Sci-fi roleplaying and worldbuilding community

User Tools

Site Tools


Star Army Ranks

The Star Army of Yamatai rank system, for the most part, uses multiple tiers of rank groups, generally with three ranks in a particular group; for instance, there is a group for flag officers, for ship commanders, for ship officers, for warrant officers, for non-commissioned officers, and finally for enlisted soldiers. Only two ranks fall outside of this pattern, which are the lowest officers enlisted rank (cadets and green troops).

Rank traditionally represents a length and breadth of experience that is gained through actual knowledge and job experience, and should be treated with respect. Characters wearing the Star Army uniform are expected to behave professionally in a way that befits their rank.

The Yamataigo (邪馬台語) word for rank insignia is 階級章 (Kaikyūshō).

Pin Designs

Each of the rank groups uses a particular shape (circle, heart, or 8-petal flower) on the pins. Within the group, the coloration of the background shows the level within that rank (blued being the lowest, silver being the middle, and gold being the highest). Enamel coloring in the fleet logo section of the rank differentiates officers and enlisted (red for enlisted, blue for warrant officers, and white for officers). Each fleet has slightly different rank pins that are customized for their distinctive triangular fleet logo.

Q: Why is a military rank pin shaped like a heart?

A: It's like a normal soldier, but they've earned a promotion so you're attached to them. And the next level is round because by then they mean the world to you. The flower represents that leadership abilities being in full bloom.

Stripes, Bars, and Chevrons

Newer Star Army of Yamatai uniforms, beginning with the working uniform and later with the service dress coat, began using rank patches instead of pins. For officers, rank is shown in the form of gold bands around the cuffs (blue for warrant officers). For enlisted rank goes on the left arm as red chevrons for NCOs and green bars for enlisted soldiers (originally red until YE 34).

Officers Warrant Officers NCOs Enlisted
gold bands blue bands red chevrons green bars
above cuffs between shoulder & elbow
Officer sleeve rank Warrant officer sleeve rank NCO sleeve rank Enlisted sleeve rank

Note that officers and warrant officers have a fleet patch in the location where enlisted and NCOs have their rank patch. NCOs and enlisted soldiers do not wear a fleet patch.


Officers take charge. They are culpable for everything that the enlisted personnel do. Pass or fail, whatever your people do, you as an officer are directly responsible for it, even if you aren't. You need to act like it. Do not take an officer rank if you are not comfortable in a leadership position making decisions for the group.

Officer sleeve ranks are worn on the cuffs on the Duty Uniform (Type 35) and Star Army Coat. For other uniforms, pins are used.

Ise Nenene Taisho

Pin Sleeve Rank Kanji Description Flag
O9 Taisho 大将 Admiral
O8 Chujo 中将 Vice Admiral
O7 Shôshô 少将 Rear Admiral
O6 Taisa 大佐 Captain
O5 Chusa 中佐 Commander
O4 Shosa 少佐 Lieutenant Commander
O3 Taii 大尉 Lieutenant
O2 Chui 中尉 Sub-Lieutenant
O1 Shoi 少尉 Ensign
OC Shoi Kohosei 少尉候補生 Officer Candidate

Officers may use the Star Army Officer Sword, Type 40.

Warrant Officers

Warrant officers are usually seasoned technical experts who are issued warrants based on Star Army needs. Warrant officers are typically professionals pulled from the civilian version of their occupational field (such with as cargo pilots, shipwrights, and doctors).

Warrant officer rank insignia is worn in the same manner as commissioned officers.

Valencia Ramiro Juni

Rank Pin Sleeve Name Kanji Description
W3 ittô Juni ittô Juni Ittô Juni 一准尉 Warrant Officer First Class
W2 Nitô Juni Nitô Juni Nitô Juni 二准尉 Warrant Officer Second Class
W1 Santô Juni Santô Juni Santô Juni 三准尉 Warrant Officer Third Class

Non-Commissioned Officers

The Yamataian word for the enlisted is 兵 (Hei) non-commissioned officers are called 下士官 (Kashikan).

Only characters that display leadership should be promoted to NCO rank. If a PC is promoted to Heisho, he should also have something to command - lower ranked PCs, or NPCs. This aspect of 'giving power to the PCs' is important. A Heisho infantry soldier should have his own team. If no PCs are available, then he should be encouraged to create the NPCs populating his team as low-key alternate characters (like, 2?). Then when this player posts, he posts for his team's actions rather than just for himself. Then the GM makes his calls accordingly. Also, having NPCs on hand is an useful tool for the GM to talk through if he wants to convey impressions, banter or situational advice.

Patches are worn on the Working Uniform, Duty Uniform (Type 35), and Star Army Coat, Type 32. Note that NCO (red) rank patches go on the arm, not on the cuffs.

Sakura Pineapple NCO in Coat

Rank Pin Arm Patch Name Kanji Description
E7 Jôtô Heisho 上等兵曹 Chief Petty Officer
E6 Ittô Heisho 一等兵曹 First Class Petty Officer
E5 Nitô Heisho 二等兵曹 Second Class Petty Officer


Patches are worn on the Working Uniform, Duty Uniform (Type 35), and Star Army Coat, Type 32. Note that enlisted (green) rank patches go on the arm, not on the cuffs.

Star Army Enlisted Soldier in Duty Uniform Star Army Enlisted Soldier with Coat

Rank Pin Arm Patch Name Kanji Description
E4 Jôtô Hei 上等兵 Superior Soldier
E3 Ittô Hei 一等兵 Soldier First Class
E2 Nitô Hei 二等兵 Soldier Second Class
E1 (no patch) Santô Hei * 三等兵 Soldier Third Class
E0 (no pin) (no patch) Yontô Hei 四等兵 Soldier Fourth Class

* Santô Hei is the usual starting rank for new player characters.

Rank Images For Specific Fleets

The examples shown above are for the First Fleet. For larger images and images of other fleet designs, see the links below:

Standard Fleets

Expeditionary Fleets

stararmy/ranks.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/08 08:03 by wes