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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:09 pm 
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...Okay.

First, the Fella in the Red Suit was very generous to me this Christmas, and one of the gifts was SFB's Basic Captain's Edition. Not much has changed, though they seem to have finally gotten the basic rule book down to the long-rumored (and desperately needed) 'Doomsday' edition. I'm slowly getting back up to speed, and it has been suggested that one of the first scenarios played should be Reliant (NCC-1864) against Enterprise (NCC-1701). No problems there, but there is one hitch.

What the hell kind of ship is Reliant, anyway?

Here's the lady in question:

Image

(NOTE: Some data on the 3-view seems a bit questionable, but the accuracy of the drawing seems to be right on the money.)

When STII:TWOK came out, SFB was probably approaching its zenith - and never said a word about it. The most advanced ship in the game is the X-Class (never officially ID'd as the Refit, but clearly so), and that was it. In fact, in terms of tech, the game pretty much comes to a screeching halt about the end of ST:TMP, though some blessed souls have done SSDs for ships through the era of ST:TNG.

But that still leaves us with questions about Reliant.

At the time, the Miranda class - supposedly where Reliant belongs - was not yet canon (and has never been mentioned on screen), so those of us wanting to build her into the game had to make our own calls, and still keep her in SFB canon and nomenclature. More than a few players at the time firmly believed that Reliant was the long-rumored Constitution/Mod Enterprise class replacement, which firmly puts her in the CA department - and she is a fairly big girl, coming in at 767 feet LOA(1) vice Enterprise's 947. But she also carries a crew of only 220 (2) compared to Enterprise's approximately 450.

Weaponry also seems to be closing in on CA territory as well - 6 Phasers, 2 'pulse phasers' (assuming those are the rapid-fire weapons we see in ST: TWOK), and two photon tubes. In terms of phasers she's equal to a CA, but two photon tubes less. Officially, the DS9 Technical Manual - accepted as canon - calls her a 'medium cruiser'.

Trouble is, there's no such critter in SFB. You got your CLs and then your CAs as the Good Lord intended, selah. So we've got to fit her in somewhere.

With that in mind, here are my suggested choices, in no particular order:

1. 'Heavy' survey ship - she was out at Ceti Alpha on a survey mission, after all. DIFFICULTY: SFB already allows for dedicated survey cruisers, which have (roughly) CA armament and a shiat ton of shuttles, enough so that they have wartime tasking as CVLs.

2. Destroyer Leader - My personal favorite. IF you assume that the General War happened between TMP and TWOK, (and a great many SFBers do) then you also assume that StarFleet had a lot of original DDs that weren't that great, except in packs - and they need a dedicated flotilla leader. The original DDs were - quite simply - lousy ships and SFB didn't have anything better until we started getting the War Destroyers, which in turn would have done even better with a DL to work with. Our particular group called them Dauntless class DLs, with about thirty built.

3. CL Variant. The size, crew, and armament is just about right and if you take the 'pulse phasers' as Gatling phaser-3s, then she's easily an X-class escort CL variant. Get some drones on that puppy and she'll give any ship in the galaxy a run for its money. The design would need a bit of tweaking, but it's possible to call her a CL(E) without two many twists and turns.

What say you all?

Mike


(1) 'Word of God' here - to be precise, ST illustrator and designer Andrew Probert.
(2) More 'WoG' - the DS9 Technical Manual, which was written/illustrated by ST designers and effects guys including Rick Sternbach and Doug Drexler.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:56 pm 
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As far as SFB's "official" line, they were never licensed to use the Miranda class. However, even though it looks radically different, the Fed NCL looks as though it was introduced to both fill the war expedient need for heavier ships with a more favorable weapon to bells and whistles ratio, and to provide the SFB equivalent to the Miranda class.

As to the scenario, that was actually discussed in one of the issues of Nexus Magazine, I don't recall which. The answer was that the circumstances of the battle were highly unusual in that both ships had exact blueprints of each other, both fired at (by SFB standards) lower than point blank distances, under very low impulse power, neither ship had its shields up, and finally that neither ship was under fire when firing. Kind of hard to contrive this one and have it still be worth playing out. A straight up duel between a CA+ and an NCL would see the CA+ most likely forcing the disengage of the NCL with some internal damage to itself.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:00 pm 
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IIRC, the 'Technical Manuals' have steadily been squinted at as having many...'questionable guesses'...even as for many things they're all that's available...

