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Starfleet Ranks

posted Jan 11, 2018 20:36:58 by Elijah
These are my versions of the ranks for 2371 with the ranks shown. They are mostly based on current US Navy ranks with some removed to simplify things and some added that I thought were missing. (I am in no way affiliated with any military organization myself, so I don't know personally if this feels right)
I know that CBS has given Modiphius the ranks they consider canon, and I mostly observed that but also used some behind-the-scenes info about ranks from Memory Alpha.
Any suggestions, questions or comments are welcome. Would you remove anything? Add anything? Change the rank symbol of anything? Do we need the Warrant Officer ranks at all? It is implied that instead of becoming a Warrant Officer one simply gets a full Officer Commision. If that is the case, what should the new single hollow pip rank then be?

CREWMAN
Crewman Recruit
\\ Crewman Apprentice
\\\ Crewman
PETTY OFFICER
⟩ Petty Officer 3rd Class
⟩⟩ Petty Officer 2nd Class
⟩⟩⟩ Petty Officer 1st Class
⟩⟩⟩⠁ Chief Petty Officer
⟩⟩⟩⠑ Senior Chief Petty Officer
⟩⟩⟩⠕ Master Chief Petty Officer
⟩⟩⟩※ Command Master Chief Petty Officer
OFFICER-IN-TRAINING
⬮ 1st Year Cadet
⬮⬮ 2nd Year Cadet
⬮⬮⬮ 3rd Year Cadet
⬮⬮⬮⬮ 4th Year Cadet
⬦ Cadet Officer Candidate
⬥ Senior Officer Candidate
WARRANT OFFICER
○ Chief Warrant Officer 4th Class
❰○ Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Class
❰❰○ Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class
❰❰❰○ Chief Warrant Officer 1st Class
OFFICER
● Ensign
○● Lieutenant, Junior Grade
●● Lieutenant
○●● Lieutenant Commander
●●● Commander
●●●● Captain
●●●●● Fleet Captain
FLAG OFFICER
✦ Rear Admiral, Lower Half
✦✦ Rear Admiral, Upper Half
✦✦✦ Vice Admiral
✦✦✦✦ Admiral
✦✦✦✦✦ Fleet Admiral
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45 replies
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jonrcrew said Jan 12, 2018 09:31:30
Comprehensive - and I like your approach to showing the insignia...

A few thoughts (cos this is something that's been bugging me a lot as well!):

The exact spread of ranks does seem to vary from series to series, and only the red coat movie era has a complete list. Roddenberry's position on TOS was no enlisted personnel (they were all astronauts and therefore trained enough to be officers - Ensigns!). Of course, things will vary over time (a glance over the rank notes in Wikipedia will show massive variation) - and Enterprise only had the basic ranks (Crewman, Ensign, Lieutenant, Commander, Captain and several grades of Admiral).

The term Crewman, 1st class was used in the series (TNG The Drumhead), which implies classes rather than titles at that level, and I don't think there's every been a PO3 listed except in one of the RPGs. Personally, I'm lary of Command MCPO as it's such a USN-specific thing - I rather think they'd assign a CPO to that role as a position rather than having a specific rank.

I'm curious as to where the Officer Candidates fit in? Remember Starfleet has a lot more officers than a wet navy - it's the science contingent! On that level, any thoughts as to Midshipman (Peter Preston in TWOK)?

Warrant Officers are weird in every force. I know in the US services, they sit between enlisted and officer and in the UK, they're senior NCOs holding specific positions. I believe there's been a statement to the effect that Warrant Officers don't exist in Starfleet (possibly the TWOK list again), but then we get O'Brien who definitely isn't an officer! If they do exist, do they get classes? What would make them distinct from senior NCOs? I assumed the hollow pip was for senior NCOs, with actual rank not being shown (which doesn't sound right at all).

