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Old Ships, New Tech

True, there are more than 4 Nebula class ships that show up on screen through TNG, and those ships while not scale 6, are definitely close. Both the Ambassador class and Nebula class are scale 5, and there is not a lot of info on how long the Ambassador class was active, or how many of them were produced.

There are only 2 scale 6 Federation craft, the Galaxy and Sovereign class. We know that there were few Galaxy class ships made, and it is assumed that the same can be said about the Sovereign. The Galaxy was made more with exploration and peace-keeping in mind, while the Sovereign was made more with combating the Borg and other threats.

If your campaign is set in the year 2371 or on, then there is a possibility there will be some Sovereign class ships out there, as well as Luna class explorers which are also scale 5. (2372 projected)

This may help you out:
Scale 3 Starfleet Vessels: Daedalus, NX Class.

Scale 5 Federation Vessels: Excelsior.
Scale 4 Federation Vessels: Centaur, Constellation, Constitution, Hermes, Miranda, Sydney.
Scale 3 Federation Vessels: Oberth.

Scale 6 Federation Vessels: Galaxy, Sovereign.
Scale 5 Federation Vessels: Akira, Ambassador, Excelsior, Luna, Nebula.
Scale 4 Federation Vessels: Centaur, Constellation, Constitution, Hermes, Intrepid, Miranda, New Orleans, Norway, Olympic, Steamrunner, Sydney.
Scale 3 Federation Vessels: Defiant, Nova, Oberth, Saber.

These lists were made using the core book and Command Division Supplement. I sorted them into general years. (Ent: 2140-2175, TOS: 2220s-2300, TNG: Any vessel made after 2230. Some in the TNG list may have been decommissioned or otherwise no longer used, however most have been seen at one point or another in the series/movies.)

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going by this we can draw some conclusions. in the ENT era, Scale 3 was the alrgest size, but by TOS they had reached a period where the largest ships where the size 4 range, and most ships fell into that (I’ve always wondered if the Hermes being size 4 instead of 3 was a error mind you) with the excelsior’s launch starfleet finally reached ships around size 5. for their biggest baddest ship, size 3 was mostly reserved during this period for the Oberth, a small science vessel. I’ll touch on this further in TNG era.

Then comes the TNG era the vast majority of their ships are scale 4. but the heavy cruiser workhorses of the fleet, The excelsior and Nebula, are T5, as are the ships that would presumably replace them, such as the Akira. With the biggest Battleships/heavy explorers, the prides of the fleet, being size 6. At scale 3, you have the Nova, Oberth, Saber, and defiant. All are specialist ships. the Oberth and Nova being science vessels, the defiant and saber essentially being military vessels. It seems to me that as early as the 2250s Starfleet decided small ships simply didn’t work with their plan. a small ship couldn’t fill a multirole purpose and thus ships that size where reserved for specialists. then starfleet ships got bigger and bigger as the bigger the ship the more stuff could be packed into the ship, allowing them to fill more roles more easily. however these big ships where expensive, and thus they also made ample use of small ships with modular componants. Like the Nebula.

Of the non-Discovery original timeline screen-seen ships in TOS era, only the Excelsior is larger; most are smaller. But that’s a pretty small number of ships overall.

Constitution Class is in TOS. We see 4 in TOS; 7 in TOS-R, none in TAS.
The Bonaventure Class is in TAS.
The SFTM ships (Constitution, Federation¹, Saladin, Hermes, Ptolemy) schematics appear in background shots and several are mentioned in background dialog in STTMP.
Enterprise subclass Constitutions are seen in all TOS movies except Generations.
The Miranda Class is in ST2:TWOK
The Antares class is seen in TAS and TOS-R
Excelsior is in ST3:TSFS and ST6.

Of these, only the Federation and Excelsior classes are larger. So there’s a range of size 4 classes. Hermes and Miranda appear to be low-end, Constitution high end; if the federation class is actually extant, it’s in between the Constitution and Excelsior in size, and could be a large 4 or a small 5.

¹ Only an outline is shown.
² Discovery’s been said to be outside the Modiphius license.

yeah, it’s pretty clear that the enterprise is always the “biggest and best ship of it’s day” it’s one of the unwritten rules of trek. and well it might be an intreasting series to have a series about an aging enterprise that’s no longer the best ship in the fleet… I doubt that’ll even happen. Although it might work better then some of the series out there CBS is serious about making

@BrianDavion Except during the Movie era. The Excelsior is bigger, and, from ST3:TSFS to between ST6:TUC and ST7:Generations not the biggest and best.

My take on a Constitution Refit currently being used as a Starfleet Academy Training Ship in the TNG era in 2371: USS Hornet

Ignore the Ship Registry number on the miniature :neutral_face:. Feel free to use the Hornet in your campaign. She has a lot of fight left in her yet.

TRAIT: Gremlins! This ship is so old that there are always a few components that haven’t been replaced and are prone to faulty performance or failure. Whenever a complication is rolled on a Task by the ship for a given system, the complication range increases by one for all subsequent Tasks using the given system until repaired. The complication also increases the difficulty of ALL SUBSEQUENT ship Tasks for that system by one for each complication rolled. A successful repair of the system ( diff = to the complication range value ) will fix the system in question and restore the complication range back to 1 ( the default complication range ).

