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Multi-Vector Assault Mode in Play

The Prometheus class is my favorite ship, and I’m so grad they introduced the USS Prometheus in the Gamma Quadrant book. They even got the registry right!

Let’s assume for a moment that the player characters got really lucky and call a Prometheus class vessel their new home in the stars. It obviously has the MVAM, but how exactly does it function in play? Because unlike the fan-created MVAM variants, it does not have any specific rules for e.g. attacking.

Do you get three ship assist dice instead of one, or does it act like an Advantage? What would you suggest?

I had to read up on the Prometheus before I could answer your question, but here’s my take.

The MVAM looks like it splits the ship into three sections? Each acting independently? So, I would ask, how would you want to handle if the galaxy class separated into two sections? I would handle both the same way, each separate section counts as a separate ship when they split apart. If you feel like each section diminishes their capability because of not being a full ship, then that should be represented some how, but otherwise, three ships.

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The Galaxy class saucer separation splits in two ships, and the bridge crew usually splits between the main and battle bridge, so the players essentially control both ships. That’s how we have seen it on the show and the rules cover this.

The Prometheus however, splits in three separate sections. I’m not sure that they are fully functional ships with bridges and so on. But let’s say this part is similar to the Galaxy class, and the Prometheus splits in three different ships.

The main difference is that the crew remains on the main bridge and does not split up. From the episode where it first appeared, there does not seem to be a battle bridge and the MVAM appears to be designed so that the two non-command sections act kind of automatically, or are at least controlled from the main bridge. So treating them as three separate ships does not seem feasible since no player would ever directly control them.

So from a game mechanic point of view, I believe the two other sections need to provide some form of assist or other enhancement to the command section’s Tasks, mainly its attack.

You could also say the two other sections act like an Advantage similar to a generic “Security team” on away missions.

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On the wiki it says that unlike the galaxy, all three sections are warp-capable and have weapon systems, etc. But in the end this is a game, and if its not already spelled out in the rules, you can do whatever feels right.

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I thought, there is a battle bridge on the two other sections… So I’d handle it as three separate ships (maybe with different stats each)

This is part of the reason the Prometheus was introduced as an NPC ship - handling it as a regular PC vessel requires a whole heap of extra rules and design challenges to deal with, as multi-vector assault mode is essentially an even-more-complex version of saucer separation, and normal saucer separation is a pain in the backside to deal with.

One of the complicating elements is that the Prometheus probably does have multiple bridges, but we don’t see them because in the particular circumstances of the episode it appears in, it’s being run by the ship’s computers remotely from the main bridge because there are only two people operating it… and this runs into separate challenges of starship automation and how much, mechanically, can you allow the ship to do by itself without the player’s needing to take actions.

So, for the moment, this is the domain of house rules and GM rulings…

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Personally I would tend to assume that there is some form of battle bridge on each section just for the sake of redundancy.

In that case, I would allow two options- the command crew can choose to split, and therefore control each section as a separate ship, OR
The separate sections can be run as automation, however their capabilities would be limited to something along the lines of an assist/positive trait that also boosts damage output.

This is of course assuming that PC’s are running the ship. For NPCs I would likely take the second option purely to aid the smooth running of the game.

I think the MVAM is designed to be automated, and that the two combat sections are either remote- or computer-controlled. This also means there are no battle bridges. But that is of course speculative, and everyone can imagine the Prometheus as they like. There is no right or wrong.

At the moment I tend to treat the MVAM like a squad or mob in Conan. You get +1d20 for each other section as assist dice (so 3d20 assist in total). Additionally, when attacking you deal +1[CD] damage for each other section.

I use the following rules in my games
Helm: A character at the helm controls of the command section of ship that has the Multi-vector-Assault mode installed can perform a movement based Task with a +1 Difficulty per participating subship. If successful the participating subships perform the same task.
Tactical: A character at the Tactical control of a ship that has a Multi-vector-Assault mode installed can perform the Fire Weapon Task with a +1 Difficulty per participating subships. If successful the attack gains the Viscous, or piercing quality equal to the number of participating subship.

