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Rules Question: Department Chief's Advantages

Most of the Department Chiefs have an Advantage while aboard ship. Using the Chief Engineer as an example, the rules on page 127 of the Core book state:

“When aboard the ship, the chief engineer always has the Advantage “Engineering Department”, which represents the ship’s complement of engineers and technicians.”

My question is, does the Chief Engineer Player need to spend Momentum to bring this Advantage into play? The language here implies they do not need to spend Momentum to use the Advantage. Is that correct?


Advantages are Traits and Traits exist or they don’t, cf. p. 67 of the Core Rulebook. Further, Momentum is explicitly used to create adavantages, cf. p. 85. Since the Engineer is considered having the advantage, it exists and you do not have to pay Momentum for it.

So, while both the Chief Engineer and the Chief of Security would need to pay Momentum to create the Advantage ‘Repair Team’ on a foreign ship they’re rendering assistance to, only the Chief of Security would need to do so on the PCs’ ship. The Chief Engineer would rely on their Engineering Department and have their repair team present at will.

Of course, creating appropriate Traits, either by setting the scene or paying Threat, the GM can nullify this Advantage for a time.

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This is what I thought. Thank you, @MisterX

It’s interesting that the Chief Science Officer doesn’t have a similar “Science Department” Advantage. The standing Advantages onboard a PC’s ship are Engineering Department, Security Detachment, and Medical Department.

Actually, I’d allow them to have, in exchange for their special trait as specified in the rules. But their existing advantage does fit their role better, especially if you consider your namesake as the archetypical Science Officer. Also, it is not as broad.

To be honest, I always thought the ‘department advantages’ lacked a bit of imagination and do tend to prefer the options the department supplements and the Klingon Core Rules offered.

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That’s because there is no Chief Science Officer, only a Science Officer. The other roles are all department heads and have staff, but I can’t think of anyone who was “chief science officer” on the show. I think there are always various science departments, such as stellar cartography, where you can be the head of (e.g. Nella Daren), but there is no position that oversees all science departments, i.e. chief.

True. Also, see this post by @Modiphius-Nathan on Science vs. Operations Officers. :slight_smile:

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That’s funny. I’ve been watching Trek since I first saw TOS reruns in the late 70s and I always thought Spock was the Chief Science Officer. I have this memory (perhaps an incorrect memory) of Kirk referring to Spock as his Chief Science Officer in one of the TOS episodes. This is what happens when you get old!

Anyway to make it more interesting, Memory Alpha does list Chief Science Officer as one of the Senior Staff positions (Staff officer | Memory Alpha | Fandom). And on the dedicated Science Officer page it says:

“The chief science officer or often more simply science officer was the senior staff member aboard starship or starbase with the broad responsibility of coordinating the science division of the post. (DS9: “Melora”)”

Source on that?

Hi, Bones. :vulcan_salute:

Page 127 of the Core Rulebook. :stuck_out_tongue:

No, seriously, if you want your Science Officer to be the chief/head/coordinator/authority-figure of your ship’s science department: make it so! Simply exchange the Trait. However, I, personally, would think that the current trait ‘as is’ is of more value for the players as a “Science Department” Advantage. But that’s probably only me and I most certainly won’t call the Roleplaying Police if you play it different in your games. :slight_smile:

Hello, you pointed-eared hobgoblin! :vulcan_salute:

Oh, I thought you guys were saying in the actual series there was no “chief science officer” and I was wondering what that term was from then as I’m used to that term being used for Spock and others in similar roles and was wondering if maybe that was something FASA made up way back when.

Well, actually, sort of and sort of not. :wink:

See the post of @Modiphius-Nathan I linked in a posting above on the reasoning behind STA’s differentiation between “Chief Security Officer” and “Science Officer”. I think it is, in part, due to some debate of whether Spock was Kirk’s science officer or the Chief Science Officer of the Enterprise. I cannot comment on how he was referred on-screen, because I think I never watched TOS in english. I recall Kirk refer to him as his science officer in the translations, but those translations were inaccurate in the 60ies and are still terrible, today (it’s funny, though, when you can derive the original-language dialogue from an out-of-context mistranslation: “they totally said xyz in the original dialogue but f*cked up translation!”).

Yet, both explanations are intuitively plausible. And it might even be that both are true; e.g. in a sense that some smaller ships without a genuine scientific purpose or task do have a designated “chief science” in charge of a specialised group of scientists aboard (take e.g. a Pathfinder/Reconnaissance Defiant with a small team of stellar cartographists) while larger ships, especially those built for science missions (take a Sovereign class built for scientific and survey operations) have multiple science departments with multiple department heads (chief of stellar cartography, leader of the xeno-linguistics team, head of geologists and arechologists etc.) and one science officer on the bridge functioning as some kind of a liason in between those and the captain.

Ultimately, I’d recommend to ask the “Question 0 of STA”: What would support Drama? and give the answer a thorough try. :slight_smile:

Spock was kind of a special case, as he was XO as well as Science Officer.

I can’t recall him being referred to as “Chief Science Officer” in dialogue, but some of the behind-the-scenes stuff like signage design for the refit Enterprise in TMP (and possibly Phase II, maybe?) had door signs for Spock and Scotty’s quarters that had an additional element added to the Science and Engineering logos indicated the “chief” officer. But again, that’s background, not actually spoken.

On a ship with a ton of different science personnel across different disciplines, I would guess they would have a division officer to oversee them.

Considering that there were science officers serving under Spock (“The Naked Time” being a prime example), I would think that it’s safe to say that Spock was Chief Science Officer.

The fact that he did have authority over science officers (which could also have been due to him being executive officer and/or of higher rank) does not contradict the possibility that there were other science officers with authority over their own department and reporting directly to the Captain (or maybe someone outside of the Enterprise). We do not know. And debating this is a waste of time.

1.) Within STA, there are no chief science officers, as they are a) not mentioned in the materials and b) not devised to exist by the developers.
2.) If you play STA, you still may have them in your game, since the so-called rules of said game are mere guidelines and advice. Nobody will call the roleplaying-police (this, also, was backed several times by the head of the line). Besides, there is no roleplaying-police that I now of.
3.) Sorry, the roleplaying police is raiding my appartme–

This isn’t all that special. Both Michael Burnham and Jadzia Dax served in similar positions.

Oops! Sorry again!
It was the Swedish Bikini Team!