It’s a new month and that means a new theme here at Tuesdays at Quark’s! Following on the heels of the October theme for Ten Forward Fridays we’re going to be exploring NPCs of traditional enemy species for the Federation. You might be looking at them as an unlikely ally or as a major adversary to keep testing your players. Whatever you’re need, we’ll have some good ideas for you to choose from!
The Romulans are my favorite species in Star Trek for a couple reasons. First of all, the rich history of the species and the richness of the enmity with the Vulcans is just a well that never runs dry when I’m writing plots. Secondly, they are a very different threat from the Klingons or the Hirogen or the Gorn or the Borg or the… Well, you get the idea. They are cunning and subtle instead of aggressive and pushy, although the starships of the Star Empire can certainly back up that subtlety with some powerful weapons when needed. Recently I rewatched the TNG episode “The Pegasus” and the Cold-War-style posturing between Picard and Captain Sirol is the sort of thing I always try in a game.
Senator Neerok is definitely cast in that mold of Romulan, never saying what he means but never failing to get his point across. He is much like one of my favorite Romulan characters, Senator Vreenak from Deep Space Nine, but positioned in a different direction. Whereas Vreenak is hostile and dismissive of alien species, but willing to entertain negotiations where it suits him, Neerok acts openly but has purely selfish reasons behind it all. This makes Neerok a dangerous enemy but also an interesting potential ally: will your players realize his true aim before it’s too late? For that matter, can they afford to turn his help down even when they realize that they’re pawns in his game?
There is a lot of material for plot hooks in Neerok’s writeup but here are a few to get you started.
- A lone Romulan shuttle arrives in a Federation system with a military officer who is offering to defect. The players’ ship arrives to debrief him but before they can do much more than get his name a D’deridex warbird decloaks and hails them. Senator Neerok is onboard, saying he has come personally to retrieve the soldier and “avoid unfortunate incidents.” What is really going on here? The answers start making even less sense when clues start to surface that the “defector” was acting on Neerok’s orders.
- Neerok approaches the player characters at a diplomatic summit, quietly asking if they’d be willing to act as a backchannel to discuss a border dispute. The senator is quite reasonable and offers to talk the Romulan Senate into releasing two contested systems to the Federation. Starfleet Intelligence says that there has been no Romulan traffic to those systems in weeks… so why do long-range sensors pick up an unknown energy signature?
- When a visiting group of Starfleet officers comes aboard the player characters’ ship, one of them slips away unnoticed. She is surprised by one of the ship’s engineering crew modifying conduits in a Jefferies tube, but before she can be questioned she activates a poison capsule and dies. Her PADD contains information written in Romulan but the one who finds her only sees the name “Neerok” before the PADD auto-erases itself.