Nova-Class Dreadnought



For decades, since before even the first war with the Imperial Freehold, the Protectorate has sought to close the technology gap between humanity and the Arkhons. It seemed an impossible task, since the Arkhons have been conquering star systems since at least the height of the Roman Empire. Homan scientists, engineers, and military strategists became desperate at the start of the second war. The Arkhon were clearly making their big push, and does not seem likely to stop until they’ve crushed Terra itself under a steel-shod boot. But a year after the start of the war, after the fleet slowed the Arkhon advance and began to hold the line, the first of the Nova-Class Dreadnoughts came online.

The Novas take all the best of human technology and knowledge of space war tactics and jams them into one armored hull. Made to be both devastating and flexible, these dreadnoughts have the firepower of a small battleship, the independence of a cruiser, and even carry a squadron of fighters. To most strategists it is clear that the Nova was designed to take down the formidable Dree’Dok Battlewagon without the Protectorate having to build a fleet of Powell-Class battleships to counter every one. However, critics say the Nova may be trying to be all things to all people, instead of finding one thing and doing it well.

Only time will tell.

At first blush, the Nova appears to be an incredible ship that could mark a turning point in the fleet. Many of the older races, like the Vorhasi and the Nix, seem to prefer using just one class of starship for most of their capital ship considerations. These catch-all ships tend to be very powerful and very flexible. The Protectorate took its first steps in this direction with the Armstrong-Class cruisers, but the Armstrongs, while successful, are too “light” for many strategists. The universe is proving to be a much more dangerous place than mankind realized. And if humanity is going to push back the Arkhon and not cower from every shadowy species that pokes its head out of the Expanse, then it needs some ships with some chops.

But those chops are very expensive. A Nova-Class Dreadnought costs three times as much as an Armstrong, and is 2/3rds the cost of a Powell-Class Battleship. Each one will require a crew of 800, and may sorely strain the Protectorate’s anti-matter production capabilities once they begin being deployed in significant numbers.

But, if successful, it can fill a lot of painful holes in the Fleet’s strategic capabilities. As a first strike weapon, it is superb. It brings nearly the same firepower as a Powell, but doesn’t require a fleet to support it, and can go it alone. As a light carrier with 12 Crossbow fighters, it would replace the Archer carriers as the vessel of choice for Special Forces squadrons, who often deploy deep into enemy territory to take out strategic targets. And it has a sensor suite just as developed as the Armstrongs’.

Current plans are to deploy the ship as a Special Forces vessel to strike behind enemy lines until production is high enough that the ship can be integrated into the main battle fleets. This also allows the Protectorate to thoroughly test the ship’s true capabilities without endangering any strategic defensive positions or other ships.

The primary weapon of the Nova is a new weapon: an anti-matter beam. The Protectorate tried to imitate the anti-matter missiles the Arkhon use, but are unable to recreate the stable, independent magnetic fields. However, they are able to wrap a stream of anti-protons in a very short-lived magnetic field. This beam can deliver several times as much anti-matter onto a target than the more commonly-used mass drivers, has a faster firing rate, and does not require the ship lug around thousands of tons of shells. However, the ship must be stockpiled with large amounts of anti-matter, and carries a small collider in which it can make more (both for star fighter fuel and ammunition purposes). The anti-matter beam is unimpeded by cerasteel, as anti-matter cancels out any matter it makes contact with. The resultant release of energy does even more damage. Unless the Arkhon develop an energy field, the weapon will remain extremely potent for some time.

Backing up the ship’s main gun are four heavy particle beam cannons. These weapons, instead of being a locked pair, are each a separate weapon system. This allows the ship to engage multiple large targets, and eliminates the Armstrong’s strategic weakness of being flanked. These new turrets have 120 degrees of rotation and 45 degrees of elevation, giving them a much larger firing arc.

The ship also has a pair of forward-firing medium laser cannons, six long-range missile tubes (four forward and two aft), and 10 defensive turrets that employ a pair of 120 mm rail gun cannons and a short-range missile launcher each.

Two of its biggest innovations come in its defensive capabilities. The ship can deploy a heavy electronic countermeasure jamming field that makes it difficult to target, and renders it impossible for the Arkhon to lock onto specific parts of the ship. It also employs a limited magnetic field that prevents lock-on by AMMs, reduces damage done by particle beam weapons, and can cause missiles to go astray.

This ship, while not specifically assigned Holsteins, will be able to dock and transport two of them at one time with specialized docking collars along the sides of the docking bay. These universal collars can mate with most vessels larger than a star fighter, up to frigate-size.

The Nova-Class dreadnoughts are to be named after both astronomical objects and “classic” ship names. Examples include the Nova, Pulsar and Nebula, as well as the Columbia, Essex and Enterprise.

Model: CX-1 Nova-Class Superheavy Cruiser

Class: Dreadnought

Crew: 55 officers, 780 crew, 20 flight officers, 40 marines (with 10 Duelist Power Armors). Can carry up to 300 additional passengers or troops.

