In this episode, we are going to discuss crafting, and using values in your Star Trek Adventures game! This is STA Engage.
Welcome to the show. I’m your host, Dr RPG, Jeff Harvey. Last episode we talked about ways you can improve your game through better storytelling. If you missed that, go back and check that out. We will definitely be revisiting that topic in the future.In this episode, we are going to talk about ways you can craft, explore, and use values in your game to tell better personal stories, and create a more immersive atmosphere for everyone at the table. But, before we get into that, let me introduce my co-host, the implacable Michael Dismuke.
The goal of this show is to help fans of Star Trek, and of role-playing, better engage with the Star Trek Franchise, the Star Trek Adventures game, and the community at large. This show is brought to you by the letter A, the Number 79, and the support of people like you. So, like, subscribe, share, and support us on Patreon. You can find more info about the folks that sponsor us and are putting this show together, our production team at Studio Tembo, the folks at Continuing Mission, and our primary sponsor for this season, Adventure Ink, just follow the links down in the doobly do.
Let's start with the books definition of what a value is:Values are short phrases or statements that describe the attitudes, beliefs, and convictions of a character while Directives are mission specific Values shared by the characters on that mission.When a character is created, the character’s Player creates statements that describe the attitudes, beliefs, andconvictions of that character. These are not simple opinions, but the fundamental structure of the character’s morals, ethics, and behavior. They are the things that define who a character is as a person, why they behave the way they do, and what drives them during times of struggle and hardship.
What are Values
- These differ from goals and motivations...but they do work hand in hand with determination.
- Values can be statements like “Sucker For A Pretty Face”, or relationships like “Married to the Enterprise”
- You can use values to guide your role-play….for example, a Doctor with a value of “First, do no harm” can provide, not only a wide range of potential conflicts, it can also form an ethos for the character.
- Values can also hinder a character’s judgement, make them biased, blind them to possibilities, or otherwise impair their ability to confront a situation effectively.
How do Values work?
- Mechanically...this is fairly simple.
- A character’s Values can help a character in difficult situations. Whenever a character is attempting a Task for which one of their Values would be advantageous, they can spend a point of Determination to do one of the following:
- PERFECT OPPORTUNITY: It's like rolling another die without actually rolling it, and it's an automatic 1...si it counts as two additional successes.
- MOMENT OF INSPIRATION: re-roll all the character’s dice in their dice pool.
- SURGE OF ACTIVITY: the character may immediately perform another Task as soon as this one has been resolved.
- MAKE IT SO: the character immediately creates an Advantage that applies to the current scene.
- If the character is in a situation where one of their Values would make the situation more complicated or more difficult, the Gamemaster may offer the Player one Determination in exchange for suffering a Complication
- You gain a Determination you can use or bank
- You DO NOT have to accept the Complication.
- Once you agree to is....you gotta live with it.
- That’s the bones of it…. But that really is just the surface. And really, the least interesting part of Values.
(So… let's talk about) How to craft Values
- Mike, you wrote a great article about how to craft values.
- Don’t be a Wimp
- Create Conflict
- Own Your Past
- When the Value is Weak, Change it
- I would add, plan your growth. Think ahead to what new values you might take, if and when you change them.
(Which brings is to) How to use values as a Player
- Work with your Game Master to help craft a compelling scene that can highlight
- Volunteer complications. This not only helps you better define your character's narrative, but it can be a good starting point for “negotiating” a compelling twist that you have to deal with.
- Look for ways to Challenge your values
- If you have a Value which could affect things negatively, you can challenge a Value. You immediately gain a point of Determination, and then crosses out the challenged Value,
- If you have two Values that apply to the situation — one positive and one negative — then you can use both, challenging the negative Value and immediately spending the Determination with the positive Value.
- I said this earlier, but it bears repeating, You can use values to guide your role-play. You can use them to provide a sense of depth, and, as we discussed in Episode 2, Values can be the framework of your characters Goals, Motivations, and Flaws..
- You can work with your GM to come up with an episode that will highlight one of your values. This can be to showcase, or challenge this aspect of what makes the character who they are.
- Values SHOULD, and I would argue MUST change over time. This reflects a character's personal story arc, and growth.
(Which is a good time to discuss) How to use values as a Game Master
- Mike, you also have a killer article on how a GM can Highlight, or Showcase, a characters values:
- Discuss the definition of each character’s Values with your players. Ask them ‘wherein doth the conflict lie?’ then push them out of their comfort zone.
- Review your current module and find locations wherein your player characters might face a Value challenge.
- Also, you can produce a side story that is not part of the module and create a challenge. Select only one or two characters to purposely challenge during any game.
- Watch the mayhem ensue.
- Listen to your players and work with them to create interesting complications in the moment.
- Remember, that complications are conflict beats in the story (Brick walls) that need to be dealt with, one way or another….we, as storytellers, WANT players to accept the complications, but they don’t have too, so working with the player to get the best story beat you can is an exciting part of the collaboration.
- (An example of a good complication if we have not already covered any.)
Some key takeaways:
- Anytime a value is challenged is should, and ideally MUST be altered to reflect the characters growth,
- Challenging your own Values drives player narrative and offers avenues of Role-Playing that you might not have been expecting for your character.
- Mike, anything you want to add?
My final thought on this topic is: don’t be afraid to use your values, positively or negatively, to find out things about your character that you didn’t know. Accepting the organic growth of your character through the use of Values, the framework that defines your character's Goals, Motivations, and flaws, is easily one of the most rewarding, and immersive things a player can do, in any game. And on that note, we are gonna call it a wrap. Next time, on STA Engage, we will talk about life aboard a starship, and ways you can use the monotony and routine of life aboard a starship to add a little extra flavor to your characters and story .So tune in next time for: A Day in the Life, or, I read the news today, oh boy.
Until then, you can find links to some great articles about Values in Star Trek Adventures, including the two by Mike that we mentioned earlier, down in the doobly doo. If you like what you hear, and you want to help this show, share this episode with one other person who might enjoy what we’re doing. I’m your host, Dr. RPG Jeff Harvey, and on behalf of myself, my co-host Michael Dismuke, and everybody that works behind the scenes, Live Long and Prosper.-----------------
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