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Q (John de Lancie in Star Trek)

Q

((Star Trek)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Q is a quasi-omnipotent entity who appeared throughout the run of the Star Trek: The Next Generation sci-fi TV series. This perilous, none-too predictable god has become one of the signature characters from the show. He also was a vehicle for some great stories.


Background

  • Real Name: Q (All members of the species have the same name but are distinguished here for purposes of human comprehension)
  • Other Aliases: The God of Lies
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Known Relatives: Lady Q (wife), Q, Jr. (son)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: The Milky Way Galaxy
  • Height: 6’3” Weight: 190 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

All members of the Q race are able to manipulate time and space virtually at will, wielding massive reality-warping powers.

They have been known to teleport galactic distances of as much as 75,000 light years. They have created planets, although it is unclear if this was an individual act or a number of Q working together. They have moved moons, asteroid belts and completely altered the atmosphere of planets, traveled to the beginning of time and created pocket realities.


History

Humans first knowingly encountered the being they came to call Q in the mid to late 24th century. He appeared aboard the Starship Enterprise-D under the command of Captain Jean Luc Picard.

Accusing humans of being a “savage, child race”, he whisked several members of the crew back to the post-nuclear holocaust era of the late 21st century. There, they found themselves in a courtroom and put on trial for the crimes of humanity.

He decided to test them at Picard’s suggestion and used their first mission as the test. The price if they lost was the human race being restricted to Earth’s solar system – or at least the Federation not being allowed to explore and expand any further.

When they passed the test, he seemed embarrassed but implied he would return. His motives at this time seemed shallow, nothing more than a cosmic bully.

Second test

A few months later, Q appeared again. He seemed still the bully, putting the crew into a battle scenario.

He claimed the Q were fascinated with humanity. He managed to convince his fellow Q to grant a human powers like their own, promising them that no human could turn down such powers. But his target, First Officer Riker, ultimately did so.

This caused his fellow Q to pull him back to the Q Continuum where they exist, angry at his failure. Later events revealed he was attempting to interject new life and purpose into his people.

New approach

About a year later, Q appeared aboard the Enterprise? He revealed he had been banned from the Continuum which he defined as the limitless higher dimensions. Restricted to the physical universe, he had become bored and offered to join the Enterprise as a member of the crew.

When he was turned down, he catapulted the ship 7,000 light years across the galaxy. There they encountered the Borg, a cybernetic species intent upon “assimilating” all other life and technology into their bee hive-like collective.

When the ship was about to be destroyed, Picard admitted that there were situations humans were not yet ready to deal with and that he needed Q in that situation. Q relented, taking the ship instantly back to its starting point. He seemed to develop a respect for Picard.

Depowered

Again, about a year passed before Q involved himself with humans again. His position with his own people had already become tenuous. Finally, the rest of the species had grown so tired of his pranks and chaotic interference in the physical universe that they stripped him of his powers.

Given a choice of species, time and place, he chose to be made human and sent to the Enterprise. Unrelentingly self-absorbed, he slowly was affected by others throwing themselves into harm’s way to save him. Q finally tried to sacrifice himself when an alien species threatened to destroy the ship to get to him. Because of his attempted act of self-sacrifice, his fellows restored his powers.

Before leaving, he performed two acts of charity. He restored a moon to its proper orbit to save a planet from destruction. He also allowed the emotionless android, Data, to momentarily experience humor.

Third test

Another year passed, a year in which the again empowered Q chaffed at the thought that he owed a debt to “lesser” life forms. He became obsessed with giving a gift to Picard so that they would be even for Picard’s saving his life.

As a result, Q put the crew into a “Robin Hood” scenario in order to force Picard to face his “weakness for women”. This led to Q developing an almost romantic fascination with an archaeologist/treasure hunter named Vash. Amazed by her self-absorption and will to survive at any cost, he offered her the opportunity to travel through time and space with him.

Two years went by in which a lot changed for Q. The loss of his powers was a shock. At first, he was obsessed with repaying debts. With that done, the fear of ever having his powers taken away again drove him to reinvent himself.

Disowning his past, he became the very model of what a Q “should be”, almost a “Defender of the Faith”.

