Technology of the Star Fleet Universe

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Nerroth, Apr 12, 2022.

  1. publiusr

    publiusr Admiral Admiral

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  2. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    Much as certain species in Federation or ISC space are renowned for certain cultural attributes, for good or ill (Vulcans with logic, Andorians with stoicism, etc.), each of the three founding species of the Mæsron Alliance have their own reputations amongst their peers. The humanoid Tazol, many of whom have psionic abilities, are known for their scientific and technical accomplishments. The bat-like Wallimi are known for being adventurers and explorers. The wolf-like Vulpa, meanwhile, are known for their expertise in another field: the art of war.

    On a side note: not all ethnic Vulpa have been part of the broader Vulpa, or Mæsron, society. A fractious sub-group fled to the Nucian Cluster in the wake of the founding of the Alliance, where they became known as the Nucian Clans.

    Through to the end of the Mæsron Civil War and Collapse, the (non-Nucian) Vulpa more or less identified as Mæsrons, even if many of them had grown to see their "natural" place in the Alliance-turned-Empire as "first amongst equals". However, in the wake of their defeat at the hands of the Tazol-Wallmi "New Alliance", a militant group of Vulpa nationalists emerged which sought to break with their former Mæsron comrades and establish a separate Vulpa star-nation.

    Their first break came in the midst of the Superpower Wars, when the salamander-like Probr sought new allies in their latest fight against the silicate Trobrin Empire. Having been rebuffed by the New Alliance, which sought to use its self-declared neutrality as a shield behind which to guard its post-Collapse reconstruction efforts, the Probr secretly turned to the Vulpa nationalists instead. The Vulpa used the resources supplied by the Probr to fashion a new set of "post-Mæsron" warship designs, as well as a range of hidden shipyards from which to construct them.

    The first wave of Vulpa insurgency was launched against the Trobrin; an act which almost brought the Empire and the New Alliance to war, at least until the Mæsrons mobilized to launch a major counter-insurgency operation. How less than thorough a job hey had done became evident several years later, when a much larger second wave of insurgency broke out against the New Alliance itself - an act which sparked the Octant-spanning Second Great War. Eventually, the Mæsrons and their allies from the Federal Republic of Aurora defeated the Vulpa insurgents - but when the Andromedan and Souldra invasions cut the Vulpa worlds off from the rest of Mæsron-controlled space, the Vulpa at last succeeded in establishing an independent Vulpa Confederacy.

    The Seventh Cycle would see the Vulpa expand their new empire in several directions: first by conquering the Nucian Custer (or rather, by intervening in the last great Nucian civil war on the side of a Clan which aligned itself with the Confederacy); second by defeating the recently-unified Vari Combine in yet another Vulpa-Vari war; and thirdly by integrating the Alunda Host-in-Exile, after Alunda home space was conquered by the new-to-Omega Echarri Dynasty.

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    In terms of their technology, the Vulpa inherited the same suite of Mæsron technologies they had hitherto shared with the Tazol and Wallimi. However, Vulpa designs tend to be more aggressive than "standard" Mæsron templates; for example, they often swapped out a ship's probe launchers in order to install more tachyon missile racks.

    What path later Vulpa technology takes has yet to be fully laid out in print, as for the most part the "post-Mæsron" Vulpa remain one of "Omega's Lost Futures": one of several factions known to exist in the Omega timeline, yet which as not thus far been formally published.

    Despite this, there is one formally-published Vulpa insurgent ship in Module Omega #2: the blockade runner. Here is how its Shapeways mini looks, unpainted, in 3125 scale, in Smooth Fine Detail Plastic:

    [​IMG]

    And here is how it looks with some paint applied to it:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the VBR was heavily modified from the Mæsron destroyer design - not least by removing the "flying wing". It also has a two-box centre warp pack installed, which made it fast by the standards of "middle years" Omega destroyer designs.

    With four wide-angle phaser-1s, four wide-angle phaser-3s, three tachyon guns, and two type-A tachyon missiles, this ship is designed to carry a suite of cargo while being able to destroy those Mæsron ships small enough to be able to catch up with it. This ship, fielded in significant numbers by the Vulpa insurgents, was a course of continual irritation to the New Alliance during the Insurgency era; it is as yet unknown whether or not the later Vulpa Confederacy made use of the blockade runner design also.
     
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  3. publiusr

    publiusr Admiral Admiral

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  4. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    If one takes a look back over at the Federation and Empire hex map of the Alpha Octant, as well as the F&E-scale economic data for the United Federation of Planets, one thing that is worth noting is how relatively sparsely-populated the "off-map" Survey Area is by the onset of the General War. In contrast to more prominent "off-map" regions such as the Hydran Kingdom's Old Colonies or the Inter-Stellar Concordium's Distant Zone, the Feds had a relatively light presence in the Survey Area: three provinces, with no colonies or industrial planets (at the scale visible at the F&E level) among them.

    But then, they more than made up for this by the war's end: by the onset of the subsequent ISC Pacification Campaign, the UFP had added the equivalent of twenty new "off-map" provinces (give or take) in the direction of the Galactic Core.

    But there had been an earlier point in time when the UFP had planned to launch a major coreward expansion drive. In the mid-to-late Y120s, a substantial buildup took place at the Aurora star system, to include the construction of a yard capable of building police cutters; a maintenance dock designed to service Texas-class light cruisers; and the beginning of a multi-year project to deploy a base station. (This was well before the Federation developed their first mobile base, so they had to start building this base from scratch.) In addition, a number of Star Fleet, Federation Police, and civilian ships were deployed to the Aurora system in anticipation for the planned expansion drive; notably, none of the ships present were of the "saucer-and-nacelle" configuration.

    Then, in Y130, a major ion storm engulfed the Aurora system. When the storm passed, everything - and everyone - had vanished without a trace! Once the news broke, the government fell over the issue, and the coreward expansion project was shelved for several decades.

    As for that happened to Aurora... the answer would not be known by the Federation until the Y210s, with the pioneering "five-year mission" of the GSX Sakharov to and from the Omega Octant.

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    On the Omega Octant hex map, the terrain feature in hex 2214 was known to the local empires as the "storm cluster". Due to the higher than average number of ion storms in the area, both the Trobrin Empire (who first occupied the surrounding area) and the Mæsron Alliance (who seized the region at the tail end of the First Great War) gave the location a wide berth.

    Which was fortunate for the Aurorans, as their system found itself transplanted in the midst of the storm cluster. It was eventually discovered that a local phenomenon, known as the Cosmic Nexus, would "grab" items engulfed in strong enough ion storms in other parts of space - from lone asteroids to entire star systems - to the vicinity. Indeed, four other (unoccupied) systems had already been brought over prior to Aurora; others could be expected to show up in the future, though exactly when such arrivals would occur could not be predicted beforehand.

    For the most part, those present in Aurora made the decision to establish an independent Republic. However, some amongst the Star Fleet contingent felt it was their sworn duty to try and return to Federation space. They were given one of the Texas-class CLs, NCC-929 USS Leinster, to try and make the attempt; the ship departed in Y132 and was never seen again.

    For those that remained, the base station was completed in haste; the POL yard was modified to construct a new class of frigate derived from the police cutter design; the CL maintenance dock was jury-rigged into a yard capable of building light cruisers; while efforts to explore beyond the storm cluster were strictly curtailed, once it was realized that the Mæsrons controlled the surrounding region.

    With one exception: the Aurorans were surprised to be contacted by the captain of the Orion Raider Cruiser Throne of Ozymondas. Having also been brought over to Omega via the Cosmic Nexus, and with nowhere else to go, the Orions offered their services to the nascent Republic, acting as its eyes and ears - a role for which the ship's stealth coating and cloaking device (both of which being unique to the Omega Octant) made it distinctly suitable.

