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Starship Scales

posted Apr 23, 2018 18:53:57 by JundlandBanshee
Let's take a look at the comparative scale of the ships thus far presented in Star Trek Adventures and how they compare to the sizes of the ships in question, as we reinforce a Trekkie stereotype and complain about minutia. Ships in parentheses are not from the RPG but which I chose to include regardless. The civilian ships have been omitted as the don't represent specific classes of ships.

----Ship Class--------Scale----Length----

Tpye 15 Shuttle pod-----1-------3.6
Type 18 Shuttle pod-----1-------4.5
Type F Shuttlecraft-----1-------9.1
(Type G/4 Shuttlecraft)-1-------6.7
(Type H/5 Shuttlecraft)-1-------9.1
Work Bee----------------1-------3.2
Type 6 Shuttlecraft-----1-------6
Type 7 Shuttlecraft-----1-------8.5
Type 8 Shuttlecraft-----1-------7
Type 9 Shuttlecraft-----1-------8.5
(Type 9A Shuttlecraft)--1-------10.5
Type 10 Shuttlecraft----1-------6.5
Maquis Fighter----------1-------8.5
(Reman Scorpion Fighter)1-------7

Danube Runabout---------2-------23
Attack Fighter----------2-------25
(Delta Flyer)-----------2-------21
Klingon D5--------------2-------150 (75/115/155)
Klingon Raptor----------2-------145
Romulan Scout ship------2-------89
(Romulan Shuttle)-------2-------24
(Romulan Drone)---------2-------35

Klingon B'Rel-----------3-------110
Klingon K't'inga--------3-------214
Romulan BoP (22nd)------3-------130
(Romulan Science Ship)--3-------95
(Cardassian Hideki)-----3-------98
Dominion Attack Ship----3-------95
Maquis Raider-----------3-------60 (Scale table on 215 lists as 2)
Gorn Raider-------------3-------215
Orion Scout ship--------3-------100
Orion Interceptor-------3-------100

Constitution Refit------4-------305
New Orleans-------------4-------340
Klingon D7--------------4-------228
Romulan BoP (23rd)------4-------131
Cardassian Galor--------4-------481
Orion Blackguard--------4-------?

Klingon K'Vort----------5-------350
Klingon Vor'cha---------5-------481
(Cardassian Keldon)-----5-------481
Ferengi Marauder--------5-------366
Orion Pleasure Barge----5-------?

Klingon Negh'Var--------6-------682
Romulan D'Deridex-------6-------1353 (Scale table on 215 lists as 7)
(Romulan Valdore/Mogai)-6-------604
Dominion Battle Cruiser-6-------650
Gorn Varanus------------6-------580

Borg Sphere-------------7-------450
(Reman Scimitar)--------7-------890

Borg Cube---------------13------3000

This gives us a general size range for each scale.
Scale 1 =~ 3-12 meters
Scale 2 =~ 21-25 meters
Scale 3 =~ 60-225 meters
Scale 4 =~ 228-356 meters
Scale 5 =~ 366-526 meters
Scale 6 =~ 580-685 meters

You will also note that there are a number of outliers: ships with a size that doesn't fit with their scale.

A ship's scale is said to represent its size, but this isn't completely accurate. Most notably the Romulan D'Deridex is twice the size of a Galaxy or Negh'Var but has the same scale. This actually can be explained by the fact that the Romulans are using a tactic used by animals. Namely, it is designed to look bigger, artificially inflating its size for intimidation purposes. There is a similar (though opposing) issue with the Borg Sphere, which its size implying it should have a Scale of 5 rather than 7. The density of the Sphere and Cube designs means there is a lot more packed into the available space, than with most warp capable civilizations.

Those are the two most glaring outliers, but what about the rest.

