Enterprise NX-01 (Star Trek starship) and a terrestrial planet

Enterprise NX-01 starship


The Enterprise is, famously enough, the name for the starships used by most Star Trek protagonists. This paper is based on the NX-01 (seen in Enterprise), but the data is useful for every subsequent generation of ship, including the NCC-1701 Enterprise spaceships in the original series (“TOS”) or Next Generation (“TNG”).

This is an almost entirely technical article, about such ships in the DC Heroes RPG. The Internet is awash in more general articles on the subject, for instance on Memory Alpha .

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

/DEX/ 02 STR 22 BODY 15 INT 08 WILL 05 MIND 05

Damage Capacity (Physical): 10, Energy Blast: 12, Flight: 40, Force Field: 04, Life Sense: 13, Omni-Arm: 09, Recall: 18, Sealed Systems: 22, Skin Armor: 02, Power Reserve: 10, Radio Communications: 25, Teleportation: 25

All are at R#0 unless mentioned otherwise.

The ship contains a 12 APs on-board Scientific and Medical Laboratory.

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Hardened Defenses (+2).
  • Radio Communications has its Range increased by +28 APs (+6).
  • Radio Communications use sub-space channels and are thus instant within Range (not limited to transmission/receiving speeds of 29 APs) (+2).
  • Force Field or Skin Armor have to be activated by use of a Dice Action (-1) and Automatic Action (-0), respectively (and are never used at the same time).
  • Power Reserve is only usable with Damage Capacity, Energy Blast, Force Field and Skin Armor (-0).
  • Power Reserve may not increase any single stat to more than double its original AP value (-1).
  • Force Field power automatically fails when Damage Capacity has been used up ; i.e. the shields are down (-1).
  • Teleportation can only be used to teleport people and equipment to and from the transportation room of the ship (-1).
  • Teleportation has a R#3 (-1).
  • Teleportation is non-functional through object’s whose total RV is greater than the APs of power (-1).
  • Omni-Arm is not usable with anything non-metallic (-1).
  • Pushing the Flight power temporarily disables half the APs of the Power Reserve power (-1).
  • Life Sense power rolls against the subject’s mental stats or the physical RV surrounding the subject, whichever is higher (-1).

/DEX/ represents an auto-pilot function and enables the ship to move as pre-programmed. It may not be used for auto-targetting or auto-repair, which both requires human hands.

INT, WILL, MIND and Recall represents onboard computers.

Note about ship parts (all of whom may be attacked and disabled by Trick Shots):

  • Omni-Arm represents the ship’s magnetic grappling hooks and mechanical arm.
  • Sealed Systems is the life support systems.
  • Force Field is the deflector field generator.
  • Radio Communications is the communications disque.
  • Life Sense is the energy scanners.
  • Energy Blast is the weapons systems.
  • Flight is the warp core (destroying this, however, merely reduces Flight to 27 APs since impulse speed, provided by ordinary engines, is still available).

Smaller exploratory vessels.

Notes for later generations of Enterprise ships:

  1. Life Support (No need to Eat or Drink) included with ship.
  2. Fabricate of 2 APs would represent on-board replicators.
  3. TOS Flight is increased by 1 one AP and TNG Flight is increased by 1 further AP.
  4. Same Genre Rules.
  5. No newer ship has Skin Armor any longer.
  6. Torpedoes are extra equipment as are smaller exploration vessels kept onboard.
  7. Radio relay stations are increasingly spread around. Therefore the Radio Communications power is always set at 1 AP higher in the TOS era and 2 APs higher in the TNG era than during the Enterprise era.
  8. Omni-arm is exchanged with Attraction/Repulsion (or Telekinesis in the case of the Borgs).
  9. Updated on-board sensors require Detect (Energy signatures).
  10. In the future, later ships might have a couple of APs of Force Manipulation as well but that seems overly complex.
  11. From TNG forward they could perform site-to-site transports without difficulty (and thus do not have the Teleporation Limitations as stated above).
  12. The Teleportation of later ships is down to R#0.
  13. Various scramblers are represented by Obscure.
  14. Better computer security is represented by giving the ships more APs Security Systems.
  15. Radio Communications will have the Scrambled Bonus as well.

“Divert power to the engines !”

