In our continuing saga of the creation of the crew of the crashed spaceship Pioneer, sparking a conflict in the game Alien Uprising, the following is the third member of the crew - Ivan Starr, the Engineer.
In most great westerns, and those of you that have been following the creative process in these posts know that this game idea expanded from a Western idea, there is usually one down on his luck character that rises from his drunkard state to play a major role in the outcome of the battle. That character in this design (at least in my mind) is Ivan Starr, the Engineer. Lets take a closer look at Ivan Starr below:
Not much had ever gone right in Ivan Star's life and he had few real talents beyond one - he could fix anything mechanical. He had moved to the space frontier with his young family over two decades ago to become a settler, taking up the Galactic Alliance opportunity of free land providing he lived on the land and developed it for 8 years. Like many other young people, he and his wife jumped at the opportunity to build wealth and began settling 100 acres of harsh land on the planet Aries II. The settlement was harsh, the land almost too rocky to farm, but his family, now including 2 toddlers, along with almost five thousand other humans began to transform the land using terra-forming tractors into terrain that enabled them to grow enough food to survive the first hazardous year on the planet.
Ivan quickly learned that farming was not his strong suit, but discovered that he could fix and alter the limited equipment the Galactic Alliance provided to make the lives of the other more talented settlers and farmers better. So, he took the engineering responsibility for the settlement and for a while things went well. But in the winter of the third year, everything came crashing down on Ivan. Several farmers working on a very difficult rock field split a large bolder that released a reddish gas that spread through the community. By the time it was realized the gas was deadly, over 70% of the settlers had been exposed - including Ivan's children. All exposed died horribly of a festering plague, as if the planet were fighting back from the changes humans were bringing to it. The loss of the children was more than Ivan's wife could handle, and she committed suicide the following week. As for Ivan, he crawled into a bottle and stayed there until a transport pilot in need of repairs and learning of his expertise with machinery of all kinds coaxed him to the ship and sobered him up enough to make the required repairs. The two quickly became friends and Jake Comet, recognizing engineering genius, saved Ivan from the bottle and made him Engineer of the Pioneer.
For the most part, Ivan has little to do with anyone other than Jake, choosing machinery over people and staying alone in the engine bay. The problems that created the crash landing, Ivan knows not to be some oversight on his part, nor a natural malfunction. He has yet to find the exact source of the mechanical problems that forced them to crash land on the planet, but Ivan suspects that the engines were sabotaged; somebody wanted the ship to crash on this planet. He has not had time to share his thoughts with Jake yet, but as far as Ivan is concerned, there is one member of the crew as dangerous as the "bugs" surrounding the ship.
In Game play, Ivan Starr can shape the team's strategies in that he can not only repair the ship more effectively than any other crew member, but his skill cards provide a wide range of support to other crew in a number of engineering functions. His ability to raise the shields automatically, as well as use skill cards to increase the success level can protect the crew from massive attacks at times. His ability to work with the unstable energy crystal (providing he draws this card) makes energy flow more likely enabling the players to power up at least 1 extra device without significant risk. Ivan's equipment includes a Blaster, a Tool Kit, Sonic Wrench, and an Improvised shield. The most valuable, and unique item being the Tool Kit that enables him to transform an Action Die into a Engineering Action. While Ivan can fight along with the rest of the crew, and all will have to fight at times, it is not his strength. Ivan is at his best when providing support; raising shields, gathering debris, and repairing the ship. When Ivan Starr is in the crew, the ability to fix the ship and take off the planet becomes a much more viable strategy for the players.
Thanks for your interest, next up for those interested will be Allie Blade the Science Officer.