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Introduction[]

This is a guide/walk-through geared towards newer players who are struggling to stay alive, much less "win", in Start Traders: Frontiers, but could also be very helpful for players who've never tried a Combat Captain and are curious to give it a try. In this guide I show you how to build a nigh-invulnerable knife wielding speed addicted NINJA SPY as your captain, and use him (or her) to literally own everything in the game... (Variant of the Ultimate Combat Captain)

Here's some footage of our Captain in action... (Humor links)


So why a Melee stealth captain? Isn't it a bad idea to have the Captain in combat? The short answer is simply that the ONLY part of the game that your whole crew can't contribute to is Crew Combat. And the ONLY crew that can beat the Crew Combat curve is the Captain and Officers. Think about it, if you need more Command, you can just hire 2 or 3 more Commanders and that'll work fine. But if you need a better fighting force, then hiring additional Swordsmen or Soldiers isn't going to help at all, because Crew Combat isn't an aggregate effort. Therefore you need your best people assigned to Crew Combat, that simple. As for why the Blade and Stealth approach, it's simply that blades are fast, that almost all opponents have lesser, or even SIGNIFICANTLY lesser defenses against blades, blades skill also protects YOU against enemy blade wielders AND grenades, and stealth is not only frequently helpful in missions, but also further increases your defenses without costing you initiative like heavy armor. And finally, it's a TON of fun and surprisingly profitable absolutely OWNING at ground combat... And who wants to be a stuffy Merchant King, when you can just hire one, and be a Ninja Pirate Assassin instead? (Ok, not FORMALLY a pirate...)

Template Creation[]

Atributes A[]

  • 30 Charisma/Wisdom/Quickness
  • 18 Fortitude
  • 14 Strength/Resilience

Skills B[]

  • 10 Evasion
  • 5 Command

Contacts C[]

  1. Fixer (For Specialist Gear Thraul Injector and Black Market - and everything else...)
  2. Gestalt Technologist (For Combat Medics, Trade Permits, Trait Conditioning)*
  3. Military Commander (For Engineers and Faction Rank)
  4. Politician (For Diplomats, Introductions, Intel, and Pardons - esp. if lucky and from the story-line enemy faction)

*) [2020-1-27] Gestalt Technologist is not available as starting contact and there is no other contact type that is available as a starting contact that allows you to recruit a Combat Medic (e.g. Gestalt Explorer doesn't offer Combat Medics)

Experience D[]

  • Assassin (or Spy if not unlocked)
  • Officer Lvl 2 allows you to pick up a combat class on each officer right away (probably not necessary, but nice to have)
  • We actually WANT the Juror to start, and the extra money from ship D is much less valuable than the second level

Ship E[]

  • The Juror is fast and cheap to operate. Its small cargo bay is a little unfortunate, but also means getting pirated doesn't really hurt much... And you want all 3 beginning officers, so no scout ship...

Prepare Your Captain (New Game)[]

  • Map: Default (unless you want to use a seed you like, or just feel like doing a random map)
  • Faction: Steel Song (The Zartar Fang is gonna be our middle Eras ship, so we need to start Steel Song - also gets Boarding Assault System 4 which is our main attack strategy as a Crew Combat Captain)
    • Alternate: Cadar and Sword Cutter, though this ends up costing alot more money - especially considering the need for additional re-fits (which means you have to fly that juror around longer), and it also doesn't come with a 1 AU engine or an A4 locker - but it does have 2 more Small Component Slots and capacity for 6 additional crew which can be helpful.
  • Difficulty: Impossible (Ahh, you can take 'em! -Alright, feel free to use whatever difficulty you like, but honestly, this build is made for Impossible - lower difficulties might be... boring?)
  • Manually Assign Talents: YES YES YES YES OH GREAT MAKER YES!
  • Appearance and Name up to you, but may I humbly submit Captain Ninja for those that, like me, struggle remembering names and Male Uniform 8/Female Uniform 5...)

Starting The Game[]

Initial Officers/Crew (Check for restart)[]

Look through your initial officers (and crew), and make sure you have a good bunch - restart if you don't! No reason to give yourself unnecessary headaches! (You can ignore the Soldiers, Pistoleer, and Swordsman for this process, they're going to get fired anyways)

