William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Share a Game is an RPG Geek initiative in which knowledgeable users volunteer to spend a week hosting a thread about a particular game and answer any questions about that game. This thread will have a week in the spotlight, but will always remain active if you stumble across it later.

For more information, including volunteering to host a game yourself, or to request a particular game that you would like to know more about, see the wiki page: Share a Game. And in order to receive notifications when new threads are posted, subscribe to the GeekList: Share a Game


Prime Directive 1st Edition
aka: Prime Directive Tricode
aka: The Star Fleet Universe RPG


The Rules in three volumes:


The Adventures


PLEASE - NO GURPS PD nor PD20 nor Traveller PD Questions
They're so different in both mechanics and approach to the setting that they really are way off topic.

Basics of the Setting
This one isn't actually set in the Star Fleet Universe, per se… it's set in the primetime Tri-vids as seen within the Star Feet Universe.

The Star Fleet Universe is more militaristic than the original Star Trek, but generally about the same tech level.

Prime Directive 1st Edition (PD1, hereafter) is focused on playing special operations troops of the Federation, as seen on the Tri-Vids. It's VERY cinematic.

Basics of the System
Character Generation is a service template, plus specialty template, plus points build; it uses random roll to get rank, and rank determining the total points used to raise from the base templates.

Task resolution: Generating your result is by rolling dice equal to average of stat and skill. Read the highest single die; 6's count 5+another roll, recursively. (I've seen rolls as high as 56….). This is compared to a "Tricode" - a 3 digit set of difficulties, used to generate 6 different results.

The default tricode is 4/6/8.

The first number is always the lowest; it's the "Minimal success" number. Equal or exceed it to get a minimal success.
The second number is the Moderate Success Number. Equal or exceed to get a moderate success.
The third is the Complete Success Number. Equal or exceed to get a complete success.
If you exceed 12 or double the Complete number, it's a Critical Success. (This is in The Federation)
If you rolled less than half of the minimum success number, it's a botch.
If you rolled half or more but less than the minimum success number, it's a failure.

Modifiers are applied to the tricode. Some are "flat", adding the same amount to each of the 3 numbers. Others are "expanded", such as the fairly common +1/+2/+3, which increases

Combat is pretty straightforward, except for initiative.
Roll to hit, success level determines damage from the damage tricode. On Lethal 1, a phaser has a damage tricode of 2/4/6… so a minimal does 2, a moderate hit does 4, and a complete does 6.
The Target gets to roll to dodge or parry. A complete is a miss; Moderate drops 4 damage, and minimal 2.
Armor is subtracted from the remaining damage.
Damage is then applied to either Lethal Damage Capacity or the Stun Damage Capacity. If you're out of either, you're out of action. If you're out of Lethal, you're also potentially dying. You can go negative up to the base capacity before the Stun track overflows to lethal. At negative lethal equal to the original total, you're a fine red mist.

Initiative is trickier; every die rolled is compared to the tricode. You get a level of action based upon the best die, and initiative points for every die's success: minimal is 1, moderate 2, complete 3, and critical 5. Your Level of action determines your number of actions and a penalty to defenses.. A botch is no action, not even defenses; a failure is no action except defenses, and those at a penalty. A minimal is a simple action or a half move; a moderate is a half move and a simple action or a full move; a complete is a half move and two simple actions, or a complex action, or a full move and a simple action. A Critical is a full move and two simple actions, or a half move and a complex action.

Actions are taken in descending order of initiative.

What Makes It Special
The rules that make it cinematic, while still being generally traditional style in play: Background, Pro Rep, and Hero Rep.

The Combat Mechanics which genuinely mirror the "Stand in the open and Shoot" of TOS, yet allow for tactical play, and encourage staying in cover.

A mission based mode of play, including decorations, evaluation and begging for more assigned gear.

