Revising the Rank System

Terran Stellar Navy Forums (OOC) Division Development Revising the Rank System

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    Last night in the Senior Officers meeting, one of the SO’s brought up the rank system and how it is currently structured. One key point discussed was the step from Lieutenant to Lieutenant-Commander and that it was quite a big step up from the junior officer ranks. Promoting people to Lieutenant Commander is something that has usually been discussed in length by the Senior officers due to the expectations and differences between Junior officers and Senior officers.

    It was pointed out that there are some in the Division who are happy to remain in the Lieutenant rank (which in my mind is perfectly acceptable and really we can’t promote everyone up to Lt. Commander, so Lieutenant should be quite a senior rank anyway) so that they are able to continue playing on the different bridge roles, rather than advancing to command ranks or having to commit more to the division. One issue raised was how can we recognise the seniority and contribution these lieutenants make.

    There were two main solutions discussed by the senior officers. One was to promote higher in the chain of command. Currently we have 1 fleet captain and 1 captain. There is definitely scope to promote at least another two captains, but the solution went further, having all ship captains ranking Captain and the XOs ranking Commander. There would then be Lt. Commander which would be the more senior Lieutenants.

    The second solution was creating more ranks in our rank system. A senior Lieutenant rank was one suggestion (think 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Lieutenant, or adding stars to a Lieutenants rank) as well as additional ranks in the senior officers (e.g. Captain-Lieutenant). It was noted that we could differentiate between ship captains and battle group commanders somehow as well.

    We would have to consider carefully the rank names and can draw on real military ranks from past and present day, or from different countries.

    Now the Senior Officer had discussed the options, I have made the decision to open this up for general discussion. If we were to create additional ranks, what could they be?

    Please note, we are NOT having an admiral in a light fleet, so don’t suggest it. The lowest rank will remain at Ensign, and the highest Fleet Captain.

    Blaze Strife

    I propose we go with both options.

    I believe that those that are always in command of a ship should be of Captain rank, with their usual XOs being Commander or Lt.Commander. Adding a rank such as Captain-Lieutenant or Captain 1st/2nd/3rd rank can help differentiate between ship captains and battle group commanders.

    I also believe that we should give people a choice (since we are playing a game, rather than actually fighting a war), whether they want to be promoted to the commanding ranks (LtCmdr and up) or if they want to stick as a Lieutenant. If they choose the latter, they can be promoted to Lieutenant-Senior, and left there for as long as they choose. If a LtSr decides she/he wishes to command a ship, that person can be immediately (or in a shift or two) promoted to LtCmdr.


    In terms of promoting people to command a ship, we do take in to consideration about who is aiming for command. However, the overriding factor comes down to proven ability and experience. I have met some who are great at command, but just don’t fancy it, some who are good and want he challenge and some who want command but aren’t necassarily suited to it. I have also seen people keen to want to command, then when put in the chair, realise what is actuallu required.

    Besides, we are looking at penalising command officers who lose their ship. Something along the lines of being a cadet for a shift 😉 That is yet to be confirmed.We could do a full on ‘immediate court marshall’ if you lose your ship and a punishment determined from that.

    Matthew Vaj

    Fleet Captain x1
    Battle Group Commander (captain) X1-2
    Captain x2-3
    Commander x5
    Lieutenant Commander x5-10
    Lieutenant x5-10
    Lieutenant Junior x5-10
    Ensign X unlimited

    Would easily cover all of us with wiggle room. I like the idea of every ship having a captain and a commander as xo. I’ve wondered a few times why we didn’t do that already, actually.


    It is historical. Originally, we had one captain and the rest commanders. Now we have one fleet captain and a captain with others that are being considered for the next captain rank. There is a difference between the rank of Captain and the position of ship captain though. Ship captains can officially be as low as Lieutenant Commander, and I am talking on a permanent basis, not just stepping in when the captain is absent. It is more likely that ship captains hold the rank of Commander and above though. In our division, there has only ever been one ship captain that held the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

    Matthew Vaj

    Upon rereading the OP, the main question is this:

    One issue raised was how can we recognise the seniority and contribution these lieutenants make.

    Both solutions discussed by the SO’s involve having more available ranks. Blaze’s suggestion is sort of proposing two tracks, command and non-command.

    I propose something similar. There are various departments in the division, Intelligence, TSN Instructor, Systems Operations, and the Archives and Records Department, as well as command. Instead of just command vs not, officers could be rewarded by having positions of authority in alternate departments.

    Perhaps we could take a closer look at the organization of the fleet from the department standpoint: what they do, how they operate, even what new departments we could integrate into the fleet.

    Officers could request assignment in one department upon reaching the required rank (this is already in effect I think) and could request transfer to another department if they felt they could better assist the fleet in that way. I would suggest that officers be assigned to only one department at a time, to allow others the chance to have a position.

    This could be another reasonable excuse to have more higher ranking officers (say Lieutenant and above, for example): heads of departments and such.

