Below, you can find answers to some of the more commonly asked questions regarding characters.
Power Gamers and Metagamers
- Power Simming/Gaming: Power simming is any kind of simming that removes other writer's agency to meaningfully take part in the sim, whether that's solving plot problems before anyone else has a chance to give their input, putting other people into helpless situations without their consent, or flat-out writing their actions for them.
- The chief aim of Starbase 118 is to provide a joint experience, to create a story where everyone is able to add input and develop their character. On occasion, however, you may find your character is being overwritten, or simmed into a corner where your responses have already been pre-determined by another player. Whenever a player takes sole control of the plot this is referred to as 'power gaming' or 'power simming' and is very strongly discouraged. While we encourage initiative from all players, Star Trek has always been about teamwork - it is rare that a single character is responsible for 'saving the day' without the aid of their colleagues. When you are writing a sim you should think of how other characters might respond; Will they agree with you? Would they like to offer their own input, or suggest a different course of action? In these circumstances it is always best to either wait for the responses from other people before proceeding, or write a joint sim with another player. If there is any doubt, contact the Command Team on your ship for guidance - that's what they're there for! We firmly believe that your character is yours and yours alone - no other player has the right to direct your thoughts or actions without express permission from you.
- Meta Gaming: You, as a player, have a much broader perspective than your character. You have the chance to read sims by your fellow crewmembers, even if they're in different rooms. You can also reads sims of events on alien battleship as they lauch their torpedos or the thoughts of the street gang as they lie in wait for your Away Team. Players get to read these things in order to enhance their enjoyment of the story, but your character will only know what they can see, hear and read themselves. Using your greater knowledge to give your character an unfair advantage is not permitted in most roleplay games and Starbase 118 is no exception.
Why No Superpowers?
There are many races in the Star Trek universe who display fantastic powers well beyond the ability of the primary characters. The most obvious example of this is Q - a collection of beings so far advanced they can move through time and space or wipe out entire civilisations on a whim. While the Q can be described as 'God-like' there are other lesser abilities which we also do not allow in Starbase 118 in the interests of game balance - throwing lightning bolts, invulnerability and telekinesis are all examples of this category.
Essentialy, we class a 'super power' as anything that would give a character an unfair advantage at the expense of the other players. Super powers have a tendancy to overshadow everyone else and dominate every situation they're used in. Life would get very dull if Security Officer Den'tar was immune to phasers, for instance, as firefights would lose a lot of their thrill.
This is not to say that everyone has to play an indentical human - there are many races with telepathic and empathic abilites which are more subtle. Others, like Andorians, Vulcans and Androids, are considerably stronger than the average human and still more have abilities to see infrared or have photographic memories.
If you do have an idea for an out-of-the-ordinary character speak with your training officer or with a member of the Character Guild to discuss it. A good rule of thumb when designing your character would be to ask yourself "Would I like to play alongside him/her?". If you can't honestly answer 'yes' then chances are other people won't either.
Primary, Secondary, NPCs?
- See also: Player Types
The difference between the three classifications can be a bit confusing at first, so here is further explanation of each.
- Primary character: Your primary character has two important distinctions. The first, most important distinction, is that it is the character you play the most often. The second distinction is that this is the character who carries your highest rank. You are welcome to change the classification of which character is your primary at any time, but the thing to remember is that the character who is the one you are seeking command with (or, at least, proceeding to the highest rank you wish to attain) should be your primary.
- Secondary characters: In our group, a writer who is at least the rank of Lieutenant may create a second character which they play on a regular basis. As such, secondaries are simply those characters who you play on a full time, or near-full time basis but who you do not consider your command-seeking characters.
- Non-Playing characters: Writers may have an almost unlimited supply of "NPCs," within reason. In the early days of the group, this term simply meant any character who was "referred" to, like a red-shirt, in Trek. However, it has now become a classification for characters who are played on an irregular basis, or who hold no official rank. It is permissible to occasionally write a full SIM from this character's point-of-view, but if you plan to play an NPC on a regular basis, you should "upgrade" the character to a secondary (and, if necessary, drop one of your secondary characters to NPC status).
Why the restrictions on the number of characters?
Simply enough, we believe that it is important for writers to focus on a limited number of characters so as to maximize the participation and focus on any given ship. We feel that it is not possible for a writer to play three or more characters on a 3+ SIMs a week basis and still maintain quality simming levels.
When can I create a secondary character?
We do not allow those officers under the rank of Lieutenant to create secondary characters. Those officers under the rank of Lieutenant are welcome to play NPCs on an occasional basis, and at the discretion of their captain.
How do I create a secondary character?
You can use our online form.