DEBRIEFING: THE STARGATE SG-1 ROLEPLAYING GAME
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MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS FOR STARGATE DMS
There are many places that you can get Stargate ideas from. The first and very obvious choice is the genre of science fiction. Search your favorite movies, television shows, and books. Look at everything carefully and ask yourself how things might translate into the Stargate milieu. While your group might not want to fuse things like Star Wars with Stargate, you can still find inspiration in the trilogy. You can also try looking at fantasy materials as well and considering how you might use them.
Since Stargate is very involved with mythology, it does not hurt to refer to a good dictionary of mythology and folklore. There are many affordable volumes out there in which you can find more Egyptian gods than you can shake a stick at, and many other pantheons besides. I heartily recommend asking the reference section of your library for Stith Thompson’s Motif Index of Folk Literature, a multi-volume set. The books are too expensive to own if you’re not working or studying in folklore, but many libraries have them on the premises for folks to access. You can simply flip through it and get the hang of its organization or you can ask a librarian to help you. Either way, it is a fabulous resource. When you come across special objects in the mythology (like Ra’s chariot or Maat’s feather) try to replace them with technological devices in keeping with the Stargate tradition.
I have found that ideas for Stargate games can be helped along by keeping up with the news - especially the science and archaeology news. You never know what interesting thing you might find in the news that will be useful to your Stargate game. It could be the latest archaeological find or theory. It could be new theories about how space works. But since Stargate fuses history and the futuristic so well, the news is a doubly useful resource. If you get your news via newspapers or magazines, you might want to clip out articles you find inspirational and keep them in your DM folder. If you get your news from online sources, copy and paste the important bits into a special file so you can reference them later. Don't just save a link to the story; news articles are removed all the time and your information will be lost.
Naming characters in Stargate seems like it should be simple, considering that all people from Earth probably have common, modern, cultural names. You might think that since these types of names are all around us, they’re easy to come up with on the spot, but things are different when you’re running a game and time is of the essence. It can actually be difficult to come up with a good name that can be distinguished from the names of other characters. There are only so many Johns that you can have around before everyone starts to get confused.
There are a great many baby naming books on the market for first and middle names, but these books tend to lack surnames. A phone book is helpful if you’re working on the game ahead of time and if you have a phone book from a major city there are probably many cultures represented in it. In the middle of a session, however, it can be devilishly difficult to find a suitable last name just by flipping in the phone book. Worse still, most baby name books and phone books lack fantasy-sounding or archaic names, which you might need to fit your story.
You might want to look into fantasy name generators for more unique names, or you can invest as I have in Gary Gygax's Extraordinary Book of Names, which was made for roleplayers. Not only does it have many first, middle, and last names by culture, it also has medieval names for those playing in historical settings. The Egyptian section saw heavy use while I was running, but I was able to use the book for all of my naming needs, since it also has a section for fantasy names. The book can also help with naming all of the places stargate teams get to visit; although the SGC gives planets special designations, the people who live on a planet are unlikely to call it PX5-847.
In Stargate Command, every planet found through the stargate is given a designation of six digits. This designation is used in all reports and by all SGC personnel. (The people who live on other planets, of course, have their own names for where they live.)
The stargate designation always starts with the letter P. A majority of the time, the second digit is a number and the third digit is a letter. After the third digit there is a dash, and the rest of the digits are usually numerical. In order to create random planet designations, please consult the table below. After an examination of the planet designations on the television show and in the roleplaying book, I've noticed that the second digits are almost always numbers, and the third digits are almost always letters. I've assigned a percentage chance, however, because sometimes the second digits will be letters. I have also noted that only certain letters are used; not all 26 show up.
For the second, third, and fourth digits, use percentile dice first and then roll 1d10. For the last two digits, just roll 1d10.
