Rank as a Game Mechanic

I ran an STA adventure recently, and afterwards, one of the players asked about the meaning of rank in the game mechanics. I struggled, a bit, because off the top of my head only few things came to my mind. I checked the rules: turns out there is not much more than I had in my mind.


  • may be relevant once per scene for the direct combat task,
  • may be relevant for reputation rolls (positive/negative influence based on whether the character (dis)obeyed orders by their superiors)
  • in seldom circumstances may be relevant for directives, as Flag Officers can modify directives (cf. Command Division p. 105); this is limited to NPC

STA is in no way designed to be a military science fiction simulation and I’m glad about that. Yet, I would have expected more than this.

So I wonder: Have I missed something? And how do you deal with rank in terms of game mechanics? And what, according to your opinion/your group’s practice, does constitute an “order” in the meaning of the reputation roll influences?

In my games, different rank an position, means different security clearence.
Different size of quaters as well.

In the career step of character creation, rank matters for young officer (The character cannot gain any higher rank than lieutenant (junior grade) while they possess Untapped Potential Talent), officer (any rank, but any lieutenant is an officer) and Veteran Officer (at least Lieutenant Commander)

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Thanks, missed out that one in my list! There’s also a rank limitation regarding supporting characters, who “should never have a rank above lieutenant” (p. 134).