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Playing Non-Human Characters

Growing bored with your human officer? Ready to take on a new challenges in your Role Playing? Consider playing a Betazoid, Vulcan, Klingon, Cardassian or any of the other interesting and exotic Star Trek species. Learning the cultures of the various species in the Star Trek Universe, and then applying it to your non-human character is not as easy as it sounds. Applying cultural quirks, traditions, mannerisms, and language can be overwhelming when your trying to write a simple response or carry out a task. Too often the urge to fall back to human tendencies and behaviors spoils the efforts to "become" alien. The challenging part is balancing the unique cultural behavior with the need to be a productive contributing officer.

You're successful when you create a character that can be easily identified as your chosen species in each and every one of your posts. Achieving this is rather simple, if you plan it out in advance and create a reference guide. Your first step is to make a list of behaviors that apply to your species. Think about this for a moment. If you were to describe a Klingon what characteristics would think of? Most people would say honorable, short tempered, rough, and combative. Just these few descriptions are enough to base a character on.

Your next step would be to think of how each species displays their traits when fighting, developing relationships, or carrying out their duties. This is a bit harder, but the effort on your part will show in the quality of character that you develop. An example of this task would involve selecting a specific character from one of the Star Trek shows. If you wanted to create a perfect Vulcan, you might immediately select Spock as your role model. Take a moment and ask yourself several questions. How would Spock behave when he carries out his duties, how does he socialize with his friends, how does he handle himself in a fight, what does he do when he is alone. The answers to these questions will give you some insight into how your own creation should react and behave. If you've watched any amount of Star Trek you would be able to name off basic characteristics of most species so the task isn't too hard.

Third, how do you handle the special abilities that many of the aliens have. Klingon's are notably stronger but their honor prevents them from being overly abusive. Vulcans and Betazids have PSI abilities but both cultures have guidelines that prevent them from forcing that ability on others. The same could be said for each culture. Whatever ability they have is likely to be contained by some cultural taboo or religious restraint. When developing your character you have these abilities to fall back on when you really need them, but for the most part you will write about restraining from using the ability on others.

Lastly, the addition of your character's native language to your posts is another interesting way to set your characters differences and culture apart from the humans around you. If your the sole Alien on board you can still use language as a tool to highlight the characters difference from those around him or her. For the Klingon, and occasional curse in Klingonese is appropriate. For the other alien species occasionally have them speak in their native language while sending a message home or when recording their personal log adds to the exotic appeal. Overall, a non human character can be a great deal of fun and the challenges of portraying a non human character seem to heighten the adventure of Role Playing like no other.