  • Deal Breakers (Restart Immediately):
    • Officer Traits: Rigidly Lawful!!!, Ill-Tempered!, Mysterious (Not worth not knowing if they have deal breaker traits), Really ANY negative traits (even benign ones are still costing you a positive trait)
    • Crew Traits: Rigidly Lawful!, Ill-Tempered (If one or two have these, it's not too big a deal, you can replace them later, but your initial crew have better stats than most recruits for a while)
    • Stats: Doctor or Quartermaster have less than 20 Quickness, or <40 combined Quickness and Wisdom
  • Concerning Indicators (Consider Restarting unless something really awesome like 30 Quickness on Doc or Quartermaster offsets these)
    • Too many non-combat/non-useful traits on Doc and Quartermaster (+Tactics per level is good, but +Repair/Electronics might be less useful than something else)
    • Combat Traits on Engineer (he won't be in combat much, if at all, so use his trait slots for something more useful if possible)
    • Terrifying/Bandit/Sly/etc on your officers are a waste of a potentially useful trait (but shouldn't be a deal breaker if you have something especially nice elsewhere)
    • Too many annoying/useless traits among the crew (like Combat Traits, +Skill/Level Traits - these are treated as bonus skills and won't give anything to non-officers, and you're not going to be promoting any of these guys, or using them in combat). Mostly useless traits among your crew is no big deal and frankly unavoidable, but if the whole crew is duds, well take that into consideration (of course, amazing officers will easily offset this concern, you can always try firing and re-recruiting crew later, and in fact probably will be firing several of them to replace them with premium crew like Commanders, Engineers, Pirates, Merchants, Diplomats, etc. anyways, so these guys aren't critical to your success, just beneficial to your early game...
  • Good Qualities (Some of these might offset a few Concerning Indicators):
    • Officer Traits: Device Freak!!, Fleet Footed!!, Driven!, Calculating!, Mechsync!, Problem Solver!, Brave, Ex-Military
    • Crew Traits: having several crew with Seedy/Terrifying/Bandit/Sly/Protector can be nice, but don't waste Officer Slots on these. Assertive is REALLY nice to have some of in the crew as well.
    • You want the Doctor and Quartermaster to have at least 20 in Quickness and Wisdom (Quick 25+ is really good and Quick 30 on the Doc is GREAT especially if coupled with 25+ Wis!)
    • Good Combat Traits on your Doctor (especially Fleet Footed) are huge pluses (The Quartermaster will EVENTUALLY retire from crew combat once you get your Sword Battlecruiser, but your Doc will be in your party until the end)

Before You Start[]

Now that you've got officers you'll enjoy flying around with for a while, and a crew you can live with, let's assign their second jobs (for officers) and Talents (for everyone)

  • Captain: Pick up Hitman Rush you'll get Disappearing Act once you level and probably won't do any combat before then anyways, so no reason to hold the pick.
  • Doctor: Grab Combat Medic and First Aid or Medical Staff. (You may be tempted to get a healing talent, but you can get it after 1 more level, and you shouldn't be in any kind of serious crew combat until much later anyways, so its better to have the Saving Talent to reduce expenses during the early game)
  • Quartermaster: Grab Bounty Hunter and Perceptive Boss to start gathering helpful info on your Crew (and officers) - Also, equip a Sniper Rifle (If the game didn't do it automatically)
  • Engineer: Pick up Scavenger and Port Maintenance.
  • Crew Talents:
  • And Finally, SAVE YOUR GAME in slot 4 (or wherever you like) -- if the RNG is particularly cruel, it'll be nice to not have to restart a billion times trying to find a good starting crew again. Also, after you've finished this captain's game, you can reload this save slot and try a different story path, or new strategy, etc. instead of rolling up a new captain.

First Turns[]

Land at the planet you are currently in orbit of (or one of them if you have 2 where you started)

Fire (Dismiss) your Pistoleer, Soldiers, and Swordsman (Optionally keep the Swordsman for now)

Hire a Pilot, Mechanic, and 2 Navigators and give them Evasive Maneuvers, Careful Testing, and Exacting Design x2 (You can leave the last crew slot empty for now or it can be your Swordsman if you kept one)

This is a good place to fill a save slot (I usually put it in slot 3)

Open your Current Missions and select the "Compelling Passenger" mission and notice that you actually have around 38 weeks before you need to start the story-line (Deadline: 38 Weeks), so we're not going to do that one just yet. Personally I don't like to risk missing it, so I'll make sure to grab it once the timer gets down to about 10 weeks or so (earlier if I start getting missions that take me far away when this mission starts getting near due).

[2020-1-27] The next paragraph no longer works. A Gestalt Explorer (as mentioned here) no longer recruits Combat Medics. A Gestalt Technologist does but is not available as starting contact, see above.

Instead, let's fill our last crew position (or replace our swordsman)... One of the most often failed traveling skill tests during early game in my experience is Doctor, and we eventually want to have a second Combat Medic officer in our Crew Combat party anyways, so let's go get one now (this is why we made that contact our #2 choice). Open your contacts list, and figure out where our Gestalt Explorer is located, and set a waypoint. Check if we have any systems close to the flight path, and re-plot our course as appropriate, then grab some appropriate cargo from the planet we're currently on if possible and head to our first unvisitted system. Once there sell our cargo, load new cargo, and continue like this to our Gestalt Explorer. If you haven't made enough money to buy a combat medic from trading your way here, then pick up missions from this contact and go complete them until you can afford a Combat Medic crew member and give them First Aid. (Before making the actual purchase, Save to Slot 2, and reload until you get a good Medic - Quick 20+, Quick+Wis 40+, Good Traits/No Bad Traits). This Combat Medic will be with you until the end of the game, and eventually become an officer (Tactics/Level is especially nice on this character, as are +Init traits, or Combat Traits). This 2nd Medic will GREATLY help you avoid Doctor Failures while traveling, keep you alive you in crew combats, and significantly reduce your early game expenses/overhead.) If you have the extra Rep and Cash, go ahead and pick up Trade Permit lvl 1 from this contact before consigning them to the "never to be thought about again" bin (you might use them again for missions, or if you need to replace one of your medics, or to sell Intel if close and convenient, but basically, they've served their purpose)...

