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What are some of the systems which were built for a Star Trek setting? What are their strengths?

Is there a new system for the new Star Trek franchise?

One system per answer, please.


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10 Answers 10

up vote 4 down vote accepted

GURPS Prime Directive

Amarillo Design Bureau

Setting: Star Fleet Universe

Major statistics: Attributes, Skills, Advantages, Disadvantages

Character Generation is point based; Attributes 10-normed, skills purchased to TN based upon governing attribute. Advantages and disadvantages in same pool.

Tasks: 3d6 for (skill + modifiers) or less.

Combat: standard GURPS - damage to Hit Points, which start equal to ST or HT (depending upon edition), with Health rolls at various thresholds to remain functional and to survive.

Standalone Core Book & Several supplements. All softcover.

Setting is the Variant TOS-derived Star Fleet Universe, as described in Amarillo Design Bureau's Star Fleet Battles. This is grounded in the Star Fleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph, but expanded heavily, and is a more militant setting than the official Trek universe.


Starships and Spacemen

Fantasy Games Unlimited, later Goblinoid Games. In print, softcover and PDF.

Major Statistics: Attributes, Class, level

Setting: "Galactic Confederacy" Star Fleet Service.

Character generation: Random attribute rolls (3d6+ racial mods), pick class.

Level and rank tied together; your level is your rank. Class determines what gets Experience points. Level-up increases 1 attribute 1 point, and allows more equipment.

Task system: 1d20 for attribute or less. Some subclasses get a +1 or other small benefit.

Setting is Trek Inspired, but altered because the license was too expensive.

Confederation Races: Humans, Taurans (Vulcan-like), Rigel (warrior humans), Andromedans (Blue, Furry, humanoids, highly psionic, very emtional)

Alien Races: Zangids (Klingons) and Videni (Romulans with a Dune influence).


Star Trek RPG

FASA. Out of print; license revoked for cause in 1989.


  • 1st Edition - monolithic rulebook including starship combat and personal combat mechanics as boardgames, in addition to roleplay. Ship combat presumes players doing particular position based roles, and using a Constitution Class; antagonists and smaller ships as GM-only short-form simplified mechanics.
  • 2nd Edition - 3 small rulebooks, covering combat, roleplay, GMing, and character gen. Ship combat moved to the separate "Star Trek Tactical Combat Simulator" boxed boardgame. The boardgame presumes a medium form control sheet for every ship, and allows more easily for using ships other than the Constitution class in position-playing mode.


TOS/TAS + own expanded universe versions of Orions, Klingons and Romulans. TNG seasons 1 & 2 only, but with only two books for TNG, and requiring the TOS based core.


percentile rated attributes and skills, plus some racial abilities.

Task System:

Skill percentile determines a number of automatic capabilities, harder items are roll 1d100 for skill percentile or less, possibly modifying the percentile.

Routine activities rolled on 1d10 rather than 1d100, and automatically succeed if skill 10+

Other system mechanics

Combat is action point based, uses hit points, and intended for counters-on-map.

No advantage nor disavantage system.

Character generation is rolled attributes, training templates for academy and branch, plus command and department head schools, plus randomized terms in various assignments providing skill gain rolls allocated to individual skills as desired. Final rank and position is contracted with the GM prior to beginning.

Other considerations

Extensive adventure support, long out of print. Has related starship combat game, Star Trek III Tactical Combat Simulator, later renamed Star Trek Tactical Combat Simulator

Made multiple extensions to the setting, most of which predate the release of TNG, and most of which have been contradicted by later Star Trek canon.

Most notable is that the Klingons, as presented, were based upon accepting bothe the "human look" of the series and the "ridge head look" of the movies; the explanation used was that the smooth heads were genetic modifications, hybrids, of Human and "Imperial" stock, comprising essentially a servant race with humanized features. A second fusion was of Romulan-Klingon mix.

By comparison, DS9's Trials and Tribbelations makes it Official Trek canon that, during the 5 year mission, Klingons did have smooth heads; in Enterprise, it is revealed that it is due to human DNA being used, but it's a form of retroviral therapy damage, and prior and post, klingons were Ridge Headed. DS9 also established that several smooth headed TOS Klingons (Including Qang and Qoloth) "now" have ridges again.

License Issue

The license issue boiled down to FASA being licensed only for TOS and TAS. Their publishing of TNG materials was grounds for revocation.

Could you link to a Wikipedia entry or publisher web site or something? – LeguRi Nov 22 '10 at 0:07
Very reasonable description. Also, you should mention that the interpretation of Klingons was pre-Next Generation and were built around John M Ford's "fusion" Klingons - a storyline that explains why old show Klingons looked like Spaniards. – Lynn Nov 22 '10 at 2:50
@LeguRi: the Wikipedia Entry is poor, and liable for deletion. The publisher never had a decent website, and FASA-Trek was out of print before the HTTP protocol was in use. – aramis Nov 22 '10 at 7:07
Particularly noteworthy in FASA Star Trek is that if your ability is less than 10%, you roll 1d10 to see if you succeed for certain easy tasks, if you have 11% or higher you automatically succeed at them, giving it a logarithmic quality. It also states that 40% is human average, and all human characters start with at least 43%, so despite a random rolling system, it doesn't produce crap systems. – migo Mar 26 '11 at 4:30

Icon System

Producer: Last Unicorn Games

Official Settings: TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager

Major statistics: Attributes, Edges, Skills, Specialties, Advantages.

Attributes are rated 1-5
Edges are rated as a 0-normed modifier, typicall in the range -2 to +2
Skills range from (typically) 1-5.
Specialties are labels; you function at +2 skill level within, -1 outside.
Advantages include some that are leveled (including rank), and others that are not.

