Photon Federation[Disclaimer: This has not been submitted as it would be automatically rejected by ADB. The warp-capable EY Romulans have a better chance of becoming official than this change does. This is purely an intellectual exercise, and not even a "simulator" scenario.]
It has always seemed bizarre to me that a race built on the photon became so drone-dependent. It rapidly became obvious in the game that the Federation needed some sort of extra defense against drones as drones became more and more powerful. Initially this was done by providing ADD racks to the ships (like the original DN+ and GSC). But since these were viewed as irrelevant against the Romulans, ships started to receive type-G drone racks instead (initially, I believe, with the NCL). With the Captain's edition, this change was made consistent and all prior ADD racks were converted to G-racks. This seemed an ideal solution, as they could be loaded with ADDs against the Klingons, and loaded with drones against the Romulans. Plus they could then participate in the various drone games (like ECM and probe drones).
Add to that the apparant desire of ADB to have the Federation's fighters mimic the modern USN, and you have the Federation becoming the third major drone using race. In the end you have drone-only fighters, drone-based PFs (even if they are only conjectural), ships using drones as primary weapons and an increasing dependence on more and more drones being present on main-line ships.
I have always wondered what the Federation would have looked like had they decided to only use direct-fire weapons. The Federation seemed to have a strong reluctance to seeking weapons, until finally turning to the "dark side" and embracing drones. This is my view of what the Federation would have looked like if they had not adopted the drone. (I have assumed the other races are left unchanged.)
The first problem is what does the Federation use for the drone defense? The obvious solution is to just use phasers. However, if P-Gs are used, they would have to be deployed as they are on Hydran ships, and I still want the Hydrans to remain unique. Another phaser option is to just use more P-3's. Unfortunately if that is done in the numbers necessary (e.g. the CA refit would include 4 P-3 instead of 2 P-3 and 1 drone), the resulting ships would be incredibly resistent to phaser damage and seriously hurt game balance. The third phaser option is to create a new double-P3 phasers (a half-a-gatling), but, in my mind, that is still too similar to the Hydran gatlings. The final phaser option is to allow P-1s to be fired twice in one turn like X-phasers (with no X-Aegis or overloads). I was uncomfortable with this final option because of all of the restrictions on it with the X-rules (and its dependency on X-Aegis), and the result would have to be even more restrictive to fit with the eventual migration to X-technology.
Since phasers weren't the answer, the only other option is to take the original solution of ADD racks. But that brings us to our original problem in that the ADD rack is irrelevant on half of their border, so doesn't make sense. They would use the type-G drone rack, and that leads us back to where we started.
Therefore, since this version of the Federation will never see the light of day (outside this page), I decided to go ahead and invent a new weapon: the Point Defense Gun, or PDG. Simply put, the PDG is an ADD that uses a new type of munition. This munition can work just like a normal ADD round, but it can also be charged with a small amount of power. When charged, it will inflict a small amount of damage against plasmas. (Rules below.)
I also made one more radical decision: these Feds use PFs. The reason for the PFs, is that instead of using the modern USN as a model, I am using WWII somewhat as a model: The PFs are basically just PT boats. Also, while it is unfortunate to have the Federation lose its distinction as the only race to not use PFs, it just makes more sense. With the exception of Stingers (which are more like a seeking weapon than a fighter), direct fire fighters just don't work very well, but direct fire PFs do. Therefore, in order to just go with what works, I moved the Federation into the PF using camp.
There was a need for improved drone defense. And ADD racks were an appropriate answer. While they do have a lot in common with drones (and were introduced by drone-using races), it is also very much like the photon: a projectile which operates as a direct-fire weapon. Therefore, the Federation adopted ADDs, but used them to a lesser extent than they would have drones.
As the Romulans became more and more of a threat, serious consideration was given to switching to the type-G drone rack. But before that decision was made, a technological breakthrough was made with ADD technology. The Federation created a new type of ADD munition which, in conjunction with a new ADD rack, could cause a small amount of damage to plasma torpedo warheads. While the amount of damage created was small, it was on par with what a pair of P-3s could do and so allowed the Federation to switch to the new system, and continue to deploy it without respect to borders. The new defense system was named the Point Defense Gun, or PDG.
