Ship Specifications Guide

Ship Specifications Guide
Written by:

R.Adm Emily Quinn

Recommended for:

R&D Ship Spec Building

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Why are there standard specifications for the ships in a fleet? There are a lot of factors involved in this, but the first reason is to provide continuity for the players. If they are used to having the ship's lounge on deck 10, forward section on a Galaxy Class, then the lounge should be in the same place on all of the Galaxy Class ships.

The next thing to remember is that all the ships of a certain type were made from the same designs at the shipyards, these ships are made to be mass produced, and it's easier to use a standard design than changing it on a ship by ship basis. Adding a holodeck where there wasn't one before doesn't just affect the space that the holodeck takes up, it affects the power relay requirements, the computer capabilities of the ship and even the primary and secondary stores for materials that the holodeck replicates.

The next concern is when it comes time for the refits to the ship; A lot of the parts used in the refits are mass-produced, made to be easily swapped in for existing parts. The more custom work that is done, the more likely it is that come refit time, the shipyard engineers are going to have a hell of a time making the standard parts fit, all because an engineer thought they were being clever.

In 2 series in particular, we can see this being broken outright. In Voyager, they were in a difficult situation, and they didn't have access to shipyards or even starbases. They made modifications to the ship that would never have been considered by Star Fleet. In the end, Voyager would never see service again after reaching the Alpha Quadrant. She would be mothballed, made into a museum, or even reverse engineered into tiny little pieces to try to get every bit of alien technology that had been put into her into the technology base of the Federation and Star Fleet.

The other series that broke this also had good reason, DS9 wasn't a Star Fleet class to begin with, it was Cardassian technology, and the problems of integrating standard Federation technology into her was a weekly trial for Mr. O'brien. This clearly showed the problems of integrating standard tech with non-standard tech.

Breaking Down A Specification Sheet

Defining the Class Name

For canon ships or even ones modified from other sources this is an easy one. If it's something you are making from scratch, it's best to consider the role that the ship will play and name it after something that has to do with that.

Defining the Class Category

The ship category does a lot to describe what role the ship will fill. Below are the current Pegasus Fleet ship categories with explinations.


A Starbase is generally defined as a heavily armed, heavily defended facility used by spacefaring cultures where both military and civilian spacecraft may be repaired and resupplied. Starbases may be either a deep space structure like K-7 or DS9; an orbital facility such as Starbase 1 (aka Earth Spacedock); a planetary surface facility or a combination of both planetary surface and orbital structure(s) such as Starbase 11.


A Carrier is a Starfleet warship designed for the primary purpose of deploying and recovering fighter craft and shuttles. These large starships serve as mobile starbases. They are able to take on many types of military roles, including acting as a transport for a starfleet marine garrison. Although they are not necessarily the largest ships, they often play an important role during combat operations, both in fleet and ground combat.


A Federation Corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship. During Earth's Age of Sail, corvettes were one of many types of smaller warships. The role of the corvette consisted mostly of coastal patrol, fighting minor wars, supporting large fleets, or providing escort for the larger ships. Federation corvettes perform similar roles, including border patrols and minor peacekeeping. Corvettes are often attached to starbases as part of their garrison.


Cruisers are among the most powerful starships in the Federation arsenal. These powerful starships are usually more heavily armed than other similarly sized ships. Built for combat, they often carry marines and are less suited for scientific roles. Cruisers are often deployed on missions where a show of force is necessary, although destroyers and ships-of-the-line may also serve in this role as well.


A Destroyer is a small, maneuverable, long endurance warship. Destroyers are intended to work alongside larger ships during full scale engagements, defending them against small, short range attackers. Destroyers often operate on their own, especially during peacetime. They often take on missions suitable for corvettes or cruisers thanks to their smaller size and longer time between resupply.


Explorers are the backbone of the Federation's scientific endeavors. Explorers come in a wide range of sizes, from small short range research vessels operating in known space, to the larger long range exploration vessels on the edges of the Federation frontier. During wartime, explorers sometimes act as reconnaissance ships, using their powerful sensors to detect enemy movements.


