So, the Empire is currently a bit crap.
There are a few reasons for this, but the primary one is probably the very large size of their ships. This makes them more prone to being hit with things like plasma cannons at long ranges, and more importantly makes them extremely susceptible to fighter attacks due to the ease at which enemy fighters can fly inside their shields (thus rendering their racial advantage, boosted shield strength, moot). The large ship size also presents issues when placing weaponry, as the back weapons will often come into play substantially later than the front weapons. I came up with a few special ship components for the Empire that would, if not make them more viable for use, at least gives them a few “scary” tricks, the sort of thing that they’d get a scene devoted to technologically explaining if this were a movie.
(Specific statistics are deliberately left unshown, as I haven’t put in anywhere near enough research to know exactly how much damage something should do or whatever. I’ll try to give an indicator of relative strength when possible.)
-Focusing Lens: A ship outfitted with a Focusing Mirror and a series of Cruiser Defense Lasers can, when not using the Cruiser Defense Lasers to fend off fighters, fire them at the Focusing Mirror to produce a long-range high-power beam ideal for destroying frigates and cruisers. I like the idea of this one, and how it’d result in a Death Star-esque cruiser that has a super-laser to fend off large ships and a series of microlasers to fend off tiny ones, but I’m not sure if it’d fix the problem - just resulting in the occasional laser-infested / focusing-mirror-equipped cruiser among the fleet. As for strength, I was thinking an entire cruiser’s worth of lasers focused into it would be as damaging as 2-3 beam lasers, depending on the type of cruiser. (Other ideas: an “exhaust port” that gives a big speed boost every few minutes and fries nearby fighters with exhaust heat when it does so; a very-low-resistance shield that won’t let fighters in [though they can wear it down from the outside due to low resistance])
-Cruiser Weapon Transit System: This unique modification converts a standard turret into a series of mirrors, accelerators, and missile tubes that can calibrate and aim all other weaponry on the ship from one point. Protects them, too! Limit 1 per ship, obviously. Makes hardpoint selection moot; all turrets will fire from the point at which the CWTS was placed. Additionally, has a decent chunk of HP, and will absorb all damage that would’ve been done to weapons on the ship until it is destroyed. After destruction, weapons will function as normal at their hardpoints.
-Antimatter Charges: When the frigate is destroyed, it does high damage to nearby units, and instantly kills fighters inside its shield. Friendly fire is possible! Use a front line of frigates equipped with these as fighter bait, or give them close-range orders and turn them into kamikazes. Your choice! I’m thinking this wouldn’t take up a hardpoint, but I could understand it taking one.
-Antimatter Shield: This unpleasant piece of work disintegrates incoming attacks, as well as any nearby objects, with the power of antimatter; this damage is increased if backed up by some good ol’ kinetic energy as well (i.e. ramming). Warning: very unstable! Does constant AoE damage to nearby enemy vessels. Either scatter these across your fleet to constantly damage attacking fighters, or fit it on a fast ship to turn the Empire’s abnormal ship size into an advantage for once. The disadvantage is that they’ll occasionally flicker off for a few seconds. I was thinking it’d be about equal to Shield Generator II statwise?
-“Chariot” Emergency Thruster: This set of thrusters has a very powerful afterburner, letting you get right into the fray; however, after a short period of use they overheat and can only operate at minimal capacity. When fully cooled after several minutes, they will be activated again. And here we go. The idea of this combined with the Antimatter Shield is that large sizes could make for effective battering-rams, and the odd, circular hardpoint configuration on Imperial ships would actually be an advantage should one find itself with enemies on all sides - which would happen shortly after the afterburners burn out, ideally. The name’s just from the Empire’s Greco-Roman naming scheme, if you were wondering.
Any thoughts? Obviously if these were all implemented the Empire would probably be too powerful, and the other races probably need some neat mechanics too. Just thought it’d be fun to think about this.