You’ve done it! You’ve graduated from Starfleet Academy, been posted to your first ship, you have your assignment and you’re on your first mission. Everything is falling into place except… what? Your Captain just told you that you’re part of an away team to collect a bunch of water samples to see if a new planet is viable for colonization? But you’re not a scientist, or a medical officer or even an engineer… you’re a security officer headed down to a peaceful planet. What do you do?
Certainly your team and your ship’s staff will always try plan missions with opportunities for all departments. But no matter how well planned the missions are, there will always been some missions where your character is perfectly suited for the action and other missions where your character’s skills don’t really fit the main mission. What do you do when you feel your character is sidelined by their skill set?There are many creative ways to be proactive in your simming. One great thing about collaborative simming is that you can add nuances and new information to a scene with your sims. If your security officer is getting bored babysitting a bunch of scientists taking soil and water samples maybe you need to protect them from the local wildlife. If your communications officer feels sidelined in a tense ship battle, have them start scanning the local subspace for transmissions. Maybe you have allies in the area you can contact. Or maybe your suggestion will spark your fellow players’ creativity to run with a new idea!
If the mission leaders have already set the parameters and it’s difficult to add new story elements then consider your character’s relationship with the other characters. If your character doesn’t have a professional skill set that compliments the mission do you have a personal skill set that can help another character? If your security character is very cautious and perceptive, you might want to stay close to the unaware, accident-prone scientist taking samples to rescue them from falling into the river. A level headed communications officer might be able to get a fellow tactical officer to calm down and focus at a critical moment. Build upon your character’s strength to help other characters get the job done.
Another option is to build your background – or build upon an established background to give your character interesting drama to dig into. Perhaps the security officer on an otherwise boring survey mission is reminded of how they lost their little sister after she drowned in an accident and is traumatized by seeing the scientists treat the water in a cavalier, playful way. Maybe the communications officer is interested in engineering and gets increasingly worried at the damage reports on the ship, having studied up and knowing what all the codes mean.
And if you are still stuck, remember you can always reach out to your fellow players. Missions are created for players to enjoy writing a collaborative story and your ship’s staff wants you to have fun. You can always talk with your mentor, staff or commanding officer if you feel your character is sidelined in a mission to move them into a place where you feel you can collaborate more.
Being proactive with getting your character involved each mission will increase the amount of interaction you have and will increase the amount of fun you have player your character. Try it out on your next mission!