IntroductionTholians are a strange race in Star Trek. For one think, they aren't represented as humans with a few extra ridges or bumps, but are instead have an extremely alien, crystalline appearance! As a very minor race, they were limited to just a single episode of the original series of Star Trek. I believe that a little more official source material is available in the other Star Trek series Deep Space 9 and Enterprise.
Militarily, the Tholians are known for 2 things:
- They are extremely territorial and xenophobic; Tholians will show great hostility towards anyone who intrudes into any area to which they lay claim.
- Tholian vessels can spin an "energy web" which is completely impassable to other spaceships. However it takes them a long time to do this, suggesting that it is primarily a defensive weapon [it's difficult to persuade an enemy ship to stay still for long enough to be encased in web!].
|My "not-Tholian" fleet: 1 battleship, 2 large cruisers and 4 small patrol craft|
The Tholian Web in Full ThrustFor the most part, Tholian ships aren't very difficult to design. I've drawn a lot of my inspiration from Star Fleet Battles (SFB), where they have good shielding, high-quality phasers and not a lot of anti-fighter or missile defences. Most of their ships are rather small patrol craft, though they do have a few bigger craft. Oh, they also have web generators...
For most of my other "not Star Trek" conversions, the appropriate weapons or other ship systems already existed in the original Full Thrust rules. Sometimes someone else had already proposed suitable rules for a non-standard weapon, such as the Disruptor. However, I've never come across a Full Thrust conversion for the Tholian Web. So, here goes, then...
- Web Generator System: Mass: 1, Cost: 3. This is fairly cheap, but since it has such a specialised use I don't think that's too unfair.
- Construction of webs: You can't!
I'm not going to propose any rules on how the web may be built during a game. Judging by the relevant sections of the enormous Star Fleet Battles rulebook, this is far more complex than all other aspects of the Tholian web put together. Unless in exceptional circumstances, I don't think many scenarios will see a web being built, so I'm just going to duck the issue completely. In all of my games, any webs will already be in place.
- Shape of Web: For scenario purposes, I imagine that web will either be laid in a circle of no more than about 8" in diameter, or else in straight segments of 12" or less between anchor points. An anchor point may be a Tholian ship or an asteroid or small moon, but not a planet (any atmosphere, however tenuous, interferes with the energy web).
- Maintenance of webs: The web vanishes at the start of any turn when there isn't a Tholian ship with an active web generator system within 1" of it.
In SFB, much of the complexity of the Tholian web revolves around the strength of the web, as judged by the number of energy points assigned to it from adjacent ships versus the "natural" rate of loss. I don't want such book-keeping in my games of Full Thrust, so I'm only going to have 2 states for my Tholian Web: either it's at full strength or it has lost so much power that it has no effect any more (i.e. it dissipates).
- Movement through web: A non-Tholian ship, fighter or other craft which enters a web will halt in place immediately. From then on (as long as the web persists), the ship is caught and may not use thrust to change speed, though it may use it to change heading. Tholian ships are exempt from this; they may move through web as if it wasn't there.
I did consider either assigning damage to a ship with a lot of speed when it hit the web (the "brick wall" effect) and/or allowing a sufficiently-powerful ship to break through a web. In both cases, I found it difficult to frame any rules that modelled a decent effect. It's simpler just to assume that the web "sucks the momentum" from any moving object.
- Combat: All beam weapons that fire through a web are penalised by counting the target as having 1 extra level of screens for every 2" (or part thereof) of web through which the line of fire passes. Beyond Level-2 screens (the highest in the Full Thrust rulebook), extra "levels" reduce the chance of damage by 50% each, so Level-3 would need a '6' for 1 point of damage, Level-4 would require a '6' followed by '4', '5' or '6' and so on.
Non-beam weapons, including missiles and bolts of all types, may not be fired through web. The effect of area effect weapons doesn't pass through web.
Note that the Tholian weapons are no more effective at shooting through the web than anyone else's. However, their ships are designed with a high proportion of beam weapons, so little of their fire power will be blocked.
The ShipsMy "not Tholian" ships are from Magister Militum, from the old, small Chariot Miniatures range of spaceships. More specifically, they're vessels from the Trios faction. When I bought my miniatures, the web store showed 3 different classes of spaceship as available, but I can only see 2 through the link given in the previous sentence. The "patrol craft" doesn't appear to have the "Trios" label, but can be found by searching the site for "TA1".
Note that if anyone is interested, I have placed a copy of my source file for the following SSDs ==>here<==. It's in OpenOffice Draw (.odg) format.
Keep watching this blog for a battle report involving these ships. In a few days, I'll be posting the results of a tussle between Orion pirates and Tholian border guards over ownership of a lost freighter!
|Magister Militum Designation||Picture||Full Thrust SSD|
|TA1 Patrol Craft|