We’ve got a fan contribution today from William Parker! He’s appreciated the reputation system in the Klingon Core Rulebook and eager to expand a little.
William Parker is a 30 something guy who has been telling stories since he was able to talk. He started doing online roleplaying forums in high school and slowly shifted into DND 5e during college in the early 2010s. His love of Star Trek started young and he would say that two of his four values on his character sheet come from Star Trek. His mother fed him as a baby while watching TNG, and there has never been a point in his life where Star Trek was far from reach. He got into Star Trek Adventures through a roll20 group in 2018, shortly after the game started, and he began GMing his own adventure a year later.
You can check out his older adventures on Youtube. (insert dirty link here ), and you can watch the continuing adventures of the USS Gungnir on her third season, live every Thursday at 7pm EDT over on his Twitch channel.
You did it! You completed the mission! Everyone is alive, and only three timelines have
collapsed. Now it is time for the reputation. What does everyone think of your exploits? You roll a
mighty 2. (That Prime Directive Violation should not have counted, but that is another story.)
But… you didn’t work with any NPCs. You kinda stuck with your fellow PCs. There was that
Klingon captain you helped, but it cost three Acclaim to gain a favor with him. What can you do
with this Acclaim? Did you just waste a roll?
I admit that I love the New or Klingon reputation system, introduced in the Klingon Core
Rulebook, and then again in the Rules Digest. I think it is very representative of admirals reading
the reports of your actions and adjusting their views of you based on previous experiences.
These can build into traits for your character, your ship, and of course into Medals.
The issue I am attempting to solve with this Project system is the volatile nature of
Acclaim, while also allowing more long-term investment into the world with collaborative world
building using mechanics to back the narrative.
The current New or Klingon Reputation system works by awarding characters dice for
good actions and Difficulty for bad actions. They then roll all their dice against their reputation
target number and count the hits past whatever Difficulty they have. The points that make it past
the pole are Acclaim and must be spent before the end of the next session towards medals,
traits, or favors.
With this new homebrew system, I added another category: Projects. A Project
represents something that the PC has been working on in the background, between shifts and
scenes. It usually takes a couple of episodes to come about. They can be used to develop a new
technology or theory of the universe. Or they can help establish long-term favors with other
factions, or to bolster their resources. The key difference of a Project versus a Favor is that
Projects are larger in scope, and more concrete. Project buckets can slowly build up over time
and do not, in theory CANNOT, be paid in full up front. This allows a space to drop off extra
Acclaim that can’t be used elsewhere without it poofing away in the next session.
An example of a Project would be new deployable body armor that can be used
stealthily. First the Players pitch an idea for a project they want to work on, and you agree on the
stats. In this case, I decided that the body armor will have the Hidden 1 Quality, cost 1
Opportunity, and would remain hidden until you used a minor action to deploy it. Balance it how
you will. From there, I start with a base of 4 Acclaim, and add 2 for each additional feature or trait
it has. In this case, it has the Hidden 1, and the minor action deploy. Two more traits, making a
total of 8.
From there, the Player can pull Acclaim into the project over the next few episodes as
needed. This represents them asking favors from junior staff, getting supplies, doing test runs in
labs, fabrication, and the whole process. They can put in as much Acclaim per episode as they want, or even abandon Projects. Once the Project is complete, they now have access to a new
piece of gear.
Another example of a Project is a long term scientific study. These are usually not part of
the mission, but a curiosity that your Players have. For example, our ship came across a
Subspace Kraken during a tour, but they were a bit too busy with the main storyline to stop and
do a survey. In this case, the Project is representing the Player putting together a thesis in order
to pitch to the Admiralty that this scientific curiosity warrants more study, and pulling favors for
that. These Projects are usually base 6, plus or minus 1 depending on how complex and
outlandish the idea is. Again, they can drip-feed this project for however long they need to. Or it
might be abandoned.
After the Science Project is finished, I usually work in a side-quest episode to follow up
on this theory, representing the Admiralty going “OK, you can go study the whales for a bit.”This
allows me, as the GM, time to work that mission into the story and build Player investment in that Project. This makes the mission MORE exciting, as you have time to build an entire adventure around studying something that was a spur-of-the-moment threat from an earlier adventure.
A third Project is Faction Development. Like the Science Project, this represents the PC
putting together a proposal to the higher-ups to allow something to happen. In this case, it is
working through the bureaucracy to make things better for a whole group of people. Usually
these are proposed colony sites on new worlds, where the Players can set up a small community
of civilians to care for. An Outpost can also serve a function in the sector, such as a
communication relay, a scientific observatory, or a border defense patrol. In some cases, they
can be proposals for follow-up Outposts for places that deserve more study than an exploration
starship can provide.
With these, I start with base 3 to create the trait of an Outpost, making it more difficult
depending on where they need it. An Outpost on a fertile Class M would be a base of 3, while the
same type of Outpost in deep space would require more work, so it might be diff 4 or diff 5. Once
the project is finished, the Outpost, colony, or embassy is fully active and now someplace that the
Players can get information and assistance from in the Galaxy.
The Players can then invest more into an Outpost by spending three Acclaim points at a
later date to create a trait for them, such as adding a defense platform, or a deep subspace relay.
This, of course, is an ongoing effort of the Player Characters to upgrade the Outpost and give it
This is lighter and less crunchy than developing and setting out a new Starbase for every
Outpost. You can do that if you and your Players like. However, I have found it unnecessary for
most tasks, and having a list of traits is enough to work a story off of. If you want to do a full
character sheet, I would suggest making appropriate era Outpost systems and departments, and
adding one talent, trait, or scale to an Outpost for 4 Acclaim each.
I highly encourage GMs and Players to dive into the Outpost Project and flesh it
out. Players could appoint an NPC to be the lead contact to an Outpost, and have them be the
face of the Outpost. I usually don’t need a full character sheet; just a name and a paragraph
describing who they are. I have found Players digging up possible contacts in their personal
backstories, making it personal not only to the Player, but the characters as well. This means, as
a GM, when your plot inevitably attacks an Outpost, it will be all the more heart-wrenching.
In conclusion, the Project system is a flexible addition to the STA reputation system that
allows more creative freedom to Players to develop the world, and make investments in the
galaxy. This also gives the GM leverage to steer the Players one direction or another. It gives the
floating Acclaim somewhere to go, and also spaces out traits and medals that can pile up in
longer-run games. I hope you find this system enlightening, useful, and fun in your own games.
Please share stories on what you will do, or have done, with this system down below.