(written from a Production point of view)
The Star Fleet Universe is the setting of games released by Amarillo Design Bureau and formerly, Task Force Games. It is drawn in part from the ship designs and other source material from the Star Fleet Technical Manual. It is the setting of Star Fleet Battles, Federation and Empire, Star Fleet Battle Force, Prime Directive and Federation Commander. This interpretation of Star Trek also became the setting for Interplay computer games developed by Taldren, such as Star Trek: Starfleet Command.
The Galaxy of the Star Fleet Universe
The galactic political situation draws upon the map – though necessarily embellishing it – provided in Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual. In contrast to Joseph's map, the Star Fleet Universe's "Alpha Octant" also depicts the size and position of the Tholian and Gorn Empires; the Technical Manual only shows the incidental locations where the USS Enterprise crew encountered the species in the episodes wherein they made their respective appearances (viz., "The Tholian Web" and "Arena").
The Gorn Confederation in the Starfleet Universe is a union of three sentient races from neighboring star systems (Ghdar I, Ghdar II, and Ghdar III). The three races are genetically almost identical despite coming from different planets, suggesting a common ancestor. The typical Gorn stands seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds. They are very intelligent and courageous. Like the Federation they prefer to resolve disputes peacefully, but they nevertheless have a long history of conflict with the Romulans.
The Gorn occupy an expanse of territory coreward of the Romulans, on the Federation's eastern border. In the Starfleet Universe the misunderstanding over Cestus III was quickly resolved, and further communication eventually led to an alliance with the Federation, the only alliance between major powers that is based on mutual trust and friendship rather than political benefits.
The Kzinti Hegemony is a monarchy ruled by the Patriarch. Their territory is subdivided in four distinct principalities each ruled by high ranking nobles and having one other stellar government next to their border. The Duke rules over the territory next to the Klingon Empire, the Marquis next to the Federation, a count at the Lyran border and the territory with no hostile government near to by a baron. Together with the crown prince of the Hegemony these nobles form the Pentarchy, the advisory council to the Patriarch.
The original sphere of influence was colonized planets only, but the Kzinti did also start to conquer inhabited worlds which natives are not allowed to leave the planet. The Kzinti fought one civil war in Y116 and later allied with the Federation just before the General War, which was started by hostilities between the Kzinti and Lyrans.
- In the Starfleet Command series of games, the Hegemony is referred to as the "Mirak Star League". It should be noted that the SFU's portrayal of the Kzinti varies significantly from that seen in Larry Niven's works. The name of this Kzinti government has never been referenced in canon Star Trek, in the original Known Space Universe it is called "Kzinti Patriarchy".
The Orion Pirates are the Star Fleet Universe's foremost criminal organization, heavily involved in piracy and smuggling throughout most known areas of the galaxy. Due to their historical origins they are collectively given the label "Orion," but members of almost any known starfaring race can be found in Orion crews.
- The planet Orion joined the Federation in Y51. In those early years, Federation members each fielded their own fleets and ship designs. When joint action among these disparate fleets proved unworkable, Earth began pushing for a unified Federation Starfleet and a common ship design. In exchange for supporting the proposal, the Orions received the right to keep using their own ships in a separate National Guard fleet that would be responsible for patrolling their own space. In Y113, shortly after the Orions decommissioned their last deep space fleet, there was a mutiny in the National Guard; 16 ships disappeared from anchorage along with over 9,000 veteran fleet personnel. These mutineers became the first Orion Pirates.
- Political structure
- Being a loose association of criminals, the Orion Pirates do not have one centralized government. Raiding and smuggling operations are controlled by independent cartels. Each cartel has its own territory and fleet of ships, as well as its own shipyard and other hidden bases where their ships are built, outfitted, and maintained. A cartel is usually run by a crime lord or powerful family, who exclusively authorizes and controls all pirate activity within its territory. As of Y175 there were eleven major cartels that collectively covered the entire map except for Tholian space, the latter being quite effective at detecting and repelling any attempts to gain a foothold there.
