Wardroom Talk: Towards A Stats Shorthand

Every group has their own method of tracking things. Wardroom Talk is a series on how I, along with my group, have developed over time methods of tracking things in play. These tips are ever-evolving, and certainly could be improved by your input. My hope is that sharing these ideas will start a conversation, and perhaps inspire ways for your group to streamline play at your own table or online.

Today I am musing about a shorthand for stats.

Since I’ve moved my face-to-face game to an online format on Discord due to COVID-19, the text-only forum format has me considering how to quickly encapsulate character and ship stats for ease of reference. While I can still flip through pages and spreadsheets, sometimes it’s nice to have stats pasted as text right into the Discord channels. This reminds me of the old basic D&D (box set) rules that had such shorthands. Who remembers this?

Ankylosaurus: AC0; HD 7; hp 33; MV 60' (20'); #AT 1 tail; D2-12; Save F4; ML6; AL N

I am starting to develop a stats shorthand similarly. I’ve started with attributes to help my group with the looking up of stats. They have a large cast of supporting characters. Here’s an example of a character from our demo campaign. I’ve tried a few notational variants and this is the one that feels easiest to read, from my perspective.

CAPTAIN ERIKA BENTEEN: Ctrl.9 Dar.9 Fit.8 In.10 Pres.10 Reas.10 / Cmd.3 Conn.3 Sec.4 Eng.2 Sci.2 Med.2

Here’s an example of the ship from our demo campaign. I’ve added a Crew Quality (Talented).

U.S.S. EMISSARY: Comms.9 Comp.9 Engine.10 Sens.9 Struc.8 Weap.13 / Cmd.2 Conn.4 Sec.4 Eng.2 Sci.2 Med.1 & Crew.10+3

For now, these are the only stats I need to streamline play. However, how would a longer stat entry look? I’m currently experimenting with ways to add info in an easy-to-read and find notation, with some ideas below.

Extended Combat Stats

Here is an attempt, although I may play around with more variants to see what works best. rs = Resistance and ss = Stress, ordered that way so that you remember to subtract Resistance first. Discord allows italics and boldface, so I’m testing it out to see if certain formats make certain info stand out.

CAPTAIN ERIKA BENTEEN: Ctrl.9 Dar.9 Fit.8 In.10 Pres.10 Reas.10 / Cmd.3 Conn.3 Sec.4 Eng.2 Sci.2 Med.2 // rs.0 ss.12 /// melee(5A nl,kd); phaser(7A)

Ship example:

U.S.S. EMISSARY: Comms.9 Comp.9 Engine.10 Sens.9 Struc.8 Weap.13 / Cmd.2 Conn.4 Sec.4 Eng.2 Sci.2 Med.1 & Crew.10+3 // scale.3 rs.5 shld.12 pwr.10 /// p-array(7A med vers.2,area/sprd); p-cannon(9A close vers.2); p-torp(7A long h-y); q-torp(8A long vic.1,calib,h-y); t-beam(2)

Extended Focuses/Talent Stats

Here are what I might do for Focuses and Talents. The ship role has been placed in {curly brackets}. To remind myself, I am putting in bold the Talents that involve re-rolls, or obligatory rolls (like Untapped Potential).

CAPTAIN ERIKA BENTEEN: Ctrl.9 Dar.9 Fit.8 In.10 Pres.10 Reas.10 / Cmd.3 Conn.3 Sec.4 Eng.2 Sci.2 Med.2 // rs.0 ss.12 /// melee(5A nl,kd); phaser(7A) //// Starfleet Intelligence, Bureaucracy, Security Protocols, Xenobiology, Leadership, The Dominion ///// {Commanding Officer}, Testing a Theory, Starship Expert, Defuse the Tension, Advisor
LIEUTENANT (JG) NOG: Ctrl.10 Dar.8 Fit.8 In.9 Pres.11 Reas.10 / Cmd.3 Conn.2 Sec.2 Eng.4 Sci.3 Med.1 // rs.0 ss.10 /// melee(3A nl,kd); phaser(5A) //// Wheel And Deal, Business Operations, Starbase Operations, Hearing, Warp Drives, Locks ///// {Chief Engineer}, Constantly Watching, Untapped Potential, Bold (Command), Intense Scrutiny

For NPCs with unusual abilities, I would abbreviate the rule itself. Here’s an example of a Romulan Centurion, including weapons.

ROMULAN CENTURION: Ctrl.12 Dar.10 Fit.9 In.10 Pres.9 Reas.10 / Cmd.3 Conn.2 Sec.2 Eng.1 Sci.1 Med.0 // rs.0 ss.11 /// melee(3A nl,kd); dagger(3A vic.1,deadly,hid.1); d-pistol(5A vic.1); ESC[ d-rifle(6A vic.1,acc,2h) ] //// Paranoid, Guerilla Tactics ///// {Notable}, Ambush [-2T > side may RR.Nd20 vs. unaware], Guile and Cunning [-1T > +1 Diff. to be seen], Wary [RR.1d20 to notice]

So, are these notations helpful? How can they be streamlined further while staying easy to use? Let us know here or in the new Facebook group for Star Trek Adventures. I’ll do a follow-up article summarizing your suggestions in the near future.

3 comments

  1. Your choice of using an Ankylosaurus wouldn’t have anything to do with a certain podcast hosted by a couple people who are a little bit embarrassed to have a Star Trek Podcast, would it? Are you a friend of DeSoto?

      1. The Greatest Generation is a Star Trek TNG (and now onto DS9) review podcast. It’s very funny and a great listen. I highly recommend it.

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