Note: a few hours after completing this post, I received an email from Modiphius that there were updates to the PDF, specifically on the character sheets. There’s nothing major; the starship sheet was renamed “Captain’s Log Starship/Station Sheet”, and a line was added for the “Class” of starship. I updated my tracked version, but not the image above.
Hot on the heels of writing up S1 E0.1, I had some time to investigate the creation of the Early Harvest and ended up completing the whole thing. Behold! Captain’s Log’s version of the Star Trek Adventure’s starship character sheet.
I am a bit glad that the starship definition for CL is this streamlined. In truth, the gameplay is about the captain and/or surrounding crew, and not so much the ship. The manual states that when ship combat does factor in, then task rolls can be made using the ship stats, but the resolution should follow a narrative function, and not a skirmish function. I’m OK with that.
I did run into one obnoxious problem when setting up the Early Harvest: there are no templates for civilian starships in the Captain’s Log, nor in the Star Trek Adventures core rulebook. Actually, I take that back: there is one template, the J/Y-class freighters featured in Enterprise, back in the early 22nd century, so I used that stat block for the Early Harvest and justified it through the notion that as a family business, all assets are important. If a family is breaking even on their trade routes, then they won’t have a lot of money to buy a new freighter; they’ll have to keep repairing and upgrading their existing ship to the point where it becomes part of the family. If the Olivars have been spacefaring people since the 22nd century, it stands to reason that A) the family would have taken extra good care of their ship, and B) it would still be in service, albeit as a “Ship of Theseus” by the time the 24th century rolled around.
This is reflected in the value of 8 for structure; this thing is a floating tank, more or less. It’s got pretty decent engines to get it where it needs to go, and pretty good sensors as well. Comms and computers are on the lower side, but those aren’t normal systems a freighter needs, really. Weapons is where its weakest, which, again, is not something a freighter is normally known for.
The departments more or less fall in line with a “generational ship”. Command is centered around the Olivar family, which might not always be the best option in terms of a “steady hand” on the rudder of a business (I’m looking at you, Succession), but there you go. Conn is pretty good because long-haul freighters need to be able to navigate around and know their stellar cartography; living a life in the ship, the crew gets very good at being able to navigate their usual routes. Security is rather low, which is a factor of a smaller crew and everyone knowing everyone else’s business. Science isn’t even a concern. Where the bulk of the crew is in engineering — keeping the ship running — and medicine — because if there’s an illness on the ship, everyone is going to get it, and it might be months or years before the ship can reach a port to get some of that sweet, sweet Federation medical advice.
The original J/Y-class freighters were labeled as a size 2, but the book categorized the Captain’s Yacht and the Delta Flyer as size 2. As a freighter, I figured this should be at least one size higher, at least on par with the Defiant class ships. A size 3 meant that I could choose three talents — essential the focus for starships — so I tried rolling on the tables provided.
The first roll was “high-power tractor beam” which makes complete sense when talking about a freighter. It needs to move cargo back and forth, but it could be used for other deep-space operations should the need arise. The second option had to be re-rolled a few times. It landed on “dedicated subspace transceiver array” and I left it there. I figure that a long-haul starship would like to be connected to other long-haul starships (and Starfleet ships when necessary), so having a pimped-out radio on its own circuit might be a luxury that’s worth the cost — a CB radio, as it were. Finally, I manually chose “deluxe galley”, because these people live here and would certainly splurge for a fancy kitchen.
Finally, I had to come up with a registry designation. I could not find anything specific on non-Starfleet, civilian starships except — you guessed it — from the Enterprise era. “ECS” was the prefix of the “Earth Cargo Service”, to which the Fortunate was assigned. Again, since the need to ferry goods from bountiful planets to less bountiful planets never went out of style, it makes sense to me that the ECS might still be around, and that the legacy families and their ships are still around as well.
So that’s it for creation. The next step is technically to start rolling for the story, but I’m not sure if I want to roll for the story and post the result OOC or roll behind the screen and let it play out as a narrative, saving the story roll discussion for the “after show” as it were. The first option would be a kind of “along for the ride” of creation of a solo RPG story, which might be especially interesting for you and me, considering this is the first time we have enjoyed this experience together. On the other hand, the second option would be a full-blown serial — for you; I still need to do the rolling and know about the specifics before I can begin the narrative.
What do you think? Should I post the story creation process, or save it until the very end? Let me know in the comments or wherever you can find me online.