Shadow Starfighter (Babylon Five):

The direct counterpart of the Vorlon starfighter, this little craft is very much a replaceable commodity as can be readily seen from the low armor rating that it has. Hardly better armored than starfighters of the younger races the Shadow starfighter must rely entirely on speed and maneuverability to survive enemy fire. Even its offensive weapon is not in the same league as its counterpart: a rather short ranged Fusion cannon which is very effective against small craft but lacks the punch to do massive damage to larger vessels but by the Vorlons or the more advanced younger races.

By the fighters appearance, it is immediately clear that this is a product of Shadow technology: A sleek, mottled black hull with a large orifice at the front, a dozen small and large spines sticking out of it and devoid of any mechanical additions.

The fighter has the standard Shadow ECM, and has excellent speed and maneuverability due to its gravity drive. Its shield is not very powerful, but it does have the ability to slide into hyperspace like its larger cousins.

Like all Shadow ships the fighter is entirely organic. It is normally flown by a artificial intelligence, and does not need either a core like the Battleship or a pilot. In some cases though, the Shadows will have a pilot in the fighter if the fighter is going to be used independently and needs discretion that the artificial intelligence does not have. In these cases, the fighter will be piloted by a member of one of the minion races of the shadows.

The ships sublight propulsion consists of a powerful gravity drive system that is used for maneuvering and main thrust. Because of their long experience with FTL physics they have a hyperdrive system that allows them to move in and out of hyperspace at will, at whatever position they wish to appear at. This gives them a great advantage in ambushes etc. they can also use the drive to pass between hyperspace and real space and be virtually invulnerable there.

The only other remarkable thing about this fighter is the way that it is launched from the Battleship. About 40 of these small craft are launched from the mother ship as a large spiked ball, at tremendous acceleration (2 % of light / melee). when this mass is in the middle of a enemy formation it suddenly splits up into the 40 fighters who than zip off after different targets. This maneuver is very disconcerting, and the captain of the ship being attacked must save vs. Horror factor 15 or be overcome by panic.

Notes of game conversion:

For purposes of game balance, there are two different versions of the starship. One is designed with accelerations in terms of gravities (G) which can better interact better with other Babylon 5 ships such as Earth Force and the Narn military. The other is written to operate within the Three Galaxies and operated with Consortium and Kreeghor vessels.

Phase world version uses my revised phase world starship rules and can hold their own against most C.A.F and Kreeghor fighters. This version is recommended if you with to put them into Phase World as among equals. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.

Moderate version uses Gs of acceleration but does not have reduced weapon ranges except for missiles. This version is useful for Mutants In Orbit, Phase World if used as a lower tech race, used with my Earth Force ships conversions for B-5, and as a possible crash on Rifts Earth. Listed is the formula to allow player and game masters to calculate the fighters velocity and distance traveled.

Model: Shadow starfighter

Crew: One possible, but fighter is normally be flown by the fighters artificial intelligence.

M.D.C. by Location:

Fusion gun:


[1] Gravity Drive Spines (8):

150 each

[2] Main Body:


[3] Variable Force Field:

300 a side (1,800 Total)


[1] Destroying a gravity drive spine means that sublight acceleration and maneuvering are reduced by 10 percent.(-1 penalty to dodge) Add on penalties per destroyed spine. In order to destroy the drive all spines have to be blown off and the main hull must have sustained 20% damage (200 M.D.C.)

[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the body will destroy the fighter, putting it out of commission. The fighter will be a unsalvageable floating wreck. Both the hull and the ships systems have the ability to repair themselves. These repairs are effected at the rate of 1D6x10 M.D.C. per minute. The ship can only repair up to half the M.D.C. of a system or the main body.

[3] Shield positions are variable and can be combined into one shield. The shields regenerate at a rate of 5% (90 M.D.C.) per melee round.


Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.


Phase World Version: Gravity drive allows the fighter to travel up to 40 percent of the speed of light. The fighter can accelerate/decelerate at a rate of 1.7 percent of light per melee round.

Moderate Version: The fighter does not have an effective top speed but is limited by acceleration. Fighter can reach a top acceleration of 17 G.

Atmospheric Propulsion: Maximum speed is mach 20. Can enter atmosphere and leave.

Stardrive: Unlike the Vorlons, the starships of the Shadows do not need to use or create a Jump Point to enter into hyperspace. Instead they can create a tiny effect that passes the ship into hyperspace without any jump point being formed. The fighter can also travel into a pocket dimension that the ship is between normal space and hyperspace. The ships can use this to evade mines or missiles. The Shadow fighter is incredibly fast in hyperspace. The ship can travel the equivalent of 100 light years per hour in distance in real space. This means that the fighter could actually cross the Galaxy in about six weeks. The shadow fighter can pass into and out of hyperspace within the atmosphere of a planet as well as in space. Shadow Fighters will occasionally use previously established jump points to deceive an enemy into thinking that they cannot pass out of hyperspace without a jump point. The Shadow Starfighter has enough power to make the transition to or from hyperspace every round, should this be desired. The entire phasing takes just seven seconds, and always occurs as the LAST action that round.

Maximum Range: Unlimited by all drive systems. It is not known how much supplies it carries with it, but it is safe to assume several years worth.

Special note:

Because the gravity drive is used for maneuvering, the entire fighter can turn around and fire in every direction at will. However, making a turn or a evasive maneuver at high speed (above 5 percent of light, roughly 15.000 km/s or 9.300 miles/s) costs enough energy that the fighter loses energy to the cannon. This means that power is less, halving the M.D.C. done

Statistical Data:

Length: 47 feet (14 meters)

Height: 17 feet (5.1 meters)

Width: 30 feet (10 meters)

Weight: 18 tons (16.2 metric tons)

Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment).

Power System: Hyperspace Tap with an unknown duration.

Market Cost: Not for sale however, should you have one to sell, most races will pay billions of credits for a undamaged fighter (although they will probably regret it later).

Weapon systems:

  1. One (1) Fusion gun: Basically a large pulse weapon, this version ejects a fusion hot plasma. Because this plasma is so hot its tendency to dissipate makes this a rather short ranged weapon, with a good effect against small craft. Its lack of higher setting means that the only way to overwhelm a larger craft is to get close with a lot of fighters. The actual firing of the gun shows the organic nature of the fighter: with every firing the entire front third of the craft expands and upon contracting “hurls” a ball of plasma at its target. This weapon has a +2 bonus to hit small craft.

    Maximum Effective Range: 9,000 miles (14.480 km) in space and 90 miles (14,5 km) in atmosphere.

    Mega Damage: 1D6x100+100 MD.

    Rate of Fire: Five (5) times per melee

    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

Special Equipment:

Combat Bonuses: these bonuses are only applied when the Shadow Starfighter is piloted. This is seldom the case. When not piloted use the bonuses under sentient ship. For piloting, use the Phase World Starfighter combat (elite or basic) skill. these bonuses are in addition to those from the piloting skill.

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Technical information sourced partially from Babylon 5 Technical Manual!

CGI of Ship by Evelio Perez-Albuerne. More of Evelio's CGI pictures of B-5 Ships at Evelio's Babylon 5 3d Model Index.

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa) and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Rifts Conversion Copyright © 1998, 1999, & 2013, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.