The FederationThe Federation
is a formerly-great alliance of alien species, now fractured and on the brink of destruction by the Rebels. What few ships and bases that remain are under siege by both rebels and pirates, but they will help you if they can. The player's goal is to reach and defend the Federation base in Sector 8, The Last Stand.
The Federation makes use of Federation Cruisers (Osprey note
) and the engi-built Stealth Cruisers (Nesasionote
and DA-SR 12 note
Tropes relating to the Federation and its ships include:
- The Alliance
- Armor-Piercing Attack: The Federation cruisers' artillery beam weapon ignores shields, but cannot be manually aimed to make up for it.
- The Federation
- Fragile Speedster: The Stealth A ship starts with four levels of engine power. With a pilot and zero-rank engine officer in place, that bumps up the evade rate to 30%, which is pretty high for a starting ship, but the ship has no shields.
- Lightning Bruiser: On the other hand, its Dual Lasers + Mini-Beam combo can inflict up to six damage per turn (assuming no shields) while damaging several systems at the same time, depending on the enemy ship's layout.
- Glass Cannon: The Stealth B ship, sacrificing engine power and fast-charge weapons for a stronger cloak and powerful Glaive Beam. Once again, it has no shields.
- Last Stand: They are having one in Sector 8, but they can win if you destroy the rebel flagship.
- The Remnant
- Shout-Out: The default name of the Stealth B (DA-SR 12) references the Normandy SR-2 of Mass Effect.
- Wave Motion Gun: The Stealth B's Glaive Beam qualifies, as does the Artillery Beam of the Federation Cruisers.
The rebels are a group of militaristic human-supremacists. Their fleet has already destroyed most of the Federation and will hunt down the player should they stay in a sector too long.
Rebels make use of crewless AI ships but also possess an incredibly powerful flagship which will destroy the Federation if the player is unable to stop it.
Tropes relating to the Rebels, including their ships and flagship, include:
- Advancing Boss of Doom: Their fleet acts as this, forcing the player to keep moving or face being overwhelmed by unlimited numbers of powerful ships.
- In addition the flagship acts as this in the final level. If it reaches the Federation base you get a game over.
- Clipped Wing Angel: The third phase of the flagship makes up for its lost weapons with a powerful ion shield and Beam Spam special, but it has less normal weaponry and likely has less crew to play with this far into the battle.
- Dead Man Switch: If you completely kill the crew of the Rebel Flagship, the Flagship's A.I. takes over and repairs its sysems.
- Fantastic Racism: They are human-supremacist.
- Final Boss: The Rebel Flagship. Subverted in that it's the only "proper" boss in the game.
- Keystone Army: Despite the overwhelming strength of the Rebel fleet, Federation victory will be assured if you destroy the flagship (even if the player dies in the process).
- Limit Break: In its second and third phases the flagship periodically has a power surge, which releases a swarm of drones or lasers or restores the ship's Zoltan Shield.
- Killing all of the crew members on the Flagship causes an AI to take over, which provides massive bonuses to - and automatically repairs - all damaged systems.
- Secret A.I. Moves: The AI drones and flagship don't need crew to survive, and the drones can have 5 shields whereas 4 is the usual limit.
- The flagship also has several unique weapons, including a triple missile and triple ion gun. It's also the only non-Zoltan ship to have a Zoltan Shield, and the only ship that can restore it when it goes down.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized
- Weaksauce Weakness: The flagship's conventional weapons are in isolated rooms and guarded by a single human (who doesn't respawn between phases), meaning even a weak boarding crew can make short work of defenders and take the weapon offline. Furthermore, while the main crew has a level 3 medbay and has more than eight members, killing them all will let you run wild in the flagship for all three fights, making them a cakewalk.
Pirates have little involvement in the war between the Federation and the Rebels, and instead make a living for themselves by hijacking ships and plundering other ships for spoils.
Slaves come in most racesnote
, and pilot all kinds of ships; a pirate Rebel Fighter, for example, will often have non-human crew, whereas non-pirated Rebel ships only have human crew.
Tropes relating to pirates and the ships they use include:
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Pirate ships have crude purple paint stripes across the hull exterior.
- Slave Liberation: Slave ships reduced to low hull integrity will occasionally offer to release a slave to you to get you to leave them alone. Killing the entire crew of a slave ship will occasionally result in living slaves and a choice of which race of slave you want to have join you, but other times the slaves will simply die with no chance for you to recruit them. Finally, if you have a teleporter, you can teleport away slaves to your ship, but this will usually result in drawing the ire of the slavers and starting a battle.
- Space Pirate: Obviously.
This section sets out the details of each playable Race in FTL and the ships they use.
HumanHumans are common and uninteresting.
Humans have average ability in all areas but possess no special abilities or events. Their only notable feature is that they are the only race to possess both male and female sprites. Humans are found in The Federation
but also make up the majority of the human-supremacist Rebels.
Humans use the ramshackle Kestrel cruisers (Kestrelnote
and Red-tail note
). For tropes relating to the Federation and Stealth cruisers, see the Federation section.
Humans and their ships feature the following tropes:
EngiIt's unclear if the 'Engi' are partly organic or entirely mechanical, but it's well known that they make exceptional engineers.
