Welcome back to another installment of Tuesday’s at Quarks, continuing with our exploration of the Beta Quadrant. Today’s character is from the pleasant, idyllic world of Risa, although she herself is a killer with more murders in her past than grubs in a Ferengi kitchen!
Just kidding, you guys. She’s super nice.
Kanientah is an attempt to meld the “go with the flow” attitude we see from the Risians with service in Starfleet. There are different ways to envision this but my idea for this character is a “social glue” that can be added to your ship. She is a good and competent officer, but she’s also very social and is known for introducing elements of the ship together. This has some benefits beyond blowing off steam, of course: at one of her get-togethers the chief engineer might talk to the new sensor specialist and realize they could increase efficiency of the array with a few tweaks.
The narrative value of this should be obvious as well, since Kanientah’s evening events are a great way to connect PCs with new NPCs that they normally wouldn’t have much reason to talk to. The whole “bridge crew vs. the rest” vibe can break down as some of the lower deck personnel come to the fore over a game or too. And yes, the idea of “game night” might be meta, but it’s something that all the players around the table can (by default) relate to.
There are plenty of plot hooks in Kanientah’s background, but here are a few to get you started.
- Ensign Kanientah is recently assigned to the ship and has already made a name for herselfwith her game nights. Her latest is a holodecks murder mystery roleplay set in 22nd century Earth around the time of the Founding of the Federation. The Player Characters are solving the mystery with some junior officers when the plot touches on some controversial politics. The bridge crew needs to maintain social facing while discovering just where these fringe ideas are coming from.
- Kanientah is at the controls when the ship encounters an energized cloud and her helm station explodes. As the ensign lies comatose in sick bay, the entire crew becomes more open and giving, with surprising couplings getting in the way of work. Just what is this cloud and why are Kanientah’s Risian attitudes spreading to others?
- When the ship responds to a bomb that devastates a Risian resort, Kanientah is happy to act as a liaison and local guide. As the investigation stats pointing to a violent Risian counterculture, however, Kanientah becomes uncharacteristically distant and refuses to discuss the possibility.