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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,945
# 1 Characterization pet peeves
12-27-2012, 10:17 PM
Apologies if this has already been discussed somewhere, but I just got a friendly warning from a mod in another forum about necro-posting (definition here is different than the fora I'm used to), so to be on the safe side I'm starting another thread.

I just wanted to open up a discussion about some of the characterization pet peeves that I've encountered in various Foundry missions.

1) Please remember that my captain is not human. Not every captain is human, and may well be insulted by being called one or being expected to know the most obscure human cultural references. (I may know those references, but when I'm in character, I know my captain doesn't know everything about humans.)

2) Please remember that my captain may not be male. Even when I play a male captain, I can't help noticing. The only exceptions to this rule--though obscure and not always liked by every Starfleet captain--are the use of "Mr." and "sir" to address officers in a military context. I have run into it on occasion where (perhaps because of more than one character being involved in the conversation, or my captain reading some sort of record about himself) somebody did use a gendered pronoun (usually "he") to refer to my captain. While it's OK with my character, that is not OK when other players may have female captains.

3) Shoehorning my captain into being a jerk or a perv. This is actually my number one pet peeve--even above calling my captain a human when he's not, or assuming that all captains must be men. I understand that some people like this kind of humor, so offering it as an option is understandable...but I do not like being forced to choose an option like that, where my captain is flippant, hits on everything that moves, acts like a speciesist, or is cruel. And remember that some people have Vulcan captains that are not v'tosh ka'tur, so that's going to be especially OOC for them.

Sometimes the option to do this can be funny, but it should be only an option and not the only choice. Two examples stick out of cases where it did work. On someone's mission (I forget the title or author), my captain located a stash of Romulan ale while searching crew lockers for something even more incriminating. One of the choices was for him to turn to his crew and say, "Sweet! I mean--seize the contraband!" That I couldn't resist--but what was great was that it was a choice.

The other two cases stick out very well. I particularly remember ajstoner's mission "Finding Resolution," where after overhearing Captain Kull give a very Sun Tzu-like speech about my captain, that really increased my captain's respect for Kull's personality and intellect. From there he began to respond to Kull in a much more belligerent (and Klingon-like) manner than he ordinarily would. Establishing that unusual banter with Kull had a really cool payoff in "Avenging Resolution"!

I also remember another case where my Cardassian captain had the opportunity to completely go off on a Cardassian war criminal in "The Spirits of Ramok Nor" by alimac30. While it's not like him normally to lose his temper, the option was there. (And more neutral responses were offered for those whose captains might not act like that.)

Speaking of shoehorning I didn't appreciate, Cryptic has actually been guilty of it on a few very notable occasions. I did not care for being made to blindly follow Admiral Zelle in "Divide et Impera" when I was getting suspicious much earlier than the mission allowed me to show my suspicions. But the worst offender of all that I've encountered thus far was the Torture-the-Fed-Captain mission on the KDF side. Yeah, I know KDF is more brutal, bt even among Klingons there are variations. Can you imagine Worf or the cloned Kahless torturing a defeated enemy? I could see a duel to the death or fighting until the destruction of the enemy's ship, so as to give an enemy a proper death--but a Klingon like that would see no honor in torturing a disabled, disarmed enemy. It almost made me feel sick to do that and I would have MUCH preferred an alternative means to accomplish that objective.

4) Disrespectful bridge officers

Oh boy. Let me put it this way: I would not allow someone who was disrespectful to me or others to be one of my senior officers. Cryptic seems to be mindful of this in their official missions: once in a while a BOFF might make a slightly pointed remark, but these instances are kept rare and are not inappropriate.

Heck, even at work I would likely write up one of my direct reports if they said some of the outrageous things I have seen some people write my bridge officers into saying. Please do not make my BOFFs hit on me (adding to that, you don't know what the BOFF's gender is in advance and whether the player's captain is straight, gay, or otherwise interested in responding to that BOFF's advances) or be OOC jerks.

They also shouldn't be calling me by my first name...or at least Foundry authors shouldn't assume that sort of relationship is there.

5) Be careful with disrespectful military NPCs.

The lack of consideration of military protocol sometimes affects what people write for military NPCs too. Ensign Helna is the character people seem to assign this to the most (she seems to occur in multiple people's missions). There's more leeway for this with NPCs, but I'd at least like the option to warn or discipline a crew member who mouths off to me. (Of course sometimes such aberrant behavior is a sign that said crew member is about to go bad or go psycho, in which case it's perfectly understandable in the plot. )

What about you guys? How do you approach these in your missions?

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