Standard Spacecraft Load Out

12 SF-11 Crossbows

2 STS-5 Launches

M.D.C. by Location

Defensive turrets (10) – 600 each

Missile launchers (3) – 2,000 each

Particle beam cannons (4) – 3,000 each

Medium laser cannons/forward sensor clusters (2) – 8,000 each

Docking collars (2) – 400 each

Anti-matter cannon – 10,000

Communications tower – 1,500

*Bridge – 10,000

**Main engines (2) – 15,000 each

Docking bay – 12,000

Outer hull section (40 ft/12.2 m area) – 250

Inner hull section (40 ft/12.2 m area) – 125

***Main body – 65,000

*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: 0.22C (22% 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: 164.5 feet

Length: 665 feet

Width: 244.5 feet

Cargo: 35,000 tons

Power plant: Anti-Matter Reactor

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

Range: 1825 light years

Cost: Absolutely not for sale.


Weapon Systems


1. Anti-matter beam: This new, prototype weapon is designed to employ the destructive capabilities of  current anti-matter core mass drivers without the need to carry tons of ammunition. This weapon encloses a small quantity of anti-matter (about 8 ounces) in a powerful electromagnetic beam. Upon contact with matter, like a ship’s hull, these antimatter atoms convert any normal matter atoms they touch into pure energy. That energy release causes catastrophic damage. To increase the potency of the beam, the anti-matter is stretched out across the entire length of the beam, causing maximum armor penetration. The only drawback to this weapon is that after the initial antimatter stores are used up, the ship must create new antimatter with an onboard particle collider, decelerator and Hawkings Trap (an advanced version of the old Penning Traps from the 21st Century). Due to energy requirements, production can only happen while the vessel is at normal mass, thus it cannot travel at FTL and create antimatter at the same time. The antimatter creation system is capable of making 40 ounces of antimatter per day, enough for five shots. Attempting to store more than 200 shots at a time is highly dangerous and not advised. One major drawback of the anti-matter beam is that it cannot be fired into atmosphere (detonates at first contact with dense atmosphere) or in a nebula or particle cloud.

Primary Purpose: Anti-ship/Anti-space station

Mega-Damage: 3D4x1,000 M.D.

Effective Range: 2,000 miles

Rate of Fire: 2 shots per melee round

Payload: 200 rounds, renewable at a rate of 5 rounds per day.


2. Heavy Particle Beams (4): Unlike the set pair of large particle beam cannons on the Armstrong, these are four particle beam cannons on highly maneuverable turrets. These weapons, able to rotate 120 degrees and with 45 degrees of elevation, prevent the ship from being flanked by enemy cruisers and frigates, and allow the ship to hold back, and destroy, enemy frigates while engaging enemy cruisers with its main gun. While smaller, they have the same punch as the larger cannons on the Armstrongs.

Primary Purpose: Anti-ship

Mega-Damage: 5D6x100 M.D. per cannon. A dual shot from two cannons does 1D4x1,000 M.D., and a quadruple blast from all four does 2D4x1,000 M.D. The quad blast can only be fired at large vessels directly ahead of the dreadnought.

Effective Range: 5,000 miles

Rate of Fire: Four shots per melee round

Payload: Effectively unlimited.


3. Long-range Missile Launchers (3): A pair of twin long-range missile tubes are emerge from the forward hull, and another twin launcher is located on the ventral hull between the main engines. These missile launchers can fire spreads of missiles over long ranges. 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 Nova Dreadnoughts carry a variety of warheads that can be applied in seconds.

Primary Purpose: Assault

Mega-Damage: Varies with missile type (always “smart bombs”)

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

Rate of Fire: Individually, in pairs or in volleys of four, eight, 10 or 20.

Payload: Each launcher has a magazine of 400 missiles.


4. Medium Laser Cannons (2): Positioned at the forward edge of the sensor clusters, these weapons can target light frigates, destroyers, transports and heavy bombers, as well as assist in assaulting larger ships. They are fixed forward, like the anti-matter cannon.

Primary Purpose: Anti-frigate

Mega-Damage: 2D4x100 M.D. each. A dual blast does 4D4x100 M.D.

Effective Range: 500 miles.

Payload: Effectively unlimited.


5. 120mm Twin-barreled Electromagnetic Rail Turrets (10): Lighter and smaller than the 120mm cannons on other, current Protectorate vessels, these maneuverable cannons are used to engage enemy star fighters and can be fire linked for mass broadsides at close ranges. They have 360 degrees of rotation and 90 degrees of elevation. Each is manned by a crew of four.

Primary Purpose: Anti-star fighter

Mega-Damage: 4D6x10 M.D.

Effective Range: 10 miles

Rate of Fire: Six times per melee round

Payload: Each cannon has a 10,000-round magazine, allowing 5,000 shots from its twin barrels.


6. Short-Range Missile Launchers (10): On the top of each defensive turret is a short-range missile launcher designed to be a point defense system. They are used almost exclusively to destroy enemy missiles and star fighters. They are operated by the crews of the turrets.

Primary Purpose: Defense

Mega-Damage: 2D6x10 M.D. for armor piercing missiles (generally the only missiles stocked)

Effective Range: 15 miles

Rate of Fire: Fires in pairs, or in volleys of four.

Payload: Each launcher has a magazine of 40 missiles. Many, many reloads are kept in storage.


7. SF-11 Crossbow Space Superiority Fighters (12): Each Nova has a full squadron of 12 Crossbow fighters. These are often used as extended-range surgical strike craft or as an extra layer of star fighter defense. The first Nova’s will mostly be Special Forces vessels carrying both Colonial Marine Special Forces platoons and Fleet Special Forces fighter squadrons.


Sensors: The Novas 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, if the planet was destroyed by a comet six months before, the sensors wouldn’t detect that. 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.