TOS Character Writeup Q&A

In the “New DS9 Characters” thread, @StephenBirks suggested that he’d be interested in knowing the thought process behind the series character designs.

So, I’m game. I wrote the TOS crew (though I can’t take credit for the Enterprise writeup). Ask away.

1 Like

Cool. Guess I’ll start then.

For Scotty, why did you select Resolute as a talent?

Bonus question given that Ops is now published, would you give him the Miracle Worker talent?

Couple of reasons. First, he always seems so unflappable to me, putting up with electrical zaps and all crammed in those Jefferies tubes…it seemed to me the extra Stress would simulate that well.

The second, if I’m honest, was a slight misunderstanding of the rules. I had it in my head (and, again if I’m honest, still kind of do) that your first Talent is supposed to be a Species Talent. I’m getting better about that as time marches on, but it’s still low-hanging fruit that I struggle to avoid.

As for Miracle Worker…not in this set. His Engineering isn’t high enough. One of my mandates was not to contradict the examples in the book, and one example specified that his Engineering was 4. Miracle Worker has a prereq of 5. Doing a movie era set, his Engineering would be 5 (most likely at the expense of his Medicine), and Resolute would be swapped out for Miracle Worker.

1 Like

I struggle with the notion that Uhura has the same engineering rating as Scotty on general tasks as I’ve always viewed her as a command officer who specialises in communications but I suppose the balance might be in the focuses and talents in actual play.

Personally, I would not give Uhura the jury rig talent since she only used it once in show and then on her console which could easily be viewed as an escalation using her focus but I can see why it was picked. I think I will look see what other options there are for her once all the supplements are out.

Although it goes against creation norms, would she be at a significant disadvantage overall if her highest rank was 3 to be a better all rounder than specialist?

I also had a crack at Yeoman Rand and ran into a similar problem stat-wise. Jury rig is a talent I might pick for her since she had a ‘make do and mend’ vibe about her and jury rigged the transporter in Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever script plus if you look at other scripts that were originally intended for Rand you have her making coffee with a phaser, and helping Scotty jury rig a shuttle. I can imagine her fixing the warp engines with a hair pin more than Uhura.

Personally, I’d use the supporting character rules for making Rand. That would probably keep her more where you’d expect her to be from what we see on screen.

Uhura was a tough one. She really was. She did a bit of everything on the show, and the book is rather sparse on things for a pure communications officer to, you know, do. I knew where things were going with her, obviously, so I kind of had to improvise.

Yes, Uhura is the one recurring character who doesn’t get to branch out as the show progresses as well. As a technician, Spock steals most of her thunder, and, as a girl in the sixties, she does not get to fight much or be in charge.

If anything, her most recurring trait is to get people to trust her. She’d make an excellent espionage agent. I think I might go for Diffuse the Tension as a placeholder - she tries it on drunk Sulu, Mirror Sulu, Mudd’s androids, Mr Adventure, the Nimbus III inhabitants, and Gorkon. Admittedly, most of those could be dressed up in other ways but I think it fits her.

In some ways, Rand is easier because you can smoosh together all the Yeomen that would have been Rand if the actress had not been sexually assaulted by an unnamed executive and fired. You can include Dr Noel, whose part was originally written for Rand, together with Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever script and the stuff from the movies, which is stuff she would have been trained to do even as a Yeoman. She actually turns out to be quite a versatile character.

If you stick with the yeoman theme but consider what that role should have involved if not for the sexism of the sixties, she’d probably double as Kirk’s security support and personal pilot as well as his personal assistant.

I had a pop at building Rand using the supporting character rules. The triad plus Scotty are probably the easiest to build as main characters so I might try supporting character versions of the others as well. Since Rand has relatively few appearances, her advancement was fairly easy. I expect if I stick to significant appearances for the others, I might end up with about the same.

I tried to build her heading towards her appearance in the Motion Picture as a CPO in engineering while retaining some generic utility as an assistant for Kirk. She can scream out a warning, point out the obvious, fix a transporter, provide a general level of security support, and plug away in the background keeping things running. I cheated a bit since I adopted a couple of appearances that were intended for Rand that never made it onto the screen (Galileo 7 and City on the Edge of Forever) since they both featured her modifying tech in a crisis and I thought the spirit of that was well reflected by the Jury Rig talent. She has two further appearances that I ignored (Naked Time - where she gets sexually harassed and flies the ship; and Conscience of the King - where she has no lines but sizes up Lenore in a heartbeat) so you could tweak her a bit more but I felt that those appearances were already reflected in her stats without the need to add anything.

It would also be possible to build her with more of a security slant. It’s not as reflected in the stories but this is quite possibly purely to do with the sexism of the show. One other possibility not seen at this point is that she becomes a communications officer (Draft script of TMP, STIV, STVI) so adding another focus there could help her sub for Uhura on the ship while she goes off and has fun.

(Chief) Petty Officer Janice Rand
●● Captain, look at my legs…
●● I used an hand phaser and Zap! Hot coffee.
●● Suppose he’s going space happy or something?
●● Captain, should I continue log entry?



