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Cruisers are the multi-roles of most fleets. They have the staying power to be in a battle, the weaponry to make a difference and enough thrusters not to be a sitting duck; the only drawback here is that they aren’t particularly good at any of these roles. With onboard squadrons, long range weaponry and generally a hefty load of missiles it is pretty difficult to find a weak spot to exploit[1] and so most will just settle for sitting in range and hammering away at each other.

This leads to some of the more spectacular fire fights in Vast Worlds as they literally sit and take it, weapons discharges arc between the opposing Cruisers, searing ugly black scars across the hull metal and thousands of deadly shards of small ordinance race across the gap. Getting between two such vessels is pure suicide as you’re just as likely to be hit by your own side, but as each side is launching fighters at each other to snipe at critical systems at least a few of those silver shards are actually manned[2].

In battle Cruisers tend to be the follow-up, hot on the heels of the Destroyers and they smash though the already reeling formations. They also tend to be the fallback line if everything goes pear shaped as they tend to only break if the battle is long lost. When forced to deal with ships larger than themselves they tend to find themselves outclassed, while they can focus fire on their target it tends not to be able to do significant amounts of damage and they find their armour buckling under the law of superior tonnage. There have been cases where a Cruiser squadron[3] have taken down a larger ship, but, as most larger ships were designed with taking down Cruisers in mind, these are few and far between.

Cruisers, due to their size, fill a number of roles within the fleet simultaneously. They will quite often host command staff, or even the fleet commander, and they will be ready to seize control if the flagship takes critical damage. As aforementioned they carry a large Fighter complement and in addition more sturdy Corvettes, but they will also carry ‘Ground Pounder’ weapons and house extensive R and R[4] facilities. Theoretically you could build your whole armada around Cruisers as they are so versatile, but you’d be leaving yourself wide open to flanking manoeuvres and more diffuse fleets.

(Also, fiftieth update. Whoo!)

[1] Beyond flanking, but it is fairly difficult to get anything meaningful behind them.

[2] Fighter duty on Cruisers is not a good position if you plan on seeing your next birthday, which means you generally get a good mix of suicidal nutters signing up.

[3] It’s odd to think of a ship roughly three hundred metres long actually forming a squadron, but it has happened.

[4] Repair and Re-supply.


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