SFB meets Prime Directive

This idea has been on my prodigious back-burner for a very long time.

The basic idea is to have the game be mostly roleplay using Prime Directive, where the consequences for political ham-handedness can be played out using Starfleet Battles. The scenario I have in mind is like the episode (Friday’s Child, season 2) where a non-allied world has something that at least two sides want – mineral rights being the most likely choice. To keep things simple-seeming, I have this idea that it will be a scenario between the Federation and the Klingons. However, I want to add in a layer of diplomatic obfuscation as well. Let’s not talk about that part where the players can hear~
The obvious layer would be simply for obtaining exclusive access to mineral rights on a high-tech, non-warp, non-allied world. Both the Federation and the Klingon Empire could benefit from an increased supply of this mineral. The location of the world puts it in easy striking distance of the Romulans and the Klingons, so the Federation is playing it very safe, and is somewhat concerned about negotiations raising the stakes to include membership in the Federation, but will step up to protect the world if necessary. If the rights cannot be obtained, preventing the Klingons from developing a relationship with the locals works just as well. The Romulans seem to have no interest in the world, and following the thread that they purchase the bulk of their warp capable fleet from the cast-offs of the Klingon Empire, may not indeed have the resources to pursue an interest should they have or develop one.   
From the other side, the Klingons want the mineral as much as the Federation does, but an additional reason for wanting to have access to or control of the world would be to allow them to gain a positional advantage over the Romulans, and prevent the Romulan empire from obtaining a similar advantage over them. So, while technically in a form of truce or ‘non-compete’ agreement, possession of this planet would allow the Klingons a more advantageous strike point for invasion of Romulan space should it ever be necessary in the future. 
Players would be playing an ‘Away Team’ (Prime Team) which means they would be trained for some covert military action, some espionage, and a lot of diplomacy. Sadly, I have but two players. If I can get a good story, with rich detail and politics, then I can give the players more to interact with without devolving to scenario-based sessions, and thereby give them much more bang for their buck… or won in this case.
On the board game side of things, I see each side being involved in small scale and medium scale fleet actions which would need to be kept from the locals, and which could set tensions flaring. The Klingons could do their usual brinkmanship, and the Federation has its share of cowboy diplomats… lots of sparks to cause potential explosions.
If the actions of the players set things off on the planet, battle might ensue, if maneuvering in space gets out of hand, battle might ensue, spies from other polities might cause all sorts of crap to happen – with evidence pointing to the Klingons in most cases, etc.
In battle, I guess one player could run the Feds while the other played the Klingons for larger fleet actions, and I could run the Klingons while they both took a Fed ship or set of ships in smaller actions. Ship to ship operations, such as boarding, would be handled normally for SFB unless the PCs were involved, when it would revert to Prime Directive and flipping back and forth between systems at appropriate moments.

Thoughts and reactions?  I am particularly interested in talking with someone who has done this already (a billion years ago when PD was new, for example) and with those who can offer suggestions to facilitate my making a lovely onion of the politics – an onion ripe for peeling by two players.

2 Responses to “SFB meets Prime Directive”
  1. jeffro says:

    The obvious plot points are as follows:

    A) Play up the Klingon brinkmanship to the nth degree. Rattle the sabers on the space side. In front of the natives, they have to look extremely nice and reasonable, though. Strangely, the Fed’s don’t detect anything out of the way on that side….

    B) But… something bad happens and it is pinned on the Feds. The Klingons have an air-tight alibi. Almost too airtight…. It turns out their Romulan allies have engineered the subterfuge for them.

    C) The PC’s discover that the Klingons intend to double cross the Roms. They use sex appeal to get close to the beautiful Warbird captain and reveal the evidence to her.

    D) Meanwhile… a Federation freighter makes its way toward the planet. It is attacked by a Klingon F5… this draws off some of the Federation ships. The Klingons attack the remaining Feds… and things look grim!

    E) BUT… if the PC’s did their job well enough at point C, then the Warbird uncloaks and saves their bacon.

    F) And somehow the Feds manage to close the deal at the end. Hopefully a fast-talking first officer had a chance at some point to goad an important Klingon captain into losing his temper. Maybe the PC’s have a better idea of how to swing this than I do…! Perhaps if the freighter turned out to be a Q-ship… and the main diplomat was involved on the taking of that crew for some reason. There’s gotta be some sort of sting that can be pulled here…!

    If being limited to two players is a problem, have each player run multiple characters. Each gets to play one that stays on the ship, one in the away team, one on the Freighter, etc.

  2. Runeslinger says:

    Thanks for the suggestions~ Some of them (like C and F for example) gave me a real chuckle, definitely in keeping with the mood I hope to have in the game.

    I suddenly have a craving to put on some Star Trek episodes~ Perfect!

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