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[Dogs] Attempt at Starfleet in the Final Frontier

Started by Jathromir, May 24, 2007, 04:56:26 PM

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This thread is a pinch from this [url text = one][/url]

I like the concepts but thought to bring them together and try to clean it up and see what shakes loose.

Character Creation
Untouched from DitV.

  • Well rounded (Example: Kirk is a good choice I think)
  • Strong History (Example: Dr. McCoy)
  • Complicated History (Tasha Yar)
  • Strong Community (Counselor Troi)
  • Complicated Comunity (Mr. Spock perhaps?)




Instead of a horse, consecrated earth, book of life, and a gun
Federation players would have a comunicator, tricorder, and phaser


Escalation and Resolution (Nicked nearly wholecloth admittedly)
1. Negotiation      Open hailing frequences / talking face to face
2. Intimidation      Shields up, weapons armed / Physical non-fighting
3. Fisticuffs         Targetting warp nacelles/shield generator/weapons/ Pugilism! or phasers set to stun
4. Phasers          Blow em out of the sky! / "We come in peace. Shoot to kill!"

Two small additions

For ship to ship battles the ships themselves need stats and equipment
Body (weapons systems)
Acuity (Computer Targeting/communications systems)
Will (Shields/Hull)

Face to face encounters are exactly like DitV.
Ship to ship encounters would have to be a bit different.
Hailing and talking would use the Captain's Acuity + Heart.
Intimidation would add the Captain's Body + Heart (He could be bluffing his way out at this time)
Once firing commences it's the Ship's Body + Will (weapons & shields) fighting not the Captain's.
And if it turns deadly it is ultimately the Ship's Acuity + Will (Targeting systems & shields) that will carry the day.
Relationship dice would be for the ships rep. "The best ship in the fleet!"  1d10, "No flippin A, B, C, OR D" 1d6  or "A tough Scrapper" 1d6

I'm almost thinking that body and acuity should be switched there b/c in disabling a ship you'd need a good targeting computer, but that'd muddy the water a bit so I'm letting it slide for now.

While rolling relationship dice bridge crew could contribute any applicable dice.  ("I'm a tactical genius!" 1d10, "Starship weapons ARE my bag, baby YEAH!" 1d8,  "I'm a miracle worker!" 2d6, etc.)

Types of ships would be as follows:
Small: Shuttle, Scout,Transport/cargo ship, Starbase 10d6 in stats; 2d4 3d6 in traits; 3d6 in relationships
Medium: Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser 12d6 in stats; 1d4 2d6 2d8 in traits; 1d4 2d6 1d8 in relationships
Large: Battleship 13d6 in stats; 2d6 2d8 1d10 in traits; 2d4 1d6 2d8 1d10 relationships

Fallout goes to the ships as battle damage.  Some traits could include "Those shields can't take another hit TWACK!" 1d4  or "Then fly her apart!" 1d4.  Relationships could be "Scourge of the Klingon fleet!" 1d4 or "Widowmaker" 1d4.
The Crew gets the same fallout damage although they need not pick the same traits and relationships the ship recieved.

My planets would be set up thusly:

Something's Wrong

Ignorance/Greed: The root of all beings problems
Injustice: Somebody's getting the short end of the stick.
Wrongdoing: Some group/person is getting advantage over some other group/person.
Danger: Wrongdoing causes Conflict.
Fallacy: Conflict causes stereotypes to form in small subsection of society.
False Dogma:  Stereotypes are an informal part of the culture.
Erronious creed: Stereotypes are codified into Law/Tradition.
Tyrrany: One group/person dominates other groups/people
WAR!: People start dying.

What would happen if starfleet hadn't shown up?

Thoughts? opinions?



How about: Instead of the horse, the players should each choose a station on the bridge, the shuttle or the transporter rooms.

Where does the prime directive come into play?


I like that.  I would think that the duty station should be a part of the character creation and that dovetails nicely!

As far as the prime directive is concerned it could figure in heavily into a scenario or not at all.... like many of the episodes.  I do realize that DitV does lend itself to those kinds of situations though....   having a hard time figureing out how to shoehorn something like "The Enterprise Incident" into this format.  much much easier with something more like "Friday's Child".

