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Episode 106: Adventures in Middle-Earth Part 6 The Meddling of Wizards

I love our Adventures in Middle-Earth campaign. If I had my way we’d record a new episode every week, but our current schedules just don’t allow us to do that. However while we’re working on the next episode I had the bright idea to record some solo episodes to keep the plot moving by showing little bits of what’s going on in the wider world during the campaign.

I’ve been doing the podcast for years so sitting down solo to record isn’t that unusual, I always do that for reviews and GM tips. However doing a story recording is different. I like them and I may do more of them from time to time, but I apologize if they’re odd.

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/592676-episode-106-adventures-in-middle-earth-part-6-the-meddling-of-wizards

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Pokemon #74 Geodue

I’ve always thought Geodude was one of the coolest rock-type Pokemon out there, and despite being around for so much of the series it rarely got a chance to shine. So for our first ever rock-type Pokemon we’ll be tackling the mountaineers biggest threat, Geodude!

Geodude

Small beast, neutral

Armor Class 16

Hit Points 62

Speed 25 ft

Str 16 (+3) Dex 12 (+1) Con 16 (+3)  Int 10 (+0) Wis 10 (+0)  Cha 10 (+0)

Damage Resistance piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons, fire, electric, thunder

Damage Vulnerabilities ice

Skills Athletics +5, Intimidate +2

Senses Passive Perception 10

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Geodude evolves into Graveler.

Levitate. Geodude levitates up to 5 ft. off of the ground and is able to move through the air at will. Geodude ignores the effects of hindering terrain and cannot be knocked down. If rendered unconscious or restrained Geodude falls to the ground.

Pokemon. Geodude can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Rock-type. Geodude is vulnerable to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from attacks made by Water and Grass type Pokemon. Geodude cannot swim and will sink immediately upon being submerged in water.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+3) bludgeoning damage.

Harden. Geodude reduces bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage taken until its next turn.

Rock Throw. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 25/40 ft., one target. Hit: 25 (4d8+5) bludgeoning damage.

Pokemon #4 Charmander

The third and final starter Pokemon is of course Charmander, which is regarded as being the most difficult for new trainers as they tend to evolve into more powerful Pokemon that can be difficult to control. Ash’s Charmander was abandoned by its trainer and waited in the wilderness for it to return before Ash and his friends rescued it.

Charmander

Small beast, neutral

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 48

Speed 30 ft.

Str 14 (+2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 12 (+2)  Int 10 (+0) Wis 10 (+0)  Cha 12 (+1)

Damage Resistance ice, fire

Skills Athletics +4

Senses Passive Perception 10

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Charmander evolves into Charmeleon.

Fire-type. Charmander can produce a flame at will capable of lighting a bonfire. Charmander has resistance to the effects of cold, and gains advantage of saving throws from ice-type attacks. Charmander has disadvantage on attack rolls made in the rain, and its flamethrower only deals half damage.

Pokemon. Squirtle can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Tail Flame. The flame on the end of Charmander’s tail is a sign of how healthy it is. A strong flame suggests it is physically well, while a dim flame usually indicates injury or sickness. If the flame on Charmander’s tail is extinguished it is reduce to 0 HP and must being making death saving throws. The flame is magical in nature and is difficult to extinguish. Simply trying to douse the flame or extinguish it by hand will not be effective. However, if exposed directly to water for more than 3 turns the flame is extinguished.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+2) bludgeoning damage.

 

Flamethrower: Charmander expels a line of fire extending 40/60 ft any creatures caught in the line must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save they take 30 (6d6+2) fire damage, and 2 ongoing fire damage at the start of their next turn. On a failed save the target takes half damage on no ongoing damage.

Rage: As an action Charmander enters a rage. While raging it has advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throw. Charmander adds its level to damage rolls. Charmander gains resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. While raging Charmander cannot use flamethrower.

Pokemon #7 Squirtle

The water-type starter Pokemon that is probably the middle of the road choice for new Pokemon trainers. Ash’s Squirtle was abandoned by its trainer and took up with other abandoned Pokemon to commit acts of mischief and vandalism.