Now that we have our full Ground Combat Crew, we should go get some nice bonus gear for them. Click on your contacts again, and find your Fixer and set a waypoint. Trade your way to them, and once you've arrived, take note of the Thraul Injector (and its steep price of 16.5k or so). There's our goal (we eventually want 3, one for each Combat Officer - our second Combat Medic can't use them yet, but we'll want a fourth once we promote her later...). This contact also has black market access, buys intel, and is generally pretty awesome! So let's start running missions for her. Hopefully she'll give you some easy 0 Jump move cargo or people type missions, but whatever the missions, don't take them if they seem dangerous. Once you have a mission that looks good, figure out your destination, load up some cargo, and trade your way through it. Rinse Repeat until the story mission gets to around 10 weeks remaining.

One other contact you should keep in mind is your Military Commander. We don't really need to replace our Mechanics with Engineers yet, but we will eventually. And Military Rank brings with it bonuses to our Mission payouts, plus we're going to need at least Military Rank 4 to buy our Zartar Fang...

Once the Story-line mission comes due, go take care of it - it's some easy money and gives you a new useful contact, go ahead and start doing missions for him as well.

From here, you're just going to be playing the game however you can, running missions, moving cargo, and building up your experience and cash. Keep delaying story missions as much as possible to run non-story missions, trade, and build up your cash and exp. You can check patrol, blockade and spy missions in every system you enter to see if you can get a nice hand (one with no ship encounters or crew deaths and worthwhile good cards). But generally at this point, most encounters are too dangerous, so be picky and don't risk a hand that doesn't look safe...

Your goal for this phase of the game is to save up for and buy a Zartar Fang. Once you have, customize it to the specs given in that section below, Promote your second Combat Medic as described in the Officers/Crew section, and do more of what you've been doing. Once you have this ship all nice and customized, you can start engaging in ship and ground combat to your heart's content, without much worry over losing, so do some patrolling around systems controlled by factions that you've taken alot of rep hits on during the story missions. Feel free to get an Edict and start doing some bounty hunting, spying, scavenging, whatever tickles your fancy - have fun, the game should be pretty safe for you at this point and you've worked hard to get here, so enjoy it! Personally I end up flying the Fang until I can save up around 3mil and have finished the first Era, after that it's a HEAVILY customized Sword Battlecruiser. Also, if you haven't unlock Assassin (and started as a spy), this build is great for taking on the Aunt's mission line (which unlocks the Assassin for your future playthroughs).

Tips and Tricks[]

RUN AWAY! One of the things I think new players are most surprised by in this game is that you are NOT the star/hero of the story, you're just another ol' trader (at least at first). DO NOT try to engage ships, even "victory" at this point will probably cost you more than you'll make from the fight. Retreat, bribe, allow inspections if possible (replacing cargo is cheaper than replacing experienced crew and repairing your ship - your cargo hold is too small for it to be otherwise), whatever it takes to not have to fight. Also avoid the temptation to extort "protection" money from ships that give you the option, as you don't want the reputation hits this early in the game - and you can usually easily make more than those amounts with a trade trip or two.

Don't bother upgrading your initial ship except to maybe install a prison cell or second passenger cabin if you find you have a need. Instead save up for that Zartar Fang. It's a really good ship right out of the box, so it's better to just avoid combats for now and save up to buy the Fang...

If you get an opportunity to gain a contact with pardons in whatever clan the story-line missions are making you screw over, TAKE IT! The ability to just fork over some cash to be able to refuel, repair, and trade at their ports again is MORE than worth it!

Replace crew with Rigidly Lawful, Ill-tempered, and other annoying traits when convenient. Replacing them now (before they've gained too many levels) is much less painful than replacing them later when their levels are keeping your ship operational! Also, notice the small grey star in the top-right of the character screens (and elsewhere), you can click the star to change its color, I use this to mark bad crew I want to replace (I make their star red).

To "re-enable" save slots in hard+ modes, simply make a backup of your actual save file (game_##.db, located here) via your computer's file system (might not be possible for mobile). If you end up dieing, just load one of your old save slots (to clear the death flag), then copy your most recent (or whatever) backup over the original game_##.db file and then launch your captain... You'll be right back where your backup was taken, even though the load screen seems to say otherwise.

