Category Archives: Personalities

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Star Traders: Commencement

Category : Personalities

As the time grew closer for the Emperor’s declaration of the contest, the colliseum grew more and more packed. From the highest private balcony to the standing room at the base of the seats, the huge building was filled to capacity and beyond. Millions more watched on trideo feeds, sending a live broadcast out, even to the fringes of the empire. At the precise scheduled moment, a massive holographic projection filled the amphitheater. The voice of the ruler of the galaxy boomed through the massive stadium; it was calm and serene, but its underlying power and authority could not be denied.

“Citizens of the Empire, as you know, the office of the Master of Trade, the head of the Trade Commissariat, stands empty. We have determined this to be unacceptable. Ours is a galaxy founded on peace and commerce. Trade is essential to maintaining our peace. We have therefore determined to name a replacement for the office of Star Tsar. Our councilors and the Imperial Senate have each made their recommendations. It is our pleasure, however, to choose a more unorthodox approach. We wish that the Master of Trade be the one known as the best trader in the galaxy. To that end, we do hereby announce a trade competition. From our Office of Legal Matters, you may acquire the specific regulations for this contest, but it is sufficient to say this: all captains will have a short time to reach the registered home world of their ships and complete final preparations. Then go forth into the galaxy; show by word and deed that you are worthy of becoming a master trader. Petition the throne with the evidence of your exploits, and if they please us,” a faint smile came across the Emperor’s face, “we shall give a special challenge. A mission direct from our Imperial Majesty, suitable for a worthy captain.” Murmurs raced through the crowd; none of the rumors had mentioned any special missions. “The first to be found worthy and then complete our final task shall be named as Star Tsar, head of the Trade Commissariat and Master of All Traders.”

The holographic projection looked out across the crowded stands of the amphitheater, its gaze seeming to meet the eyes of everyone there.

“This is our imperial will and pleasure. We seek only the greatest to assume this office; this competition shall determine who that may be.”

The arms of the holographic Emperor reached to the domed ceiling, towering above the throngs of people. His voice rang out, loud and clear:


The Personalities:

By Charles Duncan

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Star Traders: The Tycoon

Category : Personalities

Your great-grandmother was born into poverty. You were born into wealth. She had worked and built up a massive company, and passed control on to her children. You went to the best schools, where you excelled academically. Science, mathematics, chemistry — anything you studied you excelled at. Mother and Father were quick to point out that it was the result of your great-grandmother’s hard work that gave you such opportunities. Your academic success, they implied, was clearly derived from your ancestor’s hard work.

Meanwhile, Father proved just as effective at running the company into the ground as his father had before him. He was less effective at piloting a starship, as both your parents were killed in a tragic accident when their ship jumped too near the sun. That’s how you found yourself, 21 years old, at the helm of a large, mostly bankrupt, corporation. You utilized your business skills and began to diversify into many different areas. Within two years you had the company out of the red.

Within five years, you had reversed all the damage caused by Father. Two years after that and it was as wealthy as it had been when your great-grandmother died. Just over ten years after you had taken control, it was five times more valuable. The business journals talked about the amazing turn-around of your great-grandmother’s company. They spoke of the restoration of a once tarnished family name to glory. They mentioned your great-grandmother’s name more than yours.

You kept expanding your company, but no matter what you did, you could never seem to escape the shadow of the company’s founder. And then the Emperor announced his trade competition to name a new Star Tsar. You went over the rules with the scrutiny only a business magnate could muster. You put all the assets of your company into play.

The rules said that there could only be one pilot and one ship for entry into the contest. Well, you weren’t going to let the rules hold you back; you’d just work around them. You commandeered the design department of your shipyard holdings. A few days later you walked out and handed plans to the ship builders. It’s registered as a single space super-yacht. It’s not a rules violation if it happens to split into two independent, fully functioning ships.

To tackle the issue of piloting, you preempted your robotics R&D division. Working with the engineers, you designed a special virtual reality chamber allowing you complete control of two robot pilots. You didn’t even bother consulting with the prototypers — you just handed them designs for the robots and told them to get to building. Since you can only control one at a time, it still meets the rules. Your telecommunications subsidiary was prioritized with custom algorithms you wrote. They allow you to reroute transmissions to give you instantaneous commands and real-time control of each part of your “ship.”

