Many of our players have been wondering how we will determine which characters will end up populating your crew. We tapped the brain of David Heron, one of our designers working on Star Trek Timelines, and asked him to wax galactic and write about his favorite characters and scenarios - some of whom just might make it into the game.
David shares his insights about Star Trek Timelines
On Characters and Crew
My favorite Star Trek episodes focus on an unlikely pair of characters solving a problem in a unique or unexpected way. Each action, every solution, comes about because of the specific characters involved. In “The Ascent”, Odo and Quark bicker like siblings, eventually coming to the comical resolution to “share” a single jacket. That episode would play out much differently if Quark was replaced by Kira.
Across the various series, different groups of characters face similar challenges. For example, prison escapes have been at the center of several episodes; Picard and Crusher escape a prison in “Attached,” Harry Kim and Paris in “The Chute,” Seven and the Doctor in “Body and Soul,” or Worf, Garak and Bashir in “In Purgatory’s Shadow.” One of my goals for Star Trek Timelines is to create a space that allows a player to experiment with these familiar scenarios. What happens if we replace Crusher with Phlox? How would Chekhov, Vash, and Rom escape a Dominion POW camp?
Skills and Traits
What makes these questions fun is what makes Star Trek such a special universe. Over the past several months the team here at Disruptor Beam has put a lot of work into creating an elegant shorthand that communicates the uniqueness of each character. In our current build, characters are defined by a general set of skills and some specialized traits.
Medicine, engineering, diplomacy, are all examples of skills. Skills are used to make general comparisons, such as Picard is a stronger diplomat than Torres. Traits are a much broader set of concepts that include everything like species, if a character is Klingon or Hologram, and even to aspects of personality - like one being paranoid or greedy. The combination of skills and traits has allowed us to quickly communicate what makes Kirk different from Archer or Janeway. Being able to understand how these differences will interact with a specific mission is up to the player, it’s your job as Captain to assign the correct crew member to the correct duty.
The most fun I’ve had with the system so far is diving deep into the fiction to find the perfect character for each specific challenge. I’ll close by sharing a shortlist of my favorite guest star characters that bring a particular unique set of skills and traits that have lead to some really interesting stories:
Dr. Toby Russell
Dr. Russell is a talented and radical surgeon. While she may have similar medical expertise as Crusher or ‘Bones’, her willingness to practice with ambiguous morality makes her special. In mechanical terms, Dr. Russell is a combination of Dr. Crusher and Tom Paris, which allows your team to come up with some “creative” medical solutions.
“The Magnificent Ferengi” is a personal favorite episode of mine. The “eliminator” Leck is not your typical Ferengi, he’s an entrepreneur - but profit isn’t his primary motivator. When you need a Ferengi and a Nausicaan but only have room for one in the shuttle, Leck is your guy.
Dejaren, the disturbed Serosian hologram, appeared in the Voyager season four episode “Revulsion.” One of the most interesting aspects of Voyager was the continuing evolving role of holograms. Dejaren exposed a dark side of giving photonic life forms independence. In terms of skills, Dejaren has expertise in both Engineering and Security, which is comparable to Torres or O’Brien but are very unusual for a Hologram.
Thanks, David, for some interesting new insights on Star Trek Timelines and how to use a crew of interesting characters!
If you’d like to add to this list, feel free to join in on our forums and let us know which unique characters in Star Trek you found most interesting.
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