I think I'm going to move the Starbases to the large catagory as well.

David Artman

Though I have a few minor quibbles, I like this Alt a lot!

First, why write-up ships at all? A ship is little more than a Belonging or a form of Relationship, in particular if you make duty station a Relationship/Belonging (i.e. horse replacement). Your ship-as-character would (it seems to me) only muddy up the players' sense of "what's important to my character": the very definition of a Trait or of a meaningful Belonging or Relationship.

(Aside: If we're talking about 2001: A Space Odyssey, then maybe HAL9000 would be a character, sure... or a "Demon!")

For example, "I am a crack gunner" is more closely aligned with the DitV model than "high power guns", in my mind. How often, in the series, did the ship's buffness actually matter more than the crew's ingenuity or talent? In the end, a ship is a tool for the moral agent; it is not in-itself a moral agent.

Second, your Progression of "Sin" is fairly good... but I'd like to see it capable of modeling more sorts of conflicts. I suppose that would come from either (a) generalizing the stages a bit more so that they could describe many forms of conflict escalation [a great side-project of its own: GURPS in the Vineyard!] or (b) providing several different types of Progressions:
1) Civil War (your current one)
2) Crew Threat (very common theme, be it the ship in a Tholian Web or strange drunken behavior)
3) Strange Encounter (misunderstood entity, escalation, resolution: avoided/quarantined/welcomed into Federation)

Finally, be aware that many "Trekker" themes revolve around a certain degree of mystery solving... which has been found to be a bit of a drag in the DitV system. DitV wants situation right in the face of the players, and tough decisions to make Right Now. A ton of clue-hunting or diplomatic negotiations to determine "what's wrong" will tend to fall flat, in the DitV system... even though it's a typical staple of the first fifteen to thirty minutes of a LOT of ST episodes. Advice to GMs could solve this fine (or just being willing to "Say Yes" when the players say, "OK, we find out who's causing the dilithium smuggling and go confront him").

Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages


It's an interesting, and good start so far.

I would suggest putting heavy thought on what towns, or rather "missions", or "planets", or whatever Trek analog is appropriate, would be like.

Obviously DitV has a moral element to it; the PCs are there to protect and enforce a particular way of life, philosophy, religion, etc.  The same needs to be true of any DitV variant.  DitV, at its core (IMO), is about moral systems, and how far people will go to defend, preserve, or enforce their moral beliefs.  In the stock DitV setting, the Dogs are preserving the Faith.  In the Banthas in the Vineyard variant (though I prefer the name Banthas in the Outer Rim) the PCs are Jedi preserving and restoring the balance in the Force.

To effectively make a Star Trek variant you need to put some thought on what morality is in need of being preserved, defended, or enforced.  Obviously with Star Trek, the Prime Directive becomes an immediate candidate for examination.  I would highly recommend starting with some research, such as this Wikipedia article.  If the Prime Directive seems a good candidate, then the next step ought to be to rework the Town creation structure to suit the Star Trek morality.

I wouldn't worry about anything else until you've defined the morality that's at stake, and how the Trek version of "Towns" are presented.
Leo M. Lalande


I see your points.   It is just my feeling that in the "shippy" versions (read non DS9) of Trek that the ship itself is almost a player.  Hince maybe a GM created and "controlled" player.  I also had problems figuring out how to do ship to ship fallout, but I suppose this could be swept under the rug.  Perhaps a relationship to the ship may be in order.   So should ship to ship be captain vs captain with help from the crews?  The ship as character model helped me to be able to introduce a ship without generating a crew, but perhaps it can't be helped. 

As far as the Prime Directive is concerned I think that makes a perfect backdrop.  Nice Ground Zero to start with, but keep in mind Kirk and Picard in particular act very differently in this aspect so Star Trek Era will also set the tone.  I think that the differences in Kirk and Picard is where the drama lies to be honest.  Both are right but both lose something in thier stance.

I agree that my Sin progression only works in the morality play style episodes.  Any suggestions for the others would be welcome.