The Crew[]

This section will detail the eventual Jobs and Talents of your various Crew members. Other than the officers, which will have detailed builds, the rest of the crew will simply be listed by job, and which talents to assign them (and the minimum number of those talents you should try to keep on board)

Summary[]

  1. Captain Ninja: Assassin 17, Swordsman 16, Spy 11
  2. Officer Zeal: Combat Medic 12, Doctor 12, Zealot 15
  3. Officer Quarter: Quartermaster 11, Pirate 11, Bounty Hunter 17
  4. NCO Engineer: Engineer 15, Mechanic 8, Scavenger 16
  5. Officer MilOff: Combat Medic 12, Doctor 12, Military Officer 15
  6. Officer Exo: Bounty Hunter 11, Exo-Scout 13, Xeno Hunter 15
  7. NCO Diplo: Diplomat 11, Merchant 17, Smuggler 11

The Captain (Position 1)[]

This captain is a combat MACHINE with a little spying thrown in for fun (and because it fit well with the build)

  • First few levels: Start with 2 Assassin (or Spy), pick up Spy 1 (or Assassin 1) Then work to Swordsman 5, (I usually go for Spy 11 next so I can get Secrets Unbound at lvl 21). Pick up the following Talents as you go: Hitman Rush, Disappearing Act (or these two in reverse order if starting as a spy), Bravery Line, Flash Fury, Strength of Steel (for recovery, usually of pre-combat losses), Slashing Retreat, and finally Devastating Charge at Captain Level 17. You are now a combat GOD, after this, proceed as you see fit.
  • Final Job Levels: Assassin 17, Swordsman 16, Spy 11
  • Maxed Skills: Blades 22, Evasion 13+10, Stealth 19 (Pistols 3, Electronics 6, Command 0+5)
  • Equipment: Surefire X4 (A5 Pistol), Eagle Kukri (A5 Offhand - unless better contact/salvaged off-hand blade is available), Nightfall Mesh (C6 Stealth Armor), Thraul Injector
    • Alternately, a Vigeur Dripblade (C6 Primary Blade weapon) can be used for +10 min damage (+5 Average), +1 Accuracy, and +1 total Parry (which adds another 0.4 to melee Atk and Def, but in my opinion wasn't worth the extra Init cost per attack or giving up the pistol option)
  • Talents:
    • OnInit: Bravery Line, Hitman Rush
    • Attack: Flash Fury, Slashing Retreat, Devastating Charge
    • Recovery: Strength of Steel
    • Engage Stealth: Disappearing Act
    • Extra (Pick 9): Targeted Killing, Gut the Leadership, Unauthorized Access, Data Haul, Cloak and Dagger, Close Observation, Scouring Search, Stealth Op, High Stakes, Secrets Unbound, Balanced Blade, Bladesman Rally, Rash Courage, (or anything else you desire)
  • Scores:
    • Atk: Melee 14.2 [vs. Def <6 for all but blade wielders who cap around 19] (7.8 with pistol, which is still effective against 0-evassion targets like a combat medic or non-combat crew in row 3)
    • Def: Ranged 20.1, Melee/Grenade 20.4 [vs. Atk in the vicinity of 16]
    • Initiative: 21-37 (+Buffs of up to +7 more)

Tactics:

  • Once you have Slashing Retreat, put the Captain in Position 1, otherwise Position 2 so you can activate Disappearing Act
  • Round 1 (This Captain will almost always get 2-3 moves before the enemy gets even one, so use those to set up your buffs and possibly remove an enemy):
    • Bravery Line Triggers, giving +3 Init, +15% Crit, +15% Parry (remember not to give your other fighters onInit talents so that your captain can max their initiative)
    • Enemy Officers will cause an Assassin captain to also start with Stalker (+15% Crit, +10% Parry/Dodge, Engage Stealth)
    • Slashing Retreat, Disappearing Act (14 Init spent, for 1 Attack, +2 Init, +33% Crit, +50% Parry/Dodge, +10% Armor, Engage Stealth)
    • You now have: +5 Init, +58%+Stealth Crit (+77%@Max Stealth), +65% Parry/50% Dodge and +10% Armor. From here on act according to remaining Init:
      • 7+: Attack using Flash Fury - Costs 6, hits with +25% Pierce, +25% Crit (That's 83+% chance of Crit Now) - If Medic (or other desirable) in pos 3, hit Pos 2 to "juggle" Pos 2 & 3 and expose them to your blades (just in case your target survives), otherwise attack Pos 1 to juggle 1 & 2. Avoid attacking enemy Bladesmen until last if possible, they're not a threat and are much harder to hit, but you can also knock them into Pos 3 where they have to waste actions moving back up (assuming the first 2 positions stay occupied...)
      • 1-6: Devastating Charge - Costs 9, On successful hit causes 50% Stun, -2 Init, -25% Parry for 2 turns. Advances you back to Pos 1 so you can Slashing Retreat when that buff wears off (if needed)...
      • Or you can keep alternating between Slashing Retreat and Devastating Charge, with a Flash Fury thrown in to expose the guy in Pos 3 until all of the enemies in the first three positions are Stunned 50%...
  • Round 2 (Assuming any are still alive)
    • Hitman Rush Triggers for +2 Init (now +7 Total), +25% Acc, +10% Crit (That's +68+19% Crit/102(83+19)% with enemy officer present and maxed Stealth, so 93+19%/108+19% with Flash Fury attacks... Heavy Armor? Not a problem...)
    • Continue attacking based on remaining Init as above, using Strength of Steel as/if needed. (Pro-tip, leaving 1 enemy, demoralized/stunned if possible, alive at the end so you can get back all lost HP/Morale is an extremely important strategy - considering they won't be able to hit you - you'll easily out-heal any damage they might manage to hit you with and be completely fresh and ready for the next fight.)
  • Maintain Slashing Retreat and Disappearing Act to keep your defenses and crit Maxed out, and you'll be impossible to hit, while delivering repeated devastating kukri blows against almost no defense for very little init...
  • The obscene Parry is there to prevent grenades mostly, but also pretty handily shuts down enemy bladesmen which can give other builds considerable grief...
  • Just for reference: Starting with Round 2 (with maxed Crit. Bonus, and assuming maxed Stealth) a Flash Fury with your Eagle Kukri will be critting 112% of the time, for +132-152% damage (or 77-156 total damage) for just 6 Init (so you'll get at least 4 such attacks). Against the A5 Heavy Armor Interlock Armor (Impact Soak 60), even with a 32 Fortitude, this still results in 1-116 damage on a non-penetrating hit (which will be most, if not all, hits); 5-9 more if an enemy Officer triggered the Stalker trait.