For example: The first digit is always P. The second digit will be a number (#) 80% of the time, and it will be a letter (alpha) 20% of the time. You start out by rolling percentile dice; if you get a 26%, it will be a number. So then you roll 1d10 to see which number it will be; if you get an 8, then the number will be 8. The third digit is a number 10% of the time and a letter 90% of the time. We roll percentile dice first; if we get 80%, then it will be a letter. We roll 1d10 after that; if we get a 5, then the letter will be Q. We put a dash after the third digit, and see if the fourth digit will be a number or letter. If it is a number, we continue rolling 1d10 for the last three digits (say we get 9, 3, and 2). In this example, we come up with P8Q-932.
Psychological Profiling & Mental Health in the SGC
Psychological Profile Questionnaire Download:
#1 - Family & Upbringing (few direct stargate references; good for any roleplaying game)
The SGC regularly gives its employees questionnaires that are used in psychological profiling and treatment. This allows the organization to get an idea of the type of people they are sending to other planets, and to monitor any discrepancies. It also allows the SGC to gather data on how teams are psychologically affected by gate travel, contact with alien creatures, and varied alien environments.
Psychological profile questionnaires can be handed out by the DM at the end of a game session or before a game even begins. At any rate, players should have the opportunity to take their time filling everything out and to think about what their character's answer would be, rather than their own. Above all else, the distinction between player and character should be encouraged. Players should also be rewarded for participating in this activity, probably in the form of an experience bonus. DMs can then keep the questionnaires and perhaps use them to develop plots.
Psychological testing at the SGC is done in stages; characters will not be expected to fill out half a ton of materials in one sitting. Rather, the Stargate Command Mental Health Unit schedules personnel into various appointment slots, lasting no more than an hour at a time (unless more time is needed to complete the necessary questions). These appointments are held in rooms that have been searched thoroughly for recording devices, and employees are left alone to give their answers. They can request help or extra time, but are generally urged to complete whatever test they are given before leaving. Personnel are not allowed to bring in notes or pre-made answers, and they are generally not told which test they are going to be given. They are not allowed to take their tests with them into any other part of the SGC, although they may ask for an appointment to view their responses.
All tests are kept in the Stargate Command Mental Health Archives and are considered both confidential and top secret. Leading personnel, such as commanding officers, can request to view the tests of other members but very good reasons are required before permission is given. Most times, such permission is not granted. There are only a few exceptions to this. The Base Commander and the Duty Officer can view anyone's information, but they must furnish reasons for doing so and they must not remove the tests from the protected Archives. Treating doctors and mental health professionals working at the SGC can also review patient records, but they are usually restricted to the patient at hand. Once in a while, one psychologist will request that a colleague in the SGC be shown a profile to aid in diagnosis, but this does not occur often. In any case, the files do not leave the Archive, and any file or copy seen outside the Archive warrants immediate disciplinary action.
The first few tests are usually centered on a character's upbringing and childhood years, and relationships with friends and family. This might not seem important to some, but it is very important to the SGC. Patterns of behavior take time to develop, and childhood is a very powerful period in a person's development. The SGC cannot afford to overlook anything in the people around the stargate, even the fact that personnel hate particular siblings; it is too dangerous and too costly should something go wrong.
The Stargate Mental Health Unit continually examines gate personnel for signs of mental deterioration. They examine files, tests, and any concerns expressed by SGC personnel about the mental wellbeing of themselves or other members. Any SGC member can place themselves under voluntary medical watch and treatment for mental health reasons, as soon as they are able to be taken off of duty safely. SGC members can be pulled off of active duty unwillingly, as well, if the SMHU finds enough warning signs to justify it (repressed memories resurfacing, an increase in the number and/or intensity of phobias, increase in hostility or uncontrolled outbursts), and if the Base Commander allows it.
Sedation, restraints, and quarantine measures are only enacted if necessary. Medication is only used to treat conditions in the short-term and addictive substances are rarely if ever used, especially for stargate teams. Since they could end up stranded off world for weeks or more, it is not safe to give gate teams long-term or addictive medication.