Sunday, August 28, 2011

Far Trek character sheets

Yup just like Roguish and every other game I make, the character sheets are book marked size.  I might goof around with doing a note card version as well at some point, but for play testing these worked just fine. I intentionally left off equipment because Trek isn't about hording and hauling.  Everyone has a phaser, a communicator and if you are a blue shirt, tricorder or med kit.  Anything you need is a transporter call away (assuming you can use your communicator) or on board ship (assuming the Turbolift works).

The neat thing I have found in refereeing Far Trek is how much more I focus on creating a cool story and not so much on is this creature too tough or easy?  How much treasure is enough and will that item ruin my future campaign plans? Will the players have enough challenge? Those mechanical considerations are gone and instead I am more interested in story and plot.  Yes there are mechanics involved and phaser battles, but (rightly or wrongly) there isn't the same feel to these events in the game.  They are more plot devices that help resolve or increase plot tensions rather than mechanical game grinding for all or nothing resolutions.  Well at least that's how I play them in the game when I run it.  Your warp speeds may vary.

Beyond Mike Berkey's orginal document for Microlite, I have a stack of FASA's Star Trek RPG stuff, Last Unicorn's, and ADB's Prime Directive (GURPS) books.  The one thing I find interesting and similar about all of the professionally published stuff is how much intricate detail is included.  It's impressive (almost like a tech manual in detail) but also stifling and not necessarily in line with a TV series based RPG.  Kind of like most RPG's in general now, they tend to overly rule and over explain everything in detail to do away with ambiguity.  In my experience it's the ambiguity in RPG's that makes the referee's job the most fun, the player's experience the most harrowing, and the game play in general the more memorable.

Note none of that applies if playing with "rules lawyers and munchkins."  If that's your group, I'm sorry and I hope you find a new one...SOON!

UPDATE: posted original "class based" play test sheets.


Jim said...

Cool. A question -- if you have a pic on each one; do you need a line for race?

Fenway5 said...

@Jim-good question. Well maybe we do and maybe not need race. You'll notice there is no Telarite, no Vulcan, etc, so race was necessary for playtesting. My alternative version is to use the Gold shirt, Blue Shirt and Red Shirt Trek symbols, so that class is scrubbed from the sheets. So the character sheet show's the class autmatically. A few people thought that was too "inside baseball" but I will toss them up shortly.

JB said...

For what it's worth, I like the idea of "color coded class" A LOT...not only is it cool AND simple to reference (character sheet-wise) but it totally fits the game setting. That is eloquent design, in my book.

One question: your last post stated there would be no hit points or damage rolls. In a game based on the serial, this makes perfect sense: the protagonists don't die. However, "red shirts" (other than Scotty) DO tend to get whacked with alarming frequency in the series. Do you intend the only character death in your game to be possible for those players that choose Red Shirt class? That would be pretty cool, as well as go a ways to explaining why Scotty spends so little time down on the planet surface (no desire to risk getting killed).

Besides, it's not like phasers "wound" people.

Fenway5 said...

@JB-I liked the class based character ones too, but some testers thought they were too TREKKIE.

Regarding character death (or lack their of): Whenever your character is hit, you make a roll to stay in the fight. The more hits you take, the tougher it is to stay in. Miss a test, and your character is KO'd, they are out of the fight and the referee can determine when/how the character shows up again. This let's you have seeming never ending fist fight's, phaser battles, wrestling/ grapples and other struggles from Trek.

Death is reserved for extras (red shirt #3) or minor characters (kirk's son in WoK) but should only be used as a plot device.

For example, the warp core is damaged and a PC Red Shirt engineer commands a damage repair crew to restore power so they can escape a closing Tholian web. Red Shirts #4 and #5 run in as a phaser from a Tholian ship rocks the vessel and both Red Shirts are thrown onto the damaged warp core disintegrating instantly. What's your plan now Mr. Scott?

Players should only be killed if:
a) they did something so un-Trek like that its worthy of death.
b) the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few, or the one-self sacrifice.
c) the storyline required it for some reason to reach a conclusion.

Note a careless player should be knocked out often, and a good referee can and should punish a reckless PC trying to take advantage of this.

JB said...

@ Fen:

: )