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    Here is a look at a few Starline 2500 miniatures (metal, in 1:3125 scale), used in this instance to represent this first wave of Auroran ships:

    [​IMG]

    By and large, the ships of the Auroran Navy have a similar appearance to their Star Fleet counterparts. However, the red stripes are replaced with blue; the Star Fleet arrowhead is swapped out for the Auroran star (as seen in my profile avatar); while the prows of certain ships might display the Republic's flag (as shown here).

    The "USS" is replaced with "RSS", for "(Federal) Republic Star Ship"; while the "NCC-" registry is replaced with the ship class and order of construction. So, for example, the eighth ship of the Auroran frigate class is designated FF-08 RSS Bremen.

    As for the Throne, it has no "official" paint scheme, or schemes perhaps.

    The key advantage the Aurorans inherited from the Alpha Octant was the ability of the CL (derived from the "unrefitted" Federation CL) to fight at Warp 3.14 (SFB Speed 31). Although the Auroran frigate (derived from the "unrefitted" Federation POL) was no faster than the frigates of most "Middle Years" Omega empires. While the Throne's ability to double its engines gave it a unique-in-Omega capacity to get into - and out of - trouble.

    Of course, this is only the beginning of the Republic's story. How the Aurorans evolved from here - to include how the "Federal" part of the name "Federal Republic of Aurora" was added in Y172 - are topics for later posts...
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2023
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  5. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    In my head-canon, @Nerroth, the Aurora FF should be based on the straight-pylon Masterson class POL and not the swept-pylon Callaghan class POL. The colony went missing in Y130, in memory serves, which in only 3-5 years after the POL was fielded. Not approved by SVC (yet), but my history of the POL brings the Callaghan into development around Y147, about twenty years after the Masterson.
     
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  6. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    Bear in mind that the "spare" room which in the Alpha Octant was later used to install the "plus" refits for the Federation CL and POL was filled up in the process of developing the Auroran CL and FF respectively. So it is possible that, in the process of turning the police cutter into a frigate, the Auroran engineers adopted the swept-back pylons "early", relative to how the hull developed in the Alpha Octant.

    In any case, I would be opposed to any ruling which prevented players from using either the Callaghan or Masterson variants of the POL mini as stand-ins for the Auroran FF on the tabletop. Although, technically neither are entirely accurate, as the weapons loadout on the Auroran ship is different from that of its Fed counterpart - something I should probably go into more detail about in a later post...

    -----

    Also, I do plan on getting around to the Vari in the not-too-distant future, as they are one of the four "Superpowers" surrounding Mæsron space. To include how they offer a glimpse of something which, at this time of writing, is still all too uncommon to see in print for the current crop of published Omega empires: a post-"Middle Years" cruiser designed from the keel up to be able to fight at SFB Speed 31.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2023
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  7. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    Don't get me wrong, @Nerroth, I would never tell a player what mins he can or cannot put on the game table.

    And perhaps the Aurorans did use the swept-pylon earlier. In my head canon, there is a reason for the change. (Yes, we all know that Mongoose did it because "It Looks Cool!") No, I figure that the Masterson had a critical but (usually) non-fatal flaw: they were unstable at very high Warp speeds and thus were limited to about Warp 8, maybe Warp 8.5. The Callaghan fixed that (and other minor issues), plus it gained larger warp nacelles (holds more deuterium slush) and more efficient warp engines, so not only could it go faster but also farther before refueling. Again, I presented that to SVC and have not heard back about it. So, yeah, maybe the Aurorans figured that out sooner than the Feds did. Oh, and let me point out that I do not believe that the Callaghan is the same as the Y168 Plus Refit. That upgrade could be applied to either variant.
     
  8. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    Before we double back to the Federal Republic of Aurora, I'd like to shift the focus over to the "Superpowers" surrounding Mæsron space - starting with arguably the most powerful of the four: the Trobrin Empire.

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    The Trobrin are silicon-based life forms; at rest, an individual Trobrin looks a bit like a freshly-poured lump of concrete. However, they have the capacity to comport themselves in the manner required to maintain a major star-faring civilization. They have a high level of radiation tolerance; a rock-based diet; and a long lifespan during which their physical forms continue to grow. An individual Trobrin is slow to anger, yeet equally slow to placate once their ire is raised.

    The Empire is ruled by an Emperor, the "Most High Elder"; a physically massive individual who has reigned over their people for centuries - albeit indirectly, through the myriad machinations and procedures of the Trobrin Congress.

    The Trobrin are painfully aware that silicon-based life forms are vastly outnumbered in Omega by carbon-based organisms. Their greatest fear is that, one day, the "carbonites" might one day unite to destroy them - either of their own accord, or (in a worst-case scenario) under the influence of the Sigvirions (a viral life form which can infect and take control over a broad range of carbon-based host species). Thus, the Empire pursues the long-term "Silicate Plan": to steadily build up their strength to the point where they can take over the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

    If that sounds a bit like what the Tholians did over in M81, well... the Tholians and Trobrin are quite different to one another in terms of "biology", yet each each stand apart from the organic species in their respective midst. What the Tholians might think about the Trobrin, or vice versa, has yet to be covered in detail.

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    The Trobrin were the first major empire the Mæsrons made contact with. Relations were difficult at first, since it took time for viable forms of communication could be established. That said, the main point of contention between the two empires prior to the First Great War was the porousness of their shared border region - not least when Wallimi survey ships took it upon themselves to wander about unimpeded.

    Indeed, the Empire only entered the war ten years after it first broke out. The jellyfish-like Koligahr and arachnid Vari offered to divide the spoils of Mæsron space, yet in reality they needed the Trobrin to enter the war in order to prevent an inevitable Mæsron victory. The Trobrin were no fools, yet chose to enter the war anyway as but the first step in furthering their long-term goals. It didn't work out that way, however; once the Mæsrons launched Operation Hammer Blow to knock first the Vari, and then the Koligahr, out of the war, the Trobrin were obliged to sue for peace. Yet while the war ended with the Trobrin losing significant territory (to include the area around the "storm cluster" in which the Aurorans would later arrive), the Empire remained as a major star-faring power.

    Learning valuable lessons, the Empire chose to bide its time, to expand away from the Mæsrons into unclaimed space, and to negotiate with the salamander-like Probr in order to create a new home territory for the amoeba-like Bolosco in the border region facing the Alpha/Omega Void. Thus, when the Mæsrons fell into the Civil War and Collapse, the Trobrin were well placed to seize the initiative and to expand once again at the Mæsrons' expense. Yet, even they were not quite able to push as far as they might have hoped, due to a bitter falling out with the Vari and to a large-scale Probr intervention into the region adding a new front line to fight over.

    The Trobrin and Probr would prove to be regular opponents: during the Collapse, again during the Superpower Wars, once again during the Second Great War, and yet again during the Seventh Cycle. However, the two empires would find common cause, for a time at least, against the Andromedan and Souldra invasions.

    And as if all that were not enough to contend with, the Empire would also find a dangerous new power perched to the "north-west" of Trobrin space: the Paravians of Omega.

    -----

    So, the Trobrin have plenty of enemies to fight. With that technologies do they wage these wars with?

    Their primary weapon is the radiation phaser, or phaser-R. These are highly accurate and consistent weapons, to the point where they don't need a roll to hit! However, since they are designed to operate in the kind of high-radiation environments which the Trobrin can handle as a matter of course, non-Trobrin ships (such as the Bolosco and Zosmans) which operate these weapons have higher repair costs, due to the need to install and operate costly radiation shielding to protect their crews.

