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Fleet Tactics - A Bief Introduction to the first six races

We have been asked by many of you for more information about the way
that the various races in the Firestorm Universe fight. So we asked Alain
Padfield, author of the Firestorm core rulebook, to give us an introduction
to fleet tactics, and how he sees the different fleets fighting.

THE TERRAN ALLIANCE have the further advantage of starboard and port
The Terrans have started the Dindrenzi War of guns in addition to fore guns, allowing them to
3721 on the back foot, their fleets in the forward fire at multiple targets when they are positioned
deployment of the Storm Zone have been to their best advantage.
outmanoeuvred and crushed, and their tacticians
have realised that decades of complacency The pride of most Terran is the Razorthorn Class
have left them behind the Dindrenzi in terms of Battleship. It is a precursor to future Terran
ship design. The Terran Navy ships have weaker design philosophy, with a reliance on main gun
hulls and bulkheads than those in other fleets, turrets. The Razorthorn in particular has torpedo
but their saving grace has been the Shield turrets whose ordnance loses accuracy over
technology of the Saurians. range, in contrast to most torpedo systems,
but the torpedo turrets of the Razorthorn have
The Terrans have ensured that most of their a much higher rate of fire which negates the
ships have Shields, which means that even effects of point defence.
lowly Frigates survive the occasional crippling
blow. Even against the superior ship design of The Razorthorn forms the core of any Terran
the Dindrenzi with their reinforced hulls, Shields Battlegroup, linking the prodigious rate of its
allow Terran ships to keep on fighting with some turrets with those of its starboard and port
measure of parity. broadsides, or with its fore arc mass drivers.
Alternatively it can take on multiple targets with
In terms of weapon systems, Terran Frigates these very effective weapon systems.
have torpedoes for long range fire, whose
effectiveness tails off as a Frigate closes in and Meanwhile the Zenith Class Carrier performs a
uses its fixed fore arc weapons. The Cruisers support role, supplying Flights of Wings to harass
isolated enemy ships. It has quite reasonable The most common Aquan Battleship is
fore arc mass drivers of its own, and is a durable the Poseidon Class, which illustrates this
ship with its many shield arrays. It cannot fight a arrangement of weapon systems. The Poseidon
straight up battle with a Battleship, but is quite is also the fastest Battleship amongst the main
capable of weathering the storm of repeated protagonists of the Dindrenzi War, providing it
attacks by Frigates or even Cruisers. with the manoeuvrability to get into the aft arcs
of its enemies where it is safe from their more
THE AQUAN PRIME destructive broadsides. Its speed allows it to
The Aquans have benefited from a far better keep up with smaller ships, and operate in more
deployment of fleets against the threat of the fluid attacks with Cruisers and Frigates from its
Dindrenzi, with multiple reserve formations own.
and roving scout fleets. Their shipyards have
engaged in a schedule of refitting existing ships The Poseidon has a small security and marine
in recent years, so that they are more difficult complement, which is a common factor
to damage. The Frigates, however, were the last throughout the Aquan fleets, as they are not
to go into dry dock for this work, and due to fond of boarding assaults. Their ships do,
the start of the Dindrenzi War were rushed back however, have very strong point defence and
into service without the modifications. commonly have a lot of mines, providing them
with protection against boarders and wings. The
Aquan tactical philosophy is largely determined Poseidon has its own small Flight of Wings, and
by an appreciation of the three dimensional their captains often field Interceptors.
nature of space, and a requirement to be
able to fire at any target in any arc. Aquans The Aquan tacticians favour mines, and their
are often at their best when surrounded, or Cruisers’ squadrons in particular are well
when they break through the squadrons of an practiced in a fast approach to an enemy
enemy. Unfortunately, their laser weapons are formation while deploying mines. They then
sometimes comparatively weak against the overshoot their target while dropping more
weapon systems of other fleets, as a result of mines and firing at ships on the flanks of their
ensuring that they have reasonably strong guns main target. They may be weak, but when
in the aft arc. enough mines are dropped near one or more
squadrons, they can cause havoc.
The Sorylians have suffered the worst losses
during the onset of the Dindrenzi War, and
their fleets have been badly outwitted by the
Dindrenzi. They have had difficulty in putting
enough Battleships and Dreadnoughts into the
field, but are quickly remedying the situation.
They were complacent and had put too much
confidence in the effectiveness of their Cruiser

The Skyhammer Class Cruiser is probably the

most powerful Cruiser design in the region, with
the ability to combat an enemy Battleship when
their squadrons are fielded in full strength. It
is the workhorse of the Sorylian fleets, whose
tacticians favour Battlegroups filled with Cruisers.
However, the Dindrenzi are well aware of the
strengths and weaknesses of the Skyhammer,
and often target them at the expense of other

Sorylian ships are quite rugged and it is difficult

to damage their critical systems, while they outfitting their Battleships and Carriers with
have a large complement of security and marine them. The tougher hull design of Sorylian and
personnel. The Sorylians are fond of boarding Aquan ships has enabled them to stand up to
assaults, but in contrast have comparatively the Dindrenzi invasion fleets despite this flaw.
weak point defence within their ship designs. Fortunately for them, the Aquan fleets have
This is surprising given that they often field a encountered the ships of the Directorate, while
large complement of wings, and have a powerful the Sorylian fleets have fought against the
fleet Carrier in the form of the Morning Star Relthoza more often than the Dindrenzi.
The Sorylians focus on using their starboard
and port broadsides after a slow approach
firing their fore arc weapons and torpedoes. The
Swordbreaker Class Battleship excels at this
tactic, as it has starboard and port torpedoes
that are effective at all but the closest of ranges.
With the support of its Cruisers, a Swordbreaker
is a ship to be rightly feared for its firepower and
bruising persistence.


