STO Spaceframes: Federation Science and Research Vessels

More Star Trek Online spaceframes! Today we’re looking at a pretty impressive spread of ships, all the science ships from Tiers 1 and 2. These ships are all pretty impressive-looking and the variations have a lot of subtlety to them as you’ll see below!

This post originally appeared on my site, Mephit James Blog.

Science Vessels

The first science vessel available to players in Star Trek Online is the classic Oberth-class light science vessel, first scene in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, but for me it’s iconic from that episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation when everyone started making out. It’s a classic, and it’s found in the Command Division Supplement and from Starship Sunday on Continuing Mission.

Oberth-class Light Science Vessel

If you’d prefer a more modern science vessel, the Nova-class science vessel is available right in the core Star Trek Adventures rulebook. It’s a compact ship, first seen in Star Trek: Voyager (which is appropriate, next to the also-compact Intrepid class), and it’s got some impressive sensor and lab functionality and three different variants which pretty closely resemble the Nova class on the outside.

The Aurora-class variant has a more rounded version of the saucer section but otherwise looks like the standard Nova-class spaceframe. It’s description references the Aurora design being used for short-range military scouting so increasing its military capabilities seems appropriate. Start with the basic Nova-class stats and increase Weapons by +1, decrease Comms by -1, increase Security to +1, and decrease Engineering to +0. Change the phaser array to phaser banks to give it a little more power and increase its chance of coming home safely. I considered adding a Talent to the default list but an Aurora-class ship can only have three total Talents because of its Size and that would make them all predetermined. Instead, just push for Pathfinder and Reconnaissance Operations or Tactical Operations as the Mission Profile.

The description of the Quasar-class variant of the Nova-class spaceframe, as well as its name, certainly suggests a focus on exploration and survey work. The Nova is explicitly a short-range design and it was launched around the same time as the Intrepid-class vessels which are very long-range ships, so it doesn’t make sense for the Quasar class to be a long-range version. Instead, it’s a focused ship for long-term surveys of single systems or a few neighboring systems. To make a more robust version of the Nova-class spaceframe, increase Structure and Comms by +1 and decrease Engines and Weapons by -1. Instead of Advanced Sensors, the default Ship Talent for the Quasar class is Dedicated Personnel (Science) to reflect the high-class crew complement for these sorts of missions. This Talent is found on page 67 of the Command Division Supplement; if you don’t have that book, just stick with Advanced Sensors.

The Rhode Island-class variant is a 25th-century refit variant of the Nova class, which means we need an Entered Service date that’s some forty years after the launch of the Nova-class line. As a short-range survey vessel in an increasingly chaotic galaxy, it makes sense that the Rhode Island-class is a little tougher. Star Trek Online says that this spaceframe “can handle combat with heavy Klingon warships from 2404 and travel at warp speeds high enough to conduct deep space exploration.” That seems a bit grandiose for a science vessel but it does mean we need to up the combat capabilities of the Nova-class to keep up. For the refits, increase the Weapons and Structure ratings by +2, then increase Security by +1 and decrease Engineering to +0. Lastly, change Advanced Sensors to Advanced Shields to the list of default Starship Talents.

Research Science Vessels

The Olympic-class research science vessel is one of my favorite starship designs on Star Trek, cemented there by the Next Generation finale when an alternate-future Captain Beverly Picard née Crusher commanded the U.S.S. Pasteur with a regal attitude. The Olympic class is detailed in the Command Division Supplement but there are several variant designs available as well.

The Hope-class variant of the Olympic class has a primary hull that’s less of a sphere and more of a narrow cylinder. This compressed design is more rugged and has sturdier nacelles so I’m going to posit that it’s a variant of the Olympic class that’s got engineering support as well as medical support. To create this, start with the Olympic-class stats and then increase Engines by +1, decrease Computers by -1, increase Engineering to +1, and decrease Science to +0. For the Command Division Supplement version, switch out Modular Laboratories for Extensive Shuttlebays (already done for the Starship Sunday version) to help with repair and evacuation.

The Horizon-class variant is one of the most striking variants of the Olympic class. Its transparent hull in the primary section is a beautiful design that is probably stunning from the inside. There’s little to say what the practical design changes from the base Olympic-class spaceframe must be but the name suggests to me that there’s a stronger science focus. To make this, start with the Olympic-class stats and increase Computers by +1, and decrease Comms by -1. For the Starship Sunday version, add Modular Laboratories (already in the Command Division Supplement version) to give more research possibilities.

Advanced Research Science Vessels

The Nebula-class design is categorized in Star Trek Online as an advanced research vessel because of its adaptable modules, larger crew complement, and improved systems compared to the Olympic-class spaceframe. The Command Division Supplement provides details for the Nebula class but there’s also a variant design known as the Magellan-class research vessel with a more angular pod and longer-term capabilities. To create a Magellan-class starship, use the Nebula-class spaceframe and increase Structure by +1, decrease engines by -1, increase Command to +1, and decrease either Medicine (for the Command Division Supplement) or Engineering (for the Starship Sunday version) by one. Remove Saucer Separation (for the Command Division Supplement) or Secondary Reactors (for the Starship Sunday version) from the ship’s list of default Ship Talents and instead add Diplomatic Suites.

The Sutherland-class variant has the markings seen on a lot of the 25th century spaceframes so it’s really just the Nebula-class spaceframe with some refits. Advance the Entered Service date to 2401 which gives four refits. Increase Comms, Sensors, Engines, and Weapons by +1 with those refits, and change phaser arrays to the stronger phaser banks to reflect the increased tensions of the 25th century.

One comment

  1. Technically, you also added the T3 Science Vessels, too. Still, makes sense, given there weren’t very many things you could do with the Oberth, and the Olympic and Nebula are pretty cool.

    Looking forward to T3 Cruisers (would make sense if you included T4 in there, too), as well as T3 and T4 Escorts. Especially the Sao Paulo and other Defiant variants. 🙂

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