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Thread: In universe question - "command major" at academy?

  1. #1

    In universe question - "command major" at academy?

    This feels like a dumb question (and I know that these forums are tumbleweeds these days) but I'm working on a LUG game and I have a question about the in-universe reality of starfleet majors/divisions.

    I always liked the lifepath system in the FASA game. It presumed that you would choose a dept while at the academy (helm, nav, comm, engineering, security, med or science) and then from there you would learn command skills either during tours or at department head or command school. In affect, you didn't "major" as a commander at the acedemy which seems to mirror how things worked on-screen in the Trek universe.

    The LUG game includes the Command overlay which seems to not represent a Conn/Helm/Flight Control officer. Is it just an in-game construct to allow players to build a leader/commander character from scratch, or is there on-screen precedent for characters going through Starfleet Academy and basically specializing in command/administration/tactics/law and not more "practical" skills?

    Just looking for someone who might have gone deeper into Trek lore than I have and might be able to offer an opinion. I'd like to adjust the overlays (largely based on some of the great overlays I've found on these forums) that might better represent what Starfleet would "really" be like.

    BTW - shout out to those who might still be lurking on these forums. I still love LUGTrek!

  2. #2
    We see command-division ensigns and lieutenants in the shows milling about, but aside from those that show up in the conn position it's hard to tell what their duties are. Given the amount of sheer work coordinating people takes, along with the other duties—negotiation, tactical and strategic operations—I can see someone going up the command division for their whole career.
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  3. #3
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    AFAICR the TNG Player's handbook said that some characters spent their whole career in the Command branch, it all depends on your choices during character creation. Though as far as I am concerned that isn't a very good choice, as it doesn't make for a well rounded character.
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  4. #4
    I think its a bit of both... While the Command Overlay is intended to help develop a Command based character, as TDK points out we see an awful lot of Red Tops loitering around during the TNG era... Not everyone is sitting at CONN or the Command seating so, what are they doing? We know from Worf that Red is also used by conn and tactical, so we can assume that some of these people are working those crews.

    I seem to have lost it, but I bet its in here somewhere, where I wrote out a treaty on some departmental duties, including some speculation of roles aboard ship. So I see many of these junior Command Officers as Team Leaders, perhaps having been promoted into command from their branch, or specialist leaders, Off-duty shift leaders (The night crew?), also some NCO's such as master of the Boat, Captains Yeoman, and other administrative personnel (Probably some crossover with Ops there too). There is also the Quartermaster and his team, while they may be less hands on in an age of replicator, there are still stores, resources and cargo that require management and allocation.

    So long and the short. I believe that the academy probably DOES teach some Command school type stuff, as they seem to be trying to create cadets who are masters of more than one discipline, but perhaps the focus is on aptitude testing and ensuring that the people who get the advanced training are the ones likely to achieve and take over come crunch time... (Which might explain poor Ensign Kim... Even the EMH got promoted ahead of him!)
    DanG/Darth Gurden
    The Voice of Reason and Sith Lord

    “Putting the FUNK! back into Dysfunctional!”

    Coming soon. The USS Ganymede NCC-80107
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  5. #5
    Also of note in the Players Handbook are the Advanced command training for making a department head or shifting a character into the command branch...
    DanG/Darth Gurden
    The Voice of Reason and Sith Lord

    “Putting the FUNK! back into Dysfunctional!”

    Coming soon. The USS Ganymede NCC-80107
    "Ad astrae per scientia" (To the stars through knowledge)

  6. #6
    Thankfully Owen's Memory ICON has retained all my lost data after a recent catastrophic crash or two;

    http://www.coldnorth.com/memoryicon/

    http://www.coldnorth.com/memoryicon/...Sourcebook.pdf
    - Departmental Duties; Page 21
    DanG/Darth Gurden
    The Voice of Reason and Sith Lord

    “Putting the FUNK! back into Dysfunctional!”

    Coming soon. The USS Ganymede NCC-80107
    "Ad astrae per scientia" (To the stars through knowledge)

  7. #7
    Thanks for the responses - glad to see people are still commenting on the ICON system.

    I understand that it is totally fiction, but it doesn't seem to make sense to churn out so many managers, or at the least that all those managers would be tactically trained (administration I can understand).

    I guess I liked the idea that you'd be a science officer or navigator to whatever and then move upward in rank. Although the 2009 Abrams movie (which I know some people don't like) seem to reinforce that Kirk could go straight from the Academy to First Officer/Capt so it would lend credence to the idea that you could be trained as a commander straight out.