The Dindrenzi have been making preparations
to invade the Storm Zone for years. To an
extent, the politicians in the Legislature and
The Sorylians, like the Aquans, have benefited their warmonger backers within the Directorate
from Shield technology, but have weaker shield have harvested the resources of the Federation
arrays than the Terrans, and are limited to for decades, in readiness for the coming storm.
In particular, the engineering departments of the The Conqueror Class Battleship and Claymore
Dindrenzi naval academies have developed a Class Carrier are excellent example of Dindrenzi
philosophy that encourages efficiency of design efficiency, as they are the cheapest ships to
and a maximisation of power. produce in their class. Their superstructures are
designed within a modular system, so that many
The most obvious result of this philosophy is the more designs in the same class have the same
gun rack weapon system that is common to many efficiency. The Dindrenzi are therefore able to
Dindrenzi ships. It features a gallery of turrets field large numbers of capital class ships, so
that can fire into both the starboard and the port that as the conflict increases in scale they can
arcs. Although this means that their traditional concentrate force where they are most needed.
broadsides weapons are comparatively weak, it
means that the payload of the Dindrenzi fore arc THE DIRECTORATE
rail guns is much more devastating. The crews of the Directorate Navy have probably
had the most experience of fighting within
The rail gun is the prominent weapon system of the chaos of a space battle. They field tested
the Dindrenzi, giving them a huge advantage in a ship designs and weapon systems against the
direct confrontation with very little manoeuvring. Aquans and Sorylians during the Xenos War,
Punch for punch, only the Sorylians can keep and even after that died down, their elite troops
up a battle of attrition with the Dindrenzi, and were still conducting raids on planetary systems
Dindrenzi ships are notable for screened critical of the Aquans and Sorylians. They do, however,
systems and a much thicker hull, so that on an lack the Shield technology of the Saurians, the
equal footing they rarely lose. Cloaking Field technology of the Relthoza or the
reinforced hulls of the Dindrenzi.

Dindrenzi ships are also fairly fast, so even when The Judgement Class Battleship is a good
they are outmanoeuvred they can quickly regain example of how the Directorate has combated
the initiative. The training and determination of this weakness. It has two weapon systems
their crews is possibly their greatest advantage, in the fore arc, plus torpedoes and guns in
as they frequently have the element of the starboard and port arc. The engineers of
surprise, and react quickly to new threats and the Directorate have achieved this without
circumstances. Their ships have reasonable sacrificing other systems, as the Judgement
point defence and distribution of mine systems also has a good speed, a large payload of mines
among their capital class ships, so that even and an imposing complement of marines. The
when they lose the initiative they are still a Vanquisher Class has a very similar design to
credible danger. the Judgement, only on a smaller scale.
The Judgement and the Overseer Class Carrier tougher hull. They would otherwise be vulnerable
do, however, have low point defence, and the to repeated attacks, compared to the ships of
Overseer, like the Dindrenzi Claymore, can only other fleets, were it not for their Cloaking Field
field a comparatively small Flight of Wings. The technology. With it they are able to approach
Directorate fleet does seem to be vulnerable to enemy squadrons and suffer less incoming fire
torpedoes and wing attacks, but its commanders as they do so, until they turn off their cloak fields
have been working on strategies to combat this. and return a blistering barrage.
The crews of their ships are mostly made up of
half human bio-hybrid clones and robots, so The Relthoza favour a fairly traditional broadsides
they are expendable to a degree, and Directorate attack that is supported by reasonable weapons
captains are quite happy to slug it out with in the fore arc. They have a decent payload
enemy ships until one or the other is destroyed of mines, quite good point defence, and most
or abandoned. importantly a large complement of security
personnel, allowing them more freedom to
It is unfortunate that despite all of their sacrifice their marines in boarding assaults.
advantages the Directorate captains are limited There are Relthoza ship designs that have not yet
by restrictive tactical doctrine, so that their been seen in the field, which military intelligence
squadrons operate in tight groups and they indicates are fearsome boarding vessels.
are often outmanoeuvred once they leave fold
space. Their frequent enemies, the Aquans, The Hive Class Carrier is probably the best design
do not underestimate the Directorate though, of its class in existence, as the Relthoza stress
because the Directorate ships can pour out a the importance of wing support. It carries a large
lot of firepower. More importantly, in these early complement of wings, and has a very effective
stages of the invasion of the Storm Zone, the broadsides attack making it a command ship in
Directorate have not yet committed their more some. The Hive is also a relatively cheap design
powerful and more numerous squadrons, the to produce and has a decent rack of torpedo
Gunships and Destroyers. tubes in the fore arc. The torpedo systems of
the Relthoza are not consistent between ship
THE RELTHOZA designs, but they are still a credible danger, and
The Relthoza were once the feared enemy like the Relthoza are not to be taken lightly.
of the Terran Commonwealth, whom the
early politicians of the Dindrenzi Federation
succeeded in making into their allies. The
Relthoza have now committed their warriors to
a war that they hope is long and destructive,
in which their fleets will invade and dismay the
planetary systems of the Sorylians. The Terran
leaders, however, remain fearful of Relthoza
intentions, because if the Dindrenzi conquer
Fathoms Reach and approach the Terran Hub,
they may well let loose their allies to despoil and
terrorise the oldest planetary systems of the
Terran Alliance.

The vertical design of the Relthoza Navy is

probably the most distinctive of the main
protagonists in the Dindrenzi War. The internal
structure is a labyrinth of crawl spaces and
bulkheads, giving their larger ships a much