STO Spaceframes: Federation Heavy and Tactical Escorts

I’m back today with more escorts for your Star Trek Adventures game, based on options in Star Trek Online. Today we cover some of the most iconic combat-oriented spaceframes in the game and these are some cool options for those of you who want to take a stand against the Borg or the Dominion. I also want to offer a special thanks to site fan Takeshi Yamato for all the advice and support in this project!

Heavy Escorts

The predator-looking Akira-class heavy escort is available in the core rulebook, along with one of my favorite sidebars in the book when a band of Ferengi ships is harassing a colony and an Akira-class vessel takes them apart. This is truly, in the words of the sidebar’s Orion author, a “deliberate and rapid force” that is very different from Starfleet’s usual approach. It’s easy to see how Starfleet ended up with the Akira-class after dealing with Borg incursions, Klingon civil wars, Romulan aggression, renewed hostility with the Cardassians, and military escalation by the Dominion. It’s worth noting, though, that the Akira class is both a symbol of power and a symbol of the tightrope that the Federation is walking at the end of the 24th century. There’s no denying that the plots of Star Trek Online are more militaristic than the shows (to catch the MMO crowd) and there’s a danger of Starfleet losing its soul as it becomes dominated by war hawks.

There’s one variant of the Akira class in Star Trek Online: the dolphin-like Thunderchild-class which always looks like it should be breaching out of the waves to me. It’s a solid design with a lot more structural reinforcement on top of the Akira-class design, and I think it makes sense as a central command ship for the increasingly militarized fleets of the Federation. We’ll give a later Entered Service date of 2398 which gives three refit points that should go into Comms, Engines, and Weapons. Also, decrease Medicine to +0 while increasing Command to +1. Remove Rapid Fire Torpedo Launcher from the list of the default Ship Talents and add in Command Ship instead to make it better in fleet engagements.

The Norway-class is an emergency response vessel detailed in the Command Division Supplement. It’s only seen in Star Trek: First Contact and very briefly as the Borg are blasting everything in sight. As written in the Command Division Supplement, the Norway class is more of a medical vessel and it’s hard to double-check since there is no Norway-class vessel in Star Trek Online but in this case we can picture the Oslo-class variant as a stronger version of the Norway class for the dangerous times of the 25th century. The Entered Service date for the Oslo class is 2401 which provides three refit points that will add +1 to Weapons, Sensors, and Engines. Next, increase Security by +1, decrease Medicine to +1, and replace Emergency Medical Hologram (default now because this is a 25th century ship) with Improved Shield Recharge in the list of default Ship Talents.

Tactical Escorts

The Defiant-class spaceframe is available in the core rulebook and is the most combat-heavy and singly-focused option of all the official starships. Not only are its stats heavily skewed towards combat Tasks but it’s small Scale 3 means that it has limited Talents and the default ones are all about firing phasers and torpedoes. On the other hand, there are plenty of balanced options out there: if you are considering a Defiant-class starship it’s because there are ships you need to turn into superheated clouds of gas and shrapnel. In keeping with that spirit, the variants listed here are also focused on showing their teeth, to paraphrase Benjamin Sisko.

After the Defiant-class vessels entered service in 2371, two variant spaceframes were developed to refine the design. We’ll give both of these Entered Service dates of 2382 which provides a refit point for each. The Gallant-class variant is a blockier, sturdier design that can be used as a long-term patrol ship rather than a strike ship like the Defiant class. To make a Gallant-class ship, start with the Defiant-class stats and add the refit point to Engines. After that, increase Structure by +2, decrease Weapons by -2, increase Command to +1, and decrease Security to +1. This makes the Gallant class able to travel at sustained high warp and defend Federation borders (such as the turbulent area bordering Cardassian and Tzenkethi space after the Dominion War) but still pack a punch. The last step is to remove Quantum Torpedoes from the list of default Starship Talents and add Redundant Systems to make sure the crews and ship make it back from these long patrols.

The other 24th century variant of the Defiant class (which we’ll also have launch in 2382) is the Vigilant-class variant. The name suggests a watchful ship which means a scout and recon vessel capable of surveying a potentially hostile sector and dealing with whatever it finds. To make a Vigilant-class starship, start with the Defiant class and add the refit point to Computers. Next, increase Sensors by +2, decrease Weapons by -2, increase Science to +1, and decrease Security to +1. Trade out Quantum Torpedoes for High Resolution Sensors in the list of default Starship Talents and you have a ship that can detect enemy threats and deal enough damage to slip free and report its findings.

There are also two variants depicted in Star Trek Online which date from the 25th century. The first is the Sao Paulo-class variant which looks like an updated Defiant class and that’s how I’m takin it. With a new Entered Service date that I’m going to set at 2406, giving three refit points which we’ll use to add +1 to Engines and +2 to Structure from the Defiant-class stats. This ship is also a 25th-century ship which means it gets quantum torpedoes as standard armaments (though you should remove the standard photon torpedoes) and the Sao Paulo class has no need of the Quantum Torpedoes Talent. Instead, add Fast Targeting Systems to the list of default Starship Talents for the Sao Paulo class.

The other 25th-century ship is the Valiant-class variant, which is the advanced version of the Gallant class just like the Sao Paulo class is the advancement of the base Defiant class. The Entered Service date for this class will be 2411 (it was released later in the existence of Star Trek Online so we can bump the date back to) and that gives us four refit points. Those four points can go into +1 Comms, +2 Engines, and +1 Structure. We’ll follow the example of the Gallant-class spaceframe then decrease Weapons by -1, increase Structure by +1, decrease Security to +1, and increase Command to +1. It’s already got quantum torpedoes so we can remove that Talent and replace it with Redundant Systems (again, like the Gallant class).

3 thoughts on “STO Spaceframes: Federation Heavy and Tactical Escorts

  1. I’ve only just now found out about the STO Spaceframe project, and I’m honestly amazed at what I’ve seen so far! Though I’m curious as to why exactly the Heavy Strike Wing Escorts were left out of this post, along with the Andorian Escorts from the previous post on Tier 1-2 escorts.

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