A Ship-of-the-Line represents the pinnacle of Starfleet technology. The name sake referring to ancient line of battle ships from the Age of Sail. Ships-of-the-Line are among the largest Federation starships, designed to function in a variety of different roles. They are often used as flagships, and are well suited for both combat and exploration. The are often among the most luxurious of starships, and play host to various diplomatic functions. While cruisers are usually better in battle and explorers are more proficient in scientific endeavors, Ships-of-the-Line are unmatched in their versatility.


A Support starship is a type of starship mostly used in secondary roles. Usually poorly suited for both combat and exploration, these vessels still perform important functions for the fleet. Their roles are as varied as serving as large troop transports, medical ships, or even cargo haulers.

The Life of the Ship

Nothing lasts forever, even a massive, powerful Starship. Most ships last between 25 and 150 years (up to 225 in the case of Starbases), depending on the size and durability of the ship. Each ship also has an expected time between refits, and an expected time between resupply, which is usually quite short comparatively.

When gauging the Expected Duration for a new ship class, compare it to ships within it's Category. Find a nice medium based on size and purpose to figure out how long this ship will be in the stars before it's shipped off to the starship graveyard. For instance, within the "Destroyer" category, you have the Centaur, Miranda, and the Wildcat classes. They last between 90 and 150 years. A ship in this category should probably last in or near that range.

Next is the Time Between Refit. Refit schedules are between 3 and 10 years for Starships, while Starbases typically go 20 years or more. The time greatly depends on the mass of the ship. While minor refits and updates will happen all throughout the ships life, a major overhaul refit will only happen on these time intervals. Usually, a refit of this magnitude would require the ship to be in dry dock for an extended period. So you're probably not going to want to have that happen once a year.

Finally, Time Between Resupply is the time that the ship can go out on the stores of food, fuel, and other expendable supplies it has onboard. This is usually between 0 and 3 years. This is just a quick pit stop, so if you're dealing with a super small class, a 6 month interval wouldn't be out of line.

Stats, Personnel, Armour and Guns


  Officers: ?
  Enlisted Crew: ?
  Marines: ?
  Passengers: ?
  Maximum (Evacuation) Capacity: ?

How many people does it carry? Usually a ship's Officer to Enlisted Ratio is 1:3 to 1:5. The larger the ship the more enlisted there will be to officers. Marines can be a quandry, in general you won't find any marines on Explorers, Surveyors or Medical ships. Other ships may have a small compliment. If you have marine piloted fighters (Scorpion Mk IIs), you will add 3 marines per fighter. If you have Dragoon Transports you will have 24-64 Marines each. If you have Serenity Modular Transports, you may have even more. Civilians? Most ships these days carry some Civilians. Explorers and Surveyors will usually have families of the SF Officers aboard, as well as some that fill comfort roles (Lounge workers) as well as visiting scientists, doctors, etc who are there to train or work with those from the ship. Evacuation, something no one likes to think of. This is sardine time. How many people can lay down at any one time on the ship. Is there a thru-deck hangar? How many cargo areas are there? Are the crew quarters spacious or cramped bunk style? Roughly it starts at twice the number of Officers and Enlisted combined and then you work out from there.


  Cruising Velocity: Warp ?
  Maximum Velocity: Warp ?
  Emergency Velocity: Warp ? (for ? hours)

She cannae go any faster, Captain! There's a lot to consider, does it have special nacelle geometry? How big is the ship? How big is the Warp Core? How much stuff is packed into the ship? What other power drains do the ship's systems place on that core?


  Length: ? metres
  Width: ? metres
  Height: ? metres
  Decks: ?

Just how big is this beasty? Remember that Star Fleet already has a bunch of good designs for bigger ships, and that they are usually very resource-intensive. When considering new designs for production, they would rather use small to medium ships that are easier to produce over larger ones. Height and the # of decks is closely related as well, usually the height is 4 meters for every deck, though decks that contain "thru-deck hangars" cargo bays, shuttle bays, gymnasiums, arbotereums, natoriums and even full size holodecks tend to be larger than the their counterparts. These items tend to be stuck on the same decks so that not too many decks need to be larger than the standard.

