Database: Ulysses Fleet Cannon Discussion

There are basically four different structures we can take in developing this;

I like to think we fall into category 3.

It is important to point out a couple of things;

Cannon restrictions are made for ongoing themes, not incidental meetings: What you do in your SIMM is fine while it remains contained in your SIMM. Thus an adventure where you seek advice of a small green creature from the Dagobah system would be fine, except that you have now included the Dagobah in the Fleet destinations for all to visit. You can be visited by a traveller from an alternate universe who has a Sonic screwdriver, provided they vanish at the end and take all their technology with them.

Star Trek writers had very firm constraints: Roddenburry created and extensive document of limitations on the performance of the Federation and her ships including no cloaking, "The Federation don't go sneaking around". They were also required to have all episodes vetted by Scientists who could say, "You can't shoot through the event horizon of a Black Hole". By the Time the Got to Voyager, almost all of those restrictions had been discarded and the series suffered for it. These restrictions are what brings the world to life in such a strong way.

You don't NEED that to complete your mission: There may be some stories that seemed to be ruled out by this insistence on cannon, but I don't think that will really be the case. You are the writers. If you want to destroy a planet with a hand phaser... it can be done with a bit of imagination and Techno-babble. Taking your situation with a Dilligent vs Defiant class, what is it that a Diligent gives you that a Defiant does not.

We don't want to muddy the waters: The Diligent Class was developed by Bravo Fleet. It doesn't exist anywhere else that I can find. Why are we clinging to their idea when we can develop our own. Maybe the Diligent or a similar feel will be introduced, but I have yet to be presented with a good reason other than another fleet had it.

Balance is the key: The Fleets of SF already have a variety of ships to complete most mission descriptions, and have good documentation on their performance. If we say, "we want a Science focused defiant class", then we have missed two things. Firstly, there are already craft that specialise in Science (Oberth, Miranda, Nebula). Secondly, the Defiant was designed specifically as a combat vessel to counter the Borg threat (Okuda, DS9 Tech Manual, 1998). We also leave the option open for power players who want a "combat specialised Sovereign class that has replaced it's cargo bays with Fighter bays and has triple linked rotary Quantum torpedo launchers. I had on in ST-BOB Fleet."

The cannon authority works in this fashion for Ulysses Fleet.

1) Cannon Chair and Committee.
Where ambiguity in other sources exists, or no other supporting evidence exists, the decisions of the Chair override all other authorities.
2) Video footage from Episodes or movies.
Referenced by series, episode and time stamp if relevant. Note that the series considered cannon by Ulysses fleet are Original Series, Next Generation, DS9 and Enterprise. Voyager is considered apocryphal as it occurred in an alternate universe where it is possible to travel faster than Warp 10 (outlawed by Rodenbury) and shoot your way out of an event horizon (outlawed by Special Relativity) (ref http://youtu.be/pxznaXsk6Hg). Note: Video footage may contain inconsistencies (such as Geordie referring to Full Impulse as Warp 3 in one episode). In these cases other source material is considered and the Cannon chair makes a final ruling.
3) Okudo Source material.
Technical Manuals, hand books etc, made by the designers of the show often give more detail into the thinking of episodes than is actually covered in the episode. Where this material does not directly contradicted video footage, we will accept information provided by this medium as accurate.
4) Memory Alpha.
While this Wiki is generated by fans, it contains much which is accepted by the general body of Star Trek fans. Information on this is considered advisory, and more often used as a method of exclusion. For example, the Luna class craft referenced in Fan fiction and in the preliminary scripting for ST Nemesis is given a cursory mention in MA, so we will not be considering it detailed enough for Cannon.
5) Ulysses Fleet.
Occasionally things will happen within the fleet environment that will be so wide reaching that they will be considered true for all SIMMs. An example of this is the Klingon House Matlh, which is not from any episode, or referenced in MA, but has appeared in many plot lines in numerous SIMMulations (not least of which being IKC FHew) it is considered to exist in cannon for this fleet. Likewise Sonora and Iapetus are well established places. These inclusions are all considered by the Cannon Committee and a final decision is given by the chair.

There are 4 types of phenomena;

1) Cannon:
That which already exists within the Cannon (eg Federation/Romulan treaty of Algeron)
2) Cannon-Compatible:
That which was not mentioned by Cannon, but not precluded either (eg Romulans agreeing to alliance talks with the Federation, these could fail and no changes occur)
3) Cannon-Stretching:
This will have implications on all SIMMs but is not outside the realms of possibility (eg Romulans sign a Peace treaty with the Federation)
4) Cannon Breaking:
This goes against what has been established by Cannon: (eg Romulans sig a peace treaty with the Borg)

Here is how the fleet will respond to all of these:

An example of number three may be: The USS Jericho has been sent to recover hostages from within a war zone with two very powerful races. Their technology is easily as powerful as Federation. The Cannon committee can chose to say they accept this racial tension, and its wide sweeping effects (all ships now need to be aware of this new threat), or they accept that this is true in a small area of space (ships can avoid that area and ignore the plot element or go there deliberately to encounter them) or even that the race was there, but now isn't (having wiped themselves out shortly after the Jericho's departure).

We remember that the Borg were a minor plot device first introduced in TNG:The Neutral Zone, then expanded on in Q Who, then Best of Both Worlds, and after that were a constant back ground threat. We would love to see concepts developed by our players to reach this sort of level of acceptance by exciting other COs in the fleet. The flip side are things like the aliens in "Coming of Age" and "Conspiracy" that never really grabbed anyone after the first meeting. The whole issue was resolved and ignored from then on.