Squirtle

Small beast, neutral

Armor Class 16

Hit Points 51

Speed 20 ft, swim 50 ft

Str 12 (+1) Dex 12 (+1) Con 14 (+2)  Int 10 (+0) Wis 12 (+1)  Cha 14 (+2)

Damage Resistance ice, fire

Damage Vulnerabilities electric, thunder

Skills Athletics +2

Senses Passive Perception 11

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Squirtle evolves into Wartortle.

Pokemon. Squirtle can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Water-type. Squirtle has a swim and has advantage on Athletics checks related to swimming. Squirtle also has advantage on attack rolls made in or around an abundant source of water such as a river, lake, or the ocean. Squirtle is able to breathe underwater and will not suffer the effects of drowning.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+1) bludgeoning damage.

Water Gun: Squirtle expels a line of water  60/80 ft. in a line any creatures in this line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save the target takes 24 (4d6+2) bludgeoning damage and is knocked back 15 ft. On a successful save the target takes half damage and is not knocked back. Water Gun extinguishes any non-magical flames in its path automatically.

Withdraw: Squirtle withdraws into its shell granting it a +4 bonus to its armor class. It also gains resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage as long it is withdrawn. Squirtle can be commanded to remain in its shell as a bonus action, but it cannot take any other actions while using withdraw.

 

Pokemon Trainer Class: Evolution

Last time we tackled leveling up Pokemon when you’re using the Pokemon Trainer Class, and I promised to follow up with an explanation of the evolution mechanic as it pertains to this class.

Most of the Pokemon that evolve will have a certain amount of XP needed to achieve a stage of evolution. The following occur each and every time one of your Pokemon evolve:

  1. Double your Pokemon’s current HP value. This reflects the surge of power and the drastic physical changes that often accompany evolution.
  2. Increase 2 of your Pokemon’s abilities by +3.
  3. Consult the entry of the evolved form of your Pokemon and note any additional traits or powers that have been gained.

The obvious exceptions here are Pokemon that evolved using stones such as Eevee. Those types of Pokemon don’t evolve based on experience gained, they require the use of stones. Depending on your GM these could be available for purchase at stores/shops or they might be rare items found only in certain locations.

Stones have also varied greatly in their appearance from various adaptations, so you can describe them as you’d like.

Evolutionary_stones_EToP

Artwork from The Electric Tale of Pikachu

Fire Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

Moon Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

Thunder Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

Water Stone
Wondrous Item
Exposing certain Pokemon to one of these stones will cause them to evolve into a more powerful form.

For the time being I’m sticking with the first generation of Pokemon so there aren’t any considerations for additional requirements of evolution such as Pokemon that only evolve at night or during the day. Most of those requirements are largely situational and can easily be met by waiting.

If a Pokemon requires a certain amount of affection to evolve then it will be up to the GM to determine if your trainer and their Pokemon have bonded enough to trigger an evolution.

Pokemon that only evolved as the result of trading them, or having them hold items and trading them will just evolve normally. I don’t know about you but I always hated that mechanic, and now that it is within my power to do I am doing away with it.

Now that the secrets of evolution have been revealed the next big hurdle will creating the first 150 or so Pokemon which I’ve already started.

 

 

Pokemon Trainer Class: Leveling Up Your Pokemon

As readers continue to show an interest I am blowing the dust off of my old notes for the Pokemon Trainer Class for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. So thanks for voicing your interest!

Keep two things in mind with leveling up Pokemon before you begin. First, all Pokemon have a starting level, so that Pidgeotto you caught is almost always going to be level 3 unless the GM did some tinkering to make it a bit tougher. Second, if a Pokemon’s level is higher than yours you have to make a Persuasion check to convince it to follow your orders.

Leveling up your Pokemon works in a manner very similar to leveling up a player character, but Pokemon don’t gain new powers until they evolve. This is mostly to avoid overloading players with too many options all at once.