Auxiliary Craft

  Shuttlebays: ?

How many shuttlebays does she have? Usually you can get an idea from the picture if you are working from an image. Captain's yacht docking ports count as a shuttlebays, but usually only accomdate that individual ship. Thru-deck hangars count as a single shuttlebay. How big are the bays? Some ships have additional shuttle storage areas beyond the bay itself, some even have elevators to bring shuttles from other levels of the ship. What kind of shuttles? Well, the first consideration is what will fit. You won't see Serenity Modular Transports on any kind of ship that doesn't have Thru-deck hangars or drop bays, they are just too big. What is the ship category? Surveyors and Explorers are likely not to have any fighters, but may have some special classes like the Hunley. Are there Marine Pilots aboard? They would be piloting Scorpion Mk IIs, Star Fleet fighter Pilots would pilot Razors and Vipers.


  Defensive Systems
     Ablative Hull Armor
     Structural Integrity Field

What kind of passive protection does it have? Most multi-deck modern ships with have Structural Integrity Fields meant to seal off areas that have been compromised against leaking off life support. Larger vessels that are made for handling dangerous situations will also have armor that is made to cook off from weapon's fire while leaving what's below it safe.

     Type U Pulse: 4
     Type X Array: 2

What types of weapons does she have? Support ships are usually limited in how big their weapons systems can be, usually maxxing out at type IV or U+ Micropulse. For larger ships, it depends on what their category is, how big their warp core is, and how new they are. Older ships max out at Type VIII Arrays, and lighter new vessels are still designed with this limitation in mind. Even the mighty defiants max out at Type X and Type U. Only the biggest and newest will field the Type XII Arrays.

  Shielding Systems
     Auto-Modulating Shielding System
     Metaphasic Shielding System
     Standard Shielding System

What about Active Defenses? Almost all ships will have one of either "Light Shielding System", "Standard Shielding System" or "High Capacity Shielding System". Most fighters and other support craft will have the light variety, other ships the standard variety. Only Starbases and ships with way over-powered warp cores will have the high capacity variety. The other things listed under here are modifiers to those systems. Auto-Modulating means that it automatically rotates the shield frequencies to prevent opponents from finding the weapons frequency that would be "in tune" with the shields, allowing energy weapons to pass through the shields as if they weren't there. Metaphasic is a relatively new type of shielding which makes the shielded object partially "not there", limiting the amount of energy that actually affects the ship. Regenerative means that the shields recover much faster than normal, but require massive amounts of power to do so.

     Burst-Fire Torpedo Launcher: 3
        Quantum Torpedoes: 60
        Photon Torpedoes: 30
     Tri-Cobalt Device: 2

Torpedoes are kind of self-explanatory. The Burst Fire launchers are the standard, the Rapid Fire fire 3 torpedoes in the same amount of time that the burst fire takes to launch 1. Some ships with limited internal space actually use "bolt-on" launchers, trading the ability to have more launchers against the fact that they are easier to target and hit in combat. Fighters and the like may have micro-torpedo launchers or even one-shot torpedo casings in their wings. How many torpedoes? Again, you need to take into account the role the ship is meant to play. Explorers and Suveyors would have limited amounts, Medical ships might carry probes, but would not carry any actual torpedoes. Tri-Cobalt devices are to Torpedoes what modern day nuclear weapons are to Heavy Artillery fire. You will see a lot of fleets loading their ships up with massive amounts of these, something that really wouldn't happen. Even ships meant for war-time won't have too many of these babies. These things are devastating when used, and have to be used from a distance, because the blast radius is pretty big.


Here's where you share any bits and pieces about the ship, when and why she was designed, bits and pieces about why it was named what it was and a small history about the ship.

