By Al Spader
Welcome to part two of an ongoing series about the FASA Star Trek The Next Generation Officer’s Manual.
FASA was well known for their TOS and Movie RPG supplements to their Star Trek RPG into through the early 80’s. As the line progressed, many of the designers wished to push content toward a more militaristic view of Starfleet. This can be seen with the release of the Starship Combat Simulator in 1983 and its rerelease in 1985. Some say that this direction was what prompted Paramount to pay closer attention to its licensed products.
In 1987, Paramount introduced the world to its bold new direction for the Trek franchise with Star Trek The Next Generation. FASA, seeing a whole new market and line of products, jumped on board and made two RPG supplements for the new show. However, without insight into the design of the series, the company created new ships and equipment that they thought would complement the series as well as fill in the years between TOS and TNG. This gave Paramount the opportunity they needed to pull the license and eventually shop the RPG product to other companies.
The creators of the Star Trek The Next Generation Officer’s Manual wanted to pay homage to TOS in many ways, including creating space frames and ship designations named after prominent characters from TOS. Enter the Decker Class Destroyer. Named after the famous Decker family and with designations such as the Christopher Pike, Hikaru Sulu, Samara Uhura and more, this frame was the very embodiment of this homage. Designed as a rapid deployment, armed to the teeth military ship, the Decker class even epitomized the vision that some at FASA had of a more militarized Starfleet game.
When designing the space frame, I considered speed and weaponry first, followed by command and structure. Without firing arc rules in STA (FASA gave this ship almost a 360֯ firing arc with its torpedoes), it is tough to realize how terrifying these ships were on the battlefield, often causing skirmishes to end with just their presence alone. One could even imagine a late, surviving model of the ship being upgraded to carry a terrifying number of quantum torpedoes because of this.