Star Trek: Nautilus
Stardates in Star Trek are of course fictional. A clever device to mask both the passage of time and the year the events take place. Hopefully in our game we will not be getting nick-picky about how many days or weeks trips to distance stars take, and we won’t get bogged down in the minutia of “what Ensign Burt does on the 29 day trip to the next scene of the episode”. The idea of a Star Trek game is to emulate the series including its pacing.
That having been said, the inclusion of Stardates does add a nice “Star Trekkie” feel to the universe. What better way to start an episode than with a Captain’s log starting with the immortal words “Captain’s Log, Stardate…”? When the players and I write back stories and create prop documents, the inclusion of Stardates will give them and air of authenticity. But for our work to read and feel like it is from the same universe, we need to agree on a dating system so we can ballpark our Stardates.
After some research I can’t help but be impressed by the work done by TrekGuide.com in calculating Stardates. It is a level of detail that is probably unnecessary for our game, but it does include a Stardate Generator that can spit out dates that sound correct to the ear and the generator works both ways. Check it out half way down the page:
Using this generator we get a good date for the start of our series (May 19, 2334) of 14573.86
We can also get nice dates for everything after the launch, like the expected date to arrive at Starbase 23 of 14648.97
Where the system breaks down unfortunately is on dates close to or before 2318. So if you are writing your back story and your character was born thirty years before the launch of the Nautilus, this calculator is no use to you. But fear not! Since Stardates really don’t make any sense in the movie era, and there was clearly some kind of calendar change prior to 2318 and since something like a back story is trying to convey both series feel and actual meaning (meaning you might want to know how many years old a character is at a glace, or when he graduated Starfleet Academy) I recommend we use the latest Star Trek film model for Stardates prior to the start of game. It is a simple system Just write the year the event takes place then a decimal, then the month and day is decimal form. For example Christmas 2012 is on Stardate 2012.981 Further examples:
Signing of the Declaration of Independence: Stardate 1776.505
The Birth of Christ: Stardate 0000.981
November 5th 1955: Stardate 1955.844
To get these decimals I am using excel, but you can completely fudge them.
Look for the use of this star date system on upcoming personnel files and other game information.