I know Fleet Captain hasn't been seen in the TNG era, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist, and can I just say that I've never liked the whole Rear Admiral split - much more in favour of Commodores!
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StephenBirks said Jan 12, 2018 09:43:57
Isn't Fleet Captain more of a situational "rank" in the TNG era? e.g. When Picard was put in command of a fleet in "5x01 Redemption II"?
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jonrcrew said Jan 12, 2018 10:23:51
I don't remember that one! I shall have to go and have a look.

The only Fleet Captains I knew of in canon were Garth and Pike.

What you describe is basically how I intend to handle them - a temporary promotion for fleet command operations with multiple Captains, confirming your authority and taken away as soon as the operation is over. The captain in my imminent game (next Thursday!) will be getting one for the duration.
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StephenBirks said Jan 12, 2018 11:32:06
He wasn't specifically referred to as that, I am more postulating that Starfleet has discontinued the official rank as individual fleets appear to be a rare occurrence in the 2300s. I am however sure I heard the title mentioned somewhere in TNG.
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Elijah said Jan 12, 2018 17:10:10
@jon
So we can have the crewman ranks be classes then. The CMCPO can go also to simplify stuff. The reason for the PO3 to MCPO ranks is since all the insignia were designed when they made O'Briens insignia and finally confirmed that he was Senior CPO. Even if he should have actually been a MCPO, cause he was in command of essentially every Engineer on DS9.
I completely made up the Officer Candidate Rank and insignia, we never actually see them on screen so that was completely my creation. Midshipman is exactly the Cadet Officer Candidate Rank. Someone who finished the Academy and is waiting to get rank on the final assignment. Senior Officer Candidate is if they star Midshipman for a while so they get a promotion. The Senior Officer Candidate is also where I think personnel who have not gone into the Academy start before getting a permanent rank. McCoy and Burnham for example. I really think that they were probably given Candidate ranks for at least a few weeks before getting a rank. McCoy as an MD probably got a LTJG rank to start with, or maybe even LT.
Rear Admiral, Lower Half can be called also Commodore. It doesn't really change anything. I think the ranks are exactly the same just the name is different. In Star Trek Beyond there were some weird thing, Kirk reporting to the Commodore about applying for an Admiral Position, but then again ranks in the Kelvin Timeline are super loosely played around.

So the Warrant Officer issue is kinda an interesting one. Originally there were no Warrant Officer Ranks. In TNG they kinda implied that the one hollow pip was Chief Warrant Officer. That is where Modiphius gets that. It was never said on screen. They used the one hollow pip to show any NCO, an O'Brien had that before getting the real NCO insignia. We could postulate that there is no Warrant Officer Rank in Starfleet. If you are an NCO and so good, you do extra training and just become a Commissioned Officer. I guess that would explain why there are so many more Officers in Starfleet. Even if in reality you don't need them in reality especially on such advanced ships.

So if we get rid of Warrant Officers completely, what to do about the one hollow pip then? What about Senior Department Chief? Or something like that? Is that still NCO?

Update: My players prefer Commodore so it's Commodore from now on :)

CREWMAN
Crewman 3rd Class
\\ Crewman 2nd Class
\\\ Crewman 1st Class
PETTY OFFICER
⟩ Petty Officer 3rd Class
⟩⟩ Petty Officer 2nd Class
⟩⟩⟩ Petty Officer 1st Class
⟩⟩⟩⠁ Chief Petty Officer
⟩⟩⟩⠑ Senior Chief Petty Officer
⟩⟩⟩⠕ Master Chief Petty Officer
○ Senior Department Chief
OFFICER-IN-TRAINING
⬮ 1st Year Cadet
⬮⬮ 2nd Year Cadet
⬮⬮⬮ 3rd Year Cadet
⬮⬮⬮⬮ 4th Year Cadet
⬦ Cadet Officer Candidate
⬥ Senior Officer Candidate
OFFICER
● Ensign
○● Lieutenant, Junior Grade
●● Lieutenant
○●● Lieutenant Commander
●●● Commander
●●●● Captain
FLAG OFFICER
▣ Commodore
▣▣ Rear Admiral
▣▣▣ Vice Admiral
▣▣▣▣ Admiral
▣▣▣▣▣ Fleet Admiral
[Last edited Jan 12, 2018 19:45:18]
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PaulNewland said Jan 12, 2018 19:40:46
Petty Officers seem to be known by their positions, so Yeoman Rand is a petty officer in TOS and a CPO in TMP based on her Rank pip. Burnham has the field Rank of Petty Officer because she is called a specialist. Crewmaen are likely generalists with basic all round training I guess.
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Elijah said Jan 12, 2018 19:51:13
@Paul So I was thinking that Yeoman and Specialist are roles and not ranks. Here is the list of roles I made for my games:

