Perhaps you want to show Kirk, Picard, Sisko or Janeway how it's done, or at least desire to emulate them in command of your own starship. Or maybe you are running an Academy-based game and want to know how to train potential command-track cadets. Or you are curious as to what makes for a good captain and how they reach that position. If you have ever wondered about how a starship is commanded, this book makes for an interesting read.
Designated a 'supplemental rulebook', the Introduction explains how it actually deals with TWO career paths: command and conn (although a lot of captains start out in conn, which gives you a lot of bridge time and the opportunity to learn stuff from all departments...). Chapter 2: Command Division then explains how Starfleet is organised, with quite a lot of detail about the higher echelons of command and how starship captains actually receive their orders. It covers how Academy instructors are always on the lookout for potential captains amongst their cadets, goes into the Prime Directive in some detail (excellent plot device, make sure you understand it!), how the Starfleet legal system works and more. It ends with a discussion of the senior staff of a starship and how they support a captain.
Next, Chapter 3: Command Division Characters talks about how command is a mix of privilege and responsibility. There are ideas for a campaign set amongst the Admiralty of Starfleet; and plenty of resources for creating characters on the Command and Conn tracks. There's lots to draw on here to help you develop a character in more detail than from using the core rulebook alone. This is followed by Chapter 4: Federation Vessels which provides a wealth of vessels for our budding captains to command (and budding conn officers to pilot, of course).
There is more useful advice, especially if you are the GM, in Chapter 5: Using the Command Division. In particular, there are ideas for storylines that feature captains and conn officers, and an expansion of the rules for Social Conflict. Starfleet captains are expected to be experts at diplomacy, and a cocktail party can be as deadly as a brawl. There are resources for using starbases rather than starships as the centre of your campaign - or to enhance visits to a starbase, if you prefer to be based on a ship. There's even a section on Awards and Commendations, something that's been handled in a haphazard way in TV shows and movies, but is now made a little more systematic. However the emphasis is on the mechanical advantages to the recipient's Renown and other benefits - you still don't find out what they look like! The terms for award are also a bit mechanical: better perhaps to review what actually occured during the mission and base any awards on that!
Finally there's a collection of NPCs - admirals, diplomatic personnel and more - to use in your game.
This makes a fascinating glimpse into the world of starship command, and is probably essential reading for GMs if not wannabe captains as well.
Return to Command Division page.
Reviewed: 3 March 2020