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.
Continuing Star Trek Online month, we jump to the Emissary-class. In actuality, the Emissary is a skin of the Star Cruiser, which has a variety of different looks, and is not a “class” of its own. But the “Star Cruiser class” is a lame name, and I’m partial to the sleek look of the Emissary, which has a different profile from most Star Trek vessels while still having the iconic elements consistent with Starfleet’s designs. It looks like an evolution of the Intrepid or Prometheus without being as busy as other Star Trek Online ships.
This ship seems like a middle design for Starfleet, between the “next gen” ships of the 2410s but following the post-Borg design wave of the 2370s. Given its name, this ship sounds like a diplomatic and first contact vessel, which makes sense as the Sovereign-class sacrificed some of the luxury of the Galaxy-class for more defensive armaments.
The Emissary is likely a hybrid explorer and diplomatic vessel that focuses on making contact with new species, or establishing more solid relations with previously encountered powers. They’re the ships send to walk the inhabitants of a region through membership into the Federation, with diplomats and negotiators while also helping solve regional problems between planets and systems or disputes between Federation members. A bit like half the episodes of The Next Generation really…
A focus on diplomacy over science makes sense: Starfleet has always been about exploration, but as time passes, technology improves, and the Federation expands, there’d be less “unknown” in the frontier. Most common anomalies would have been discovered and catalogued. New scientific discoveries would be just as likely to arise within the borders of the Federation through technological advancement or deeper study of chartered phenomena. Exploratory vessels might very well opt to focus less on the science and instead on meeting new people and cultures.
I also give a nod in this ship to the different skins of Star Trek Online ships. The game gives a bunch of variant looks to each class of ship and lets you mix-and-match to create your own designs. Which is fun, but does lead to an excessive number of ships that are largely redundant: I can’t imagine the different skins of a ship would change it’s Systems. However, it could be used as a way to swap out Talents or Departments quickly for different missions. Before a combat focused mission, your ship stops at a Starbase and swaps out the Emissary saucer for a more armoured Vanguard.
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