Types of Starships Core

Authors: Josheua


Starships, also known as spaceships, are vessels designed to travel between planetary bodies and star systems, as opposed to spacecraft and orbital craft, which generally require a starship, space station, or stellar body on which to be based.  Starships are the vehicles that gave mankind the stars. From warships to cargo haulers – mining vessels to colony ships, starships are ubiquitous in the 35th century. For some humans, they begin and end their lives on the huge industrial starships that prowl the empty space consuming worlds for resources. For others, they watch ships come and go from their world never setting foot on one of the interstellar titans. Even for those who never touch foot on starships, these impact their lives in a huge way.

Starships differentiate themselves from their spacecraft cousins by possessing a MAG-Drive. With the use of FTL, starships can travel between the stars as jump naturally occurring termini points to cross vast distances instantaneously.

Starships themselves can be best differentiated by who they serve; and while there is some overlap, starships are usually divided into two major categories: Military Starships and Civilian Starships.


 Military Starships – as their name suggests – serve as the roaming masters of the stars. Armed with advanced technology and extremely powerful weaponry, these ships are capable of turning planetoids into dust and tracking a person crossing a desert all from the safety of high orbit. Much like their civilian counterparts, military starships come in all shapes and sizes. Commanders and navies must learn to balance these ships and use them against the enemy much like a chess master uses pieces against his opponent; and while ships vary greatly, they can be divided into three major categories – Ships of the Lance, Ships of the Line, and Fleet Ships.

Ships of the Line are at the core of the main battle fleets. Usually slower and more heavily armed, they engage line to line combat with the enemy. Lumbering into broadside to broadside engagements with their opponent, they hurl missiles at one another when at longer ranges before switching to lasers and guns when battles turn to knife fights. Ships of the Line often serve as flagships of larger fleets and are deployed in squadrons amongst most nations.

Ships of the Lance are the swift warriors of the fleet. Smaller, agiler than their cousin in the line, the lance ships rely on speed and mobility to help them outmaneuver anything they can’t outgun. Usually detached before a battle, lance ships will wreak havoc on the enemies the main line or help fend off the enemies lance while also serving as scouts and a screen against enemy fighters and bombers. When it comes to engaging larger ships, Lance ships rely on their axial weaponry – usually at a caliber large enough to damage the bigger prey – and depend on a low profile and high speed to defend against their targets powerful batteries.

Fleet ships are the titans of the stars. Massive on a scale terrifying to even the largest line ship, a single fleet ship could decimate a small task force on its own. Filled with fighters, soldiers, and firepower these ships are capable of bringing fleets and even whole worlds to their knees.



Despite being listed as a starship, a gunship often shares more in common with starfighters and bombers than it does with its empyrean counterparts. Frequently favoring atmospheric capabilities as opposed to spaceborne flexibility, gunships are often seen providing close in fire support to ground troops, helping punch into the fortress regions of planets, and even deploying troops at times. In space, these versatile and heavy hitting starships trade range with firepower, tackling larger frigates, destroyers and even cruisers in mass to allow their allied frigates to punch through and hit more dangerous targets. 

  • Prefix: GN
  • Tonnage: 7,000-20,000 metric tons 


The cutter is one of the most versatile short range ships available. Preferred by policing and security forces, the cutter has enough firepower to disable civilian merchants that are becoming unsafe, unruly, or even belligerent. Married with a high speed and maneuverability and these ships can respond across a star system to problems, serving as rescue ships, scouts, patrol ships, and policing ships. Often mounted in larger ships, they frequently serve as the eyes and ears of an advancing fleet.

  • Prefix: CT
  • Tonnage: 20,000-30,000 metric tons


The Corvette is the cornerstone of any widespread navy. A perfect marriage of speed and range, the Corvette makes up for the Cutter’s short legs and adds some extra punch to her firepower. Found across the stars, these small, fast, and agile ships serve their larger masters, as well as help maintain the peace. Despite their diminutive size, corvettes are excellent escorts and anti-piracy ships. Armed – typically – with light missiles and light weight armament, they are best suited for anti-fighter roles in larger fleet battles, lacking the axial weapons of a frigate or a destroyer needed to tackle ships of the line.

