Next up in the Star Trek Online material for Star Trek Adventures, I’m taking a look at the low-tier end of the escort category. Escorts are always a hard sell to Trek fans since combat is always seen as the last resort for Starfleet. I prefer to think of it in the opposite direction, though: other groups have ships built for combat, but the Federation has combat ships that can perform in a number of different situations.
NX-class Light Escort
The sleek and compact NX-class ship from Star Trek: Enterprise is classified as an escort for Star Trek Online. As the Earth’s first starship capable of warp-5, the NX class seems more like an exploration vessel than a combat one but… Well, this is all about converting STO so I’m following their lead on this. The NX class can be found in the Command Division Supplement but Star Trek Online posits an NX-class refit in the 23rd century when Starfleet updated their former flagship for the Starfleet era.
To create a refit NX class, we first need to update the class’s Entered Service date from 2151 to sometime in the 23rd century. I suggest 2231 for easy calculations, which gives us eight points to put in the ship’s Systems. We can start by giving a +1 to every System and then add an additional +1 to Engines and Weapons (all of which make it a better fit for the escort role). The weapons need to be updated for the time period so replace Phase Cannons with Phaser Cannons and Spatial Torpedoes with Photon Torpedoes. Tractor beams are also standard so replace the Grappler Cable with Tractor Beam (Strength 2). The ship’s Talents are also outdated now so replace them with Improved Power Systems and Rugged Design.
The Saber-class escort is a mainstay of Starfleet’s late-24th century military forces. It was first covered as a fan creation on Contintuing Mission’s Starship Sunday and then officially in the Command Division Supplement. There are three different variations on this sleek design, however, based on the Saber class’s performance during the Dominion War.
The Rapier-class variant is an upturned design, more hawklike than the basic Saber-class design. More importantly, though, it combines the experiences of the engineering crews that served aboard Saber-class vessels during the Dominion War. To create a Rapier-class starship, begin with the Saber-class stats and then increase Structure by +1, decrease Sensors by -1, increase Engineering to +1, and decrease Conn to +1.
The post-Dominion War Ushaan-class is a variant escort that has a very different design from most Starfleet vessels. As the name suggests, it is influenced by Andorian designs and starship theory, which likely means some heavy upgrades of weapon systems. For the Ushaan-class, start with the Saber-class stats and then increase Weapons by +1, decrease Engines by -1, increase Security to +2, and decrease Conn to +1. To show the powerful combat systems of the Andorian designers, add Phaser Cannons to the ship’s weapons (adding some versatility and encouraging charging straight in) and add Advanced Shields to the ship’s default Starship Talents. To balance that addition, remove Improved Reaction Control System (from the Starship Sunday version) or High-Powered Tractor Beam (for the Command Division Supplement version) from the default list.
Lastly, the Gladius-class is a variant from the 25th century which is based on the Saber design. Like the Reliant-class light cruiser described last time, this is a totally new design from the ground up that just uses the Saber schematics as a launching point. That’s in-universe, though. For Star Trek Adventures we can just modify the Saber-class stats to achieve the Gladius-class with its 25th-century design. Start by adding +1 to Engines, Structure, and Weapons to show the three decades of redesign. Then increase Engineering to +1 and decrease Conn to +1, showing the need in the 2400s to have large and adaptable fleet to meet the many threats of the future era. Also add Quantum Torpedoes to the spaceframe’s default list of Starship Talents, and balance it by removing Improved Reaction Control System (from the Starship Sunday version) or High-Powered Tractor Beam (for the Command Division Supplement version) from the default list.
The Steamrunner-class blockade runner escort is another very popular design seen in Star Trek Online and presented in the Command Division Supplement and in Starship Sunday on Continuing Mission. It’s compact and fast with the firepower to stay alive, making it a prime choice for campaigns where dramatic rescues and close calls are a common focus.
Though it’s classified as a heavy escort, the Zephyr class much more closely resembles the Steamrunner class and it makes more sense to treat it as a variant of the Steamrunner class. The entered service date for the Zephyr-class escort is “later” so let’s set it at 2390 (two decades later). This gives us two extra points in Systems which we will add to Sensors and Structure to make it better at operating in border areas. For the version in the Command Division Supplement, which has only two default Starship Talents, we can also add Quantum Torpedoes as a talent to give it some more firepower.