In general Pokemon are really going to really only going to undergo large changes if or when they gain enough experience points to level up. That’s where you’ll see them gaining new features. Standard level ups usually just give them a slight increase in their health and a bump to their proficiency bonus.

You’ll notice that their proficiency bonuses are usually pretty low, there are two reasons for this. Wild Pokemon generally speaking, are believed to be weaker than Pokemon belonging to a Pokemon Trainer, which makes sense as they’re going to be in more battles. Mechanically speaking you’re also going to be pushing your Pokemons’ proficiency bonuses depending on your chooses as a trainer.

HP increase relies on the Pokemon’s type, and the chart below details how individual Pokemon’s HP will increase each level. This doesn’t take into account bonuses that can be gained such as the Breeder’s HP bonus. If a Pokemon is a dual-type you can choose any type for the HP gain.

Pokemon HP Gain Chart

Bug-type 1d4+ Constitution modifier gained per level.

Dragon-type 1d12+ Constitution modifier gained per level.

Electric-type 1d6 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Fighting-type 1d10+ Constitution modifier gained per level.

Fire-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Flying-type 1d4 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Ghost-type 1d4 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Grass-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

 

Ground-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Ice-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Normal-type 1d10 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Poison-type 1d6 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Psychic-type 1d6 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Rock-type 1d10 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Water-type 1d8 + Constitution modifier gained per level.

Level     Proficiency Bonus           Features

1st           +0                                          ———————————————-

2nd          +0                                         ———————————————-

3rd           +0                                         ————————————————

4th           +0                                           Ability Score Improvement

5th           +1                                         ————————————————-

6th           +1                                        ————————————————–

7th           +1                                          ————————————————-

8th           +1                                           Ability Score Improvement

9th           +2                                          ——————————————-

10th         +2                                           —————————————–

11th         +2                                          ——————————————

12th         +2                                           Ability Score Improvement

13th         +2                                          ——————————————–

14th         +2                                          ——————————————-

15th         +3                                         ———————————————

16th         +3                                           Ability Score Improvement

17th         +3                                          ———————————————

18th         +3                                           ——————————————–

19th         +3                                           Ability Score Improvement

20th         +3                                           ——————————————–

 

If you’re looking at this and feel a bit disappointed don’t worry, the Evolution mechanic is much more exciting than the level up mechanic, and it is also where’ you’ll see exciting new options for your Pokemon begin to appear.

With that in mind keep checking for the Evolution update coming soon!

#1 Bulbasaur

The grass-type starter Pokemon that is considered by many to be the easiest of the starters for new trainers to raise. Ash’s Bulbasaur chose not to evolve, but it helped carry him to to some of his greatest victories as a trainer. Way back when I got my copy of Pokeon Blue Bulbasaur was the first starter I ever chose my very first Pokemon, so it has always had a special place in my pokedex. This is the first of the starters that I’ve created so lets jump in!

Bulbasaur

Medium beast, neutral

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 60

Speed 20 ft

Str 14 (+2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 14(+2)  Int 12 (+1) Wis 14 (+2)  Cha 14 (+2)

Damage Resistance lightning thunder

Damage Vulnerabilities fire

Skills Athletics +4, Intimidation +4, Perception +4

Senses Passive Perception 14

Languages Pokemon, understands Common but can’t speak

Challenge  5 (1,800 XP)

Evolution. After gaining 4,000 XP Bulbasaur evolves into Ivysaur.

Grass-Type: Bulbasaur has advantage on Stealth checks in areas with tall grass or other abundant plant life.

Pokemon. Bulbasaur can be captured in a Pokeball, from that point on it will act as a companion to its new trainer.

Actions

Slam: Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) bludgeoning damage.

Vine-Whip. Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, range 40/100 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (4d6 +4) slashing damage. On a Critical Hit the target is also grappled.

Razor Leaf: Bulbasaur expels a shower of razor sharp leaves in a 20-foot foot cone. Each creature in that are must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 24 (6d4+4) slashing an piercing damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. As a bonus action Bulbasaur may maintain its Razor Leaf for one additional turn. Doing so causes Bulbasaur to gain one level of exhaustion.