Without the drones, they relied even more on the power of the photon. Instead of drone bombardment ships or maulers, they used "photon-bombardment" ships. And, having rejected seeking weapons, they never deployed the Pl-F.
When fighters became viable, the debate over the use of drones again appeared. Drone armed fighters were veiwed as the most natural use of the fighter technology, but Star Fleet stubbornly refused to adopt drones. Many of the National Guard forces were furious over this, and, as a result, contracted with the fighter manufacturer that lost. This resulted the unique situation where the fighters of the National Guard were completely different from the fighters of the Navy (though some National Guard forces used Navy fighters).
Finally, Star Fleet realized that the drone-armed fighters in the National Guard were actually more capable than the Navy fighters. But as they were about to be forced to admit this, the development of the interceptor gave them another way out. Rather than revamp their fighter arsenal, they instead adopted the intercepter (and later, the PF).
In addition to the above (and to continue to move away from having Star Fleet mimic the modern USN), the Federation never managed to pry gatling technology away from the Hydrans (turns out they hated banana pudding after all). The Federation was, however, still forced to sell photons to the Tholians to gain their cooperation.
Listed below are the changes that are seen in the alternate Federation fleet. For the most part, the ships of the fleet would have remained predominately unchanged, but the characteristics of the fleet would dramatically change.
The Federation does not use gatling phasers, plasma of any kind or drones of any kind.
They never developed the SWAC.
Point Defense Gun (PDG)
The PDG works exactly as an ADD rack (E5.0), except with the following changes:
- The rack has eight rounds.
- The rack has double reloads, until the Y175 refit, where it gains triple reloads.
- If the PDG is charged with .25 points of power (from any source), and the PDG shot hits a plasma torpedo, the plasma torpedo will take the equivalent of four points of phaser damage (i.e. the warhead will be reduced by two points). The .25 point of power must be paid for each shot made. It is the PDG round that is charged, not the rack itself. The energy can be allocated (during energy allocation) or reserve at the moment of firing.
- A charged PDG shot can still be fired at drones and shuttles, but will have the same effect as an uncharged shot.
There is a later X-version of the PDG. It works the same as the pre-X-version, except that it has 12 rounds instead of just 8.
Rail-Launched Point Defense (RALPD)
The PDG ammo can be used on fighters just as ADD ammo can. Instead of RALAD, it is called RALPD. The system works exactly the same as the RALAD system (J12.0), except that RALPDs can be charged just as they can be in a PDG rack. If the RALPD is charged before being loaded on the fighter, it can also affect plasma just as a charged PDG shot can.
The following ships do not exist: SCS, DNG, DNF, BCG, BCF, CVB, CAD, CLD, NDC, NAL, NDS, NCD, NVH, DWD, DDG, DDL, FFD, FFL, PV, DGX. In addition, all of the carrier escorts are completely new.
The FFG is called the FF+.
The SCS-A is called the SCS.
All plus refits which include the addition of a single drone rack are the same except that instead of adding a G-rack, an PDG is added. In all such refits, the price of the refit is unchanged. This applies to the following ships: CC, CA, CL, CLS, CLH, Tug, FF, FFS, FFM, FFV, FLG, Pol, BP.
For the carrier refits CVS, CVA, CVL and GSC replace both G-racks with PDGs. The price of the refit is unchanged.
All refits not involving a drone rack (e.g. DD+, CAR, AWR), are completely unchanged.
The Y175 refit adds a third reload for all PDG racks at no BPV cost.
The following ships are completely unchanged: DN, CC, CA, CVF, DD, SC, Tug and all pods not listed elsewhere.
Both Q-Ships are unchanged.