Damage Control Procedures, Psychology, Starfleet Protocol, Transporters and Replicators

●● Constantly Watching:
●● Jury-Rig:
●● Maintenance Expert (Engineering):

Build History: C9, D8, F8, I9, P10, R7; Human D+1, I+1, R+1, Com2, Sec3, Con2, Eng4, Sci1, Med1, Focuses: Damage Control Procedures, Starfleet Protocol, Transporters and Replicators;
Supporting character advancement: Corbomite Manoeuvre (Value1 - Zap hot coffee); Man Trap (Value2 – Suppose he’s going space happy or something), The Enemy Within (Talent1 – Constantly Watching), Charlie X (Focus 1– Psychology), Balance of Terror (Value 3– Captain, should I continue log entry?), Miri (Value4 - look at my legs) Galileo 7 / City on the Edge of Forever (Talent2 – Jury Rig), Motion Picture (Talent3 - Maintenance)
Main Character Advancement: Miri (McCoy Normal Milestone - Swap to Eng3 and Med2);

I might have a look at some of the other supporting cast in due course.

Edit: Tweaked based in comments below. Added Psychology as there is some evidence in both Charlie X and Miri plus Dagger of the Mind was originally written with her in mind)

1 Like

There’s also a JasJanice Rand supporting character write-up here:

Nice! That looks like a decent screen accurate TOS build - hopeless in a fight! Command is a tough one for me as there is some evidence that Rand was quite good at bossing around junior crew, standing up to Charlie, and even facing up to Kirk when he was drunk and she is one of the most senior NCOs we see.

If I was going to be minimalist, I’d probably still want Crush on the Captain and Jury Rig to give her a bit of a niche.

I’m not familiar enough with the interactions that can come up in game to assess how all the abilities will feel in play but it’s fun to play around.

I wonder who else might be fun to try next? Riley or DeSalle have some meat on their bones. Palamis or Mulhall are in key positions. Any other suggestions?

Marla McGivers.

Yes, McGivers is a good challenge. I’d build her as a security officer given her red shirt.

Lieutenant Marla McGivers


●● I know exactly who you are… Leif Ericsson, Richard the Lionheart, Napoleon.



Earth History, Life Support Systems, Painting


Marla clearly isn’t just a historian on the ship but spent a fair bit of the episode fiddling with life support equipment and probably helped Khan with the ship’s specs so I went with engineering as her main focus. She also helped Khan take over the ship so she must have a decent knowledge of ship’s security. She’s meant to be a historian, which is a science discipline, so I was torn between security or science as her next highest discipline but I caved in and went with science given that she is expressly stated to be THE ship’s historian.

She had the ■■■■■ to betray both Kirk and Khan, but enough allure to impress Khan so I went with Daring and Presence as her highest abilities, plus a decent fitness to be considered a worthy specimin. She’s not stupid but was also not very insightful when it came to Khan’s motives. Similarly, she was not that dedicated to her duty and prone to romantic delusions, so I did not give her a high Insight or Control.

She only appeared the once so its hard to judge what talents might be appropriate but she looked like she was wiling to take a bit of abuse and volunteered to colonise a planet with limited resources, so Resolute seemed like a good one-off choice.

How did you choose Values? When I do them I look for actual quotes they said or are said about characters.

I wanted to use the quote where she runs off a list of her fantasy alpha males from history but I don’t own the episodes and it was quite a long list! I just watch the constant repeats and Space Seed was on a few weeks ago.

Googled and updated!

Rand is even trickier. “Captain, look at my legs,” just sounds so… wrong. “Go chase an asteroid,” is a good quote but doesn’t get to the heart of the character. I suppose, “Zap, hot coffee,” would be a good one that covers both her waitressing to boost crew morale and her make do and mend attitude in a crisis. That could free up an advancement to add Communications Systems to her focuses instead of improvisation? I’m still foggy on stat interactions. Would that seem fitting?

Tweaked Rand above as well, although I went for Psychology rather than Communications purely because there are several episodes (Charlie X, Miri, Man Trap, plus Dagger of the Mind was originally written for her) where she displays some awareness of psychology. I suppose you could add Communications to the Balance of Terror upgrade since she delivers Starfleet’s orders.

I think I’d quite like to try Riley and DeSalle next…

Lieutenant Kevin Thomas Riley


●● Luck of the Irish.
●● Don’t throw away your life on a mistake.



Astro-navigation, Auxiliary Systems, Communications Systems,

●● Technical Expertise

Build History: C7, D10, F8, I8, P9, R9; Human C+1, P+1, I+1, Com2, Sec2, Con3, Eng4, Sci1, Med1, Focuses: Astro-navigation, Auxiliary Systems, Communications Systems;

Supporting character advancement: The Naked Time (Talent 1 Technical Expertise); The Conscience of the King (Value 1 (Luck of the Irish);

Main Character Advancement: The Naked Time The Conscience of the King (Kirk Arc Milestone – add Value (Don’t throw away your life on a mistake).

Riley was a lot harder to draft than I thought. He is very personable and had huge cheekiness so Daring and Presence are his highest attributes. He deserts his post and criticises Sulu’s hobbies in his first appearance and acts very bored in his second, so I went for lowish Control. Reason, Fitness, and Intuition could be interchangeable. I went for higher Reason as he is a navigator.

Although he is a command lieutenant, he spends much of his two appearances in engineering so I went with this as his highest discipline, particularly as he manages to re-route all the systems to control the ship, followed by conn. However, I don’t want to place too much focus in engineering, so Technical Expertise seemed like a compromise Talent that might cover his job as navigator or his expertise re-routing auxiliary systems. He also persuaded the engineers to vacate their posts and tracked Karidian down with a phaser so I felt that command ans security should be his back-up disciplines.

His second appearance was written for a communications specialist and was re-written for Riley when Hyde was cast so I homed in on navigation, communications, and auxiliary power as his focuses. He manages to subvert communications in his first appearance too so it all adds up.

He feels unfinished though. Can anyone think of anything else that would make him feel a bit more rounded?