The Rangers are a division of the Patrol trained in search and rescue as well as combat on dangerous or unexplored planets. Most Rangers operate singly or in very small groups, acting as “marshals” on new colonies and responding to emergency calls to outlying settlements. Often, a Ranger will be assigned to a Patrol ship with a more conventional crew to provide expertise in frontier investigations. These rugged officers earn the grudging respect of their more spit-and-polish counterparts through skill, tenacity, and grit.
More than anyone but the Engineer, the ship is your domain. You get the crew where they need to go, you do it fast, and you do it with style. You fly circles around hostile ships, and you’re familiar with every starport in the Federation. Some of your crew may overhear you talking to the ship, but that’s just respect. You always listen when she talks to you.
Dedicated researchers are found in labs on many worlds. You are something else: a field scientist looking to use your knowledge in service to the Patrol. Characters with this template are more like the investigators on CSI, using scientific expertise to solve mysteries and catch the bad guy.
Every member of the Space Patrol is trained in basic investigative techniques. You are a skilled detective, the one your team calls on when the mystery is too great. Whether your official duties keep you in the cockpit, the engine room, or the sickbay, you’re there to uncover what others would prefer stayed hidden.
Patrol teams rely on their ships, and it’s the engineer’s job to keep the ship in the best condition possible. If the crew engages pirates and the force shields overload, the engineer is there to reroute power through the secondary conduits. If the ship gets a distress call that is just a bit too far out of range, the engineer teases just a little more speed out of the engines. It’s a thankless job sometimes, but if the engineer wasn’t there to do it, the rest of the crew would be dead in space.
You joined the Patrol to be a peacemaker. You dislike violence, and you seek equitable solutions to problems. You genuinely like people and believe that interstellar society can be just and fair. It’s your job to see that it is.
You possess mental abilities that set you apart from other humans. You use these powers in service to the Patrol, but there are legal restrictions. For example, mind reading is illegal without a warrant. Any form of compulsion or mind control is illegal except in moments of extreme danger to the officer or civilians.
You came to space for the mystery. Perhaps you are a former Scout who transferred to the Patrol to reconnect after many years in deep space. Or maybe you wanted to explore more human mysteries as an investigator. Whatever your motivation, you are perceptive, self-reliant, and driven to uncover the next secret.
You may be a commander, a doctor, or an engineer, but at heart you are a soldier. Whatever the situation, you look for tactical advantage, know where your exits are, and size up the opposition. You never shy away from confrontation, and you must be reminded that the Patrol is a peacekeeping organization.
The adventurer is a better example of the way dramatic templates work in the Space Patrol campaign. An Adventurer-Commander produces the classic starship captain of pulp space opera.
The 150-point occupational template represents your role on the ship. The commander is the leader and spokesperson for a Space Patrol vessel.
In my prospective GURPS Space Patrol game, characters are built by choosing an occupational template (worth 150 points) that determines your specialty in the crew and a dramatic template (worth 50 points) that establishes your role in the fiction. This set-up was directly inspired by GURPS Template Toolkit 1: Characters, and the templates are built using the advice found there.