Holodeck - Naval Episode

So I’m wanting to do a Napoleonic naval era story set in the Holodeck (With a pseudo Master and Commander/Balace of terror vibe). I was thinking that most Starship rules could translate quite easily to Sail ships with some minor tweaks, but was curious if anyone could foresee issues I may run into, or offer suggestions on how such a story could play out.

That sounds like fun! Especially if you have fans of that period. I am personally a huge fan of the golden age of piracy, so I’d like to see what you come up with as far as naval combat.

My group used to play a superhero RPG and I’ve been thinking about making a holodeck adventure where thier Star Trek characters get to play as their superhero characters.

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It sounds like you are going for a fairly realistic vibe on the holodeck so I’d suggest looking at a period naval battle that interests you and finding a place for the player ship there. If you decide to do something lighter a Gilbert and Sullivan chorus coming up from the lower decks in song might not be a bad thing. Then again a serious story sometimes works better with a bit of levity so I’d do both at Trafalgar.

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Yeah I’ve planned character centric stories and for this one, the player loves the Napoleonic era including fiction (i.e. Sharpe and Hornblower). I am building the story to include a “cannot escape the Holodeck” trope.

It is something I love about the holodeck is you can do anything you want. You can have a story set in any Era without straining the suspension of disbelief, or you can one shot different systems and call it a holodeck episode!

I am wanting it to be a more grounded story, particularly as I am wanting to add serious elements of the greater plot, and also want to use the “unable to escape the holodeck” trope. I’m sure it will start with some levity until I add this, then I expect things to get serious.

I was initially thinking of just doing a Hunt the Ship type story but I may culminate it into a large scale battle.

Maybe a Spanish or French spy has captured English war plans and the crew has to pursue the sloop ferrying them back. The plans could actually be a key to unlocking the holdeck and escaping the holodeck.


The “Conan the Pirate” book contains ship rules for medieval ships. There are some differences to STA and it is a little bit more appropriate for that setting. Also it takes winds into account.

But there shouldn’t be any problems even if you use the STA ship rules.

I’m developing a holodeck adventure setting myself (Wild West themed) and I’m going to change the Disciplines that they are more fitting for that setting because the crew plays pre-generated characters.

Oh cool thanks for the pointer. I’ll take a look at that. I got the PDFs but haven’t had a chance to read them properly.

Consider the programs point of view. The h deck could create historically accurTe, biased to one side or swashbuckling styles of naval adventures. What if the h deck kept switching between these modes?

Thanks for all your help. I ran my session this week. It wasn’t as detailed as I would have liked but this was due to 1. keeping it within the confines of a single session and 2. it was a medium to introduce a major plot element for the overall narrative.

I started with the captain, having been “inspired” by how the Enterprise purportedly promotes its officers, performing his own promotion ceremony. They quickly discovered that the program had been hijacked and some force was wanting them to play through a story it had written. (Rather railroad-y but it is within context of the narrative).

They discovered orders dated October 1812 written to the actual captain, not the holo-character he played, ordering them to travel to Constantinople to intercept dispatches intended for Bonaparte. Anytime they ignored the story and try to interact with the Holodeck systems, the controlling force would get annoyed and try to force the issue. This happened 3 times; the first a French ship appeared within cannon range and they had an immediate fight. The next Admiral Pellew (a real life admiral and portrayed wonderfully in the Hornblower series by Robert Lindsay) appeared in his ship and invited them to dinner, personally ordering them to complete the mission, and the third time there was a violent storm.

The Admiral was the representation of this force and alluded to greater knowledge than the confines of the holo-character by serving species specific foods to the characters and stating that the sooner they finish the mission, the sooner they could all “leave”.

They find and chase the target ship, getting some good rolls, but this force wanted a grand showdown later on so becalmed the player’s ship allowing the target to escape. Having chased the target around the Mediterranean they find it ready to fight by Gibraltar. Rather unexpectedly they used the Ramming action to plough straight into the side of the french ship and successfully boarded and captured it.

All the holo-characters disappeared and the Admiral appears laughing and congratulating them saying this was a lot of fun and hopes they can play again. The Chief Engineer, now fully aware that the Admiral is not a normal holo-character, scans him as he talks. I allow a difficulty 5 roll which he succeeds. He sees that this projection is much more than a regular holo-projection as they data density is immense and as he quickly scours the data to understand what’s going on he finds a small bit of code that isn’t Federation. It’s Borg code.

At which point the Admiral say’s “Computer. End program.” and the session ends.

The Borg bit ties into the greater narrative and I am excited to see how the PC’s react as they are currently being recalled to Earth having just encountered, and successfully evaded, a Borg Cube.

I created a quick and dirty ship sheet for the players by editing their main ship sheet and overall it seems everyone had a good time. I definitely want to revisit this with a less antagonistic setting for the players to just have fun with.