Star Trek Top 10

While neither of us consider ourselves to be Trekkies Tina and I ARE both big Star Trek fans. While we were looking over the Star Trek Adventures RPG we started talking about our favorite characters and episodes. We challenged one another to write out a list of our ten favorite characters and we wended up with some interesting results I felt like sharing.

Because there are so many great characters in Star Trek and it could be hard to crowd someone out of the list we both got an honorable mention.

Honorable Mentions

7 of 9 and Odo

Tina picked the changeling constable Odo from Deep Space 9 played by René Auberjonois. She says she picked him because he had great development during the show, and I have to agree with that. I picked 7 of 9 the former Borg played by Jeri Ryan from Voyager. I know people are going to say nasty things about my choice, and generally people are dismissive of 7, but I think she had some amazing episodes and stories during the series.

#10

Tina chose Commander William T. Riker First Officer of the Enterprise played by Jonathan Frakes. If I had to a hazard a guess as to why it probably has something to do with the less than serious attitude the commander often displayed. He wasn’t afraid to have fun or laugh when the moment allowed it. I also chose a first officer also Saru of the Discovery played by Doug Jones. Two ore different individuals there have never been, but I like them both. Saru is a Kelpian and the first of his species to join Starfleet. He isn’t afraid to admit to his own misgivings, and he’s willing to admit when he is wrong. Saru is also kind enough to forgive and acknowledge the abilities of others.

#9

Looks like we have a bit of a Voyager reunion. B’elanna Torres the half-Klingon half-human Chief Engineer played by Roxann Dawson was another matter entirely. She was angry, stubborn, and ready to fight with anyone about anything which may have been how she ended up with the Maquis. She was also one of the best engineers Starfleet ever had and she cared about people more than she was willing to admit. Her time of Voyager afforded her opportunities to grow, confront the things that had tormented her for most of her life, and grow into an even more amazing person.

#8

Tina’s pick for #8 Tina and I are both big fans of Voyager’s Tactical Officer the Vulcan Tuvok played by Tim Russ. He stands out among all Vulcans in my mind as one who never allowed his logical nature to overrule him. During the long journey home from the Delta Quadrant he was a teacher, a mentor, a confidant, a soldier, an explorer, and someone the crew could always count on. My choice was Lt. Commander Data of the Enterprise played by Brent Spiner. Data is such a fan favorite I have always found him fascinating. In this ongoing mission to explore the stars Data is undergoing his own mission to explore his own identity. He’s asking Who am i? Why am I here? He asks these questions with an open mind and explores all of the possibilities. Plus, let’s face it, Data is a nerd. He has a cat, he LARPS, and he can perform trillions of equations in seconds.

#7

Tina picked Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise played by Patrick Stewart. You can’t not have THE captain on this list at some point unless you hate everything about Next Generation. My choice was Jadzia Dax Science Officer of Deep Space 9 played by Terry Farrell. Jadzia wasn’t the first Trill to appear on Star Trek, but she was the first to flesh out the species and make it her own. I picked Jadzai in part because like any of the characters from Star Trek she’s brilliant, but there was a bigger reason. I look at Jadzia and see someone who lived. She learned Klingon martial arts, played tongo, saw spatial phenomenon no one else had ever even dared to dream of, and she was ever ready to offer wisdom or a joke when the situation called for it.

#6

miles

I shit you not we both picked Chief Miles O’Brien played by Colm Meaney for #6. We weren’t even in the same room when we did these lists and somehow this happened. So why the O’Brien? On Enterprise he was a secondary character who didn’t get to do much, but he still managed to meet and marry the love of his life, and saw her give birth to their first child Molly.  Not bad. In reality I chose him because people who have technical skill are amazing. The rest of us just kind of stumble through the world, but they see all the wires and know just where they go. O’Brien also explores some less pleasant aspects of the future. He’s got prejudices against Cardassians, he’s got a temper like a Klingon, and he’s struggling to keep his family happy while he keeps up with a difficult job. Chief, somehow you did it all. I also think that his friendship with Julian Bashir was something we need to see more of in fiction.

