Military Dreadnought Class Starship - Human

The Dreadnought Class starships used by different human military interests are the behemoths of the navy. Huge lumbering ships they hold fighter bays & small ship bays, heavy weapons, thick armour plates & force fields, and usually a number of marine regiments. Each relies on fusion cores, whether one huge core, or a number of smaller cores (whether in one section or spread throughout at strategic locations). Most can act independently, though they are mainly designed to be accompanied by smaller assets & act as the main command centre for a fleet.

Power Generation

Many of the Human Dreadnought Class warships have at least one fusion reactor core. Many of the older designs are built with one huge reactor near the back of the ship sitting in front of the engines and have miles of power cables throughout the ship. The more recent built ships have smaller cores with them spaced out throughout the length of the ship. That way if one fails the others will compensate, as well as having a central power source for each section. It also cuts down on the amount of power cables needed to run through the ship cutting down on failures. The fusion reactor(s) use hydrogen fuel cells, that produce helium as a by-product that is stored in ultra low temperature armoured containers. This in turn is used to produce the force fields.


The ship relies on thrust when in system or at slower speeds. It effectively pushes the ship using a highly effective energetic thrust caused by a plasma burst from the engines. Coupled with the forcefields that sit closely to the surface of the ship, it partially separates the ship from space-time & the effects of external gravity fields to make it appear lighter.   At higher speeds it can reach over half the speed of light. This requires heavy use of the fusion reactor(s) diverting the energy from all but the engines, fields and life support. The force fields power has to increase to balance the effects of partial separation of space/time & gravity effects, while the engines have to power up the thrust to higher output.   The engines are guilt in a way that causes hydrogen to be turned into a plasma state to give an effect to solar flares, using containment fields to force it out at a specific angle to move the ship in specific directions. The fields are energy barriers that are made out of helium gas charged with small particles of dark matter to create an impenetrable barrier to the hydrogen plasma. Any damage to or miscalculation at this stage can cause an extremely dangerous mix of gasses that can explode like a miniature sun destroying the ship. Most of these calculations use an advanced AI quantum computer core to carry out the necessary calculations in real-time.   Small thrusters are built in at regular intervals to help push the ship into a better position These are fed from the same fusion core(s), using the same technology along with being mounted onto fixed points.

Weapons & Armament

Three types of weapon systems are built in to the majority of dreadnoughts. The first is standard missile systems with the missiles able to be given variable types of warhead. These are usually referred to as torpedoes after old nautical weapons. There are two general size of missile, a 2 meter long missile for close contact with the enemy, and a larger 3.5 meter long for long range attacks. Usual warheads are packed with high grade fusion reaction warheads designed to melt through armour, react with force fields and to burn atmosphere. Nuclear warheads are used if the need to irradiate an enemy or area as required. Chemical & biological agents warheads are available but rarely used and each dreadnought carried a few of these. The latter two are used mostly against planetside targets. The coordinates are uploaded from a mix of AI targeting systems & human naval officer. The 2 meter warheads can only be used within 500 miles or less of the target, while the 3.5 meter carry enough fuel & speed to be fired in-system from the edge of a solar system. Rare warheads are also available and sometimes the dreadnought will not be issued any. One common type of these is the EMP warhead used to release an electro-magnetic pulse that shorts out electronic equipment.   Heavy weapons are weapons built to be placed on ships only. They come in two types, a heavy bore machine gun style weapon, though rarely used now. They fire depleted plutonium slugs the size of a man's chest either in bursts of three or six shots, and designed initially to cut through armoured hulls or soak an area planetside in shot. The second type that is now more common is the fusion plasma guns, weapons using the same technology behind the thrusters with one distinct difference. The weapon creates a directed beam out of the gun's barrel that can be kept locked on, or switched to cut off in a mater of nanoseconds depending on the rate of fire required. Both have human gunners attached with one to fire and one to help target, with both using sophisticated AI targeting & maintenance systems.   The third system also uses a sophisticated targeting system and controlled by a single gunner and AI system. These are usually fusion plasma guns that are the same mounted on planetside vehicles & single seater fighters. Too heavy for a man to carry they make for perfect point defence attacks allowing for any enemy craft that gets too close for the big guns to take a battering.   All of them are linked to the power grid to draw power from and usually have their own dedicated power cells. The large bore guns usually have a supply of bullets nearby to be uploaded using automated hoppers. Since these are being replaced slowly their ammunition is being sent to settlements who use them for protection until they can be replaced later. It also frees up storage space as well, when the fusion plasma weapons are fitted instead, and both larger gun types have barrels about a quarter to a half mile long. The smaller usually has barrels a few meters long.