  • Prefix: CR
  • Tonnage: 30,000-100,000 metric tons



The Corvette is the cornerstone of any widespread navy. A perfect marriage of speed and range, the Corvette makes up for the Cutter’s short legs and adds some extra punch to her firepower. Found across the stars, these small, fast, and agile ships serve their larger masters, as well as help maintain the peace. Despite their diminutive size, corvettes are excellent escorts and anti-piracy ships. Armed – typically – with light missiles and light weight armament, they are best suited for anti-fighter roles in larger fleet battles, lacking the axial weapons of a frigate or a destroyer needed to tackle ships of the line.

  • Prefix: HCR
  • Tonnage: 100,000-200,000 metric tons



The Frigate is the mainstay of a nation’s anti-piracy and peacetime navy, operating far off the beaten trail. Usually, in pairs or trios, these ships benefit from the presence of powerful axial armament not available on corvettes. With the added firepower, frigates can tackle heavy lance ships (such as a cruiser) or even lone battlecruiser-weight ships. However, with limited shields and armor, frigates have a tendency to be glass cannons. Frigates make valuable escorts and typically are not found far from at least one other ship or friendly outpost

  • Prefix: FF
  • Tonnage: 200,000-300,000 metric tons



The Heavy Frigate is an upgraded frigate offering expanded small craft capacity, additional fire-power and longer range. Capable of outrunning anything it can’t outgun, the heavy frigate is the best small scale marriage of speed and firepower. Preferred by smaller nations over the traditional frigate, Heavy Frigates give more flexibility and capability to a smaller scale navy over the conventional frigate, though typically work best in wartime as escorts rather than scouts if not directly engaging in squadron or fleet combat.

  • Prefix: FH
  • Tonnage: 300,000-600,000 tons



The Destroyer is the prince of the stars during peacetime. Seen across countless star systems, they patrol the space lanes with enough firepower to deal with any outlaw, rogue, or pirate looking to prey on defenseless cargo ships. When war breaks out, the Destroyer becomes the workhorse of the fleet, doing everything from guarding key regions of space to scouting hostile systems for advancing fleets.

  • Prefix: DD
  • Tonnage: 600,000-800,000 metric tons



The heavy destroyer is a brooding beast of a lightweight ship. It offers a large flight bay, extensive range, and wide mission capability without straying into cruiser range and cruiser cost. Capable of long-range operations independent of most support, the Heavy Destroyer is ideal for large nations that need to police a wide range of space. Paired with cutters and corvettes, the fleet destroyer can serve as a base camp for the lighter ships – helping to refuel and restock the smaller vessels to help extend their reach and its influence in an area. The heavy destroyer is often too large for small navies to build or maintain, especially those requiring only local defense.

  • Prefix: DH
  • Tonnage: 800,000-1,100,000 metric tons



The light cruiser is the answer to the age-old problem of “I don’t need a heavy cruiser but I need more than a destroyer.” Similar in many ways to the heavy frigate, the Light Cruiser is a beefed up destroyer offering more firepower, improved shielding, better axial armament, and long legs. Fantastic for deep space patrols or scouting in force, light curers are at the heart of smaller nations navies thanks to the flexibility and capabilities they offer over their destroyer kin without breaking the bank like a heavy cruiser might, and typically carry enough firepower to act as an apt escort for larger ships, able to ward off smaller ships of the lance on their own.

  • Prefix: CL
  • Tonnage: 1,100,000-2,000,000 metric tons


A standard mainstay for fleet combat, and often too large to be expended as a mere escort by all but the most massive of navies, the Heavy Cruiser is a viable platform for mounting torpedoes and other large weaponry capable of making a capital ship think twice about toying with a star system. Unlike other Heavy-Light comparisons, the Heavy Cruiser is often more than just an “upgrade” on the Light Cruiser, but falls into it’s own separate category.