#5

Now we have a Deep Space 9 theme? Fine. Tina chose Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space 9 played by Avery Brooks. If you need an explanation as to why he belongs on this list crack out Netlfix and go watch In The Pale Moonlight. I’ll wait. Understand now? Good. Quark, played by Armin Shimerman, was a Ferengi owned a bar on Deep Space 9. Quark was sexist, greedy, conniving, and in the first few episodes he seemed like he’d sell his own mother for a few slips of latinum. He did manage to keep things interesting with all his schemes and intrigues. His feud with constable Odo made them both more enjoyable, it also seems like it made them rub off on one another. Quark probably grew more than almost any character in any Star Trek show ever. He never quite became one of the good guys, but in the end he wasn’t a bad guy either.

#4

We’re creeping towards the top spots now and competition is getting tighter. For her #4 Tina chose Kira Nerys the Bajoran First Officer of Deep Space 9 played by Nan Visitor. Kira is plain a simple a badass. She can kick the butt of a Jem’Hadar warrior twice her size without spilling her raktajino. She also happens to have some of the most compelling episodes in Star Trek. My choice was Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway played by Kate Mulgrew. I could say a lot of things about why I picked Janeway, but in the end it comes down to one thing. She got her ship home. She didn’t do it alone, and luck helped more than once, but it she saw it as her duty to get Voyager home and she damned well did it.

#3

In part one of the top three we have a repeat performer with Jadzia Dax. I chose the Voyager’s EMH or as he came to be called The Doctor played by Robert Picardo. Who needs a sonic screwdriver when you have a mobile emitter am I right? The Doctor carried on the tradition of Starfleet’s medical officers grappling with ethical conundrums. He also grappled with his own personality and how it clashed with the crew. All of the other EMH programs with his personality were demoted, but Voyager needed him so he got the chance to learn and grow. The Doctor was curious and eager to prove he could be more than just what he was. There’s an episode called Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy that to this day makes me tear up every time I see it. The Doctor has installed a daydream progrma to allow him to live out fantasies, and one of those fantasies is taking command of Voyager as the Emergency Command Hologram during a crisis. When his daydreams go haywire the crew end up getting a peak into his deepest fantasies and seeing one of these scenarios play out.

He says “Thank you for this opportunity Captain. All I’ve ever wanted was the opportunity to live up to my full potential. To hone all my skills, expand my abilities, to help the people I love.”

Robert Picardo brings so much humanity to the role, I don’t think anyone else could have done it quite so well.

#2

Another Voyager reunion? Fine! I’ve already talked about why these characters are so great, but I will also say Tuvok is my favorite Vulcan. Yes over Spock. I said it and I won’t take it back.

#1

Well here we are, the top spot. We end with two Starfleet Captains no less. Captain Philippa Georgiou played by Michelle Yeoh commands the USS Shenzhou on Star Trek Discovery. She’s a great character we only get to see a little bit of, but she makes us wonder what happened in her career to bring her to this point. You can tell she has the admiration and respect of her entire crew. She also seems to be a bit of a pack rat. Captain Picard delivers some of the best dialogue in all of Star Trek. Patrick Stewart makes you care about the ship, the events, and the characters even when you don’t want to. When I think of a Starfleet Captain he’s the first to leap to mind.

Well there you have, those are our Top Tens. I expect there to plenty or rage over these lists. To be honest there are very few characters on Star Trek I don’t like. Less than 3 in fact. I’d like to finish by thanking the actors from the series for all of their hard work over the years.

Star Trek: Discovery Characters

As one of the main characters in Star Trek: Discovery Lieutenant Commander Saru fascinates me, he’s extremely different from most of the other characters we’ve seen on Star Trek over the years. For one thing he’s the first Kelpian to join Starfleet, but we’ve had many first officers over the years on other series. Data, Worf, and Nog were all the first members of their species to join Starfleet, but Saru is also the first member of his species we’ve even seen.

