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Excessive Force in Campaign

I’m running one of the published adventures, so please be aware THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD!!!

The crew responded to an emergency call from Stallas II because it looked like half the population attacked the other half and drove them to seek cover in a surface-level waiting room. The crew arrives and finds the colonists are all suddenly (they were visited before) cult-level obsessed with a god called the Shepherd. The crew fears an external force is at work here. They call down to the administrator in the underground city and hear the group who fled to the surface originally atatcked those underground. Then, some of the underground folk began firing phasers over the barricades at the crew and the survivors on the surface.
The First Officer places pattern enhancers and convinces the Captain to beam down cannisters of a nerve gas. The beaming is successful, and the First Officer knocks all the colonists unconscious with it. The crew are in medvac suits and are safe. Then, the First Officer tricks the people in the underground city to gather together. He gasses all of them to unconsciousness, and the crew binds all unconscious men, women and children.
The point of this, according to the Captain and First Officer, was to prevent the external force from causing attacks or attempts to stop the crew from using the colony medbay to research the influence of the external force.

How would Starfleet respond to news that a Captain ordered an entire colony of folk happy Starfleet arrived to help to be gassed unconscious and then bound? What repurcussions should happen as a result of this?
Garrett

What you’ve written is a bit confusing for me to understand but I don’t think it really matters.

First off, if everyone is having fun then that what’s most important, imo. Was it excessive? Maybe. Hard to say unless I’m playing in the game but if I (the GM) wanted to show a reprimand for the actions I’d probably do it by penalizing reputation and be lenient. Kind of like a warning for future games. Years later you and your friends can get a good laugh at stuff like this.

Just my 2 credits.

Gassing a colony certainly seems unconventional to say the least. We have seen people use gas in the shows: The Doctor used it to gas some Romulans and Picard used it to gas an intruder. But when elderly people and children are involved, I would call it excessive and dangerous.

While the actions might have been justified at the time, the use of gas against a colony should at least add a couple of Threat, similar to other “strong” attacks like Torpedoes or the use of deadly force.

In addition to that, calculating the correct dose of the gas should be like a Reason + Medicine Task with a hefty Complication range (+1 for elderly people, +1 for children, maybe another +1 because you don’t have any medical data available for the colonists). Any Complications rolled should be used by the GM to kill off some colonists, which is a totally reasonable thing that could happen.

Civilian deaths will then not only weigh heavily on the characters’ minds, but will also impact the Reputation roll at the end of the mission negatively, potentially leading to a court martial.

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I agree that civilian deaths are a reasonable complication from using gas like this and would definitely warrant serious consequences. Heck, even risking them probably should. But that’s definitely the sort of thing that the players should be informed about in advance, not something sprung on them after the fact (which I mention since this has apparently already happened).

The characters would know what risks the gas they were using had before they used it, and thus so should the players…and many players might not think of this sort of risk, assuming that the Federation must have a gas that’s safe to use this way. I think they’re wrong in that, but it’s the sort of mistake that’s purely player-facing and should result in a GM clarification rather than reality simply ensuing.

the players should know, that “knock out gas” isn’t exactly a magic way to render everyone unconcious, it’s a little more complicated then that, but it’s certainly possiable they don’t. given the proable ignorance on the players part. I’d not do anything TOOO major, but I’d certainly have an inquiry in this case and maybe have an admiral quietly chew the captain and XO out, suggesting that they consider other options before using such a “nuclear option”

I never considered the possibility of it killing any of the colonists and wouldn’t spring it on them afterwards without a warning. The whole thing seems grossly overhanded for Starfleet and deserves an inquiry.
Garrett

  1. Not really Starfleet protocol to gas everyone and the captain and possibly XO will absolutely take some reputation hits (and possibly be reprimanded) unless they have STRONG reasons to have done so.

  2. Gas canisters of that nature are essentially grenade-like in nature, especially given the AOE aspect of it. As a GM, as it’s definitely not Starfleet standard, it would cost the team a ton of momentum for multiple gas canister AND tons of threat (for escalation).

Basically, it’s very effective, but may not be worth be worth given the long term consequences.

Plus as a GM, I’d definitely add the complication trait ‘Loss of Trust’ whenever attempting any social rolls with members of that colony once they wake up. Cause no one likes to be gassed.

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Good call, Kaybe!

Kaybe, you nailed it.
Garrett

Also, if they go ahead and botch it badly, don’t forget that courts-martial episodes, used sparingly, can be excellent drama.
Especially if one has to deal with curiously deleted log files…

Ooo, I was planning on the court martial being a episode, but never considered someone trying to hose the Captain.
Garrett

I started a thread on Court Martial Episodes right next to this one. I would love to read your ideas!

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