    The Trobrin have a powerful direct-fire heavy weapon, in the form of the implosion bolt. The weapon has a three-turn arming cycle ordinarily, yet can be fast-loaded on the second turn with enough reserve power.

    They also have a powerful range of plasma-like seeking weapons: the implosion torpedoes. As with Alpha Octant plasma torpedoes, they are available in a variety of sizes: light, medium, heavy, and super-heavy. IT-Ls are used on the smallest torpedo-armed Trobrin units, such as fighters and fast patrol ships; IT-Ms appear on Trobrin frigates and cruisers; the IT-H only appears on ships of cruiser size and above; while the IT-S only appears on Size Class 2 Trobrin ships and on larger bases.

    Unlike Alpha Octant plasma, there are no bolt or carronade firing options for implosion torpedoes Nor, for that matter, is there a seeking weapon mode for the implosion bolt. Also, implosion torpedoes do not impact an enemy ship directly; they "implode" to fire a directed burst of energy at a range of 10,000kms from the target unit. So while you can use phaser fire to try and reduce an incoming implosion torpedo warhead, you ought not want to let it get too close before you try to do so. And unlike the implosion bolt, there is no fast-load option for the three-turn-arming implosion torpedo.

    On a side note, the Zosman Marauders can use implosion bolts and the three smaller types of implosion torpedoes in their heavy weapon option mounts. However, heavy torpedoes take up two centerline adjacent mounts apiece, while super-heavy torpedoes are off-limits, being restricted to the Trobrin only.

    Defensively, Trobrin ships don't have the strongest shielding, but they do have belts of armour to bolster their defences. However, unlike on, say, Eagle-series Romulan ships, this "armour" is not woven into the ship's outer hull; rather, it forms discrete belts which can be removed or replaced as and when necessary. Indeed, if a Trobrin ship finds itself on a long-range patrol, the crew might take a nibble or two from these armour belts as a supplementary food source...

    In terms of certain support systems (such as their sensor/scanner and damage control tracks), Trobrin ships tend to be somewhat below the "average" in terms of redundancy. Size-1 Trobrin fighters are deployed in squadrons of 11; "volatile warp" Trobrin gunboats appear in flotillas of 4.


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    This is an unpainted 1:3125 scale Trobrin Diamond heavy cruiser from Shapeways, in Smooth Fine Detail Plastic:

    [​IMG]

    One of the most powerful heavy cruisers in Omega, the Diamond CA has six radiation phaser-1s, two radiation phaser-3s, two implosion bolts (one on either side of the prow), one heavy implosion torpedo (the central cannon-like weapon on the secondary hull), and two medium implosion torpedoes (the smaller "cannon" mounts to either side of the heavy implosion torpedo).

    The armour belts are marked by the rectangles on the back of the prow.

    The "Middle Years" version of this ship is no faster tactically than the Mæsron heavy cruiser of the same era. However, as previewed for the Trobrin early command cruiser (which this same miniature can be used to stand in for) in Captain's Log #52, the Trobrin later develop a warp refit enabling some of their cruisers to fight at Warp 3.14 (SFB Speed 31). A warp-upgraded version of the CA itself has yet to be shown in print, however.

    The Trobrin never settled on a bolt, torpedo, or mixed doctrine - so ships with all three varieties of heavy weapon are liable to show up in a given Trobrin force. For example, the bolt cruiser swaps out the medium implosion torpedoes for two more implosion bolts. Whereas the torpedo cruiser removes the prow-mounted implosion bolts in order to install a second heavy implosion torpedo.

    As a fleet, the Trobrin have no equivalent to the Mæsron destroyer or light cruiser. However, while most empires tend to keep their dreadnoughts docked during peacetime (when command cruisers are used by flag officers instead), the Empire instead sends its Deep Space Dreadnoughts on long-range patrols of Imperial space.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2023
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  9. publiusr

    publiusr Admiral Admiral

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    Lovely design.
    FASA would have used that as Klingon…I might go for asteroid ships for the Trobrin.
     
  10. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    Rimward of the Trobrin Empire lies the next of the four Superpowers: the Probr Revolution.

    The Probr are a species of salamander-like amphibians. There is a significant degree of gender dimorphism between male and female Probr; male Probr are about two metres long (one of which being tail); female Probr, which make up only 10% of the population, are up to four metres in length, and reportedly have some degree of psionic capability. The Probr are resistant - though by no means immune - to Sigvirion infection.

    As with the Seltorians out in the M81 Galaxy, the Probr did not evolve to sapience naturally; rather, they were subject to brutal genetic experimentation by another species. And just as the Seltorians eventually rose in Revolt against the Tholians, so too did the Probr launch a Revolution to destroy their tormentors. in his instance, however, the Probr were exceedingly thorough in erasing all traces of their creators, to the point that their true name as a species is unknown; they are referred to merely as THEM.

    However, unlike the Seltorians (who were "trained" to carry out the Tholian Will for centuries prior to the Revolt), the advent of Probr sapience apparently caught THEM by surprise.. So the post-Revolution Prob had to spend the next two centuries undergoing a crash course in how to function as a civilization, by undergoing a series of intense feudal clashes. Eventually, though, the "modern" Probr society emerged with the founding of the Supreme Council to govern the unified species. However, the Council is only able to make decision unilaterally, so each of the sixteen individuals on said Council have little power individually. In the meantime, most Probr simply get on with their lives; fortunately, most Probr individuals ave a strong internal moral compass, leading Probr society to (more or less) function as a kind of balanced anarchy.

    The Probr stayed out of the First Great War; during thee subsequent Pax Mæsra, they maintained a cordial relationship with both the Mæsrons and Trobrin. However, they were by no means inactive; they clashed with the native inhabitants of the Ryn Nebula, kept watch over the Sigvirion border (at least until the Mæsrons destroyed the original Sigvirion empire), hosted a group of exiles fleeing the Qixavlor Cloud when that volatile region was taken over by the Sigs; and signed an accord with the Trobrin and Bolosco, assigning the latter a new home territory along the edge of the Alpha/Omega Void. And when the Mæsrons began to make headway against the pirate threat posed by the Zosman Marauders, they passed this data onto the Probr as a gesture of good faith.

    The Sigs weren't quite done with the Probr, however. At the time the Mæsron Civil War and Collapse broke out, the Revolution was caught up in the midst of a major infestation Once the Sig threat was flushed out, the victorious Probr jumped into the broader fray, marking the first of several major wars in which the Probr and Trobrin would be in opposition. A more subtle Sig infection led to the outbreak of the Superpower Wars, which saw the Probr ally with the Koligahr against the Trobrin and several Vari cells. The Second Great War saw the Probr ally with the Mæsrons and the Federal Republic of Aurora - ironically, in a war triggered by the same Vulpa insurgents which the Probr had themselves funded more than a decade earlier. And while the Probr and Trobrin would find common cause against the Andromedan and Souldra invaders, they would be at war once again during the mid-to-late Y210s.

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    Technologically-speaking, the Probr are defined to a large extent by their relative lack of innovation; they are much better at adopting foreign technologies (or new tactical doctrines) than pioneering new ones. Plus, with a structurally weak economy, their engineers are obliged to design ships as cheaply and cost-effectively as possible.

    In terms of starship design, the Probr build separate hull and wing sections, which are assembled into complete starships at major fleet yards. (Again this is reminiscent of the Seltorians, who build separate boom and hull sections and then decide how best to assemble them based on the resources at hand.) In Star Fleet Battles terms, this means that most Probr ships have a lower economic BPV than a combat BPV.

    For example, a single destroyer-sized central hull combined with a pair of small wings produces a Probr Bronze destroyer. Two destroyer central hulls combined with a pair of medium wings results in the Probr Steel heavy cruiser. Whereas three destroyer central hulls combined with a pair of large wings creates a Probr dreadnought.