Another distinction is that he is far more cautious and willing to take the safer course than virtually any other character we’ve met. I think that will annoy some fans who will call him a coward, but I think it makes him an interesting member of the crew.

A lot of what came up during character creation was very different from when I made Michael before. I had to create a unique species and make some assumptions about Saru’s background that may not be accurate, so apologies if that proves to be the case.

sarutalks-head

Step 1: Species

So Saru is a Kelpian, a prey species from a world with dangerous predators. He’s also the first member of his species to join Starfleet. I used that tiny bit of information to choose what abilities would be enhanced. I went with +1 bonus to Fitness, Insight, and Reason. As a Prey species on a dangerous planet Kelpians would have to be reasonably fit to stay alive, Saru seems pretty insightful, and of course a species would have to be reasonable to survive under such harsh conditions.

For a trait I went with the Kelpians ability to sense death, which some people seem to love and others seem to hate. I can certainly see a scientific explanation for this ability despite all the naysayers. Kelpians may be able to sense the electrical activity present in a living creature’s brain, and they get an instinctive warning when that activity changes in a way consistent with brain death. This would certainly be a handy ability for a prey species to have, and it could come in hand for Starfleet officer.

When it came to their Talents I went with the way a sentient prey species would evolve, and came up with something old and something new.

Like Harry Dresden said, if something is trying to kill you being able to run away is always a good option. With that in mind I whipped up the talent Prey Species. Adapted for flight over fight responses Kelpians are capable of running at high speeds for prolonged periods of time over unforgiving terrain. You may take the Sprint Action  as normal with the following differences. If successful you may move two zones rather than one, and one additional zone per Momentum spent (Repeatable). Also, you ignore Terrain factors that would increase the Difficult of this Task.

The fact that Kelpians have hooves seems to support the idea that they can move one they want to, and thatthe terrain on their homeworld isn’t the most hospitable to sandals or going barefoot.

The second talent I came up with was What Your Species Calls Cowardice Mine Calls Caution. You may reduce the Difficulty to sense another beings true motives, or to detect a trap or ambush.

I chose not to have Saru use either of these talents as he isn’t your typical Kelpian, and I felt there were other options to explore for him. However if you want to make a Kelpian of your own and you do use those please let me know how they work out. The first Talent I chose for him was Quick to Action, allowing him to react quickly in a life or death situation thanks to his survival instincts.

Step 2: Environment

dsc-s01e03prev-02.jpg

We don’t know much about Saru’s background yet but given that he is the first Kelpian in Starfleet I think it is safe to say he grew up on his homeworld. At this point I gave him a +1 to Reason and a +1 to Science. For his first Value I chose “You’re Either Predator or prey. My Species is Prey.” His instinct to survive certainly influences many of his choices.

Step 3: Upbringing

94b711aa8424076e7800c70e6f8dc53b59069ac2Here’s where I had to take a leap and try to draw some conclusions about Kelpian culture and Saru’s background. For now I am assuming they’re world is beautiful but deadly, and that the Kelpians are advanced enough to have wrap technology, but they’re still struggling for survival at home.

With that in mind I embraced the idea that Kelpian society is Agricultural or Rural for the most part. If they’re not preying on other creatures to survive they have to get their food from somewhere, and with predators hunting them I imagine they are nomadic or isolated.

Now we know Saru is a scientist, and being the first to leave home for a life in Starfleet it seems reasonable to say he rebelled against the norm of what is expected of his species. I He gained a +1 in Presence, a +2 in Reason a +1 in Engineering and a Focus in Botany. Although he hasn’t great knowledge of life sciences yet it seemed like a reasonable first choice for him to study up on.

For his Talent I chose Intense Scrutiny as he definitely the type to take his time getting the right answer rather than jumping to the wrong conclusion.