The Emperor may control the galaxy, but he’s not the genius that you are. You know how to manipulate a contract, and you always read the fine print.

You are the Tycoon. Now is the time for the galaxy to learn your name.

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Star Traders: The Strategist

Category : Personalities

Generations of your family served with honor and distinction. You were raised on the stories of the glorious past — officers, enlisted, men and women, all of your ancestors who donned the uniform and served the Empire. You knew, even as a child, that was your destiny.

You parents provided encouragement; you began reading at early age, swiftly digesting every bit of military history you could find. Sun Tzu, Alexander, Patton, Schwarzkopf, Berezniki; all those and more became your inspiration. You read them all and studied their histories and analyses. At fourteen, you very solemnly informed your parents of your intention to apply to the elite military training institute on Card. They didn’t even try to dissuade you.

At school, your studies on the past continued, but they were augmented with more current military tactics. As all the plebes did, you started in the ranks of a small unit. You showed drive, intelligence, and the ability to adapt. You became a squad leader, then a platoon leader, then a company commander.  By the time of your graduation, you were the highest ranked cadet at the school, and their undefeated chess champion.

You petitioned the Imperial Senate for an appointment to the Naval Academy. You were accepted without hesitation. You were enrolled in the normal engineering and chemistry courses, physics and math. You were also put into some of the more advanced courses on Games and Theory. You went from the small unit tactics of the military school to the large-scale formations of space combat. Three dimensional mapping, stellar routes, fighter tactics, dreadnaught battles — you studied it all, and you studied it well. You observed tricks and strategies that instructors had all missed. They said you were a natural. You felt like this was something you were born to do.

Your work at the Academy earned you a commission and a position at the Naval War College. You continued to excel at your assignments. You found yourself on strategic planning committees, then promoted to the General Staff. You fought thousands of battles and countless scenarios in the simulator. Every time contingency plans were required, your name was the first to be mentioned.

You looked back on your accomplishments and you slowly came to a realization, and it was terrible: the galaxy was at peace and was going to remain that way. You continued to train, you continued with your contingency planning, but the zeal you once had was gone. You thought of all the glorious stories of your ancestors. Everything you had done with your life had been a preparation for events that would never come to pass. Part of you wanted to believe it was all for the best, that peace was better. Mostly you felt an empty hole where the sense of purpose had been. You finally had enough; you resigned your commission and tried to find a new sense of purpose.

You were drifting from system to system, still searching for that sense of purpose, when you heard of the trade competition. Rogue traders, entrepreneurs, everyone was going to join in. It would be chaos. The trade routes would be clogged and shifting, ships moving seemingly at random. No one would be able to make sense of all that. No one but you. You reached out to some old contacts from the military; they knew your skill and were eager to help.

You are the Strategist. Marshal your strengths and forge your way to victory.

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Star Traders: The Builder

Category : Personalities

Whenever someone mentions space travel, they’re thinking of ships. It’s always about the ships. What’s the point of a ship though? It takes you from one place to another. The ships aren’t important; the places they connect are. You wanted to experience the galaxy, not see it pass by through a view screen.

As you reached the age for enlistment, you joined the Imperial Navy. Everyone always tries to get into the pilot training program. You went for the construction battalions. CBs don’t have the glory or fame, but you didn’t care. You learned practical skills. The Imperial Navy gave you training and some of the toughest equipment known to play with. They even paid you for it. It was a dream job.

Your first job out of initial training was ground construction. You weren’t the fastest or the smartest, but you were the hardest working in your unit. Your superiors took note. Promotion didn’t come easy, but it did come. After a few years working on the ground you got the most coveted, and the most dangerous, job for a CB. You went to Zero-G Construction school.

