Ok, so you want to create and write your own character for a Star Trek Play By Email RPG.
You've already taken the first step but it's important to remember that a created character is an extension of yourself. Making a character "your own" is one of the more exciting and worthwhile aspects of writing in a RPG group.
The role of a Starfleet officer is an exciting and fulfilling one. You should expect great adventure and rewarding experiences. You'll also be challenged as a writer and creator. You are the author of your own destiny.
But there are some questions you'll have to answer before you go on that first Away Team.
To Be or Not To Be?
Star Trek is a diverse universe with thousands of species and worlds. You have the ability to one of a great number of species in that universe. Always had a thing for Ferengi? Great. We have a Ferengi Captain in our fleet. Been partial to Klingons or Andorians? Wonderful, you can carry a bat'leth or ushaan-tor with the best of them.
Picking your race and gender is an important step in crafting an identity; it will shape how you interact with other members of the crew and your own mannerisms. Vulcans, for example, are not usually an expressive people, so if you want a jovial, smiling character, perhaps think somewhere else. Conversely, if you want someone with a technical mind and sound logic, a Vulcan is a perfect choice.
Identifying what aspects you want in your character will help you to establish a solid background. Culture, history, technology - it all comes into account when you are making your character. Take your time and think about it.
Naturally, there are certain species, a very small list, that you simply can't play. For example, as fun and menacing as the Borg may be, naturally, there can't be a Borg officer. You character may have had run-ins with the Borg during their early years, or may have a brother or sister who was assimilated, but that's better as back-story material.
The Breen, the Tholians, the Jem'hadar. These are more examples of really interesting races, but ones we simply can't have in Starfleet.
It is also important to note that some species have special abilities. Betazoids for example can read minds. This doesn't mean you can control others or you have the ability to know what everyone around you is thinking, but its an interesting character feature. Some species, like Klingons, are excellent warriors. This comes into account when you're writing action scenes. What it doesn't mean is that you are a super hero who can do everything. Star Trek may be a fantasy world, but it has to be rooted in practical physics and plausible abilities. If you have a question about what your species may or may not be able to do - just ask!
It's important to remember that, much like a character in a MMORPG or a sandbox style video game, once you make your character, they are yours to edit, adapt, and change. For example, when choosing how to create a character, pick a duty post that may interest you. There are generally a number of postings aboard a starship, but your character will have a specific job.
Do you want to tangle with intruders and protect other members of the crew? Then maybe you should play a Security Officer.
Enjoy discovering new worlds and analyzing problems? Maybe a Science Officer is more your speed.
Want to fly a starship? Think about a Helm Officer.
Where you assign yourself is important to what sort of role you will play on the ship. As with all things, there will be times for you to experience different aspects and responsibilities of ship life, but it is important to like your duty post. You can find a list of duty posts that we accept on applications here.
As you grow as a character, there will be options for you to shuffle your duty post, perhaps expanding into one of our advanced duty posts such as intelligence officer or mission specialist. But where you start is an important factor in determining your role on a ship. Development of your character is paramount to the fleet and if you find that you're struggling to be creative with your duty post, just speak to your commanding officer; they may be able to find something more to your liking.
What's the Story?
Writing a character is meant to be fun and engrossing. I myself have been writing as my character for nearly three years. There are others in the fleet who have been writing the same character for as long as 10 years.
Crafting a backstory for your character is important. Do they have a problem with authority and, if so, how did they manage to pass their academy courses without being reprimanded too heavily? Maybe they lived a happy life and are seeing the dangers of the galaxy for the first time? Perhaps they are the first in their family to leave their homeworld? All of these options - and literally hundreds more - are yours to craft and create. Your mind is your best resource, but it is important to remember that we operate under the Star Trek canon universe, not the JJ Abrams universe. If you have questions about the timeline or history and story of our universe, there are resources that can help you, such as our wiki, or the Countdown to Eden, which fills you in on everything that's happened in our universe since the events of the Hobus Supernova.
Your character is meant to be an extension of your own self, someone who you want to be like or someone you want to exist similar to your real world self. Make it your own. Be who you want to be. And most importantly - have fun!
This tutorial was written by Udas. If you have any questions, feel free to Contact us