The MMORPG Star Trek Online is an extremely popular game for Star Trek fans and gamers alike. In it you create a captain and gather together a crew to explore an open galaxy with many different missions and storylines. It should come as no surprise that there is considerable overlap in fandom between Star Trek Online and Star Trek Adventures, so much so that Modiphius recently teamed up with Arc Games for a cross-promotion. Today I’m embarking on an epic (potentially five-year) mission: to systematically write-up all the ships in Star Trek Online for your gaming table.
I am, of course, greatly aided in this by the Star Trek Adventures community. In particular the fan site Continuing Mission, which I help manage, has a ton of spaceframes from Star Trek Online but there are so many more. So, so, so many more. There are original designs to get through but also a ton of variants of existing spaceframes.
What Is a Variant?
A variant of a spaceframe is a separate design that went through its own engineering process and testing. However, it owes enough of its details to an original spaceframe design that the two are considered related and often upgrades and refit schemes are identical. In terms of game mechanics, the variant spaceframe is identical to the existing one except for the following considerations.
- Traits: In addition to the standard Trait of Federation Starship, the spaceframe will have a Trait called Variant Design. This covers any differences or unique aspects of the spaceframe compared to related ones. In some cases it may be a benefit (such as when swapping systems or technology with a related spaceframe) and in other cases it may be a hinderance (such as when a variant aspect causes unexpected problems).
- Systems and Departments: Some variants will have adjustments to the base spaceframe’s Systems and/or its Departments. These will include an increase to some ratings and a corresponding decrease to others. The usual rules apply to the final values (including the maximum allowed value for a ship) and variants will never exchange a point from a System rating to increase a Department rating or vice versa. These aspects of the ship design are not equal.
- Talents: Some variants will have different standard Talents to their base spaceframes. When this happens, one standard Talent will be removed (but can be taken later) while another Talent will be added to the standard list.
- Attacks: Very rarely a variant spaceframe will have a different list of standard weapons than its base spaceframe. As all weapons come with their own benefits and drawbacks these changes are already balanced.
Example Variant: The Georgiou-class
The Walker-class exploration cruiser, seen in the Star Trek: Discovery pilot as the U.S.S. Shenzhou. It was originally described on Continuing Mission by Jester David so the original spaceframe is covered, but what about the Georgiou-class variant which is a sleeker design that looks more like the Excelsior-class from the movie era? The suggestion is that it’s a more versatile, fast-response design like the Excelsior and so we can make the following changes: exchange Improved Hull Integrity for Backup EPS Conduits, and increase Sensors by +1 and decrease Structure by -1.