- Not all pirate ships are clan-affiliated, but independent pirates wishing to do business in a cartel's territory are required to lease a specific operations area from the cartel lord, and to only use cartel facilities for supply and maintenance while they remain there.
- The Orion Civil War and its Aftermath
- During the General War, Orion invoked a clause in its membership agreement that allowed it to declare neutrality and withdraw from the Federation in the event of a foreign invasion. They did so in Y174 after a Klingon squadron penetrated the Orion Defense Zone, and also passed a resolution offering amnesty to Pirates who were willing to swear allegiance to the new Orion Enclave. Many independent pirates accepted this proposal, as did the Davon Cartel. The Davon, however, negotiated a second deal with the Orions and Federation that allowed them to maintain their independence in exchange for working on behalf of the Alliance as information and intelligence gatherers. However, the leader of the Capitol Cartel (who claimed the entire Enclave and a portion of the Federation as his operating territory) felt personally insulted by this agreement and declared war on both the Davon and the Enclave. This led to a series of conflicts involving every cartel on the western half of the map, collectively known as the Orion Civil War. The fighting lasted until Y182; before it ended the Capitol Cartel would be completely destroyed and several others left badly crippled.
- The Orion Enclave began negotiating for re-admission to the Federation in Y185 after the General War ended, but talks were disrupted first by the ISC Pacification Campaign, and then by the Andromedan invasion, so that they did not rejoin the Federation officially until Y203.
In the Star Fleet Universe, Tholians are not native to this galaxy, but the remnant of a race that once ruled a galaxy-wide empire until one of their subject races, the Seltorians, developed the technology to break Tholian webs and used it to overthrow and wipe out their masters. The few Tholians who survived the purge are those who fled to other galaxies, and one such group arrived in the Milky Way in Y79 after a roughly 200-year journey. They settled in a region near the galactic barrier south of Federation space that had been claimed but never settled by the Klingons, and made it their new home. Their "home planet" of Tholia is actually a small Dyson sphere that once served as a provincial capital. In a remarkable feat of engineering, they managed to bring it with them when they fled from the other galaxy.
As refugees, the Tholians of this galaxy lack much of the scientific and technical expertise they once possessed. They have some automated equipment that they can operate, but no specialists who could explain how and why it works or teach others about it. They have machines that make copies of devices (like their web generators) that they don't understand and could never redesign, electronic systems they can build but can't repair, and weapons they can understand and repair, but don't have the ability to build.
The Tholians' only concern is survival; they have little or no interest in galactic politics and would be quite happy if everyone else left them alone. Circumstances have not allowed them that luxury, however. The Klingons stubbornly maintain their claim on Tholian territory, and keep a strong squadron of ships at the Tholian border which they regularly use to provoke incidents (the Klingons see this as good combat training). This has led the Tholians to forge closer ties with the Federation out of necessity, though they continue to declare themselves officially neutral. The only exception has been when they briefly sided with the Alliance during the General War - as a co-belligerent rather than a formal ally - after the Klingons launched "Operation Nutcracker," the code name for an attempted reconquest of Tholian territory. The Tholians permitted a small squadron of Kzinti and Gorn ships into their territory to help repel the assault, but even then they asked the Federation to stay out; they did not want their most powerful neighbor learning too much about them.
- In Y178, at the height of the General War, another small group of Tholian refugees who had escaped the Seltorians arrived in this galaxy and rejoined their expatriate brethren. This was the 312th Battle Group, a fleet of about a dozen ships that were all much more powerful than anything the Tholians in this galaxy were capable of building and equipped with some technologies the refugees had left behind. These ships were called "Neo-Tholian" by the other galactic races, even though the "new" designs were actually centuries old. While the new additions considerably strengthened the Tholian defense force, the Tholians were very careful about when and how they used them; their shipyard was capable of maintaining and repairing the ships of the 312th, but replacing them would be impossible.
In the Star Fleet Universe, the Hydran Kingdom sits on the far side of Klingon territory from the Federation. They border the Klingons and Lyrans, and have fought several wars with both races. The closest thing the Hydrans have to allies are the Kzinti, but the two races are only able to assist each other in a limited fashion since they do not share a border.