    In terms of weapons, the Probr apparently "inherited" the high-energy acceptance torpedo, or HEAT, from THEM. A plasma-like weapon, HEATs are more resistant to phaser damage than plasma torpedoes or implosion torpedoes. Indeed, HEATs can switch targeting to a new target in-flight, though this must be programmed in prior to launch. Because of this, however, they are not self-guiding; as with most types of drones, they require the use of a seeking weapons control channel. HEATs ordinarily arm over three turns, but can be quick-loaded in two.

    In the course of their early expansion into space, the Probr recovered a system called the target accentuator from a derelict battle fortress from a lost Omega precursor species. The TA, when activated, enables specially-armed HEATs to travel towards a marked target at Warp 4, or SFB Speed 64! However, accentuated HEATs have a weaker warhead than standard HEATs. Plus, the TA has a myopic zone, so one can't be too close or too far away from the target while the accentuated HEATS are on their way.

    After capturing a survey ship from the tiger-like Ryn, the Probr reverse-engineered quantum phaser technology. Quantum phasers are tailored for long-range sniping, and have built-in ECCM, but are weaker than other types of phasers up close.

    Size-1 Probr fighters typically deploy in squadrons of 12; "volatile warp" Probr gunboats appear in flotillas of 4.

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    The aforementioned Steel heavy cruiser has four HEATs (two to port, two to starboard); a pair of TAs (in the forward arc); and a range of quantum phaser-1s, -2s, and -3s.

    A common Probr tactic is to fast-load all four HEATs, but to stagger the arming and launching cycles; two off one side in one turn, ten two off the other side on the next, and so on and so forth.

    In duels, a Probr CA is limited by the forward firing arcs of the TAs. For this reason, the Probr deployed accentuation variants, which swap over the HEAT and TA placements; this made Probr squadrons supported by said variants much more flexible in terms of their maneuvering and targeting options.
     
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  11. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

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    On the opposite side of Mæsron space from the Trobrin Empire lies the Koligahr Solidarity, the third of the four Superpowers.

    As with the Probr and the Seltorians, the ancestors of the modern-day Koligahr did not evolve into sapience by themselves. In this instance, a research site was established on their oceanic home world by a bear-like species known as the Ka-ma-ty-u, who found the pre-sapient jellyfish-like "Ko-li-gahr" to be beautiful to behold. One scientist in particular, Kor-an-uv, began the process of uplifting this aquatic species into the beings we now know as the Koligahr. In the modern era, the Ka-ma-ty-u are mostly extinct; a disease wiped out those of this species not present on the Koligahr home planet. However, those which do survive are greatly revered by their Koligahr hosts, suggesting a far more benevolent relationship to that found between the Tholians and Seltorians, or between the Probr and THEM.

    First Contact between the Mæsrons and Koligahr did not go well; in the midst of a Petty War between the Vulpa and Vari, a Mæsron task force mistakenly targeted a Koligahr colony. Despite a Mæsron apology, the Koligahr earned to be quite wary of the Mæsron Alliance in genera, an of the war-like Vulpa in particular. Indeed, the Vari would successfully leverage this wariness in order to drag the Solidarity into the First Great War, by using captured Koligahr ships to attack Mæsron border outposts.

    The Koligahr were on the losing side of the First Great War, but remained able to expand away from Mæsron space towards the Galactic Rim - where they encountered and conquered the hummingbird-like Singers. A the time of the Mæsron Civil War and Collapse, the Koligahr found themselves taking a measure of revenge against the Wallimi, before warring with the Probr and Vari for regional dominance. Their hold over Singer space would be broken by the surprise intervention of the færie-like Loriyill, while the Andromedan and Souldra invasions would later drive the Koligahr back to the vicinity of their home system, from which they would r-emerge as a major power during the subsequent Seventh Cycle.

    -----

    As seen over on Shapeways, Koligahr ships are composite in design. Each spherical hull section is constructed underwater, then launched into orbit where they are assembled in a lattice in order to produce a Koligahr starship. Unlike the case with the Probr, however, this appears to be a more "bespoke" process from one hull type to the next, in that there does not appear to be much in common between the bubbles built for, say, a destroyer and those used for a dreadnought.

    In terms of weapons, the Koligahr use microphasers, which are "hit-or-miss" weapons akin to disruptors - but which do have an improved damage ratio against various types of plasma torpedo.(to include Probr HEATs).

    Their primary heavy weapon is the antimatter cannon, which requires a certain amount of warp power to fire; it has an "overload" function, as well as a "caseless" alternate firing mode which is primarily of use against unshielded targets.

    Their secondary heavy weapon is the antimatter cloud generator, which also requires warp power to arm; as the name suggests, it produces a cloud of antimatter in a target hex based on the amount of power fed into it. As a weapon, it is most useful against enemy shuttles or tachyon missiles.

    Size-1 Koligahr fighters are deployed in squadrons of 10; "volatile warp" Koligahr gunboats appear in flotillas of 5.

    -----

    The Koligahr heavy cruiser is armed with ten micrphaser-1s, two microphaser-3s, four antimatter cannons, plus two antimatter cloud generators. In Alpha Octant terms, it is about as agile as a Federation heavy cruiser.

    A variant of this heavy cruiser swaps out the port and starboard antimatter cannons for additional antimatter cloud generators; this variant is primarily used for fleet defence against enemy fighters and tachyon missiles.

    As with the Trobrin, there is a preview command cruiser SSD in Captain's Log #52 which includes a Warp 3.14 (SFB Speed 31) warp refit. Again as with the Trobrin, such warp refits have yet to be formally outlined for the "standard" CA.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2023
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  12. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    To the east of Mæsron space lies the fourth of the four Superpowers: the Vari Combine

    Biologically, the Vari are an arachnid species, each approximately 2 metres in length .The Vari diet consists almost exclusively of blood drawn from various animal and insect species - which must be drawn from a live source. As it happens, the Vari consider the blood of the mammalian Mæsron member species to be a particular delicacy...

    Politically, for most of Omega history, there was no such thing as a unified Vari government; each Vari cell was an independent political entity. Prior to the Seventh Cycle, "civil wars" between cells were uncommon; for the most part, cells routinely shared intelligence and technology samples with one another. Within each cell, however, was another matter; each Vizu (queen) and her vazha (royal court) faced no end of feudal intrigue, as other clans seek to overthrow the Vizu and take her place.

    As can be imagined, this made Vari diplomacy a highly volatile matter. A treaty signed with one cell by no means applied to any of the others - or, perhaps, to a new government of the signatory cell, should the old Vizu be overthrown and a new Vizu take her cell's foreign policy in a different direction. And if a cell operating on a foreign border triggered a disproportionate response (say, by launching "blood raids" against border colony planets), the Combine at large might find itself dragged into a war not of is own choosing.

    This structural weakness would lead to the outbreak of the First Great War. No less than three "Petty Wars" had broken out along the Mæsron-Vari order, when one or more border cell(s) launched "blood raids" against nearby Mæsron colonies. Each set of raids triggered savage reprisals by the Vulpa, either alone or in tandem with the Wallimi, until a nearby cell intervened to force the trouble-making cell(s) to cease hostilities. Yet when a fourth Petty War broke out, the Tazol - who had held back prior to this point - did not object to the Vulpa and Wallimi making a grim example of the raiding cell. When the resulting action led to the bombardment of the cell's home world and the death of its Vizu, the other cells were shocked into declaring war against the Mæsron Alliance.