More on the Special Bits

Mission Mode
Each mission starts off with a briefing. Then, the players are given a list of gear issued. Then they can "Wheedle" for more gear using their Pro Rep. Then, it's off to the mission. Finally, when the mission is over and they're beaming up, a post mission debriefing, including a GM stated Evaluation, and the PC's wheedling it up with any unspent Pro Rep.

The GM should be laying out what constitutes the three key levels of success for the mission (minimal, moderate, complete) during the initial briefing. While his evaluation after doesn't HAVE to match up, it should; if they fell shy due to GM action (stuff that happened but wasn't briefed for), they can use that as grounds for using pro-rep to wheedle the evaluation up.

Background:
At the start of each adventure, everyone rolls their background rating. It starts between 1 and 3, and only goes up when you get promoted (and it's not a given even then) against a tricode set by the GM or adventure. The Highest rollers (on their best die) get some hook tied to the adventure, often including a couple levels of skill. Yep, this adds skills to your character mid-game. So, if there is an adventure requirement that someone has underwater BB stacking, high roller gets a couple levels of it… and usually a tie-in to an NPC. Further, the success level determines some bonuses, as well, so there might be additional levels of skill or knowing some NPC.

Pro Rep
Professional Reputation. It starts off determined by your rank. It's how much you can influence your superiors.

You can use it in the briefing to "requisition" more gear.
What you don't use is a hedge against poor performance.

Hero Rep
Hero Rep also starts based off rank. It goes up by doing heroic actions - in military terms, by exhibiting valor - and the more heroic you behave, the more dice of Hero Rep you should get.

It's used as a pool of rerolls per mission. If you have a Hero Rep of 3 dice, you can turn 3 dice per session over to having rolled a "6" (allowing a reroll as well). And you can do it at any point.

At the end of the mission, the GM reviews your heroic deeds, as if he were the Tri-Vid audience (not as the CO!)… and if it was good Tri-Vid valor, awards points. At 100 points, you lose 100 points but gain a new hero rep die.

Likewise, for every 5 points of Hero Rep Points earned, you get one die to roll for getting a medal.

Rank, Seniority and Experience
Each mission, you'll earn some Pro Rep points; for each 100 of them accumulated, you gain 1 die more Pro Rep. It is possible, on failed or botched missions, to lose some Pro Rep - if you go negative, you get written up, and your next die is harder to get, but it's not gonna cost you the die immediately.

You also gain seniority. If you got any pro-rep for the mission, you gain a point of seniority, too. If you gained more than 100 points in a single session, you get a second seniority point, as well.

You also get experience points - 1 per 10 Pro Rep Points earned, minimum 1 per mission, even if it failed.

Drawbacks
The initiative system works best when players have a mat in front of them with their Action/Initiative tricodes marked on the mat, so that it's easier to count initiative.

Some players never grasp the tricode system.

Characters start out rather highly skilled in narrow areas.

"It's Not Really Trek" - it's close enough to scare off the Trek Haters, and not close enough for the die-hard Trekkers, but most of us old-school Trekkies will enjoy it.

Why I love it
It's fast (surprisingly so), and combat is both forgiving and yet decidedly dangerous. Characters grow, and the background system means someone is always tied to the adventure, even if no one thought to take the required skill.

And if you have a cool adventure requiring special skills, you can use the background system to assign them.

But most of all - it's fun, and it's Trek, and it's a special ops game that works.

Plus, since it's essentially out of print, it's not got stuff to keep up with.

The Books
The Prime Directive rulebook has almost everything needed to play... but the skill list is limited, and it's only Federation crew, and some really funky rank titles for enlisted.

The Federation is really "Rulebook Part II" - it revises a few small items, adding the Critical Success level, more decorations, better enlisted ranks, more skills and more races.

Prime Adventures 1 is the one and only issue of the magazine... but it's really a rules expansion. More races, more skills, advanced Psionics rules, non-vulcan psionicists, and the deck plans of a small freighter. Plus a GM adventure and a solo adventure.

