NPCs and actions. It says that NPC ships that each Task attempted after the first during each Round from any single role increases in Difficulty by 1. I take this to mean that raising and lowering shields, as Minor actions, don’t trigger an increase in difficulty. A player suggested that minor actions do, so I just want official confirmation that no difficulty increase happens with Minor actions.
Bridge Stations: a confusion about positions vs. stations. p258 suggests that 'each position covered by at least one station, but by no more than two. It also says that a ship may have a second tactical position, as a separate station, if it has Security 4 or higher.
The question is, is this possible on a non-Security-4 ship: have 2 tactical positions, but one is at a tactical station, and the other not as a separate tactical station but is incorporated into the XO’s station, for example? Or are non-Security-4 ships always restricted to one tactical, at a mandatory tactical station?
I find this rule a little weird. On the one hand, it says that you don’t track individual crew, and on the other hand it says that you have to track roles (i.e. bridge officers) so you know how much the Difficulty increases. That’s too much of a hassle for me. I don’t know what Cardassian bridge roles there are.
RAW: “each Task attempted […] increases in Difficulty by 1”. A Minor Action is not a Task, so it doesn’t apply.
I play it like this: +1 Difficulty for another Task per position, not role. I usually only use a position once, unless it is a specialized ship (like a large Dominion warship with two tactical positions). This may not help you but here you go anyway.
I guess the intent is that you can’t fire your weapons twice by two officers. But it’s of course up to you as a GM to decide. There are some security and tactical tasks that I believe saw Riker do. But firing weapons from the XO position seems weird. Maybe you can combine the tactical position with the XO station with the limitation that the XO can’t fire weapons? That’s maybe a good compromise.
Regarding 1, minor actions don’t have a difficulty and so can’t suffer from an increase. However, players must spend 1 momentum for every minor action after the first (per character), and so it would be reasonable for you to spend 1 threat per minor action per station (i.e. if you want to Raise Shields and Prepare to fire quantum torpedoes, as those are both tactical actions a spend of 1 threat would be appropriate).
As for 2, I’d tend to suggest that the XO’s station is usually a general-purpose console rather than a second console of another role. They can already access any function from another station (including Tac) via the Override task (crb p. 221) at +1 difficulty. Primarily tactical warships like the Defiant may well have the XO crewing another tactical station, but this is already accounted for: warships will usually have 4+ Security. In this case, however, I’d have the first officer give up the Commanding Officer tasks (p. 222) in favour of the Tactical ones (but not the role’s benefit from p. 126 which always stays with them).
With all that said, if you had a warship that had been ‘downrated’ or retrofitted for other missions and lost its 4th point of Security, you could certainly rule that the bridge configuration remains the same. I wouldn’t stop a crew altering their bridge or role assignments to add a second tactical station either so long as they’re willing to put the work in (and accept a suitable compromise, such as the loss of a science or engineering console, that may inconvenience them in future episodes).