Adventures RPG! What do I mean by that?
I have gamemastered STA games since 2017. As such, it has been a pleasure watching my players adapt their characters using milestones. Spending their milestone rewards has enabled them to improve or change attributes, disciplines, focuses, and talents. I think that this milestone mechanic exhibits how well-rounded Starfleet officers must be—heck, how adaptable any character who dares to journey into space must be. So, working on the same characters for—not one—but three seasons of Star Trek: Discovery characters was mind-blowing and really pushed me to study the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious changes in some of these new stars of the screen!
With this assignment, I would need to look for sudden nuances and details that the writers of the show tossed in to capture character growth. Watching characters evolve is a fascinating venture as their previous experiences inform their current situations. I went back to watching three seasons of Discovery through the lens of a writer. And what did I find?
For one, I am in love with Philippa Georgiou. Say what you will, but in my opinion, she is the shining star of Discovery. Her evolution between seasons 1 and 3—specifically, her views of the Federation’s idealism—is remarkable. I know that the show is supposed to be about Michael Burnham, but Georgiou is the showstopper. Diving into this character’s psyche was so fun, and you will see the nuanced alterations in her persona in the three different character packs. For instance, each season we saw Philippa display different talents. Of course, this emperor would have a wide assortment of talents to choose from in her bloody and illustrious career. But there is no need to list them all in a character sheet. Instead, I highlighted the talents which she displayed in the season; one of my favorites was in season 3 when she builds a makeshift weapon out of a damaged drone. Whoa!
Likewise with Sylvia Tilly. She starts as a chatty and self-conscious cadet and progresses into an acting first officer by season 3 with a brief spot in the command chair. I found it interesting that the writers laid the groundwork for this in season 1, stating several times that she aspired to be a captain. And then we saw her growth over the course of the show, as I reflected in her increasing Command score in the three different packs.
This project really highlights how characters can grow, increasing and decreasing discipline and attribute scores, changing focuses, and swapping out values and talents to reflect the personality-rich and multi-talented crew aboard starships. Use this as a template for your STA characters to adapt and grow and have fun!
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!