Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Birth of the Federation (NX era rules for STA)

I've been working on my first ever "remix" of a Star Trek 3D model (basically the digital equivalent of a plastic model kitbash or conversion).  A while back on one of my first blog entries, I posted my NXL Long Range Exploratory pod idea (link here) and decided recently to try and add a 3rd dimension to the visualization.  That of course brought up the more practical gaming uses for it and reminded me that I wasn't entirely happy with the rules for the NX era in the modern Star Trek Adventures RPG.  The problem that I have with it is that I feel that the rules penalize ships from the era a bit too much as you not only get downgraded but also have to pay an extra cost for the privilege.  For example, you have to pay for the privilege of downgrading your tractor beam to a grappler cannon using a ship trait; similarly, downgrading shields to hull plating costs another.  While I wholeheartedly support making ships of that era worse than those from a century earlier, this double penalizes the worst ships whereas the most powerful ships of the era are functionally equivalent to those that come over a century later when updated. 

Tripp: "How can you be so damn sure what our sensors can do?"
T'Pol: "Vulcan children play with toys that are more sophisticated."  


Ships originating from this era (pre-2200 introduction) have a baseline technology level below that of most eras covered by the Star Trek Adventures core rules.  As such, the starting equipment for a spaceframe introduced before 2200 has the following changes:
  • Remove access to shields and the tractor beam; replace them with the polarized hull plating and grappler cable rules respectively from page 55 of the Command Division book supplement.
  • Remove photon torpedoes and phasers/disruptors and replace them with plasma turrets (no special qualities) and either the spatial torpedoes and/or nuclear warheads from page 55 of the Command Division book supplement.
     Tripp: "That tractor beam of yours is quite somethin'.  Any chance we could take a look at the specifications?" 
Vannik: "That information is classified."
 In order to emulate the more advanced ships from the era, the following talent is available for selection.

Pre-2200 service date introduction only.  This ship contains systems that are far in advance of the common technology of the day.  Each time you select this talent (max twice), you must choose to either upgrade the offensive or defensive systems of the ship.  If you choose the offensive option, you may upgrade your baseline weapons to phase weapons and/or photonic torpedoes.  If you choose defensive, you may upgrade your systems to include shields and/or tractor beams.

For example, the original NX class as launched would just include plasma turrets and spatial torpedoes with all three talent slots open.  If you instead choose to portray the ship as equiped in later seasons, the ship would have the State of the Art (Offensive) talent with the phase weapon and photonic torpedo upgrades.  If you instead wanted to go even later in the era, the NX refit would spend another slot on a second State of the Art talent in order for the ship to include shields and tractor beams.  As always, feel free to let me know what you think of this as an alternative to the official rules for the game.

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