Milestones and Reputation

I am prepping for my intended Starbase campaign to put my group through (starting with a few of the ‘learn to play’ scenarios). Before we actually start and get worked up and excited about everything blowing up in our faces like one of the bridge consoles in the show, I was hoping to get some clarification and a bit of a walk-through on the way characters advance to make sure I understand how the system is intended to work.
Please correct me if any of this is perceived or understood wrongly.


From what I have read, and how I understand it, Player Characters (PCs from here on) only qualify for a Milestone if they meet one of three criteria. 1) Challenging a Value to remove it from their character and gain a Determination. 2) Being injured by a lethal attack. 3) PCs spend a point of Determination to activate one of their Values or Directives or take a complication from one of their Values or Directives being activated.

If one of those three criteria are not met, they do not get a Milestone.


I admit that I believe that I understand this part of the system better. Certain actions are viewed positively and grant the roll of a D20 to increase the Reputation, any of the negative actions taken during the mission effectively add to a ‘complication’ range to that roll to effect it negatively. Within the Command book, there are awards and citations listed that PCs can spend points that would normally increase their Reputation in order to receive the awards and the benefits from them.

Out of curiosity, are there more awards listed in the Ops book?

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Sounds like you’ve got this pretty much worked out. I find that the spending of determination is the most commonly used criteria, and encourages the players to use their values a little more.

I only see one mistake- On the reputation side, the negative actions are used to basically set the difficulty of the roll, not the complication range (responsibilities linked to rank set the complication range). This then cancels much the same as a task, but with a few extra conditions thrown in to the fail side.

I find that one of the important things to clarify with this system is that you don’t really advance or level up (other than an arc milestone), but is more a case of levelling sideways. It’s very different to most other systems, so its important to make sure your players know this.

It’s very Star Trek that characters can change laterally rather than “level up”.

No. Aside from cool security and engineering talents it contains info on Starfleet Intelligence, Starfleet Corps of Engineers and Section 31. The talents alone make it worth it for me, but it is not strictly required for a starbase campaign.

The main problem will possibly be conveying to the players to use their values and spend Determination each mission in order to get their Milestone. Personally I tend to keep or horde resources like that in games for when I think I might really need them. (4e D&D action points being a prime example. I often forget to use them.)

Ah, yes… Sorry, I am a little tired at the moment and I think that is how I read it earlier, but then my brain flipped it when I was writing up the post.

We’ve (at least most of us) played Shadowrun before, so it is a little similar to that. There are no real levels, but the reputation and Milestones are a form of advancement that is similar to leveling in other games like D&D. Milestones are needed for attribute and Discipline advancement and acquiring new Talents, Reputation will allow them to eventually (since I am limiting them in rank to Lt. Commander and below) ‘earn’ the promotion and eventual assignment of their ship. Whoever has the highest rank or is on the command track will have to weigh their choice of getting an Award or saving the points for promotion.

Ah. That is slightly disappointing. I already have the Talent information, unless the online character builder left them out. (I wanted to have them available as options for my group, so I went through and increased each Discipline to max one point at a time and wrote down the talent and requirement that wasn’t listed in the core book. It was time consuming. I have to do the same thing once the Science book info is added to the Character Builder.)

Not getting a normal Milestone is not strictly bad. And getting one is not strictly good. Players should not feel compelled to get injured for example just so they receive a normal Milestone. Normal Milestones are only interesting if players want to change their character in some way (i.e switching Focuses, shifting Disciplines or replacing Values). If they don’t want to change, there is no need for a normal Milestone.

Also, I would be hesitant to let players spend more than one Milestone at once since such character changes rarely happen over night.

Agreed. Also allowing players to challenge and change their values every session/mission may be discouraged.

That being said, there is one particular aspect that I really want clarification on. I’m not sure if it says it anywhere or not (partly due to being tired) but for characters choosing the young officer career who receive Untapped Potential. They are limited to Lt (JG) while they have the talent. Once they get enough reputation and decide to accept a promotion to full Lt, the only way for them to accomplish this is through either a Spotlight or Arc Milestone? Mechanic wise, at least…

I’m not sure if a character with Untapped Potential can’t be promoted beyond Lt. (JG). It only says that it is the highest rank that can be chosen by such a character (chosen during character creation).

Storywise it may of course make sense to also spend a Spotlight Milestone to switch out the Talent. I think it really depends on the character. A young joint Trill with 12 past lifetimes may indeed have some Untapped Potential in higher ranks, as may species that have a large lifespan.

You should do whatever feels right for the character.

Page 118 of the core rulebook, in the sidebar for Untapped Potential, the very last line of the talent states “The character cannot gain any higher rank than lieutenant (junior grade) while they possess this Talent.”