The ship’s power is, on occasion, diverted to its engines in order to attain higher speeds or make its lasers more powerful. The ship’s Power Reserve power handles several things, but minor alterations, AP-wise, are best represented by MEGS Pushing.

A ship’s Flight and Energy Blast Powers can be Pushed by at most 3 and 2 RAPs, respectively. A successful Pushing of Flight is active for 11-12 APs of time after which the power (or rather the engines) fails and must be repaired again (usually be the technicians, led by a Chief Engineer who often spends HPs on such feats).

Energy Blast Pushing is instantaneous and failure means that the power burns out until recovered as per standard rules.

“Transport an away team to the planet’s surface !”

The on-board transporter is kept in the transporter room. As such, the Teleportation power can only be used to and from the transporter room.

Furthermore, the transporter has an R#2 and requires skilled personnel, using Gadgdetry (Identify Gadget) to handle it adequately. The Transporter Chief has the Gadgetry (Identify Gadget) Subskill at a couple of APs, as do the normal red-shirts operating the room. Normal, standard and simple transportation has OV/RVs of 0 APs, RAPs meaning safe transportation.

Teleporting through an ion storm, for example, has an increased OV/RV. As does transportation through various cosmic anomalies. A failed R# does not mean that the transporter breaks down, but that the transportation did not work properly. A character thus transported will cease to exist and, in fact, for all practical purposes die.

However, the character can avoid such a fate by paying a fee of 15 HPs (by use of the “Altering the Game Environment” Optional rule). That allows for triggering a Subplot instead. Such as, for example, Kirk and crew getting sent to the Mirror Universe, Riker being duplicated, or Picard and crew being turned into children.

Thus, when the transporters go bad, our heroes have interesting and funny things happen to them. Whereas redshirts become the goat for this week’s gruesome special effects display.

Transporters, continued

The transporter can also be used Unskilled, but with standard penalties. Furthermore, Unskilled use automatically increases the transporters R# to 5.

The transporter needs to correctly lock onto a destination position. If such a position is behind extremely thick walls, having signal distorters (represented by Obscure) or behind deflector shields, the power might not work at all.

The transporter is only able to Teleport objects and people to destinations when its APs of Teleportation power exceed the target destinations total RV (as defined as BODY+Force Field+Obscure).

A very skilled transporter operator, such as Transporter Chief Miles O’Brien, can bypass such limitations by any of several mechanics, depending on the circumstances.

Keep in mind, though, that this depends on GM fiat. There are occasions where the limitations can’t be bypassed at all or require someone to go to the site of transport and work their magic by setting up transport enhancers or other technobabble.

Even minor obstacles such as a bad lightning storm, the negligible background radiation of a shielded reactor, or the mere presence of certain minerals nearby that aren’t even between the transporter and its target, have all been known to make transportation difficult or impossible.

Oddly enough, sometimes you can transport in to places you can’t transport out of in order to set up Gadgets that let you transport out.

Scientist (Analysis) might help the transporter understand the nature of any disturbances, and correct the teleporter’s signal, thus requiring only a successful Analysis roll before rolling Identify Gadget. A blocking force field, OTOH, might be circumvented by use of a Trick Shot maneuver, as determined by the GM, using Identify Gadget.

Other artificial fields, such as scrambled containment fields might also require the transporter to do a Thief (Security Systems) roll before continuing with transportation.

“Incoming priority message through sub-space channels from Earth !”

Radio Transmissions in the Trek Universe are handled through sub-space, not ordinary space. As such, all radio communication is instantaneous within APs or Range, and not limited by light-speed (29 APs) as they would be in real space.

Various cosmic anomalies disturb radio transmissions and thus might need a boost in signal strenght. Transmissions beyond the normal Range of power is also necessary, on occasion.

Signal strength increase is best represented by MEGS Pushing of the Radio Communications power. Radio Communications can, at most, be Pushed 2 APs. Pushed Radio Communications are delayed (GM call) when transmitting beyond the usual Range of the Power, and might be necessary to transmit through various areas of cosmic anomalies.

Relay stations

As the Enterprise continues its travelling sub-space relay stations are dropped at key points enabling the Radio Communications power to reach Earth beyond its ordinary range.