As far as ships go, I think they would serve best as a Relationship or a Trait; in similar fashion as The Order Set Apart is to Dogs.  So you might end up with a relationship of "UNC-1923 U.S.S. Vindicator", or a trait of "Crewmember of the U.S.S. Vindicator", or similar.

IMHO, if you try to simulate all of the Trek Universe and its themes with the DitV system, you're doomed to failure.  The system is meant to explore one focused system of morality.  I suggest you pick one moral system, the Prime Directive being the obvious one, and focus on how to explore what the Prime Directive means and how people interpret it differently.

You highlighted the differences between Kirk and Picard, and how they act very differently.  You unknowingly hit the nail on the head in terms of what is to be explored.  Kirk and Picard act differently in similar situations because of their attitudes and their interpretations of the very vague Prime Directive.  Presumably, other ship captains and their crew members might interpret the Prime Directive in many other wildly different ways also.  I think exploring the Prime Directive as a moral compass is where the potential of a Trek hack of DitV lies.

I think mechanics for Ships are secondary to the key moral theme.  Work that out first.  What kind of situations would present a crew with a moral dilemma concerning the Prime Directive?  Is there a common structure that can be exploited for creating these situations?  Start there, and build logically from that foundation; get out of the simulationist mindset.
Leo M. Lalande

David Artman

Eric, I think you're spot-on when you speak of the ship's crew as assisting the captain, and the ship as just additional Relationship dice. But don't forget, also, that an individual crewperson's use of his or her station could, in itself, be a sub-conflict which has a follow-up conflict resulting from the success or failure of the crewperson's efforts. In other words, a battle might not be one monolithic conflict between opposing captains; it could be a series of conflicts of crew versus crew (ex: Sensors Operator versus Clocking Device Operator) which feed into the larger battle... or which define and decide it in toto. It all comes down to how the GM decides to set Stakes for a given space battle.

Ex: piddly, boring fight: one Stake--"We Win this Battle"--but massive finale battle versus the Borg: a series of Stakes--"We Surprise Them" "We Gain Positional Advantage" "We Hit Their Weak Spot" "They Can't Contain The Meltdown" *BOOM*).

But I wouldn't say a ship crew position is a Trait. IMO, it's all Relationships (including "Captain of Enterprise") because, on the one hand, no one really "owns" the ship (i.e. it's not going to be on one person's sheet, like Old Bess the Blunderbuss) and, on the other hand, it is a sort of "character," albeit a passive one. Heck, isn't "threatening a Relationship" one of the great ways to dial up a conflict... and isn't "threat to the Enterprise" a reoccurring issue? Seems perfect as Relationship(s) actually.

As for choosing a morality for the equivalent of "Laws" (always open to interpretation), I'd go a bit beyond just the Prime Directive. I quote:
"To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no [man|one] has gone before."

That seems to map fairly well with the general directives to Dogs: 'Go Forth and uphold the Faith; prune the dead Branches of It.' Note that the Order doesn't expressly say "preserve morals A, B, C, and D unless it's hard to do D." Put differently, the Order doesn't dictate how the Faith is interpreted in the field (usually).

So I'd say that exploration and contact of space-faring races is the Laws of ST, and the Prime Directive is merely a "tough nut" of the Laws, that makes it hard to watch non-space-faring races kill each other or whatever. That's what makes me encourage Eric to build up a "What's Wrong" Progression that also encompasses strange encounters, ship-side conflicts, and other tropes of the series beyond "do we save the Neanderthals from themselves."

As for doing the grunt work of defining a more general (or just more) Progression(s), I would if I had fewer than four projects in the works at the moment. When I post here lately, it's sort of a "rest period" for me, where I don't have to think about any of my work, and I can just chime in with advice... I can't always follow-up with complete solutions.

Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages


I kept TNG in my mind while I designed Dogs. In TNG, simple honest misunderstandings lead to knee-jerk reactions lead to violence. The solution in a TNG town is always to get party A to let go their knee-jerk reactions and come to understand party B, so there's no longer any need for violence and everybody can do group hugs at the end.