Deck Listing

Deck Description
1 Main Bridge, Captain's Ready Room, Transporter Room 1, Phaser Turrets (2), Upper Main Engineering, Plasma Exhaust Vents, Upper Sensor Array, Officer and Crew Quarters, Antimatter Storage/Injectors, Warp Core Ejection Hatch
2 Lower Main Engineering, Main Impulse Engines, Computer Core (Level 1), Targeting Sensors, Torpedo Magazines, Forward Torpedo Launchers (2), Mess Hall, Warp Coils, Med/Science Lab, Sickbay, Transporter Room 2, Officer and Crew Quarters, Deflector Control Room
3 Main Impulse Engines, Shuttle Maintenance and Shuttlebay Elevator System, Computer Core (Level 2), Deuterium Storage/Injectors, Cargos Bays 1-4, Torpedo Magazine, Warp Coils
4 Landing Struts, Navigational Deflector, Phaser Turrets (2), Aft Torpedo Launcher, Probe Launcher, Lower Sensor Array, Shuttlebay Exterior Doors and Elevator System, Tractor Emitters, Warp Coils, Nacelle Maintenance Access.

Here's the toughy... What goes into a deck listing, and where is it located on the ship? The first thing to remember is that your ship is not a cube, you can't fit the same amount of things on every deck! Putting the many varied nacelle structures aside, most Star Fleet Vessels are basically egg shaped, or work as if they are. that is, the bigger decks are usually somewhere in the center of the ship, and usually larger items, like SIF/IDF/Shield generators find their way onto these decks because they give more room to work with. Another thing to remember is that the size of some items is not always set. Environmental Control Systems, SIF/IDF/Shield Generators, Primary and Secondary Stores, Waste Reclamation Systems and even Quarters need to be bigger when the ship is bigger. They need to be able to support larger areas and more crew! Another thing to consider is does the ship separate, and if so, into how many parts? Saucers don't break up into multiple pieces, but the drive section may. Each of those segments is going to need copies of the basics. With that in mind, lets get to some of the basics...

What kind of bridge does the ship have? Usually the bridge will be on deck 1, the first item. Almost every deck 1 will also include the Captain's Ready Room as well. Larger ships may also include a conference room as well. Remember that the bigger the ship, the larger the bridge itself will be in order to support controlling the functions of the ship. If the Nacelles are higher than the top of the "saucer" section of the ship, usually these section will be listed as subdecks Lettered rather than numbered. If the ship separates, it will have either a battle bridge or auxilliary control room in each of the other sections.

If the ship separates, you need to emplace the clamps that hold the ship together. As powerful as these docking clamps need to be, they will be found on both sides, being listed on 2 decks and tend to take a lot of space up on the decks they reside in.

Where does the Warp Core eject from? As silly as this sounds, this has to be considered. Does the central strut for the nacelles go down lower than the bottom of the saucer? if so are the nacelles even lower? If the ship separates, each section that has warp capability will need it's own warp core ejection hatch, if the ship is capable of recombining without the use of a starbase or shipyard, any "center sections", like the one in the middle of the Prometheus Class, can have the ejection hatch in the same deck as the clamps that hold the ship in one piece.

Antimatter Storage is needed to hold the antimatter that helps fuel the m/a reaction, these can be on the same deck as the hatch, or the deck inward from that, and some of the larger ships even go one deck further in from that.

Antimatter Injection Assembly is what controls the flow of antimatter into the reaction chamber. Sometimes, especially in cases where there are multiple decks with antimatter storage, the injectors can be on the same level as the storage pods, otherwise this is one level in from that storage.

Main Engineering is where the matter/antimatter reaction assembly is located, along with the controls and diagnostic systems for it and the rest of the ship are located. Now you have to consider how big the ship is, what it's power requirements are for not only everyday life, but to run the propulsion, weapon and defense systems. For Example, the Galaxy Class had a 3-deck reaction chamber (2 were visible, one was below) to power 42 decks worth of ship. Make sure to put these inward on the deck lising from the antimatter injection assembly.

Deuterium Injection Assembly and Storage is the other end from the antimatter. While still hazardous with the danger of a hydrogen explosion, Deuterium is much less dangerous than the antimatter. Deuterium is collected from the bussard collectors at the front of the nacelles, making the ship refuel itself with this as it travels along. Roughly, though, there should be roughly the same configuration of this as there is for the anti-matter side, injectors towards Main Engineering.