Officer Zeal (Pos 2) (#2)[]

  • Until Captain gets Slashing Retreat, this officer will be in Position 1 instead, so that the Captain can be in Pos 2 (For Disappearing Act).
  • Stats: Try to get Quickness as close to 30 (or above), and get Quickness+Wisdom as high as possible. The higher his init, the more times this guy can heal. Also, as a Soak Defender, try to get Fortitude 20+ if possible (+% Armor traits are also nice). Bonus Evasion is really nice, and +Tactics/Level will increase ranged defense a little (but not enough to really matter.)
  • First Levels: Doctor 1, Combat Medic 1, Zealot 1. Then each to 2 (in any order), then Combat Medic to 8, then as you see fit
  • Final Levels: Combat Medic 12, Doctor 12, Zealot 15
  • Maxed Skills: Pistols 6, Blades 5, Doctor 24, Tactics 2, Command 12, Intimidate 9
  • Equipemnt: Pistol, Kukri, Heavy Armor, Thraul Injector
  • Talents: First Aid, Cleansing Purge, Medical Staff, Lifeline, Fervor, Life Saver
    • Additional Talents (Pick 9): Medical Ward, Generous in Service, Fanatical Siege, Rough Interrogation, Devoted Service, Diehard Defense, Bloodletting Blow, Bio-poison Slugs, Bio-Agent Bomb, E-Suture, Flatline, (others)
  • Scores (assuming stats of 20, A5 Gear):
    • Atk: 7.6 ranged, 6.0 Melee (focus on heals and buffs/debuffs)
    • Def: 2.8 ranged, 7.6 Melee (relies on Heavy Armor to Mitigate, can sometimes deflect grenades)
    • Initiative: Aprox. 10-20

Tactics:

  • Focus on healing everyone, that's what he's here for.
  • Fervor is a nice buff that'll get your captain and both Combat Medics moving a little faster
  • Use Cleansing Purge to restore morale and clear debuffs.

Officer MilOff (Pos 3) (#5)[]

  • Until Zartar Fang unlocks 5th Officer Slot, this will be a pure Combat Medic.
  • Stats: Try to get Quickness as close to 30 (or above), and get Quickness+Wisdom as high as possible. The higher his init, the more times this guy can heal. Also, as a Soak Defender, try to get Fortitude 20+ if possible (+% Armor traits are also nice). +Tactics/Level will increase ranged defense a little (but not enough to really matter.)
  • First Levels: Doctor 1, Combat Medic 1, Military Officer 1. Then each to 2 (in any order), then Mil Officer to 5, then Combat Medic to 8, then as you see fit.
  • Final Levels: Combat Medic 12, Doctor 12, Military Officer 15
  • Maxed Skills: Pistols 13, Doctor 24, Tactics 7, Command 14
  • Equipemnt: Pistol (Hvy Rattler), Heavy Armor, Thraul Injector
  • Talents: First Aid, Cleansing Purge, Medical Staff, Lifeline, Life Saver, Damning Aim, Comanding Sweep, Recruiter's Eye
    • Additional Talents (Pick 7): Medical Ward, Generous in Service, Bio-poison Slugs, Bio-Agent Bomb, E-Suture, Flatline, Power Play, Militant Patrol, Tactical Edge, Call for Surrender, Honorable Release, Guardian Vigil, (others)
  • Scores (assuming stats of 20, A5 Gear):
    • Atk: 10.4 ranged (vs. Def 10.8-12.6)
    • Def: 2.8 ranged (relies on Heavy Armor to Mitigate)
    • Initiative: Aprox. 10-20

Tactics:

  • Focus on healing everyone, that's what he's here for.
  • Use Cleansing Purge to restore morale and clear debuffs.