  • Prefix: CH
  • Tonnage: 2,000,000-3,500,000 metric tons



Few navies employ the role of the Fleet Cruiser, a middleweight cruiser between the Heavy Cruiser and Large Cruiser, but lacking the armor of an Armored Cruiser. Fleet cruisers tend towards speed, acting in larger battles much as frigates would in smaller battles, harrying capital ships. Fleet Cruisers, when dealing with smaller vessels, acting as a command ship.

  • Prefix: CF
  • Tonnage: 3,500,000-5,000,000 metric tons



Despite being the smallest ship of the line, the Armored Cruiser is fearsome opponent. Able to take a battering from much heavier guns, it is the perfect answer to navies who focus on close-range weaponry and the need to be able to close the distance with navies who favor longer-ranged firepower. While not inherently much larger than the Fleet Cruiser, the Armored Cruiser uses much of it’s extra tonnage for heavy armor along with added shielding necessary to steel itself for ship of the line style engagements. 

  • Prefix: AC
  • Tonnage: 5,000,000-8,000,000 metric tons


A marriage of speed and firepower, the Battlecruiser is a foe to be reckoned with. The bane of ships of the lance, the Battlecruiser has the speed and acceleration to pursue lighter ships to deadly effect. Armed with heavy turrets and heavy missiles, they pack a broadside bunch that cruisers lack while still keeping the speed the cruisers can boast. However, theses advantages are paid for by reducing the armor thickness of the ship and rerouting shield power to the main engines. As such, battlecruisers are dangerously exposed if not carefully placed when engaging other, larger ships of the line.

  • Prefix: BC
  • Tonnage: 15,000,000-30,000,000 tons


At the center of any fleet’s main body is the Battleship. A pure bred, these lumbering beasts will use their lesser servants to scoop up enemy ships and bring them into their reach before their withering firepower tears the enemy apart while their heavy armor and heavy shields absorb incoming fire as if it were a gentle breeze. When seeing a battleship, lesser ships can only hope they have enough time to outrun it.

  • Prefix: BB
  • Tonnage:15,000,000-30,000,000 tons


Feared by even the biggest warships in the galaxy, the Heavy Battlecruiser is the epitome of a fast killer. Proud, lanky, and agile, they use their speed to corral and enemy fleet into the waiting arms of the dreadnoughts and heavy battleships. Away from their masters, Heavy Battlecruisers form the centerpiece of strike groups rating into enemy territory with devastating effect all while being fast enough to hunt down fleeing cruisers in the azure wastes of hyper.

  • Prefix: BCH
  • Tonnage: 30,000,000-50,000,000 tons



The king of the battle line, the Heavy Battleship is the biggest warship built to serve in a battle line. Flagships for a huge armada, Heavy Battleships boast a massive capacity of firepower as well as command systems. Complete with advanced artificial intelligence and a huge marine compliment, the Heavy Battleship can bring a planet to its knees. However, its home is in the gulf of space where titans clash, throwing lead and light at one another.

  • Prefix: BBH
  • Tonnage: 30,000,000-50,000,000 tons



The Dreadnought is a weapon of fear. Imposing and awe-inspiring, it dwarfs even the mighty Heavy Battleship and creates its own category of warship – the Fleet Ship. Serving at the heart of massive armadas, these ships boast weapons and firepower of a full-fledged battle station but can keep up with more mobile ships escorting them, giving a fleet the firepower to crack even the most heavily defended systems. Part capital ship and part siege engine, its devastating axial weapons can crack open the thickest armor or tear through the heaviest shielding. The only thing more awe-inspiring then the Dreadnought is a clash between two at the heart of a raging battle. While powerful, the Dreadnought will typically require it’s own escort in most scenarios if it dares even to venture near contested space, let alone battle.

  • Prefix – DN
  • Tonnage: 250,000,000-500,000,000 tons



While most navies shudder to think about the requirements to build a Dreadnought, a few dare so far as to build a Superdreadnought. Capable of carrying not just spacecraft but full-sized starships, the Superdreadnought acts as a mobile base and space-station for advancing fleets. Often flanked by carriers, battleships, and countless escorts, superdreadnoughts are the flagships of any nation capable of constructing one. They are both respected and feared when they enter the battlefield.

  • Prefix – SD
  • Tonnage: 600,000,000-1,000,000,000 tons