Free Worlds Council Gryphon’s Claw Escort Carrier:

Several militaries in the Three Galaxies have converted cargo ships to escort carriers. The concept of escort carriers originates from the days when ships sailed the oceans. During World War Two, huge numbers of escort carriers were built and served in the American and British navies.

The concept of escort carrier found its way into space when light craft became a viable weapon. By the time of the formation of the Free Worlds Council, such vessels had been used for centuries. Converted cargo ships are among the most common carriers operated within the Three Galaxies, operated by smaller systems, mercenary companies, and even pirates.

In most cases, moderate sized vessels similar to the typical medium freighter are used. There are huge numbers of cargo ships operated within the Three Galaxies and the ships can often be purchased extremely cheaply. They have a reasonable amount of cargo space which make them easy to convert to escort carriers. Compared to a light carrier, converting a merchant ship into an escort carrier only a fraction of the cost with a similar fighter compliment.

One might consider the Gryphon’s Claw to be fairly typical of a converted escort carrier. The Free Worlds Council has converted a number of similar vessels to a similar configuration. Many escort carriers operated by other lesser powers are reasonably similar as well. Still, one should not assume that the Gryphon Claw represents a majority of escort carrier designs.

While the Gryphon’s Claw carries some heavy anti-ship weaponry, many do not. Many only carry upgraded point defense weaponry and variable force fields. Some however are even more austere with only the cargo bays being converted to carrying fighters and retain the original non variable force field generators of most merchant designs.

Most medium sized powers do not operate escort carriers, preferring instead light carriers. The Free Worlds Council is quite different in this respect with a significant portion of their carrier forces being escort carriers. This is in large part due to the fact that the Free Worlds Council is desperate for any kind of warship they can operate. While each of the Free World’s Council carriers is slightly different, in most cases they are lumped together as the “Gryphon’s Claw” class.

One of the escort carriers operated by the Free Worlds Council is believed to be the HMS Ark Royal operated by New Coventry. It was retired in New Coventry service when replaced by a new light fleet carrier. The Trans-Galactic Empire’s intelligence services believe that it was given by New Coventry to the Free Worlds Council but New Coventry records show that the ship was sold for scrap stripped of weaponry.

As described previously, while some escort carriers only have their cargo hold rebuilt to carry fighters, the Gryphon’s Claw has been upgraded more extensively. Still, the vessel shares many of the weaknesses common to most escort carriers. This includes that the acceleration is significantly less than most fleet carriers due to retaining the ship’s original engines. Particle and radiation shielding have been upgraded enabling the ship to reach upwards of sixty percent of light. With a top faster than light speed of three light years per hour, faster than light speed is also on the slow end compared to most military vessels. Finally, the ship is lightly armored as a merchant hull and has fairly weak defensive shields as well although unlike most merchant vessels, they are variable force fields. As one might expect, the shields are pulled from the Kreeghor Smasher class cruiser.

Similar to most carriers, the weapons on the Gryphon’s Claw are mostly defensive and are designed to protect the ship from incoming missiles and against fighters. Most weapons are light rail guns and energy weapons supported by medium range missile launchers and mini-missile launchers. Still, the ship is armed with a few anti-ship weapons including a single 18 cm heavy particle beam and three 12 cm heavy laser cannons. These might be enough to deal with a single frigate or other small ship attacking but not for any kind of fleet action. As one might expect, this has been criticized with the argument that the weaponry might be replaced by a long range missile battery.

Of course like most carriers, escort carriers rely on their fighters as their main weaponry with the Gryphon’s Claw being no exception. The Gryphon’s Claw can carry up to about fifty-six fighters total. to being purpose build, even most light carriers can carry a larger fighter compliment. Some escort carriers of similar size can carry a slightly larger fighter compliment as well due to mounting a lighter weapon array.