    I think this would work well as a sort of reward system for officers who have demonstrated a dedication to the fleet and deserve commendation.

    John van Leigh

    A possibility we also looked at was rearranging command seniority.

    For starters, right now, the chain of command goes Xavier, (Alice) Fish, (Brenner, Expree) Jemel, Verok, then the lt-cdrs-

    First of all, the fact that inactive members still retain full seniority is problematic when deciding where to put them. They displace an active senior officer from a chair whenever they are able to join us, as is the case with Brenner, or leave an empty spot we’re relunctant to open up, as is the case with Expree.

    So we discussed a possible system that would bypass date-of-rank for command officers, creating more flexibility in the chain of command. For example, we add a second line to the Captain rank, in which all captains can be captain of the red, captain of the blue, captain of the rainbow-pucking unicorns even, and allow the titles to be rotated or displaced as relevant, allowing for cases where a recently promoted CO can have command of a battlegroup if he’s suited to the role, or a captain that’s way too senior and feels he’s too high up can remain back without being truly demoted.

    Blaze Strife

    Let me quote a song: “Who the f*** is Alice?”

    I agree with van Leigh’s post, but i disagree with Vaj’s. I don’t think we’re utilizing the current departments nearly enough to be able to use them as a solution.


    I don’t think departments are the solution. Trying to figure out how they fit, what they actually can and cannot do and avoiding conflict with how we operate was always difficult. The two that have lasted are intel, which designs and run the story arcs and to an extent the training department which sorts all the examination stuff (though really it is just jemel sorting stuff there).

    And Blaze, Alice was one of the best command officers in the fleet in my opinion. It was a shame to lose her.

    Matthew Vaj

    Blaze, that was my point. Part of my suggestion was to:

    take a closer look at the organization of the fleet from the department standpoint: what they do, how they operate, even what new departments we could integrate into the fleet.

    In other words, find better ways to utilize them.

    I also agree with what van Leigh said. To clarify that, are you saying that there would be captains classified basically as active or inactive? Or is it more like having two ranks of captain, and an officer could rotate between them as needed?

    Xavier, departments may not be the answer, but I think just adding ranks won’t solve it any better.

    • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Matthew Vaj. Reason: Respond to additional comment
    John van Leigh

    There would be around three ranks of captains that would be moved around as needed, or even cycled if that’s considered beneficial.


    There is a fair amount to be said in favour of keeping the rank of captain scarce. The senior officers tend to be some of the most consistent attendees and if we have to run fewer ships than we have captains, it is less jarring to have a commander serve in another position aboard ship.

    I guess that means I am suggesting that Captain is also a suitable rank for a battlegroup commander otherwise I was going to suggest stealing from the airforce and using Group-Captain even though I know the meaning in the airforce is completely different and not a comparable rank. But it sounds right and its meaning is very literally accurate. Outside the US the position (not rank) commanding multiple ships temporarily is Commodore, but generally they are stuffy, obnoxious bad-guys. Also we are playing Star-Trek and Nobody really wants to be promoted above Captain 🙂 For this reason I really like the rank of Fleet Captain for our division commander.

    It really should not be a problem to have a lot of Lieutenants. The vast majority of Starfleet officers actually seem to be Lieutenants and they are seasoned, capable officers ready to command in a pinch. The long serving lieutenant is also a trope of Napoleonic naval fiction 🙂

    Starfleet also definitely seems to use Lieutenant Commander as a department head with only a technical qualification to command. So I would have no problem with making it not a senior officer grade.

    We already have two grades of Lieutenant. But we could institute higher grades of lieutenant, such as Senior, First, Chief, or Master lieutenant (to steal from warrant and petty officer grades) or possible Major-Lieutenant. Probably Senior or First would be my preferred option.

    I really dislike the term Captain-Lieutenant. It is said that way round because of the languages that use it. If I understand correctly it means Lieutenant-Captain (as Germanic languages would form it) which is the same thing as a Commander.

    • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Matsiyan. Reason: Spelling

    We have tried different ideas in the past with departments, including qualifications for officers. For example, the corps were an idea – engineering corp, comms corps etc. Each one aimed to train officers and test officers so that they could advance in expertise. You could then earn “badges” like “Veteran Engineer” to recognise your expertise. Sadly they never took off. We could try them again, and combine them in to smaller corps based on the organisation of the roles e.g. Operations Corps, Engineering Corp etc.

    I think the key thing was recognising officers for their commitment to the division and seniority and evening out the leap from Lieutenant to Lieutenant-Commander. It was mentioned that the advancement to Lieutenant is pretty steady, whereas the jump to Lieutenant Commander was quite a leap.

    Adele Mundy

    Jemel did put forward the more advanced test for the different stations recently, I don’t know if anyone has taken it yet. That could be the starting point for the corps specializations.

    Blaze Strife

    The tests are done? I haven’t seen them or heard they were.

    Matsiyan has made some very good points.

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