In gameplay Engis have unparalleled repairing ability, but their reduced attack speed makes them vulnerable to enemy attack. Their ships focus on ion damage and drones.
Engis and their ships feature the following tropes:
MantisThe Mantis' disregard for individual lives lead to their evolution as a vicious, warrior race.
Mantis have high attack speed making them excellent in melee combat and for boarding. In return they repair at a reduced rate making them less effective at holding ships together. Their ships focus on boarding and melee.
The Mantis and their ships feature the following tropes:
- Blood Knight
- Boarding Party: The Mantis B mandates this approach, possessing a crew teleporter and boarding drone but no weapons. A fully leveled-up boarding team of four Mantis will rapidly turn the enemy ship into a space coffin.
- Insectoid Aliens: Clue's in the name.
- Lightning Bruiser: Their fast movement and high attack speed lets them defeat most other races easily in melee. Rockmen are almost an even match with their higher HP, and drones are superior thanks to having higher HP and similar attack speed.
- No Cure for Evil: While not evil per se they are violent, and slow to repair ship damage.
- Stone Wall: The Mantis B ship begins with two layers of shields and a Defense drone, making it near-immune to early game attackers even while your entire crew is on board the enemy ship.
- Violence Really Is the Answer: Where other races have special options that resolve conflicts and solve problems, Mantises have only one. It involves violence.
- Zerg Rush: Their high speed lets them do this on the enemy ship, especially as crew teleporters ignore enemy shields. Their four-person teleport facilitates this as well.
RockmenThe 'Rockmen' of Vrachos IV are rarely seen and are known for their fortitude.
Rockmen and their ships feature the following tropes:
- Arranged Marriage: On occasion you'll find one in the Rock Homeworlds, and are asked to escort the fiancÚ of a major Rock figure, the Grand Basilisk of Numa V.
- Fantastic Racism: Some ships will state they consider you "repugnant".
- Ideal Illness Immunity: Rocks have powerful immune systems, enabling them to subdue riots on a plague-afflicted station without fear of infection.
- Kill It with Fire: The Rock B cruiser starts with Fire Bombs. Combined with the Rockmen's immunity to fire, all you need left is a teleporter to do some serious damage to the enemy crew.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The Bulwark, the Type-A Rock Cruiser, starts with two missile weapons and a large stock of missiles. One achievmeent requires destroying a ship equipped with Defense Drones using missiles.
- Percussive Maintenance: They stomp on fires and whack hull breaches and damaged systems until they are fixed. Surprisingly this seems to work.
- Proud Warrior Race Guys
- Rock Beats Laser: Most races uses lasers in melee combat. The exceptions (Rock, Mantis and Crystal) are the only ones likely to beat a Rock in combat.
- Scissors Cuts Rock: However, Mantis claws will beat them more often than not, especially if they're on your side and have trained at least one level in combat.
- Rock Monster: As their name implies.
- Stone Wall: They have high HP and are immune to fire, but are slow to move around ships.
- Worthy Opponent: You must earn their respect by defeating their champion before they'll lend you their aid and unlock their ship.
ZoltanThe 'Zoltan' are close allies of the 'Engi'. Their innate energy is strong enough to power ship systems.
Zoltan and their ships feature the following tropes:
Slugs and their ships feature the following tropes:
- Boarding Party: The Slug B cruiser is intially designed for this role, though in a very odd way; it has an Artemis missile launcher, a Healing Burst, a crew teleporter and no medbay.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: You'll receive lots of generous offers in their sectors, and it's even odds whether they're genuine or just looking for the chance to rip you off, smuggle enemies aboard or sabotage your ship.
- Jack of All Stats: They fight and repair as well as a human, but also have sensor powers.
- Mundane Utility: As well as sensing enemies and taking part in psychic duels with other slugs, their psychic powers also help them talk to animals and counsel insane people.
- Psychic Powers: These reveal enemies in nearby rooms, and come in handy in a lot of events.
- Space Clouds: They reside in sector-wide nebulas that obscure your own sensors, but not their own sensor powers.
The Secret Race
The CrystalAncient ancestors of the rockmen.
Crystals are the secret race and very difficult to obtain, accessible only as part of a tricky sidequest. They possess high HP, resistance to oxygen deprivation and a unique "Lockdown" ability that lets them seal off the room they are in.
Crystals and their ships feature the following tropes:
- Armor-Piercing Attack: Crystal weapons ignore one level of shielding.
- Boarding Party: The Type B cruiser is designed around boarding parties; it starts with a four-crew teleporter and a cloak for evading enemy fire, at the expense of weapons.
- Crystal Prison: Their lockdown ability creates one, barring access to the room they are in. This can be used to keep enemies out or to trap enemies in with you.
- Guide Dang It: The sidequest to obtain a Crystal crewman is so obscure you could play the game for days without realising they even existed.
- Infinity Plus One Race and Ship
- Luck-Based Mission: Reaching the Crystal sector requires no less than three randomly-generated elements.
- Palette Swap: Crystals resemble and use the same animations as the Rockmen, though mechanically they are very distinct.
- Precursors: To the Rockmen.
- Purposefully Overpowered: Crystals and their ships are very powerful, in return for being hellishly difficult to obtain.
- Secret Character