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NPC Captain vs. PC Captain

posted Feb 06, 2018 16:05:12 by ChrisGeorge
Our first three sessions, I used an NPC captain to gently railroad the players a bit as they (and me frankly) learned the rules and developed some rhythm to the game. Also I wasn't sure in the normally collaborative group of role players I have, if they'd have an issue with one of the players giving them orders. There is a chain of command in Star Trek, even if it's a bit more cooperative than a traditional military in most media portrayals.

But now I decided for the next session, the Captain is going to be incapacitated in an attack (but not killed because she's a pretty cool character I'd like to promote to Admiral someday) and essentially promote the XO on the spot. And immediately throw into the pressure cooker of their most physically dangerous adventure yet. I think it'll promote some good role playing, especially as #1 has a value about following starfleet regulations, even if they seem "wrong" at the time.

I am wondering what other folks experiences have been with this issue.
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5 replies
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Deadmanwalking said Feb 06, 2018 23:52:24
The STA game I'm in we have a PC captain, which has worked fine, and I've played in many other games where one PC is theoretically in charge. Generally speaking, as long as whoever is playing the Captain doesn't take it as an excuse to be overly controlling, and the other players aren't upset by the idea, it works fine in my experience.
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LucasCunningham said Feb 07, 2018 09:19:06
Well I actually don't like the Idea of NPC captains, because I fear, that the groupe becomes a litte lazy and locking to the GM for Orders.
Which brings me to the Problem, that some of my groups contact the Admirality more frequently.

But I am aware of the problem with chain of command in RPGs, which don't go well with the harmony on the gaming table.
So when I play the Captain, I am playing more passivly, relying on the expertise of my crew, encoraging initiative and asking specificly for opinions.
And when issuing orders to my officers I formulate them more as questions and use the word please.

I recommend that you talk to your new Captain, tell him/her your expectations and ask him about his/hers and maybe ask him about former captains and whom he/she sees as a role model.
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Shran said Feb 07, 2018 15:06:27
We are in a comparable position where the former security chief now has to assume the roll of captain. For the most part, it is not much of a change. However, instead of endless discussions the captain is forced to make a decision. And the burdens of command bring their own challenges. We had an NPC captain before and it was a nice tool to start missions or to guide the players into the direction I wanted the adventure to go. That was nice for one season, but now in season 2 I want a player to be in charge.
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kevin.haroun said Feb 11, 2018 12:22:09
I've run several ST campaigns under various systems. All but the most recent have had a PC Captain. This always worked with my groups as they all knew Trek and expected there to be a Captain. The more recent game, I had the NPC captain and made one player the XO so the whole group could beam down together. The Captain then acted as someone the PC's "told" to implement a solution to a problem, or a ready deus ex machina to pull them out of the fire when things went haywire. Generally, I prefer making a PC captain.
[Last edited Feb 11, 2018 12:23:23]
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PatricHenson said Feb 12, 2018 00:36:34
In my previous Star Trek RPG we all took turns GMing and had an NPC captain that we would take turns controlling. It worked really well actually since the first officer ends up being in charge the majority of the time (at least when you have more away missions than ship-based ones, which seems to be the way it tends to be). It was exceptionally nice since I really like playing and GMing.

Right now we're using a player captain and I'm the full-time GM. The drawback with a player captain-in our group at least-is that the captain always wants to come on the away missions, which is not standard procedure for 24th century games, so it doesn't seem quite right. But it's either that or he isn't part of the action (or has to control a supporting character the majority of the time). I've considered having him make another character and making them the executive officer (since our group currently doesn't have that slot filled) but I don't know about having a PC with two characters. I'd rather one if the other characters be the first officer so he wouldn't be the only one who gets to lead.
[Last edited Feb 12, 2018 02:24:22]
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