Friday 02 August, 2013

FATE of the Kobayashi Maru


Some months ago I began to construct a fan project to allow me to run a game set in J.J. Abrams Trek universe.  I chose a system that I loved (mini 6) and began to build a vehicle to bring these stories to life.  As the months rolled on I started getting frustrated with the choices.  While Mini 6 is an awesome off the cuff set of mechanics, I ran right back into the wall that started me on the this journey to begin with.  To me Star Trek is about story, creativity, and the human condition.  Every time I began to translate parts of the world into a mechanical representation it felt gamist and forced.

Then I ran a game of FATE Accelerated.  I was part of the Kickstarter that began earlier in the year and I am really glad I forked out the coins to be part of this.  I for one loved to play games such as Spirit of the Century, but I loathed having to run it.  The game was too all over the place for me.  I was more comfortable with Cortex + and usually snubbed FATE all together.  FATE Accelerated was the mechanics set that would make this work for me.  I took the work I had already created for this, dropped it in and BANG it worked great.  It allowed me to tell my Trek story, it also allowed players to build onto the story with technobabble and TV science in the form of Aspects and Advantages.

Changing Systems Captain? That's quite illogical...

What I am going to do is take what I have already written and put it into the context of FATE Accelerated.  I still will finish my Mini 6 conversion someday, but for this project I found the perfect fit.

Lets start with Approaches!

In FATE Accelerated Approaches are broad stroke attributes.  You don’t handle conflict with your strength, agility, and wits… the player figures out which approach to the problem makes the most sense and tackles it.  This is where my earlier work fits really well.  It was a simple conversion from Attributes to Approaches… let take a look

  • Command: The Command Branch is the corps of officers within Starfleet who specialize in command and control functions on starbases, aboard starships, and at Starfleet Command.
  • Operations: The Operations branch is responsible for oversight of Starfleet’s operational, logistical, and mission planning needs. Flight deck control, communications, and logistics are all in the realm of Operations officers.
  • Sciences: The sciences division was the corps of officers within Starfleet who specialized in both scientific and medical research and control functions on starbases, aboard starships, and at Starfleet Command. Members of the sciences division specialized in sensors, research, theoretical and physical laboratory work, biological studies, and also as technicians, medics, and surgeons.
  • Nature: These are the things that define the character before attending Starfleet Academy.  Connections to the world/universe that are brought about by upbringing, culture, or philosophy.
  • Military: Military skills define the martial prowess of the character. Can represent the character’s time at Starfleet Academy learning to use weapons, personal development with martial arts, or the knack of combat (ranged or hand to hand)
  • Academy: These skills represent the time spent in the classroom or instruction of world.  These are examples of academic skills that are required during your character’s development at Starfleet Academy.


These six Attributes work well as Approaches.  if your conflict is trying to balance anti-matter to keep the Warp coils from blowing a character might use Sciences.  A character trying to seduce the alien princess might want to use Nature, or trying to navigate through the anomaly with only thrusters and a view screen use the Command Approach.

The character will take one Approach at +3, two at +2, and two at +1. The last of the approaches would be taken at +0 (FATE Accelerated page 10).  To put this into prospective lets look at a couple of StarFleet archetypes

The Captain

  • Command +3
  • Operations +2
  • Military +2
  • Academy +1
  • Nature +1
  • Sciences +0


The Science Officer

  • Science +3
  • Command +2
  • Operations +2
  • Academy +1
  • Nature +1
  • Military +0

Remember these are broad strokes and do not represent the entirety of the character.

Next time I am going to talk about Aspects and how they can be used to represent Species, special abilities, and prowess.


  • Jeff says:

    Love it! I played Where No Man Has Gone Before and really liked it, but since I’ve moved most of my gaming over to FATE and Cortex +, I’ve been wondering how a Star Trek game would work.

  • James says:

    Hi Jeff!
    Thanks for visiting. I wanted to attempt a Cortex + hack of trek, but I am way too lazy for that. FATE Accelerated works well for Trek. THere is a FATE Core hack out there on the internet too, but it just seems so complicated for running stories in the ST Universe.

    Next up I will be talking about Aspects. I also have a Trek Sheet for FATE Accelerated I want to share as well.

  • Geoff Spakes says:

    I think you should COMBINE these “fleet specialties” with the FAE Approaches for combinations.

    I Forcefully Command…I’m Cleverly Academic…I’m Carefully Scientific…I Quickly Command…etc.

    • James says:

      Thanks Geoff!

      That is an interesting take. It would allow for a more customized action base. Would I need to just add a sublist for players to draw from during a session? How would you implement this?

  • I have added your list of approaches to a compendium of FAE approach alternatives. What license is this under?

    • James says:

      Awesome! I am not sure if this falls under any license (perhaps the FATE OGL?). Either way I know Fred Hicks is all about spreading the word via blogs and other such.
      Feel free to use any of this, I will eventually follow up with a rules continuation once I get Tales From the Fallen Empire out the door.

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