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“When planning a fleet offensive with the Blood Riders, one must make allowance for the tendency of their ship commanders to take their own initiative and go off on their own personal wars. Do not count on, or expect, a Blood Rider captain to adhere to a strict fleet-wide control doctrine. To them, such regulation is only a guideline for getting to a target. This can be vexing in the extreme to the fleet commander who seeks full fleet command and control at all times, or who puts Blood Riders in a reserve position and then finds a need for them later rather than sooner. This can even prove dangerous if the Blood Riders peel out of position to pursue personal glory and leave a vulnerable flank exposed. A fleet commander in such a position might well sympathize with any number of ancient Terran monarchs, watching his hotheaded glory-seekers breaking formation to hunt personal glories and ruining the order of battle.

On the other hand, a wise commander takes these proclivities into account; on the matter of history one might well remember the rogue initiatives of Horatio Nelson and the effect he had on the staid British line of battle. The Blood Rider love of tearing into targets of opportunity, thunder-run rampages, and bloody-minded thrusts at enemy prestige targets, against all accepted combat doctrine and commonsense, has often thrown an entire enemy line of battle into disarray, and exploitable chaos.”

----Solarii-Martial Deborah Thane Battleseer, Wayfinder Tribe war-scholar and Attached Dark Water fleet strategist. 

‘Verasus’ WarCruiser[]

The Blood Rider Tribe of the Shemarrian Star Nation is not known to be particularly involved in large starship construction, being generally content to acquire and modify ships from other sources, such as the Darkwaters and Silvermoons. On occasion, however, they’ve been known to allocate the resources and manpower to create their own designs, although with a certain amount of corner-cutting. Such was the case with the Verasus-class cruiser, clearly based on an existing design, the CCW ‘Warshield’.

The Verasus emerged when the Blood Riders had a pressing need for capital warships to secure their space at a time when their traditional sources of ships were sorely taxed meeting other commitments. A recent campaign against Splugorth-held worlds in the Thundercloud Galaxy had Darkwater and Silvermoon shipyards working to make up their respective Tribes’ operational losses and build up reserves against coming actions (including Splugorth retaliations), so the Blood Riders had to either wait or fall back on their own small production assets. Fortunately, as part of negotiations with the Silvermoons to possibly acquire a version of the latter’s Radiant Crescent Heavy Cruiser, the Blood Riders had been given the means to build engine subassemblies for the Crescents. Several small mobile yards capable of building larger hulls (especially transport hulls) had also been transferred to Blood Rider space as part of the deal. The Blood Riders elected to construct a small warship that would meet their immediate needs, using these available resources. However, rather than design a wholly new vessel from scratch, the Riders used an existing and well-known design, the Consortium of Civilized Worlds’ Warshield Cruiser, as the basis of the new cruiser. The Shemarrians had found examples of these long-serving vessels in the remains of battle zones bordering Splugorth space, and occasionally as operational loot (captured ships) in Splugorth ports the Shemarrians had overrun, so they were well-acquainted with the design. 

The first and most obvious change was the rebuilding of the rear engineering section of the traditional Warshield ‘slab’; using the engine subassemblies meant for Radiant Crescent-sized vessels, the Blood Riders beefed up the Warshield’s drive performance, doubling the design’s girth, but also greatly increasing speed and available power. Some of that power has gone into pushing the greater mass of the vessels, as armor protection has been increased, the bridge/sensor tower being streamlined into armored farings along the upper hull and a more angular prow shaped. Other changes are less obvious at first glance, but no less substantial. Because the Shemarrians have far less in the way of life support requirements than CCW crews, they could afford to maximize the use of space otherwise devoted to recreation and quality of life facilities. Also, because they had no analogues to the BattleRam Robot, they could better use the apportioned hangar space for other purposes. Heavier weaponry, particularly plasma-based types, has been added, and some of the space savings have gone into giving the new cruisers the ability to carry a company of troops for raiding and boarding operations. 

The resulting vessel was effective as a multipurpose combat starship and armed to the satisfaction of the Blood Riders’ philosophy of war. It was also fairly easily produced by the small shipbuilding capabilities of the Blood Rider Tribe, who immediately began deploying the new ships across their territories. The Blood Riders love these vessels because they are tough and well-armed enough to engage in the sort of ‘glory-duels’ the Tribe excels at, and small enough that crewmembers can earn an appreciable portion of personal glory in any action (and not just be a ‘cog’ in a larger crew or battle formation). The aggressiveness of Verasus crews has earned the vessel type the nickname ‘Red Beasts’ among Kittani and Kydian starship crews. 

