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Star Trek: Rising the Ranks

I do not think any of my players will see this, or know that this concerns their group, so… This is a basic outline of my planned campaign, at least everything that I have written down and planned so far for it. GM advice, suggestions and/or critiques are welcomed. Some of the details for this campaign have come from the LUG Player’s Guide.

This campaign will start off in the year 2369. Players will not be allowed higher rank than Lieutenant Commander (this does still allow the Veteran career option). Most races will be allowed as playable, with a few exceptions. (No Ferengi, no full Romulans, No Borg, No full Cardassians, No Dominion species. Otherwise, every race available to the online creator, and some homebrew ones available online. Still debating on allowing any Xindi.) Not going to focus on roles for the time being, since none of the players will be a commanding officer or XO at the start.

First session will be character creation, followed by a basic rundown of current/recent events while the characters are meeting up on Starbase 12. Most of the characters had signed up for Starbase duty hoping to get a posting at the new Deep Space Nine. Instead, they were assigned to Starbase 315, located somewhere between the Briar Patch and the Hromi Cluster. They are to leave Starbase 12 on one of the new Runabouts to bring it to their new posting.

On the way, the events of Rescue at Xerxes IV happen (Scenario at the back of the Core Book). Once completed, they proceed to Starbase 315. Upon arrival, they get the tour, meet the command staff of the starbase, and can have some fun with random things around the station. The USS Crenshaw, an Oberth class vessel is assigned to the Starbase for scientific and emergency purposes, since parts of the sector have not been navigated since their discovery 200 years earlier due to radiation levels and spacial anomolies.

Amid random events on the station, they will be assigned a shift aboard the Crenshaw for scientific observation/routine patrol. Sometime during these patrols, the following events will happen: Ghost Writer (Modiphia Issue 3), A World with a Bluer Sun (Mission Compendium), Decision Point (Living Campaign), Tug of War (Living Campaign). Mixed within these missions are downtime at the Starbase, possible mischief involved there, along with issues dealing with a treaty negotiation concerning a local star system, and the uncovering of ruins on a planet within a system close to a Lazarus Star due to go Nova within a few years.

Next, the USS Crenshaw is decomissioned, and the Starbase is assigned a new Nova Class, the USS Solstice, on a 6-month shakedown/detachment. During those 6 months, developments continue with the study of the Lazarus Star, the local space anomolies, and the ruins on the planet. During routine patrols/surveys, the following events will happen: Biological Clock (Mission Compendium), Forests of the Night (Mission Compendium), Fading Suns (Living Campaign).

Once the USS Solstice is assigned a new commander and crew, the Starbase receives it’s new detached ship. USS Stargazer (Recovered by Captain Picard himself, and turned over for refit and reassignment). More developments with the local systems and antics on the Starbase are interspersed between routine patrols and surveys. Following events happen during this time: Vulture Among the Stars (Modiphia Issue 2), That Which is Unknown (Mission Compendium), Entropy’s Demise (Mission Compendium), Doomed to Repeat the Past (Living Campaign).

At this point, one of the characters should be ‘ready’ for command, and the group will get to decide what ship they would like. (Timeframe will limit some options, also would prefer they not take a Galaxy class. That is just my preference, though. If they all decide they want a Galaxy at this point, I will allow it.) The characters and their ship are then assigned as detached service to Narendra Station. From this point on, it will be the remaining Living Campaign episodes mixed in with whatever I can think up off the top of my head.

So… Questions? Comments? Advice?

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Interesting set up. I like how you are linking in rescue at xerces. I’ve said before in other threads that I’m not keen on the idea of swapping between different ships, but I do at least like the reasoning you are putting behind it. Should the group get quite attached to the Oberth, would you be open to letting them keep it instead of trading out? I’d also suggest that the character who is going to take command of a ship should get some full time XO experience at some point.

The other thing I find interesting here is your mention of ds9. Not entirely sure on the date, but I believe first couple of seasons? I’m not entirely sure it would be a particularly sought after post still, even after the discovery of the wormhole. But I guess that’s just how I view it.

Overall, I think it’s a solid set up. Quite the long term plan. Hopefully it works out for you

If you mean trading out from the Crenshaw? No. That one is being retired in my campaign. If once they get ‘promoted’ and get their own ship they all want an Oberth again, then sure. They can have one, but in my opinion there are better science ships out there than an Oberth for the time frame (by the time they get command, the Intrepid might be out there and available.) Considering some of the scenarios and possibilities involve ship combat, keeping an Oberth would be near suicidal, given it’s scale and the fact that it does not have torpedoes.

They’ll be getting ‘acting-XO’ experience with the Nova and Constellation if they are high enough rank. One of them might get acting XO status with the Oberth if they are high enough rank, with the Starbase XO as acting CO on their survey missions. Eventually, they may even be given full command of the ship for a mission here and there with the Nova and Constellation before getting the ship of their own.