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Yes the Two ships can split, but that also means they split the senior command crew which to my mind makes each slightly weaker than their amalgamation, thus In combat surely all the extra ships would provide is an assistance bonus

One point of difference I feel is worth pointing out:

From a narrative perspective, saucer separation on a Galaxy class and MVAM are fundamentally different in a way that I feel should be reflected in the rules of using them.

On a Galaxy class, saucer separation is meant as a contingency thing, not as the ship’s primary operational configuration. So I think the rules as they exist make sense (two ships at -1 scale).

But MVAM is not a contingency thing on the Prometheus, it’s supposed to be a benefit - something above and beyond what it can do in normal one piece operation. So I don’t think the three ships at -1 scale necessarily makes sense in that context.

If I were using it, I would probably set it up something like this:

It’s still considered one ship, but gets some benefit to its attack and/or defense. Maybe it gets to fire a weapon twice in one turn instead of once (three times in a turn would probably be too much). And/or hitting the Prometheus is +1 difficulty while in MVAM.

Any breaches the ship takes get consolidated into the one stat block, but the more breaches the ship has, the more difficult it is to reintegrate (and may become impossible with enough breaches).

Just my two cents, my campaign is set well before Prometheus would come into play, so it’s not an issue I’ll have to deal with personally.

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I understand what you mean about the fundamental differences between the Galaxy and Prometheus separations, but I think that splitting into 3 scale 3 sections is highly preferable to the other functions. You literally could fire 3 times at once then because you’d have 3 ships.

Now if only they hadn’t made the ship with arrays in Voyager. This ship begs for cannons!

Old-ish topic, but thought I’d give my $0.02 anyway.

There are several problems with the MVAM concept: it requires the resources of 3 ships to build, maintain and crew but can be in only one place at a time… making it as useful as one ship most of the time. If it suffers damage or loss of one of the sections, the others (particularly the command module) are left stranded. 3x the weapons emplacements must be tested and maintained, 3x the shield generators, 3x the power systems, 3x the competent and experienced crew (commanding officer, 1st officer, engineering staff, medical staff, etc)… each of which is only fully utilized rarely.

So. In my universe the MVAM is another failed “great experiment”. The Prometheus class is slightly redesigned to function as one ship, and classified as a fast cruiser, with redundant system (warp drive), ablative armor, advanced shields and Improved Hull Integrity (from the compartmentalization and bracing originally designed when it operated as separate ships).

Stats remain the same as in Gamma Quadrant book.

It is used as a fast response and patrol ship, able to reinforce border patrol vessels or arrive at trouble locations quickly due to the high average warp speed obtainable by alternating warp systems.

Personally, I’ve always hated the Prometheus concept, the logical faults of which seem blindly apparent…but to each his own!

Yeah. I’m with you on that. I can grudgingly accept emergency saucer separation, but the Anti-Voltron (or Anti-Megazord for the young’uns) combat mode just never appealed to me.

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Full agreement!

I’ve read several of the novels in which the Promotheus is featured. Each section does have it’s own bridge, with the main bridge crew seeming to split between the three sections when MVAM is engaged. So per STA, it does come across as a more advanced “Saucer Separation”. I’d say if I were to have this as a vessel in my game I’d probably stat it up similarly to an Akira system-department wise with the following talents: Command Ship, EMH, “Advanced” Saucer Separation (MVAM), Quantum Torpedoes, and Fast Targeting Systems.

IN MVAM mode, each module is treated as a Scale 3 vessel, with the Command module being the only module with the Command Ship talent but lacking torpedoes, and the other two sections lacking the Command ship talent but have torpedoes. Any damage to any single module, when MVAM ended affects the unified vessel as a whole. But to each their own.

In general it would be more effective to have, say… shuttle sized, or slightly smaller, drones that launch from a ship that have enough power to shoot phasers, support a inertia dampener for high speed maneuvering, and an impulse drive, than the multi-vector assault mode. If a ship could launch six to a dozen of these drones they would gain a much better advantage than even having a second ship to support them.

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So… a carrier with fightercraft then?

Something like the Typhon-class starship (Valkyrie starfighters) of the start trek Invasion game.