quickly followed by @LeonardMcCoy presuming:
I would second, yet I face this problem while preparing for an ongoing STA campaign (ran only one-shots till today). Some of my players would like the Captain to be an NPC, some are indifferent, I, personally, would prefer one of the PCs to be the captain, because:
Interestingly enough, those (disclaimer: of my players) arguing for an NPC to command the ship (and crew) seem to rather have an NPC ordering them around than a fellow PC. I’ve talked to one and it burned down to a trust-issue: There is inequality at the table, but not among the Players, but only with the Gamemaster. We’re a group of almost oldschool gamers who seem to see the GM as some kind of benevolent dictator; omnipotent yet fair. The specific player was afraid of having a hierachic dynamic at the table bleeding into conflicts in real life. The “GM has more say in te game than PCs” seem to work since the PCs are a group of equals. And, indeed, hierarchy in our D&D group is quite chaotic and fluent – it depends on situation and mood of the group which voices are heard and which roads are taken. In essence: Formal anarchy leading to some interesting fluid hierarchy.
The player in question seems to fear that a hierarchy among the players could lead to off-table/out-game problems. Thus, they want to have an “impartial” (i.e. GM-controlled) arbiter: the NPC Captain.
This argument is flawed for multiple reasons, first and foremost that I am not impartial and that I don’t want to see myself (in the role of the GM) as more powerful than anyone else at the table.
Yet, I think that the people @mattcapiche refers to could have similar problems with PC captains.
I will try to tackle the issue with lots of open communication in Session 0 and a hand-picked Captain. Yet, if the group decides to not have a Captain (or hierarchy among players, at all), I’m also open to run an Academy campaign.
I wonder what your players think and how you have tackled issues like that?