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The Shavian Empire Navy

This is a reconstruction of the Imperial Fleet of the Shavian Empire Campaign (Cal State Fullerton 1977-78, Wayne Shaw, game master). Recently, Wayne discovered some of his old campaign notes, making a more accurate reconstruction possible.

Ground Rules

As a general rule-of-thumb for estimating fleet size, each subsector on the average can support 100kt of each major type of combat ship. Since the Shavian Empire was slightly more militarized than average (primarily through a British-style naval tradition), we assume ten subsectors worth of fleet, or 1Mt per major type.

The Shavian Imperial Fleet was known to be a "battleship navy" analogous to the TL4-5 (Victorian to WW1) British Navy, based around large, heavily-armed, heavily-protected battleships fighting "hammer and tongs". No fighters were used; heavy ship-killing beam weapons predominated, with missiles as a secondary weapon (because of need for ammunition) and little or no "junk-basher" light turret weaponry.

According to Wayne, Imperial warships tended to be either heavy (20,000 tons and up) or light (usually 1-2000 tons), with a distinct lack of medium-sized ships between these two extremes. The Empire organized its navy into ten fleets -- one for each of the Empire's nine subsectors and an Imperial Core Fleet as a strategic reserve that could reinforce any of the others.

Imperial warships had a squadron speed of Jump-3/3-G. Large ships (Heavy Cruisers and up) were always built to this minimum squadron speed; smaller ships had faster Maneuver Drives in the 4 to 6-G range, but never at the cost of compromising firepower or protection.

Imperial naval doctrine was based around planetary blockade/siege operations, intended to discourage rebellion. Under no circumstances could an Imperial world be allowed to secede; the Empire could not be permitted to shatter and crumble as its predecessor civilization; Never Again the Long Night.

The situation was complicated by "The Alphane Question". The para-human Alphane had once been an Imperial power in their own right and very much wanted to be again; in the past they had used their psionic abilities to attempt to do so.

Appearance & Markings

According to Wayne, large Imperial warships were uniformly spherical; smaller ships were of a "flattened diamond" configuration.

Though not an "evil empire" per se, the Shavian Empire deliberatly cultivated a "dark and sinister" appearance for its warships; this was a psychological-warfare tactic to appear as intimidating as possible. Imperial warships bristled with easily-visible weapon mounts for a fierce look, and were all painted alike -- an overall dark blue-grey with low-contrast grey markings (usually only the Imperial badge and an ID/pennant number), impersonal and intimidating. (These coloration/marking regulations applied only to the Imperial Navy itself; local/system forces and privateers could -- and did -- sport highly-individual color schemes.


This major type contains Battlecruisers (BC) of 30,000 tons;Battleships (BB) of 40,000 tons; and Capital Ships (BBB) of 50,000 tons.

Assuming an average size of 40,000 tons, this gives the Empire a battle line of about 25 battleships. A "thin crust/heavy reserve" allocation gives each subsector fleet two battleships, with the 6 to 8 left over as reinforcements in the Core Fleet.


This type contains Light Cruisers (CL) of 10,000 tons and Heavy Cruisers (CA) of 20,000 tons.

According to Wayne, the Empire preferred Heavies to Lights, looking upon the CAs as miniature battleships to reinforce the battle line for heavy combat.


This major type contains Destroyers (DD) of 2000 tons, Destroyer Escorts (DE) of 1000 tons, and possibly Frigates (DL) of 5000 tons. All were fast, lightly-protected ships, normally of a "flattened diamond" configuration with a few Alphane "saucers".

Average total around 600 -- 60 per fleet.

Organization by Fleet

There are nine subsector fleets and one Imperial Core Fleet; the Core Fleet (as opposed to the Core Subsector Fleet) is intended as a strategic reserve and "fire brigade" to reinforce the other fleets as needed.

An average subsector fleet would consist of two battleships, two heavy cruisers, and four light cruisers, and 50-60 destroyers. The mix of ship types would vary according to the subsector's importance and probability of heavy combat within its borders:

The Imperial Core Fleet has an overstrength battle line of six to eight battleships (mostly BBs and BBBs) and the same number of Heavy Cruisers, 60 destroyers (emphasizing DDs and DLs), and the half-dozen TL16+ Forerunner-artifact "K-ships" in existence. At full mobilization, the Core Fleet joins with that of the threatened subsector(s), bringing the power of up to ten battleships, eight heavy cruisers, and K-ships to bear.

Effect of the Empire/Federation War

The Shavian Empire's first naval war with an equivalent-strength power (the Foible Federation, as detailed in The Empire/Federation War) caused a lot of re-thinking within the Admiralty.

The Empire began to counter this with their own modifications; the first of the refitted/modified ships had put to sky and seen some action by the time of the cease-fire.