Medals question

Can you buy multiple medals of the same type from the Command book, if they don’t explicitly say “can be bought multiple times”? Or are they only awardable once?

I’d assume they can only be awarded once, or there’d be no need to specify on the ones that can be purchased more than that.

I would say that there are actually two questions:

  1. Can medals of the same type be bought/awarded more than once?
  2. Do multiple medals of the same type also award multiple benefits of the same type, i.e. stack rules-wise?

But I think the answer is probably the same: It depends.

As far as I’m concerned you can buy more medals of the same type, if it fits the story. Want a Purple Heart every time you’re hit by enemy disruptors? Here you go. Multiple ‘peace mission’-medals? Nope, at least not for the same peace mission. You could have different rules for very distinguished medals (cf. the real-world Medal of Honor), but at least the lower tiers could be awarded multiple times without it hurting the flavour, imho.

Concerning the rules, it depends on each effect. So, I would rule that some medals, taken multiple times, carry for each medal. But if the impact on the balance would be too hard, I would rule that only one ‘instance’ carries the effect, even if the medal could be awarded/bought multiple times.

That probably doesn’t help you, at all. I am sorry.

I’d be inclined to give them the benefit as many times as they earn the award, since they’re paying the Reputation cost to get the award. Captain Solok earned the Pike Medal of Valor twice; I see no reason he couldn’t use the effects of the award twice. It should be a rare occurrence in an episode, and would reflect his significant experience and capabilities as a senior officer.

(That is to say, it’s up to the Gamemaster to not let their Players abuse the option, and up to Players to not bend the setting too much. It is a game after all, though…)


This came to my mind only after I posted. My first idea was to come up with an additional/different, but weaker effect, e.g. reduced difficulty in social tasks (for the other party is wide-eyed-ly watching on those two ribbons at the first party’s chest). This is to say, only for occasions where having the medal’s original benefit more than once would be too imbalanced.

My worry is that Reputation rolls are very easy after a while when everyone is around 20 Rep. It’d be like getting a medal every other TNG episode. At what point would it break a campaign?

For similar reasons, it looks to me as if promotions could become a revolving door after a while. I don’t see this in the rulebook, but my thought is that Reputation could reset to 10 after each promotion. This would reflect increased expectations at a new rank, the fact that a Lieutenant Commander has to stand out in a different peer group than the Lieutenant she used to be.

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That sounds like a really good idea. In a job, one has to “make their bones” as they move from employer to employer…

Maybe I’m misremembering, but I thought that the rulebook already states that your Reputation resets to 10 (or similar) upon a promotion…? I don’t have the rulebook to hand though to check.

It doesn’t. The promotion simply comes instead of an increase in reputation. But it seems the rational thing to do; I planned having this as a houserule, too.

I thought that was the case; I hadn’t found any reference, and it seems so intuitively logical that I was a little surprised not to see it.

Are you applying the same rules for demotions?


Good question, and I admit I hadn’t thought of it. It seems to me that resetting to 10 after Reputation goes low enough to earn a demotion doesn’t really make sense in context, so as a first reaction, I think Reputation should stay at the level that triggered the demotion in the first place. I haven’t done any deep thinking on that, and I’m ready to revise if someone sees a glaring issue.

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Personally, I would rule it as a no. Demotions may occur when you drop below a rep of 10. A demotion in itself is pretty negative, and for anyone who can look up your ‘service record’ would see that you were demoted for whichever reason. Therefore, that may color their view of your performance, and you would in essence need to prove yourself again.

On the other hand, being demoted and not summarily discharged would indicate that Starfleet considers the officer’s career salvageable, and in the enlightened universe of Star Trek it seems reasonable that the overall view would be “lesson learned, punishment served”. If the former lieutenant commander cannot be trusted as a lieutenant, then he should have been demoted to a level at which he can be trusted!

In terms of game mechanics it makes sense for demotions/promotions to move the character to a position on the track where he does not immediately bounce back to his previous rank, or onwards to the next rank!