    The Price of Freedom seems to indicate that Ensign Ro uses the Command overlay. It doesn't make much sense to me that an ensign with 1/2 in Conn Operation would be the preferred Helm officer for an Enterprise-class ship when there would presumably be plenty of Fight Control officers with 2/3 Conn fresh out of the Academy according to the rules as presented. I guess I want the ICON overlays to work more like FASA, since most of the on-screen captains (TOS Kirk, Picard, etc) started out as navigators or Janeway started in Science and no one really seemed to be a commander (position not rank) right out of the Academy. Seems like something you have to develop into and the system doesn't seem to model that as effectively.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Trr View Post
    I understand that it is totally fiction, but it doesn't seem to make sense to churn out so many managers, or at the least that all those managers would be tactically trained (administration I can understand).
    Agreed, this is a real-life issue with the NHS in the UK!


    Quote Originally Posted by Trr View Post
    I guess I liked the idea that you'd be a science officer or navigator to whatever and then move upward in rank. Although the 2009 Abrams movie (which I know some people don't like) seem to reinforce that Kirk could go straight from the Academy to First Officer/Capt so it would lend credence to the idea that you could be trained as a commander straight out.
    I agree with your preferred option, and don't think that we should take Command Tips from JJ Abrahms... Where the ex-cadet seems to be promoted over line officers simply because the captain likes the jib of his Cahones...

    Quote Originally Posted by Trr View Post
    The Price of Freedom seems to indicate that Ensign Ro uses the Command overlay. It doesn't make much sense to me that an ensign with 1/2 in Conn Operation would be the preferred Helm officer for an Enterprise-class ship when there would presumably be plenty of Fight Control officers with 2/3 Conn fresh out of the Academy according to the rules as presented. I guess I want the ICON overlays to work more like FASA, since most of the on-screen captains (TOS Kirk, Picard, etc) started out as navigators or Janeway started in Science and no one really seemed to be a commander (position not rank) right out of the Academy. Seems like something you have to develop into and the system doesn't seem to model that as effectively.
    I think what you want here are the packages. So for your example of Ensign Ro, you could start with Command template, add in some piloting skills with the cadet and first tour packages, add in a couple of later tours to round things off, and finalise with the Advanced tactical School. ICON rather lets you add as many tours as you want (although a better/fairer option is to allow an equal points value for all players and allow them to pick pre-existing packages or fine-tune skills as needed. Which is probably a better option...
    DanG/Darth Gurden
    The Voice of Reason and Sith Lord

    “Putting the FUNK! back into Dysfunctional!”

    Coming soon. The USS Ganymede NCC-80107
    "Ad astrae per scientia" (To the stars through knowledge)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Trr View Post
    I understand that it is totally fiction, but it doesn't seem to make sense to churn out so many managers, or at the least that all those managers would be tactically trained (administration I can understand).
    The logistics and resource allocation aspect of running a ship is complicated; likewise navigation, communication, organization of information, logs, correlation of everything. There's a lot of different things to administer and manage—check out this list for ideas of jobs to give command-division junior officers. (Interestingly, we also see weapon techs in TOS in command gold, implying something about the correlated areas of responsibility as Starfleet saw them at that time.)

    The other thing to remember is that Trek is a little inconsistent when it comes to things like the existence of noncom crew on Starfleet ships. It's been said, I don't know how accurately, that Roddenberry's original idea was that it was all officers, but later shows obviously changed that. That means that an ensign-ranked command division officer is probably supposedly managing a whole bunch of noncoms like on a contemporary vessel.
    Portfolio | Blog Currently Running: Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek GUMSHOE Currently Playing: DramaSystem, Swords & Wizardry

  10. #10
    Someone upthread mentioned cargo crew as potential Command personnel. Problem with that is that virtually every time you see them they're wearing Operations gold, not red.

    Two types of TNG "redshirts" (in the literal, not the death-rate sense) no one has mentioned yet include Tac Officers (NOT Tactical officers who also act as Security Chief) but rather Starbase (and presumably Starfleet HQ) officers like Tac Officer Chang in "Coming of Age". Taking a semi-educated guess, I'd posit that Tac Officers are responsible for Strategic and Tactical analysis and planning as part of the base commander's staff.

    The other is JAG/Internal Affairs, as witnessed by Dexter Remmick, Phillipa Louvois, and Admiral Bennett.

    Side Note: You would think it would be simple to do a quick Google search and find out exactly how real world navies organize their crews by department. It isn't. I tried every combination of "department", "crew", "roster", organization", etc I could think of and not a thing same up at the ship level.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Donovan View Post
    Side Note: You would think it would be simple to do a quick Google search and find out exactly how real world navies organize their crews by department. It isn't. I tried every combination of "department", "crew", "roster", organization", etc I could think of and not a thing same up at the ship level.
    You'd need to mash up an aircraft carrier's org chart with that of a research dept. at a university, too.

