Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
October 27, 2007 - 4:37pm
How does the UPF fit into most Star Frontiers adventures?  Would a campaign within the UPF be feasible.  If so, how?  Article coming soon on this one too...

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
January 21, 2008 - 8:39am
I see them just on the fringe of most adventures.
PC's are either calling them for assistace or passing information to them.
What are your thoughts?

Gilbert's picture
January 22, 2008 - 6:18pm
 I had an adventure with the pc's in a small fleet that resupplies one of the outposts. It was fun with pirates, sather, Zaquor, and a good imagination. It was all starfleet ship board scenario.

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
January 25, 2008 - 11:22am

You are mostly correct, Larry.  But there are many different ways to skin the cat.  The main thing about a UPF campaign would be to balance the military structure with adventure.  In other words, how much time do the PCs spend "sitting around" and how much do they actually spend adventuring?  Would it be realistic for a military career to go this way?

If you take a look at my Commands list, I threw out some tantalizing possibilities to stay within the UPF and have mad-cap adventures.  For example, I could see PC's in a UPF career in Exploration Command, or Intelligence Command, or maybe even Communications or Research.  Exploration Command could be small enough and cozy enough to have some wild planet explorations.

In terms of entering heavy space or ground combat, I would think that a UPF career would probably include some pretty boring assignments around the Known Galaxy, punctuated by intense battles.  For these kinds of campaigns, I think having the PC's hire themselves out to the UPF as mercenaries is more appropriate.  Or maybe on a distant planet, some UPF guys get in trouble and the PC's are the only people around who can help?  A little imagination can go a long way here...

Gil - we're the PCs in your adventure active duty UPF personnel or just working for the UPF?

Shing's picture
January 26, 2008 - 11:45am
Certainly a consideration.

I have used the UPF in two ways, one as NPCs and the other with the PCs on the inside.

Using the UPF as NPCs allows you to 'guide' the PCs in the sense of pushing them in certain directions.  If they are stuck on where to go to continue a story, the UPF might close off a lane for travel giving the PCs only 1 or 2 choices.  They can be used to provide employment as private contractors and so on.

By letting the PCs in the UPF, they can start at the bottom and work up.  A posting to a back world does not always mean nothing happens.  Just look at all the activity on Zebulon in the first 3 AD modules.  There can be combat, but you can make intellectual adventures as well.  They could be a detachment assigned to a private contractor basically reversing the above idea.  I think you can actually have more fun playing on a crap assignment to start, then you can post them to better and better places.  Ultimately working as ship's captain or undercover or something.
"I reject your reality and substitute my own."

jedion357's picture
April 2, 2011 - 5:45am
I haven't reviewed the rest of the material in this project yet but....

One thing stands out to me from KHs- statement that the Space Fleet crews have officers that are extremely highly trained and enlisted that are pretty much the dregs of the space lanes. (I suspect that the designers had the British navy of the age of sail in mind when they detailed that).

So any adventures involving Space Fleet should take this into consideration: High quality officers/ poor quality enlisted.

Also the 2 Polygon Magazine articles on big ships campaigns stands out in my mind as they examined the dynamics of a big ship campaign though its ideas are suitable for frigates on up and small craft (scouts and fighters would follow a Warriors of White Light sort of feel)

Players as Officers:
Requirements for attending the academy for space fleet and would give the players an elite PC but then you'd have to have a lot of role play going on during an adventure as they deal with the enlisted as well as the inevitable mutiny. Why is the mutiny inevitable? Because! I think this sort of of adventure would actually be harder to run.

Players as Enlisted:
Since Space Fleet pretty much takes anyone, this is the easiest to set up: Join the Fleet! Sail the Void. PC's can just enlist. Officers are NPCs and this allows the referee to guide the campaign fairly easily. Plenty of opportunity for role play dealing with others in the crew whether officer or enlisted. Oh yeah, there is the inevitable mutiny and which side of that little conflict the PCs choose to support.