    The Vari would be the biggest losers of the First Great War; most of the cells would be reduced to powerlessness, with only two distant cells escaping Mæsron retribution. Rather than finish the Vari off entirely, however, the victorious Alliance found itself increasingly distracted on other fronts. Thus, when the Mæsron Civil War and Collapse broke out decades later, the Vari were able to rise once more to prominence... for a while, at least.

    The Andromedan and Souldra invasions left most cells either defeated or driven back to heir respective home worlds. Only one cell, the Vriss, survived the Sixth Cycle more or less intact; as a result, the Vriss were able to do what no prior cell had done before: unite all Vari under their rule. Which, of course, meant that they had no-one else to blame but themselves, when yet another round of "blood raids" led them to defeat at the hands of the Vulpa Confederacy. By the end of the Seventh Cycle, most of Vari space had been seized by the Vulpa, and the consumption of Vulpa citizens had been banned in perpetuity.

    -----

    Vari technology was constrained by Vari logistics, to a greater extent than seen in more "unified" empires.

    No cell had the means of constructing shipyards capable of constructing Size Class 2 warships; the largest hulls fielded by the Vari were akin to another empire's heavy battlecruisers. Further, the "Middle Years" Vari found it difficult to develop a true destroyer; instead, they stretched their frigate hull to create a somewhat imbalanced heavy frigate design.

    Further, for a species which puts so much stock in cross-border "blood raids", their line ships appear ill-equipped to carry out such tasks. They have fewer Marine squads than one might expect; no large shuttle bays or transporter banks; and are incapable of landing on planets. In fairness, however, with the exception of the Vari commando PF in Module Omega #5, we have yet to se what their commando variants look like, so there is an incomplete picture of what is going on at this time of typing.

    In terms of weapons, the Vari developed particle technology in a number of different ways.

    Particle phasers have the most variable (or is that vari-able...) amount of damage output. The Vari started the "Middle Years" with particle phaser-1s and particle phaser-3s; later on they designed a particle phaser-2 for use on escorts, plus a particle phaser stabilizer system which was mostly intended to improve particle phaser accuracy against mines and seeking weapons.

    Particle beams are very similar to particle cannons from the M81 Galaxy. The main difference being that each particle beam shot is weaker than a particle cannon shot - but, unlike with a (non-X) particle cannon, both particle beam shots can be overloaded.

    The Vari developed particle probe launchers. Each particle probe has a single particle beam shot loaded, that can be fired in any direction from the target hex. While a short-range weapon, and not a particularly powerful one at that, it does at least offer the chance to snipe at a downed shield the enemy ship would otherwise prefer to keep out of arc.

    Later in the Omega timeline, the Vari developed a plasma-like seeking weapon called the particle splitter torpedo. A two-turn arming weapon, the PST has standard, doubled, and tripled arming levels When launched, each warhead automatically splits into two, three, or four sub-warheads (depending on arming level) after eight SFB impulses; the choice of targets must be assigned at the time of launch. This makes the PST a powerful weapon against enemy ships at close range, or a useful tool against enemy attrition units at medium range - if the arming ship can afford the cost to arm it, that is...

    Most of the above weapons can be used by other empires, to include the Zosman Marauders. Non-Vari only gain access to the particle phaser stabilizer in Y198; the particle splitter torpedo is restricted to the Vari themselves.

    "Size-1" Vari fighters are set to squadrons of 12; "volatile warp" Vari gunboats appear in flotillas of five.

    -----

    The Vari heavy cruiser - as shown here on Shapeways - is an example of Vari "Middle Years" starship design. It is armed with six particle phaser-1s, four particle phaser-3s, four particle beams, and two particle probe launchers.It is no faster than the "Middle Years" Mæsron heavy cruiser tactically-speaking. (There is no word as of yet as to whether or not the Vari developed a "warp refit" for this class.) The Vari latter attempted to field a particle splitter torpedo variant of this hull, yet found it too power-deficient to use this new weapon effectively.

    In contrast, the Vari wing cruiser - also seen on Shapeways - is a much more dangerous opponent. It is armed with five particle phaser-1s, four particle phaser-3s, four particle splitter torpedoes, a lone particle beam, and two particle probe launchers. This ship is designed from the keel up to fight at Warp 3.14 (SFB Speed 31).- though even with its vastly improved power curve, it might be encouraged to take a leaf from the Probr playbook, in terms of alternating launches from each pair of PSTs from one turn to the next. While still a "peacetime construction" design (the first Omega Octant "wartime construction" hulls did not appear until two years after the wing cruiser first entered service), the Vari make extensive use of the wing cruiser hull and of and its numerous variants, almost as if it had been a "true" war cruiser.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2023
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  13. publiusr

    publiusr Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    publiusr
    Those are great miniatures.
     
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  14. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    With the four Superpowers having been introduced above, now might be a good time to go back to the Federal Republic of Aurora.

    -----

    While the Aurorans began with the Star Fleet (and Orion) technologies they inherited from the Alpha Octant of Y130, it didn't take long for the Republic's technology tree to start branching off in its own directions.

    In the Alpha Octant, the Federation preferred to stick with a single type of photon torpedo. In the Omega Octant, the Republic developed light and heavy photon torpedoes for use alongside standard photons. Light photons have half of the strength of a standard warhead, but cost half as much to arm; heavy photons have 150% the strength (and arming cost) of a standard photon. Size Class 4 and smaller units in the Auroran Navy have light photons only; most of their cruisers have a mix of light and standard photons; whereas dreadnoughts and larger bases have a mix of standard and heavy photons.

    The Aurorans discovered several other star systems in their immediate vicinity; these had been brought over by the Cosmic Nexus prior to Aurora's own arrival. At least four planets in these systems had been inhabited in the past, but had either been abandoned or had otherwise been depopulated. On one of these worlds, the Republic discovered a factory which, when combined with their own technology, enabled them to deploy miniaturized suicide shuttles: these became known as shuttle bombs. Initially, a single admin shuttle could be swapped out for two shuttle bombs; later on, a new wave of miniaturization allowed three shuttle bombs to be used in place of each admin shuttle. Auroran engineers also worked to refine the warhead strength and guidance systems for these weapons over time.

    The Orion cruiser Throne of Ozymondas happened to have a prototype Klingon anti-drone system stashed away in its cargo hold. However, as the Republic gained more knowledge of Mæsron weapon systems, it became evident that ADDs would be sub-optimal against tachyon missiles - which they treat as shuttles, not as drones. So, Auroran engineers re-worked the ADD into a new weapon called the short-range cannon, or SRC. This new weapon requires 1/2 of an energy point to fire each shot, and has a 180-degree firing arc as opposed to the 360-degree arc of an ADD. However, the weapon is capable of damaging drone-like seeking weapons (treating TMs as drones), shuttles, and even larger ships. However, they are of no use against plasma-like seeking weapons, such as Trobrin implosion torpedoes or Probr HEATs. Notably, fighters armed with SRCs require the use of pods, in which the arming charge is held.

    The Aurorans signed a commercial agreement which saw them sell a number of shuttle bombs to the Bolosco each year. As for the Zosman Marauders, they were able to salvage each of the weapons noted above. Indeed, they went so far as to reverse-engineer shuttle bomb technology and to adopt it widely for their own use. However, they failed to match the 3:1 miniaturization level, or the improved guidance systems, the Aurorans later developed for their own shuttle bombs.

    -----

    Back in the Alpha Octant, a few prototype "old heavy cruisers" had been built as a "design competitor" to the more famous Constitution-class heavy cruisers. While capable ships, these did not enter series production.

    Over in Omega, the jury-rigged maintenance-dock-turned-construction-yard used to build light cruisers was not quite capable of building OCAs. The best the Aurorans could do was to up-scale the light cruiser into an armoured cruiser, or CLA design. While closer to a medium cruiser than a true heavy cruiser, this ship had one key advantage in an Omega Octant context: it was capable of fighting at Warp 3.07, or SFB Speed 29.

