Coming up on part three of our four-part Star Trek FATE core game, we come back to game mechanics and come back in force. This section introduces the tools of the trade, from tricorders to phasers and a good deal in between.
Star Trek frequently introduces some new piece of vital technology, and this portion of the ruleset illustrates how easy that is to do. FATE core mechanics already enable a tremendous amount of improvisation and spontaneous narration, so adapting this to Star Trek proved to be relatively easy and a good bit of fun.
A lot of the gear presented makes use of Fate Points, which may be a little “off” for some players to initially get. Why can’t you just throw a grenade and have an area attack, why does that cost a Fate Point? The answer is because of the drama and story. Group-wide attacks, instant-solution effects should not just be a toggle switch of on/off, use/don’t use. They are a tremendous portion of the story and not something that should be tossed around just because you have it written in a catalogue of gear. Making use of high-powered, all-encompassing effects are a matter of serious story influence and, as such, require an investment of narrative economy. That economy, in FATE, is Fate Points and their use absolutely covers wide-angle phaser fire and potent melorazine injections.
By incorporating a plot influence mechanic in the use of certain pieces of gear, especially gear that provides a myriad of choices — whether obvious or implied — it encourages consideration, preparation, and thought, both on how it effects the game and the other players at the game table. By taking a moment to think actions through, to make sure (as players and GM alike) we’re giving our best to any scene’s actions, we’re ensuring that everyone at the table looks cool and, most importantly, is having a good time.
So, set your phasers on…well, you’ll see, you have a lot of choices.