Klingon D5, Klingon Raptor, and the Romulan Scout are the outliers for Scale 2. The Romulan scout in the Beta Quadrant book is said to be slightly bigger than a Danube (notably the Romulan shuttle is a meter longer), but other sources place the Romulan Scout at four times that size. If we take the book at face value and assume a size of 24 meters the Scale 2 makes sense. The Klingon ships are much more glaring problem. A ship described as a Battle Cruiser should not be Scale 2, even though it was difficult to find an exact length. However, even the smallest stat given put it at 75 meters, three times that of our other Scale 2 ships. The Raptor does have a confirmed length that makes the disparity even more obvious. So the question arises, why make their scale so small? The most obvious reason is to decrease their Resistance, yet this makes no sense, as the rules go out of their way to give the vessels extra resistance to make up for their scale, presumably. So the only other option is that they were trying to eat up as many Trait slots as possible.

I bring up the Maquis Raider as a possible outlier mostly because it's in a bit of a no-man's-land, at 60 meters it is significantly smaller than the other Scale 3 ships, which also puts it at odds with the the Klingons Scale 2 ships that are much bigger. Personally I'm fine with the raider at Scale 3, and that the problem is mainly with the Klingon and Romulan ships. The only other issue I have with Scale 3 is the cut-off line, which ends up placing the K't'inga Cruiser at Scale 3 for being 14 meters shorter than its predecessor the D7. It seems a bit wrong to have the Klingon flagships of the TOS Movie era be downgraded to Scale 3 while the Constitution refit remains at Scale 4.

Speaking of Scale 4, the big outliers here are the Romulan Bird-of-Prey (23rd century), the Centaur, and the Cardassian Galor-class Cruiser. The Birds-of-Prey have the opposite problem of the D7-K't'inga issue. I didn't think a difference in length of 14 meters warranted a scale change between the Klingon ships and I certainly don't think the BoP of the 23rd Century warrants being a Scale 4 when it is only 1 meter longer than its 22nd century counterpart which is a Scale 3. The Centaur-class represent an issue with the somewhat arbitrary nature of the cut-off line as it's length should put it in the Scale 3 category. The biggest travesty for this scale is the Cardassian Galor cruiser. It's actually the same length as the Klingon Vor'cha and roughly the same dimensions. Yet while its contemporaries in Starfleet, the Klingon Empire and Ferengi Alliance are all Scale 5, the Galor has been relegated to a berth at the little ship's dry-dock. There is absolutely no reason it should not be on their scale.

As far as the Scale 5 ships go themselves, the only notable outlier is the Klingon K'Vort who seems to have stolen the Galor's berth at the big ship's dry-dock despite being smaller than the Steamrunner. I've already addressed the outliers for scales 6 and 7 so I'll just leave things there.

(Edited in a futile attempt to fix the formatting.)

"Questions, comments, bring them to me. Problems, talk to Lieutenant Kinis." -Admiral Bullock "In the Flesh"
[Last edited Apr 24, 2018 06:15:32]
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14 replies
Shran said Apr 23, 2018 19:50:30
What is Scale anyway? Is it length, number of decks, number of crew, volume, mass? I think at the end of the day it is just what "feels" right.

Klingon D5 and Raptor are pretty old ships, from the time of the NX class. So their Scale should be around that. 2 seems small for those ships. Scale 2 seems wrong as it appears to be reserved only for large shuttles or runabouts.

The Romulan scout ship seems to be akin to a runabout, so size 2 seems OK. If you look at the model, it looks like it has a small cockpit in the front.

If you look at ships that are significantly smaller than the Defiant but bigger than a runabout, such as the Maquis raider or Jem'Hadar attack ship, you would actually need a Scale between 2 and 3. So that is indeed a difficult one. But you have to be careful that you do not have too many Scales, otherwise the Galaxy class for example ends up with too much Resistance.

I have done a similar conversion for another RP system before, and I ended up with the following:

Scale 1: Shuttles and runabouts
Scale 2: Raiders (Maquis raider, Jem'Hadar attack ship)
Scale 3: Small starships (Defiant, NX)
Scale 4: Medium starships (Intrepid, D-7, Galor)
Scale 5: Large starships (Vor'cha, Excelsior)
Scale 6: Huge starships (Galaxy, Negh'var)
Scale 7: Gigantic starships (D'Deridex, Scimitar, Jem'Hadar Battleship)

STA chooses to combine raiders and small starships and puts runabouts in their own category. While this is less realistic, it still has merits from a balancing point-of-view since it makes smaller ships (which are very common) more robust.