If you are going to use a Connie in TNG era, then you need to do the full refit to it. A Connie would get 12 refit points to spend in the systems, and since you can not (according to rules) put more than 2 points into systems, the Connie would be 2 years away from it’s decom date. (In service for 128 years. Maximum number of allowed refits being 12, 2 for each system.)

That would put the systems at the following:
Engines: 10 Computers: 9 Weapons: 10
Structure: 10 Sensors: 10 Communications: 9

@SSiron I intentionally did not use the full number of refits. The numbers that you stated are the maximum allowable and I decided to use less than the full number of refits to represent an older Constitution Refit class with a Tactical profile that had been pulled out of mothballs to be used as a Starfleet training ship. The year of my campaign is 2371 in the TNG era.

Ablative armor seems an odd choice for a TNG era training vessel. it’s a spretty specialist system and brand new so it seems off as to why it would be given a training vessel. One could argue in many new bits of tech to argue that it’s included to famierlize cadets with the new tech but abalative armor is so passive it seems not worth it. if you want some brand new tech I’d suggest considering a EMH. which could be priceless on a training vessel in the event of an accident

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I’m keeping ablative armor ( I like your idea of familiarizing the cadets with newer systems ) Also, the crew count will remain at the 500-520 mark as the ship needs more personnel to operate it and thus makes it ideal for a training ship.

“Aye, laddies! On the Hornet, you’ll have to put your backs into it and press five buttons on two stations instead of one button like those new controls aboard the tin cans that Starfleet is pushing out of space dock now.”

suggestion regarding the abalative armor then, it was done as a special project by the engineering cadets at the academy to show them how to add abalative armor to a space frame. with the way abalative armor works, knowing how to patch that stuff in the field is a legit important skill to teach

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One consideration that I was reminded of when looking something up in the TNG Tech Manual, is that a vessel’s shape is partially defined by the needs of the warp drive: the engines need to generate a warp field around the whole ship, and certain shapes and configurations of vessel have been proven to be more efficient as the science of subspace fields has advanced. You can see a design trend over the decades: ships getting leaner, sleeker, with smoother integration between saucer and engineering section.

This would be a solid reason why older ships are phased out: a Constitution class, even with a 2360s warp core and field coil assembly, may not be able to achieve the same kinds of speeds as, say, an Intrepid-class, and it’ll certainly need to spend more power to achieve those higher warp factors. That would in turn limit the power available to other functions, and limit the vessel’s abilities.


@Modiphius-Nathan Good points all. That’s why I’m keeping my Constitution Refit in this thread at Warp 8 maximum speed.

Being sleeker would help allow bigger ships like the galaxy exist because I could see a warp field not being stable for such a large ship without that consideration, but the connie is a sturdy ship that could probably be robust enough to survive newer generations of tech. Or maybe… connie 2.0, connie 5.0, connie 10.0 etc

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This is backed up by lore that says that the up/down moveable warp nacelles of the Intrepid Class (Voyager) are designed like they’re designed because that way they’re able to generate a more ‘environment friendly’ warp field (cf. TNG ep. 7x09, ‘Force of Nature’).

New materials (e.g. new duranium and/or tritatnium alloys) that provide better overall structural integrity, new coatings providing better background radiation protection…

Starfleet building their bleeding-edge technology ships from scratch just makes perfectly sense. :slight_smile:

(That being said: I like the take on the training vessel. I might steal this idea. But as well the hint with the EMH instead of ablative armour. There are cadets, afterall and we all know that this lot is able to get in trouble all the times… :smiley: )

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Personally, I would have gone with an Ambassador, Excelsior, Constellation, or Miranda class over the Connie in that case. They are still not top of the line new ships, but they are somewhat newer, and closer to what the cadets may encounter on their assignments. They could (while assigned to the ship) take a course of classes similar to a History Class in the Holodeck over the operation of older vessels like the Connie.

Here is an example of what I would use for those purposes. The vessel itself is 85 years old: CD is the Commissioned Date, it was Decommissioned 41 years later, then pulled out of mothballs after 40 years for an emergency situation. Had a minor refit performed earlier in the year to give it the EMH and Armor.

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@SSiron I was thinking along the lines of Starfleet Academy keeping the Hornet and other similar ships for training due to the prestigious history of such a vessel as well as for having cadets perform spacefaring duties a little more manually and thus gaining better understanding of operating a starship - similar in concept to the US Coast Guard Academy’s use of the sailing ship “Eagle.”

Ok, I can partly understand that. You could have them serve a few months on a each ship… Like 4 months on 3 different ships for their ‘Cadet cruise’. Start with the Hornet, then go to a ship like the one I suggested, then a more modern ship like a Nova. Or rotate them however you might want to, since the Nova has such a small number of personnel.

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@SSiron I like the idea of rotating training ships. I’m keeping ablative armor for reasons as previously stated by @BrianDavion. The upcoming Starfleet officers and crew members will need to know how to repair and install ablative armor panels when they deploy to the newest vessels throughout Starfleet.

I plan on using that myself in a few months once my campaign starts. My players will be assigned to a starbase that has a starship in detached service. (Similar to how the Defiant worked while attached to DS9.) I originally planned on them having an Oberth, Constellation, then a Nova, but I may change around the two other ships (start with Oberth), and get a list of ships they may want to test out and roll for which ship once they switch.