This one’s a little out of order because… Well, because I got a little mixed up. Anyways, we’re taking a step back from the Galaxy and Intrepid classes last time and looking at the Tier 3 ships for Commander-level characters. There are some classics in here so let’s dive right in!
This post had a lot of support and advice from Takeshi Yamato. Thanks, bud!
The classic Ambassador-class advanced heavy cruiser, made famous by the U.S.S. Enterprise-C, is available as a spaceframe in the Command Division Supplement and unofficially in Starship Sundays. While it sometimes gets criticized as a bulkier version of the Galaxy-class spaceframe, possessing more heft than the sleek Constitution class but fewer curves than the Galaxy, there is a lot to recommend an Ambassador-class vessel to a crew. It was the premier vessel of its day and in a game set during the default 2370s, it’s a more modern option than the Excelsior class but still with a lot of refits to work with. That history also allows you to have a ship that’s been through a lot already, from the Federation-Cardassian War to first contact with TNG-era species like the Betazoids or the Acamarians.
The Narendra-class variant of the Ambassador spaceframe is a more elongated design with striking detailing along the hull. Its namesake, the Klingon colony rescued by the Enterprise-C, indicates that the design was named at least a decade after the Ambassador class entered service in 2335. It’s more appropriate to have an Entered Service date in the late 2340s which means one refit. This legacy also might mean a focus on medical and rescue functions, so for a Narendra-class ship start with the Ambassador-class spaceframe and use the refit point to increase Comms by +1. After that increase Medicine to +1 and decrease Engineering (for the Starship Sunday version) or Conn (for the Command Division Supplement version) to +0. Finally, remove Diplomatic Suites (for the Starship Sunday version) or Improved Impulse Drive (for the Command Division Supplement version) from the list of default Starship Talents and add Advanced Sickbay to the list instead.
©The Yamaguchi-class variant of the Ambassador-class spaceframe is also a later interpretation and the description says that it saw action during the Battle of Wolf 359 and the Dominion War. If we switch the Entered Service date to be 2365, right before Wolf 359, then we can use the intervening years to apply three refit points to this. Start with the Ambassador-class stats an add +1 to Weapons, Engines, and Computers to create a spaceframe that is able to take the front line in the chaotic mid-century period of change. On top of that, increase the spaceframe’s Command to +1, decrease its Science to +0, and add Rugged Design to the list of default Ship Talents. This will replace Advanced Sensor Suite for the Starship Sunday version and High Resolution Sensors for the Command Division Supplement version.
Advanced Heavy Cruisers
I’ve always liked the look of the Excelsior class. Its elongated design and mix of curves and lines is beautiful and evocative. I could wax poetic for a while but most of you are probably already familiar with this classic design from the movie era of Star Trek and anyone who’s cracked open Star Trek Adventures knows that it’s available in the core rulebook. The Excelsior class entered service in 2285 according to the core rulebook but these ships were still active in the 2370s as witnessed by the U.S.S. Lakota, the U.S.S. Fearless, and the U.S.S. Hood. We’ll give the Excelsior-class refit an Entered Service date of 2365 around the time that Ben Sisko was posted to the U.S.S. Okinawa. This gives us eight refits to work with, adding +1 to every System and then an extra +1 to Weapons and to Engines. The role also seems to have shifted to a courier and fast picket ship (the role occupied by the U.S.S. Lakota, for instance) so add Quantum Torpedoes to the default Ship Talent list.
Star Trek Online also has one full on variation on the Excelsior-class design: the Resolute class from the 25th century. Although it would be a fresh design process, its inspired by the Excelsior class so let’s start there. Giving the Resolute-class spaceframe an Entered Service date of 2405 gives it twelve more points in Systems to adjust things. Add +2 to each of the Systems ratings in the Excelsior-class spaceframe, then add Resilient Shielding (from the 25th century spaceframe post) to the list of default Ship Talents.
The Constellation-class spaceframe in the Star Trek Adventures core rulebook will be familiar to Star Trek fans as the class of Captain Picard’s previous command, the U.S.S. Stargazer. Even if you missed its on-screen depiction, and never heard him mention it in conjunction with the famous Picard Maneuver, you likely have seen the Stargazer model in Picard’s ready room aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. It’s especially notable, of course, as the first ship on screen seen with more than two nacelles and the four pylons jutting from its aft section are certainly striking.
The 24th-century Cheyenne-class heavy cruiser also has four nacelles but is a sleeker design overall. In Star Trek Online, the Cheyenne class is the default skin for the same ship as the Constellation class but there’s enough different that I prefer to start from scratch. As a cruiser the Cheyenne-class should have some good overall utility and we can pin down the Entered Service date to between the launch of the Galaxy class (2359) and the Battle of Wolf 359 (2367) where the Cheyenne-class U.S.S. Ahwanhee was lost. Check out the file below for the stats of the Cheyenne class as well as the sturdy Dakota-class variant and the powerful Stargazer-class launched in the wake of the Dominion War.