Armor and defense

The hulls of the dreadnoughts are usually 2 meters thick within a stabilising frame & internal boards to absorb shockwaves & warping from outside. They are backed up with a weak forcefield between each hull plating and the inner boards that is generally harmless to organic material but reacts to excessive kinetic or energy force hitting it, causing it 'harden' so to speak and dissipate the energy from it. The materials used in the hulls are armoured plates on the outside. Made of artificial spider-silk & carbon nanotubules worked into high quality steel, while they also contain traces of lead to help stave off radioactive molecules penetrating them.   On the outside is a stronger version of the force field projected by emitters placed in the external hull. The field sits roughly 3 meters from the hull, and any external components. It has a built in system that slightly warps space/time and gravity too, allowing for enemy fire to be thrown off course as well as expending the energy behind the shot.   The next point of defence is the heavily armoured airlocks that have hulls at least half a meter thicker than the rest. This is to make it harder to penetrate these supposed weakpoints, and cut the chances of being boarded. Also, many dreadnoughts have at least one regiment of marines around the 500 mark. They can carry out the defence of the ship leading the standard naval crew in counter-offensives to carrying out their own boarding actions.   Chaff and Flares are used when enemy missiles are fired at the dreadnought. Chaff is rough parts, usually parts that are usually scrapped from maintenance & repairs, being fired out to confuse enemy sensors. Flares carry out a similar function but also are programmed not just to give a heat signature, but also Electro Magnetic Frequencies, and if need be, fake biological signatures too.   Jamming pods are sometimes jettisoned to disrupt the workings of scanners & targetters. On top of that similar devices called Direct Infra-Red Countermeasures (DIRCM) are employed that uses Ultraviolet spectrum detection systems to pick up incoming attacks. It then sends out Infra-Red bursts where possible to disrupt detection sensors.

Communication Tools & Systems

The dreadnought has a set of communications systems built in. The common variants are: 
  • screen / voice points
  • Subspace nodules
  • PA systems
Screen / voice points are simple devices in principle. They are built into internal walls running through fibre optic cables linked to a control AI system deep within the core of the ship. It is usually linked as well to a terminal on the bridge in some so as to monitor for misuse of the system. Each general point has a built-in microphone, speaker, video camera and video touchscreen. Operated by pressing one of three button as to whether it is for speech only, text only (brings up a keyboard on the touchscreen), or one with speech / text and video. It links two such points together and can be broadcast to & from a related system over a handful of lightyears. It is widely used and some use it exclusively preferring to use it when on board and the other options off-board. When linked to an external system it uses subspace bandwidth to transmit & receive messages.   Subspace nodules are small devices. One part is either a cybernetic implant or an external ear piece & speaker sitting in & on the ear. A micro transmitter is built on no bigger than a finger nail that contains a nanochip & booster, allowing for transmission to any other part of the ship or even between ground units and either the antenna / communications officers or specific individuals. The devices themselves can be charged using bioelectric charges from the user, and regularly linked to the communications network. In many cases the nanochip / booster set up is built into the walls /roof of parts of the dreadnought too. These are used to boost the signal further and more efficiently throughout the ship.   PA systems are basic communications system built into speakers and a few video screens throughout the ship. It allows specific individuals of certain ranks to broadcast messages to the general ship's crew (and passengers where any present), as well as any overall commands for the whole crew too. It uses fibre optics and a parallel basic system as to the screen / voice points.   Both the Screen / voice points & the PA system draws power from the fusion core to function and has at least one back up system in place of failure of one of them. Each can make use of the antenna that falls under the purview of the commutations section of officers, and for messages or communication over long distances of space, planetary & deep space satellite relays are used to bounce the connection onwards. It can take anywhere from nanoseconds to weeks for any communication to be received.


Multiple sensors are placed along the inside & outside. Sensors are placed to pick up a number of different aspects and many are built with miniaturised cameras. The sensors are commonly programmed to pick up the following:
  • heat, light & temperature
  • damage to the ship structure
  • movement
  • organic molecules / life
  • radioactive material
  • smoke
  • water and fire.
Most, especially on the external hull, has far range features that can be used to pick up details hundreds of miles out. Usually this falls under 500 miles and can be pushed further if necessary by combining multiple sensor sweeps of a targeted region. Sometimes, sensor pods are used that are simple AI drones about the size of a human, that are sent to give greater / longer readings.