Treat this as equipment – Sup-Space Relay Station [BODY 10, Power Reserve: 02, Superhearing: 63. Limitation: Power Reserve may only boost Radio Communications between a Star Fleet ship and Earth by its APs of Power Reserve, thus extending their Radio Communications Range by a further 2 APs, reaching a total standard Range of 60 APs.]

These relay stations are so commonplace around the galaxy, in the future era of TNG, that all Federation starships should be rated with Radio Communications 2 APs higher than during the Enterprise era, instead of mentioning these stations. TOS starships still have the same limitation as Enterprise ships.

“Shields up !”

Ships in the Star Trek universe are protected by a metallic hull and deflector shields. At the start of the Enterprise era no deflector shields were available. Instead, polarized hull platings, represented by the Skin Armor power were used. Later ships would instead use the Force Field power.

Huge vessels such as starships have the Damage Capacity power to give it many ’hit points’ but lower total RVs, exactly like a Nuclear Submarine, Aircraft Carrier and similar in the rulesbook.

In MEGS, deflector shields are represented by a combination of Force Field and Damage Capacity. Skin Armor or Force Field are usually activated automatically when the ship goes ’Red Alert !‘.

Damage RAPs gained against a ship are deducted first from the ships Damage Capacity and then from the ship’s current BODY condition. Damage Capacity APs serve as Star Trek’s deflector shields, and start at 100 %. The GM then linearly drops this value as Damage Capacity APs are used up, down to a minum of 0 % (all APs are used up).

In the case of the Enterprise, for example, with Damage Capacity 10 APs, the shields would be down at 60 % when 4 RAPs had been scored on Damage Capacity. Once all Damage Capacity APs have been used up, the Force Field or Skin Armor power automatically fails, no longer providing any protection (“Shields are down !”).

Once BODY RAPs have been scored, it is considered to be a minor hull breach. As damage progresses various ship components are destroyed as well according to GM fiat. Then, once Force Field and Damage Capacity have both failed, the ship is a vulnerable sitting duck.

The ship’s Captain can use LDD with the ship’s Damage Capacity power.

Called shots

An attacker has the option of performing a Trick Shot against his opponent in order to damage a specific compartment or function of the ship. Succeeding in such a Trick Shot temporarily reduces that components abilities or even destroys it.

General Damage Instance chart from Trick Shots, based on RAPS scored:

  • 1 RAP: The targeted system is disabled for 1-10 turns.
  • ½ RV RAPs: The targeted system is wrecked. It requires 2d10 APs of time to repair, with an OV/RV check (against Gadgetry skill) equal to the RAPs of damage scored.
  • Full RV RAPs: The targeted system is destroyed, and can only be repaired in a Spacedock.

“Ship incoming !”

Combat between space ships use the Dogfight rules as presented in the World at War Sourcebook or on Pg. 182 of the BoH:SE rulebook under “Optional Rule – Vehicular Combat.”

Thus, Vehicles (Space) of the pilot are rolled against OV/RV of 0 APs and the RAPs are divided on offensive and defensive maneuvers. Offensive RAPs are used as AV for all attacks, except self-aiming or automated ones. Defensive RAPs are the OV of the ship.

Substituting Flight APs for OV in combat is possible, but it is rare and demands the GM’s permission to do so. The OV then equals the APs of Flight of a fleeing ship. The APs of Flight of the pursuing ship (if both ships are matching speeds the OV is 0 or the pilot’s defensive maneuvers OV, whichever is higher).

The normal OV in space combat is the APs of the main space pilot’s Space Vehicles Subskill that he has placed on defensive maneuvers (as per dogfight rules).

Furthermore, it should also be remembered that, in the above example, the fleeing vessel is already long gone from the pursuer at the end of that Phase. This is, of course, so only because of the high Flight APs involved when the warp engines are working properly, not a general combat occurrence.

In normal combat situations all vessels usually plane out at the same AP level, though, so Flight for OV substitution does not occur often. A leader of an entire fleet with Leadership, Vehicles (Space) and Military Science (Field Command) can grant all ships under his command use of his Vehicles (Space) subskill up to a maximum equal to his Military Science (Field Command) subskill.

This has been done by Captain Jean-Luc Picard on occasions.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen and Roy Cowan.

Helper(s): William Peterson, John Colagioia, Eric Langendorff.