Ten Forward Friday: Gorn

Welcome to Ten Forward Fridays, where a new playable species is presented for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, filling in some gaps until official material can be released.
For February I’m returning to the dark side, with a few villainous species from throughout the franchise’s history. This week being the cunning, reptilian Gorn.

The Gorn first appeared in an episode of The Original Series 1×19 Arena where Kirk famously fought one as the result of Humans mistakenly colonizing the Gorn planet of Cestus III. A CGI Gorn appeared in Enterprise 4×19 In A Mirror Darkly, Part II. Despite being a fan favourite from their first appearance, surprisingly little has been done with the Gorn., although they have appeared in numerous comics and novels.

Because little has been done with the Gorn, they’re a little more open for stories, but there’s also less inspiration. As first contact with the Gorn took place in the Kirk era, they are challenging to use prior, but would easily fit into stories set immediately after or in The Next Generation era and beyond. The Gorn could be presented as enemies or allies of either the Klingons or Federation. In a story set during the Dominion War, the Gorn could take advantage of the distraction to the galactic west to expand or encourch on the territory of their neighbours. It’s conceivable a Gorn could take place in the officer exchange program, serving on a Starfleet vessel. In later fiction, Cestus III is shared between the Gorn and Federation, so it’s possible a Gorn might have been raised alongside Humans, having some of their values and perhaps even enrolling in Starfleet. While Gorn are as smart as Humans, their physical strength could push them to a mercenary role, being “hired guns” or pirates. Orion Syndicate members could easily employ Gorn bodyguards or legbreakers. A cunning Gorn could go far in the Syndicate, deceptively playing the thug role while masterminding events behind the scenes.

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  1. Given the Beta Quadrant book has given us “NPC” Stats for Gorn, I’d recommend a PC Rewrite that would look something like this.


    The Original Series or Later

    A bipedal, reptilian species from the Beta quadrant, who have a civilization — the Gorn Hegemony — far from Federation Space. First encountered by Starfleet in 2267, the Gorn are technologically advanced to a level comparable to the Federation and other Beta Quadrant powers in most regards. Even a century after first contact, there is relatively little contact between the Gorn Hegemony and the Federation.

    ATTRIBUTES: +1 Daring, +1 Fitness, +1 Reason

    TRAIT: Gorn. Gorn are large and powerfully-built, even more so than other famously-mighty species such as the Klingons or Nausicaans. They are many times stronger than a human being, and resilient enough to ignore massive blunt force trauma or even short periods in hard vacuum. However, Gorn are not especially agile or fast. Gorn are ectothermic — cold-blooded — with their body temperature varying by external factors, and thus favour warm environments where they can be most active and effective.

    TALENTS: A gorn character gains access to the following traits.

    Natural Armor: Gorn are capable of shrugging off damage that most other beings would find harmful, this grants them Resistance 1 verses all attacks.

    Natural Weapons: Gorn engaged in hand to hand combat are prone to use their claws and even their teeth in the attack. This grants their unarmed melee attacks the Vicious 1 quality.

  2. I disagree with the Gorn being cold blooded. This comes from our stereotype of all “lizards” are cold blooded. As recent studies have shown, even the dinosaurs were apparently warm blooded and the fact that these Gorn are not strictly reptilian (compound eyes?).

    1. Gorn are described as “cold-blooded” on canon sites like Memory Alpha, and I believe this was a plot point on the Enterprise episode.
      I try and avoid contradicting primary sources in my articles.

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