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New Crewman - Finding a Role

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I'm (probably) joining a Star Hero campaign (Terran Empire setting) that's already in progress and am looking for ideas on a character to play. 

The party is the crew of a small ship and works for a corporation doing what I can only really term as "odd jobs".  Past adventures have apparently included "Go to Planet A and find why the natives aren't trading with us (and fix it)", "Go to Planet B and find out why the week-old colony has gone radio-silent", "One of our ships went missing with a full load of cargo.  Bring it back.", "Explore this system for exploitable resources.", and "A man was murdered and one of our operatives framed.  Prove he didn't do it.".  I'm trying to figure out a skillset or concept for my character that would be helpful in such a wide variety of situations that doesn't double up with an already occupied niche.  Psionics are not allowed. 

Right now the crew has the following covered:  Captain, face, spy, infiltrator, criminal contacts, technology person, engineer, sensor jock, pilot, navigator, dedicated combatant, soldier.  I'm sure there's niches filled I'm not aware of, I don't have access to sheets. 

 

I'm having trouble finding anything that isn't already well handled by this crew to insert a new crewman to handle.  So I turn to you, people who've played this genre more, and ask: What does this crew need that they don't have?  How can I make my new guy helpful without stepping on somebody's toes by doing their job better? 

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Well, I notice that there's no medical specialist on that list. It's a role that's certain to come into play on a ship that routinely gets into difficult situations; and it's easily expanded into general biological expertise, which is often valuable to solve various problems or mysteries in sci-fi settings.

 

I was also wondering if your GM is confining you to human (or human-derived) characters, or whether aliens are a possibility? If the latter, can they only be from the Terran Empire book, or can they be official species who are part of the Empire but detailed elsewhere, i.e. in the Alien Wars book? I ask because I have one alien species in mind from AW, the Jhinu, who would fit that bio-concept admirably.

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11 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Well, I notice that there's no medical specialist on that list. It's a role that's certain to come into play on a ship that routinely gets into difficult situations; and it's easily expanded into general biological expertise, which is often valuable to solve various problems or mysteries in sci-fi settings.

Thank you for the idea!  I'll bounce it off the GM, see if he has any thoughts on the matter. 

 

11 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

I was also wondering if your GM is confining you to human (or human-derived) characters, or whether aliens are a possibility? If the latter, can they only be from the Terran Empire book, or can they be official species who are part of the Empire but detailed elsewhere, i.e. in the Alien Wars book? I ask because I have one alien species in mind from AW, the Jhinu, who would fit that bio-concept admirably.

Aliens are allowed.  Even homebrew aliens seem to be allowed, the infiltrator is playing some sort of shapeshifting blob that I can't find a match for in the GM's copy of Terran Empire.  I don't however have access to a copy of Alien Wars

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Like Lord Liaden pointed out, a medic or doctor would be handy.

 

Does the ship have any armaments? And if so, is the gunner position filled? If not, you can assume that role. Or the ship may need more than one. 

 

A demolitions expert or ordnance officer may also be needed. A quartermaster may not be a glamorous position, but it is necessary.

 

I assume the face does some of the diplomacy. Maybe you can be a specialist, perhaps human-alien relations.

 

If all else fails, go the Traveller route and become the ship's steward.

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Or just the PDF -- a less expensive option: https://www.herogames.com/store/product/124-alien-wars-pdf/

One convenient thing about a Jhinta (singular of Jhinu) is that they closely resemble humans, so blend into Terran society easily. But their own culture is quite distinctive, with good role-playing potential. Their biologists are well-known in galactic society for their expertise, beyond the level of Terran Empire science generally.

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10 hours ago, tkdguy said:

Like Lord Liaden pointed out, a medic or doctor would be handy.

 

Does the ship have any armaments? And if so, is the gunner position filled? If not, you can assume that role. Or the ship may need more than one. 

 

A demolitions expert or ordnance officer may also be needed. A quartermaster may not be a glamorous position, but it is necessary.

 

I assume the face does some of the diplomacy. Maybe you can be a specialist, perhaps human-alien relations.

 

If all else fails, go the Traveller route and become the ship's steward.

The combat specialist apparently took the WF needed to be a/the gunner.  Probably the same for demolitions.  These are close to 200 point characters, everybody's got a lot of skills. 

 

I'm not sure how I'd build a quartermaster beyond the obvious set of Background Skills.  Additionally, what would such a character do during a mission?  Logistics work seems like more of a between-missions thing. 

 

@Duke Bushido@Lord Liaden In this trying economic time, I don't have the inclination to throw down money on a completely unnecessary book for a game I'm not even in yet.  Suggesting I don't know about the store on this site is very condescending, and I'm not sure you thought through what you were posting. 

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I suggest speaking with the GM about this. He should have an idea of what the crew needs.

 

Just a few questions off the top of my head: Is the sensor jock also in charge of electronic warfare? Who repairs the ship if it takes damage during the mission? Maybe this will give you ideas. Also, are you okay with your character doing backup or double duty? Sometimes an extra deckhand or backup gunner would be useful.

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23 minutes ago, tkdguy said:

I suggest speaking with the GM about this. He should have an idea of what the crew needs.

 

Just a few questions off the top of my head: Is the sensor jock also in charge of electronic warfare? Who repairs the ship if it takes damage during the mission? Maybe this will give you ideas. Also, are you okay with your character doing backup or double duty? Sometimes an extra deckhand or backup gunner would be useful.