Secret Q

When a teenage Honors student was temporarily aboard the Enterprise and started exhibiting strange powers, the Q Council sent Q there. He revealed that the girl, Amanda Rogers, was not human at all but a Q.

Her parents traveled to Earth in human form and procreated. Having chosen to live as humans, they were killed by their fellow Q when they could not resist using their powers (a strange decision considering that the Q seem to travel across the cosmos doing as they please but that’s the official story).

Q (John de Lancie) in a red robe on a throne

Here we saw Q in a new role as mentor and teacher. He was unsuited to the role but had become the spokesman for his race. As such, he decreed that the girl must either return to the Continuum and take her place as a Q or she could choose to live as a human if she could refrain from using her powers. If she chose the latter and failed, Q had orders to kill her.

Through a small trick, he made her realize how hard it would be to restrain herself and she chose to accept that she was a Q.

Inner spaces

Q returned a short time later. Having been left in another quadrant of the galaxy by Q, Vash found her way to the space station Deep Space 9 by taking a transport ship through a wormhole.

Q’s fascination with the devious side of human nature grew. As a result he made almost adolescent attempts to convince her to stay with him although he finally let her go. He was an innocent bystander for the most part, even dropping hints that helped to save the space station.

The next time he appeared, it was unclear if it was Q or a dream Picard had while fighting for his life on an operating table after being wounded during a diplomatic mission gone wrong. Q’s insights into human nature and mortality seemed profound… and profoundly out of character for him.

Perhaps drawing upon his own brief experience of mortality, Q caused Picard to realize that had he not made certain mistakes in his past, he would not have become the man he was.

Another trial

A few months later, the Q as a species decided to exterminate the human race. Although the reasons seemed highly dubious, it may have been because of Q using humans as a means to disturb their complacency.

Q convinced them to give humans a chance by giving Picard a mystery to solve. This ordeal would force him to prove once again that humans could think in a non-linear fashion. Indeed, Picard reasoned out that he was facing a time anomaly that he would cause in the future.

Voyager

The crew of a starship named Voyager set free a being called Quinn, who was a Q, from a prison he was placed in by his fellows. Convinced that immortality was causing the Q to stagnate into oblivion and that he had done everything there was to do countless times over, he wanted to die. But the Q would not allow it nor could he succeed in taking his own life as long as he had his powers.

Q was sent to take him back to his prison. They stalemated each other in a battle and then both agreed to have their case tried by Kathryn Janeway, the Captain of the ship. If she found in favor of Q, Quinn agreed to return to his prison or give up his attempts at suicide. If she found in Quinn’s favor, the Q agreed to take away his powers so he could kill himself.

The nature of the Q species was explored as the crew visited a metaphorical representation of the Q Continuum. Q admitted that, though he once rebelled against the stagnation and lethargic state his people were in, he became a model citizen and defender of the status quo after his powers were taken from him and then returned.

Ultimately, Quinn won the case. Q helped him commit suicide knowing the risk was that the wrath of the Continuum may come down on him. But the reward was that they might shrug off their lethargy and begin to truly live again.

War of the gods

Because of the death of Quinn the Q Continuum had broken into civil war. It pitted those who wanted drastic change against those who wanted their existence to stay the same.

Q had a plan to end the war by fathering a child. He intended the entire Q race to think of the child as theirs and become united over the only baby amongst them. He wanted Captain Kathryn Janeway to be the child’s mother to introduce a human element.

The child would then have the best qualities of humans such as drive and need and also the best of the Q. When Janeway refused, Q revealed he was married or at least involved in a relationship that had lasted for billions of years. Caught up in the civil war which humans perceived metaphorically as the American Civil War, the crew eventually forced a truce using weapons that were constructs of the powers of the Q.

Q and his “wife” procreated merely by touching fingers and exchanging energies.

“Junior”

Though only a short time had passed from Janeway’s perspective, Q showed up with his teenage son. Perhaps Q mature faster or perhaps, as they are time travelers, years had passed for them. Things had gone wrong. “Junior” was too human.

He was an adolescent handed almost unlimited power and was using it to throw the universe into chaos, causing wars and destroying things everywhere. The Q stripped him of his powers. Q then had to trick him into an act of self-sacrifice such as Q himself once performed to convince his fellows to give his son back his powers.