Officer Quarter (Pos 4 - Early/Mid Game) (#3)[]

  • Until Sword Batlecruiser unlocks 6th and 7th Officer Slot, your Quartermaster will be occupying this slot (he'll be replaced by Officer Exo).
  • Stats: Try to get Quickness as close to 30 (or above), and get Quickness+Wisdom as high as possible.
  • First Levels: Quartermaster 1, Bounty Hunter 8, Pirate 1, Then each to 2 (in any order), then Bounty Hunter until Maxed or no longer in crew combat.
  • Final Levels: Quartermaster 11, Pirate 11, Bounty Hunter 17
  • Maxed Skills: Rifles 7, Evasion 5, Ship Ops 3, Command 4, Intimidate 27, Pilot 9, Gunnery 3
  • Equipemnt: Sniper Rifle, Heavy Armor, Thraul Injector
  • Talents: Perceptive Boss, Steadfast Aim, Hunter Challenge, Unfaltering Ire, Resolute Hound
    • Additional Talents (Pick 10): Call to Arms, Second Shadow, Welcoming Conscription, Reliable Hand, Nose for Loot, Red Badge, Corsair's Eye, Menacing Demeanor, Terror of the Skies, (Cold-blooded Threats), (Rallying Cry), (Blood Game), (Lethal Trap), (Unwavering Attention), (Icy Stare), (Stern Leader), (Barrel Roll), (Infamous Presence), (others)
  • Scores (assuming stats of 20, A5 Gear):
    • Atk: 10.4 ranged (vs. Max Def 10.8-12.6 - actually less, since QM won't be in late game combat)
    • Def: 2.8 ranged (relies on Heavy Armor and Pos 4 to Mitigate)
    • Initiative: Aprox. 10-20

Tactics:

  • Use Unfaltering Ire to reduce enemy damage potential (remember that damage reduction happens before armor soak, so -25% damage greatly reduces actual damage taken).
  • Use Hunter's Challenge to Morale Break last remaining enemy and give your medics time to heal everyone back up (Obviously doesn't help with Xenos and other Non-Breaking enemies.)

Officer Exo (Pos 4 - Late Game) (#6)[]

  • Once you have your Sword Batlecruiser (and 7 Officer slots), you can take your Quartermaster off the front lines and replace him with this Officer. (If you want, you can actually get a pure Bounty Hunter, that you'll later promote, to occupy this slot before you get the Sword Battlecruiser, but it's not really needed.)
  • Stats: Try to get Quickness as close to 30 (or above), and get Quickness+Wisdom as high as possible. Bonus Evasion or Rifles is nice, but not necessary, as is Tactics/Lvl.
  • First Levels: 2 Levels in each gives you the most bang for your buck early on, after that Bounty Hunter 5 for the Morale Breakers, then Xeno Hunter 8 for Unfailing Stand and Soul Piercer.
  • Final Levels: Bounty Hunter 11, Exo-Scout 13, Xeno Hunter 15
  • Maxed Skills: Rifles 22, Evasion 8, Intimidate 17, Explorer 11
  • Equipment: Sniper Rifle, Heavy Armor, Thraul Injector
  • Talents: Soul Piercer, Unfailing Stand, Steady Mobility, Steadfast Aim, Unfaltering Ire, Hunter's Challenge, Irid Laced Resolve (breaks the no-OnInit rule, but buffs Captain as well, and only against Xenos), We the hunters
    • Additional Talents (Pick 7): Eradication Prize, Exalted Hunter, Triumphant Predator, Macabre Harvest, Red badge, Cold-Blooded Threats, (Here Be Monsters), (Death haunt), (Plasma Burner), (Puncture Points), (Artifact Hunter), (others)
  • Scores (assuming stats of 20, A5 Gear):
    • Atk: 15.2 ranged (vs. Max Def 10-13)
    • Def: 6.0 ranged (relies on Heavy Armor and Pos 4 to Mitigate)
    • Initiative: Aprox. 10-20

Tactics:

  • Use Unfaltering Ire to reduce enemy damage potential (remember that damage reduction happens before armor soak, so -25% damage greatly reduces actual damage taken).
  • Use Hunter's Challenge to Morale Break last remaining enemy and give your medics time to heal everyone back up (Obviously doesn't help with Xenos and other Non-Breaking enemies.)

Non-Combat Officer Engineer (#4)[]

  • Stats: Non-combat traits like +Tactics(or Repair)/level are very nice. Fortitude and Resilience can help him survive ship combat, and wisdom helps with morale, but good stats aren't critical.
  • First Levels: Based on desired Talents (Find the Talent you want and go for it, repeat). However Engineer 8 (Hard Bargain, and Assisted Installation along the way) before your ship purchase can save you a few bucks (like 100-200k ish), 1 level of Mechanic early on gives 3 repair for 1 level (and 2 Ship Ops, 1 Electronics). Scavenger really isn't needed until later but 2 levels early on give 3 Repair (and 3 Explore, 2 Doctor)
  • Final Levels: Engineer 15, Mechanic 8, Scavenger 16
  • Maxed Skills: Repair 29, Electronics 10, Ship Ops 4, Doctor 5, Explore 10
  • Talents: Port Maintenance, Unrivaled Patch, Assisted Installation, Warfare Patch, Hard Bargain, Astounding Find, Perilous Study, Unforeseen Discovery, Discounted Repairs, Helpful Hands, Rushed Patches, Careful EVA, Rescue Mission, Scrappy Recovery (Try to take advantage of Engineer's extra high Repair skill)
    • Additional Talents (Pick 1): Thrown Wrench, Repurposed Parts, Picked Clean, Diamond in the Debris, Picky Looters, Light-Foot Tracker, Cascading Destruction, Patchwork, Redemption Purge, (others)

Non-Combat Officer Diplo (#7)[]

