James D. West’s 2003 IDF logo was the first to feature the now-famous bell & wings

Independence Fleet (IDF / IDFleet.com) is an online Star Trek role play-by-post / simming / creative writing club that was founded on July 4, 2001 by James D. West, Charles Star, and Robert Seldon with three original games: the USS Sunfire, USS Avalon & USS Washington.  Our tradition, however, dates back to February 16, 2000, when the three founders began their adventures on old Utopia Fleet’s role play-by-email USS Sunfire, commanded by Commodore Jay “Robbie” Robertson.

In the many years since, hundreds if not thousands of Star Trek fans have made IDF their role playing home and written their galactic adventures with fellow Star Trek fans from around the world. While we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings on Angelfire and YahooGroups, three factors still separate us from other similar groups:

  • Captains have autonomy over their sims: With few fleet requirements, Commanding Officers are free to lead their role plays as they see fit
  • We regularly recognize crew members for their contributions: Each month we present eight unique awards for role playing excellence
  • We’re a family: You can’t truly appreciate the community atmosphere here without experiencing it yourself

What is play by post?

It’s the most popular term today for what we’ve been doing from day one: simming, role playing, role play by email, creative writing.  First, you create a character (a crew member) and join a group of other Trek fans (a crew).  Together, you then tell the story of that crew’s starship or starbase through small incremental sections called posts.  You’re free to post as often or as little as you like. The main goal is simple: Have fun! The possibilities are only limited by your collective imaginations.


IDF’s mother club, Utopia Fleet, was one of the most popular groups from 1999-2000; this logo was created by Annika McKenzie in 1999

Online role playing began in the 1980s on university computer networks, bulletin board systems, and early Internet service providers (ISPs). Containing aspects of both fan fiction writing and tabletop role playing, it appealed to players from each. In the 1990s, clubs formed, formal structures were instituted, and community norms were established. Around 2000, most groups migrated from their ISPs to the World Wide Web. Eventually the community settled on play by post as the dominant name for the craft.

We prefer a hands off approach of allowing everyone to record our happenings through collaboration: The article about us at the Roleplay Wiki is an excellent resource.  However, we do have a good portion of our history documented in the official records spreadsheet:

IDF Record Book (Google Spreadsheet)

  • Monthly Awards: all known monthly awards presented to crewmembers
  • Major Awards: the highest honors presented to active members
  • Hall of Fame: a list of all 33 retired characters who have been inducted
  • Outside Awards: awards presented to IDF and its members by other organizations
  • Sim Records: confirmed post totals for each sim by month
  • Admiralty Positions: all known Admiralty jobs ever held
  • Seniority: all known members to have held Admiralty ranks
  • CO XO Timeline: a list of those who have served as fleet CO or fleet XO
  • Charter Members: a list of fleet members as of IDF’s original launch on July 4, 2001

Monthly Awards records exist for Jul 2001-Oct 2005, Oct 2010-Jul 2013, and Mar 2020-present. The Sim Records exist for Jul 2001-Dec 2003, Oct 2010-Aug 2018, Nov 2018, and Jun 2019-present. Unfortunately, the rest is currently lost to history.

20th Anniversary

Independence Fleet celebrated its 20th anniversary on July 4, 2021. In addition to holding a Trivia Day (announcement | results) & Webcast (announcement | results), we also published a special message and 20-page almanac. We invite all current and former members to explore what this club has meant over the years with the content below:

20th Anniversary MessageIDF20th Anniversary Almanac
Almanac Puzzle Answers


  • Q: Does IDF have a maximum content rating?
  • A: Yes, none of our games exceed content typical for a PG-13 film rating (U.S.). This generally corresponds to or from RPGRating.com. Specific interpretation is left to sim Commanding Officers.
  • Q: Who determines if I will be accepted on an IDF sim?
  • A: Sim Commanding Officers have sole authority to determine whom they accept or don’t accept on their respective games.
  • Q: Who determines my rank and/or position?
  • A: Sim Commanding Officers have sole authority to assign positions on their respective games; they also have the authority to promote any of their players up to Commander (O-5).
  • Q: Can I have more than one character on a single sim?
  • A: Players are only permitted to have one player-controlled character per game; however, the rules for non-player-characters (NPCs) vary from game to game.
  • Q: Can I be on more than one IDF sim at a time?
  • A: Yes; however, each character should have a different name.
  • Q: Does IDF have an overarching fleet story or timeline?
  • A: No, sim Commanding Officers have final say for everything in-story in their respective games.
  • Q: Does IDF allow independent sims to join?
  • A: Yes, although we don’t do this very often. If you are the CO or host of an independent Star Trek sim and you’re interested in joining us, please contact Charles Star at star [dot] idf [at] gmail [dot] com.