Welcome back to another entry for Tuesdays at Quark’s, where we bring you new NPCs for your Star Trek Adventures game. This month I’m building out the somewhat lacking roster for the era of the original Star Trek series. The first entry was, inevitably, for a redshirt crew member. This week we have another iconic role this week: the idealistic scientist.
Charlie Mathers actually can be used in two separate classic narratives: the rookie facing her first real challenge or the wide-eyed victim who doesn’t know the hurt she’s causing. She’s an untested ensign but also marked by an alien psychic attack front childhood. A nuanced portrayal can incorporate both but either mashes a good angle for the character entering your game.
One other thing that I like about Charlie is her optimism. She was attacked as a child and should fear space (she did for a while) but she’s out here because it’s all just so… cool! You can use this to remind your players that this is an exciting and awe-inspiring setting. Later Star Trek series might have dealt with grey morality and wartime decisions but the original series is more drama and high adventure. If your players are feeling jaded, this NPC can pop in to remind them that they’re on a massive starship flying faster than the speed of light and seeing things that no one ever has before.
There are a lot of different directions to take this character, but here are a few plot hooks to get you started.
- On an away mission involving Charline Mathers, the crew makes first contact with a species that communicates solely through a color-changing spot on their forehead. Mathers is instrumental in measuring the exact spectral output of the spot to decode their language. The stakes are raised when Mathers discovers that they’re trying to warn the away team of some impending disaster.
- The same alien obelisk that attacked Mathers’ homeworld reappears! This time it doesn’t release a psychic attack but instead hails the Player Characters’ ship. It claims to hold the minds of those who died all those years ago, including Charline’s parents who have an important message for her…
- Ensign Mathers is on the lead team for a stellar survey of an unexplored sector. She continually talks about the beauty of the stars’ coronas and the majesty of the nebulae. As the survey continues, it becomes increasingly clear that her appreciation is something stronger, bordering on hypnotic suggestion.