Beauty of a big ship campaign is that you can play it fairly rough- No pulling punches and PC death could be a very real thing- with a large crew roster dead PC's are easy to replace: just change crew #47 to the new PC's name and go on- but with the appropriate funeral service: PC's body placed in a torpedo casing, captain reading from, "Meditations of the Humble Servant," a yazirian playing, "Battle's End" on the Hargut Harp, and the torpedo/coffin launched at the local star.

Another beauty of the big ship campaign is that you can rip off a myriad of Star Trek episodes for adventure idea.

RE: Mutiny
Mutiny will be a cliche but then a deck by deck fight to take the ship or re-take the ship should be a fun encounter or series of encounters. the way KHs describes Space Fleet crewing policies makes it certain that there will be grumbling (large or small) on most ships of the fleet. Small elite crews may be more immune to this.

RE: Exploration
A lot of things depend here on the actual ranks and size of the ship but PCs will probably need to be officers (though not the captain- see the Polygon articles for why). smaller crew for a dedicated exploration craft unless you're using a frigate from the regular fleet that has been detailled to explore an area for some reason.

Campaigns could easily be episodic which would allow for people to show up one week and not the next without disrupting the campaign, which is a plus.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

AZ_GAMER's picture
April 2, 2011 - 2:04pm
Mutiny's may not be as common as you suggest. Just about everyone in Maritime tradition knows that the Captain's word is LAW. It is true that the occassional mutiny may occur especially on non-military vessels. However, the mutineers can pretty much assume that unless they have the might of "right" on their side that they are signing their death warrants. Situations like the movie Crimsom tide would not have the same result in a Frontier society. Most military officers would not hesitate, unless cowards, to puting a bullet in a mutineer's head.

The problem with mutineer's is that they put everyone at risk on the ship to death or injury. In most sci-fi and naval dramas even the mutineer's co-conspirators know there are limits to which they can take their plan or risk loosing the support of their party.

While the enlisted folk maybe from all walks of life, including the dregs, they do value their own lives. They signed up for the job for whatever motivations they had but might not be willing to tempt fate and take on the command in a power struggle unless it really really mattered. Enlisted people know, even the criminal minded ones, that there are limits to which their actions can be taken before they see the inside of a airlock without a space suit. Lets also not forget that the easiest way to purge a mutiny is to seal the comparments and vent the floatsome and jetsome out into space while they sleep.

Enlisted would be more likely to steal a launch or escape pod and go awol as the oppressive captain entered the next habital solar system then try to take on a ship's command.

AZ_GAMER's picture
April 2, 2011 - 2:01pm

It's also important to remember that the enlisted are seldom privy to the Captain or Command Staff's plans until they are given orders to carry out. Most bridges have posted guards or limited access for a reason.

AZ_GAMER's picture
April 2, 2011 - 2:01pm

sorry double post goodness.

jedion357's picture
April 2, 2011 - 6:28pm
I only propose mutiny from the perspective of it sets up conflict for the game and puts the ship and PCs at jepordy.

Your evaluation of mutinous minded crew is quite correct. However, a full blown mutiny on the Bounty situation could be good fun in the game.

You already hinted at the lesser degrees of mutiny- stealing a launch or escape vehicle

other wrinkles could be infiltrators (did some one say sathar agents)

or even a boarding action - it essentially sets up the same sort of action as a mutiny but with a different premise

Another situation could be government A "gives" (loans really) an advanced warship to government B for the purpose of conquering Govenment C by proxy. (they have to do it by proxy lest government D gets involved- though it will probably get involved anyway). The navy personnel of gov B is not upto modern standard and thus a cadre of officers from Gov A's navy have "immigrated " to Gov B to help run the ship. When Gov B decides to commit atrocities this cadre of officers refuses to go along but they are out numbered by 3 to 1 so you end up with a mutiny situation.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
April 2, 2011 - 6:47pm
BTW- I've uploaded a bunch of nicely down color charts on Space Fleet ranks that I discovered on the web as well as the 2 polygon articles "Take Command of a Titan" and "Of Great Ships and Captains" to the files section of this project.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!