Risus Trek Character Rules

As standard for Risus, each character will receive a pool of 10 dice with which to select your character’s cliches. As per Advanced Option I, a player may gain up to 2 additional dice by selecting a Hook and a Tale.

Each character who is a member of Starfleet MUST spend 2 dice from their pool to gain Starfleet Officer (2) as a Cliche. These dice can be used for anything a Starfleet officer might know or do – it basically represents the basic education provided in the Academy. It includes (but isn’t limited to) science, leadership, engineering, weapons, hand-to-hand combat, piloting, first aid, or any other reasonable thing you’ve ever seen a Starfleet Officer do. If you’ve ever watched any incarnation of Star Trek, you’d know that the Academy produces very well-rounded officers.

Next, you’ll need to select your Starfleet Department. You may spend up to 3 dice from your initial pool of 10 dice on your Department. These define your role: Engineer, Science Officer, Security, Command, etc. When performing tasks related to your Department, you will add your Department dice to your Officer dice – the resulting total is your dice pool for that action. Essentially, the combined dice are considered a single cliche.

Starfleet Department List:

Command Officer
Helm Officer
Counselor
Engineering Officer
Medical Officer
Operations Officer
Science Officer
Security Officer

You may also use some of your Department dice to assign ranks to a Specialty. A Specialty is a particular subset or field within your Department. For example, your Department could be Operations, and your Specialty the Transporter. Specialties are a subset of the Department just as the Department is a subset of the Starfleet Officer Cliche. Therefore, when using your Specialty, your dice pool is equal to the sum of your Starfleet Officer rank, your Department rank, and your Specialty rank.

Specialty dice have an added benefit: you may reroll them during a test! However, you must take the second roll, even if it’s worse. Also, should you lose dice during the test, Specialty dice are lost first. Finally, your Specialty rank can never exceed the rank of the associated Department.

The following lists some suggestions for Specialties:

Command Officer Administration, Negotiation, Starship Tactics
Helm Officer Shuttle-craft, Specific Ship classes, Nebula Navigation
Counselor Persuasion, Vulcan Psychology, Negotiation
Engineering Officer Warp Drives, Power Systems, Starship Design
Medical Officer Klingon Physiology, Genetics, Exobiology
Operations Officer Systems Management(Bridge Officer), Transporter, Sensors
Science Officer Biotechnology, Physics, Archaeology
Security Officer Starship Tactical(Weapons, Shields, etc.), Interrogation, Ground Tactics

GMs should keep in mind that Specialties are meant to be narrow focuses within a field – and so should NOT apply to every test made for that Department rank.

Finally, you will spend the remaining dice from your initial pool on… whatever! These dice should be used to define your character’s personality or other skills, and you may spend up to 4 dice per cliche. Are you a “Ladies’ Man”? A “Skilled Liar”? “Superb Cook”? “Diplomatic”? Anything (subject to GM approval) is fair game here. Do you know something special (Romulan culture, Warp engine designer), or do something unique (Skilled Linguist, Ace Pilot, Weapons Expert), or possess a distinct quality (Enhanced Vision like Geordi’s VISOR)? That goes here too.

You may also use these dice to define some racial characteristics. While you can select any race you like, not all of them really affect your character in meaningful ways. Think of these as racial skills or abilities. You don’t have to assign dice to a race in order to play a character of that race, although you won’t really have much chance doing “racial things”. For many races, this doesn’t matter much. No one ever really “human’d” his way through a situation. But Klingon could be used when tapping into that Klingon rage to do something, or during bat’leth combat, or when dealing with the Klingon High Council with proper etiquette. Basically, if you can think of a standard racial cliche that you’d expect to do, then putting some dice there would be nice. Romulan might enable you to be sneaky, among other things. Vulcan would allow you to use those dice to perform tasks you’d expect a Vulcan could do: the neck-pinch, mind-meld, know history or science perhaps, or to slow your breathing via Vulcan meditative techniques. Effectively, non-humans can get cool special abilities. Humans get cool extra dice for other stuff!

It’s okay if some of your miscellaneous cliches duplicate abilities provided by your Starfleet training. For example, say you’ve got: Starfleet Officer (2), Security Officer (3), and Expert Shot (3). This character would be a top-notch shooter! Let’s say he’s involved in a combat. During combat, you must select one cliche to use. As stated above, Starfleet Officer and your Specialty of Security Officer are considered a single cliche, for a total of 5 dice. As combat wears on, perhaps you’ve lost some dice – let’s say you’ve lost 3 dice so far from your Security Officer pool. That leaves you just 2 dice left – and for someone without an Expert Shot (or similar cliche) that would be all they had. But you have the option of switching to a difference cliche – the Expert Shot, and that would give you 3 dice to roll. Overall, a character as described above would have a net 7 dice to lose before losing the fight – whereas someone without the Expert Shot would only have 5 to lose. Of course, that character would also have a huge portion of their character dice tied up in shooting (as opposed to some diversification) – but a choice like that is up to the player.

Other options might exist besides the Starfleet path, but those would need to be discussed with the GM prior to character creation to ensure a proper placement within the campaign.

Option: Dice By Rank/Experience
The rules outlined above generate an average experienced Starfleet Officer of mid-level ranks – Captain to perhaps Lt Commander. The option presented here adjusts the number of starting dice by the experience of the character, as judged by their Rank in Starfleet. This creates unbalanced starting characters, but comes closer to creating more realistic (as much as you can with Risus) character profiles. After all, isn’t it odd that the Captain, with years of experience and a career path that began in another department, has the exact same total of skills as the Lt down in Engineering?

All characters receive 5 Dice to be used for general background and/or racial use. The remainder of their dice are granted based on their current Rank or Experience (length of Starfleet service after the Academy).

Ensign – Starfleet Officer (2). This represents a freshly-graduated cadet. Dice gained from future Rank increases are allocated to the character’s chosen Specialty.

Lieutenant junior grade ~1 year +1 die
Lieutenant 2-3 years +2 dice
Lieutenant Commander 3-5 years +3 dice (Command becomes available)
Commander 5-8 years +4 dice
Captain ~8+ years +5 dice

The accumulated dice are not stacked, so a character going from Commander to Captain gains one net die for a total of five dice. Also note that the Specialty of Command isn’t available until the rank of Lieutenant Commander. This means that dice spent prior to this Rank must be in some other Specialty. They don’t just put you in Command of something fresh out of the Academy, you know. It should be noted that this doesn’t mean a character can’t have Command-like cliches until they reach Lieutenant Commander however. It’s entirely possible that you have some other cliche like Natural Leader (2) or the like, which could fill an equivalent role. Of course, the second cliche won’t be combined with the Starfleet Officer cliche, as it’s not Starfleet training that you’re using.

Finally, Hooks and Tales can certainly be added into the available dice. It’s up to the GM to decide to limit these to Background only, or make them usable for Starfleet skills as well.

Using this option will again create unbalanced characters, and isn’t for every party. Obviously, whomever is in charge (the Captain) will have more dice than everyone else, and some groups may not like that. But who ever saw the random Ensign guy show up Captain Kirk?

Risus Trek Character Rules

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