Tables or lists of various crew careers

Putting together a campaign for my group of players on a vessel with 220 officers and crew. I want a whole lot of pre-generated support personnel. If a mission comes up to investigate a once terrestrial ‘rogue’ planet, the away team might need an archaeologist, exogeologist, and a physicist along with standard away team personnel. Maybe the crew roster doesn’t have an archaeologist, so they have to stop at some starbase to pick one up or make do without. I don’t want to fill out every support character and leave no room for the players to make more, but I also don’t want the ship to be a Mary Sue of whatever today’s session calls for in support characters. Has anyone made a table or list I could make into a table of Star Trek careers? Maybe a table for rolling up focuses for support personnel, that I could then just say that is their career, i.e. xenobiology, or cultural studies…

I would advise against this. Supporting Characters are not GM owned, there are the domain of the Players. To generate these ahead of time infringes on player agency, something I am personally against. In addition, from experience, Players will care about the characters they create and invest, but pre-gens are fodder that they will not care about. It will be an exercise in futility for yourself.

I would ask you to evaluate why having supporting characters with relevant focuses would be detrimental. Does it serve a narrative purpose to not have an archaeologist on board, or is it just a speed bump to artificially slow the pace?

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As far as I understand it, @Cuthalion4 does not want to create them ahead of time. They basically just want a list of available posts, such as two geologists, one doctor etc. so that players cannot magically summon a third geologist or an archaeologist that does not exist on the ship.

It’s a little bit too micro-managy for my taste, especially when you have 200+ crew. Also, players are encouraged to re-use established Supporting Characters since they “level up” each time they are activated (up to a certain point).

I made a list of all posts for a Nova class ship once, but it’s in German.

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@Cuthalion4 specifically says “I want a whole lot of pre-generated support personnel” which was the starting point for my argument.

My ultimate point is, what does it matter to the story if there is a third geologist or archaeologist? These are represented by Focuses but may have no bearing on that Supporting Character’s role on the ship. Picard is an archaeologist. Perhaps the security officer assigned to protect the team took geology as a minor at the Academy.

I agree with you in that this is very micro manger-esque. I have played in various games where due to the micro-managing it felt like I was being dragged through the story the GM wanted to tell, rather than me playing my character through it, which is why I grate against this mentality so much.

Indeed. Two things about this as well;

  1. You only need supporting characters when the main characters are not present which, in my experience, is not that often. Mostly when the Captain doesn’t go on an away mission.
  2. It takes 13 14 introductions, so 13 14 separate adventures, to meet that limit. Our last game lasted a year set in the ENT era, and whilst we had a small handful of Supporting Characters, 5-6, the most prolific was introduced less than half a dozen times. EDIT* as pointed out by @aramis my numbers were incorrect

Ultimately this is purely my opinion based on personal experience, however everyone is free to play how they choose. It’s just that IMO from a GM’s point of view this is small stuff I don’t see the point in sweating it.

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You are right of course. I somehow ignored that part :stuck_out_tongue:

Then I agree, Supporting Characters are essentially secondary Player Characters, and the GM should not pre-generate them. Of course there is nothing wrong with having an NPC chief engineer, but that’s not a Supporting Character then.

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That’s a fair description of most Starfleet vessels, though. :slight_smile: Starfleet officers are so thoroughly cross-trained and encouraged to pursue multiple interests and hobbies, that it’s likely that most roles could be filled by somebody. Sulu was a botanist as well as a navigator, for instance.

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I understand your point, and if you all were my players, then I would only worry about significant npc’s. Personal note: I only game at home because my youngest child has a degenerative disease, so my gamers are all teens and young adults (my children and their friends). A couple of them don’t watch TV, just Youtube, and have never seen Star Trek (sacrilege, I know). 1. Have you ever watched across the table as someone makes the most combat oriented scientist you could ever possibly imagine, knowing that there won’t be one single fight in today’s session, just discovery? 2. There were a heck of a lot of guest stars playing characters who were better experts in some field than the cast characters, so yes the narrative does call for someone outside the ship, or some other crew member sometimes. 3. I invest serious time writing short story outlines for the player to play through and I’m trying to avoid someone taking an ignorant, non canonical, run at it, or even worse, the garbage that Star Trek Beyond did to the universe. Maybe I should have more npc’s that I can insert in to curb the support characters from that sort of thing and not worry about making any support characters at all? I have made the captain, the XO, and the Ops chief all npc’s. It wouldn’t be hard to always have at least one of them around.

We borrow from this when considering people on board:

https://highlander.pegasusfleet.net/nova/sim/departments

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I’m also in the SCC should be player generated and the numbers of X left to player discretion… at least on anything over scale 3. (more below)

Math is wrong.
initial, 3 foci, 4 talents, 4 values, 1 attribute, 1 discipline. total 14 adventures

Likewise, after 6 months of beta, we had over a dozen.
The Captain was NOT the one most using them; that was a toss up between the Doc and the Security Chief. Captains can show up anywhere… the First Officer can be the one relegated to staying aboard just as easily - more so if the players actually respect chain of command - as the captain says, “Number one, the ship is yours. I’m heading down.”

They aren’t restricted to PC not in scene, either, as they can be summoned up for the assist action and relevant focus (Note last paragraph on CRB p132). Especially if in introduction 2, they get one of the “use my focus” talents.