2369 is the year that DS9 starts in. The Cardassians just pulled out of the Bajoran Occupation, and it’s known that they want some assistance with the station left by the Cardassians. The Wormhole has yet to be discovered, and Deep Space Nine is mainly rumors at this point, since Starfleet hasn’t fully settled on who is going to go to the aid of Bajor. (Meaning Sisco and crew haven’t fully been assigned yet.) That is where this campaign starts, at least.

By the time they get to Narendra Station, it may be 2370, 2371, or 2372, depending on what happens with the missions and side hijinks on the Starbase and surrounding systems. I hope it works out for me and the group as well, but we will see. I know at least one person said he wanted more of a science-based campaign, and more than one of them want to ‘earn’ their ship, which is why they won’t be in full command for a while.

Sounds like you gave that a lot of thought. I like the idea pretty much. I personally don’t play very much pre-generated adventures but if it fits your style then go for it.
I wish you the best of luck for the campaign and keep us posted on the progress is some thread?

I’ve been planning this campaign since about August of 2017. Originally it was going to be played using the Last Unicorn Games version of Star Trek, but was going to be converted over to STA once I got the books. (Got the core book for Christmas.) Now that I have the books, we’re starting in STA. :stuck_out_tongue:

Currently, my group is still playing D&D 4e Ravenloft campaign which is why we haven’t even done the character creation for this campaign yet, but hopefully we will be starting it sometime in the next few months. (Since December, the group has gone from 4 people to 8. Hopefully it will speed up the Ravenloft Campaign so we can start on this and I can let people know how the first session goes at the very least.)

Sounds very interesting and solid. I like the “humble beginnings”. Also, I find it very nice from a game mechanical point of view that your crew can basically test drive some ships before they decide on their own.

So I assume that one character is going to get promoted to Commander relatively quickly? Otherwise it might feel a little too steep to get promoted from Lieutenant Commander to Captain.

Regarding the Xindi, why would you not allow them? Just because no one saw or mentioned a Xindi in TNG :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, that was one of the reasons why I wanted to give them a few different ships. Another reason was because I didn’t want them running around in a really large ship from the beginning. The Starbase has a population of roughly the same size as a Galaxy class, and not all of them are Starfleet officers. There’s a detachment of the Diplomatic Corps, SCE, Starfleet Intelligence, and even the Merchant Marine on the base, so the amount of Starfleet personnell that can be ‘loaned’ to the operation of the ship is somewhere around 200 at max.

Not necessarily. Some COs of ships were only Commanders. Besides, that all depends on how well they do on their missions and what their Rep’s turn out to be. :stuck_out_tongue:

Partly, also they are according to canon isolationists after the ENT era, and it’s unclear on exactly when they might have joined the Federation.

I like your idea on ‘rising the ranks’ very much. I, personally, would totally be in with such a campaign. In general, I like characters having space for development.

I am a bit sceptic regarding the ships. I like the thought of treating the ship as another character in the game and I usually prefer a more stable cast of characters with as few changes as possible, so the characters can form strong relationships among one another. But for my campaign, I, too, think of changing the ship at some (maybe early) point. On a sidenote: I was thinking of going from an Orberth to a Nova class, the latter maybe named Solstice. :slight_smile:

Well, that’s the thing about the ship. It’s not the other character in the beginning of this story. The Starbase is. That stays the same, they just get to use a ship on occasion.

Here’s a more detailed example of why I chose to play it this way: Since there are going to be up to 7 players, even if only 5 show regularly, it is difficult to keep sending them out on a Runabout to deal with missions. If we have to pause mid-mission, and one player can’t make it the next time but one that couldn’t make it the first time shows up, how do you explain the sudden switch in characters if they arrived via a Runabout? If they have a ship in the area, it’s possible they had to recall part of the away team and sent down a replacement.

I am viewing the ships as an extension of the Starbase when it is needed. When not needed, the ship isn’t even in the picture. Once they get command of their own ship, this will be an entirely different story, complete with an entire ‘session’ of introduction to their new ‘home’.

Commanders and Lieutenant Commanders have been given command of a ship temporarily, but Starfleet prefers full Captains. Even small ships like the Equinox had a Captain as CO. Voyager had a Captain as CO and the XO was a Lieutenant Commander (so no Commanders at all).

It is common for contemporary navies to have smaller ships being commanded by Commanders, but it is unusual for Starfleet.

And yet one of the core 5 ‘captains’ is a commander for the early seasons. With that being the case, I don’t think its unreasonable to assume that a commander being given a command is that uncommon. I personally like setting up my CO as a commander initially, as it gives them the chance for a promotion at some point.

In command of a starbase, not a starship.

