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The Hydrans are an unusual species that live on the far side of the Klingon Empire, along the edge of the galaxy. They are enemies of the Klingons and Lyrans, and were conquered by those empires at one point, only to drive the invaders out decades later. Hydrans breathe methane and live on cold type-S gas giants on silicate continents floating on liquid methane oceans.
The concept of the combat gunboat, known officially if awkwardly as the fast patrol ship, began with the Lyrans but was quickly copied by the Hydrans. Each of the tiny gunboats had half of the firepower of a heavy cruiser. A flotilla of six gunboats could destroy a cruiser or cripple a dreadnought in a single battle pass. Their problem was the short range, which originally limited them to bases and planets. Quickly built in massive numbers, gunboats turned free-wheeling space campaigns into trench warfare as no fleet could penetrate the front lines against a horde of defensive gunboats. Then the fleets worked out a way to carry six gunboats on mechanical links on a modest light cruiser hull, adding the firepower of another dreadnought to every fleet. The Harrier is the fusion-armed type of gunboat, but it was supported by the Hellion (armed with hellbores), and the Howler, which was armed primarily with Gatling phasers. A flotilla of six includes a scout to find targets and a leader with extra systems; it often includes a Valkyrie fighter-conveyer gunboat along with its four Stinger fighters.
This tree of gunboats is available in a variety of materials. Ships are unpainted, use standard flight stands available from many sources, and, while designed for gaming, make fine display pieces.