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[Lore] Revise ship-related specifics for the Ships and Stations wiki page


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There's a few issues with the Ships and Stations page, largely pertaining to consistency and what's grounded in reality for the Military Vessels section.

This is the present sorting:

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If anyone reading this is already familiar with present-day naval terminology and the tactical purposes of certain vessels compared to others, you may already see an issue or two. However, as we go up from down, it stands to reason that ships should get less manueverable but are equipped with more forward firepower or have heavier utilitarian usage to a fleet. I will list instead where I think each ship of their class should be.

Corvettes: Completely fine where they are. The size is reasonable. They serve as support for smaller ships and generally aren't intended for anything more than light combat and deterrence, otherwise they simply don't survive. Some corvettes can be rigged to sport point-defense to screen against swarmed fighter/drone sequences well enough to be necessary when military intelligence indicates enemy carrier ships will be in play for upcoming battles.
Cruisers: This is kind of really tricky because in real life, Cruisers are easily the most adaptable, diverse and absolutely weird ship classes known to man. In other media outlets, it's just as confusing. In my personal belief in this matter, however, if one is gonna make room for hardware diversity in one avenue, it'll pretty much find itself happening elsewhere in other starship classes, including frigates. As we go down the list they will become less and less versatile in what I think should be implemented, however. Cruisers should be as their namesake is, everyday patrol squad-type ships. They cruise in your local neighborhood. Not much else they can or should do, but they're cute gunboats that can be equipped with a wide variety of weapons and tools to get the job done, and they should generally crush corvettes in 1 to 1 subspace altercation settings. They won't be capable of bombardment but they are passable at ship to ship combat, but their uses run thin against heavier-class vessels.
Frigates: It's way too high up the list. Frigates in the naval modern-day are generally responsible for supporting larger ships, but if we might take a page out of Star Wars for the sake of relating one sci-fantasy setting to another, the Victory-class Star Destroyers were not actually Star Destroyers in their class, but rather they were supportive firepower frigates designed to stay further behind the capital ships in formation. Their role was to screen against incoming corvettes, cruisers and also other frigates while the larger capital ships focused their fire on more pressing targets such as other capital ships of the same class or intensifying firepower against an even bigger target. They aren't at the same tier as Destroyers who have better firepower, armor, greater size but far less manueverability. Frigates should be below Destroyers in class, but above Corvettes and Cruisers. Frigates are capable of bombardment and fielding fighter/drone squadrons of their own but they are not carriers.
DestroyersThe big badass ships you most commonly see in military fleets that aren't per se the capital ships. They're the bread and butter of any fleet, because Destroyers do what pulse destroyers do: destroy. Well, sort of. Destroyers should be a little more multipurpose than that, being also command ships to relay orders from down the chain of the main commander of any fleet which is usually the captain/admiral of a battleship in a typical Alliance fleet. Destroyers' general prioritization of targets are vessels of equal or lower class, in that order, as it's only sensible that destroyers try to destroy other destroyers first so that those destroyers can't destroy their ships! It's proactive preventative measures, trust me, it makes sense if you say that in your head a few times. Destroyers can't take threats alone however and need Frigate and Cruiser support to stand up well against conventional threats in times of war, as they're incredibly susceptible to swarm fighter/drone tactics deployed by carrier. Destroyers are capable of bombardment and fielding fighter/drone squadrons of their own but they are not carriers.
Battleships: Who called in the fleet? Battlecruisers as per their description are fine. Their roles are pretty obvious, hit similar targets as to what Destroyers are supposed to be doing, but they simply do it better because they're beefier and hold more guns. The unique bit to battlecruisers is that they should be completely incapable of fielding fighter/drone squads, as they should have roughly 4x the armor and firepower of a single destroyer to substitute for not having on-hand fighter support. While this makes them a high-priority target, it also makes them intensely lethal if any ship of lesser class is foolish enough to engage it on 'equal' terms. They are absolutely nasty in regards to orbital bombardment, certain Alliance battleships being rumored to use plasma-beam bombardment to completely decimate ground opposition. Merely rumors, of course, Interstellar War propaganda by the Coalition. There's no basis to the rumor that Alliance Naval dudes like to cook innocent colonists like chicken.
Carriers: Self-explanatory. It's okay. I like they have different roles outlined. It makes them more complex than just "duhhhh I carry starfighters and this is all I do, oh my god".
Dreadnoughts: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I really think this should be renamed to "Dreadnought" because "Super-Dreadnought" is kind of silly if no regular "Dreadnought" class exists. It's needlessly tacking on such a name and it ends up being a mockery of its itself rather than cheekily lampshading how Star Wars gets really ridiculous with classifying their ships.

