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Missing Officers NPC or Support Cast?

I would like to know how other game masters handle missing officiers.
Era: DS9
Ship: Akira Class
My players handle some posts:

  • Executive Officer
  • Ship Councillor
  • Chief Engineer
  • Chief of Security
  • Flight Controller

NPC (starting character model)

  • Captain
  • Science Officer

Support Character (cost 1 ship support)

  • Second Tactical Officer (since the ship has Security 4) he helps the tactical officer

Undecided for the moment

  • Operations Manager (since there’s no 0 difficulty task) there’s nobody on bridge, just the engineer in machine room.
  • Medical Officer, most healing is done by the Ship Councillor that have some medical skills

What’s a PNJ? Non-Player-Character? (I don’t know, personne-non-joueur or something? My french is the worst :laughing:).

You seem to have five player characters. It can be reasonable to reserve the Captain (authority) and the science officer (plot exposition) to the DM, making them NPC/non-player-characters. But in these cases, I’d say make them Major NPC instead of full player models. The players should be the heroes.

Every character that you do not want to reserve exclusively for the GM should be a supporting character. You got five players and a scale 5 ship – you can have up to five different supporting characters showing up in the adventure. Thus, every player can, if they want, choose to have a scene with a supporting character in every adventure.

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Corrected NPC thanks.
The captain and th science officer were made with PC rules because if somebody becomes game master I will play the Science officer. But treat them a bit as secondary actors. They aren’t playable by players. Just created with same rules.

Ah, that explains it. Sounds reasonable! :slight_smile:

Anyway, my rule of thumb is: Only characters that are GM-exclusive should be NPC/PNJ (hey, don’t let me die stupid and correct my assumption at least in spelling!).

I tend to see the rest of the ship’s crew completely as possible Supporting Characters. The ship (and its crew) belong to the players, in my opinion.

PNJ: Personnage Non Joueur (you were near)

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I make any missing senior officers supporting characters that the players can use as desired.

I agree that you should only make full NPCs for characters that are 100% GM control only. This will partly depend on the group and how much they want to use those other characters (most of mine would rather just have their main character do the thing even if they aren’t great at it).

That said, I also always have a PC captain, and having NPCs around tends to give that player someone to order around without feeling like they’re controlling another player.

I always have a PC captain as well. If my group’s captain were an NPC (i.e. 100% GM controlled), I think my players would feel like it was a safety net, to stop them from doing something really stupid. Also, a lot of my games are designed to draw out opposing views from the players, with the captain having to make the final decision, so having them as an NPC wouldn’t really work from that perspective.

The only crew member who is a full NPC is their XO. My players have varying levels of familiarity with Star Trek, so when we tried out STA by running a one-shot, they forgot to do a lot of the basic things that you would expect a Starfleet officer to do (e.g. scanning the area when something clearly isn’t right). Having an NPC XO is a nice way of being able to offer in-game suggestions to the players, to make sure they aren’t disadvantaged by not having watched Star Trek in a while. That being said, my players haven’t needed the XO to advise them on anything since we started our full campaign, so I might convert him into a supporting character, which is how we handle the rest of the crew.

Off topic for the post, but purely because I’ve had this exact situation myself- I had the XO there as support for the new CO until their long term XO completed some training.

I found it a really useful model for the same reasons, and then had him go off to take up his own long term post which also gave a nice parting of ways story.

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For season 1, I plan on having the CO be an NPC. The reason I am doing this is to allow time for my group to get used to the rules and just how different this is from D&D. The end of season 1 or the start of season 2 will see the use of a new ship. At this time, the characters will either transfer over, or the players can start new characters that have been on the ship for some time. This is where I will let one of the players become CO if they choose.

Season 1 I am planning on runing the LC missions aboard the USS Farragut. Not sure how the Shackleton Expanse Campaign Guide will be, so I will either use that, or homebrew something.

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