Environmental Controls includes the old life support and gravity control systems as well as supporting different atmospheric conditions. Waste Reclamation is usually found on the same deck as the two are actually more closely related than one would first assume. This saves time and resources as the direct needs for the Environmental Control systems are supplied directly from the recovered materials rather than sending them to the primary and/or secondary stores and then sending them back out to supply the Environmentals. This saves time and power.

Sensor Arrays are found on every ship usually the primary one will be found high up in the deck listing. On larger ships, there may be lower sensor arrays and even lateral ones.

Quarters are found on all but the smallest ships. Often they will be listed by who they are reserved for, sometimes just Officer, Crew and VIP, other times even to Senior Officer, Officer, Crew, Family, VIP, and Visitor, depending on just how many of each there are. Some deck listings will list specific Senior Officer Quarters, like the Captain's, XO's, CMO's etc, but this isn't needed, usually the SOs will live in the quarters of the fitting type closest to their station. The Captain would usually live in the Senior Officer Quarters closest to the bridge, The CMO would be in the one closest to Sickbay, etc.

Computer Cores will be found on anything larger than 3 decks. 3 decks of less will have component specific computing power without having a dedicated area for control. How many levels will a computer core have? Thing to take into account are the number of holodecks/suites, number and types of weapons and active defense systems, size of the ship, number of support craft and just about anything on the ship that can make use of that power. Some ships will have a backup core that needs to be the same size as the main, or no more than 1 level less.

Weapons appear on the inside as well as out. Inside the ship where all those phaser arrays and torpedo launchers are will be the support or maintainance areas for them, as well as storage for the ammo for the torpedoes.

SIF/IDF/Shield Generators are usually found together, or on larger ships, sometimes on sequential decks. Remember that the bigger ships they can take up a lot of space and sometimes there are secondary generators on ships that are made to be in the front lines in battle.

Sickbay is found on almost every ship, people get hurt even when the ship isn't in battle. 90% of accidents happen at home. So you need someplace to patch people up. Some deck listings show individual sections of the sickbay, but that really isn't needed. In general, the larger the vessel, the larger the sickbay will need to be to support the additional people.

Mess Hall is where people eat, you might have separate Officer's and Crew Messes. Ships equipped for diplomacy may have Dining and/or Banquet halls, Larger ships might even have separate messes for Senior Officers and Junior Officers.

Deflector Control and Navigational Deflector are what keep specs of space dust and micrometeors from turning the ship into a seive when travelling through space, they basically push the junk out of the way so that they aren't in the way of the ship.

Cargo Bays are needed to store the neccesities of ship board life. Spare equipment (not weapons), Real food to offer some variety to the crew, spare parts for shipboard systems. Some of these bays may be 2 decks high and have doors that lead outside the ship for easier loading at starbases.

Transporter Rooms are scattered around the ship for convenience. There may also be cargo transporters which are made to transport large quantities, at least 1 for every 2 cargo bays, and emergency transporter which are isolated from the main system so that if the main systems go down, they still function.

Shuttlebays come in a couple of varieties, and of course won't be found in the smaller ships. Aerowings are made to be docked to an external port on the ship that counts as a shuttlebay but can't hold any additional support ships. "Standard" shuttlebays aren't really of a certain size, some are made for holding bigger ships than others and if there are more than one of these on a ship, at least one of them will be 2 decks high and will need a Flight Control Center, Shuttle Maintaince Center and may have access to Shuttle Storage or even Shuttle Elevators leading to an additional Shuttle Storage area on a deck above and/or below. Then there are Drop Bays, which will always have Shuttle Elevators and additional Shuttle Storage. Then we get to the king size of shuttlebays, the Thru-Deck Hangar. These are always on 2 decks, and usually these decks are taller than the other decks of the ship. Larger ship's locations will usually be found on these levels as well, and they will always have shuttle elevators to bring the shuttles and fighters in from the decks above/below.

Tractor Emitters are usually in the belly of the ship.