  • I recommend hiring a diplomat pretty early in the game and just keeping them around until you get your Sword Battlecruiser. At which point you can create this (already experienced) officer out of them (so make sure to be picky about stats on that Diplomat) (You can also hire a Merchant and/or Smuggler and promote the best)
  • Stats: Charisma 30 (or as close as possible), 20+ Wisdom is a plus. Non-combat traits like +Tactics/level are very nice, also Bonus Negotiation a big plus. Fortitude and Resilience can help him survive ship combat, and wisdom helps with morale, but other than Charisma, good stats aren't critical.
  • First Levels: Based on desired Talents (Find the Talent you want and go for it, repeat). This is especially true since this officer will have multiple job levels by the time you promote them.
  • Final Levels: Diplomat 11, Merchant 17, Smuggler 11
  • Maxed Skills: Negotiate 31, Intimidate 12, Tactics 5, Command 7, Stealth 3
  • Talents: Winning Compromise, Market Confidant, Garner Favor, Expose Quality, Hand that Feeds, Generosity, Upstaged Success, Magnanimous Victory, Righteous Profits, Lucrative Wholesale, Slippery Trader, Insider Trading, Bootleg Profits (These take advantage of Diplo's extra high Negotiation skill)
    • Additional Talents (Pick 2): Known Trader, Friendly Banter, Adept Mediation, Trader's Reciprocity, Hideout, Illicit Notoriety, Settlement, Wise Counsel, Silver Tongue, Cordial Invitation, Bold Statement, Criminal Connections, Unlawful Royalty, (Political Hooks), (Warm Invitation), (Cunning Slip), (Legal Pressure), (Underworld Renown), (others)


Final Notes[]

  • Don't forget to heal everyone up before ending the combat (if possible, sometimes it's better to kill the last Xeno or break-proof enemy faster rather than healing, but not usually).
  • Your Captain (and possibly your Pos 4 Sniper) will be doing most (if not all) of the damage in crew combat, but that's ok, your captain can, and frequently will, eliminate 2 combat enemies (sometimes all 4 if non-combat crew) in the first combat round.
  • If your Combat Medics go before the enemy, feel free to pistol enemy Combat Medics or other 0-Evade enemies. If there aren't any targets soft enough for them, then lifeline the captain and maybe sniper for the buff. Once the enemy gets going, your medics will often just be healing each other, but that's what they're for, soaking damage.
  • Lifeline is a buff and a heal, use it freely...
  • By the time you get your Fang, most of your initial crew will have leveled enough to push all your pools permanently 200%+, and will have doubled up on some of the desirable talents (and you might have a crew recruiting talent or two by now), so feel free to start firing the undesirables and replacing them with special classes (Commander, Doctor, Engineer, Explorer, Merchant, Pirate, Quartermaster, Scavenger, and Smuggler all have ONLY non-combat skills, and don't waste levels on skills they won't ever use. Hyperwarp Navigator and Pilot are the only two classes that get the Navigation skill, and both have extremely useful talents, so you'll be keeping these around. A couple of Gunners with Boarding Assault, while not 100% necessary, are extremely useful.)
  • Also, feel free to pick up Skill Save talents on these officers in the beginning (esp for Command, Intimidate, Doctor) as they will save you quite alot of money in repairs and crew damage. You can always retrain later if you need the talent slots back (once you're actually fighting, etc.), by which point, retraining won't really be expensive at all.

The Ship (Zartar Fang)[]

The reasons I prefer the Zartar Fang to the Sword Cutter is that it's cheaper (so you get out of that Juror earlier) and it's more ready "out of the box" (A4 Weapon Locker, 1 fuel/AU engine already installed), the Cutter's extra 2 small Component Slots, and 6 crew are very nice and make the ship useful for longer, but I prefer to get into my Sword Battlecruiser earlier instead.

Loadout[]

  • L: M2400 Void Engine: Chaser (Keep)
  • L: Cargo Hold 4 (Keep)
  • M: Basic Hyperwarp Drive (You can Upgrade to a Combat version if you want, but I usually don't bother, it's good enough)
  • M: Reinforced Barracks 3 (Keep)
  • M: Armored Officer Suites (Keep)
  • M: Torpedo Mk-Alpha ==> Passenger Suites ($34k, 1 week)
  • M: Adv. Mass Dampener 1 (Keep)
  • M: Mass Reducer 1 (Keep)
  • S: Scout Bridge (Keep, you can upgrade it to 4, but at $400k and 3 weeks - it's often better to just save up for the Battlecruiser.)
  • S: Weapons Locker A4 (Keep, you can upgrade to A5, but not really worth it in my opinion)
  • S: Hellfire Torpedo ==> Prison Cell ($8k, 3 days)
  • S: Light Railgun ==> Aramach x2 Missile Battery ($40k, 1 week, 1 day)
  • S: Light Railgun ==> Aramach x2 Missile Battery ($40k, 1 week, 1 day)
  • S: Armored Bulkheads ==> Shielded Medical Chamber ($8k, 3 days)
  • S: Pilot Assist Module (Keep, CAN upgrade to 4, but meh...)
  • S: Nav Assist Module 2 (Keep, CAN upgrade to 4, but meh...)
  • S: Mass Modulator 1 (Keep)
  • Base Price: $535k (You can get that to as low as $375k with the right contacts and crew talents)
    • Princess Steele -15% (Story Mission: Prime Pilgrimage, available after Arbiter Neutrality)
    • Hard Bargain up to -15% (NCO Engineer can easily have Repair 15+ by the time he gets this talent, and at a savings of approx $80k it's worth waiting for)
  • Total Upgrades: Aprox. $130k, 30 days
    • Assisted Installation -(10+Repair)% (NCO Engineer will have this, as could any Engineer crew)
    • Helpful Hands -(10+Repair)% (NCO Engineer can have this as well, as could your Mechanic crew)
  • Grand Total: <$670k, but can fairly easily get that under $500k with the right contacts and talents
    • (Compared to the Sword Cutter's $800k base price - which doesn't even count all the extra upgrades needed)