So basically, my only issue is that the D'Deridex has to be Scale 7. It is just that big, and BTW the Scimitar is not that much larger.
PatricHenson said Apr 23, 2018 23:09:38
Length is meaningless without depth and breadth. Mass is a better indicator of size (though not necessarily scale). The D'Deridex, for example, has a slightly lower mass than a Galaxy class. A Nebula class has greater mass than a Sovereign class. Scale, on the other hand, seems to have factors beyond size, such as the robustness of the design.
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
jonrcrew said Apr 24, 2018 11:12:23
reinforce a Trekkie stereotype and complain about minutia

You have my attention, sir! :-)

Before I get going, just to say, I agree with you about some of these and not others! (Which is as it should be). I'm also generally agreeing with Shran's groupings.

First of all, I agree that Scale is not just dimensions, it does include power, efficiency, durability and mass. It's also made up of very broad categories: putting a Constitution at scale 4 is quite different from the old Decipher/Coda Size 6, which ISTR was also reflected in Star Fleet Battles; in the FASA version of the game, it was somewhere around Class IX, although the FASA designers were notoriously inconsistent about dimensions.

A caveat: all of these size estimates are just that, estimates - usually based on relative screen sizes (subjective at best) or rows of windows (see the debates on the Oberth for that one!). I believe there have been official dimensions for most of the hero ships (Enterprises and so on) and that's about it.

I think the best way to look at this is in general ranges so very roughly:

Scale 1: 0-15m(ish)
Scale 2: 15-80m
Scale 3: 80-200m
Scale 4: 300-500m
Scale 5: 500-800m
Scale 6: 800-1200m etc

However you look at it, scale 2 is an odd one, as it covers vessels designed to be fit into a large shuttlebay, which are generally not capable starships, but also includes small starships (I would note that neither Scale 1 nor 2 vessels are automatically "Small Craft" by the rules definition). I assume the Delta Flyer and Neelix's ship would both be Scale 2. I noticed the issue with Continuing Mission's interpretation of the Archer-class (Scale 2), which I'd guessed at Scale 3. It is specifically 45 m long though and is a fully-capable starship, but cannot fit into a shuttlebay (there's a whole sequence in the novels where they refit a freighter to carry the Sagittarius so they can get it out of the station incognito). I now think CM actually have it right!

I do take issue with the official position that the K't'inga is smaller than the D7 (and also with the idea that it's a refit rather than a general evolution of the battlecruiser concept, but that's another argument). To my knowledge, the K't'inga was based on a redress of an old AMT model of the D7 (which, oddly, was the most accurate model it could be - since it was what they used in TOS), so it's the same size, by definition. (And I'd like to go the other way, given that the Eaglemoss models of the two have differing command pod sizes - the K't'inga would be about 20m longer on that basis - but that's distinctly non-canon!)

The D5 and Raptor are definitely too small at Scale 2 so I definitely think a 3!

I suspect there's no specific reason for some of these decisions, more the thoughts of the individuals who statted them.
PatricHenson said Apr 24, 2018 21:41:00
Actually, page 215 specifically says that scale 1 vessels are exclusively small craft. While all scale 2 ships we've seen so far count as small craft (runabout, captain's yacht, fighter), there's nothing in the rules saying their can't be scale 2 full-fledged ships, and I certainly agree that it's something they should do more with.
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
ShadowWalker said Apr 25, 2018 09:26:20
Raptor, D5 and K'tinga were corrected in the update and are respectively Scale 3, 3, and 4. I agree that D'Deridex should be Scale 7.
[Last edited Apr 25, 2018 09:26:59]
jonrcrew said Apr 25, 2018 09:45:43
I stand corrected - thanks! p232 specifies "In game terms, Small Craft are Scale 1 and Scale 2 craft, with a few additional considerations" - ie all Small Craft are Scale 1 or 2, but not vice-versa!

