Cadet Orientation/Your Character

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Cadet Orientation

An Andorian male.
Your character represents the alter-ego that you control in the Star Trek universe. It's important to put a great deal of effort and thought into making this a person that you want to spend a lot of time with! In this area, you'll find out more information about creating your character.


Primary Considerations

Before you get too deep in developing your character, there's some things you will want to consider:

  • Don't "over-produce": Part of playing the game is creating as you go. The last thing you want is to develop your character so much that you've "written yourself into a corner." Leave plenty of character development for when you actually get to your ship!
  • Age appropriate: If you’re planning on playing a doctor, then your character will have been in medical school for a while both before, and after StarFleet Academy. In that case, your character would be around 26 once they got to their ship. For everyone else, your character will likely be about 23, as they would probably joined the Academy at the age of 18 (the end of their "high school" or secondary school experience), and then would have spent four years in the Academy, and one year on a “cadet cruise.” Adults sometimes enter StarFleet, as well, so you're free to have your character be older than 23, and don't forget that this age can vary wildly for other species. A Vulcan might be 75 or older before they enter Starfleet, for example.
  • Consider your character's maturity: Think back to what you were like at around 23. (Or, imagine how you will be at that age!) If you're much older, you'll know that your life has changed, your personality has changed somewhat, and you have a completely different perspective on the world. Keep this in mind as you develop your character, and don't forget that people don't always emerge from Starfleet Academy as wizened, mature adults.
  • Avoid "widow/orphan syndrome": Inexperienced writers sometimes assume that for a character to be interesting, they have to have experienced a lot of tragedy in their life. They often write into a character's history that they were orphaned at a young age, or that their loved-one died in a tragic accident – or both. Consider, in real life, how many orphans do YOU know that had to raise themselves? How many widows, or widowers do YOU know that had a spouse die? Probably not too many, and that type of thing would be even more rare in the future where medicine had advanced far beyond where we are today, saving many a child from losing a parent to disease. If you’re looking for ways to make your character interesting, draw on your own experiences as a person and think about the small – but just as important – struggles you've been through. As they say, "write what you know."

Don't be Wesley Crusher

Wesley Crusher on the bridge of the Enterprise-D.
Most StarFleet officers are – by today's standards – driven, well educated, moral, and empathetic individuals, who mainly care about exploring, bettering themselves, bettering the galaxy, and finding new ways to make the engines run faster on a starship. Because we're working with characters who are who are overachievers, newer writers often look for ways to help their character stand out among other amazing characters, which sometimes manifests with characters who are even more amazing than their peers – graduating at the top of their Starfleet class, being recognized as the best engineer Starfleet has ever seen right out of the Academy, holding multiple degrees, or being an expert in a number of sports.

Remember Wesley Crusher? It seemed like he knew everything. He even getting to sit at Helm on the bridge of the Enterprise-D from time-to-time! Most would agree that it seemed unbelievable that he'd be quite so smart and capable at such a young age.

As much fun as it is to conceive of a character who overcame adversity (dead parents! life of poverty! overly-critical Academy professors!), graduated first in their class, and was the envy of their peers, these characters just aren't that much fun to write in practice. First, you'll find that you don't really have very far to grow with a character like this. How do they develop themselves when they're already the best? How can they possibly have healthy, interesting relationships when everyone they meet is but a lesser version of them? And second, you'll find that others resent these characters, because they hog the limelight. No one should be the center of attention all the time – everyone should have a chance to shine!

Think about your own experiences in life. Did you meet a lot of people who were truly exceptional? Did you meet a lot of people who were able to be the sports star, and graduate at the top of their class? Have you met anyone who overcame incredibly adversity, and was able to not only meet everyone else's level, but exceed them too? Chances are, those people are pretty rare. We want them to be rare in our game, too, because those people are few and far-between in real life. And believe it or not, reading about characters that are normal people in difficult circumstances is more interesting than reading about extraordinary people.