Graduation Excercise is intended to be that - brand new characters do their final exam for Prime Central, but nobody told the bad guys it was a Training Exercise!

Uprising is a decent adventure dealing with an uprising on an associate world of the Federation.

Star Fleet Battles: Captain's Module T – Tournament Book Has an excellent and replayable tournament module for the game. And since you can usually pull this off of old SFBers for a song and dance...
21 
 Thumb up
7.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
peter pan
Poland
Warsaw
mazowieckie
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Before I read it - why is it article and how it differs from thread? o_O
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nimdil wrote:
Before I read it - why is it article and how it differs from thread? o_O
Beats me. I just went up one level from last week's Share-A-Game thread, and hit "post new."
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
peter pan
Poland
Warsaw
mazowieckie
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
aramis wrote:
nimdil wrote:
Before I read it - why is it article and how it differs from thread? o_O
Beats me. I just went up one level from last week's Share-A-Game thread, and hit "post new."
Huh, OK. I corrected link on Wiki - the primary reason I asked; apparently the linking is different.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Graf
Germany
Koblenz
flag msg tools
designer
Help me! I got addicted to MtG again!
badge
Help me! I got addicted to MtG again!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We played Prime Directive crossover with Star Fleet Battles (ages ago). We pimped the 'Battles' part a bit, so that our characters would not be wasted to fast, cause we where playing fighter pilots. This had a very good feel to it
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lydon wrote:
We played Prime Directive crossover with Star Fleet Battles (ages ago). We pimped the 'Battles' part a bit, so that our characters would not be wasted to fast, cause we where playing fighter pilots. This had a very good feel to it
It should be noted that any such game was either in GURPS or was using extensive homebrew - there is no official interface in PD1E with SFB, aside from the mechanics for prime teams in SFB being in PD1E.

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Baldowski
United Kingdom
Stockport
Cheshire
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've always had a soft spot for this game, and the concept of the Prime Teams especially. The Primes just make more sense than Away Teams in old Trek ever did. Send down trained experts, not your over qualified but far from expendable key bridge crew and department heads.

I met Tim Olsen on several occasion when he worked as a barrister at my local Borders bookstore in Stockport. Nice guy.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
peter pan
Poland
Warsaw
mazowieckie
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice read!

I admit, though, that I have never really liked Star Trek Universe so it does not seem like something for me.

From mechanic - I don't really like that the harder the task, the higher a chance for a botch. I can imagine that some tasks are hard to succeed in any degree but which are - at the same time - not easy to botch at. I assume a botch is some kind of failure with backlash etc.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nimdil wrote:
Nice read!

I admit, though, that I have never really liked Star Trek Universe so it does not seem like something for me.

From mechanic - I don't really like that the harder the task, the higher a chance for a botch. I can imagine that some tasks are hard to succeed in any degree but which are - at the same time - not easy to botch at. I assume a botch is some kind of failure with backlash etc.

Not with backlash. It's "Failure without retry" or "Failure with consequences." Whereas the Fail level is usually just a "failure to do it this time."


For Security systems, it IS set off the alarm.
For scanning with a tricorder, it's not break the tricorder, but unable to get reliable data and anyone else scanning sees your scan.

Also, given the Hero Rep dice, it's usually just pop a hero rep to avoid the botch. Really, they're rather rare, those botches... pop one hero rep, and your best die just went from a 1 or 2 to a 5+1d6...

And, given the multiple dice, read best single die, it's not very common. Further, not too many modifiers are flat. Most are +1/+2/+3... with some +0/+2/+4 mods out there, and a few +0/+1/+1's

Given the base tricode of 4/6/8 with X/Y/Z placeholders
Botch is 1 (roll < half of X)
Fail is 2-3 ( X/2 ≤ Roll < X)
Minimal is 4-5 (X ≤ Roll < Y)
Moderate is 6-7 (Y ≤ Roll < Z)
Complete is 8-15 (Z ≤ Roll ≤ 2Z)
Critical is 16+ (2Z ≤ Roll)

Chance of botch on 2d is 1/36; on 3d is 1/216; on 4d is 1/1296. Average human stat is 3; PC's will have a bunch of 4's, instead, so only unskilled tasks with poor stats get 1d...

