In this week’s “Founder Spotlight,” we sat down with the (in)famous Havraha. Grab a drink for this interview and enjoy!
Q: You are the author of To Helna and Back, Rema Donna, Time the Enemy, Time the Ally, and Animations With Helna. What inspired you to create these missions? Is there one that you are most proud of? Will we see any more sequels?
What inspired me to do each mission varied wildly from one to the other. “To Helna and Back” was my first Foundry mission and I suppose the one I’m most proud of simply because I consider it a flagship mission. I wanted to reintroduce a tried and true Star Trek episode plot, the classic “a bridge officer has been abducted!” episode, into STO for no other reason than “it hasn’t been done yet”. And the reason why was painfully clear: because Kestrel had no way of knowing anything personal about the player’s bridge officers, it’s pretty much impossible to write a story focused around them. My solution to the problem was an obvious one: invent an officer that belongs to the player. That way, they could take ownership of the character but you could control the background and actions without the player feeling encroached upon. This officer ended up being “Helna”, a Rigelian stellar cartographer. Of course, since then, Cryptic has gotten more bold in their willingness to invent new characters and make them leading drivers of episode plots (Obisek, Eraun, Loriss, what have you), but at the time To Helna and Back was written, I believe it was not only unique in the Foundry but also unique to the game. Nowadays its probably lost its luster, since not only has Cryptic made episodes that were character focused, but Helna is just one of dozens upon dozens of Foundry-created characters, recurring, that are driving the plots of missions. One of my favorites is Tat, from many of Nagorak’s missions. That Ferengi is going to get herself killed one of these days!
Of course I’m really proud of “Rema Donna” too, which so far has a higher rating than To Helna and Back, probably because it addresses a mission that many players took offense to, which was called “Divide Et Impera”. I think players might find it interesting that the original inspiration for the mission was “I like Romulans. I like Gorn. Hmm. You don’t see Romulans and Gorn fight very much …” and so I made it. But it just goes to show how missions can evolve as you work on them and find a bigger meaning. Don’t be afraid to retcon (retroactive-continuity) what you’ve already written! It’s almost always better for it.