The Verasus is found mainly with the Blood Riders, but a small number have also appeared in the fleets of the Horrorwoods and the Wolf’s Path. It is also rumored that the Lost Eclipse Tribe has acquired a few and substantially modified the design into something more...nightmarish.

Abilities[]

Verasus
Type ESheMar-CL03Br
Class Light Cruiser
Crew 200
Number Troops 160

320 with no warmounts

Number of Warmounts 80
Number of Shuttles 4 Scarab
Number of Fighters 12
Original Tribe Blood Riders
MDC By Location
Bridge 12,000
Main Body 50,000
Hangers 13,000
Main Engines 12,000 (4, rear 1/4 of ship)
Force Field 6000 / side
Mini Missile Launcher 100 (8)
Cruise Missile Launcher 1000 (2)
Heavy Plasma Torpedo Launcher 2000
Main Laser Cannon (2) 1200
G-Cannon Turret (4) 800
Secondary Laser Cannon (4) 8000
Plasma Torpedo Launcher (6) 1000
Plasma Cannons (12) 160150




Physical Size
Length 600 ft
Width 400 ft
Height 120 ft
Weight 160,000 tons
Cargo 10,000 tons
Powerplant Nuclear 50 year
Atmospheric Speed Hover - Mach 3
Transatmospheric Yes
Sublight Speed Mach 13
FTL Speed 5 LYH
Sensors Comms
Standard Sensors Yes
Special Systems
Special System 1 Sensor Baffling
Special System 2 Tractor Beams (7)
Weapon Systems
Primary Weapon Heavy Plasma Torpedo Launcher
Secondary Weapon Main Laser Cannon (2)
Third Weapon G-Cannon Turret (4)
Fourth Weapon Cruise Missile Launcher (2)
Fifth Weapon Plasma Torpedo Launcher (4)
Sixth Weapon Plasma Cannon (12)
Seventh Weapon Point Defense Turret (8)
Eighth Weapon Mini-Missile Launcher (8)

The Verasus is built even more for combat than the Warshield, armed with multiple plasma weapons.

Special Systems[]

Sensor Baffling[]

The Shemar ships can partially mask their sensor spoor, making themselves difficult to detect at long range. This acts as Stealth (-70% to detect while stationary, -30% when moving). 

Tractor Beams (7)[]

The Verasus sports seven tractor beams, six light (one to each plasma torpedo launcher) and one heavy (mutually supporting the heavy plasma torpedo launcher and hangar bay). The light tractor beams are each rated for 800 tons dead weight, but can be used for imparting small changes in momentum/direction to ships/structures several times that mass. The heavy tractor beam is rated for 75,000 tons and can be used to tow small starships. 

Range: 5 miles in space (NOT usable in atmosphere).

Weapons Systems[]

Heavy Plasma Torpedo Launcher (1)[]

Range 25 miles atmo
Range2 100 miles space
Damage 2d6x100 MD 150 radius
Rate of Fire Volles 1-10

3 volley / melee

Payload Unlimited

Mounted where the BattleRam launch tube is on a Warshield, this massive weapon fires plasma bolts that are initially guided by tractor beam before continuing on their way as ballistic projectiles. Verasus crews will typically use barrages of HPTs to saturate an enemy’s defenses in what have been described by witnesses as ‘solar flare from hell’ attacks. 

Main Laser Cannon (2)[]

Range 30 mile atmo
Range2 100 miles space
Damage 1d4x1000
Rate of Fire 2 / melee
Payload Unlimited

A holdover from the original Warshield, these weapons are mainly used for engaging capital units and pinpoint surface bombardment.

G-Cannon Turrets (4)[]

Range 3 mile atmo
Range2 10 mile space
Damage 1d4x100 md / 80 rd burst
Rate of Fire EGCHH
Payload 32,000 rds / cannon

A holdover from the original Warshield, and typically used to ‘spray’ for enemy fighters and missiles.