To be honest: I actually havn’t thought about it, yet. Having one of my players demoted was never a thing to think twice about. I think there are very good arguments for both approaches:

On the one hand, keeping the rep status low after a demotion would be logical, because the delinquent would have to prove theirselves again. Basically, what @SSiron said.

On the other hand, resetting to 10 would very much reflect your “lesson learned, punishment served”, liberal approach, @Citizen171. I like that very much, too (also, it’s very, very compatible to the law-system of the society I am part of).

So, my approach would be to look at the mechanics of things. I think, in STA, reputation has a tendency to get up. Players are essentially depicting “lawful good” heroes, so there are probably more chances for the rep to get up than there are, to get down.Also, I do not think that a demotion should hit a player/character purley because out of bad luck. In my humbly opinion, this is a change to character that has to be induced at least somehow by the player in charge. Otherwise, I would see the risk of interfering with the player’s character too much. At the same time, STA is a very “static” system, regarding character development. There are changes, but they take their time. In combination, I think, the problem of a reputation score too low would be easier to solve than a reputation score, too high. So, considering this, I would probably handle demotions differently from promotions, meaning that I would reset the reputation (or at least reduce it by several points; maybe in a progression [see below]) with promotions but would leave it untouched with demotions.

As to the progression: This idea just came to my mind and I am presenting it now, because I am not sure about it: Maybe it depends on the rank whether your reputation changes or not. For example:

  • Ensign → Lieutenant junior Grade: reputation does not change
  • Lieutenant junior grade → Lieutenant: reputation -1
  • Lieutenant → Lieutenant Commander: reputation -2
  • Lieutenant Commander → Commander: reputation -3
  • Commander → Captain: reputation -4

My idea was that this would reflect the idea of @Mr-Flibble that e.g.

What do you think?

Not per page 298. 298 lists it as

If a character’s Reputation would drop below 0, then the character faces disciplinary action.

And, no matter the reputation, losing rep is potentially worthy of a reprimand in file.

Continuing the quoth paragraph:

Prior to this point, issues of conduct and performance will be dealt with in minor ways, and a character losing Reputation may find a reprimand placed in their official record, or be given some unpleasant or menial additional duty, or lose some privilege normally afforded to the crew for a time, or even just a warning from their Commanding Officer. This should be handled through roleplay, and has no specific game effect other than the loss of Reputation it already represents.

A reset to 10 at promotion is NOT unreasonable - especially since the character is now facing a new set of expectations for the new rank and job responsibilities. Especially, as with Geordi LaForge, when taking over from someone else. JG LaForge becomes chief engineer as Lt. LaForge, when LtCdr Argyle leaves the ship. (we don’t see that explicitly, but it’s heavily implied in dialogue. )

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As a point of clarification, in the Army, you do not get the physical award/ribbon a second time. If you earn a second Army Achievement Medal, you don’t wear two medals, you wear the first medal with a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster on it. Bronze Stars similarly get devices, as they are called, added to the original ribbon when you earn multiples of them. I assume a similar practice would be in place in Starfleet.

The medals in the Command book can only be taken once each, except where specifically noted otherwise (in which cases, the ability to take the medal multiple times comes directly from canon and is specifically addressed in the text).

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Yes, I was just specifying from personal experience as to how the comment of being wide eyed from someone walking around with multiples of one Medal was not realistic to the current military system.

I would suspect that in Starfleet, like the current military, when you do gain a Medal that is allowed by multiple purchases, you would still get a commendation and award ceremony as usual, but you would only be presented with the appropriate device to display on your first medal.

For example, on the below linked picture of a Military Ribbon Rack, worn on standard dress uniforms instead of full medals, you can see oak leaf clusters on the Army Achievement Medal and Army Commendation Award. There are also multiple Knots on the Good Conduct award, a Mobilization Device on their Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and a Bronze Star on the Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals.

So, without having to wear multiples of each ribbon/medal, you can still have a readable and distinguished display of awards.