Welcome to Starship Sunday, presenting a new spaceframe for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, filling in some gaps until official material can be released.
This week is featuring a few ships from the late 2370s who would have fought against the Dominion. These ships would be in service and and around the default era of the campaign. This week is the hefty but fast Steamrunner.
To my knowledge, this class was one of the ship filling out the fleet defending Earth against the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact. From there, the class appeared numerous times in later seasons of Deep Space Nine, facing off against Dominion forces. The Steamrunner is identifiable and memorable owing to its distinct look: rather than having nacelles connected via pylons to the primary or secondary hull, the warp nacelles jutted from the back of the saucer section with the glowing red fronts of the warp nacelles poking out the front of the saucer. It’s distinct while still being recognisable as a Starfleet design. The proportions of the ship make it seem somewhat small, but at 375 meters it’s actually pretty big, larger than a Constitution-class.
The Steamrunner is one of the Starfleet’s “totally not a warship” ships that still seems solely designed for kicking ass. This is especially odd given its design likely predated the Borg threat, let alone the Dominion War. Without those threats, it was likely planned to combated illegal activities, face small independant powers, and handle rogue factions. It’s identified a few times as a “blockade runner”, which is typically a fast and lightly armoured vessel able to dash through a naval blockade around an island or in a strait. However, the Steamrunner doesn’t have a particularly fast warp speed, and it’s apparently one of the first ships to possess ablative armour. The former implies this ship was built for impulse maneuverability and getting through planetary blockades. As such, the ship likely focused as much on defense: it was the tank compared to the offensive escort ships like the Defiant and the Saber. Something that could maneuver through a blockade or hazards, taking the hits and bringing supplies to a planet. It likely had some decent cargo space and transporters as well, so it can swiftly move goods.
Stories set on a Steamrunner likely focus on securing the border of the Federation and performing lesser tactical missions. As a military transport, it might bring relief supplies to nearby worlds, especially regions in conflict. This likely changed greatly during the Dominion War, when the ship was used for more military missions, likely operating in attack wings with Saber-class ships and larger cruisers.
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