Once you were in orbit, your true talents began to shine. You had an innate awareness, all too rare, of how objects move in space. Interlocking hab modules isn’t like piloting a starship — you have computers to help and robot arms to manipulate, but when it comes down to it, it’s you, your tools, and the void. People always think that fighter pilots have the dangerous job. Those pilots have no concept of the fear of being outside — no ship, no help, when just a thin layer of plexi-fiber is all the protection you have in a micro-meteor burst. You acknowledged the danger, but you had a job and you never let the fear get in the way. Orbital repair yards, ship construction facilities, macro-storage. The Navy needed everything, and you found there wasn’t anything you couldn’t build.

Your reputation was firmly established when the reductions came. Oh, there was a lot of talk of “drawdowns” and “force redistribution” but in the end it was simple. The budget got cut and people had to go. You faced a decision: take the severance and the early out, or be prepared to languish in a gutted job. You got out. Your expertise, if no longer needed in the military, was a boon in civilian life. It didn’t take long before your initial investment grew into ownership of a leading construction company. You stood by the same guidelines you had in the military: charge a fair price, work hard, and build whatever was needed.

When the trade competition was first announced, you didn’t pay much attention. You didn’t trade goods, you built things. When the rules started filtering out though, you gradually took notice. The way the competition was devised, people would need stations. There weren’t enough to support what was going to happen. At first you thought you might be able to boost business by supplying needed skills to one of the competitors. After a little more research, you reached a different conclusion. You’ve got the skills to put up stations faster and better than anyone else. Thanks to your reputation and military background, you’ve got contacts and connections throughout the major trade routes. Sure, you could help someone win the competition. Or you could just go win it yourself.

You are the Builder. You’ve got what you need. Go build an empire.

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Star Traders: The Insider

Category : Personalities

Now On Kickstarter

You started working as a page to a minor functionary in the Trade Commissariat. It was a sprawling bureaucracy, spanning the whole of the Empire. Like any government body, it was riddled with layers of redundant procedures, pointless functionaries, and hideous wait times. You started watching how the game was played. You discovered the great truth of the galaxy: it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know.

You began laughing at terrible jokes, you complimented the beauty of ugly and boring spouses, you smiled when everyone else was frowning. You began running mind-numbing errands for people, helping speed up the process of pushing paper. Your networks of contacts in the commissariat was small at first, but it began to grow. You began to get noticed by people higher up the rungs. Each little favor you performed lead to another opportunity.

You stayed one of the faceless appointed clerks, because that’s where the real power was.  You latched onto one particularly charismatic commissioner; she was very personable, even if she was almost totally incompetent at her job. Officially you were supposed to be processing trade forms and certifying economic reports. In reality, you were just trading favors around between other workers. You worked very hard to make sure you had the right people in the right place at the right time. Your network of favors owed kept growing.

You never quite crossed over the edge of doing anything actually illegal; you just greased the wheels to speed up the process for people who couldn’t afford to wait.  A trade company needed to move goods quickly to take advantage of a shift in the market; in exchange for their application going to the top of pile, they agreed to shift their operations out of a system. The remaining company in that system agreed to prioritize shipments from a mining company. The mining company agreed to provide a generous donation of material to a construction project on your patron’s home world. Your web of contacts was spun bigger, and the importance of the favors grew with it. Your work made your patron more important; she moved higher in the bureaucracy, and she took you with her. Each time a new election came around, you were appointed to a new position.

Thanks to a friend in the Imperial court (who also held a now-lucrative chunk of the spice guild) word of the “retirement” of the Star Tsar reached you long before anything was officially announced. The plan for appointing a new Tsar came moments later from another friend at the top of trade commissariat (a friend, and also the new owner of a diary that once had some rather compromising information in it). You thought about bringing this information to your patron, but the more you considered it, the more you realized that the Star Tsar is not an elected official. The office is appointed — just like all those you’ve held over the years.

You spent a lifetime building up favors. It was time to call them in. A word to the comptroller of an impound lot and you had a brand new starship. Reminders were sent to certain people and permits appeared, giving you special access to key installations. Whispers spread throughout the trade commissariat; you let the right people know you were making your move, and they stand ready to help.

You are the Insider. You’ve worked the system for years; now take control of it.

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