Rules for FATE "Star Trek"
Here are system notes for the FATE “Star Trek: Restoration: the U.S.S. Sacagawea” teleconferencing scenario, as of spring 2020.
We’ll use Skype for voice and text chat, Rolz.org for online dice rolling, and Google Draw for sharing maps. We’ll also use the “Vortex” Obsidian Portal wikis for my space opera campaigns and a Google spreadsheet for pre-generated character outlines.
Here’s a quick refresher on how Evil Hat Productions’ Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE Core) works:
These short phrases broadly define your Player Characters (P.C.s). They should include both benefits and drawbacks or limitations.
In our FATE Trek game, P.C.s have the following Aspects (let me know if you want to modify any):
- Species: We have an Andorian, a Benzite, a Terran human, a Romulan, and a Vulcan
- Motivation: In addition to a general desire to explore — why else be in Starfleet? — this is your ethics (similar to alignment in Dungeons & Dragons).
- Training: This one is wide open! This includes family background and early education, time in Starfleet Academy, or early tours of duty. It could also describe a rival, an old flame, or a bad mistake. Note that all of the P.C.s in this one-shot are lieutenants, junior-grade (one solid rank pip and one hollow pip).
- Division: Command (including helm, red uniform), Engineering (gold, as well as operations and security), and Medical and Science (including counselor, blue)
- Foible: These are personality traits, like “Curious” mentioned above. I’ll probably let you tweak these if you haven’t already.
You can “tag” or “invoke” an Aspect by spending a Fate point to get a +2 bonus on a skill roll (more on that below), or the Game Master can “compel” your P.C. to do something by offering a Fate point against it.
For example, you could say, “I’m a security officer, so I should be really good at fisticuffs,” to gain a bonus on a Brawling check. Or, I could ask, “Your character is curious; do you want some candy to go investigate that sound?”
Refresh: Each P.C. starts with “Refresh” of 3 Fate points per session, plus any earned from role-playing and teamwork. You can use these to “invoke” or “tag” an Aspect, aid an ally, or add something to a scene — “I know where to find a fire extinguisher in this starship corridor.”
Ships, locations, and opponents all have Aspects.
As with most tabletop role-playing games, skills are the heart of the rules system. To use a skill, you roll four Fate/FUDGE dice or 1d6-1d6, add any relevant bonuses from Stunts, Aspects, or Extras (equipment). The G.M. can also impose scene aspects to increase the difficulty — i.e., running on top of a moving train.
Combat tests are simply opposed rolls, with any “spin” or amount you overcome the foe’s resistance resulting in Consequences (wounds). Here’s a list of the skills for this game:
- Acrobatics: avoiding attacks, balancing
- Animal Handling: dealing with domestic and wild animals, riding
- Athletics: climbing, jumping, running, swimming, and contests of strength
- Brawling: hand-to-hand and unarmed combat
- Craft: building or creating things
- Diplomacy: bluff/deceit, etiquette, persuasion, rhetoric
- Empathy: sensing another’s emotions or intent
- Endurance: health, constitution, physical toughness
- Engineering: power and propulsion
- History: area knowledge, galactic civilizations, xenology
- Infiltration: breaking and entering, lock picking, setting or thwarting traps, surveillance
- Investigation: bureaucracy, criminology, research
- Leadership: understanding and using the chain of command
- Linguistics: languages beyond native and Federation standard (neo-English)
- Mechanic: building or repairing devices, gadgets
- Medicine: diagnosing and treating illness, injury
- Notice: perception, sensing or finding things
- Perform: arts and entertainment, games, hobbies
- Piloting: driving, navigation, steering vehicles
- Psionics: empathic sense, telepathy, telekinesis, meditation
- Resolve: willpower, resisting emotional or mental distress
- Science: both general and by specialty, such as astrophysics, geology, xenobiology
- Shooting: aiming, firearms, gunnery, ranged weaponry
- Sleight of Hand: manual dexterity, holdout/concealing small objects
- Stealth: hiding, sneaking quietly
- Survival: general and by terrain, such as desert, urban, low-G, or vacuum
- Systems: operating electronics, ship systems like scanners
- Tactics: includes strategy, understanding deployment of forces in a conflict
Your characters each start with nine skills, ranging from “Average” (+ 1) to “Great.” I may allow you to swap some around, but apex skills are set. Skills are arranged in a pyramid, with each P.C. being best at one thing. In your case, here’s who’s “Great” (+ 4) at what:
- “Sheras Ch’p’trell” (Jim) — Medicine
- “Huli” (Cathey) — Science
- “Olivia Sanchez-Navarro” (Jason) — Shooting
- “Dakal Nakona” (Bruce) — Piloting
- “Salek” (Dexter) — Engineering
Stunts typically grant +2 to a skill specialization and may be based on your species (like Psionics) or training (Physics or Martial Arts). They’re “always on,” so you don’t need to spend Fate points to add them to a relevant skill.
To reflect the high degree of training of Starfleet officers, I’m giving each P.C. three rather than two without deducting from your Refresh pool. I’ve already defined these, and I’ve got FATE science-fiction sourcebooks full of examples.
- Adaptable (Terran human): Once per scene, can add +2 to any non-trained skill
- Cold Tolerance (Andorian): +2 to Endurance in cold
- Generalist (Science): Can apply skill level to any science specialty
- Heat Tolerance (Vulcan): +2 to Endurance in heat
- Helm Hotshot (Piloting): Once per scene, +2 on a ship maneuver
- Martial Arts (Brawling): +2 to unarmed combat
- Meticulous (Benzite): With 10 minutes (of “game time”), +2 on Craft, History, Investigation, or Science
- Miracle Worker (Medicine): Once per day (of “game time”), P.C. can halve the time or double the effect of a roll
- Resist Toxins (Benzite): +2 on Endurance vs. poisons
- Sneaky (Romulan): Once per scene, +2 on Diplomacy (Deception), Sleight of Hand, or Stealth
- Strong-Willed (Romulan): +2 on Resolve
- Telepathy (Vulcan): Psionics, range — contact, vs. Resolve
- Weapon Master (Brawling): +2 with any hand-to-hand weapon
- Zero-G Experience (Acrobatics): +2 in low-G or weightlessness
Other Star Trek tabletop role-playing games
- Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game, FASA, 1982 ( Eagle, Constitution)
- D20, GURPS 3/4e Space: Prime Directive, Amarillo Design Bureau Inc., 1993-present (Tempest)
- Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Last Unicorn Games, 1998
- Star Trek Roleplaying Game, Decipher Inc., 2002
- Star Trek Online (MMO), Cryptic Studios, 2010
- 2d6 Star Trek Adventures, Modiphius, 2017-present (Venture, Rustam)