A cruiser is a warship larger than a destroyer but smaller than a battlecruiser. They usually do not carry Gravity Drives, and tend to feature balanced armament sets that include beam and missile weaponry as well as fighter wings. Cruisers are subdivided into two broad sub-types, heavy cruisers and light cruisers.
Heavy Cruisers are designed to provide a powerful escort for convoys, act as commerce raiders, or conduct hit-and-run attacks on outlying outposts. They are often used in dispersed fashion in fleet battles to split an enemy's defenses and hit them from several directions at once.
Light Cruisers are more generally used for scouting and system picket duties. They are the largest class of ship to be frequently found lurking around jump gates or Oort Clouds looking for smugglers and pirates, or hiding out far above the Ecliptic watching for enemy infiltration missions. These are the smallest ships to mount Grav Lasers and other weaponry more powerful than Chemlasers, Fusion Cannons, and Lance Torpedoes, such as Particle Beams.
Human Heavy Cruiser classes
Human Light Cruiser classes
Vampire Cruiser Classes
Behind the Scenes
Cruisers were originally 19th-century surface warships intended for solo patrol on the high seas, cruising around looking for enemy merchant ships to sink or capture, or enemy commerce raiders to intercept. As weapon ranges got longer, they became used to escort the new capital ships such as Dreadnoughts and then Aircraft Carriers. As weapons got more powerful, and more costly, Cruisers replaced Dreadnoughts as the largest non-carrier surface warships. In space, they operate in a combination of all of these roles.