A Question about Threat

What do you expect? Rolling with other people’s dice means bad luck. It is known! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

But this brings me to a question. While it’s easy to decide what to do with too much Threat (just don’t use it, if you don’t want to), during the session I GMed, I ran into the opposite problem. Over a complete scene, I had almost no threat. Okay, I kept spending it almost immediatly, but my players really had luck on their side. During combat, I had less than one point of threat per turn, so not every Romulan were able to fire deadly shots.

What do you do on such occasions?


I do the best I can: use cover, help each other, and, in the end, let the players win.


My players are scared to give me threat. I treat it as a precious resource because I know I ain’t getting more of it.

1 Like

Honestly, go with it. Me personally, whether I have a pool of threat or not isn’t important. There are enough ways in game to makes things interesting without threat. aramis had some pretty good suggestions. Another suggestion, If there are NPCs, have an NPC commander present who performs the Rally action. No reason the enemy can’t inspire their allies.

1 Like

I am trying to figure out how I will do tis in ST:A but in Pathfinder, I really like taking the players to the very edge of their abilities, hit points etc - very exciting stuff. That way the “feel” like they won’t succeed, and it makes winning out over the BBEG even sweeter in the end!

1 Like

Paying Threat for NPCs to make lethal attacks? Is that an actual rule I missed?

If I recall correctly, any action that a player could use that would award threat, costs the use of threat from an NPC. (PCs making a lethal attack awards threat to you, using lethal attacks from NPCs costs you threat.)

This is listed on page 281 of the core book in the Threat section of the Gamemastering chapter.

It seems weird that a squad of Klingons would start dropping their Bat’leths and start punching the heroes in the middle of a combat just because the GM runs out of Threat…

Any actual rules reference other than vague memory recall?

Bat’leths can be used for non-lethal attacks as well…


Cf. page 86 (right column, second paragraph) and also page 281 (right column, third paragraph): Player characters using deadly force generate threat.
Cf. page 181 (side-bar “threat spends”): Any action by an NPC that would generate threat if taken by a PC, instead costs the GM threat.

Thus, strictly speaking, the GM has to pay for a lethal attack by an NPC with threat.

Edit: I just thought again about those rules. The nexus to threat generation/cost is escalation. So, maybe just the first deadly hit on both sides costs threat, because if a brawl escalated to a firefight, shooting would maybe not escalate further. There’s precedence on Shield of Tomorrow; I am pretty sure they interpreted the rule like I did above. But I think the interpretation “only the first use of deadly force generates/costs threat, respectively” is, considering the wording of the rules, equally valid.


Yes. Well, kind of.

Page 174, Making an Attack, step 3.

The character declares whether the attack is intended to be non-lethal or lethal. If the attack is Lethal, add a single point to the Threat pool.

Coupled with page 281:

Non-Player Character Threat Spends. For any action or choice where a Player Character would add one or more points to Threat, a Non-Player Character performing that same action or choice must spend the equivalent number of points of Threat.

174 is clearly stated in the PC’s mode.
281 is telling you that all threat adds by PC’s are threat spends when done by NPCs.


I agree. It’s a bit funny. However, as GM you can add threat when a situation of event calls for it. If those 6 klingons show up intending to kill, you could say they add 2, 4 or 6 threat if you wanted. Maybe 1 per Klingon…up to you.

I don’t see it as a choice the Klingons make. It’s more like an unintentional consequence. They just happen to not kill their victim instantly. The Klingons don’t necessarily realize that they didn’t kill the PCs.


Nor do I.

Batleth are not inherently lethal, either, so it doesn’t even up the difficulty.

Actually, that’s a good question. Romulans, Klingons, and a slew of other races use disruptors instead of phasers. Do those weapons even have a stun option? Otherwise, the GM would have to bleed Threat non stop any time there’s a battle.

The point is debatable, but essentially - no.

Romulan ones, yes… Klingon, no.

Nope. Just take the 1 point difficulty increase for non-lethal use of lethal weapons.

The Threat cost of lethal attacks is in line with Starfleet values of non-violent conflict resolution, values that they do not necessarily share with the kind of enemies willing to zap 'em! However, just because this thematically it fits the rules doesn’t mean it’s the reason behind those rules, so it should not be inferred that the rules do not apply to Klingon or Cardassian enemies.

I’m fine with that.

If I ever run into a problem because the enemies can’t kill off the PCs because they have run out of Threat then I’ll see what the situation allows for. Maybe the enemies call off their attack and retreat, or allow for a cease fire, or maybe through a tremendous amount of luck all their remaining attacks are non-lethal without them noticing…

1 Like

coup de grace should be D0… so they fail one, by being sloppy (doing non-lethal), but use it to build momentum to go around to the others with lethal attacks…

The difference ceases to matter if the PCs are on the losing side.