Cruise Missile Launchers (2)[]

Range varies by type
Damage varies by type
Rate of Fire Volley 1-32
Payload 32 / launcher

The Verasus retains the CMLs of the original design, while replacing the LRMLs with plasma torpedoes (the belief being, if you’re going to throw stuff at an enemy, you may as well not go with half-measures). If an enemy survives the extra cruise missile and plasma attention, they’re either then ripe for boarding, or should be avoided altogether.

Additional missiles may be stored in the cargo holds and reloaded within 30 minutes (1 ton of cargo per 6 missiles).

Plasma Torpedo Launchers (4)[]

Range 25 miles atmo
Range2 100 miles space
Damage 2d4x100 MD 100 ft radius
Rate of Fire Volleys 1-8

3/melee

Payload Unlimited

The long range missile launchers have been replaced with Blood Rider signature plasma torpedo launchers, trading range and versatility for effectively unlimited and heavier close-in firepower. These unusual weapons fire volleys of plasma bolts like missiles, and are even able to ‘curve’ (up to 90 degrees) the shots somewhat to skip around ships and obstacles to envelope a target, but this control seems ballistic in nature, rather than active control (though there is evidence that the Shemar are able to actively direct the bolts within tractor beam range). The bolts themselves seem to have been endowed with a weak magnetic field that contains the plasma in a tight ’packet’, allowing the plasma to travel farther without losing cohesion and damage potential, and allowing the plasma to explode with area of effect on target. The result is an energy missile with superior range to normal energy weapons (though still well short of comparable missile weaponry) and potentially unlimited payload. However, the plasma packets CAN be grabbed/deflected by tractor beams (likely how the EShemar manipulate their energy projectiles at short range and correct their course....each of the launch bays’ mounted tractor beams being able to grab and direct a volley of plasma bolts), or destabilized by ion or particle beam weapons fire (takes 20 MDC to disrupt the plasma containment).

Plasma Cannons (12)[]

Range 8 mile atmo
Range2 16 miles space
Damage 4d6x10 MD
Rate of Fire ECHH
Payload Unlimited

In place of the Warshield ‘s original particle beams, the Verasus instead mounts longer-ranged plasma cannons.

Point Defense Rail Gun/Laser Turrets (8)[]

Range Railgun 2 mile atmo

4 mile space

Range2 Laser 1 mile atmo

3 mile space

Damage Railgun 4d6x10 MD
Damage2 Laser 3d6x10 MD
Rate of Fire EGCHH (4-6)
Payload Railgun 2000 rd drums ea

Laser Unlimited

Standard Shemarrian-pattern rail gun/pulse laser

combination in a common turret. These replace the Warshield’s Gravity Autocannon Turrets in the point defense role.

Additional ammunition can be stored as cargo, but will take 45 minutes to reload from stores.

Mini-Missile Launchers (8)[]

Range varies by type
Damage varies by type
Rate of Fire Vollesy 1-8
Payload 128 / launcher

These remain unchanged from the original Warshield configuration. For some reason, probably related to the ‘fire and forget’ nature of missiles as opposed to direct fire weapons such as lasers and rail guns, the gunners assigned to these PDS turrets are generally regarded less well for their gunnery skills as those operating the rail gun/laser turrets, and their ammunition consumption more acutely watched and evaluated. This has forced many Blood Rider gunners assigned to the MMLs to become even more studied in ballistics with regards to ‘trick-shooting’ with mini-missiles, and attempt to gain more kills than the other PDS gunners.

Reloading a turret from the cargo hold takes 1d6 minutes(1 ton of cargo per 96 missiles).

Variants[]

The relative ease of constructing the Verasus, combined with the economics of the Blood Riders, means that substitution of systems is fairly common in the class across the Tribe’s territories. Typically the smaller weapons will be swapped out for other types of the same damage class, depending on the availability of components (such as g-cannons replaced by rail guns, or plasma cannons for laser weapons). 

ESheMar-CL03BrG[]

Range 6 mile atmo
Range2 70 mile space
Damage 1d4x1000 MD
Damage2 25% damage to 60 ft radius
Rate of Fire 2 / melee ea
Payload Unlimited

The CL03BrG-configuration replaces the heavy lasers in the nose with Golgan-style Mega-Disruptor Cannons identical in performance to that mounted on the Republik Binda Heavy Cruiser. Though considered a poor replacement for the laser cannons with regards to range, the substitution was necessitated in one Tribal sector by the need to quickly return several damaged cruisers to action, and the Golgan weapons were available from salvage. 

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