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Star Trek Fate: Starfleet Academy and the Command Structure


If you don’t know where to start, a good place is always the beginning.  The beginning for Star Trek is the Starfleet Academy.  Any non Vulcan or Vulcan/Human character starts the Academy at age 18 (18 skill points) and with a refresh of 3. Vulcans and Vulcan/Humans start the Academy at age 22 (22 skill points) and 5 Refresh.  While most fate games give you free choice as to what skills you can have and where, being in the Academy requires some skills to be at least at +1 (Average):

Minimum requirements to be in Starfleet Academy
These skills are required to be at a minimum of +1:

  • Physique
  • Scholarship
  • Discipline
  • Protocol

There is a link to a blank Cadet Character sheet

The first 2 years of the Academy are used to get players accustomed to the FATE system and understand how different conflicts, both physical and social, are done. This can be achieved by running the players through a montage of classes with skill checks on Science, Tactical situations, Engineering, etc. These should be done for every year and the results kept till the end of the Academy so the Characters can be ranked in their graduating class. You should also include physical endurance tests that mimic real life situations. A good example is to have the Cadets go on a Survival hike at the end of the 2nd year.

Once you get into the 3rd year of the Academy characters will be looking into taking their specialized classes for whatever role they plan on taking in Star Fleet.Here are some possible roles they can plan ahead for:

Possible Roles

While being in Starfleet Academy requires certain skills to be a +1 (average), once you pick a role you have to also keep certain skills at +2 (fair):

Role Skills. These roles require specific skills to be at a minimum of +2:

  • Engineer: Craftsmanship, Scholarship
  • Science/Medical: Investigation, Notice, Scholarship
  • Helm: Piloting, Scholarship
  • Tactical/Security: Protocol,Weapons, Survival
  • Communication/Counselor: Customs,Empathy, Rapport

These last 2 years of the Academy are used to teach cadets how the command structure works as well as how Star Ships work.

Command Structure

The command structure in Starfleet is a Social Construct.  While they give you no actual physical benefits (besides access to special information and areas), they work to set up a chain of command where those of lower rank follow the commands of those higher than themselves. The mechanic in Star Trek Fate that lets players buck against that is called Experience. You can get experience by being higher in rank, or purchasing specialized Stunts.  On a normal Starship, the rank system works like this:

Ranks: (Minimum Refreshx2 before purchase rank equal to refresh)

Ensign = +0 Refresh -0 Experience
Lieutenant Junior Grade (JG) = -1 Refresh = +1 Experience
Lieutenant = -2 Refresh +2 Experience
Lieutenant Commander = -3 Refresh +3 Experience
Commander -4 Refresh +4 Experience
Captain -5 Refresh +5 Experience


  • To have the rank of Commander you must have 8 or more refresh.
  • To have the rank of Captain you must have 10 or more refresh.

Decisions between Starfleet personnel

Whenever an officer wants to question a superior officers order, while others are around, that officer and the superior officer in question roll an experience check ( experience modifier). The superior officer gets a free invoke on the lower officers rank. The results are compared and the remaining net is used as a social attack on the losing party.


  • A Lieutenant JG questions the order of a Commander while on the bridge.
  • Lieutenant JG experience =  1 experience
  • Lieutenant Commander experience =  3 experience
  • Lieutenant JG rolls a +0 on dice = +1
  • Lt. Commander rolls a -1 on dice = +2
  • Difference = 1 in favor of Lt. Commander.
  • This would be an attack of 1 stress on the Lieutenant JG. The Lt. Commander knows this isn’t enough to remove the JG from the conflict or give him a consequence.
  • The Lt. Commanders gets a free tap on the JG’s lower rank. Bringing the attack up to 3.
  • The JG has no Presence and thus only has a Social stress bar of 2. The JG is given the choice to either back out of the conflict and follow the original order, or suffer a mild consequence of “Not trusted by fellow crew members” and proceed into a normal social conflict.

While cadets in the Academy do not use these ranks, they do have Class ranks (1st – 4th class). Each class does not give an Experience Bonus, but any class that is further in years (1st year is 4th class, 2nd year is 3rd class, etc) gets a free tap on the aspect of anyone in a Class before them in these contests.

As a side note, a way to side-step this Experience check is for the Junior officer to request to “Speak Freely”, if that permission is given there is no Experience check and thus no consequences can be given out.

Star Ships

The last year of the Academy is used to teach the students about Star Ships and how they function. There will be another post that covers this topic in depth.


Author: Burn Everything Gaming

Website that mostly produces Actual Play Podcast as well as game reviews and other musings on the topic. Hope you enjoy.

2 thoughts on “Star Trek Fate: Starfleet Academy and the Command Structure

  1. Reblogged this on R.P.G. (Runkle Plays Games) and commented:
    Star Trek FATE is a perfect example of the FATE system doing what it does best. In a time when there really is not a good set of rules for a very impressive game genre. FATE flexes its muscles and shows off how versatile it can be.

    Liked by 1 person

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