Character Creation is by multiple templates plus point expenditure.

Each setting (TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager) was a separate line, with separate core books for each. Each corebook is standalone and relatively complete; no Player/GM separation.

Corebooks are color hardcovers, supplements limited color softcovers.

Task system is dicepool based, using attribute d6's. Roll pool, keep highest single die, but, if multiple dice match, +1 per duplicate. So, in a roll of 5,5,5,6, you count the 5's, for 5+1+1=7. Then, to this total, add skill and edge (and specialization bonus or lack of specialization penalty), and compare to target number by difficulty.

Combat includes a hit point system, with damage steps producing penalties.


Star Trek: Adventures in the Final Frontier

Heritage Games

Setting: TOS/TAS only.

Major Statistics: 6 attributes, class.

Combat focused rule set, intended primarily for miniatures play.

Very limited mechanics, no skill system.

Published in 1978.

I actually really liked this one back in the day. You're dead on about the limits, though. – JUST MY correct OPINION Nov 30 '10 at 10:14

Prime Directive PD20M

Amarillo Design Bureau; in print.

Setting: Star Fleet Universe

Key Statistics: Attributes, Skills, Feats, Class, Level

Game System: d20 Modern SRD derived.

All supplements contain the same non-rules text as their GURPS Prime Directive equivalents, but the rules mechanics are all adapted to PD20.

System is pretty tight to the SRD from what I've heard, but I've not read it. (Someone who has, feel free to edit this)

Standalone Core Book & Several supplements. All softcover.

Setting is the Variant TOS-derived Star Fleet Universe, as described in Amarillo Design Bureau's Star Fleet Battles. This is grounded in the Star Fleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph, but expanded heavily, and is a more militant setting than the official Trek universe.


Assorted Home Brew

There are a variety of games being released under Paramount's current (last 3 years) web policy. Paramount and Viacom are apparently not currently seeking licensees for roleplaying games, and the games licensees are not companies which have Roleplaying Games.

There are Star Trek adaptations for several systems (Settings):

  • Microlite 20 (TOS/TAS) - Where No Man Has Gone Before
  • Mongoose Traveller (multiple versions, some are all settings)
  • GURPS (old ones from early 1990's; pulled from Illuminati BBS, but still in circulation in torrents; I have a printout, but not the original file.)
  • "Original" D&D (TOS-ish) - Finarvyn's OD&D TOS
  • Hero System (Unknown) - There was an adaptation for the Hero System on Hero Games; Steve Long pulled it; it's listed on several Torrent Sites. (All the hits I get for it are torrent sites)

Icon System

Decipher. License not renewed circa 2006

Note: many elements appear to be adapted from LUG's Icon system implementation.

Settings: TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise

Separate Player's Guide and Narrator's Guide, several supplments; hardcover or PDF. All books are multi-setting. No adventures released.

Major Statistics: Class, Attributes, Skills, Abilities, Advantages, Disadvantages

Attributes are rated on a 1-18 scale, and provide a bonus to tasks based upon a 7 norm. They are generated on 2d6 + racial mods.

Skills range from 1-12, with a starting character limit of level 6.

Advantages are almost identical to their LUG Trek counterparts.

Class Abilities: specific archetypical abilities provide mechanical bonuses. Purchased like advantages, but limited by which archetype was chosen. Tiered; Tier 2 and 3 require other abilities to be taken.

Character Generation is by multiple templates, including class and subclass, with some points choices in most templates, plus advantages and disadvantages.

Experience system is in 1000 XP = 5 character point blocks, but is essentially point based.

Task System is 2d6, on a 12 +1d6, + modifier from attribute, + Skill level.

Combat system uses hit points, with penalties at various levels of losses.

Related non-Trek games: Lord of the Rings.

A designer's note formerly on the Decipher website indicated that the game evolved from a d20 adaptation.


Prime Directive 1E

Task Force Games, later Amarillo Design Bureau

Setting: Star Fleet Universe

Major statistics: Attributes and Skills, some racial abilities.

Attributes range, typically, 1-8, with potential for higher.
Skills range 1-10, typically in the 3-5 range.

Character Generation is Academy Template plus Branch School Template, plus randomly determined points; it is common to have enlisted characters.

Tasks: Number of dice is equal to average of Stat & Skill. Roll the dice pool, keep best single die. 6's count as 5+ a reroll, recursive. (I've seen rolls where the best "die" was in the 50's.) Result is compared to a "Tricode"

Tricode is 3 numbers, separated by slashes. The first is for minimal success, the second for moderate, and the 3rd for complete. Two more success levels are figured from these: half the minimal is the low end for failure (below which is a fumble), and twice the complete is critical; these two are optional.

Combat uses two hit point tracks, Stun Points and Hit Points. Death is from both being 0.

Setting is the Variant TOS-derived Star Fleet Universe, as described in Amarillo Design Bureau's Star Fleet Battles. This is grounded in the Star Fleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph, but expanded heavily, and is a more militant setting than the official Trek universe.

The Tricode system is initially confusing, but smooths out in a few sessions for most.

System focuses on special missions teams, called Prime Teams, comparable in many ways to US Seals and US Green Berets.

Corebook, 2 adventures, 2 supplements, all softcover. Scanned PDF of all books available. Some additional articles, including ship crew schools, in Captains Log (magazine) articles.


WOTC has released all of the D20 Modern rules for anyone to download and modify for their own games (it's (for me) the first result in google for the search d20 modern).

You can take those basic rules and modify them to fit a scifi setting better. It wouldn't include rules for starships though.

WOTC also used to have a Star Wars rpg, which is based on the d20 system, and does have rules for starships, and has lots of different species and planet ideas already made. The only problem is it's star wars not star trek.


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