The defining features of each Cannon category:

Cannon -
Uses only races, technology and concepts already represented in the cannon. May include characters or ships never seen, but these will use cannon formulas (established races and ship classes, etc), in established ways. No crew or ships from races that are hostile (such as Jem Hadar) or unique (such as Positronic Androids, or Tin Man). Single appearance races that are from cannon and federation affiliated (such as the Binar from "11001001") are perfectly acceptable.
Cannon-Compatible -
New ideas / races / technology, but that has a negligible impact on the cannon as a whole - races that appear for one episode are a great example. Technology that has a negligible impact on cannon (such as a 7% increase in warp coil efficiency, or phaser recharge time). Minor races joining the federation. Negotiations with major races that have little or no ongoing effect on overall relations. Minor skirmishes with major players that do not effect overall diplomacy, etc. Sometimes this will include more significant cannon elements, but that have limited scope. For example, a major but remote race that is only encountered through a temporary wormhole. A significant weapon or tactical development that ultimately proves to be dangerously unstable, or dependent on a massively limited resource. A new class of starfleet vessel, but that never makes it past the prototype and is destroyed or decommissioned. A CO might want to offer such a thing to the cannon committee to see if they want to use it more widely. Thus a one off enemy might become a recurring threat usable in other SIMMs, or a new ship class might go into production. The Borg and the Cardassians both started like this.
Cannon-Stretching -
This is things that change the landscape of the cannon, but are still plausible. New players who only know the Startrek cannon would need additional information when encountering these elements. These things potentially have ongoing repercussions that might affect SIMMs from then on. New recurring races fit this bill. New starship classes. Changes in the tactical situation of the Federation (war with the Klingons, an Alliance with Romulus). Significant new weapons. Events that are one-off, but of massive historical significance (such as a military attack on earth). Unique or unusual races used as characters (liberated Borg, prototype Soong-type androids developed by Bruce Maddox from "TNG: Measure of a Man"). Developing a cure for Bendii Syndrome. These things need cannon approval as they would change the nature of the cannon, setting a precedent that would affect future stories. If they're refused, the might still be usable with careful restrictions on their scope, as mentioned in the previous section.
Cannon Breaking -
These are things that blatantly violate the spirit of the cannon, or that have ongoing repercussions that change core elements of Startrek narrative. The Borg becoming benevolent and applying to join the Federation. A Q applying to join Starfleet. The Federation developing a planet-killer weapon, a macro-replicator that produces entire Starships, or a drive that creates its own custom wormholes. Major cannon worlds being permanently destroyed.

To explain how this works, we will consider the following suggestion:

I was looking for a unique ship idea, and I always like using species that I have invented, like the Kakorians (which I have a detailed culture written out) or the Melorans (which I am working on the culture for), and was wondering if I could create either a CO with that species, or maybe even create a Ship class from those species?

Obviously there is no video Footage, or Okuda Documentation, nor reference in MA. The Cannon comitee would meet to discuss if the race had made enough of a presence within the fleet to qualify for inclusion. In this case it has not.

Why does this matter? It has to do with interaction with other players as much as maintaining the Star Trek feel. When you meet Vloc Cann (a Vulcan) you have a fair expectation of how he will react to you (unemotional), what things motivate him (Logic), and what things he struggles with (Emotional outbursts in others). You know how he is likely to be in a fight (strong yet resistant to being violent), and how he will perform in diplomatic situations. Likewise, when you meet Captain Ro' (Klingon) you have immediate understanding (In the same order; Aggressive, Honour, struggles with inactivity and deceit, dangerous, not very diplomatic). When we meet a Kakorian, we know none of this, even if you have it detailed in your head. This puts other players at a disadvantage.

Does this mean you are not allowed Kakorian characters? I would be happy for Kakorian NPC's, or even interactions with Kakorian ships. Your own command ship may be stationed in Kakorian space and through ongoing interaction they may make enough of a name for themselves to be reconsidered. Initially however, PC Kakorians, and particularly Command Characters would be a no. What you as CO choose to allow on your ships is another thing entirely.

While unique vessels are exciting, there are so many Cannon ships that it seems unnecessary to break the mold before we have even begun. One notable exception is the Titan class MTP Prometheus. It is included since it was the cause for the Fleet to be created in the first place. Everyone of the founding members know of the Prometheus, and most had characters on it. Therefore it qualified under the last of the categories above.

The Prometheus class was a Voyager ship from one episode. However, it has captured the hearts and minds of many Startrek Fans and we accept it as Cannon. There is little or no documentation on its capabilities however, so the Cannon committee need to consider what to accept as its abilities. However, this is a War ship. It is designed first and foremost for combat and highly automated. This means to use such a ship effectively, you would need a story arc that was combat heavy. A better alternative may be The Nebula class, which can be configured for Combat or Science. In combat it is equivalent to a Galaxy class, and when the top module is swapped for Science it has the best sensors in the Fleet. That way you could swap between each depending on the mission you had in mind.

The issue is with what makes an interesting ship concept, long term, and short term. We tuned in to DS9 because it was new and different, and the new Trill and Shapeshifter races certainly added flavour. But we kept watching because the characters engaged us and the story excited us. New races and the like are spice, not meat and veg. Spice makes a meal way more tasty but on their own they're no good.

The novelty of "new and interesting new race" wears off. You actually need well formed and interesting characters behind it or your SIMM will die after a few months. Use new races as one or two characters within a SIMM. Once the race is established and we've got a feel for who they are and what they're like, THEN we can think about making them core elements of the story. Worf used to be the interesting token Alien. We couldn't have the FHew if Worf (and the TNG writers) hadn't done the character work to bring the Klingons alive as a race first.

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