- Hydran Culture and Society
- Hydrans are short non-humanoid creatures, approximately four feet tall, with three arms, three legs, and three eyes. They also have three genders (male, female, and matriarchal), and all births are triplets - one of each gender. Males and females are equal and all careers are open to both. Matriarchals are non-sentient; they birth and care for the young, and also perform certain other tasks. Hydrans are methane breathers; their home planet, Hydrax, has a methane-rich atmosphere that would be fatal to unprotected Humans. The Hydran Kingdom, as the name suggests, is ruled by a monarch who may be either male or female. There is also a class of nobility, as well as a civil service that handles the daily affairs of the government. Merchant guilds and trade cartels also wield considerable influence in Hydran society. They have no military power, but they can and will use their vast economic power to influence the direction of Hydran politics, up to and including who ascends to the throne.
- Hydran Technology and Tactics
- Hydran ships are large and durable, with a shape that vaguely resembles the classic rocket ship design. Their heavy weapons are based on nuclear fusion technology. Older ships are equipped with short-ranged fusion cannons, while newer ships are equipped with hellbores, which fire longer-ranged magnetic fusion bombs. Only a few of their ship designs, usually the largest types such as dreadnoughts, carry both weapons. Because their weapons are meant for short-range combat, a Hydran ship is designed to be able to take a reasonable amount of damage while closing with the enemy without losing its firepower capability. Once it gets into close range, it unleashes a devastating salvo that cripples or destroys the enemy. This was the standard design philosophy and tactic for ships equipped with fusion cannons. Later hellbore-equipped ships could hold their own in ranged combat, but the basic design philosophy of building a ship that could absorb a punishing blow and remain combat-effective did not change. Most Hydran ships that are destroyer-sized or larger also carry at least one squadron of fighters. These are about the same size as shuttlecraft, but much faster and more heavily armed. They substantially increase the ship's available firepower; a small squadron of Hydran fighters by itself is more than capable of crippling a Klingon cruiser. Most Star Fleet Universe races eventually developed fighters of their own, but only the Hydrans made them a central part of their combat tactics.
- Hydrans and the General War
- The Hydrans had already been defeated and occupied by the Klingons and Lyrans once before in their history. When the war began, the Hydrans knew it was only a matter of time before their old enemies invaded them again. Rather than sit back and defend their borders, the Hydrans struck first while the Klingons and Lyrans were both occupied with the Kzinti. They invaded Lyran space, and at the same time they launched an expeditionary fleet whose mission was to cross through Klingon territory to reach the Federation and persuade them to join the war on the Kzinti and Hydran side. These bold plans did not succeed; the expeditionary fleet failed to reach the Federation, and their invasion force was turned back. The Federation eventually joined the war on the Hydran/Kzinti side anyway several years later, but by then the Hydran capital had fallen and most of their territory was occupied. They fled with their government and what was left of the fleet to the Old Colonies (where they had preserved their race during the first occupation, and which the Klingons and Lyrans did not know about), and spent most of the war on the sidelines trying to rebuild their strength.
Please note that the following text, while based on the representation of the Interstellar Concordium in the SFU, is not in itself to be considered canon, the official descriptions of the history, technology and various societies of the ISC are available in the C2 module for Star Fleet Battles as well as other sources from ADB. This article is an unofficial representation of the ISC and is intended as a reference point for those unfamiliar with the Interstellar Concordium.
- ISC Culture and Society
- The ISC is avowed to the principle of nonviolence, in the sense that they have no compunction about intervening in even the smallest conflicts between factions, races or empires. They are governed by an ISC Parliament in which several major member races are represented, such as the Pronhoulites, the Rovillians, the Veltressai, the Q'naabians, the Korlivar and (in Starfleet Command) the Meskeen.
- ISC Technology and Tactics
- The vessels of the ISC are advanced, due to the level of the ISC's technology base, as well as their covert observations of the other races' fleets. Concordium starships possess phasers and plasma torpedoes, akin to those used by the Gorns and Romulans, as well as the unique long-ranged Plasmatic Pulsar Device.
- This combination of technology and equipment allows ISC vessels to form an Echelon formation in order to maximize their combat potential. This would place their PPD-armed heavy warships at the core of the formation, with a gunline of plasma-armed frigates and destroyers as a vanguard. While this resulted in higher-than-average losses of these smaller ship classes, it allowed a greater number of cruisers and dreadnoughts to survive engagements with the enemy. Only the Tholians (whose ability to generate energy webs enabled them to effectively disrupt echelon formations) and, to a far greater extent, the Andromedans (who were able to use their displacement devices to either forcibly move an ISC ship out of formation, or place a fearsome Andromedan warship into close range of the heavier ISC vessels) were able to effectively counter it.
- ISC History
- Early Contact and the Founding of the ISC
- The worlds located in what is now the home sector of the Concordium, Veltrassa, Pronhoula, Rovilla and Korlivala, gave rise to a range of sentient races which eventually discovered each other and set a course of peace and common cause by founding the Interstellar Concordium on a Declaration of Ideals of 'peace, order and good government', with Veltrassa established as the capital world and location of the main fleet shipyards.
- The ISC spread throughout the neighboring sectors of space, incorporating several additional alien races, colonizing worlds and protecting several worlds populated by pre-warp races, to allow their natural development to interstellar travel - and the eventual prospect of Concordium membership.
- In Star Fleet Command, the Meskeen are presumably either founders or later members of the ISC, but the location of their homeworld and their date of membership is unknown. Since all of the current capital ISC worlds are established as belonging to another race, it could be postulated that the major planet in the ISC Distant Zone could have been intended to become the Meskeen homeworld, but this is merely conjecture and has no evidence in either the background of the SFU or provided in SFC.
- The ISC spread throughout the neighboring sectors of space, incorporating several additional alien races, colonizing worlds and protecting several worlds populated by pre-warp races, to allow their natural development to interstellar travel - and the eventual prospect of Concordium membership.
- The ISC and the General War
- The ISC first came into contact with the Gorn and Romulans, and were disturbed to find the two races at war with each other (the ISC found it hard to believe any sane race of advanced spacefarers would resort to warfare or pursue it with such viciousness), and were even more shocked upon learning that all of the other major powers of the region, from the far distant Hydran Kingdoms to the Klingons and Federation were in a state of war which had devastated known space.
- The ISC were in a fortunate position, in which their expansion into their outer provinces bordering Gorn and Romulan space was unchecked as the rest of the region was involved in the brutal General War, and drew plans to forcibly pacify the rest of known space, as clearly the other races - even the supposedly-altruistic Federation - could not be trusted to themselves after the armistice which ended the War, as in their eyes both the Coalition and the Alliance were merely buying time to jump at each other's throats again in another ten years - a not entirely unfounded accusation!
- By the time of the Pacification, the ISC armed forces were a match for any three of those of the belligerents of the General War combined and unlike those races had not had their considerable economy - the only one in known space which could rival the Federation's - exhausted by nearly 2 decades of war.
- The Pacification Campaign and the Andromedan invasion
- The ISC launched their campaign of enforcing peace between the belligerents, known as the ISC War of Pacification, on the 14th of February of Y186, placing a string of battle stations in the neutral zones dividing the various empires and driving any belligerent naval assets from any provinces bordering the respective Neutral Zones. The other races did exactly what the ISC predicted they would do if left to themselves and worked feverishly to rebuild their armed forces.
- The good fortune of this for the indigenous races of the galaxy was only apparent in Y188 when the Andromedans struck with their invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy. The ISC fleets were scattered across known space, their unique formation tactics mercilessly countered by the highly advanced technology of the Andromedan armada, and 80% of the Concordium's armed forces were annihilated, but the buildup by the other races' armed forces was just enough to hold out against the invaders and eventually turn the tide, ending the invasion in Operation Unity of Y203-205.
- Afterward the ISC abandoned any attempts to forcibly pacify the other races.
the General War was an 18-year conflict waged between various empires, with the Coalition of the Klingon Empire, the Lyran Star Empire and eventually the Romulan Star Empire at war with the Alliance of initially the Kzinti Hegemony (Mirak Star League in Starfleet Command) and the Hydran Kingdoms, eventually including the United Federation of Planets, the Gorn Confederation and the Tholian Holdfast (the Tholians are not represented in Starfleet Command).
A summary of the General War may be found at Star Fleet Games.
The Andromedans launched from their home galaxy to invade the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, their springboard of the invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy. In Y188, the Andromedans launched their first currently-documented full-scale operations against the Milky Way Galaxy. In the end, the Alpha and Omega Octants, with the help of the Magellanic races, have destroyed the Andromedan invasion.
Starships in the Star Fleet Universe are based on designs used in the original series, and others published in the Star Fleet Technical Manual that never made it to television, plus new ships and classes invented later by Amarillo Design Bureau.
The basic hierarchy of ship classes found throughout the Star Fleet Universe strongly resembles that used by early 20th century navies following the 1921 Washington Naval Treaty. All major races have some form of each of the following ship types in their fleets:
- Dreadnought (DN): The equivalent of the wet navy battleship, the largest and most heavily-armed ship type in the fleet. These ships are rarely deployed outside of wartime conditions.
- Heavy cruiser (CA): The backbone of the fleet, a multi-purpose vessel that can operate independently and is suitable for a wide variety of missions. Also sometimes called a "battle cruiser"; the terms are interchangeable, though some races have "battle cruiser" classes (comparable to a wet navy "battle cruiser" or "pocket battleship") that fit between heavy cruisers and dreadnoughts. The Federation Template:ShipClass and Klingon D7-class are both examples of 23rd century heavy cruisers.
- Light cruiser (CL): Another type of multi-purpose cruiser, smaller than a heavy cruiser but still capable of independent missions. Has less firepower than a heavy cruiser, but is generally faster and more maneuverable.
- Destroyer (DD): Serves primarily as an escort for the cruisers and dreadnoughts and a support ship in fleet actions, very similar to its role in a surface navy.
- Frigate (FF): The smallest type of starship in wide use. Also functions primarily in an escort and support role.
Many additional specialized variants are also built on those basic hulls, including scout ships, escorts, minesweepers, squadron command ships (command cruisers, destroyer leaders, and frigate leaders), and carriers, to name just a few. There are also various auxiliaries and internal defense ships, such as freighters, tugs, and police gunboats. Some races have even built dedicated battleships which are even larger and more powerful than dreadnoughts. However, these ships are very rare and when built, often considered too costly to operate.
During the General War, as fleet losses mounted and the cost of replacing ships grew increasingly steeper, the races involved looked for ways to economize production. The result was a series of new ship designs that attempted to pack the firepower of larger ship classes onto smaller hulls by sacrificing peacetime capabilities. The new classes that appeared as a result of these experiments included heavy battle cruisers, war cruisers, and war destroyers, among others.
Notes about ship designs of individual races
Romulan: Romulan ships underwent the most radical changes of any race in the Star Fleet Universe. The first generation of Romulan starships used the design seen in "Balance of Terror"; these were originally built as impulse-only ships (which could only use their warp drives in a non-combat capacity), though most surviving examples were later refitted with combat-capable warp drive following the acquisition of warp technology from the Klingons. (The Romulans failed to develop "tactical warp" on their own due to internal power struggles and the occasional Federation or Gorn covert action.) The second generation consisted of the ships purchased from the Klingons following the Treaty of Smarba, refitted to use Romulan weaponry. The third generation was the Romulans' own new designs, their first attempts at building warp-capable ships from scratch.
Tholian: In the Star Fleet Universe, the Tholians are refugees from another galaxy. Their surviving shipyard in this galaxy is only capable of producing the basic Patrol Cruiser, seen in "The Tholian Web". Larger Tholian vessels are made by joining two or three Patrol Cruisers together into one big ship. A squadron of more advanced Tholian ships (known to other races as the Neo-Tholians) later joined the Tholians in this galaxy. The Tholians can repair and maintain the Neo-Tholian ships, but are unable to replicate the designs.
Orion: In addition to a standard set of weapons, Orion ships are built with option mounts where the captain may install additional weapons of his choice, usually whatever is available through his cartel. The Orions are able to use most known weapons technologies, with the exception of Andromedan and Tholian devices. Since the Orions are primarily pirates and commerce raiders, they have very few ships larger than a light cruiser; the few heavy cruisers owned by the cartels are mostly used for territorial enforcement against other pirates or the occasional elimination of a starship that is in the way of their business interests. Additionally, Orion ships have stealth capabilities designed into their hulls, and can temporarily double their warp engines' output at the cost of damage to the engine.
Weapons in the Star Fleet Universe are a mixture of those seen in TOS and new ones invented for the game.
Direct fire weapons
Direct Fire Weapons are weapons for which the time between firing and impact is virtually nonexistent. In the game Star Fleet Battles, these weapons' effects are resolved at the moment of firing. Direct fire weapons may hit or miss their intended target; the chances of hitting and the damage done are affected by several factors, including the distance to the target and the amount of power used to charge the weapon.
- Phasers: The standard weapon used by all galactic races in the Star Fleet Universe. Phasers are direct-fire weapons, meaning they either hit or miss their intended target when fired. If they hit, damage is resolved immediately, first to the facing shield, and then (if the shield is gone) to the target itself. Range affects phaser power; the closer the target, the more damage they do. In the Star Fleet Universe, phasers come in five variants.
- Phaser-1: The standard offensive phaser mounted on most starships.
- Phaser-2: An earlier ancestor of Phaser-1. Costs the same amount of energy to charge, but does less damage. By the time of the General War, most ships with Phaser-2 had been refitted and upgraded to Phaser-1.
- Phaser-3: A short-range defensive phaser. Of limited value in ship-to-ship combat, but effective at protecting the ship from smaller threats like fighters, mines, and drones.
- Phaser-4: The most powerful phaser in the Star Fleet Universe, only installed on space stations, starbases, and planets because it uses advanced tracking systems which require a stationary mount.
- Phaser-G: The gatling phaser is a specially modified Phaser-3 used primarily by the Hydrans, which is capable of firing as many as four shots at a time (at up to four different targets) for extra defensive coverage.
- Photon torpedo: Used by the Federation and occasionally the Tholians. Photon torpedoes in the Star Fleet Universe are balls of energy, as depicted in the original series, not physical torpedoes as they later became in the movies and subsequent TV shows. When a photon hits its target, all damage is resolved immediately, first to the facing shield, and then (if the shield is gone) to the target itself. Unlike most weapons in the Star Fleet Universe, photons do the same amount of damage when they hit regardless of range, but at long ranges they become difficult to aim accurately.
- Disruptor: Used by the Klingons, Kzinti, Lyrans, and Tholians. Disruptors are energy weapons. In the Star Fleet Universe they do less damage than photons and have a shorter effective range, but they cost less energy to use and recharge more quickly. A disruptor can fire twice in the time it takes to arm and fire a photon torpedo. All damage from a disruptor bolt is resolved immediately, first to the facing shield, and then (if the shield is gone) to the target itself.
- Mauler: Originally developed by the Romulans, later sold to the Klingons and Lyrans and stolen by the Andromedans. The mauler is an immense beam weapon, so large that a ship has to be specially modified to carry it and has little room for anything else. Most of the ship is filled with just the mauler cannon and banks of batteries to power it. Although the mauler is capable of inflicting more damage than any other weapon in the Star Fleet Universe, its use is generally limited to special missions where that kind of firepower is needed, like starbase assaults. Maulers rarely operate alone because they carry few (if any) other weapons, and if the mauler cannon itself were fired too often, the stresses involved would eventually tear the ship apart.
- Fusion Beam: Used by the Hydrans. The Fusion beam fires a stream of tritium nuclei that are projected at the target and then fused. The energy released in the fusion process inflicts devastating damage at point blank range. However, its effective range is extremely short; beyond 20,000 kilometers its power drops off considerably. Fusion beams charge quickly, but their rate of fire is limited because the weapon needs time to cool down after each shot.
- Hellbore Cannon: Used by the Hydrans. The Hellbore fires a magnetic fusion bomb that has a unique interaction with shields and other defensive screens (such as the Lyran ESG field). When a hellbore hits the target it envelops all of the target's shields and then implodes, similar to an enveloping plasma torpedo (see below). However, because of the nature of shield design, the hellbore interaction causes the target's weakest shield to take the bulk of the damage, greatly increasing the Hydran's chances of punching through the shields and damaging the target. A hellbore may also be fired without the implosion detonator, in which case the damage is reduced 50% and simply applied to the facing shield like any other direct-fire weapon. Hellbores have the same effective firing rate as fusion beams (they take longer to charge, but do not require a cooling off period), but they have a much longer range.
- Tractor/Repulsor Beam: Used by the Andromedans. A different evolution of the standard galactic tractor beam, the T/R beam rapidly alternates bursts of traction and repulsion energy, literally shaking the target apart. Like all Andromedan technology, the Galactic Powers were unable to use or recreate this weapon, even with captured examples. There are two different versions of T/R beams. The heavy version is equipped on Andromedan motherships and bases, while the light version is used on their smaller satellite ships. Both use the same technology and require the same amount of time to arm, but the light version uses less energy and does less damage. A heavy T/R beam may be armed and fired as a light T/R beam, but not vice-versa.
- Plasmatic Pulsar Device (PPD): Used by the ISC. The PPD is a plasma-based weapon designed primarily for long range use. Unlike other direct fire weapons, it does not do all its damage in a single shot. Instead, it fires in a sequence of four pulses sent on a carrier wave, with each pulse inflicting another volley of damage to the target. Pulses may hit or miss, but once a pulse hits, the weapon is locked in and all the remaining pulses will hit the target automatically. The ISC use echelon tactics in fleet engagements, and they developed the PPD as a tactical weapon to take advantage of that formation. They realized that multiple small volleys are more likely to damage weapons and power systems than one massive alpha strike, so in a combat scenario the ships armed with PPDs stay in the back row(s) of the echelon and use their PPDs to strip opposing ships of their weapons, while ships armed only with plasma torpedoes make up the front row of the echelon.
Seeking weapons travel at tactical warp speeds comparable to those used by ships in combat (in the Star Fleet Universe, this is approximately between warp 1 and warp 3.2). So a seeking weapon fired from a long distance takes several seconds to reach its target. Unlike direct fire weapons, seeking weapons cannot miss; once locked on to a target they will chase it down until they either make impact or exhaust their range.
- Plasma torpedo: Used by the Romulans, Gorn, and ISC. Plasma torpedoes behave very much like the ones seen in the TOS episode "Balance of Terror". Most plasma torpedoes in the Star Fleet Universe come in one of three sizes: type-R (the most powerful), type-S, and type-F (the weakest). The more powerful torpedoes have longer ranges and more damage potential. How much damage they do depends on the distance they travel before impact; they lose potency as they go further, and if their range is exhausted they will dissipate harmlessly. They can also be weakened by phaser fire, though it is only partially effective (in game terms, the amount of phaser damage rolled when firing on a plasma torpedo is cut in half). No other weapon has any effect on a plasma torpedo. Plasma torpedoes may be configured to either damage the facing shield on impact, or to envelop the target and damage all of its shields. The latter is not commonly used, however, as the power cost is extremely high.
- Drone: Used by the Kzinti, Klingons, and Federation. Drones are essentially faster-than-light guided missiles, launched from racks installed on the firing ship. Drones are manufactured with a variety of sizes, speeds, and warhead yields; many different combinations of those three elements are possible. Early drones were all slow, and best used as a defensive or support weapon. With the later advent of fast drones that could outrun any starship at combat speed, they became potent offensive weapons in their own right. Since drones are mechanical objects, the damage they inflict is entirely dependent on the type of warhead installed; they do not lose potency from traveling long distances. However, a drone can be damaged or destroyed by weapons fire just like any other physical object (unlike plasma torpedoes, any weapon may be fired at a drone), and if the target can evade a drone long enough it will eventually run out of fuel.