The Core Rulebook and the Command Sourcebook contain an assortment of small craft. However, it omits a few key shuttles, such as the iconic shuttlepod of the Star Trek: Enterprise era. Additionally, non-Federation factions also lack small craft, including the Scorpion fighters seen in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Federation Starfleet Small Craft
While arguably the attack fighters seen in the Command Sourcebook, Peregrine fighters are the default fighters of Star Trek Online. I felt they decided more of a spotlight. Plus it was an opportunity to tease a certain large ship from Star Trek: Invasion that will be written up sooner or later. Fighters are a fun option for a very different Star Trek campaign, with the characters being more akin to the Viper Pilots of Battlestar Galactica or the protagonists of Space: Above and Beyond.
The shuttlepod is a little more useful in a traditional game, being the shuttlecraft used by NX-class, Columbia-class and the first generation of Federation Starfleet vessels. They’d come into play whenever the transporter was not an possibility, which should be more frequent in earlier eras when the technology was less sophisticated. Shuttlepods would also be used in games spinning off from Star Trek Enterprise, telling the Earth-Romulan War, or chronicling the tentative early years of the Federation. Even in later years, these might represent civilian craft, or ships from species who have just developed warp travel.
Klingon Defence Force Small Craft
The counterpart to Starfleet’s Peregrine fighter is the Klingon To’Duj Fighter. Both the fighter and the shuttle are useful for Klingon-centric campaigns or as adversaries facing off against Starfleet vessels, such as during the brief conflict between Starfleet and the Klingons preceding the Dominion War. Starfleet might even “borrow” a few of these fighters for a covert mission into regions where the Federation is unwelcome. An NPC Klingon shuttle might also be something the player’s starship needs to defend or rescue, perhaps from some anomaly or enemy forces.
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Romulan Star Navy Small Craft
The Scorpion fighter is one of the few canonical fighters in Star Trek, although it’s not shown as operating as part of a fighter attack wing or assaulting a capital ship. A crew might find themselves defending against these fighters or working alongside them in a skirmish during the Dominion War. Romulan space stations likely have a few of these on standby in the event of attack.
While Romulan shuttles likely wouldn’t vary much from Starfleet’s, the addition of cloaking devices and their use as spycraft makes statblocks useful. Stolen Romulan shuttles would be highly desirable on the black market, especially to Ferengi and mercenary factions. Even Starfleet Intelligence might seek out surplussed or salvageable Romulan shuttles for various reasons.
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