Generally speaking a Starbase would require further seniority as it has responsibility for a sector. That starbase would also have a larger crew compliment (albeit augmented the bajoran contingent) than a lot of star ships.

It was seen as a backwater station, hence not worrying about a lower ranking commander, but then it has the front line diplomatic responsibility of a potential new member species.

A: remember Deep Space 9 is not a starbase, and B: even starbase command is not fleet command, it’s merely a support post. A Commodore or Rear Admiral may be based there, but this would work the same as a flagship - the Admiral is overall in charge, but the commander (usually a Captain) would have responsibility for the vessel. Real world naval base commanders are often of lower rank than a Captain - sometimes even Lt Commanders.

The plot seems reasonable to me - while, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the “starship is a character” set, this is the story of the characters as opposed to the ship - and that’s fine.

And if you lose a player or two for long periods, then they’ve been assigned to another ship and return for guest appearances when the player is available.

Incidentally, you don’t need to worry about missing players - run them as background or supporting characters until the player is available. That way, they’re around even if the player isn’t, but only come into the foreground when needed - there are plenty of ways to offload the character’s activities to other supporting characters (Arex, I choose you!).

My experience so far is that the Supporting Character rules are extremely flexible: I use them for players that are just sitting in for a session amongst other things.

I like the notion of a tightly plotted campaign, weaving modules from different sources together. That is what I’m planning on doing, albeit with a different setup than yours.

My suggestion would be to tie it all together with overarching pillars, to make it feel less disjointed. Perhaps all the ships are part of the same fleet, and the Admiral is a recurring character. For whatever reason, the characters need to interact with the Admiral semi-regularly as well. Perhaps he is someone’s father or mother. Oh, and he’s also a major source of conflict, in the Star Trek tradition.

Also, even if they are lower rank, I would suggest having them run departments, particularly Engineering. Ships in Star Trek are not just places you work, they are people (lovers really, if we take the analogy further). So they need to fall in love with the ships they are on (or hate them), so that they have a shared history of the personalities of those ships when they move on. Partly this is also the captain, the crew and the work environments of those ships, but it is also the features of the ships themselves. I would suggest making them all feel very different.

From what I have planned, the characters will be on the Starbase, in a sector with a Lazarus star that goes supernova every couple thousand years, which makes part of the sector closed off due to radiation and other hazards. Only recently has the area started becoming stable enough to travel through and investigate without risking death by radiation.

One sub-plot has to deal with a system riddled with subspace anomalies for study. One has to do with a planet they will visit/investigate that has a mining operation running on it. One sub-plot has to deal with a nearby system and it’s inhabitants seeking entrance to the Federation while having to deal with ‘inner turmoil’ from colony worlds. Not to mention a bunch of side-plots dealing with the residents of the Starbase and the Merchant Marine fleet that has a supply depot on the planet the Starbase orbits.

The plan is for them to be assigned to the Starbase and occasionally interacting with the Captain and commander. With the fact that the system they are in being deep within the Federation and an unexplored sector due to the radiation from the supernova, they will occasionally be sent out on exploratory patrols on the ship assigned to the starbase (where I will insert the occasional module), and while on those ventures from ‘home’ they will get the experience of being 'assigned the department head while on the ship.

This is a more detailed explanation of the campaign that I will be playing without giving too much away. We will be starting a session 0 either next Friday on the 30th, or 20th of September if the group wants to play a one-off 3-parter of something else while waiting for a player going on vacation.

Update on my campaign, for those interested. :stuck_out_tongue: I mentioned what I called it in the title to my players, and they decided that if it were a series, they wanted the series titled ‘Star Trek: Rising’.

So, recently on Star Trek: Rising… Several characters were tasked with delivering a runabout from Starbase 12 to Starbase 315 along with Isolinear chips loaded with the schematics and plans for the Runabouts. En route to the Starbase they encountered a distress signal, and while investigating, discovered an outpost on Xerxes experiencing an Ion Storm. They rescued the individuals on the planet, having to abandon the outpost and a Type 7 shuttle on the surface after utilizing parts of the shuttle to repair the Runabout.

Upon arriving at the Starbase, and discovering that the Runabout was still somewhat damaged, they had to relay a message through another ship close enough to them within the system. Upon landing in the Shuttle Bay, they were chewed out by the Quartermaster, then reported to the XO and ordered to participate in a ship simulation the next day. While performing as various bridge officers in the simulation, they had to deal with 3 Hideki class ships in Federation space. Being on an Oberth during the simulation, they did manage to destroy one and damage another, before warping out after receiving a few breaches.

Next up: Repairing a Runabout and Building a new one utilizing Support Characters, possible discussion by one of the players with the XO about taking the Bridge Officer’s Test, and Security dealing with customs inspections and enforcing trade laws.

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