Additional & auxiliary systems

A few systems are also built in to the structure of the dreadnought. These usually are:
  • Communications Array. Antenna and an AI quantum computer carries out basic communication work along with passive & active scanning of surrounding space. A team of communications officers are present to allow for a more flexible approach with the system. They also use & deploy communication beacons & communication satellites where necessary to allow for this to be used over longer distances.
  • Medical Bay. A number of trauma doctors, nurse & support staff are present here with a few Synths. A detailed medical library is also attached along with a medical grade AI & robotics section. At least two additional labs are present to allow for tests to be carried out along with bioengineering / cybernetic augmentation suite in one. Another lab lies nearby to allow for biological experimentation & further testing.
  • Dormitories. These are placed near the medical section and makes up for crew habitat along with a mess hall, entertainment suites, a bar, and exercise facility. Also attached is a religious centre and facilities for storing the deceased. The medical team use this too, especially when carrying out an autopsy.
  • Synth laboratory & Maintenance Bay. This area is designated for the Synths to rest, recharge and repair themselves. It is close to the machine shops.
  • Machine Shop. This functions as the main area of the ship's engineers. From here they can fashion a number of components, repair parts, store spares, and monitor the overall wellbeing of the dreadnought itself. They can also closely monitor the engines, power core, Synths and Medical Bay.
  • Disposal Points. Found throughout the dreadnought are automated disposal points that use vacuum tubes that suck up or downwards, when objects a placed inside to be destroyed or bundled up to be dumped by the ship.
  • Subwarp / Warp core. This area is near the Maintenance Bay. It is a room made to send out a wave of highly charged particles through the ship & its fields allowing for sub lightspeed movement or using a Warp Gate / Tunnel.
  • Command / Bridge & Sub-Bridges. The bridge is usually situated near the top front or top back of the dreadnought, and wired into every other part of the ship. The command crew monitor everything they can except the personnel when in their bunks. The Sub-Bridges fulfil a similar role on a stripped down capacity when access to the main Bridge is impossible. The communications officers are primarily found here, along with the highest ranking officers, ships pilots & the ship controls, along with the primary weapon & forcefield AI terminals & officers. Many other more specialised officer class can be found secreted away in a corner or in a Sub-Bridge where and when attached to the ship/
  • Transport Buggies. These are stored at regular intervals throughout the ship and used by the staff when having to travel any great length on board. Kept in alcoves to charge when not in use, they are built to carry basic equipment & two to six passengers.
  • Gravity Generator. Deep in the middle of the ship is a small room that houses a ball of pure tungsten crushed down into a super heavy ball. Three concentric rings of tungsten spin round it. These are held in place by a forcefield and acts like a planetary core causing gravity waves to come out holding everything in place.
  • Weapon / Armour / Spacesuit lockers. These are found through out the ship with the most weapons stored near the marine quarters.
  • Marine Quarters. This area is for use by the marines. It is similar to the crew quarters though has much more training facilities such as in weapons, armour, unarmed combat, boarding actions, etc.
  • Escape Pod. These house up to 5 people and/or Synths and found in escape tunnels spread throughout the ship. There is usually sufficient pods to totally evacuate the ship.
  • Launchers. There are a number of different launchers scattered here and there on the ship surface. These are used to fire satellites, pods, chaff, and even deep space robotic probes.
  • Fire Control & Vacuum Control Systems. These are used to put out fires by withdrawing all air out of a section and starving the fire of oxygen. Bulkheads will drop down in the relevant section to stop it spreading further. The same will happen if sensors pick up the effect of a hull breach into space.
  • Air Filtration System. The ship is riddled with airducts, pumps and gas canisters that filter the air through the ship recycling it where possible and using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) & Hazardous Gas scrubbers to remove any dangerous gasses found in the mix. Run by a AI system and monitored at all times from the Bridge and by the engineers.
  • AI Quantum Room. This room sits heavily armoured, protected by automated energy weapon defences and at least one squad of armed naval personnel at all times below the Bridge. The AI system here runs through the whole ship and is the central core. A backup system lies at the other end or side of the ship, depending on layout, in case the primary system fails. 

Hangars & docked vessels

Most dreadnoughts will have at least two hangars, one on the port side and one on the starboard side. Some will have four. In cases where there is only the two they have a mix of single seater fighter craft and carrier craft (for troops). A minimum of 20 fighters are found in each of these two, and at least four carriers. If there are three hangar, one will face forward usually and an extra 20 fighters & four carriers. Most now have four with two on each side and these usually have space for 25 fighters and five carriers each. Some dreadnoughts have more stored hanging on cranes from the roof but not that common, except if linked with the larger carrier fleets.
Very Rare
5 km to 20 km on average
0.65 light years top speed on average.
Complement / Crew
450 minimum
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
Min. 5000 tons of cargo & a minimum of 250 marines

Cover image: by Colonel 101


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22 Dec, 2022 00:36

I love the big gun ships!

Featured Articles in the Shadow War across Creation by Graylion

22 Dec, 2022 00:44

Aye, you know your in trouble when one of these bad boys are around, lol.

21 Jan, 2023 08:46

The thing I love about this article may be more specific to my role as an TTRPG game master but the list of Additional & Auxiliary Rooms is thorough. Form a story building aspect, absent of any actual map, the list of all the facilities is so helpful. Med bay, dorms, disposal points, all of these listed items are areas to remember to include. That, and simply including details like “The Synth lab is near the Machine Shop” may seem simple but it keeps the core relational ideas present when working through block of text. This section may not be as fun as the massive weapons, but I appreciate it so much more from a mobile fortress, CLUE map perspective.

22 Jan, 2023 20:25

If only I had time recently to work out doing maps.

28 Jan, 2023 08:16

That is one Big, super detailed, giant ship! I was borderline overwhelmed with all the details you put into this one. If there is something you forgot to mention, some subsystem or something related to a ship this large, I wouldn't know what it is. Very nice work!

28 Jan, 2023 13:07

Thanks. Didn't think of subsystems too. If I do will probably have to go back in, haha.