I think that's the boringest thing ever. So designing Dogs, I was very careful to make it so that genuine incompatibilities and human harm lead to justified reactions lead to violence. That way the solution is never to have party A sit down and really listen to party B. The solution instead has to be that some party wins, and some party loses, really wins and really loses, like shot dead loses, and the PCs have to decide who and how.

Same thing with conflict resolution. In TNG, the person who wins the argument is the person who keeps cool, slows down, tries again to understand, listens carefully. Boring! In Dogs, arguments escalate instead.

Now old Trek - I think that if you go back and watch some of the most townlike episodes, you'll find that they follow Dogs' hierarchy of sin pretty closely. I'm thinking of that one with the yellow-haired hippie people and the giant computer, for instance - the creator of the giant computer was proud, the giant computer was the demonic attacks, now everything's gone to hell, and Kirk and them come in and pronounce judgment on the giant computer with their laser guns.

I think that Dogs in the Vineyard is not suited to a TNG-style game, unless you really overhaul it hard, probably not worth the effort. I think it's already suited to an old Trek-style game without refiguring town creation at all.

BUT! I don't like Star Trek, so take this all accordingly.



Thanks for all the input guys!  And to be honest I had Old (Classic!) Trek in mind when I got interrested in this subject.   This may be obvious when you look back at my examples.  Anywho.  I'm tending to agree that ships aren't neccesary and just plain wrong for the setting and relationships are the way to go.  Let's face it if you want Kirk to go gansta on you, threaten his ship and/or crew and you'll see what you get.  I'm admittedly a Trekkie and love the shows, but in my book you just can't beat the "cowboy diplomacy" of Kirk and company.  I appreciate all the input from David, Vincent and 14 ;)  Looks like I may need a version 2.0 on this.  Perhaps I'll come up with something over the weekend.  But again thanks for all the input.



Nice to see someone going somewhere with this. Looking back on it, I too would use the ship merely through the traits and relationships of its crew. Its just easier.

Not all of TNG matches what Vincent has said, but DitV is definitely more of a TOS style game. Personally, I'd run it in Dominion War era, with all that Macquis stuff, the dubious goings on in each of the major governments, and the fear of infiltration paranoia.


Quote from: oreso on June 10, 2007, 06:11:59 PM
Nice to see someone going somewhere with this. Looking back on it, I too would use the ship merely through the traits and relationships of its crew. Its just easier.

Not all of TNG matches what Vincent has said, but DitV is definitely more of a TOS style game. Personally, I'd run it in Dominion War era, with all that Macquis stuff, the dubious goings on in each of the major governments, and the fear of infiltration paranoia.

Right. I'm just starting DS9 season 7 to see how it ends and have a throughout grasp of the milieu. :-D
aka Guglia aka Giovanni Gugliantini
Remember, Luke, say "yes" or roll dice


This looks really fun.  I didn't see it called out above, but maybe I skimmed too fast - to me, the Prime Directive's most interesting facet is that it really can and should drive hard intRA-PC conflict (something Dogs of course is targetted towards, among other things) and if I were running a game I'd really play that up.  That can even work in a TNG scenario, although I agree TNG does not generally follow the Dogs model like TOS does (and I actually prefer TNG over TOS, but I'd rather play TOS Dogs than TNG Dogs by far).  The downside of the Prime Directive is that it can too easily drive PCs to inaction - so I would be sure the situations are compelling enough to tug at least at 1-2 of the PCs hard, probably using Relationships or their backgrounds to give them NPC views/sympathies of interest.  But that's can easily play Federation guys going onto planets that are already in the Federation and aware and all that, so that the Prime Directive is much less of an issue. The down side I see is that the Federation guys are not generally acknowledged as a superior moral force, so that part of the game is difficult, a little - not insurmountable, and I do NOT want to be discouraging, just raising the issue. But to me that's where a Trek game can be a dead-on Dogs game especially when visiting a planet that is only under observation and be mainly about the PCs wrestling with having godlike powers (physically) over the primitive communities but being saddled with using that power under a Prime Directive which each PC has their own opinions and views of what that means.  I'm especially interested to hear of the planets and situations you develop for this.
- Wilson