The first of the new generation of Terran Protectorate starships, the Type-C Heavy Cruiser has proven to be one of the most successful ship designs in history, though it has yet to be tested in a full-scale war situation. The first hulls for the Armstrongs were laid down about 20 years ago, and two years later the first six went into operation. It quickly became the backbone of the fleet. Even though their missions, until now, have been during peacetime, they quickly earned a reputation as a powerful, flexible ship class.

The Armstrongs may not have the firepower of a battleship, or the long-range strike capability of a carrier, but they are the heart of the Protectorate fleet. They are the largest ship capable of long-range, independent operations, and nearly a quarter operate in just that fashion. While in fleet operations they function as escorts for carriers and battleships, as well as having considerable strike capabilities in their own right, but it is operating solo where they really shine. Their most successful missions to date have centered on exploration, first contact and anti-piracy. They are built to handle virtually any situation alone, a strength that just multiplies their effectiveness in fleet operations.

First and foremost, however, the Armstrongs are space combat vessels. A powerful mass driver built into the lower bow of the vessel is its primary weapon, capable of firing a deadly, 2-ton projectile at speeds so fast that most enemies mistake it for an energy weapon. Inside the depleted uranium projectile is a half-ounce of anti-matter in a magnetic bottle. On impact, the magnetic field dies, and the anti-matter and the surrounding material of the projectile connect with several megatons of explosive force that disintegrates the projectile into millions of dense, high-speed fragments. Needless to say, the damage is fairly spectacular. The anti-matter cores are not loaded into the projectile until it has almost cleared the firing chamber, and there are numerous safeties to prevent premature detonation. The weapon’s main drawback is that the cruiser is limited in the amount of rounds it can carry, and cannot manufacture new ones.

In addition to the mass driver, the Armstrongs are armed with four high-powered, long-range particle beam cannons. The inclusion of the cannons in the original design was controversial. After all, energy weapons have a greatly reduced affect versus the Protectorate’s historic adversary; the Arkhons. But it was believed that with the limited ammunition of the mass driver it was better to have a powerful ship-to-ship weapon that did not have a finite amount of ammunition. What’s more, the Type-C’s were designed to explore beyond the borders of known space. That means it was likely they’d encounter new alien species, some of which might not be friendly. It was deemed better to give the cruiser a variety of weapons, to allow it the flexibility to deal with virtually any adversary. The Armstrongs are also armed with long-range missile launchers, and a number of anti-star fighter turrets.

In addition to its potent arsenal, the Armstrong is equipped with the most advanced sensor suite in any capital class vessel, and has a well-equipped command and control center that allows any cruiser to operate as a fleet command ship, if necessary. While it has no fighters, the cruiser does have a small shuttle bay for four small shuttle craft.

In fleet operations, the cruisers are designated a Holstein Pinnace, but generally do not utilize them when on long-range missions. But like carriers and battleships, Armstrongs have a special docking collar that allows them to link up with Holsteins and take them into FTL travel mode. The pinnace docks for an Armstrong are aft of the particle beam cannons, near the front of the engineering section.

Armstrongs are commanded by a Captain when on solo or fleet operations, and generally commanded by a commodore or rear admiral when operating as a command ship. As the Second Arkhon War progresses, in many cases the Armstrongs will find themselves operating as command ships for fleets of older escort carriers, destroyers and pinnaces. They are also often placed in command of fleets of convoys and entrusted with their safety. Virtually every officer that rises to command a carrier or battleship has experience commanding an Armstrong. Armstrong-class cruisers are named for famous explorers, including astronauts. Some examples include the Neil Armstrong, the Magellan and the Marco Polo. There are several variants of the Armstrong, including hospital and communications configurations.

Model: CA Type-C Heavy Cruiser

Crew: 40 officers, 490 crewmen, 40 marines and five shuttle pilots. Can carry up to 200 additional passengers and includes four diplomatic suites for important passengers.

Other craft: Three STS-5 Shuttles and one Captain’s Launch

M.D.C. by location

Anti-star fighter rail guns (9) – 300 each

Long-range missile launchers (4) – 2,000 each

Particle beam cannons (2) – 6,000 each

Mass driver – 7,500

Forward sensor booms (2) – 3,000 each

*Command tower – 8,000

Communications array – 1,500

**Main engines (2) – 11,000 each

Outer Hull Section (40ft/12.2 m area) – 100

Inner Hull Section (40ft/12.2 m area) – 75

***Main Body – 40,000

*Destroying the bridge will eliminate the master controls, fire control and the communications center. The ship can be controlled from the engineering section, deep inside the ship, but those controls are less sensitive and -2 to strike and dodge. Hits on the bridge may injure crew members even if they do not destroy it; see Ship Combat Rules in the Phase World Sourcebook. Destroying the command tower and bridge also destroys the communications tower, which rests atop it.