Speaking with the GM was the first thing I did!  Neither of us saw any obvious holes that would be routinely useful.  I think part of the problem is that the team doesn't have a well-defined purpose and just "does everything". 

 

I assume the sensor jock can do EW.  Those are both Systems Operation as far as I'm aware, I've been told they've got a 18- to that.  The technology person has the relevant skills for repair work. 

I'm not at all OK with being a backup.  I recently quit a pair of campaigns because of spotlight hogging, I'm not willing to build into being a secondary character. 

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A medical specialist seems like your best bet to me too, and the different Star Trek series have shown that a variety of characters in just that one specialty is possible. You could even throw in a bunch of science skills or maybe even some detective skills and still be within concept. It worked for Dr. House, after all.

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3 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

@Duke Bushido@Lord Liaden In this trying economic time, I don't have the inclination to throw down money on a completely unnecessary book for a game I'm not even in yet.  Suggesting I don't know about the store on this site is very condescending, and I'm not sure you thought through what you were posting. 

 

GB(I), I apologize if I gave the impression of condescension. My link was in response to Duke's, which only showed the book + PDF option. It was more for people who might read this thread and assume Alien Wars was not available otherwise; although to be fair to Duke, your remark that you "didn't have access" to the book could have been interpreted as not being aware of its sale status. But I certainly recognize why you wouldn't want to invest in a whole book, even at a cut rate, just for background on one alien race.

 

However, your response suggests that my earlier attempt to offer you help via Private Message didn't go through, and I now notice that your account doesn't yet allow such messages. So I'll say here that I wanted to offer to send you just the relevant info about the Jhinu, which I don't think would be a grievous violation of Hero's IP. I of course understand if you don't want that, but I'd like to give you the option. :)

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5 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

 

@Lord Liaden In this trying economic time, I don't have the inclination to throw down money on a completely unnecessary book for a game I'm not even in yet.  Suggesting I don't know about the store on this site is very condescending, and I'm not sure you thought through what you were posting. 

 

2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

It was more for people who might read this thread and assume Alien Wars was not available otherwise; although to be fair to Duke, your remark that you "didn't have access" to the book could have been interpreted as not being aware of its sale status. But I certainly recognize why you wouldn't want to invest in a whole book, even at a cut rate, just for background on one alien race.

 

 

 

 

Pretty much exactly the same thing LL said, and I wouldn't have responded at all if I hadn't forgotten your tendency to think that everyone offering suggestions is just being a total dick.

 

 

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5 hours ago, tkdguy said:

Sounds like medical specialist would be your best bet, then. I don't know if a science officer or counselor would be useful for the group.

 

Depending on the corporation you're working for, the equivalent of a political officer can make for good roleplaying. :eg: 

 

5 hours ago, Steve said:

A medical specialist seems like your best bet to me too, and the different Star Trek series have shown that a variety of characters in just that one specialty is possible. You could even throw in a bunch of science skills or maybe even some detective skills and still be within concept. It worked for Dr. House, after all.

I'm gearing up to pitch medical specialist with a side order of detective and cybernetic technician to the GM right now and crossing my fingers hoping the hole exists!  Thank you all for your help with this. 

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4 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

GB(I), I apologize if I gave the impression of condescension. My link was in response to Duke's, which only showed the book + PDF option. It was more for people who might read this thread and assume Alien Wars was not available otherwise; although to be fair to Duke, your remark that you "didn't have access" to the book could have been interpreted as not being aware of its sale status. But I certainly recognize why you wouldn't want to invest in a whole book, even at a cut rate, just for background on one alien race.

 

However, your response suggests that my earlier attempt to offer you help via Private Message didn't go through, and I now notice that your account doesn't yet allow such messages. So I'll say here that I wanted to offer to send you just the relevant info about the Jhinu, which I don't think would be a grievous violation of Hero's IP. I of course understand if you don't want that, but I'd like to give you the option. :)

I apologize too.  It's a rough time and I should be way more charitable in my assumptions.  More clear in my communication too, I can easily see why you'd think I meant "can't find". 

 

PMs should be open now, I had temporarily put you on Ignore to stop myself from continuing the tangent-argument RE Justice and Forgiveness that started in the Fantasy Races thread (I think it was that thread?) and apparently when I took you off the list a couple days later it kept blocking PMs (I probably screwed up unIgnoring).  My bad there, sorry again!  I'd love to see the write-up! 

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To add to roles not covered, and to piggyback on "science officer," I am reminded that Star Trek, both original and TNG, often had guest stars be geologists, xenobiologists, botanists, and various other science specialists - you could be one of those, with a "side order" of other things/skills.

 

Likewise Cultural Anthropologists who evaluate a whole society rather than be "the face" who skill rolls a single NPC into an info dump.

 

Finally, I don't know whether the Terran Empire has Universal Translators as commonplace like in Star Trek, but one of my favorite sci-fi characters is Daniel from Stargate - linguist, sociopolitical analyst, archaeologist, etc.

 

The Galaxy might run on Galactic English as a lingua Franca, but I have to imagine that, were there no universal translator, many backwater worlds, and some economic powerhouses, would prefer their own languages.

 

(And yes I know that even now in 2020, Google and other companies are trying to have real-time audio translation)

 

So... Science specialist, linguist, anthropologist, etc... Some possibilities...

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Had the first session today and things went wonderfully!  Thank you again to everyone who helped me find this niche!  A very special thank-you as well to the individual who gifted me copies of Alien Wars and Terran Empire!  I wound up going with a Jhinu as a result and it's definitely informed some aspects of the character I wouldn't have thought to flesh out otherwise. 

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