Dervish class System Defense Boat:

System Defense Boats are generally around the same size as a destroyer or corvette but are designed with limited endurance and they do not carry faster than light drives. In addition, system defense boats do not generally carry fighters or troops. This is compensated by the fact that these ships carry much heavier firepower for their tonnage than a destroyer might. In addition, these ships are generally far cheaper than a destroyer or corvette. In fact, you can almost purchase two Dervish class vessels for the cost of a single Ferret class corvette.

In spite of these advantage of system defense boats, many navies do not really like the vessels and instead prefer destroyers. Destroyers are considered much more flexible being able to be used offensively when needed. A few larger navies do operate both system defense boats and destroyers although most are operated by smaller independent star systems with limited resources. Many of the systems who operate system defense boats due so because they cannot readily afford destroyers or corvettes.

Many have compared the role of system defense boats to that of “Wet Navy” torpedo boats. Such torpedo boats were very fast, heavily armed for their size, but not designed for open ocean operations. In addition, torpedo boats were quite fragile compared to destroyers.

Compared to larger destroyer classes, system defense boats tend to be fragile. Tactically, the mission of system defense boats is generally to get off as many capital missiles before they are destroyed. Granted, they are tougher than fighters are but they tend to have a lot more firepower concentrated on them. One cannot call system defense boats popular with their officers and crews and many call them “Eggshells with Sledgehammers”

There are a huge number of different system defense boats operated within the Three Galaxies. Most major companies produce their own design. Many of the newer designs of system defense boats are designed to be modular. This allows the fitting of different systems to fulfill different roles. For example, a ship might be fitted with a capital missile array when dealing with anti-ship roles while might carry long range missile battery when being used a system minesweeper.

In addition, having one design which is modular and simply fitting in different systems is often easier to maintain that two completely different classes. Having the ships modular also reduces down time due to maintenance because the system can simply be replaced with a spare and the damage system can be repaired at a depot.

Unfortunately, the Dervish is an older design and does not have that feature. Has not stopped some owners from modifying their design in various ways however. It is difficult to be sure, but many military experts consider the Dervish class system defense boat to be the most common vessel filling its role. There are however several other contenders. In addition, there are several designs extremely similar to the Dervish design that are often lumped in with them.

Based on Human Alliance weapon systems and technology, the Dervish class is not as heavily armed as many of the newer classes but still is considered highly effective when used properly. As previously discussed, a number of systems have upgraded their system defense boats with new weapons in an effort to keep them viable combatants. This most often includes upgrading point defense and in some cases replacing the main batteries. Sensor systems are also extremely important.

It is unclear who actually produced the first Dervish class system defense boat. Seem suggest that it was a scratch build by a Human Alliance repair ship which was later destroyed. Other suggestions are that a system defense force starting building the vessels and multiple systems started copying the same design. Some have claimed to be the first to develop the design but there has never been any serious evidence supporting any of the claims.

Whatever the case, there have never really been any issues with the actual ownership of the design. As a result, there has been little consider over design infringement and multiple companies have produced the design almost since it was first known. Production remained in place for centuries and in fact is one of the oldest designs still in production within the Three Galaxies. Many companies have switched to either new designs or upgraded versions of the Dervish. Still, a number of companies still produce what is effectively the original design. Due to its price, the old vessel still remains popular and switching production is expensive especially since the facilities would likely need to shut down while retooling.

Most military experts compare the Dervish class system defense boat with the Human Alliance Ferret class missile corvette. Their main missile battery is a capital missile battery. However, the Dervish has a larger magazine and is also armed with a pair of 12 cm laser cannons. Like many system defense boats, the Dervish is considered lacking in point defense and usually ends up very bloody when engaging enemy ships in battle. The design is expected to take heavy losses in any stand-up fight and as such were designed with even smaller crews than the Ferret.

The Dervish carries powerful in-system drives which enables the ship to bring most opponents to engagement range. In fact, it is almost as fast as a Proctor class heavy fighter. Like the Ferret, the Dervish is powered by a fusion reactor although in the case of the Dervish, the system is even more limited.

This starship design uses modified starship speed and weapon range rules. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.

Model Type: SDB-03.

Vehicle Type: System Defense Boat.

Crew: 14 (2 officers).

M.D.C. By Location:


12 cm Heavy Laser Cannons (2):

750 each


Point Defense Electromagnetic Rail Gun Turrets (2):

150 each


Double Barrel Point Defense Laser Turrets (2):

150 each


Cruise Missile Battery:



Mini-Missile Launchers (4):

100 each


[1] Bridge:



[2] Main Body:



[3] Variable Force Field:

800 a side (4,800 Total)


[1] In reality this is how much damage needs to be done for a weapon to hit the bridge through the ship’s armor. This ship does not have an auxiliary bridge. Even if the bridge is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but the ship is -3 to dodge and all weapon systems will be at local control. Weapon hits near the bridge that do not penetrate the ships integrity can still injure crew members on or near the bridge.

[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the vessel out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support and internal gravity. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck.

