[Uncharted Worlds] Kylara Vatta

I'm currently blowing my way through Vatta's War, Elizabeth Moon's five-volume series about the adventures of Kylara "Ky" Vatta, Space Academy dropout and merchant trader scion. (This is so I can get up to speed before starting Cold Welcome, the first book in the new Vatta's Peace series.) I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I can say that the Ky Vatta who appears at the beginning of Trading in Danger (the first book in the series) is a perfect starting character for Uncharted Worlds (or pretty much any other SF RPG).

Vatta's home planet, Slotter Key, provides her with a Productive Origin. (Given the interstellar reputation of Vatta Enterprises, I considered giving her a Privileged Origin, but it's clear that Vattas are expected to work for a living, no matter how much money they may have inherited.) Vatta's not particularly intellectual, so "Education" is out as an Origin skill, and so is "Calibrations"—she's not much of a mechanic. "Acumen" is an obvious choice for a merchanter's child, but she'll be able to get that skill from her Commercial Career (see below). I'm therefore opting for "Vocation": Vatta could use the Expertise boost, and her hard-working nature justifies the choice.

Careers are a no-brainer: her parents raised her from infancy to be Commercial, and her contrary nature led her to the Slotter Key Space Academy and thus Military. Because Vatta never made it out of the Academy (she's kicked out for political reasons on p. 2 of Trading in Danger), one skill from Military should be enough, and "Authority" is the obvious pick here. As the plot of the novel will go on to make clear, Vatta may be a neophyte captain, but she knows how to command her crew. The remaining two skills a starting UW character gets will come from Commercial: "Marketing" (Vatta knows where to go to get what she needs) and the aforementioned "Acumen" (she knows how to read the market once she arrives).

Stats are also straightforward. Vatta puts her +2 in Mettle (courage under fire is her forte), one of her +1s in Physique (she is deceptively tough for her age and size), and the other +1 in Influence (she's certainly charismatic). Her 0 goes into Expertise, which is subsequently raised to a +1 courtesy of her "Vocation" Origin skill (she's not a genius, but she knows how to apply herself). Her -1 has to go into Interface: she's no hacker, even if she knows her way around an cerebral implant.

The mission she's given by her father (to deliver some goods in an aging hull en route to the scrapyard) is straightforward enough, so her Advancement trigger is "A cargo is exchanged." The clear choice for a Workspace is "Mercantile," but here Vatta's GM might intervene and make the space a bit less cushy (to reflect the decrepit condition of Vatta's ship, the Glynnis Jones).

Characters normally start play with a Class 0 Attire outfit, but Vatta's fashion-minded mother has made sure that she has a stylish Vatta Enterprises uniform (Class 1 Uniform, Impressive) as well. She also has her setting's ubiquitous cerebral implant (Class 1 Cybermod, Head, Implement-Broadcast Kit), allowing her to connect to local networks, transmitting and receiving information. Finally, her Class 2 asset is a top-of-the-line Deere Ltd. pressure suit (Class 1 Simple, Tough, Sealed).

It's always a good sign when a game system allows you to accurately translate the abilities and qualities of a fictional protagonist from a related genre, and that's certainly the case here with UW.


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