A minor tangent about the Cataclysms, because this is somehow relevant to ships; Yeah, why are extremely expensive vessels that have incredibly high mass, low manueverability and incredibly high upkeep costs somehow outfitted to engage in extremely dangerous tactics such as attempting to ram into another ships while in sublight speed? If we also see how telescience and bluespace teleportation works in general, we'd notice how directly 'jaunting' into anything through bluespace completely obliterates both the thing being jumped into as well as the thing that tried jumping into the object. Explosively. No defense against it, because bluespace to this day is still not fully understood, not even by the Unathi.
Even in regards to sublight speed... well, I am not going to get into exact mathematical specifics because I'm pretty sure something that weighs thousands of tons requires so much investment in afterburners and power supply conduits to truly be worth it, meaning the Cataclysms sacrifice far more important values such as hangar bay space, hundreds if not thousands of potential laser/railgun batteries (kindly granted to them by their Vaurcae allies), and a lot of armor to protect their incredibly pricey ships. Ramming always comes at a cost if monster trucks, naval ships with rams and etc are to be taken example of. Anything that rams another object with such high mass will take proportionally ouchie amounts of damage.
So how to fix that? The Cataclysms should simply retrofit their stuff later down the line and design Interceptor-Cruisers with thermal lance technology as their form of rams. And then Cataclysms can fulfill the much scarier archetype of being Super Star Destroyers/mobile space fortresses that have an incredible range except that only Unathi have them. They're deployed into groups of four and their primary tactics are to form pincer flanks around enemy opposition and stake anything that fails to manuever out of the way. Which may be difficult for larger ships, considering Cruisers in this head-canon proposition here are intended to be the fast bois that fulfill multipurpose roles for tacticool reasons.

In case you're not convinced, this is essentially what I would idealistically imagine the Dreadnoughts to be: https://youtu.be/Uv-Ue5yYBEw?t=126

Like, wow, look at that blistering firepower. That's dozens of laser and ion batteries firing and nothing can touch that without getting creamed.

This isn't a lore application format because this isn't suggesting completely new stuff but rather asking existing things to be unified into different standards rather than just rule of cool for the sake of it, in my opinion.

 

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

These changes aren't really in the scope of how we've set up our universe.

If i only speak for unathi, your cataclysm change is extremely different from the intention. The cataclysm is one of metaphore for the unathi and their philosophy and fighting style. Its not just a big cool death star.

Its also a vehicle for storytelling.  Its a big ship that rams. Thats the info it needs on an ooc level to accomplish its objectives. I am confident that people "get it" with the descriptors as they are.

Edited by Marlon Phoenix
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Actually, I would argue that having such precise numbers for military will continue to breed suggestions and complaints of this kind infinitely. No matter how we change these values, they will always be "not grounded in reality", because space military doesn't exist in reality, and as such, there is no way to land these numbers in a way that will make everyone happy.

Instead, I suggest we do away with exact numerical specifics of size and crew, and instead focus on nailing the flavor of each faction's military by using descriptions, rather than focusing on realism and numbers. These don't really add anything to lore. 

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8 hours ago, VTCobaltblood said:

Actually, I would argue that having such precise numbers for military will continue to breed suggestions and complaints of this kind infinitely. No matter how we change these values, they will always be "not grounded in reality", because space military doesn't exist in reality, and as such, there is no way to land these numbers in a way that will make everyone happy.

Instead, I suggest we do away with exact numerical specifics of size and crew, and instead focus on nailing the flavor of each faction's military by using descriptions, rather than focusing on realism and numbers. These don't really add anything to lore. 

That's fine. I just believe the ship classes should be ordered in a sense that their purpose reflects their name but they maintain themselves as standardized ways to designate ship classes regardless of how backward or advanced technology is. Technology may constantly develop but the space-naval vocabulary should remain relatively static barring new additions of ship classes.

12 hours ago, Senpai Jackboot said:

These changes aren't really in the scope of how we've set up our universe.

If i only speak for unathi, your cataclysm change is extremely different from the intention. The cataclysm is one of metaphore for the unathi and their philosophy and fighting style. Its not just a big cool death star.

Its also a vehicle for storytelling.  Its a big ship that rams. Thats the info it needs on an ooc level to accomplish its objectives. I am confident that people "get it" with the descriptors as they are.

My issue with the Cataclysm-class vessels is that they seem to possess the role of "command ship" in that a Fleet Admiral is always at the helm of one of them, but rather than being designed to ensure the longevity and constant scariness of the craft for hundreds of years to come, it has a very specific quirk to its functionality that may actively endanger it if executed at the wrong time, which would set the Hegemony back billions if not trillions of credits. Military doctrine has to come second behind practical ship designs. 

Even longer explanation in spoiler below to prevent the forum page from being too long:
 

Spoiler

There's a reason why certain vessels make sense and why other designs get laughed out of the room. Alliance battle clusters are nasty as they work in nearly perfect unison, are composed of a variety of ships with different mission objectives and focuses in a fleet engagement scenario, and have creative captains and admirals able to respond to changing battle conditions to ensure their part is being done and that they at least get out alive, if not outright achieve victory.

The Cataclysms as-is have a pretty simple and clear-cut objective: Control space and threaten warships with its presence, and the ability to kill other command ships it identifies with a very dangerous and potentially risky combat manuever... But it needs huge amounts of support to maintain this, however, otherwise it becomes a difficult proposition to do everything, or even anything, by itself when it has 8 primary targets firing on it from various angles and destroying its own crucial hard-points. The fact it's designed to close distance and ram, which is an incredibly dangerous manuever that may not even pay off with any damage dealt at all if they miss, works completely against its own hypothetical survivability in a fleet combat scenario. Using the ramming manuever forces the ship to overextend if it's used at the start of the middle of a battle, making it susceptible to focused firepower while it is doing it and while it still recovers. Likewise, even if your ship has the best frontal armor in the galaxy, it is not going to perfectly absorb the shock of various explosions you create while driving a massive lance through another vessel. We can still form the argument that the Hegemony's command vessels still should not be in the role of ramming anything ever, because ramming still puts them in a more likely position to fail and lose a huge ship and one of its most crucial and important Admirals of the Hegemonic fleet. And I refuse to believe the Hegemony's military is intentionally this brash and foolish. It gives them a lot less credit as an actual military threat to the galaxy.

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Key
Smol box: Utility cruiser or fighter/drone compact carrier

Smol triangle: Frigate-class vessel
Medium-sized triangle: Destroyer-class vessel
Big triangle, blue: Alliance Battleship-class vessel 

Huge triangle, orange: Hegemony Cataclysm-class Dreadnought

Case in point to visualize a hypothetical scenario. The Capitalismdismantler-652 just creamed an Alliance battleship by ramming it, it didn't take significant damage in this scenario. This is looking pretty bad for the Alliance battle cluster here, and there's a decent possibility they may lose the entire fleet here, as they cannot retreat. However, there is a problem, a consequence created by the Dreadnought being caught out of position. The remaining battle cluster can now intensify their firepower on the Capitalismdismantler, regardless of whether or not the support of the dreadnought advances forward to help clean-up -- the dreadnought is going to take massive damage. It might not be destroyed, but it will be rendered almost out of commission for the rest of the hypothetical war. It's not a solid idea to spend big money to build big ships to throw away due to poor war doctrine.

_ _
Let's pretend instead that ram is just a ton of armor at the frontal nose of the vessel, and all the power of the vessel is shifted to forward, starboard and port firing batteries, while still maintaining its other attributes as a massive ship that can advance and threaten certain vessels in a traditional battle-line formation. Let's multiply the amount of guns the Cataclysms have by 3 or 4. Assuming they have the heaviest guns available, that's a lot of firepower they can use to obliterate any vessel they need to.