    As for the logistics shirt colour, the physical movement and safety assurance of the material would be a gold-shirt job, but the establishment of what and how should go where, the determination of proper safety procedures and communication of those facts to the gold-shirts would be a red-shirt job as it pertains to the overall organizational schema of the ship.
    Last edited by The Tatterdemalion King; 10-16-2016 at 10:20 AM.
    Portfolio | Blog Currently Running: Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek GUMSHOE Currently Playing: DramaSystem, Swords & Wizardry

  12. #12
    i've definitely considered Tactical officers to be Command brand based on what has been seen in TNG and DS9. By that time it seems like there is a distinct difference in role between Tactical and Security, although each should likely be able to fill in for the other in a pinch. I've modified the Tactical Overlay based on the Security overlay in the TOS rulebook -

    Tactical
    Energy Weapon 2/3
    Starship Tactics 1/2
    Security 2/3
    Ship. Sys - Tactical 2/3
    SysEng. - Security 1/2
    Unarmed Comb. 1/2
    Athletics 1/2
    Computer 1/2
    Dodge 1
    History - Fed 1/2
    Lang - Fed 1
    Pers. Equip 1/2
    Planet Surv. 1/2
    Veh. Op. 1/2


    Security
    Energy Weapon 2/3
    Planetary Tactics 1/2
    Security 2/3
    Ship Sys 1/2
    Sys. Eng. - Security 1/2
    Unarmed Comb. 2/3
    Athletics 1/2
    Computer 1/2
    Dodge 1
    History - Fed 1/2
    Lang - Fed 1
    Law - Starlet 1/2
    Pers. Equip 1/2
    Planet Surv. 1/2
    Veh. Op. 1/2

    It never really made sense to me that the Tactical Officer would not have some kind of Starship Tactics training (same thing for the Helmsman really). So these overlays can support each other but the Tac officer focuses on Starship Tactics and Ship Weapons and the Security Officer focuses on Planet/shipboard tactics and unarmed combat.

    This way Command has the Command, Helm/Nav, & Tactical overlays, Ops has the Ops, Security, and Engineering and Science has Sci, Med and Counselor. I also include a Linguist (Hoshi-style) in Sci because that seems like an interesting role to fill. I've built one based more on an Ops template and one based on the Science template and I'm not sure which one I think works best - thoughts?

    Linguist - Science Communicator
    Admin 1/2
    Language 3 levels
    Science 1/2
    Ship. Sys - Communication 2/3
    Sys. Eng. - Comm 1/2
    Athletics 1/2
    Computer 1/2
    Dodge 1
    Energy Weapon 1/2
    History - Fed 1/2
    Lang - Fed 1
    Law - Starlet 1/2
    Pers. Equip 1/2
    Planet Surv. 1/2
    Veh. Op. 1/2


    Alt. Linguist / Science Comm. Officer
    Computer 2/3
    Language 3 levels
    Other Science 1/2
    Ship. Sys. - Comm. 2/3/
    Pers. Eep - Comm. 2/3
    Engineering, Comm 1/2
    Dodge 1
    Energy Weapon 1/2
    History - Fed 1/2
    Lang - Fed 1
    Law - Starlet 1/2
    Planet Surv. 1/2
    Veh. Op. 1/2

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tatterdemalion King View Post
    You'd need to mash up an aircraft carrier's org chart with that of a research dept. at a university, too.
    Maybe I just didn't look deep enough, but I could not find something that broke it that far down.

    As for the logistics shirt colour, the physical movement and safety assurance of the material would be a gold-shirt job, but the establishment of what and how should go where, the determination of proper safety procedures and communication of those facts to the gold-shirts would be a red-shirt job as it pertains to the overall organizational schema of the ship.
    That makes sense.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Donovan View Post
    Maybe I just didn't look deep enough, but I could not find something that broke it that far down.
    I tried looking for specific ships' org charts, but ended up finding that by searching 'aircraft carrier crew organization'. Given that the document I found is a teaching document it makes sense that where you'd find that is in Navy educational materials; it may be that some of that stuff is actually somewhat classified.
    Portfolio | Blog Currently Running: Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek GUMSHOE Currently Playing: DramaSystem, Swords & Wizardry

  15. #15
    So we could make up a list of Command Roles within Starfleet, beyond that of the established Captain and XO... So feel free to add to it;

    Captain
    XO
    Chief of the Boat (Command NCO)
    Conn Officer
    Tactical Officer
    Strategic Operations Officer
    Intelligence Specialist
    First Contact Specialist
    JAG / Legal
    Quartermaster
    Flight/Shuttle Operations Officer (Manages overall Shuttle Ops, probably Lt. on smaller vessels will probably combine with Conn)
    Deck Officer (in charge of the Shuttle Bay, Junior Officer)
    Yeoman (Administrative NCO, probably a number of these personnel aboard ship, but the Captain has a dedicated Yeoman)
    Team Leader (Assigned to command a working group, possibly an ad-hoc role for suitable candidates that wish to move departments)
    DanG/Darth Gurden
    The Voice of Reason and Sith Lord

    “Putting the FUNK! back into Dysfunctional!”

    Coming soon. The USS Ganymede NCC-80107
    "Ad astrae per scientia" (To the stars through knowledge)

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