For the following ships, just change the drone rack into a PDG rack: DN+, CF, NCL, NSC, NVL, CVP, CSV, NMS, LTT, CMC, DW, DWV, DWS, DWT, DWM, FCF, FFB, HDW, FCR, P-CVA. BPV is unchanged.
For the following ships, change the drone rack into 2 360 P-3: GSC, CVL. Reduce the BPV by 2.
For the following ships, change both drone racks into PDG racks: BCJ, CB, CVD, NCC, NCA, NCV, NCF, NSR, NHV, NHS, CLC, DWC, P-CVA. BPV is unchanged.
For the following ships, change both drone racks into PDGx racks: CX, DDX, FFX, SCX. BPV is unchanged.
For the following ships, change the saucer drone racks into PDGx racks, and the rear drone racks into P-1 360: GSX. BPV is unchanged
Battleship (BB): Replace three of the drone racks with PDG racks. Replace the other six drone racks with 6xP-1 360.
Space Control Ship (SCS): Formerly known as the SCS-A. Replace each P-G with P-1. Replace rear drones with 2xP-1 RH. replace forward drones with PDG. Replace the F-18s with A-18s. Operated with 2 MRS shuttles.
Heavy Carrier (CVA): Replace each P-G with P-1. Replace rear drones with 2xP-1 RH. Operated with 2 MRS shuttles.
Heavy Dreadnought (DNH): Replace two of the drone racks with PDG racks. Replace the other four drone racks with 4xP-1 360.
Light Dreadnought (DNL): Replace two of the drone racks with PDG racks. Replace the other drone rack with P-1 360.
Battlecruiser Carrier (BCV): Replace the saucer drone racks with PDG racks. Replace the other two drone racks with 2xP-1 FH.
Battle Control Ship (BCS): Replace the saucer drone racks with PDG racks. Replace the other two drone racks with 2xP-1 FH.
New PF Tender (NPF): This ship is no longer conjectural. Replace the forward phasers with 2 special sensors and the original special sensors with photons.
New Strike Carrier (NVS): Replace the FH P-1 with PDG. Replace the drones with photons.
Medium Carrier (CLV): Replace the drone racks with 2xPhot FA.
Light Carrier Pod (P-CVL): Replace the drones with PDG. Replace the P-G with P-1.
Light Battle Pod (P-LB): Replace the drones with 2xP-1 360.
Advanced Galactic Survey Cruiser (GSX): Replace the saucer drone racks with PDG racks. Replace the two rear drones with 2xP-1 360.
Carrier escorts are a special case because of the removal of the P-Gs and drones. Plus, the primary weapons of the escorts moves from being primarily drones, to being photons, phasers and PDGs.
New Heavy Escort Cruiser (NAE): Replace the forward two drone racks with 2xP-1 FH. Replace the rear two drone racks with 2xPDG. Replace side 2xP-G with 1xP-1 and 2xP-3.
New Escort Cruiser (NEC): Replace the forward P-1 with 2xPhoton. Replace the forward drone racks with 4xP-1 FH. Replace the rear drone rack with 2xPDG. Replace side 2xP-G with 1xP-1 and 2xP-3. Plus refit includes forward shield boxes.
New Aegis Cruiser (NAC): This is just the NEC with aegis. There is no NEA.
Escort Cruiser (ECL): Replace the side P-G with 2xP-3 RS/LS. Replace side drone racks with P-1 RS/LS. Replace other two drone racks with PDG racks.
Aegis Cruiser (ACL): The ECL with the aegis refit.
Escort Destroyer (DE): Replace the rear drones with PDG racks, replace the forward P-1 with photons, replace the original photons and the forward drones with P-1 FH. Replace the side 2xP-G with 1xP-1 and 2xP-3.
Aegis Destroyer (DEA): The DE with the aegis refit.
War Destroyer Escort (DWA): Replace 2 drones with PDG and the other 2 drones with P-1. Replace each P-G with 2xP-3.
Escort Frigate (FFE): Replace forward phaser with PDG rack and both drone racks with FH P-1. Replace each P-G with 2xP-3. The refit adds an additional PDG.