Now, with a +1/+2/+3 expanded making it 5/8/11
Botch is 1-2, Fail is 3-4, Minimal is 5-7, Moderate 8-10, Complete 11-21, and Critical 22+.

Base 4/6/8 with +0/2/4 expanded becomes 4/8/12
Botch 1; Fail 2-3; Min 4-7; Mod 8-11; Comp 12-23; Crit 24+
Still only 1/36 on 2D, etc...

Now, the +2 Flat for no skill (Defaulting off attribute) does make the base tricode 6/8/10...
Botch 1-2; Fail 3-5; Min 6-7; Mod 8-9; Comp 10-19;

Which means unskilled joe with Stat 4 botches 1/9th of the time; Burque with 6 stat, 1/27th of the time, and Thufa Ungawa with a 12 stat (maximum possible for PC characters) gets 6d for a 1/729 chance of botch.

Even at +6 flat (max from wounds of +4 Flat, and unskilled of +2 Flat), needing an 10/12/14, a botch is still only 1-4.
1d is thus 2/3 chance; 2d is 4/9; 3d is 8/27; 4d is thus 16/81; 5d is 32/243; 6d is 64/729

And that's really as bad as it ever gets in my experience. PC's generally avoid anything worse than +4 flat, or +4/+8/+12 expanded mods.

Also, some skills are rolled on a base of 2/4/6, and a few on 1/2/3... in which case, a botch can only happen when tired, wounded, ill equipped, or unskilled, as it's hard to roll under half of 2 on 1d6.

Oh, and if you want it hard to succeed at but hard to botch, just give it steep expanded mods... like +0/+5/+10...
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thought I'd share some more, as we close out it's week.

Originally posted on another site, I said the following about the reward cycles:

aramis wrote:
Prime Directive 1E

1) XP are given for mission difficulty and completion quality only
2) Pro Rep (Professional Reputation) is given for Mission Difficulty and Completion quality only
3) Hero Rep is given for TV-appropriate heroics, ESPECIALLY ones that are brave-but-suicidal
4) Seniority is gained for completing missions successfully
5) Seniority can be lost for disobeying mission prohibitions, or inappropriate behavior witnessed and reported by PCs or NPCs
5) Combat is mechanically detailed.
6) Skill resolution has lots of mechanical crunch, but is less detailed than combat.
7) High Pro Rep provides more access to equipment
8) High Hero Rep allows turning dice into 6's, a pool that recharges each mission
9) Seniority leads to promotion and additional Pro Rep
10) Stunning is as easy as killing, and costs less energy with most "modern" energy weapons.
11) Military Decorations for the characters can be gained for heroic action and for satisfactory mission completion.
12) unused pro-rep can be used to improve mission evaluations.

Depending on the mission, killing can be either actively rewarded (when it's part of a mission goal) or actively punished (when it's forbidden by the mission). The use of stun makes casual use of force far more an option, and stunning does leave more energy in the packs, so setting for kill is not actively rewarded. The game also has enough mechanical crunch to support non-combat modes of play, but it also tends to result in more book lookups. Hero Rep can be grounds for players to do things that are not practical, but are cinematic and dramatic, so it actively encourages such play; if survived, it makes to easier to pull it off later, as Hero rep provides a rechargeable (start of new mission) pool of "I make this die open end" roll modifications.

And I'll note that ADB isn't out of copies yet.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
flag msg tools
designer
I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
badge
The Splattered Imperium
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Note: ADB just released the Core Book in PDF - the E23 line is "PD One" rather than "Prime Directive"...

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=ADB5801

The preview OCR is passable.

I can't afford the PDF yet.

Jean Sexton notes on ADB's Fed Commander Forums that the others will follow soon.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls