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Shuttles to the left of me, Shuttles to the right of me

This is my first post on the forum. Yay!

Anywho… I am not sure if it was posted/brought up on the previous incarnation of the forum, but I was hoping for some clarification. I recently got the core rulebook (this past Christmas to be exact), and I have been looking and finding several alternate character creators to the official app. The official app allows you to create ships of the line like the Akira throughout the three timeframes, but looking at the small craft section in the core book it is unclear.

Do you simply take what is listed for the small craft, or do you go through the entirety of the creation process for Starships. (Picking the spaceframe, then mission profile, etc.) I am merely curious what was intended as far as this is concerned as I am attempting to decide which way to go with my game once I start GMing for my group (hopefully) within the next few months. I would like to play the game myself, but as I am the only one currently with the core book I will probably be running it until the group is comfortable enough for someone to take over to allow me to focus on playing it.

Shuttlecraft are as written. Runnabouts are the only craft from that section that get any alterations.

That is kind of what I was thinking, and also kind of what I was afraid of. :stuck_out_tongue: Now I need to decide if I want to keep it that way, use the normal mission profiles for ships, or create special mission profiles for more advanced shuttles, Fighters, and Runabouts

Is the Core rulebook the only book you have? You might want to take a peak at the Command Supplement if you haven’t already. They give more than just a general build for shuttle craft spanning most of the variations seen from TOS through Voyager.

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The only one that I own (either physical copy or pdf) is the Core Rulebook, however I have seen the stats for the Type-F, Type 6-10, and the Attack Fighter. Although I am not sure how accurate those stats are since I don’t have the other books. I will be getting the other books as soon as I can, however at the moment I am limited to the shuttlepod, shuttlecraft, and Danube listed in the core book.

All of those stats along with the Type-10 and the work bee, are in the command book.

Yes, which I don’t have… Part of me thinks that the small craft should at least have a +1 to Disciplines on top of the bonuses for their ‘frame/design’ at least in the TNG era as a standard mission profile. If you make a more specialized mission profile, then you can shift points around here and there.

That wouldn’t make them really overpowered in TNG era, just give them a slight boost. My reasoning for thinking that is if a ship/frame has a 0 in Security, doesn’t that mean that it doesn’t really have any shields or other defenses? In ENT and TOS era, that seemed to be the exact case, but in TNG era, every ship has some shields.

With the above example using the Danube, making more specialized profiles, the attack pod with a tactical profile would shift the point from say Conn or Engineering to Security. Cargo transport with a supply profile would shift a point from Conn to Command or Engineering. So on and so forth.

I’ll have to give it more thought and design, but I think that is what I am going to do with my group. I know shuttles and scale 2 small craft aren’t supposed to be as good as the main ships, but still… they seem too weak and minuscule in my opinion.

To some extent those department numbers also reflect the skill/amount of crew filling those departments. As most shuttle usually run with 1-2 crew plus passengers those numbers wouldn’t really have anyone to fill them out. Specialized equipment may be able to do something but that would be up to the GM really. The numbers do get progressively better with newer shuttles.

well, if you take a page from DCC RPG, you could just… decide to build a shuttle any way you want as long as you and your players are ok with it.

In the case of these stats, departments (disciplines) make sense as being very low numbers/0. They are after all being compared to full starships that have dedicated departments full of people and technology. Giving a shuttle a stat that would equal a starship simply wouldn’t make sense, especially in your weapons example.
You also have to consider that the ship/shuttle is only an assist, so it is very possible for a character to succeed at a task on their own, even will it being very hard to get any help from the shuttle. This mimics the success being down to a character’s skill, rather than relying on tech. Higher difficulty tasks can be expected to be beyond the capabilities of a mere shuttle craft.

They are only support craft after all…

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While I agree with you on the fact that small craft should not match or exceed even the smallest starship, even with my minor modifications they will not. This minor modification is meant primarily for the 24th century and on (TNG era settings) where the technology is a lot more advanced than the Enterprise or Original series timelines.

With that comment, that means that small craft should have a 0 across the board for their Departments since they do not have any dedicated personnel within them, merely the characters (if flown by the players) themselves. That is not the case. You even mention in that last bit about it also being technology. How do you explain the fact that some small craft have a 0 in Conn then? That would imply that they do not even have any sort of flight control technology. Or a 0 in Science means that they have no sensor technology.

Using an example of an Oberth, only a few of the mission profiles leave it with a 1 in a single department with all others having at minimum a 2. Currently small craft have a 0 in most departments. My minor tweak would give them a 1 across the board, with a 2 in a couple departments and a 3 in one or two departments max. That doesn’t exceed the capabilities of an Oberth’s Departments. Regardless of mission profile an Oberth will have a 3 in at least 2 departments, and often will have at least a 4 or 5 in one.

I know they are ‘only’ support craft after all, but using that wording, even supporting characters have at least a 1 in all disciplines.

I think you’re misunderstanding my point slightly, which is understandable if you feel like you’re defending your homebrew system, so I’m just going to make a couple final small points to clarify my opinion:

A 0 in a department certainly doesn’t mean that a ship or small craft has no systems (I specifically said low of 0). Bare in mind they will also have a score in sensors or engines.

There is the matter of scale. A small craft with a 1 in every department is saying that that shuttle is at very least 20% as good as a fully kitted out sovereign class with the latest tech and a department of geniuses. A 3 makes that 60%, which just doesn’t make sense. A small craft fills a weird spot between player stat size and starships, and that sometimes means a 0 has to be considered less than 1, as opposed to being literally nothing.

Finally, a 1 on it’s own gives that small craft a 5% chance of a critical success, so there is an element of balance to consider mechanically too. On your final point, a support character is a very different thing to a support craft and in no way a direct comparison.

I do not believe I was misunderstanding your point, but yes, we are having a discussion on our opinions. :slight_smile:

I would like to point out that already that argument to me makes absolutely no sense and is invalid. A Sovereign class with the Strategic and Diplomatic Operations mission profile has a 1 in Conn. The Danube, Type 6, Type 9, and Type 10 Shuttles already have higher than that without my modification and just going off of the base stats provided. Which to me kind of makes sense. They are smaller and more maneuverable than the much larger Sovereign. But again, your argument is based in part off of the number of dedicated personnel in the department. How then would you explain how a shuttle with only 2 people max can have a higher Conn department than a Sovereign?

It has that 5% chance already simply by being able to roll the dice. The department score has no effect on that. If you roll a 1 on a D20, that’s a crit. There is no focus for small craft, and if I am not mistaken, no starship has that ability either.

I disagree. Gene Roddenberry himself said that the starship was one of the main characters. Small craft are considered support craft for the starship, therefore I believe they are in essence the exact definition of supporting characters. The only difference between the small craft and supporting characters is the fact that they do not get focuses.

I’m talking about having a 5 in a department and FYI - a ship is always considered as having a focus (but you are of course right that a 1 is automatically a crit).

I will also refer you to page 212 of the core rule book, under the heading “Departments”, where it lists personnel as one of the factors, alongside allocation of resources and technology. (Small craft have very little in the way of personnel and resources to allocate)

Conn- every shuttlecraft has a primary purpose of transporting personnel/equipment/whatever. Almost all of a shuttles resources are allocated to its engines, with even more specialisation if its designed to be a long range craft. It does in fact have a dedicated crew member at any time you’d be making a skill check as well - the pilot. A strat ops Sovereign only really cares about conn in terms of getting to the place it needs to do its other business, and devotes very little resource to it. Even with this greater focus, a Denube is only rolling to a target of 9, vs a 12 (engines conn) on a Sovereign, because technology is mainly accounted for by the systems stats. Conn does not equal engines, they are intentionally separate.

Your support character argument is based solely on philosophy rather than game mechanics and balance. A support character can be the main acting entity in a scene, taking the lead on tasks and spending momentum. Mechanically, a support character can roll up to 5 dice on a single check. A ship can do none of these things, it can only ever assist which doesn’t even count without a success from the task lead. This is why I say in a discussion about changing a system’s mechanical balances, they are not comparable. They fill very different roles. If we’re purely talking philosophy, I would agree with you.

I will admit, that it has been a week since I read that section and I forgot about the starships automatically having the mechanical equivalent of a focus (thank you for pointing me towards that general area to re-read that, by the way.) Even with the modification that I was thinking about, none of the small craft would even have a 4 in any system. The highest they would have would be a 3 in Conn and maybe depending on the small craft a 3 in Security or one of the other Departments, but that is it.

As you just pointed out with your example of comparable target numbers, my modification only increases it by 1. It’s a minuscule increase in the grand scheme of things, and on every table that I see in the book that lists the scale, in the top it says Starship, and includes scale 1 and 2. Yes, I know… now I am arguing semantics on what is considered a starship. :stuck_out_tongue:

True, and some might say it is also based on semantics. In my opinion, if it has statistics for Attributes/systems and Disciplines/Departments and can assist on a main or supporting character’s roll, then it can be considered a supporting character. :slight_smile:

You are more than welcome to disagree with me all you want. If you can give me a good argument to support it, I may change my mind, but as of right now I still think small craft should go through the same ‘creation’ process as the larger vessels that serve as Starships, including having a mission profile. They won’t match the main Starship mission profiles, but it will give them at least a small boost to their current stats of 1 point in the Next Generation era to simulate more advanced technologies. Yes, the System stats have already been upgraded from earlier eras, I still feel like the level of technological advancement should be shown in another way as well. Some older small craft might not have the updated mission profiles and won’t have the minor boost. It will all vary on what suits the purpose of the current scenario.

On page 233 of the core rulebook it says the following about small craft:

Small Craft have the same set of Departments as a Starship, but their scores are never higher than 2, and are often 0, due to limited facilities and a complete lack of support personnel. The only Department a Small Craft will always have will be Conn, which will always be at least 1.

I’m not sure if I agree that all shuttles are equivalent to Supporting Characters, but the Delta Flyer for example certainly is.

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I think we can agree that as long as everyone at the table is happy with it, it doesn’t really matter what the book says? If it feels good for the situation then sure why not? Everyone can run their game differently? The galaxy is big enough for both sides.

I did re-read that section on page 233, Shran, and I still think that my modification is still appropriate. In most cases the only department that goes to 3 on the small craft would be Conn. As for your comment about the Delta Flyer, I agree with you there. The Delta Flyer is a ‘special’ small craft, and I think that Runabouts should fall into the same category as the Delta flyer. In fact I think most scale 2 craft should. Another example that I am not sure if they have come up with the stats for would be the Venture/Talon Scout ship from Insurrection.

:+1: Exactly. I feel like the rules in the rulebook are more like guidelines. They aren’t exact, and my group has tossed a few rules out that didn’t make sense before or adjusted them to better fit us, which is exactly how it should be. I don’t usually modify much of anything, but I am planning on running my group at least for a time based on a space station where the only craft they will have access to for a while are small craft. Eventually they may get a scale 3 ship on it’s way to being mothballed before getting a ship of their own as whoever is the highest rank in command gets promoted to Commander and gets their first true command.

I think if all players in your group are happy with a mod, go for it. Just like those who choose to use Modiphius rules (written for the prime timeline) for a Kelvin timeline Campaign. If those playing are cool with it, no problem.

Personally, I think small craft are just right as the rules treat them. They can help, sure. But, their main purpose is to give a compartment to hold people and supplies for the engines to move from place to place. In the case of runabouts which have some mission specific modification option, or fighters whose entire purpose is combat, they have other jobs beyond pure transport, and the stats reflect that mostly. (The Runabout is lacking a science/sensor module to possibly upgrade its science department…)

Beyond this, as a house rule, if your players are spending a lot of time using small craft, I’d treat them similar to ships and supporting characters in terms of allowing players to use milestones to modify their small craft, within the limits of only one craft would be modified by any one milestone. (No matter how many type 8 shuttles you have access to, only the Copernicus or whatever name you give one of them benefits from any one player’s milestone.)

If you mod the small craft with milestones, in time that will build a relationship between the players and their ships, kind of a Han Solo-Millennium Falcon relationship. Beyond that, I’d say treat them as being able to have ONE department with a score of 3, and all others no matter how much you mod the ship should be limited to 2 or less. Very importantly, this should prevent shuttles having adequate firepower to offer any kind of direct, combat threat to larger ships.

Unless of course its a shuttle/fighter that has been refitted for less crew/cargo space and given a photon torpedo launcher :grinning: