In New Worlds, the Starship is an incredibly important place. It is the crew's main form of transport, their base of operations, their communications hub- and ultimately their home for a long period of time. This is where they will live, work and grow. This page is dedicated to explaining how Starships work in New Worlds, what their capabilities are, their design, and how they differ from their Rogue Trader counterparts.

Design: Starfleet Starships

Starfleet vessels typically cleave to the same basic design principle- a wide saucer-shaped 'Primary Hull' or 'Saucer Section' attached to a roughly cylindrical or rectangular-shaped rear section known as the 'Secondary Hull'. Two wings are attached to the Secondary Hull, which lead two a pair of elevated cylinders called the 'Warp Nacelles'.
Diagram 1.1: Sections of a Starfleet vessel Saucer bound by red, Engineering in yellow; Nacelles in blue

Primary Hull

The Primary Hull is the core of the ship's operations. On a typical Starfleet vessel, the Primary Hull contains many key components, including the bridge (usually positioned in the centre of the saucer), the computer cores, sickbay, science labs, life support systems, shuttlebays and crew quarters. The Primary Hull also usually is equipped with its own 'Impulse Drive' (for sub-light propulsion). Weapons can be placed upon the Primary Hull, but these are usually phaser arrays and not torpedo or missile bays. Saucer-mounted phasers tend to benefit from wide firing angles.

In Mechanics terms, the Primary Hull introduces only one major change- instead of possessing Keel or Dorsal weapon slots, Starfleet vessels possess Upper Saucer and Lower Saucer slots, for the top and bottom sides of the Primary Hull respectively. Each slot can fire in Fore, Port and Starboard directions. However, only Phaser Arrays can be equipped on these slots; furthermore, Upper Saucer and Dorsal weapons cannot target enemies of a lower Elevation than the Starship; Lower Saucer and Keel weapons cannot target enemies of a higher Elevation.

Secondary Hull

The Secondary Hull contains many critical features. On a Starfleet vessel, the Secondary Hull will house the ship's Warp Drive (allowing it to travel at superluminal velocities), Main Reactor (providing power), Deflector Dish (which deflects space debris and particles), auxiliary power, shuttlebays, Torpedo and Missile systems, cargo bays and the brig. Phasers are also often placed on the Secondary Hull along with Torpedoes.

In Mechanics terms, any use of the 'Port', 'Keel', 'Prow' or 'Starboard' weapons slots are considered to originate from the Secondary Hull, and can be of any weapon type. The Secondary Hull also usually has 'Aft' weapon slots, which can only fire at targets behind the ship.

Warp Nacelles

The Warp Nacelles are the external engines that produce the Warp Field, which allows ships to travel at Superluminal velocities.

A Matter of Scale and Technology

The difference in scale and technology between Star Trek and one in Rogue Trader is extreme, especially when ships are concerned. This section will list what people can expect in differences and in technology.

Ship size, crew and speed

The size of a Starfleet ship in 2367 is usually around 150 metres for small ships, with 650 metres being the rough size of Starfleet's largest vessel (the Galaxy class). In contrast, Rogue Trader's smallest ship is about a kilometre long, with the largest of ships being about a projected 15 kilometres or so (making it over 20 times as large). The size of the crew is also vastly different, with the max on Starfleet being roughly 1,000 crew; compared to Rogue Trader's where the smallest ship has a crew in the tens of thousands, and the largest of ships having a projected crew into the six or seven digits. The ships of Star Trek are just simply far smaller. However, they're also nimbler and less lumbering.

In Mechanics terms, nothing has changed except that the length of a Strategic Turn has been drastically shortened from 30 minutes to roughly 1-5 minutes, depending on what's most dramatic at the time, and that Light Cruiser-size ships are capable of making 90 degree turns as well.

Ship weapons, shields and armour

In Rogue Trader, ships of the Imperium are huge, lumbering beasts of steel, bristling with hundreds, even thousands of capital ship cannons, protected behind powerful shields and thick armour. Imperial vessels are expected to take hits to the hull and mostly shrug them off.

Starfleet vessels are different- they're relatively small and nimble, and few Starfleet vessels can boast weapon numbers in the double-digits. Defensive turrets are not used. Their hulls are also generally more fragile- Starfleet vessels rely on layers of shields as their primary defense in battles, not sheer staying power. The loss of a ship's shields is not par for the course but rather an event of real emergency.

The main difference in a roleplaying sense that Starfleet weapons function somewhat differently than to Rogue Trader. The 'Strength' rating for Phasers, for example, rarely implies a 'battery' or collection of phasers, but rather a single array firing several times in the space of a turn as it quickly recharges between shots. Comparatively speaking, Starfleet ships' hull integrity and Armour is lower than Rogue Trader's vessels- making the loss of shields a major problem.

For weapons, it should be noted that Torpedo weapons can only be equipped in a slot marked 'Torpedo'. Other weapons can also be placed in these slots as well.

Mechanics-wise, however, the greatest difference is to shields. Shields have been remodeled in the following manner:
Starfleet ships now have four 'Shield Banks' instead of a single Shield generator. Each Bank is labelled for one direction (Fore, aft, port, starboard) and operate more or less independently of each other, with their own sizes and power draws.
Each Bank covers one side of the ship, with hits from those directions hitting the respective Bank and none other. Each Bank generates a number of shield layers; these operate just like shields in Rogue Trader, taking a hit before being depleted.
Shields, however, have a new feature: a 'minimum damage' threshold. Any attacks against this shield must do damage higher than this amount to actually deplete the shield. If the amount of damage dealt is equal to twice the shield threshold, an extra layer is depleted, and so on for every multiple of the threshold.
Shields do not regenerate all at once, however. Instead, each Shield Bank has a specific 'Regeneration rate' which notes how many shield layers regenerate per turn.

Technology and Knowledge

The Starships of Rogue Trader are ancient designs and vessels, sometimes hundreds or thousands years old, built to plans developed millennia ago. The understanding of the technology is threadbare, mostly limited to rote 'rituals' designed to hit the right buttons to produce the right result. The systems are unreliable and fickle. Communication over long distance is done via fallible human psychics and superluminal travel involves traveling through a monstrous hellscape forged from the nightmares of all sentient beings.

Starfleet vessels, on the other hand, are often far younger- the oldest is about 100 years old and is extensively refitted- and their designs are developed and produced by people who understand the technology intimately, and operated by a crew of experts in their field who know exactly what they're doing and why. Long-distance communication is done via comm buoys and subspace communicators, and superluminal travel involves a physics-bending but reliable and mostly safe method of warping space around the ship.

In mechanics terms, long-range communication involves electronics and computers instead of astropaths and is thus more reliable; similarly, superluminal travel is represented with a map and a simple speed rating instead of randomized chaotic travel.

For roleplaying purposes, it should be noted that whilst the technology of Starfleet is more reliable, as are the officers, the actual mechanics remain unchanged which -will- result in fairly frequent failures. When this happens, players are encouraged to invent some suitably Trekkish technobabble ('The local ionic resonation field from the white dwarf is interfering with the subspace scans, Captain!') or simply explain that it's taking longer than expected. Of course, occasionally, an Officer will simply have done something wrong…

Supply and morale

In Rogue Trader, Starships operate in a galaxy where sophisticated drydocks and supply chains are rare or hard to reach; the teeming crew live in squalid conditions under brutal discipline with limited resources of unappetising food and water that can ferment illness and dissent.

Starfleet vessels, on the other hand, are clean and efficient, and often only weeks away from a proper repair centre. The crew are trained experts who volunteered for the career, not conscripted or drafted; replicators can convert simple matter into food and supplies of almost any type, satisfying most appetites, medical technology can solve most shipboard illnesses and unhappy crewmen lodge grievance reports; mutiny is almost unheard of.

In mechanical terms, Starfleet vessels do not mutiny at Morale 70 or Morale 40; instead, upon reaching Morale 70, the Personal Prestige of every officer on board takes a 5 point hit, and a 10 point hit at Morale 40. Mutinies still occur at Morale 10 and 0. Morale slowly restores at a rate of 1 per day; the usual methods for restoring morale still apply.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License