COMMAND
Commanding Officer
Executive Officer
First Officer
Second Officer
Third Officer
Strategic Operations Officer
Intelligence Officer
Yeoman
CONN
Flight Controller
Navigator
Helmsman
Conn Officer
SECURITY
Chief of Security
Security Officer
Security Guard
Chief Tactical Officer
Tactical Officer
ENGINEERING
Operations Manager
Chief of Operations
Chief Engineer
Engineering Officer
Engineer
Communications Officer
SCIENCE
Chief Science Officer
Science Officer
Science Specialist
Head of Stellar Cartography
MEDICINE
Chief Medical Officer
Medical Officer
Medical Technician
Head Counselor
Counselor
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PaulNewland said Jan 12, 2018 20:06:36
Yeah it's tricky to work out what goes where. I would say crewmen would be security guards and technicians such as general engineering maintenance, med techs, lab assistants, catering staff etc such as Geological Technician Fisher. The guy carries rocks and runs them through lab programs.

Anyone who has a more defined role is a petty officer, so yeomen, and specialists IMO. Could be Warp Specialist Smith, Environmental Specialist Clarke, Security Specialist Jones, Yeoman Third Class Tina Lawton or Science Specialist Burnham. Then you just stick Chief, Master Chief etc in front as they move up the chain.

Fully qualified doctors and scientists are all officers. As are pilots.

Realistically you would probably only have a supervising Lieutenant, a couple of Ensigns, and a CPO+ to supervise the24 hour departments. Science labs, except stellar cartography would not need to run 24 7 and even sick bay could have a skeleton staff when routine stuff isn't going on. Only a staff nurse would need to be an officer I guess.
[Last edited Jan 12, 2018 20:22:03]
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PaulNewland said Jan 12, 2018 20:08:51
You also have to consider that Trek has been very top heavy with officers and that got worse through TNG onwards.
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Elijah said Jan 13, 2018 02:08:34
My group likes this rank list. I also upload a nice graphic picture based on the Core Rulebook design.

