Supporting character weapon damage seems irrelevant

Supporting characters who are not directly controlled by a Player Character do not seem to have the ability to leverage the type / damage of the weapon that they bring to combat. For example, if a have a Security supporting character who is equipped with a type 3 phaser use their allowed Assist action in combat, the increased potential damage of the type 3 is not taken into account - only the task roll results are considered in support of the acting Player Character. Am I missing something in the rules ?

The rules are a bit unclear.
As i understand it you can be in direct control of a supporting character or your main character, but not both. If you have a scene were both are present, there are some restrictions.
An example scene is your are playing the ships counselor, but the current scene your ship is in a space battle.
You introduce a supporting character, a junior helmsman.
Now you have 2 characters available, and you have to assume control of one of them, and you choose the helmsman.
Now there are restrictions on what the uncontrolled character can per pg 133-134 CRB

Yes, those restrictions are what makes the weapon type ( other than melee it ranged type )of a non-Player controlled supporting character meaningless.

But you can as a player choose to control the supporting character.
Let’s say your party is planning a direct assault on the caves where the federation hostages are. So your counsellor has security 1, and control 8, and is basically pacifist.
So you roll up a supporting character for the assault, ensign jake, security officer.
Now you are controlling him fully in that scene and he can take all the actions a main character can, except avoid an injury.

You could also use the direct action, to force them to do an action.

Only if you’re the senior officer in the scene, or have a talent or role ability to allow using it.

Right, however I am talking about non-controlled supporting characters.

A ranged attack is base difficulty 2 and non-controlled supporting characters are prevented from attempting a task with a difficulty above 0 and they may only assist in combat as part of a Player Character’s turn. Thus, the dilemma.

Create two traits for them…

  • Target Designated: ___
  • Permission to fire

You now have a D0 task for them to shoot with.

In the fiction, this looks more like:

“Security, stand ready to repel boarders”
“Fire when ready…”

At the table… (not a literal from my table, but similar has happened).

Ed: I’m telling the goons, “Stand ready to repel boarders”… Security & presence, creating a trait for the team.

GM: Ok… they beam in…
Joe: 6 momentum for extra dice, as I have been steeling my nerves… I scream, “FIRE AT WILL!” - creating a trait. Command and Presence. Ouch! 2 complications… but I made it.
GM: The team is not aiming carefully, take a hit from a phaser…
Joe: That means they’re firing! (Starts picking up dice again)…


Well - I think that solves the issue right there and is already in the rules ( positive traits ).
Excellent and thank you.

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Even with uncontrolled supporting characters, I think you could use the direct task.

Only if the difficulty of the task for the non-controlled, supporting character is 0, then all they can do is assist.

Created a Personal Trait: Starfleet Combat Training 2. Most ship security personnel will have this trait. This trait will lower the difficulty of a security-related task, including combat, by 2 to a minimum of 0.

I’d say that’s a bit too broad, @CoolRockSkii

And a bit too permanent. Ship talent, maybe?

Or, for tactical, just break out the tactical minis rules from the Operations Division SB.

Treat non-controlled Supporting Characters as Traits, like „Security Team“. This way they contribute to the scene, they passively support the Player Characters and you have less dice to roll.

Example uses are of course to reduce difficulty of a player attack by 1 or even prevent enemies from entering an area by creating cover fire.

I find Traits much more elegant then letting non-controlled characters roll for tasks themselves.

There are times where the story is better served by dropping into tactical minis game mode… and in those times, they’re definitely not equivalent in value.

I generally prefer to use them as help dice, so at least their abilities matter; traits don’t.

Of course, if one wants to have a hybrid approach… it’s simple enough to treat each additional goon as adding Spread +1… but instead of doing half damage, do the goon’s damage. That’s a trait adding an effect - not exactly within the rules, but definitely within the spirit of them.

And, of course, when you DO want to go to minis mode… Operations Division Sourcebook has you covered.

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Not really. Trained Security personnel wouldn’t freeze up and not know how to engage a target just because the standard difficulty of a ranged attack is 2. Also - what’s the point of equipping dedicated security personnel ( crew support : non PC controlled characters ) with type 3 phasers as snipers or overwatch for an away team if those same security personnel can’t employ the advantages of the type - 3 ( rifle ). I’m not into micro simulation of combat using miniatures either. The rules as written state that a given trait ( which can decrease the difficulty) can STACK. Starfleet Combat training (2) trait is not too broad and it enables proper use of a security team. My group wants to have the crew support be a part of the ship’s character ( with names and ranks and story involvement ) and just having the entire team abstractly represented as a trait is not the desired outcome.

The fact that they can’t perform Tasks with Difficulty above 0 does not mean that they freeze up or don’t know what to do. Of course they engage the enemy, but that is handled by assisting another character and not by rolling themselves. And I find it a good thing that they usually can’t perform their own attacks, that would make uncontrolled characters too strong, it would take focus away from the main characters and it would just unnecessarily prolong combat. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Having a sniper deployed somewhere certainly counts as an Advantage.
Usually it does not matter if uncontrolled characters have Type 1, 2 or 3 phasers. The GM can take this into account when allowing assists (type 3 phasers can maybe assist when attacking at long range, type 1 maybe cannot) or when using the uncontrolled characters as Advantage (phaser rifles are far more impressive and dangerous than type 1s, thus they should be more efficient in cover fire).

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All good points here and thank you for the extra ideas. For now, I will use the positive traits ( in the rules categorized as a ‘personal’ trait ) which represent advanced security and tactical training for security crew personnel which will stack at a value of 2, thus reducing the difficulty to 0 so that the supporting characters can execute the task directly as per my earlier post. Credit to
@aramis for this suggestion.

Wanted to add that my PCs cover a wide spectrum of Divisions ( science, conn, medical, and engineering in addition to command and security ) and areas of expertise and that I’m planning on adding, in some specific cases, more traits applicable to the primary purpose of non PC-controlled ( the ship’s Crew Support compliment ) supporting characters from those Divisions.