Personally, I wouldn’t allow a Joined Trill with more than 4 past lifetimes have the Untapped Potential in the first place. If they started as an unjoined Trill, then through gameplay became joined, that may be a different story…

Challenging a value is a pretty extreme scenario in most cases. There would have to be something major happening for someone to be able to challenge a value regularly.

I always take untapped potential as being something you lose when you get the promotion, but I’d also suggest that a promotion of that level is quite a big deal that will require some character development to achieve (remember, reputation alone isn’t the only element of a character gaining a promotion). In this case, it may be plausible to award an arc milestone. Perhaps if you know a character is going for this promotion, one element of your mission could provide the opportunity for the character to earn the arc?

If I am reading it correctly, PCs need to have at least 2 Spotlight Milestones before they can get an Arc Milestone. This could still work for the promotion, if they get a spotlight milestone at the end of a mission where they get the required reputation increase to signify they are ready for a promotion. (At least this is the way I would attempt to do it with my own character.) Use the spotlight milestone to replace Untapped Potential, and then early in the next ‘mission/session’ could be the promotion ceremony for that character to full Lt, or it could happen at the next available opportunity before getting an Arc Milestone.

I would prefer to use the option of the Arc Milestone to acquire an entirely new talent since that is the only way that can happen, instead of using the Arc Milestone the way that you can use a Spotlight Milestone.

Sorry, why not?
For the ability to get a Focus for one scene once per mission it it absolutely irrelevant, if the symbiont had 1 or 30 lifetimes.
And young joined Trill with the Untapped Potential talent might the prototype for this talent, especially with many past lifetimes.
Imo with this talent a joined Trill might know, that his symbiont had perhaps 20 previous lifes, but he might not get access to all of them. He isn’t just not enough ‘syncron’ with the symbiont.

Ezri Dax perhaps.

It is just my opinion that the many past lifetimes counteracts the entire ‘young and inexperienced’ feel of Untapped Potential. Like I said in my post, if they didn’t start out as a joined Trill, or had a really good story to go with it, then I might allow it, but a character that has been a host for years before going through the Academy? No, I wouldn’t allow the Untapped Potential.

That right there is exactly what I was just talking about. She would be an exception to my not allowing both Untapped Potential and Joined Trill. The story behind her getting the Dax Symbiont being that she was the only Trill on the ship transporting Jadzia Dax when she died, and they were too far away from the Trill Homeworld for Dax to survive. She had already finished the Academy and been at her first posting when she had to take the Dax Symbiont in order to keep it alive.

I would allow it with a good story. If they can’t think of something good enough other than ‘I just got the Symbiont’, then they can deal with one or the other.

Don’t get me wrong… They could still choose the Young Officer career path, they would just get a different talent instead of Untapped Potential.

Can I both agree and disagree at the same time? Haha. Previous hosts who were artists, politicians, shuttle pilots and dancers would have little effect on a character’s input in a science officer post. But they would bring life knowledge and perspective to the character. So in this sense, it would depend on who the other hosts had been.

Untapped potential is all about the idea of a young officer trying something that is maybe a bit out there, but they have the potential to pull off, alongside the potential for it to go badly wrong.

Ok, I understand your point. And it makes absolutely sense!
For me the Untapped Potential talent and the Young Officer choice would mean basically, that the Trill would be ‘young’ with the joined, and so could be ‘comunicate’ with the symbiont only in a limited way. But I am not really firm with Trill, so I don’t know, if my interpretation would be canon.
And so, as long the Trill posses Untapped Potential, he has not full ‘access’ to the symbiont.

As I see it: any Joined Trill, barring unusual circumstances, won’t qualify for Untapped Potential because the joining isn’t normally done until the Trill is in their late 20s - once the host is old enough to have formed a solid self-identity and established themselves, so their mind isn’t overwhelmed by the symbiote’s. In short, the process of being a successful candidate for joining is enough for a character to have “grown up” where they’re no longer young and inexperienced.

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So we have the same view of it. :slight_smile: Ezri Dax is an example of an unusual circumstance in that regard.

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Ok, I miss the part, that the joining would be in the late 20s. I always thought, they would be chosen as kids, and when finished with schooling (15 to 20), the best would be joined. :flushed:

Some of the training is to maintain the ruse that only like 10% or less of the population can properly join rather than the actual number. But the ones that complete the process are pretty well trained regardless of the training they receive for their eventual career.

It’s part of Canon. Watch DS9, and they cover it with a few of the episodes in the mid to late seasons with Jadzia and Ezri Dax. Ezri in particular did not go through Initiate training, if I remember correctly.