Replicator Resource: Complication Cards Part 2, Systems

Continuing the idea of Complication Cards, here is another table, this time focusing on established sub-systems aboard starships. Drawing on information mostly found in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, I’ve tried to identify technology and subsystems that align with specific Departments and Systems, so that there is in-universe justification for the type of sub-systems affected. I’ve tried to identify systems that are likely not era-dependent (e.g., avoided replicator systems).

It may help to download a copy to follow along.

System Complication Card PDF


Whereas the previous Personal Complication Card and Starship Complication Card focused on Actions that became impossible or were required, the System Complication Card is used for selecting a shipboard Department or System that has its Difficulty increased, due to need for emergency repairs or dedication of Departmental resources.

For example, let’s say a player rolled a Complication while aboard their ship, and you wish to have a random system go haywire. You randomly roll or select the Plasma Distribution Manifold in the Security and Engines cell, and tell the player that the PDM is malfunctioning, causing power supply problems (Engines) to ship-wide tactical systems, including phaser arrays (Security). You can either dictate the Complication to be a +1 Difficulty to Tasks and assistance rolls requiring Engines, or a +1 Difficulty to Tasks and assistance rolls requiring the ship’s Security Department.

Alternatively, you may decide to give the choice to the player: does he or she prefer to have the Complication affect the Engines System or the Security Department?

Similarly, if two Complications are rolled, perhaps Plasma Distribution Manifold 2 is actually one affecting Security, and the other Engines, and needing separate Advantages to cancel out the effects of each Complication.

With the Medicine Department column, the justification for those Complications will include injuries caused by malfunctions in the system. For example, a Torpedo Bay incident (Weapons+Medicine) might be an explosion in the torpedo bay, requiring a contingent of Medical personnel to attend to the injuries. Or, the Inertial Damping Field System could be damaged, causing the Medical team to devote resources to ensure that personnel will be equipped to deal with issues of rapid acceleration.

These subsystems are left flexible enough for you to come up with your own spin on the Complication, while using Treknobabble that fits into established lore.

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