Star Drive Romulan ShipsIn order to be consistent with the entire published history of SFB, the Romulans don't acquire warp technology until Y159 with the arrival of the first nine D6 cruisers from the Klingons. As such, they use the non-refitted sublight versions of the Vulture, Warbird, Hawk and Snipe.
But that does not seem like much fun. So, as an alternative, here are the Star Drive Romulans.
[This proposal has been officially rejected by ADB. It is here only for your amusement. Do NOT send ADB anything regarding these ships.]
These versions of the ships are based on the sublight ships (and as such have no transporters and phasers), but use a "Star Drive". Star Drive engines are similar to warp drive, but are much bigger and less efficient. They are limited to a maximum speed of 8; each ship's movement rate is double its modern counterpart. Star Drive has one interesting weakness: any ship or base which has at least one active, powered unblinded special sensor can always gain or maintain a lock-on to a Star Drive equipped ship, regardless of whether a masking device (or veiling or cloaking) is being used. This was not much of problem because only bases had special sensors and the cloak was not a big tactical advantage in base assaults. (This also explains why the Romulans never attacked the Federation: their Vulcan scouts would pick them out immediately!)
Additionally, the Romulans do not yet have the R-torpedo. They use a type-Y torpedo that looks like this:
(This has the same range as an S-torp, but is more powerful 20 hexes and closer.) It otherwise has exactly the same characteristics of an R-torp, including a 2-2-5 arming and no holding.
Type Y Plasma Torpedo Range 1 - 10 11 - 15 16 - 20 21 - 23 24 25 Damage 40 30 20 10 5 1
It was because of the Star Drive that the Romulans were able to accomplish their initial expansion. Beyond its tactical uses, its most important use was how it allowed vastly improved strategic movement. While their existing non-tactical warp capabilities allowed them to start their expansion, the Star Drive let it really take off. Despite their technological disadvantage, they were easily the most aggressive empire in the Early Years.
Unfortunately for the Romulans, they badly lost the Fourth Romulan-Gorn war, during Y120-125. The Gorns fought the Romulans all the way back to their home worlds. While the Romulans never surrendered, it was a total defeat and the Gorns destroyed all Star Drive equipped ships. The Gorns were very thorough: they even sought out the research facilities, destroying them and all records found. They then hunted down and killed those involved.
Despite the resounding victory, the Gorns were not interested in conquering the Romulans. They only wanted to remove them as a threat. Because of that (and their experience with the Paravians), the Gorns allowed them to retain sublight ships, and some plasma systems. (The Gorns, though they tried very hard, were never able to take cloaking technology away from the Romulans.) The Gorns reasoned that, with these technologies, the Romulans would not be trapped on their home world and would be able to defend themselves, but they would not be a threat for a long, long time.
Initially the Gorns diligently patrolled most of Romulan territory. After a couple of years and having found all of the remaining Star Drive equipped ships they could find, the Gorns slowly pulled their patrol areas back. Eventually they were only maintaining patrols in the "nothern" provinces of Romulan territory. Of course, over time, even this patrolling slowly became more and more lax.
The Romulans chose to bide their time and secretly worked to regain their lost technologies. Initially they had no choice; the Gorn patrols were too thorough. However as the Gorns slowly began pulling back, the Romulans became more aggressive in their research. They were never willing to directly challenge the Gorns, however, for fear of losing what ground they had regained.
Because the Gorns left the Romulans with the type-G plasma torpedo, their research in that area progressed more quickly. While working on regaining the plasma-Y technology, they accidentally made a new development: the type-R plasma torpedo. Using this they were able to develop the armament for their "modern" Warbird ship designs.
Progress on Star Drive was much slower. The Gorns had been very, very thorough. It took the Romulans more than a decade of research to redevelop the Star Drive. Unfortunately, by the time they would have been able to again deploy Star Drive equipped ships, fleet scouts had been introduced by the Gorns (and Federation). The introduction of these ships meant that the Romulans would effectively have to choose between the veiling device and Star Drive.
The Romulans chose the veil (and, later, the cloak). The main reason was because with the veil they would be able to secretly deploy large numbers of sublight ships equipped with the new plasma-R torpedo. They could chose when they wished to again strike against the Gorns. If they had chosen Star Drive, they would have been forced into early action against the Gorns. They would have no element of surprise, and the ability to keep the actual number of ships secret would be severely compromised. Retaining the veil just gave them more advantages for the situation they found themselves in.
Using this new fleet of sublight warships, the Romulans were able to reestablish most of their territory, but were unable to expand any. Their situation remained fairly static until Y159 when the Romulans established their treaty with the Klingons.
This solution is based on the suggestions made on John Kim's site and from some mail sent to me by Mark Leroux. It has been further modified through suggestions made by Mike Strain and John Trauger.
Available technology is restricted. They have no transporters, their tractors are of type-W. They don't have phasers, but instead use warp targeted lasers. Standard freighters are used, but as they use Star Drives instead of warp engines, their movement rates are doubled. And since Star Drives are so much bulkier than warp engines, they can't be used on anything smaller than size class 4; all shuttles are sublight.
Star Vulture (SVL): This ship has a movement rate of 3. (ssd)
Star Eagle (SWE): This ship has a movement rate of 2. (ssd)
Star Hawk (SBH): This ship has a movement rate of 1. (ssd)
Star Snipe (SSN): This ship has a movement rate of .5. (ssd)
Star Freight Eagle (SFE): This ship has a movement rate of 2. As with the modern version, the only pallet available is a cargo pallet. The movement rate is increased to 2.667 if a cargo pallet is used. (ssd)
Star Falcon (SFA): This ship has a movement rate of 2. This ship is quite effective with the Star Drive, though they gave up on mauler technology when they lost, then gave up, Star Drive. (ssd)