The first step is to create a character, so I have done so, and named him Anthony Olivar. Olivar is my general-purpose surname used across many games, so Anthony is just the next in a long line of imaginary characters that I control.
I used the lifepath character creation method which takes the character from birth up to their current experiences. This is a seven-step process which provides a fully realized (for the purposes of the game) character with all stats, traits, and values in place.
Step 0: Basics
Every new character starts out with a value of 7 for each attribute, and a value of 1 for each discipline. No attribute can be higher than 12, and only one attribute can have a value of 12. For disciplines, no one discipline can be higher than 5, and only one can have a value of 5.
Step One: Species
I went boring. I went human. As the quintessential “jack of all trades”, I got three points to allocate to any three attributes. I chose Presence, Daring, and Insight.
Step Two: Environment
I rolled on the table for this one and came up with “busy colony”. This is where the character grew up and where they may or may not still call home. Being human, and at the manual’s suggestion, I chose “Mars” as the character’s home, but left it at that as I didn’t really look into canonical Martian colonies in the Star Trek universe.
Because of this choice I got to allocate one point to Presence (my choice), and one point to Command. I also got to choose my first value. Because the blurb states that these busy colonies took great pride in being the first intrasolar colonies in the Sol system, I created a value “We can handle it ourselves” which showcases the independent streak inherent in these colonists.
Step Three: Early Outlook
There are three options to choosing an early outlook, which represents what put the character on the path they travel now. There’s rolling on the “Upbringing” table, choosing an “Aspiration”, or, if this is a Klingon character, choosing a “Caste”.
Honestly, I completely didn’t catch the “aspirations” mention, so I rolled on the “upbringing” table and…here’s where things started to go a bit off the rails. I rolled for “business or trade”. This allowed me to increase Daring by 1, and Presence by 2, as I opted to accept this path (the alternative was to “rebel” against it, a purely personal or narrative choice).
This is the first concrete step in figuring out who this character is. The description for “business or trade” mentions that the character’s family may have connections on many worlds and has come into contact with people from all over the Federation. This brought to mind the Enterprise episode “Fortunate Son” which saw the Enterprise assisting an Earth freighter that had been damaged by Nausicaans. The culture aboard the freighter was explained by Ensign Mayweather (who grew up on trade freighters like the Fortunate): because of the slow travel speeds of these early warp-capable ships, the crew was literally family, nomads whose homes were the ships they traveled on. These people were (affectionately, I assume, based on how the term was used in the show) known as “boomers”. I’m not sure I’ll carry that tradition forward, though.
I decided that even in the 24th century, these point-to-point “family owned” trade and supply routes would still be in effect. They can now reach further and travel faster, but that doesn’t mean the trips take less time. Anthony and the Olivar clan have their specific trade routes, and that’s where he grew up.
This choice also provided me with the first focus. A focus grants additional benefits when rolling for a task where the focus could apply. I picked Negotiation, one of the options the book put forward (I could have made one up, but this made sense). In a case where I have to roll a task where this negotiation focus would benefit, if one of the rolls comes in below the applied discipline value, I get an instant advantage applied. Yay me!
Step Four: Education
This could have gone one of two ways, really, and it went the second. I rolled on the table and somewhere at the back of my mind I was expecting Anthony to have either left or been pushed out of the family business and into Starfleet because, you know, it’s a Star Trek game and everyone in every show or movie is in Starfleet. Instead, I rolled “civilian training”.
Uh oh. It was really starting to look like this is going to be “the Star Trek series that was never made”. I then had to pick what flavor of training this resulted in and seeing as how I’d rolled “business and trade”, I manually chose “freight and transport”.
Once again, the blurb on this option reinforced the family business aspect:
You are a member of a privately-owned starship, perhaps running cargo from system to system, or flying passengers to distant destinations. These ships are often family businesses, passed down through generations, running a specific route. Others take whatever contracts they can find, carrying goods or passengers on an ad-hoc basis.
This choice awarded three attribute points which were assigned to Presence and Control, and increased Engineering by 2, Command by 1, and Conn by 1. I chose another focus, Bureaucracy.
At this point I had decided that Anthony was going to be the oldest son of the Olivars, and was being raised to “take over the family business” once his parents retire. This led to my second value, “the family business”, indicating Anthony’s belief that the family business must continue.
It was at this point — literally as I was writing this — that I realized I needed to come up with the Olivar family as NPCs. I knew there would be a mother and father, but are there siblings? Aunts and uncles and cousins? Are there any non-relatives on board? The story is already taking shape somewhat.
Step Five: Career Length
I wasn’t entirely sure how old Anthony was going to be until this point. I rolled low, which translated to “novice”, insinuating that Anthony is relatively young and inexperienced compared to people his age who were, at the time, benefiting from a Starfleet Academy education. But because he was getting “on the job training”, I chose another value, “heir apparent” to show that he has a lot to live up to, not only eventually taking over the business but the captainship of the freighter. Whether he accepts this or challenges it is part of the gameplay, and it raises the stakes even more because of “the family business” value that’s also in effect.
Step Six: Career Events
Being “younger” than expected, I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of events that Anthony would have experienced. However, as he probably spent most of his life on the freighter — and we know how Star Trek loves to throw things sideways — there was a very good chance that even though he wasn’t in Starfleet Academy, Anthony was getting one hell of a practical education.
I got to roll 2 times on this table, and for the first result I got “conflict with a hostile culture”. That could mean literally anything, but I opted for it to mean that at some point, their freighter came under attack by pirates, possibly Ferengi or even Breen, depending on where their trade routes took them. I had some trouble reconciling the results of the second roll, so I opted to pick one: “solved an engineering crisis”. I figured this could go well with the “conflict” result: at some point during the dust-up with the pirates, Anthony had to step in and yeet some “Treknobabble” to make some repairs and help their freighter escape.
The sum of these options increased Fitness and Security by 1 and added “shipboard tactical systems” to the focus list, and added 1 point each to control and engineering, as well as the focus “electro-plasma power systems” — AKA “EPS”.
Step Seven: Finishing Touches
Whew! That was quite the process. It worked well, although it’s plain to see that most of the options on the tables are geared towards a Starfleet cadet-slash-officer, which makes complete sense for the expected setting. I happened to get railroaded into the offshoot career, so I’m looking forward to stories in this lesser-explored region of the Star Trek universe.
At step seven, I chose one final value, “everyone wants something”, to reflect Anthony’s experience attending negotiations with his parents. I increased Daring and Reason by one point each and added one point to Conn and one point to Medicine, just to create a well-rounded character (don’t ask him to do anything science related, though, as it’s stuck at 1).
Finally, there’s the assignment. As this is a family freighter, I named it the “Early Harvest” which I assumed was something like a freeze-dried food supplier moving staple consumables from bread-basket worlds to up-and-coming colonies and terraforming projects. As this is not a Starfleet ship, Anthony has no official rank, but he’s going to start off as the “acting XO”, the position tenuously held by his father who is semi-retired and opting to help more on the logistical side. Anthony’s mother is currently still the captain but is ceding more and more decision making to Anthony behind the scenes and guiding his presence (which is already quite formidable) while on the bridge.
Although this was a pretty long post, the whole task took maybe about 15 minutes real-time to complete. However, this is only part of Anthony’s “character”. The other half, of course, will be the definition of the “Early Harvest” — the starship that will carry Anthony onward towards adventure.