In comparison to most carriers, escort or fleet, the Gryphon’s Claw carries a wide assortment of fighters. Most of her half sisters carry a much larger number of Flying Fangs although they might carry something of an assortment of fighters as well. Old Human Alliance Vixen fighters are reasonably commonly carried. In comparison to fleets of more established militaries, the Free Council has far less homogeneous fighter squadrons. Still, many even inside of the Free World Council military have been critical of the captains of the Gryphon’s Claw for carrying such a mixture of different fighters due to the difficulty of coordinating fighter strikes.

Of most interest with the Gryphon’s Claw is the fact that two of the fighter are Star Ghost fighters. The two fighters are worth by themselves almost a third of the price of the carrier itself. Otherwise, there are few Star Ghosts operated by the Free Worlds Council. These two fighters are often used for scouting along with a pair of “Long Tooth” long range fighters. Other fighters include older Wolfen and Human Alliance fighters. Some of these older fighters might have been acquired. A small number of more modern Bushido and Consortium fighters are also embarked. Still, a full squadron of fighters are of Flying Fangs captured from the Trans-Galactic Empire.

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: CVER-128 Escort Carrier (Refitted).

Vehicle Type: Space, Escort Carrier (Converted Medium Cargo Ship).

Crew: 405 (38 Officers and 367 Enlisted Crew - Ship can be run by 175 crew).

Troops: 150 marines (maximum - Usually only about 50 are embarked), 96 fighter pilots, and 50 power armor pilots.

Vehicle, Robots, and Power Armors: This is the listing for the Gryphons Claw, other escort carriers can have completely different fighter or power armor compliments.

Power Armors:



Consortium SH-CCW 100 Silver Hawk Power Armors



“Knock Off” Silver Hawk Power Armors



Trans-Galactic Empire IPI-WI-H Warlord Mark II Combat Suits

Fighter Compliment:



Bushido Industries BIF-67 Katana Star fighters



Consortium SF-69 Scorpion Star Interceptor



Consortium SF-101I-LR Storm Eagle medium interceptor



Free Worlds Council FWC-FF-100-C/F “Long Tooth” Flying Fangs (FTL Engines)



Human Alliance SF-6 Osprey Starfighters



Human Alliance SF-9 Vixen Light Starfighter



Naruni NE-SF10 Broadsword Fighters



Naruni FB-49 Fire Eater Fighters



Promethean SG-1 Star Ghost Starfighters



Trans-Galactic Empire FF-100 Flying Fang Interceptors



Wolfen PBI-22 Gladius Medium Starfighters (Old Model)



Wolfen PBI-25 Falx Supina Light Starfighters (Old Model)

M.D.C. By Location:


18 cm Heavy Particle Beam Turret:



12 cm Medium Laser Cannons (3):

700 each


2.5 cm Triple Barrel Defense Laser Turrets (8):

200 each


GR-1000 Rail Gun Turrets (4):

250 each


Medium Range Missile Batteries (4):

500 each


Mini-Missile Launchers (4):

100 each


Hanger Bays (4):



Outer Hull (40 ft/ 12.2 m Area):



Inner Hull (40 ft/ 12.2 m Area):



[1] Main Body:



[2] Bridge:



[3] Variable Force Field:

3,000 a side (12,000 Total)


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

[2] In reality this is how much damage needs to be done for a weapon to hit the bridge through the ship’s hull. This ship does not have an auxiliary bridge. Even if the bridge is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but 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 injure crew members on or near the bridge.

[3] Shields positions can be varied and all could be combined in one shield. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (900 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 60 percent of the speed of light. Star Ship can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.7 percent of light per melee. Ship has had the merchant radiation and particle shields replaced with military shields.

Atmospheric Propulsion: Maximum speed is 300 mph (483 kph), can enter an atmosphere and can leave but is not designed for atmospheric flight.

Stardrive: Uses a Gravitonic Drive system that allows the ship to reach a maximum of 3.0 light years per hour.

Maximum Range: Effectively Unlimited by either drive system. Ship normally carries about one year worth of supplies on board.

Statistical Data:

Length:                628 feet (191.4 meters).

Height:                145 feet (44.2 meters).

Width:                 240 feet (73 meter).

Mass/Weight:      145,000 tons (131,500 metric tons).

