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Author Topic: Life in Starfleet  (Read 2355 times)

Offline Cmdr Toni Turner

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Life in Starfleet
« on: 06 August 2009 12:55 AM »
With Commander Toni Turner

My guest columnist for Life in Starfleet is Della Vetri, hailing from the USS Constitution, UFOP Starbase 118.  She will be giving us some insight on the ins and outs of smining a Counselor in a PBEM.

“On the couch... - Counselors in SIMS.” by Della Vetri

Love 'em or hate 'em, Counselors have been part of Starfleet from TNG onwards, and they'll be present in most, if not all, Star Trek PBEMs of that era. But what is it like to actually play one?

At first glance, it can be hard to find a clearly defined mission role for a Counselor, but that's not really the case. Often, they'll be the best diplomat and negotiator the crew has, and their knowledge of psychology can be the key to understanding the motives of whatever adversary the crew may find themselves confronted with – which can help reveal things about the situation that may be laying beneath the surface.

:: The bridge crew were silent for a moment, digesting what they'd just seen. The general tone of the Planetary Governor's message had been short and to the point - “No problems, everything's fine. Please feel free to be on your way...”::

Captain: So... Thoughts?

Counselor: There was something about the way he was acting whilst you spoke. It was subtle, but he kept glancing off to one side, and he definitely looked a lot more uncomfortable than he should have. It wouldn't surprise me if there was someone off-screen holding a gun on him... Or something like that, anyway.

So, the guy everyone thought may be the enemy turns out to perhaps be a victim, and with a little contribution from the Counselor, the whole plot just took on a whole extra dimension... A Counselor isn't a fighter, an engineer or a scientist, nor are they as skilled a healer as the ship's Doctor. What they are is a social specialist, and can often inject a dose of humanity into a plot that makes the whole thing that much more engaging to take part in.

From a role-playing perspective, playing a Counselor can be a gold-mine of opportunity. Sure, there are characters that will run a mile rather than spend a minute in your company, but others will leap at the chance to have someone to talk to about their problems. Both can provide fantastic opportunities for players to express and explore aspects of their character they may not usually see the light of day, and there are few people who'd turn down a chance for their character to shine like that.

Commander X: Alright – say I do give you a piece of my mind, you're not going to blind me with psychoanalysis and tell me that it relates to my father and that I've got abandonment issues, are you?

Counselor: Wasn't planning on it... Why, worried about my sensibilities?

Commander X: More for your sanity. Giving me any sort of help would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Small changes won't change the end result... I'm a ship wreck, Sparky.

Counselor: The Titanic was salvaged, Commander.
A little perseverance can pay off in the long run, and the ones that try their hardest to avoid you can often be the ones with who's players you'll produce the best writing. The example above was from an incident where I'd finally managed to get one of the crew to hold still long enough for my character to actually talk to him, and during the resulting conversation, the player revealed stuff about his character that he'd never actually put in writing before. Getting there wasn't easy, but the end result was well worth the effort.

Playing a character who is responsible for the mental well-being of a starship's crew can seem daunting for someone coming at it for the first time – I know it did for me – but with a little work, it can be one of the most rewarding jobs you can do. A bit of ingenuity, and you have a ready-made reason to get involved in almost any plotline, and in fairly short order you'll find yourself in the thick of things with everyone else.

Another aspect of the role is OOC, or “Out of Character”. The person best able to tell you how you can help a character is their player, and OOC communication is vital to fulfilling your role. An added bonus to this is the fact that you'll find yourself chatting with the people you SIM with a lot more than you might do otherwise, and that just adds a whole other level to the enjoyment you get from the game – as well as the chance to make some great new friends.

So, playing a Counselor isn't the easiest task you can set yourself, but in terms of sheer scope of possibilities, it is well worth the effort. You will find yourself helping others develop their characters, as well as doing so yourself, and it's a great feeling to know that you're helping people to get the most out of their PBEM experience.

* * *

I would like to thank my guest columnist, Della Vetri, for submitting this article for publication. Nice job, Della.

NOTE. If you would like to submit an article for this column, simply leave a private message for me on Hailing Frequency outlining your ideas. I'll be happy to discuss it with you. Until next time...
« Last Edit: 06 August 2009 03:46 PM by Zach »

Offline Kali Nicholotti

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Re: Life in Starfleet
« Reply #1 on: 06 August 2009 02:41 AM »
Bang up job Counselor.
2LT Kalianna Nicholotti
USS Resolution - UFOP: SB:118 RPG

Offline Nimue

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Re: Life in Starfleet
« Reply #2 on: 06 August 2009 01:38 PM »
I believed I'm not for Counselor, but now - now I'm sure about it!

Some really good points in there and great written article. 
Life, not worth writing about, is not worth living!

Offline Cleopatra

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Re: Life in Starfleet
« Reply #3 on: 06 August 2009 07:39 PM »
 I usually don't read the things HF e-mails me, but this caught my attention. I liked the summary. It reminds me of the White Mage class in Final Fantasy.
Time is the fire in which we burn. -Gene Roddenberry

Offline Storm Windfall

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Re: Life in Starfleet
« Reply #4 on: 07 August 2009 08:49 AM »
Very helpful indeed for someone new to RP as I am.
Fleet Captain Storm Windfall
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Offline Jatal Khyron

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Re: Life in Starfleet
« Reply #5 on: 07 August 2009 04:01 PM »
I have a great respect for those who can play the Counselor 'class' well. They are rare, but can be a very big part of any crew. We phaser toting Starship Captains are a dime a dozen. ;)

Offline BLZBUB

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Re: Life in Starfleet
« Reply #6 on: 07 August 2009 05:47 PM »
I usually don't read the things HF e-mails me, but this caught my attention.

Lol...I suppose we'd need to talk to your ships counsellor to understand why you would subscribe to e-mail notification and then not read them! =)
Admiral BLZBUB,
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Offline Della Vetri

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Re: Life in Starfleet
« Reply #7 on: 08 August 2009 02:14 PM »
Thanks for the feedback guys, I'm glad to hear you liked it :)  And thanks to Toni, too - she's the one that gave me the chance to do it :)

A proud member of UFOP: StarBase 118 RPG