Step 4: Starfleet Academy

vlcsnap-00013-1I don’t imagine Starfleet was much fun for a younger Saru. Being the only member of his species there, and the first ever to attend the academy probably made him pretty isolated. Those things probably influenced the adult he grew to become more than a little, he’s always going to be at odds with the non-prey species, but he’s learned to work with them. Being a Science Officer Saru clearly followed the Sciences Track at Starfleet. He gained a +1 to Insight, +1 to Control, and +1 to Presence. He gained a +2 in the Science Discipline, a +1 in Con, and a +1 in Engineering. For his focuses I stuck to sciences to expand his areas of expertise as much as possible adding: Computers, Astrophysics, and Spatial Phenomenon.

I’d imagine young Saru threw himself into his studies and excelled, but he never managed to stand out as much except the Kelpian cadet.

For his Value I chose “I Am the First Kelpian to Join Starfleet, That is Courage Enough.” I’d imagine he’s proud of what he has achieved, and he sees it as a courageous act to leave his world to explore the stars. However, he does’t seem himself as foolhardy or brave as a rule.

For his Talent I chose Cautious (Science) as he is definitely willing to err on the side of caution when it comes to discover or hypothesis.

Step 5: Career

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As with Michael Burnham I decided to make Saru an experienced officer, he has experience but he isn’t yet a veteran and he’s got a ways to go before getting there.

For his Value I added “If You Don’t Survive the Act of Discovery There’s Little Point to it.” I think a career in Starfleet has shown Saru more than he could ever imagine, and he has been witness to some amazing phenomenon and discoveries. At the same tie, he’s seen officers taking risks they didn’t need to, and more than one probably dying as a result. He’s a scientist first and an explorer second.

For his Talent I chose In the Nick of Time, giving him the ability to gain more benefit from taking longer periods of time to complete his work.

Step 6: Career Events

With Michael Burnham I outlined the events that took place during the first episodes of Star Trek Discovery to form her career events. I did the same thing with Saru, only this time the events played out from his perspective to form a very different narrative.

Event 1: Conflict with a Hostile Culture

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Saru was also involved in the battle with the Kilingons, although far less directly, and more reluctantly than his Captain and First Officer were. He still gains a +1 in the Fitness Ability and a +1 in the Security Discipline. For his Focus I settled on Shipboard Tactical Systems. I think Saru certainly has a working knowledge of how the tactical systems work, and while he’s unlikely to be called upon as a tactical officer he can help improvise better defenses and offensive maneuvers.

Event 2: Called Out a Superior

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When Michael attempted to override the Captain Saru sensed something was not right, and he stood up to his First Officer. This is a major moment for Saru. Everything about him up to this point suggests he’d keep his head down and follow orders, but he steps up and holds true to the orders his Captain has given, and the ideals of Starfleet. He gained a +1 to the Reason Ability and a +1 to the Con Discipline. For his Focus I went with Starfleet Protocol, he definitely knows the rules and when they’re being broken.

Event 3: Required to Take Command

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I had a few options here, and while we don’t know Saru took command of the ship during the conflict at any point he was certainly on command on the bridge, and he may have been in charge after the captain died as one of the most senior officers. I went with that because it provided more growth to his character, and in my mind made more sense than the other choices available. He gained a +1 to his Daring ability and a +1 to his Command Discipline. For his Focus I chose Composure as Saru never lost his head during the crisis.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

To finish him off I gave Saru +1’s in both his Control and Presence abilities, as well as +1’s in his Science and Con Disciplines. He’s a capable officer who can fill in a number of roles aboard a starship, but he is definitely best suited to being a Science Officer.

His last Value is “You’re a Valuable Asset, but You’re Dangerous.” After his encounter with the Klingons and the betrayal of the captain I think Saru is a bit less trusting of his fellow officer’s motives. He does still see the value in cooperation, but his guard is up more than it was.

His Stress ended up at an 11, his Damage Bonus is a +2.

We can see how different the two characters to survive these events really are, and how that might influence the way the develop over time.

Saru character sheet

If you liked these last two entries please let me know. As more episodes of the series come out I may create character sheets for more of the crew if there is an interest.

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