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They can choose to sit at the back carefully sniping any large ship that comes into their violet kill radius (defensive, holding territory and not pushing the offensive because there may not be anything to gain or they can lose things if they aren't sitting in an exact spot), or they can gradually move forward to extend their kill radius (highly aggressive, usually for invasion formats). If anyone enters and they're the greatest possible threat in that kill radius to the Hegemony fleet, the Cataclysm-class dreadnought can turn to adjust all its batteries to be able to fire forward and then kill anything in its direct line of sight. That's even scarier than being rammed. You cannot enter a zone of control the Cataclysm exists in, or it focuses all its firepower upon your vessel and you die in minutes. There's a lot of options and creativity you can exert with this as a fleet admiral on the Hegemony's side, such as being able to manuever and turn to increase its activity in a fleet engagement. You can't flank the dreadnought in this scenario because it has support vessels to relay such manuevers the enemy is trying to pull, and will either cover the Cataclysm's blind spot angles or the Cataclysm itself can readjust to kill the flanking vessel itself.

The only options the Alliance battle cluster has in this situation is to sit pretty and do nothing, because advancing or flanking is suicidal, and retreating may not be an option if they were ordered to sit in the spot they're in.

The options the Hegemony have are much more numerous in this situation. They can do far more while taking little damage in consequence in this hypothetical scenario that the Cataclysm is about as well armed as 5 battleships combined. This time, should it ever need to advance, it will very quickly destroy any large target in sight with very little concern about being flanked at any side. And the Alliance legitimately cannot plan around this in a straight-up fight, they will lose no matter what they try in this alternate canon situation where the dreadnought is about as well armed as a super-dreadnought would be in any other sci-fantasy/sci-fiction.

_ _
 

Tl;dr, the Cataclysm as-is is a bit of a weak vehicle for story-telling because certain elements intrinsic to trying to make itself seem cool and interesting, but end up downplaying itself due to how flawed the reasoning is for its own traits existing the way it is. It's a dangerous one-trick pony manuever on a nearly priceless command ship. I dislike the idea that the Hegemony cares so little for casualties on their side so long as they creamed at least one ship with its ramming manuever. They're not even 'behind' humanity on the technological level, they're just as advanced. But this is just a singular example of why their critical thinking is flawed when it really should not be, as it portrays them as more foolish than they should be. It puts them in the awkward trope where they're only playing at war and don't fully understand it, despite that their historical precedent shows that they should know it just as well as humanity does.

Some of this should be trimmed back so that the Hegemony has an image of being competent and a potential threat to the rest of the galaxy. And they should have good reasons for that, so that anytime they're mentioned they aren't treated as a joke and their presence is genuinely taken seriously.

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Guest Marlon Phoenix
1 hour ago, Scheveningen said:

That's fine. I just believe the ship classes should be ordered in a sense that their purpose reflects their name but they maintain themselves as standardized ways to designate ship classes

The function of each ship class is standardized and generalized. The only functional use of this page is for reference for a loredev writing an article about a space battle, or a player wanting to reference for their personal roleplay or tabletop.

1 hour ago, Scheveningen said:

My issue with the Cataclysm-class vessels is that they seem to possess the role of "command ship" in that a Fleet Admiral is always at the helm of one of them, but rather than being designed to ensure the longevity and constant scariness of the craft for hundreds of years to come, [it leads from the front and engages in direct combat]

The metaphors and synergy with the species' general aesthetic is more important than specific battle plans. The Unathi are CQC focused and therefore their navy is about being big, bad, and aggressive. Tajara are about kiting, so their naval strategy revolves around asymmetrical hit and run warfare. The Alliance is a bloated, sprawling empire, and therefore their fleets are about overwhelming firepower (or the projection of such.)

Each plays off each other and interacts with each other in different ways.

 

1 hour ago, Scheveningen said:

It puts them in the awkward trope where they're only playing at war and don't fully understand it,

No it doesn't.

https://wiki.aurorastation.org/index.php?title=Unathi_Military_Structure#Space_Warfare

Edited by Marlon Phoenix
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