Aegis Frigate (FFA): The FFE with the aegis refit.
There are no other Federation escorts (including the "R" escorts).
These new ships would have been made to fill in the holes.
New Dreadnought (DNN): Take a DNG and replace two of the drone racks with PDG racks. Replace the other two drone racks with 2xP-1 360.
PF Dreadnought (DNP): A DNN that carries a full PF flotilla. Both the DNP and SCS were built, but few SCSs were built in favor of the DNP as the DNP requires no dedicated escorts and it sheds the marginally useful fighters. The 360 P-1s are traded for the flotilla and repair capabilities. This is a true PFT. (ssd)
Light PF Dreadnought (DPL): Instead of producing a DVL with their ineffective fighters, the Federation made a PFT instead. (ssd)
Heavy Battlecruiser (BCH): Take the BCG, replace the forward drones with PDG racks and the rear drones with FH P-1s. This is the standard Fed BCH. (The BCV and BCS are both variants of this.) (ssd)
Heavy PF Tender (HPF): Instead of making the CVH, the Federation made the equivalent HPF. (ssd)
PF Tender (PFT): The original Federation PFT, based on the CL. Only a couple were built to serve the first Intercepter flotillas. They were quickly replaced by the NPF. (ssd)
War PF Tender (DPF): A PFT based on the DW. Not many were built as it has no photons and very little repair capabilities. (ssd)
Armed Freighter (F-A): The Federation deployed photon armed freighters instead of drone armed freighters, both large and small. The F-AL could also get the AWR refit.
The Federation never developed mauler technology and they didn't have drones for drone bombardment ships. So they decided to adapt technology they already had to fulfill this niche. This resulted in these two "strike" designs.
These strike cruisers are primarily used in assaults on fixed installations. They are, for all intents and purposes, Federation maulers. As such, they have all of the fleet and deployment restrictions of maulers. Also, for both ships, the load of this many photons on the hulls would normally cause ridiculously severe shock effects. To provide the bracing necessary to keep the shock effects to a more managable level, the photons must use a mauler arc. (Though, unlike maulers, they have the full 30 hex range of normal photons.)
Strike Cruiser (CS): A CA that replaces the foward phasers with photons. Has a total of 8 photons. Also, 4 lab are replaced with AWR. It suffers from shock effects.
New Strike Cruiser (NCS): An NCL with 6 photons. Suffers from severe shock effects, but is still useful for base assaults.
In addition to the above ships, the DD, BCJ and the BT were also used in this role. These ships, however, do not suffer from the above firing arc restrictions or from shock.
National Guard Units
As most of the National Guards did use drone armed fighters, they also often used drone armed auxiliary units, most notably the drone armed freighter.
National Guard Fighters
National Guard fighters were drone armed. They were never operated by Star Fleet, as they did not have the necessary support structure. They were almost always based on planets or civilian stations, but were very occationally found on AuxCVLs on particularly rich planets or systems (i.e. the carrier was operated by the local National Guard, not Star Fleet).
These fighters were never found on Star Fleet operated carriers. Star Fleet Command refused to even acknowledge them, though they never stopped any National Guard force that wanted them from acquiring them.
Mig-21 - The original planetary defense fighter. It is identical to a standard F-4. No refit.
Mig-23 - The "cheap" defense fighter. It is identical to a standard F-20. Had the C refit. This was used almost exclusively by poor systems.
Mig-25 - A slightly more powerful fighter than the Mig-23. It is the same as a standard F-16C, except that the P-G is replaced with 2xP-3. No refit. This was also used by poor systems when they got enough money to replace their Mig-23s.
Mig-27 - The "standard" defense fighter. It is the same as a standard F-18. Had the B, B+ and C refits. If the system couldn't afford the Mig-29, this is the fighter they tried to get. Many wealthy systems augmented their supply of Mig-29s with this fighter, too.
Mig-29 - The "top-of-the-line" defense fighter. It is the same as a standard F-15, except that the P-G is replaced with 2xP-3. Had the C and D refits.
