Section 31 starships

So, in the Disco sourcebook we got a bunch of Section 31 specific spaceframes, as well as a peek into the modus operandi of the black ops organization, but with those ship classes being as old as they are in the late 24th century, their usefulness to the organization (and the rest of Starfleet Intelligence) becomes vastly limited… therefore, (at least in my head cannon) Section 31 would coopt and overhaul/rebuild entire starships of the line into their own personal fleet, perhaps not with the sheer numbers of ships that existed in the Disco era, but still a fleet none the less. And with the prerelease of Utopia Planitia (and pending full release of said book) and the included update to the starship creation rules, I had the question come to mind of how to represent the overhaul that Section 31 would perform on all ships they coopted in the terms of the game stats…

My idea is that they all gain the “Section 31 Starship” trait, in addition to a blanket +1 to all systems, and the special rule “Dark Mode” (that functions as the “Slim Sensor Silhouette” talent [UP p91] or the “Stealth Systems” talent [DCG p129])

What do you guys think of this? what would you do differently?

A blanket +1 to all Systems does not fit in my opinion. +6 System points in total would mean that you essentially create a ship from potentially 150+ years in the future (assuming your year is around 2370). I would just use the normal Spaceframe creation rules with the appropriate number of System points. If you want to represent some advanced AI or other awesome tech, I’d make a custom Talent or something where the ship can reroll its assist die. I believe that such a Talent is more fun in the long run than simply increasing plain numbers. Dark Mode makes sense though.

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If the way that S31 is presented in Discovery is any indicator, then it makes sense to me that they have access to tech that is much more advanced than the rest of Starfleet. But I can understand the limits of limited returns once things get too big…

So… dark mode and at least one unique talent to represent the exotic tech S31 utilizes…

I would consider doing something with crew support. The Section 31 that we see in DS9 focused more on operative subterfuge as I recall, rather than having a brute force fleet. And they don’t need to have a fleet when they can commandeer official vessels, either through complicit officers or Starfleet Command orders (e.g. Admiral Ross’s Bellerophon).

I would also question how technologically far ahead Section 31 remains following the events of Discovery season 2. But it does make sense they’d be ahead at least a little bit. I suppose it would make sense to build a spaceframe using rules for the next era up to portray their advantage (I haven’t read UP, but my understanding is that each era has a certain amount of points distributed). Or perhaps grant a ship a certain number of refits for free, or give it an extra talent than would otherwise be allowed.

Another interesting thing to do would be to not limit talents to mission profile or spaceframe. So rather than being forced to take the spaceframe’s talent and 1 from the profile, free-for-all talent choices would be something that makes narrative sense here, if they’re taking ships and overhauling them for S31 service. It would be something their enemies don’t expect, although perhaps not as powerful a boost in terms of stats than you probably want.

the very storng implication is that the whole control situation basicly wrecked section 31 and they where by DS9 a much smaller orginization. frankly the idea of a orginization as clandestine as section 31 having their own unique ship designs etc is something I always thought was absurd anyway

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I agree. I think the fiasco with Control convinced whatever remnants of Section 31 that survived Control’s ministrations (remember, it killed all the Section 31 agents and leaders in their homebase space station) likely decided in 2259 to go as far underground as they could. This explains why no one has ever heard of them in the 24th century. Whether or not Section 31 in the 24th century is an actually smaller organization than in the 22nd or 23rd centuries is anyone’s guess…but smaller organizations are a lot harder to track down so it would make sense.

So would it be better to treat the mainstay ships S31 refits as +1 scale, give dark mode and give them a unique talent based on what S31 needed from the ship?

Scale is tied to a lot more than talents, though, so IMO just give an extra talent rather than bumping up the scale (narratively they’re packing more tech into the same size ship, not making the ship bigger).

But it really depends on what you’re using the ship for. A whole Section 31 campaign, it makes sense to juice it up a bit, since it’s the “hero” ship of the story. An NPC adversary? I don’t know. Plenty of ways to make it better/bigger/badder as a one-off instead of coming up with a conversion system.

Indeed, according to Scale is essentially determined by crew size and technological advancement as well as the physical size of the ship. Take the Mirror Universe ISS Charon for example: it’s more than 9 km in length, significantly larger than the 3km wide and Scale 13 Borg Cube, but it’s only Scale 6 because it’s a lot less technologically advanced (it uses 23rd Century duotronics) and (I assume) has a significantly smaller crew. I’m assuming that the Charon has a crew of a few thousand while a Borg Cube has a crew complement of several hundred thousand drones. Not to mention that the Cube has the Colossal Trait while the Charon doesn’t. With those sorts of disparities, it’s easy to see why the Cube is Scale 13 while the Charon is only Scale 6.

But to make such a discernable difference in Scale, the technological disparity would have to be huge. Section 31 ships might be more advanced than the top-of-the-line Federation starship, but not by more than a decade or so, not nearly enough to justify even the most minimal rise in Scale. For that, you’d need to be centuries ahead of the competition.

I think Felderburg’s right: there are other ways to give a Section 31 starship an edge besides unjustifiably (to my mind, anyway) increasing its Scale.

USS Nyx NCC-506.pdf (2.2 MB)
USS Sif NCC-80498.pdf (134.4 KB)

So these are two S31 refits that i have done for a game set in 2385-ish (just around the time of the Hobus Supernova). The Nyx was done before UP came out, the Sif was with the mechanics updates from UP. Do these look like they fit the bill?

I’m looking at the Nyx now and a couple of things here don’t make sense to me. How does a Scale 4 ship have 8 Talents? How does a Scale 4 ship have a Strength 5 Tractor Beam without the High-Powered Tractor Beam Talent? How does a 179 year old ship remain a prototype?

This looks like a whole smorgasborg of house rules. :thinking:

@Sutehp I believe it started as a scale six in material I got from you much earlier this year, but I found new data after that exchange that caused me to drop its scale and I forgot to adjust everything dependent on scale… plus under the new rule set the spore drive and Sentient AI would be special rules… imma still need to remove a talent ir two… or just return the scale on it to 6…

Yeah, my Scale 6 for the Einstein was based on the in-universe scaling of the Kelvin universe Einstein seen in Star Trek (2009). The differences in size between the prime universe ships and the Kelvin starships has driven me batty on more than one occasion trying to reconcile them. It’s why my write-ups for Kelvin universe ships are still works in progress. :exploding_head: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

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If we are to believe the in movie stats (as stated solely on screen) then the standard compliment for the Einstein of 800 crew & civilians put it at a scale 5 and basically make it the galaxy of that era (under the new system). But I digress… it could be said that the Nyx just punches above her weight bc of the tech she is the testbed for /shrugs/

That could also work too. The Einstein’s crew complement of 800 (compared to the Scale 4 TOS Enterprise crew of 400+) is definitely a valid point in arguing for upgrading its Scale.