Interesting stories come from learning about how people behave when faced with new and difficult situation. How will your overly average character deal with the loss of a friend when your ship meets the Borg? What will your character do when they don't know how to fix the problem in their work? How will your character react when they finally meet someone on the crew that they're romantically interested in, but that other person doesn't think your character is attractive enough for a mutual relationship? These are the types of stories we want to read because they're about the human condition. We want to know and understand how to overcome adversity "as it happens" in the sim. Learning that a character has already overcome many difficult life challenges before they even got through StarFleet just means that they've already learned their lessons!

Consider ways that your character can find trade-offs. Perhaps they did well at the Academy, but their social life suffered, which now means they have a hard time relating to people on the ship. Or perhaps they had a great social life at the Academy, but barely squeaked by on their exams, and now has a hard time adjusting to the rigors of their new job, which tests the limits of their knowledge and capabilities.

Avoid other common mistakes

If you want to avoid some of the other common character creation mistakes, you can check out the this test. Beyond just checking to make sure your character isn't testing the bounds of believability, it also lists dozens of other common, character traits that are overused. You don't have to avoid all of them – after all, there are only so many common stories we can tell! – but this can give you an idea of whether or not your character might be headed in the wrong direction.

Need some inspiration?

There are some places around the internet that can help you get started with character generation. Here are a few links:

  • General Person Generator: detailed descriptions of characters including appearance, clothing, and general attitude.
  • Quick Character Generator: quick, simple character descriptions, generic or for specific settings. Choose “Science Fiction, Specific: Starship Crews”

If you need some help with a name, check out The Forge or the Seventh Sanctum Name Generator page.

Character Rules

We do not allow any of the following:

  • Copyrighted characters: You are not allowed to play a character that is copyrighted or trademarked by any other entity, including Paramount, CBS, or any of their affiliates. This means no characters that have appeared in any episode, movie, or published work of any genre or fandom. Similarly, you may not play a character that is related to a copyrighted or trademarked character, or one that has an identical name.
  • Names of real life persons: You are not allowed to play a character named for any living or dead celebrity, or intentionally name your character after someone you know. While we allow players to make their character name the same as their real name, we don't recommend it. Our application has a link to a name generator that can provide you with some inspiration if you need it.
  • Section 31 members: Section 31 is a tiny, and extremely exclusive organization. Less than 0.1% of StarFleet members would be a part of it. As such, Section 31 characters may only be played by group staff, and only in specific circumstances.
  • Superhero abilities: None of the species we allow for the game can fly, burn objects with their eyes, or other such abilities which generally are found in superhero comics.
  • Telekinetics: This is the ability to move objects with your mind.
  • Q characters: As with telekinetics, Qs, Dowds, and such are simply too powerful for our use.
  • Delta Quadrant races: We do not allow characters whose species originated in the Delta Quadrant.
  • Federation enemies: Distinct enemies of the Federation, such as the Borg or the Breen, are not allowed.
  • Pre-warp species: The Prime Directive of the Federation requires that no one disturb pre-warp species. As such, it's unlikely that an entity from a pre-warp flight species would find its way into StarFleet.
  • Sexually explicit or disgusting characters: When describing characters, please be sure to keep them decent.

Choosing a Species

Perhaps one of the most important parts of your character is the species you choose. As such, we encourage you to visit our Intelligent Lifeform Index (ILI) before you consider anything else in your character creation process. The ILI has a list of all species which we allow to be played by members of our fleet. Choosing from this list will ensure that you don't spend a lot of time creating a character around a species we don't allow! (Look for the species marked "Permitted.")

We know you designated a species on your application, but you're allowed to change your species during training. Just notify your training officer, when training begins, if you find a new species you'd rather play.

Character Guilds

Guilds are small groups of people who share common, In Character interests. Below are the guilds that are currently active within the group. Using the guild resources may help you develop your character and learn more about the species you chose.

Further Reading

Starfleet Academy