The National Guard used "standard" B-52, B-1, and B-2 bombers.
Star Fleet Fighters
Star Fleet adopted the idea of a split assault/superiority fighter squadron. Half of a squadron are assault fighters and the other half are superiority fighters. They were paired as follows: the F-8 and A-7, the F-14 and A-10 and the F-18 and A-18. The only exception to this deployment was during the Andromedan invasion when the surviving carriers were modified to carry A-18Bs exclusively.
Most of the fighters have "pod-rails" that can carry a fighter pod (usually an EW or P-3 pod) or an RALPD.
F-8 - The first superiority fighter. Replace the drones with 2xpod-rail and 2xRALPD.
A-7 - The first assault fighter. Take a F-8 and replace the drones with a P-2 FA, P-3 RA, 2xRALPD and add 4 damage points.
F-14 - The first "high-tech" superiority fighter. Take an F-14 and remove all weapons. New weapons: 2xP-3, 2xRALPD, 4xpod-rails. Only used on the CVA and SCS.
A-10 - The first "high-tech" assault fighter. Take an A-10. Replace the drones with pod-rails. Only used on the CVA.
A-10B - Same as A-10 above, but speed 12.
F-18 - The standard wartime superiority fighter. Take an F-18, but replace the drones with 2xRALPD, 2xpod-rails.
F-18B - Increase the F-18 above to speed 15 and add two more pod-rails and extra chaff.
A-18 - The standard wartime assault fighter. Take the F-18 above, but replace the pod-rails with 1xPhot. Retains the 2xRALPD.
A-18B - Increase the A-18 above to speed 15 and add extra chaff.
A-20 - The Federation's attempt to make a heavy fighter. The effort was never considered very successful, and they were quickly supplanted by Intercepters and PFs. Take the A-20, but replace all drones with pod-rails. Replace ADD with PDG.
A-20F - Increase the A-20 above to speed 15.
MRS - It carried a P-2 (FA), P-3 (RA) and an PDG.
SWAC - Never developed.
As there were no drones on the naval fighters, there was no C refit.
Note that none of the other Federation fighters were developed. The F-4, F-16, F-20, were never developed, as the National Guard used fighters from a different source. The F-111 (and FB-111) was never developed at all.
The F-7 was developed, and used by both civilians and Star Fleet. In Star Fleet service it used RALPD. In civilian (or National Guard) use, it carried type-VI drones.
Star Fleet used some bombers, but they were different from those seen with the National Guard. They were not terribly successful, and once PFs were introduced, they were quickly phased out.
Fast Patrol Ships
The intercepter and PF exist, and are not conjectural. The lack of any "dominating" fighter forced the Federation to play along with everyone else to keep up.
Oddly, though, the Federation never subscribed to using casual PFs outside of specific, well-defined roles. As a result, no Federation "standard" warship can use refit R1.R1. The only common exceptions were the survey cruisers (GSC, CLS) which commonly carried a pair of PFs for protection, and carriers, which frequently used a pair of Thunderbolt-E's for added protection.
This practice was eventually lifted during the ISC Pacification. (I.e. standard warships can use R1.R1.) During the Andromedan Invasion casual PFs became standard.
The Mustang is basically unchanged, with the drone replaced by an PDG.
The Thunderbolt's only changes are in the three "weapons-slots". The possibilities are as follows:
Thunderbolt: 2xPhot-FA, 1xP-1 360.
Thunderbolt-A: 2xPhot-FA, 1xPDG.
Thunderbolt-B: 2xP-1 FH, 1xPhot-FA.
Thunderbolt-C: 2xP-1 FH, 1xPDG.
Thunderbolt-P: 2xP-1 FH, 1xP-1 360.
The non-combat Thunderbolts are unchanged.
There was also two another variants used exclusively by the National Guard.
Thunderbolt-N: 1xPhot-FA, 1xDrone-A, 1xDrone-G.
Thunderbolt-D: 1xDrone-G, 2xDrone-A.
Page last modified 12/24/2004.
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