A look at Memory Alpha, which these days is as close to "official" as one can get, labels the Miranda class as "science vessel, supply ship". So perhaps a mix of 1 and 3? It's worth noting also that apparently while never spoken on-screen "Miranda class" does appear on-screen in signage, Okudagrams, and such.

Apparently Reliant's design was originally supposed to be another Constitution-class, but it was changed to a "clearly related, but different" design on the basis of 1. allowing viewers to instantly know which ship was on-screen and 2. everyone hated, hated, hated Enterprise's studo model from TMP and the prospect of having to work with a second one was roughly equivilant to that of Stu's French carrier pilots finding out about the short length of Charles de Gaulle's catapult track.

Interestingly Reliant was actually mentioned in a TOS episode - "Court Martial", which established her as being under refit at Starbase 11 in 2267.

Also, the Soyuz class - USS Bozeman being the highest-level-canon example - was derived from the Miranda, both in-universe and literally being Okuda'd on top of a printout of a Miranda three-view from Ships of the Star Fleet, Volume One! Based on what's known (and dipping back to ye olden days when DITL was the primary Trek resource on the net) the design lineage seems to be generally accepted that the Mirandas were intended as a "light" version of the Constitutions (with the Galaxy and Nebula classes of TNG having the exact same relationship); instead of building a "light Excelsior" the Soyuz was developed as an upgraded Miranda.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:56 pm 
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I can't add much given that all I've played of SFB is the first Starfleet Command game, but I do know the place the Mirandas fit in is all over the place from Destoryer to a light CA. The one unifying thing being that it was built to be cheap and heavily produced either due to war or a simple need to fill numerous demands with a generic ship so the eye was for economy.

Twisting things one might be able to have things both ways with the ships originally being built as light CAs, but as time went on they were always the ones passed over for refit and so by the TNG era they were so numerous and out of date they practically were destroyers.

IIRC, this is the in-game explanation for them being classified as such in the 4x game Birth of the Federation (which doesn't fit all that well into Trek canon in ways, the tier 2 destroyer after the Miranda is the Constellation class that functions as a TNG era design when it's time is more around when the Excelsiors were coming out).

Quote:
With that in mind, here are my suggested choices, in no particular order:

1. 'Heavy' survey ship - she was out at Ceti Alpha on a survey mission, after all. DIFFICULTY: SFB already allows for dedicated survey cruisers, which have (roughly) CA armament and a shiat ton of shuttles, enough so that they have wartime tasking as CVLs.

2. Destroyer Leader - My personal favorite. IF you assume that the General War happened between TMP and TWOK, (and a great many SFBers do) then you also assume that StarFleet had a lot of original DDs that weren't that great, except in packs - and they need a dedicated flotilla leader. The original DDs were - quite simply - lousy ships and SFB didn't have anything better until we started getting the War Destroyers, which in turn would have done even better with a DL to work with. Our particular group called them Dauntless class DLs, with about thirty built.

3. CL Variant. The size, crew, and armament is just about right and if you take the 'pulse phasers' as Gatling phaser-3s, then she's easily an X-class escort CL variant. Get some drones on that puppy and she'll give any ship in the galaxy a run for its money. The design would need a bit of tweaking, but it's possible to call her a CL(E) without two many twists and turns.


Myself, now that I think about it, I think it would function best as a CL base design that was mass produced that ended up being reused for a wide variety of different tasks, like how the Flush Deck destroyers (something the more I think of the Miranda's the more comes to mind) were later used, but some, like Reliant were built to a subclass made to fill in as a light Constitutions due to the need for more CAs ASAP.

Later on passing into the TNG era beyond SFBs time, all would be consolidated into a single type (support/survey ones up-gunned, Reliant ones downgraded, all given the minimum upgrades to bring them up to modern stanards) that would function as ad hoc destroyers for their sheer numbers until the Defiants come out in number over between the Borg and Dominion War.

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