Abilities[]

  • Officers/Crew: 5/24
  • Passengers/Prisoners/Medical: 2/1/2
  • Fuel: 120 (at 1 Fuel/AU = 120 Range, 22/Jump, 14/Combat, 80% Safety)
  • Cargo: 45
  • Armor/Shield: 48%/29%
  • Reactor Points: 8 (-2 to Move = 6)

Pools[]

  • Pilot: 17
  • Ship Ops: 25
  • Gunnery: 22
  • Electronics: 19
  • Navigation: 16

Scores[]

(Assumes 200+% Nav/Pilot Pools and 100+% Gunnery/Electronics Pools)

  • Atk @ 5 (Mov + 2 Missile): 2x 31.2+0.2*Tactics and 131-230Dmg +16-50Rad (Enemy gets +15% Def), recommend Evasive Maneuvers
  • Atk @ 4 (Mov + 2 Missile): 2x 39.0+0.25*Tactics and 131-230Dmg +16-50Rad (You get +25% Atk, which has been included), recommend Bombardment
  • Atk @ 3 (Mov + 2 Missile): 2x 33.0+0.2*Tactics and 131-230Dmg +16-50Rad (Enemy gets +10% Def), recommend Boarding Action
  • Atk 2,1 (No weapons, just close for Boarding - by now the enemy probably won't be hitting you any more anyways, take your time and kill their crew with boarding actions), recommend repair/heal/morale talents - might as well use the time to reduce later repair costs.
  • LR/SRDef: 24.8/26.0 +0.2*Command
  • LR/SRMov: 20.4/22.2 +0.2*(Command+Tactics)

Also, don't forget that all these numbers are getting the relative Speed/Agility Bonus (And there ain't nothing faster out there, so these are really "worst case" scores)

Final Notes[]

Your ship is basically a Combat Captain delivery system, treat it as such. Don't hang back trying to soften up the enemy with weapons, there's no need, your captain will MURDER anything on board, so get him started doing that ASAP!

If you're really loving your Fang and don't want to upgrade to a Sword Battlecruiser as fast, then there are several systems you can upgrade further. You can upgrade the Bridge and Hyperwarp Core, as well as the Mass Dampeners to free up a small slot; but again, a BIG part of the value of the Zartar Fang over the Sword Cutter is its lower price and quick upgrade downtime (I'm usually flying my Fang by around 216AE/before the endgame of the 1st Era). If you really want a smokin' hot ship Mid game, and don't care about price or time, then the Sword Cutter will probably be a better choice (be sure to pick Cadar instead of Steel Song at the beginning).

Challenges/Obstacles[]

  • Having a combat Captain, and combat Officers can mean reduced variety of skills, and reduced rare skills like Command and Tactics, as can the reduced crew size of the Zartar Fang. The two Combat Medic/Doctor Officers help alot with offsetting Doctor and Command needs, but it can take some time to really get these skills going. Be patient, and stock up on Skill Save talents in the beginning.
  • Starting with lvl 2 Catpain/Officers means alot more skill failures while traveling in the early game. Pick alot of Skill Save talents to work around this. You can always retrain later if you need the talent slots beck. This is especially true of the Captain and Officers - feel free to assign the Captain Skill Saves for the first few levels since optimized Crew Combat isn't really necessary in the Early game (your bonus Evasion and Amazing stats will carry you through for several levels regardless of other choices).
  • It can be difficult to get Negotiation and Explore, which is part of the reason Officers 6 and 7 specialize in these, I highly recommend recruiting Diplomats, Merchants, Scouts and Commanders as needed. Also, the Captain is too Combat Optimized to be really effective as a spy (he CAN make effective use of the Stealth talents, but not really the electronics ones), so i actually make an effort to get a Spy as a crew member as well.
  • The beginning can be pretty rough, and instant death via the RNG is VERY possible in the early game. On Normal- difficulty, save slots can help you deal with this (use them), on Hard+, for the first 2 weeks you should freely use the save slots. But past that, either use the file system "cheat" I mentioned earlier, or rest assured that wiping out in the early game means less time wasted than wiping out in the late game. A big part of this build is optimized for late game survival rather than an easy early game, do what you can to mitigate expenses early, avoid conflict where possible, and generally keep your head down as much as possible until you get your Fang - even then, engage with care...
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