    When the Aurorans learned of the existence of Mæsron (and other) carriers, they responded by designing a capable strike carrier based on the old CL design. Size-1 FRA squadrons have 12 fighters each; typically with a 2:1 ratio of superiority (Doberman) to light photon (Rottweiler) types.

    Carriers, of course, led to carrier escorts. However as with most other Omega empires, Auroran escort variants did not have access to the limited Aegis f9re control system until the Y190s.

    -----

    Ironically, the first major opponent the Auroran Navy was not the Mæsron Alliance, but rather the Trobrin Empire.

    A series of hostile encounters took place between the Aurorans and the Trobrin, culminating in a major battle in the vicinity of Aurora VII, the gas giant at the heart of the Aurora star system. With the aid of a mercenary Bolosco cruiser, the Aurorans were victorious. For their part, the Empire could have concentrated enough resources to crush the Republic had it wanted to; however, with more pressing matters on other fronts, the Empire instead decided to open diplomatic relations.

    For their part, the Probr soon entered the vicinity of the Republic in force, though no major battles were fought between the Republic and the Revolution.

    The Zosman Marauders became a threat to the Republic in this era also: beyond the use of reverse-engineered shuttle bomb technology, the nearest Marauder cells would most likely be armed with Mæsron, Trobrin, or Probr weapon types, depending on which of those empires served as their primary base of operations.

    Eventually, the Aurorans decided that they could not stand entirely alone. So, they offered a deal to the Tazol-Wallimi "New Alliance": in exchange for intervening against the Vulpa faction in the Mæsron Civil War, the New Alliance would in turn provide a guarantee of the Republic's sovereignty. Thus, when the Vulpa faction was defeated and the Civil War came to an end, Auroran ships could be found patrolling what now remained of Mæsron space, in exchange for Mæsron protection from would-be Superpower incursions. This marked the onset of a long and mutually beneficial relationship between the Aurorans and Mæsrons - albeit one not without a few unexpected challenges along the way...

    -----

    A future post should cover the next phase of the Aurorans' development in the Y170s - to include the many changes brought by arrival of the Klingon colony world Kraknora.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2023
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  15. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    In the Alpha Octant, the role of "wild card" - pirate, privateer, merchant, mercenary, or what have you - is played by the various Orion Cartels. Indeed, as noted above, the Orion Raider Cruiser Throne of Ozymondas provides a unique card for the Federal Republic of Aurora to play.

    Beyond the "games of the Throne", however, there are no fewer than three "wild card" factions active at different points in time across the Omega Octant.

    Here is a look at one of them: the Iridani Questors.

    -----

    Technically speaking, the Iridani are an "extra-galactic" faction: their home world is in the Iridani Cluster, which orbits the Milky Way Galaxy. It is far enough from the Galactic Rim to make it a safe haven from the troubles of the Omega Octant... or at least, so it seemed prior to the onset of the Sixth Cycle of Omega history. Yet it is close enough to the Rim to make it possible to establish chains of supply docks between the Cluster and various points through which Iridani Quest ships can cross through the Galactic Energy Barrier.

    The Iridani themselves are an otter-like species with a shorter than average life span. Their society is organized on a feudal basis, though without the chronic infighting seen in places like the Kzinti Hegemony or the Lyran Star Empire. The Iridani are very social, eager to explore, and love a good party - though this is tempered with a strong sense of honour.

    Prior to the Andromedan and Souldra invasions, most Iridani ships being sent to Omega would be on a Quest, assigned to the captain for them to undertake prior to his accepting their place in society. Some of these might involve making First Contact with a new species; others might involve serving a local Omega empire as a de facto mercenary; still others might involve providing medical assistance where necessary. Most of these Quests were solo affairs, though larger Quests involving squadrons, or even fleets of starshps are by no means unheard of. The Iridani made two failed attempts to establish colonies in the Milky Way Galaxy, but for the most part kept to their holdings in the Iridani Cluster.

    Alas, the Andromedan Invaders had other ideas: after destroying the Iridani New Kingdom (which had been established along the Galactic Rim only a few years earlier), the Andromedans launched a surprise invasion and conquest of the Cluster itself - at a time when the bulk of the Iridani fleet was deployed to Omega on various Quests. In response to this, the Iridani ships still at large formed together to launch the Grand Quest: an epic campaign to re-take the Cluster from the Andromedans. Following this, the Cluster was heavily fortified, though the fleet yards would not be made fully operational again until the subsequent Seventh Cycle. Even so, the Iridani have continued to launch ongoing Crusade Quests, aimed at chasing down and destroying the Andromedans wherever they might be found.

    As it happened, when the Star Fleet advanced technology Galactic Survey Cruiser NCC-1821 USS Sakharov arrived in the Omega Octant, it soon made First Contact with an Iridani Quest ship. This led to a sojourn to and from the Throne Planet of Iridia itself; a few years later, this same Quest ship escorted the Sakharov all the way back to the Alpha Octant, by way of the Lesser Magellanic Cloud.

    -----

    In order to carry out the terms of each Quest, most Iridani ships are designed to be modular in nature - as, indeed, are the supply docks used to support crossings to and from the Milky Way Galaxy. Even the later Iridani gunboats are modular in design.

    For the most part, "Middle Years" Iridani ships are about as fast (or slow) as the Omega Octant standard in that era. One notable exception is the Iridani Clipper; one of the earliest Omega cruisers to be able to fight at Warp 3.14 (or SFB Speed 31).

    "Full-sized" Iridani ships are for the most part set to "broad-siding" firing arcs; only once did a Quest attempt to demonstrate a set of "-B" variants with forward-firing heavy weapons, and it was considered to be a failure. That said, Iridani attrition units (fighters and gunboats) have forward-oriented firing arcs.

    The Iridani settled on wide-angle phasers as their primary armament.

    Their main heavy weapon is the phaser-like focused energy beam, which has a 32-impulse firing delay and which costs three points of power to fire. Notably, it can draw power from a ship's phaser capacitors, but does not count towards the ship's capacitor storage in and of itself.

    To support their use of phaser-Ws and FEBs, the Iridani developed a system called the target illuminator. This system "paints" a target unit, enabling the firing ship to improve the die rolls rolled against it in the same impulse. Each ship must use its own target illuminator, however.

    The Zosman Marauders can salvage the FEB, but not the target illuminator, as use of the latter is tied to the unique Iridani fire control system.

    Quest captains of means can purchase Gigs, special shuttle types they can swap in for standard admin shuttles. An Admiral's Gig exists for those with even more means to make use of.

    "size-1" Iridani fighters are in squadrons of 12; "volatile warp" Iridani gunboats - the largest seen in service anywhere in known space - are in flotillas of 4.

    One other note: unlike the Klingons, who had to build their B10 battleships over many years (since they had a war on at the time), the Iridani could simply curtail military production in order to pay for their immense Man-O-War battleships! Two of these ships survived the Grand Quest; one of those was present when the GSX Sakharov visited the Throne Planet.

    -----

    This is an unpainted 3125 scale Iridani Galleon from Shapeways, in what used to be called Smooth Fine Detail Plastic:

    [​IMG]

    This ship - their primary equivalent to other empires' heavy cruisers - was ostensibly designed to evoke a "wet-navy" hull from the Throne Planet's Age of Sail, though Earther eyes might see it as looking more like a rocket ship...

    The side sponsons are where the four focused energy beams are installed; the ship has three target illuminators on the base hull, as well as a set of six wide-angle phaser-1s. The forward module is a VIP Module, which alows the captain to host banquets and other special occasions; the aft module is a Weapons Module, adding more wide-angle phasers and more power to operate them.

