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Duty Post Spotlight: Science (Part 1)

As players in any roleplaying game we’re drawn to certain character classes and types. Some like the strong fighter-type, some like the sneaky information handler. In this new feature, we highlight different players who are in the same position to show how they approach their post. What drives them? What do they like most about the post? Have they discovered anything interesting in their duty? This month we focus on Science Officers around the fleet.

Trellis Vondaryan: To start, tell us a little about the writers behind the characters — what are your names and where do you hail from?

John Valdivia: I’m Eric, and I am from Barcelona. My character is John Valdivia, Chief Science Officer aboard the USS Darwin-A. Valdivia is a mathematician, and so am I. However, my Real Life character is not a Starfleet officer, but a future high school professor.

When I was little, a public TV here passed sci-fi shows at dinner time, and that’s how I started, first with TNG, but then Stargate, Babylon 5, Farscape, Voyager… On the other hand, I have been into tabletop roleplaying for years (started with D&D, but I would play possibly any game). My playing mates, however, were not that much into Star Trek, so I did not manage to get any Star Trek roleplaying done, decided to look on my own… and you know how that ends.

Ayiana Sevo: My name is Aaron. I’m from California, in a small town just south of Yosemite National Park. My main character is Lt. Commander Ayiana Sevo, Chief Science Officer of the USS Gorkon. She specializes in Quantum Mechanics, Subspace Mechanics and dabbles in Stellar Cartography. We both have a love of science, but my skill ends at math. It hurts my brain.

Star Trek has always been a part of my life. I can’t remember when I was first introduced to it; it was always just “there.” I grew up watching TNG, then later DS9 and VOY. I love pretty much anything sci-fi, from Farscape, Stargate, to Babylon 5.

Merrick R’Ven: My name is Preston and my primary character is Merrick R’Ven, Science & Cybernetics Officer on the USS Darwin-A.

I live in several places along the east coast of the USA, but at the moment I live South Carolina. I started roleplaying in general in middle school in the mid 80’s. Starting off with Dungeons & Dragons (D&D, AD&D, AD&D 2Ed), and progressing into Villains and Vigilanties, Star Frontiers, DC Heroes, Marvel and even a home spun version of Transformers. (Yup the friends I had liked to roleplay!). From 2000-2004 I enjoyed the MUSH/MUX sites which allows you to roleplay with other in real time. I played on Transformer sites, most of which are gone now unfortunately.

However my love for Star Trek goes back to 1979 when I saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture. At that point I was hooked and went back to watch all the other episodes and then later on onto TNG and beyond. I have played at one other Star Trek RPG site before coming here, but I didn’t stay there long. This place is just awesome!

Psychology Tomorrow! My Character Hates Counsellors

Good afternoon. You’re listening to ‘Psychology Tomorrow!’ on Federation Public Subspace Radio 2. Psychology Tomorrow is a look at issues, topics, and advice related to the all things Counselling in Starfleet. Here’s your host, Ship’s Counsellor Denji Ryan.

Hello everyone! Today we examine a question asked by counsellor turned science officer, Lt.(JG) Sal Taybrim of the USS Excalibur-A. The question in its simplest form is this: Why do officers hate counsellors? Taybrim pointed out that half of the officers aboard the ship he was serving on had outright told him that they don’t like counsellors. I too have experienced similar responses in my career.

This question sparked quite the fervent conversation in the Counselling Duty Post area of the forums. There were a variety of answers including my character is “naturally shy, and intensely private, and doesn’t like to expose her vulnerabilities”, “It is not a dislike of the counsellor, more a dislike with being center of attention for things that bother her”, and perhaps most compelling (and honest which was appreciated) “For what its worth, I am one of those players who enjoys ‘broken’ characters, but part of that is not wanting the broken character to be fixed”.

So why is this a problem anyways? First and foremost is a recurring theme throughout the discussion pointing to a higher than average turnover rate among counsellors. Trying to sim a role that people are reluctant to write with or outright acknowledge they dislike is a sure fire way to discourage players from continuing to play these types of positions. The underlying issue is that there is an assumption that a character who hates counsellors will not interact with them. The player won’t write with the poor guy playing the counsellor. However, does this really have to be the case?

I love what Kaedyn Zehn had to say. He was able to eloquently sum up the ‘gist’ of my opinion and although he recently took a LOA, Lt. Cmdr Kaedyn Zehn gets this month’s ‘Psychology Tomorrow Quote of the Month:

With regards to OOC, I often think that the gold rule of simming should be the same as improv: “Yes, and…”.  In other words, you don’t deliberately block another player but try to work with what they give you.  I think this a great way of playing for, and with, everyone but is especially key here.  By immediately saying “No, I don’t like counsellors” you are blocking the person simming a counsellor rather than playing along with them and it stops them being able to contribute much.  By taking on a “yes, and…” approach you can have your character agree to whatever they are comfortable with, perhaps an informal chat rather than an official counselling session, and not prevent another player from contributing. – Kaedyn Zehn

Got something to say? Want to see what others are saying? Check out the discussion “My Character Hates Counsellors”, started by Sal Taybrim, for yourself here.

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