They are an incredibly flexible tool.

More than once, the MCC was relegated to the Uncontrolled character, and the SCC was the player’s chosen played character… the Doc hanging out on the bridge, but the player using the helmsman, as we shifted from a dialogue and sensors to a ship combat scene.

It’s also worth noting: The scale 4 Hermes has a crew of (per SFTM) 195… and has 4-10 SCCs per session (Depending upon crew and traits). That’s 19 to 46 adventures, assuming ZERO reuse. And that assumption is pretty much bogus on its face. The 435 of the scale 4 Constitution Class is 44 to 190 adventures.

It’s not going to present a real issue in play on scale 4+ ships.
Now, a 6P party on a small size three can hit the 50-100 crew in a few sessions with the up to 11 SCCs per session (3 base, 2 dedicated crew, 6 PCs with the trait)… but that’s unlikely still. Once the crew is under 100, it’s worth having numbers per department.

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Crawling Memory Alpha…
TOS: 1 nurse named (Chapel), 2 doctors (McCoy, M’Benga), 1 implied Psychiatrist, at least two other blueshirts in medical.
TNG: 2 doctors at one time (Crusher, Selar), 7 nurses (one of whom later becomes an Operations officer on the bridge). Pulaski replaces Crusher for a season. About 1 per 100, plus at least 2 counselors
DS9: Dr. Bashir, 4 named nurses, 1 medical technician.
Voyager - no counselor nor medical staff survivors…
While I don’t consider it to be in the same timestream, and thus of dubious merit, we see at least 2 explicit doctors, and at least 4 medical staff. But we don’t (to my knowledge) have a crew count.
So… I’d use 1 physician per 200 crew in TOS, 1 per 400 in TNG.
1 nurse per 100 (TOS) or 150 (TNG)
1 medtech per nurse or doctor, plus 1 per 100 crew.
Note that this is about 10x the numbers for real world civilian ratios… but the military also has more than 5x that rate in field medicine…
(Typically 1 surgeon, a couple nurses and/or PAs, and a platoon of medics, for the nominally 500-700 men of a battalion…3-4 CO of 3-5 PLT … 9 to 20 medics in the troops, plus a pharm tech, radiology tech, dental tech as a minimum. Some US military units have more than that; 30-80 medics for the Bn, as that’s 1 per squad.)

Sciences? I’d say 4 × Size × (Sciences + Sciences or Sensors related talent); sciences focused ships (EG: Nebula with Sensors Pod, or Oberth) double that. (4: 1 per each of Life, Planetary, Physical, and Social sciences; make that ×4 into ×5 if on a survey mission, as you add astrometric staff).
Engineering staff (as separate from other Ops personnel) 3×Size × (Engineering + Engineering Ship Talents+1)

Security: Size * Security * 6, and 3 more per bridge. If shuttles are armed and its wartime, add another per shuttle.

We see at least 12 security staff deployed to K-7 in TOS…

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I went back and looked at the three division books and they each have plenty of focus examples that could otherwise be interpreted as career positions. And the point made that with a crew of 220, means my young players will probably never see or use all the crew as support characters is brilliant. So whether or not this ship has a focus/career expert in field whatever or if they have to pick one up from starbase/colony whatsit only matters to me and how I want the narrative to flow. Has anyone compiled the three division focuses into a list or is that giving away to much? Likewise the system and alien tables in the Science Division… has anyone made a generator similar to the character one? Thanks for all the input from all of you.

Obviously if you have child or young adult players who are not very familiar with Star Trek and are not disciplined role players, then there is nothing wrong with you having a bunch of pre-made supporting characters.

The rules are just a framework, and you can of course bend them to suit your group.

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You can probably find random NPC personality generators out there that could add a bit of flavour cribbed from games like Dungeons and Dragons. You might need to tweak things like ‘family killed by orcs’ and such.

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there are a bunch in the supplement books already.
Command Division pp 116 to 120
Operations Division pp 93-96
Science Division pp 122-128

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One situation that I have noticed as a GM is that a ship’s chief medical officer doesn’t typically have much to do until ship combat begins ( unless there are ongoing medical tasks in the story ). I asked my player who runs the medical officer to generate a supporting or secondary character who can take a seat at one of the bridge stations ( we have a party of five players and there is an open slot or two (1st officer or a comms/operations operator)on the bridge with just four manning the bridge.

Bottom line: this thread has been helpful.

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One of the strengths of this game system is the concept of Supporting Characters which can be utilized to keep players involved and present in “the action” - whatever the scene is. The position I think is the worst for a player to have is Helmsman. Sure, the helm is a vital post on a real ship, and certainly in combat for periods of difficult movement. But that is a very small percentage of the game as we play it. Others have nominated the Ships Medical Officer. Whatever the posting, one of the great strengths of the system is it allows players to change from a primary character to a supporting character to remain in the current action. I find players are reticent to do this, especially if the Supporting Character has been played by someone else, previously. I routinely “step out” of my CMO (Chief Medical Officer) and into the supporting character for our Science Officer. In our alternate game, my Captain does not often go on Away Missions, so I assume a Supporting Character on those landing party missions. Either way, I get to continue to play. Unfortunately, it is a hard concept for less experienced role players to grasp. But it is perhaps one of the best ideas in the game.

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