Finally, Q agreed to “eternal guardianship”. Where his son went, he had to go. In his last canon appearance, he was accepting his new role as a father.


Description

Q appears as a tall human male of about 40-50 years old. He has also appeared as an Aldeberan serpent and an android. He has stated that he could as easily take on female as male form or, indeed, any appearance he wanted to. His natural state is non-corporeal.


Personality

“He was mad. He was bad. He was dangerous to know.” This was a description of Lord Byron  and actor John De Lancie, who played Q, used it as a template for his portrayal.

At first, Q appeared to be nothing more than a cosmic bully, a childish prankster playing tricks on lesser species. It was later revealed that he did this partly out of boredom but also out of rebellion.

His species, immortal and “omnipotent”, had stagnated. They could do anything and they had done everything so they finally were reduced to having no drive or desire to do anything at all. He had tried to goad them out of their lethargy.

He offered a human their powers to bring new blood to his people and stir things up. His eventual reward was banishment and then the stripping away of his powers.

When his powers were restored, he played the prankster role for a short while. He then became an “upstanding citizen” and enforcer of the status quo rather than risk his powers permanently being taken from him.

Eventually, he was shown to be a rebel fighting for individual freedom amongst a race of conformists.


Quotes

“We call ourselves the Q. Though thou mayest call me that. It is all much the same.”

“Generosity has always been my weakness.”

Data: “I do not perceive your skills to be in doubt, Q. The Captain is merely concerned with your ability to successfully interact with his little-trained minions.”
Q: “I’m not good in groups. It’s hard to work in a group when you’re omnipotent.”

“There are creatures in the universe who would consider you the ultimate achievement, android, no feelings, no emotions, no pain, and yet you covet those qualities of humanity. Believe me, you’re missing nothing. But, if it means anything to you, you’re a better human than I.”


DC Universe History

If there is a DC Universe equivalent to Q in his early appearances, it is probably Mr. Mxypztlk. Like Mxy, Q is an imp (just a much physically bigger one) playing jokes and causing mischief. In his later appearances, the Q species seem more akin to the Lords of Order with Q as a rebel member.

As there is no reason to believe the Q species cannot cross dimensional barriers, it would be interesting to see the results of their appearance in the DCU.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Q

Dex: 02 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure
Int: 09 Wil: 09 Min: 13 Occupation: Rebel Trickster
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 07 Resources {or Wealth}: NA
Init: 014 HP: 005

Powers:
Continuum Control: 72, Force Field: 20, Invulnerability: 30, Omni-Power: 10, Self-Link (Spirit Travel): 60

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Continuum Control has Bonus Matter Manipulation affects living matter (+5 FC),
  • Omni-Power has Bonus -500 points to HP cost of using it so any power that has a base of 500 or less can be freely used (+14 FC)

Skills:
Vehicles (Spacecraft)*: 02, Weaponry (Exotic)*: 02

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Milky Way Galaxy), Gift of Gab, Scholar (Human Race)

Connections:
Q Continuum (High), Star Fleet (Low)

Drawbacks:
Mistrust, SIA to testing and annoying “inferior” species


Design Notes

This is a fascinating character I have never seen quantified for any game system. But it was doable like any other character and I had the opportunity to be the first.

I had a choice of going with Continuum Control, Omni-Power or Sorcery as Q’s primary power. I chose Continuum Control with a small amount of Omni-Power because I felt it best covered his abilities.

I chose to give him high power levels and certain bonuses with a low number of Hero points rather than lower levels of power with lots of Hero points as Q seems to do everything without effort. I attempt to make sure he can do everything he was able to do in his 12 canon appearances in Star Trek episodes while also accounting for weaknesses shown.


By Doug Mertaugh

Source of Character: Various incarnations of the television series Star Trek which were written by Gene Roddenberry, C.J. Holland, Maurice Hurley, Richard Danus, Ira Steven Behr, Randee Russell, Rene Echevarria, Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Hannah Louise Shearer, Michael Piller, Shawn Piller, Kenneth Biller and Robert J. Doherty. Q was portrayed by John De Lancie.

Helper(s): Cocurts, Woodrow Hill, Pufnstuff, Frank G. Murdock

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