ENLISTED
Crewman 3rd Class
\\ Crewman 2nd Class
\\\ Crewman 1st Class
⟩ Petty Officer 3rd Class
⟩⟩ Petty Officer 2nd Class
⟩⟩⟩ Petty Officer 1st Class
⟩⟩⟩⠁ Chief Petty Officer
⟩⟩⟩⠑ Senior Chief Petty Officer
⟩⟩⟩⠕ Master Chief Petty Officer
OFFICER-IN-TRAINING
⬯ Cadet Trainee
⬮ 1st Year Cadet
⬮⬮ 2nd Year Cadet
⬮⬮⬮ 3rd Year Cadet
⬮⬮⬮⬮ 4th Year Cadet
⬦ Cadet Officer Candidate
⬥ Senior Officer Candidate
WARRANT OFFICER
○ Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Class
❰○ Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class
❰❰○ Chief Warrant Officer 1st Class
❰❰❰○ Master Warrant Officer
OFFICER
● Ensign
○● Lieutenant, Junior Grade
●● Lieutenant
○●● Lieutenant Commander
●●● Commander
●●●● Captain
FLAG OFFICER
▣ Commodore
▣▣ Rear Admiral
▣▣▣ Vice Admiral
▣▣▣▣ Admiral
▣▣▣▣▣ Fleet Admiral
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david.jw.gibson said Jan 13, 2018 06:55:27
Would the ranks of the Maquis in Voyager technically be Warrant officers?
Otherwise, I'm not sure how those differ from Petty Officers.
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PaulNewland said Jan 13, 2018 08:02:18
What is the difference between a warrant officer and a petty officer?
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PicardX said Jan 13, 2018 14:26:58
The Maquis on Voyager had provisional ranks. The Warrant Officer pin for them would have been a single black bar through their rank pin.
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PaulNewland said Jan 13, 2018 14:33:25
Ah ok. But apart from the pin, what is the difference? Is it that petty officers are attached to flight control, Science and engineering while warrant officers are security? I've heard someone say on DS9 O'Brien was essentially performing as a Chief Warrant Officer and he was in charge of the station's engineers as Chief of Operations but I don't really understand where the rank would fit into the chain of command compared to a chief petty officer.

Checked wiki and I'm none the wiser? A CPO is promoted for reasons of seniority and a warrant officer is promoted by warrant. So you could have a young warrant officer? Is that the only difference? Seems to me O'Brien fits either bill and it's weird that Rand chose promotion as a proper officer later in her career?
[Last edited Jan 13, 2018 14:46:59]
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jonrcrew said Jan 13, 2018 17:55:11
@Paul: /lecture mode on!/ Traditionally, there are three types of officers in a wet navy: commissioned, warrant and petty.

A commissioned officer holds a commission from the Admiralty. They've had lots of leadership training, are part of the command structure and go where the Admiralty needs them, changing ships as needed.

A petty officer is simply an enlisted seaman who has been around long enough to have gotten a leadership or specialised role (a non-commissioned officer). Senior POs become Chief Petty Officers and so on. Originally, they were skilled roles such as carpenter and sailmaker, but were later used for leadership positions. The highest rank in the USN is Master Chief Petty Officer, but they also have Command versions, but these seem to be positions/roles rather than ranks.

Warrant officers originated as skilled specialists who were not members of the Navy itself, but were employed by it (the Navy is just another employer to them). The classic example is the ship's engineer, brought in by the RN to operate complex steam engines in the 19th century; another is the ship's surgeon - both were too skilled to be considered enlisted, but hadn't been through the Midshipman/Lieutenant training apprenticeship or Academy training so couldn't be officers. A warrant officer was hired to work on a specific ship by the Navy Board, the people responsible for looking after the Navy's ships themselves - and could not be demoted or fired by the ship's commissioned officers. WO's fit between commissioned and petty officers on the command hierarchy, but rarely have any authority outside their specialty. The British forces are weird now: all senior NCO's (CPO) hold warrants and specific positions on vessels - you can't just become a CPO if you qualify, there has to be a vacancy - same as for a commissioned officer.

In Trek:

First thing to bear in mind is as you say, Starfleet is something like 30% officers, as opposed to around 5% in the real world, where commissioned officers do the commanding and little else. This is primarily because of the huge science contingent, all of whom are skilled enough to come straight in as commissioned officers (usually Lt jgs), along with the medical contingent. In a logical set-up, these would be warrant officers, as they have limited command authority and are usually tied to specific projects. Senior engineering staff also tend to be commissioned officers (which with the complexity of warp drives does make sense), where in the real world, they would be enlisted specialists.

With this, warrant officers don't really have a role in the structure - Kochinski (Where no one has gone before) could be a WO, as he was a civilian on a specific project, and a few others might count, but I can't name any.

If you're being strict canon, I can't explain the hollow pip. Maybe it's worn by senior POs to indicate their authority over the non-pipped enlisted folks?
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