Power System: Advanced Fusion with a 20 year life span. The ship normally only goes 5 years between refueling and refitting.

Cargo: Cargo holds are scattered about the ship that allows for carrying up to 20,000 tons (18,145 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, fighter compliment, troops, weapons, engine, and other equipment.

Market Cost: 1.65 billion credits to build and convert (Does not include standard fighter, shuttles, embarked vehicle, and power armor compliment.)


  1. One (1) 18 cm Heavy Particle Beam Cannon Turret: Heavy particle beam cannon is on the top of the ship near the bow in a turret that can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire. Weapon system has standard penalties to hit small targets such as missiles and starfighters. The weapon system cannot be used to engage targets while traveling at faster than light velocities.

    Maximum Effective Range: 70 miles (112.7 km) through atmosphere and 70,000 miles (112,650 km) in space.

    Mega-Damage: 3D6x100.

    Rate of Fire: Maximum of three (3) times per melee.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  2. Three (3) 12 cm Horn Heavy Laser Cannons: Weapon system designed for anti-capital ship and anti-installation. Weapon system can engage three different targets or can be combined to strike one target. The weapon system cannot be used to engage targets while traveling at faster than light velocities. Weapon has standard penalties to hit fighters and small targets for a large weapon system.

    Maximum Effective Range: 16 miles (25 km) in an atmosphere and 16,000 miles (25,750 km) in space.

    Mega-Damage: 1D6x100 + 100 M.D. each (2D6x100 + 200 for two cannons and 3D6x100+300 for three cannons.)

    Rate of Fire: Two (2) per cannon per melee or two (2) double or triple blasts.

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  3. Four (4) GR-1000 Heavy Point Defense Rail Guns: Gravity rail guns are in a turret that can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire. The GR-1000 Rail Guns both are more powerful and have more range than the conventional rail guns and is the same rail gun which is carried in the C.A.F. Scorpion Starfighter. Considered extremely effective even compared to other gravity rail guns. Even so, the mounts are not really for use against capital ships but can devastate a fighter quickly. They are also extremely effective against targets which are imperious to energy. Rail gun rounds are fired out of rail guns at a significant fraction of the speed of light. Gravity rail gun uses a 30 mm projectile. The weapon system cannot be used to engage targets while traveling at faster than light velocities.

    Maximum Effective Range: 16 miles (26 km) through atmosphere and 1,600 miles (2,575 km) in space.

    Mega-Damage: Rail gun inflicts 4D6x10 M.D.C. for a 40 round burst.

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

    Payload: 10,000 Rounds (250 bursts) each cannon.

  4. Eight (8) 2.5 cm Point Defense Lasers in Triple Mounts: Eight total on top, bottom, port, and starboard sides and are the main defensive batteries of the ship. All can fire forward and aft. Each turret can rotate 360 and has a 180 arc of fire. The weapon system cannot be used to engage targets while traveling at faster than light velocities.

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

    Mega-Damage: 3D6x10 M.D.

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

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

  5. Four (4) Medium Range Missile Batteries: A slightly modified version of the medium range missile batteries carried on a normal Merchantman. They can fire larger volleys and have a much larger payload than the launchers originally carried. Missile has a top speed of Mach 15 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 6% of light per turn. Normally used for anti-fighter and point defense. Batteries can launch on multiple targets each at the same time.

    Maximum Effective Range: Medium range missile range is 160 miles (257.5 km) in an atmosphere and 80,000 miles (128,750 km/0.43 light seconds) in space.

    Mega-Damage: Varies with medium range missile type (Multi-warhead heavy warheads inflict 5D6x10 M.D.C. each - See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details.)

    Rate of Fire: Can fire medium range missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), eight (8), or sixteen (16) medium range missiles per battery, per melee attack.

    Payload: 160 per battery for a total of 640 medium range missiles.

  6. 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 per battery, per melee attack.

    Payload: 128 per launcher for a total of 512 mini-missiles. Cargo hold has an additional 1,024 mini-missile. Reloading launchers from cargo hold takes 1D6 minutes.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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