    These ships are only about as agile as a Federation heavy cruiser or Auroran armored cruiser. However, they have large numbers of boarding parties, in case battles get up close and personal.

    So, if anyone was looking for a ship with which to run a Prime Directive RPG campaign set in the Omega Octant, this might be a good candidate to consider!
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2023
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  16. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The second "wild card" faction of note in the Omega Octant is the Bolosco Merchant Guilds.

    -----

    The Bolosco are an amoeba-like species which originally evolved in the M81 Galaxy. While a peaceful people, they encountered a warlike faction known as the KoTanrho, who saw the Bolosco as a threat to be destroyed. This led the Bolosco to flee their home galaxy, in order to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

    In case you are wondering: the Bolosco and the home galaxy Tholians never met. By the time the Tholians expanded their control over the former Bolosco home territory, the latter had already departed.

    Eventually, one group of Bolosco exiles turned their attention to the Omega Octant of the Milky Way Galaxy. Alas, there was something else they and the Tholians had in common: they too dangerously underestimated the strength of the Galactic Energy Barrier surrounding this galaxy. Those who survived the crossing limped across the Void-ward edge of the Omega Octant, until they reached an area along the Probr-Trobrin border. Fortunately, both empires were willing to negotiate a treaty which enabled the Bolosco to establish a new home territory in the area.

    As the Bolosco consolidated their presence in Omega, they began establishing long-distance trade routes into Trobrin and Probr space, and later on into Mæsron, Koligahr, Vari, and other territories across the octant. The Bolosco were not shy of offering their services as mercenaries, though it was not unknown for such contracts to lead to certain Bolosco ships being obliged to fire on one another...

    On the one hand, relations between the Bolosco and Iridani were mostly amicable, though the Iridani Custer was too far from the Galactic Rim to establish a secure trade route. On the other hand, the Bolosco and Zosmans started shooting at each other from their very first recorded meeting in Omega. Theories abound as to why this is so, yet neither side is willing to discuss the matter with outsiders. As with most other carbon-based organisms, the Bolosco are vulnerable to Sigvirion infection, so needed to maintain a robust regimen of anti-Sig inoculations.

    However, the location of Bolosco home space along the edge of the Void proved to be a fatal drawback, as it found itself overwhelmed by the Souldra. With their home colonies drained of all life, the largest number of surviving Bolosco fled to Mæsron space, where they joined the "New Alliance". The remainder became independent operators, a mere shadow of the once-vibrant Bolosco trading network.

    -----

    Bolosco units are built to leverage this species' mastery of tractor beam technology, as well as to maximize their trading capabilities.

    Most Bolosco ships are designed to operate as tugs, with an array of dedicated small and large pods available (battle, self-defence, cargo, etc.) available for use. Notably, Bolosco tugs do not have any Move Cost penalties while carrying these pods, though they do have similar Turn Mode restrictions as most other empires' tugs. However, most "middle years" Bolosco ships are slow even by local standards, being no faster than Y-era ships over in the Alpha Octant.

    The Bolosco use phaser option mounts, which can be any of the five main Omega phaser types: wide-angle, radiation, quantum, micro, or particle. Only one type of phaser can be used at once on a given base hull, though a pod (or pods) carried by the ship can use a different type. Historically, a common option was to take radiation phasers on the base hull, and quantum phasers on the pod(s).

    The primary heavy weapon used by the Bolosco is the focused tractor beam, which can be used as a standard tractor beam or to make a direct-fire attack. It runs along a different development path to the Andromedan tractor-repulsor beam, however.

    Perhaps the most flexible piece of Bolosco technology is the integrated warp tractor. As an actual tractor beam, it has a longer range and is more energy-efficient than any other known empire's tractor beam. It can also be used in different modes: tractor crush (where it "envelops" an enemy unit and applies damage against all six shield facings at once), pressure field (where it can keep enemy shuttles and missiles at bay for a time), warp shunt (where it can force an enemy ship to turn involuntarily), or tractor punch (where it acts as a short-ranged direct-fire weapon). However, Bolosco ships must use an IWT to produce negative tractor; it cannot generate negative tractor points the way that other empires' ships can.

    Bolosco ship stabilizers, if activated, can make it very difficult to tow a Bolosco ship away from the scene.

    However, one key issue for Bolosco ships is how over-stuffed with eager crewbengs they are; these crew units die at twice the normal rate seen on other empires' ships. This proved to be a dangerous weakness in the face of Souldra Black Shard vampirism...

    Beyond all of this, the Bolosco import tachyon missiles from the Mæsrons, and shuttle bombs from the Federal Republic of Aurora.

    "Size-1" Bolosco fighters were deployed in flexible squadrons, based on the number of fighter bays a given carrier possessed. Bolosco home space had been destroyed by the time "volatile warp" gunboats became available; there are no "what-if" Bolosco PF SSDs currently in print.

    -----

    This is an unpainted 3125 scale Bolosco Merchant Cruiser, in what used to be known as Smooth Fine Detail Plastic:

    [​IMG]

    This class is equivalent to other empires' heavy cruisers, and is the largest ship used by the Bolosco for trading purposes. (Their dreadnought was used for mercenary missions, or for defending Bolosco home territory.)

    The base hull has five phaser-1 option mounts, six phaser-3 option mounts, four focused tractor beams, six integrated warp tractors, and four type-A tachyon missile racks. The miniature is shown with a large sell-defence pod, which added more phasers, more power to arm them, and an increase in cargo capacity.

    Notably, the ship also included a number of fabrication and works boxes, and even a few repair boxes; all of which were useful when on long-distance trading missions.

    Despite their tragic history, the Bolosco are another great RPG candidate, for anyone looking to explore the Omega Octant at a more personal level. Although, as with the Iridani, there is no official Omega module for the Prime Directive game systems as of yet...
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2023
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  17. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The third "wild card" Omega faction of note is also the region's main "pirate" faction: the Zosman Marauders.

    -----

    Unlike the Iridani and the Bolosco, the Zosmans are not yet a formally-published Omega Octant faction. At this time of typing, they are one of "Omega's Lost Futures": a reference to numerous Omega empires known to exist historically, yet which are either still in playtest or have no "in-game" material in print or PDF format at this point in time.

    For now, the playtest Zosman material for Star Fleet Battles is in Captain's Log #50, the CL50 Supplemental File, 9nd in Captain's Log #52. Thus, any or all of the data posted below might change between now and the time they are brought up to formal publication status.

    For example: we do not yeet know exactly what kind of species the Zosmans themselves are. Some things can be inferred from the current background material; for one thing, they are vulnerable to Sigvirion infection, so would presumably be some form of carbon-based organism.

    What we do know (or think we know) is that they are extra-galactic in origin: they first migrated to the Phi Sector, a region of the galaxy beyond the "on-map" Omega Octant, about 175 years prior to Y1. They took a slow and methodical approach to colonization, but had a number of colony worlds up and running when the Cataclysm, a "galactic weather event", devastated their civilization. While the core worlds formed the Zosman Collective in the post-Collapse era, the more isolated colonies became the independent Marauder worlds

    Starting in Y107, a series of Marauder cells, operating in the midst of the "on-map" Omega empires, launched an ongoing series of pirate raids; the loot from such raids would be shipped back to the Phi Sector in order to replenish the Marauder worlds, and (indirectly) boost the economy of the Collective proper through an increase in trade with these independent worlds.

    During the Pax Mæsra, the Mæsrons discovered a means to bypass the Stealth field, the unique Zosman technology that made their pirate operations possible. However, while the subsequent anti-pirate campaigns were successful at flushing out several Marauder cells, a later refinement of Stealth field technology - and the turmoil caused by the Mæsron Civil War and Collapse - led to the Zosmans to expand their activities once more.