**Destroying one of the engines reduces the ship’s acceleration rate and sublight speed by half and has a 40% chance of disabling the FTL drive. Destroying both engines leaves the ship with maneuvering thrusters only (top speed of about Mach 4) and causes enough damage to disable the FTL system.

***Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body means that the ship is in tatters, with life support, artificial gravity and power disabled, along with multiple hull breaches. The escape pods are unlocked and the crew should be attempting to abandon ship. If the ship is reduced to -10,000 M.D.C. it explodes, doing 4D6X1,000 M.D. to anything in a half mile (.8 km) radius.


Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.2C (20% of the speed of light)

Max Acceleration/Deceleration Rate: 6G’s per melee round.

FTL Speeds: Cx365 (roughly a light-year per day)

Top Atmospheric Speed: Not possible (safely)

Statistical Data

Height: 239.5 feet

Length: 749 feet

Width: 162 feet

Cargo: 20,000 tons

Power plant: Anti-Matter Reactor

FTL system: Negative Mass Drive (Military-grade NMD-365)

Range: 730 light years

Cost: Absolutely not for sale.


Weapon Systems


1.    Mass Driver: A massive gauss cannon accelerates a two-ton slug of depleted uranium through a series of magnetic rings to incredible speed. The slug contains an anti-matter core in a magnetic bottle that ruptures upon impact with the target, shattering the slug and causing tremendous damage. The weapon system is only hindered by its slow rate of fire and limited payload.

Purpose: Assault

Mega-Damage: Each slug does 2D6x1,000 M.D.

Range: 1,000 miles (actually has a range of 3,000 miles before the magnetic field dies, but it is much easier to dodge or shoot the projectile down)

Rate of fire: 2 shots per melee round

Payload: 200 rounds

2.    Particle Beam Cannons (2): These two twin-barreled PBCs are the large turrets located amidships. They can rotate 360 degrees and can angle up to 60 degrees away from the hull. They are essentially the equivalent of a two-megaton thermonuclear bomb channeled into two streams of charged particles. Non-military ships struck by the blasts (those that survive) will discover that an electromagnetic pulse traveling along the beam has disabled most of their electronics. Military vessels are hardened against such attacks.

Purpose: Anti-ship

Mega-Damage: 1D4X1,000 each. A dual blast from these cannons does 2D4X1,000. Dual blasts are only possible against ships at least frigate-sized or larger.

Range: 5,000 miles

Rate of fire: 4 shots per melee

Payload: Effectively unlimited

3.    Long-Range Missile Launchers (4): Two pairs of these launchers are located in the bow. They are often fired in large spreads against multiple targets, used to shoot down enemy missiles and are also used to perform planetary bombardments of hardened installations. The Armstrongs carry a wide variety of warheads that can be fitted to its missiles in seconds.

Purpose: Assault

Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type.

Range: Varies with missile type, generally about 5,000 miles.

Rate of fire: Can fire individually or in volleys of 2, 4, 10 or 20.

Payload: Each launcher has a magazine of 50 missiles.

4.    Point Defense rail gun turrets (9): Heavy rail gun autocannons are spread out across the ship to give it full anti-star fighter and anti-missile protection. They can be controlled by individual gunners or set by the chief weapons officer to fire in pre-set defensive patterns, filling space around the cruiser in a deadly cloud (make a strike roll at +4, all enemy ships must beat this roll on a dodge while within a mile of the cruiser or take standard damage). These weapons can also be used to fire massed broadsides against enemy ships at point-blank range.

Purpose: Defense

Mega-Damage: 2D6x10 M.D. for a 20-shot burst. Only fires in bursts

Range: 5 miles

Rate of fire: Equal to hand-to-hand attacks of the gunners. When set to auto-fire, fires the equivalent of four bursts per melee

Payload: Each gun has a belt feed of 10,000 rounds. There is enough ammunition in stores to reload each gun twice.


Sensors: The Armstrongs have a powerful sensor suite capable of receiving basic information on mass and composition that covers a 1 light-year radius. Of course, the system is limited by the time it takes light to travel, so if it detects a planet from a light year away and the planet was destroyed by a comet six months before, the sensors wouldn’t detect that. The long-range sensors can only detect objects the size of a small planetoid that far out. They cannot detect large vessels until they are within four astronomical units, and ships of cruiser size or smaller until they are within one A.U. The cruisers have powerful short-range sensors that are much more detailed, able to receive in-depth mass, energy, molecular composition and radiation and are able to penetrate most unshielded substances. The short-range sensors have a 500,000 mile range.