From what I can see in the official publications so far, we have one Scale 2 non-Small Craft (does not have the trait and not listed as one): the Romulan Scout. I think that indicates that the Baxial and Delta Flyer will probably fall into this category.

@JundlandBanshee: how up to date are your copies of the books? I get the following scales for some of those you've called out - maybe they've been corrected?

Klingon D-5 - 3
Klingon Raptor - 3
Klingon K't'inga - 4
Deadmanwalking said Apr 25, 2018 11:08:32
Additionally, per Memory Alpha the size of the Galor might be 366-380 meters instead of 480 (depending on who you ask). Indeed, the Star Trek Deep Space Nine Technical Manual apparently pegs it at a bit less than 372 meters. That's still a tad longer than most Scale 4 ships, but much less of a departure than the 480 you list above.

Similarly, a quick look at Memory Alpha reveals that per the same Technical Manual, the Centaur is just shy of 382 meters by the same manual. So it seems likely that (the Klingon vessels, which have been corrected, aside) they're just using a different set of technical specifications than you are, at least to some degree.
jonrcrew said Apr 25, 2018 11:55:53
The DS9 TM is usually considered fairly inaccurate...

Ex Astris Scientia has some really good (if intricate) discussions of ship sizes.
Deadmanwalking said Apr 25, 2018 12:24:40
For the Galor something around that was also the intent of the original designer. Indeed, almost all the references on the Memory Alpha page were for approximately that length, with only one reference to the 480 length.

And I'm not necessarily trying to justify the Scales as listed, just noting that pretty much all obscure Star Trek ships have enough different listings for length that maybe the folks at Modiphius just used a different one on the ones that seem off.
PatricHenson said Apr 25, 2018 16:21:33
The Romulan Scout is a good example of what I think should be a scale 2 non-small craft. Unfortunately, if you look at the power and shields you can see that it follows the small craft rules.

@Shran, @ShadowWalker
As for the D'Deridex, it's size is an illusion. The Galaxy Class is actually larger overall, (not by much, but still) despite the seemingly massive length and width.

I think the scales they've got wrong are the miniscule differences in scale 1 and 2 and the Nebula (if the Sovereign is 6, the Nebula should be as well).
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
jonrcrew said Apr 26, 2018 08:49:01
Damn, I meant to check the stats on that one! Thanks for pointing it out :)
Shran said Apr 26, 2018 12:14:55
You are correct, the D'Deridex is only build very large and it has indeed a lower mass than the Galaxy. So yeah, maybe Scale 6 is appropriate.
I disagree with the Nebula being size 6 though. I know the mass and crew is comparable to the Sovereign, but somehow it doesn't feel right for me. The Nebula class is such a compact design that it has to be a lower Scale than the Galaxy. But I can't provide any numbers to back this up except for length.
StephenBirks said Apr 26, 2018 13:36:30
I think a key point here is that this system restricts standard starships to just 4 orders of scale (i.e. excluding small craft and super-massive frames and structures). As such I feel that arguing about trying to fit ships into the "correct" scale is somewhat futile, especially as it appears to use metrics not easily quantified (such as weapon strength) and, fundamentally, the developers gut feeling.

PatricHenson said Apr 26, 2018 14:59:16
Yeah, I didn't think of the scout until you mentioned him and then I excitedly checked the book and then... 5 power and 4 shields :'(
I think that the scout would be a really fun setting for a Romulan campaign, but hopefully they'll make the player version a full-fledged ship, because otherwise 4 shields sounds like a deathtrap! lol

I guess with the Nebula it's just that when looking at it, it looks like they removed only the "neck" of the galaxy class and slid the engineering section further underneath the saucer, then they added the mission pod. I guess it's a kitbash, so that's basically how they made it. In my head I'm just thinking: minus one "neck" plus one mission pod = not significantly smaller. Also, it just feels like the Galaxy class and the Nebula class are the 24th century equivalent of Constitution and Miranda classes, which are both scale 4.

In any case, my group picked a Galaxy class ship anyway, so it's not as if it's going to effect my game lol!
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
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