Theory: Why you shouldn't use Mission Directives

After several years of playing STA, and after the more than welcome alternative experience system, here’s my conclusions on STA experience:

  • Log entries, spotlight milestones are used to correct errors during character creation or to maximize before using an arc milestone: You have 2 disciplines at 3 put one at 2 and the other at 4 before rising it to 5. Useful in some cases especially in a campaign setting. Somebody has to write a list of all the missions

  • Normal milestones: With the new system players will find a way to remember the previous mission. And remember which values were used during this mission and all players should not lose the paper where all is written and as the Head Doctor said “Do you feel pain in your gluteus maximus?”

  • Arc milestone: To get them you have to make chain again.


So my players at least for the first determination point always use the same value, this way they can chain any adventures.
If they can’t they use a second personal value and try to gain another determination point to use with their primary value.
They disdain directives because they will never encounter them again. Even Prime Directive is less frequent than a well chosen personal value that you based your roleplay on.
The system is better but still broken

My own system:

  • Values and Directives are used for determination but not for experience. This way mission directives are important again and players roleplay is less monolithic. You are not penalized for having more values
  • Me as a GM decide when a mission remind my group of another mission. I award them an extra determination point and a normal milestone. I control the growth rate and avoid imbalance
    For the Arc milestone, for the player birthday I make a scenario for the player and will give him an arc milestone at the end. A player centered scenario is easier to sell to other players if it’s his/her birthday. If I feel generous other players can have a normal milestone too.
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Related: You cannot, verbatim, use a changed value, because at least for some time, you will not encounter it again.

Because of this, some time ago I approached the developers whith the question whether the new Milestone/Log entry system refers to the ‘slots’ rather than the actual wordings. So, irrespective of changing values or directives, you would be able to chain an adventure where you used ‘the first of the mission directives’ to another adventure where you used ‘the first of the mission directives’. The simplified notation presented in the rules (“V1+, D2-”) can be interpreted to support this view.

This would fix both cases, imho.

It should still be on the list for the FAQ videos @Modiphius-Jim did for a while, yet since he needed to consult @Modiphius-Nathan for similar questions, it might well be that it will take him some time to answer.

Fundamentally, no game designer or developer can entirely prevent players optimising the fun out of a system. Players will seek the most efficient way to get what they want, and if that way happens to strip it of all fun, flavour, and interest, then so be it, because players are little more than animals, constantly pursuing the high of “numbers go up” (I hope the sarcasm is clear here).

Taking things out of the players hands - a common GM response - just disempowers the players and reduces the ways in which they can influence things within the game.

The thing is, how much or how little a value or directive is used shouldn’t be left up to the players. The GM should be just as much involved in that as any of the players, which can (and often should) mean using Directives to complicate or impede their actions - if they want to take action contrary to their orders (i.e., go against a Directive), then they either take a complication, or they challenge the directive and face the consequences for going against orders. Either way they get Determination out of it.

Following or going against directives has more influence over reputation, so it isn’t as if there are no effects beyond the moment… they’re just different effects. Values are tied to personal growth (advancement), Directives to professional development (reputation).


If I may take this for follow-up questions, @Modiphius-Nathan:
How are Directives treated for calling back to prior uses when it comes to arc building under the new milestones system introduced with the Klingon Core Rules?
And, related: What about Values that change, especially when taking into consideration that the Klingon Core Rules encourage to change a value after challenging it?

Are values and directives only able to be called back to if a verbatim the same value/directive is used in a following adventure?

Or is the approach more relaxed, taking into account e.g. ‘value 1 that was changed, but still is about the same general topic’?

Rules are ambiguos (at least to me, that is) and can be interpreted to support both views (esp. with the rules encouraging changing values). Your stagement above makes me think the more strict approach may be intended.

Could you share a thought? :slightly_smiling_face:

Directives are not called back - they’re your orders, imposed from others, not part of your personal growth or beliefs.

Instead, Directives have a different impact, upon a character’s reputation.

The game is designed such that it’s easy for characters to encounter situations where their orders and their beliefs clash - cases where a character must choose between Directive and Value… and while the mechanical outcomes are equal whichever way you resolve those conflicts, the narrative outcomes can be significantly different.

A value that changes is still the same value from the perspective of the revised advancement rules - it represents a change in the character’s perspectives and beliefs over time, which absolutely can and should be counted as part of an ongoing character arc.

I think this is the key thing that I’ve been trying to figure out how to say as I followed this discussion. The Klingon rules note that it is values that are called back to that make milestones; which makes sense, because once a mission and its specific directive are over, they can’t be used again. I assume the confusion was in the Determination bit, which involves both values and directives: only using a value to get Determination triggers the milestone stuff, not using the mission directives.

I think it’s already in the rules that it does (unless this was changed, since I think I have the pre-order version open):

I think then my confusion derives from being able to make a log entry (with mechanical effects) also with having used a directive.

I think I have to re-read the rules, there. Thanks!