    Over time, the Zosmans became more open to offering their services as mercenaries. However, they maintained a long-standing grudge with the Bolosco (who responded in kind), and developed a growing rivalry wit the Iridani Questors. The Phi Sector was heavily attacked by the Andromedans and Souldra during the Sixth Cycle, yet enough worlds survived the onslaught to enable Marauder activity to resume during the subsequent Seventh Cycle.

    -----

    There are several key technologies to consider when looking at the Zosman Marauders.

    One is their use of phaser option mounts. This enabled a given Marauder cell to pilfer whichever types of phaser were in use by their "host" empire. The Zosman forces stationed back in the Phi Sector settled on the use of Mæsron-type wide-angle phasers.

    Another is their use of modules aboard their ships and bases. The number of modules on a given hull varies a destroyer has two, a light cruiser has three, and so on and so forth. The current playtest SSDs use generic weapon and system module types; hopefully a more proper range of modules might appear in print at a later point n time. For those in playtest at this time, weapon modules can be swapped out for system modules, but not vice versa.

    As is the case for their phaser option mounts, the weapon modules allow for phasers and heavy weapons to be sourced from "host" empires and used by the Zosmans themselves, though certain weapons (such as Trobrin super-heavy implosion torpedoes or Vari particle splitter torpedoes) cannot be used by the Zosmans. As for the Zosman ships on home defence duty back in the Phi Sector, they use Mæsron-type tachyon guns and tachyon missiles.

    The Zosmans also stole shuttle bomb technology from the Federal Republic of Aurora, though they were notable to adopt the miniaturization or targeting improvements the Aurorans themselves implemented.

    In terms of support systems, the Zosmans gained access to limited Aegis and to Vari particle phaser stabilizers during the Sixth Cycle.

    -----

    As noted above, the real key to Zosman pirate operations is the Stealth field. All Zosman units - except for shuttle bombs - have the Stealth field built in as standard. As with the cloaking device, the Stealth field is an "active" system (with an ongoing energy cost to operate), unlike the "passive" stealth coating on Orion Pirate ships. Yet unlike the cloak, but more akin to the Jumokian distortion field generator, the Stealth field must be woven in to the ship during construction; other empires cannot apply this system to their own ships.

    As to what the Stealth field does: again, this is something that is currently in playtest. At present, it operates by blocking the ship's warp flare. A a strategic level, this means a Zosman ship cannot be detected, though the movement of large numbers of Zosman ships can be inferred by other means. Tactically, the Stealth field obliges both the Zosman ship and its opponent to act as if they are under the effects of passive fire control Noe that the Stelath field is not a cloak, so you can still "see" a Zosman ship under Stealth, if it is parked close enough to look out the window at...

    -----

    In order to leverage the Stealth field, the Zosmans designed a Syndicate base, which looks somewhat like an Alpha Octant fleet repair dock. The idea being that a Zosman ship can dock internally while being protected by the base's Stealth field. Or, two heavy and/or Fence cruisers can tow the base to a new location while all three are under Stealth. However, since a Syndicate base has no positional stabilizers, it is not a good idea to park one close to a planet or asteroid - so the Marauder cells tend to place them in deep space, if possible.

    The ships themselves are agile and are capable of landing on planets. However, they are slower than the Omega Octant average prior to the onset of a sere of Warp 3.14 (SFB Speed 31) warp engine refits in the Y170s. They have large cargo holds, but lack probes dedicated laboratory facilities - though a cell in or close to Vari space could install particle probes, perhaps. They don't have anything akin to Orion engine doubling.

    Historically, they are noted as deploying fighters and gunboats. Indeed, they are noted as being one of the few Omega factions to bother with Interceptors, as they are reportedly more efficient than PFs when operating their Stealth fields. However, no SSDs for these units exist in print at this time of typing.

    -----

    This is a 3125 scale Zosman Heavy Cruiser, in what used to be called Smooth Fine Detail Plastic:

    [​IMG]

    The CA has room for four modules: two weapon modules and two system modules. Assuming one or both of the weapon modules aren't swapped out for more system modules, this allows for two pairs of two centerline adjacent heavy weapon mounts facing forward.

    The base hull is armed with six phaser option mounts, and carries eight admin shuttles (each of which can be swapped for a pair of shuttle bombs once that technology becomes widely available).

    This ship has 20 Marine squads as standard, even before one considers the options provided by the use of Barracks boxes in the system modules.

    However, the ship is no faster than its most hated rival, the Bolosco Merchant Cruiser, prior to the onset of the warp refit.

    The Fence cruiser variant of the CA has room for only two modules (which can be weapon or system modules), but has a much larger cargo hold - useful for transferring loot from the "on-map" Marauder cells back to the "off-map" Phi Sector.

    Of course, as is the case for ships equipped with cloaking devices, one could make use of two clear plastic minis of each Zosman ship: one to paint and use when "de-Stealthed", and the other to leave unpainted for use when the ship is operating its Stealth field!
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2023
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  18. CaptChris42

    CaptChris42 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2023
    Location:
    UK, Leicestershire
    For simplicity's sake of course, I've usually tilted the SFB map 90 degrees to better fit the Alpha/Beta Quadrant layout (in my own recent map collecting spree) Which ends up putting the ISC out beyond Spica, off into the Beta Quadrant. Everyone else stays basically where they are except for the Gorn (with the Hydrans and Lyrans now absorbed 'within' the Klingon Empire on modern maps, or practically surrounded on several sides by it)

    Beyond that players could do what they want with layout, scale, canon etc.
    Still, it's fun to think you could 'port in' new races like the Cardassians or Breen in, if one wished however, by slightly tweaking or expanding the maps, though.
     
  19. Nerroth

    Nerroth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    As a further reminder, I should note that the Star Fleet Universe galaxy map is derived from the one featured in Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual - which existed in print long before the post-1979 on-screen Franchise started to sub-divide the galaxy into four Quadrants, or began to fill them with new species and empires which lie outside the scope of ADB's bespoke licencing agreements.

    Or, for that matter, before the likes of the Star Trek Star Charts showed up to reinforce the concept that the post-1979 on-screen Franchise is set in a "small Fed" universe, as opposed to the "big Fed" universe seen in the SFU. (While the Star Charts book is itself not canon, many of the canon maps portrayed on-screen in recent years have been heavily influenced by it.)

    The Federation and Empire hex map is set at a scale of 500 parsecs per map hex - so as to make sure that the galaxy is only one hex thick along the Z-axis. (F&E is a complicated enough game to play on a two-dimensional map!)

    Actually, F&E is one "game design" reason why the great Voids seen on the SFU Milky Way galaxy map were made to exist. Any new historical empires which were within reach of what had become the established set of Alpha Octant empires would, by their very presence, lead to game-breaking imbalances between the General War belligerents. Thus, the Voids serve to largely cordon off each region of the galaxy (Alpha, Omega, etc.) from one another - at least until much later in the timeline, when more indirect means are found to connect one Galactic octant with another.

    Which, of course, also meant that any traffic between the Alpha and Omega octants in the pre-Unity era was strictly one-way in nature: be it the involuntary transfers which led to the founding of the Federal Republic of Aurora, or be it... whatever as-yet-unpublished course of events took place which seemingly led to the Paravians going from being an Early Years presence back in Alpha to later emerging as a major "modern" era threat over in Omega.
     
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  20. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    Oh, but just imagine the strategic possibilities if the map was, say, five layers deep.

    Or in SFB / FedCmdr, don't you sometimes wish you could roll the ship "upside-down" to put the good shield facing the enemy??