[3] Shields positions can be varied and all could be combined in one shield. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (240 M.D.C.) per melee round.


Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.

Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 50 percent of the speed of light. Star Ship can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.95 percent of light per melee.

Atmospheric Propulsion: Maximum Effective speed is Mach Two (1,522.4 mph / 2,450.1 kph), can enter an atmosphere because flight system is using contra grav.

Stardrive: The ship carries no stardrive.

Maximum Range: Effectively Unlimited by either drive system. Carries only about three weeks worth of supplies on board. Life support systems are also limited to about two months.

Statistical Data:

Length:                240 feet (73.2 meters).

Height:                65 feet (19.8 meters).

Width:                 85 feet (25.9 meters).

Mass/Weight:      2,200 tons (1,995.8 metric tons).

Power System: Fusion with a eight year life span (fusion is far cheaper than anti-matter). The ship normally only goes two years between refueling and refitting.

Cargo: Cargo holds are scattered about the ship that allows for carrying up to 40 tons (36.3 metric tons) of cargo in addition to standard compliment of supplies and ammunition. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ship’s officers have more space for personal items. Most of the ship’s spaces are taken up by extra ammunition, armor, troops, weapons, engine, and other equipment.

Market Cost: 180 million credits. Upgraded versions will range from 250 to 300 million credits.


  1. Two (2) 12 cm Heavy Laser Cannons: Laser cannons are used against frigates and against heavily reinforced targets. Each is mounted in an individual turret on either side of the ship. The weapons have standard penalties to hit fighters and small targets. The barrels can be rotated 180 degrees in all directions. Both cannons can be fired as one volley.

    Maximum Effective Range: 16 miles (25.8 km) through atmosphere and 16,000 miles (25,800 km) in space.

    Mega Damage: 2D6x100 M.D.C. each or 4D6x100 for two.

    Rate of Fire: Maximum of two (2) times per melee each laser cannon.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  2. Two (2) Point Defense 15 mm Electromagnetic Rail Guns: Unlike most of the rail guns used on Phase World / Three Galaxies starships, these are standard electromagnetic rail guns. They are used as an anti-starfighter and missile weapon and against targets that are impervious to energy. Each rail gun is in a turret that can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire. When used in space, projectiles are fired from rail gun mounts at a significant fraction of the speed of light. The weapon system cannot be used to engage targets while traveling at faster than light velocities. Rail guns use 15 mm depleted uranium projectiles.

    Maximum Effective Range: 16 miles (26 km) through atmosphere and 800 miles (1,290 km) in space.

    Mega-Damage: Rail gun inflicts 3D6x10 M.D.C. for an 80 round burst.

    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).

    Payload: 16,000 rounds (200 bursts) each cannon.

  3. Two (2) Point Defense 2 cm Lasers in Double Mounts: used as an anti-starfighter and missile weapon. Each laser turret can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire.

    Maximum Effective Range: 2.5 miles (4 km) miles through atmosphere and 250 miles (402.3 km) in space.

    Mega-Damage: 2D6x10 M.D.

    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  4. One (1) Cruise Missile Battery: Missiles have a top speed of Mach 25 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 10% of light per turn (far faster than any starship.) Whether weapons can be shot down is calculated from the speed of target, launching starship, and missile. When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless preset to self destruct or receives a destruct code but has very low odds of hitting star ships (Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile, when unpowered, is at -25% to be detected.) Cruise missiles have penalties to hit small targets but are all considered smart missiles. Batteries can launch on multiple targets each at the same time. Batteries have a lower number of actual launchers than the modern CAF cruise missile batteries and each launcher is slightly larger in size.

    Maximum Effective Range: Cruise Missile range is 8,000 miles (12,875 km) in an atmosphere and 4,000,000 miles (6,437,376 km/ 21.5 light seconds) in space.

    Mega-Damage & Properties: See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details (Fusion multi-warheads inflict 3D6x100 M.D.C. each.)

    Rate of Fire: Can fire cruise missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), eight (8), sixteen (16), or twenty-four (24) cruise missiles per launcher, per melee round. Launchers are reloaded on the same melee and can be fired again on the next.

    Payload: 24 cruise missiles per battery. Ship has 3 reload of missiles (96 cruise missiles total)

  5. Four (4) Mini-Missile Launchers: These are missile turrets used for point defense against enemy fighters and missiles. Missile has a top speed of Mach 10 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 2% of light per turn (slightly faster than any starship except if it is exceeding it maximum safe acceleration.) Batteries can launch on multiple targets each at the same time.

    Maximum Effective Range: Mini-Missile range is 2 miles (3.2 km) in an atmosphere and 100 miles (161 km) in space.

    Mega-Damage: Varies with mini-missile type (See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Can fire mini-missiles one at a time or in volleys of four (4) or eight (8) mini-missiles.

    Payload: 128 per launcher for a total of 512 mini-missiles. Cargo hold has an additional 512 mini-missile. Reloading launchers from cargo hold takes 1D6 minutes.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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