Nearly 30 years after its series ended, many Star Trek fans still consider Star Trek: The Next Generation to be the best series in the franchise. Dungeons & Dragons is another property with a longstanding dedicated fan base, especially with the upcoming D&D movie, Honor Among Thieves.
A Star Trek tabletop game exists, but the Picard, Riker, and Data archetypes have so much role-playing potential in D&D. These constructs aren’t so much about copying their “powers” as they are about evoking the essence of their characters within the medieval fantasy setting of D&D.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Cleric of Knowledge 2/Curious Thief 18
Jean-Luc Picard, alongside the legendary James Tiberius Kirk, is considered one of the finest captains the crew of the Enterprise has ever had. A polymath, diplomat and cultured tough guy, Jean-Luc is much more cerebral than the emotionally charged Captain Kirk. This is reflected in his way of directing. Start with Cleric for armor skills and Wisdom and Charisma saving throws, to showcase Picard’s iron will.
Cleric levels of knowledge should cover the “polymath” aspect well, with the bonus skills being arcane and history. Inquisitive Rogue fits Picard’s tactical mind very well and plays into his penchant for playing detective in many episodes. It would be wise to take the Observant exploit, for even better investigative skills. Expertise in persuasion and insight should be the priority.
Commander William Riker – Valor Bard 6/Swashbuckler Rogue 14
Unlike OG number two who was Spock, Commander William Riker is more of a Kirk than Picard ever was. A space ace with a penchant for romantic one-offs, Riker fits the stereotypes associated with bards perfectly. Valor Bard is a perfect match for his martial skills and his ability to invigorate his crew in battle.
Pickup spells that would still suit Riker would be Friends, Vicious Mockery, Charm Person, Heroism, and Enhance Ability. Going Bard up to level 6 grants Riker Extra Attack, and from then on one must pick up Swashbuckler Rogue. Few people can boast being as sarcastic as Riker, and Swashbuckler is instead meant to roast opponents (and sometimes allies) in battle.
Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge – Battle Smith Artificer 20
Geordi LaForge is the state-of-the-art Enterprise resident engineer, and his habit of declaring an engineering feat impossible, only to do it moments later, shows why Geordi is the quintessential artificer. Battle Smith is probably the best choice, and Geordi’s Steel Defender might be an adorable mini “Enterprise.”
The flavor could be that the “company” has the shape of the ocean-going vessel of which it is the guardian. For exploits, Observant is a must, as it reflects his ability to see solutions where there seem to be none. For infusions, Enhanced Arcane Focus, Mind Sharpener, Goggles of Night, Wand of Magic Detection, Lantern of Revealing, and other “sight” based powers work best for Geordi’s unique visor. Flash of Genius is pretty much what Geordi is most famous for.
Lieutenant Commander Worf – Samurai Fighter 20
Of all the technologically advanced races in Star Trek history, the Klingons would be the most at home in a fantasy world of martial combat. The Samurai Fighter feature perfectly represents the traits Klingons are best known for. Namely, their tireless fighting spirit but surprisingly keen mind for diplomacy (if they feel like it, which is rare).
For race, Klingons would be better seasoned as Orcs. In particular, the Aggressive trait evokes Worf’s reckless tendency to rush into battle. The feats to take would be tough, as Worf, while usually bested by the Monster of the Week, recovers with nothing more than a few scratches afterwards.
Doctor Beverly Crusher – Thief Rogue 3/Life Cleric 17
Beverly Crusher is a stark contrast to the more abrasive McCoy of yore. While both are stubborn in their own way, Crusher, despite her name, is as sweet as can be. She is dedicated to her healing role and Life Cleric best suits this character archetype. Thief Rogue levels are taken specifically for Medicine Expertise and Fast Hands feature.
When paired with the Healer feat, Fast Hands allows Crusher to heal his comrades even without using magic. That being said, Crusher is never one to turn down the best methods available, and in Forgotten Realms, that just happens to be magical. Life Cleric’s features are all aimed at maximizing its healing output.
Advisor Deanna Troi – Aberrant Spirit Sorcerer 20
Wearing Deanna Troi in 5th is a bit of a challenge, especially given her “stating the obvious” status for most of the early seasons. However, this just means the player can finally lean into the empathetic aspect of Deanna Troi’s character. High Charisma suits Deanna for obvious reasons. Thus, the Aberrant Mind wizard best matches his innate psionic abilities.
His race would be Half-Elf, as “Betazoid” is not an option in the Forgotten Realms. For feats, the Alert feat is a good feat to pick up. Deanna Troi also tends to be possessed by all sorts of cosmic beings due to her powers, so things like Revelation in the Flesh and Warping Implosion might just be side effects of those.
Lieutenant Reginald Barclay – Artificer 2 / Illusion Wizard 18
Lieutenant Reginald Barclay is one of the quieter members of the Enterprise crew, but he is also one of the most beloved. Despite his obsession with holograms, Barclay is nonetheless a competent engineer. That said, to evoke his character in 5th grade, an illusion wizard who starts as an artificer would make more sense.
Artificer levels are for technical know-how. Illusion Wizard could be Barclay’s obsession with the Holodeck resulting in illusions in the fantasy world of Dungeons & Dragons. After all, the Holodeck at many points has become so advanced that it could have been mistaken for reality. Illusion magic in Dungeons & Dragons falls well under this umbrella.
Guinan – Divination Assistant 20
Guinan is the mysterious and wise bartender of the Ten Forward lounges. She is best known for her prophetic jokes and her absurdly large hat. Guinan is so timeless and well-known that Q of all people finds her intimidating. Mainly, because she’s one of the few people who can peer into the future, which even Q finds troubling.
Divination Wizard is the best fit for Guinan’s powers and mystique. The Alert feat should be seen as reflecting how stoic and unsurprised Guinan is at all the goofy misadventures of the Enterprise crew. The omen is easily flavored as Guinan’s unnatural wisdom and abilities ensure that she knows the best course of action at all times.
Ensign Ro Laren – Scout Rogue 3/Battle Master Fighter 17
Ro Laren was a surprise hit among fans despite being a “little character” in her introduction. Her beauty, fierceness, and snark made her a dark horse in an already stacked cast of lovable characters. She is often involved in expeditions where a fight is expected. Add to that Ro Laren’s degree from Advanced Tactical Training, Ro Laren is a perfect candidate for Battle Master.
All the maneuvers are just what she learned from her studies. Of course, she’s not just a fighter. She was in the academy, after all, so she also has a surprising depth of knowledge that is represented by Scout Rogue levels. The expertise gained in nature and survival certainly matched her specialty, as seen in the episode “Rascals” where she was able to identify a rare plant at a glance, much to Keiko’s surprise.
Lieutenant Commander Data – Cleric of Lore 20
Arguably The Next Generation’s most beloved character, Data is the seemingly cold android who nonetheless learns to love the humans he spends time with. His most iconic trait is his vast intelligence, and no class is better at gaining knowledge than the Cleric of Knowledge. For racing, those using Eberron should obviously choose Warforged.
In the Forgotten Realms, Data could be scented as Goliath, to represent his superior strength and durability compared to humans. Think of it as a “golem” created by wizards. From there, all the features of Knowledge Cleric are very well suited to his encyclopedic knowledge. To further optimize this, take the Skill Expert feat to gain more skills and expertise. Priority should be on Arcana, History, Nature, Investigation and Perception.
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Dungeons & Dragons – 10 Star Trek: The Next Generation Character Builds | Pretty Reel
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