If you have not already seen the TV adaptation of The Expanse series (by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) then I suggest you find it online and see it forthwith. Read the books as well. The series had it’s genesis in a RPG game that I think had it’s origins in a game loosely based on GURPS: Transhuman Space. It is hard scifi with one major woo-woo which is the Epstein Drive – a sort of super efficient fusion drive that allows constant acceleration (which give a simulated gravity on board ships). When asked how it worked, the authors responded “very efficiently”.
Ships are effectively buildings with the floor being ‘down’. This deckplan is of a small dual purpose passenger and cargo vessel. I used GURPS Spaceships to give me an idea of size and components, but as far as the amount of fuel carried and performance – I just winged it. In The Expanse ships are plot devices so I didn’t bother too much on the details. I figure that the ship has water tanks for reactions mass, and a shielded ‘fuel tank’ to hold some sort of nuclear fuel/reactors.
Attached it the GURPS: Spaceships template I used to sketch out the major components of the ship. It is a PDF file.
Something different this week. This is a GURPS: Spaceships design for a hard(ish) sci-fi setting. This vessel is a small (Size Modifier +8) multi-purpose Passenger/cargo hauler. This setting has no artificial gravity so passenger and crew accommodations are in a spin habitat that provides up to 0.5G in simulated gravity. The rest of the ship is in zero-G. The core cargo areas double up as an emergency storm shelter in case of solar flares. The ship has a sizable fuel store giving a total delta-V reserve of 200m/sec.
To convert this ship to a GURPS: Transhuman Space vessel, drop the FTL drive and add some more cargo space. Also change the propulsion system to A Fusion Pulse Drive and drop the delta-V reserve of the fuel tanks accordingly.
This is my entry in the reddit competition to design a 100Dton Scout ship – any design rules. I went with the GURPS Spaceships ruleset which is an abstract design system that divides a ship up into twenty slots and various systems are then plugged in – fuel, engines, crew accommodations and so forth. Ships are rated by size, ranging from Size Modifier +5 (30 tons) to +15 (3 million tons). Exactly what a particular system plugged into a slot gives you depends totally on the size of the vessel. For example, a bridge on a SM+5 ship has one control station, while on a SM+15 ship it has sixty.
I went for a Solomani Survey Scout. This vessel is designed for survey and research work. It has enhanced scientific sensors to aid in this work. It carries eight crew in somewhat cramped conditions, which is normal on Solomani ships compared to Imperial vessels which allocate more space per crewman on average.
This PDF gives all the systems and ship stats in GURPS Spaceship format.
NOTE: The name ‘Marizela” was chosen because it belongs to a missing woman whose story has touched me. Marizela Perez went missing in 2011 from near her college campus at the University of Washington in Seattle. I cannot imagine the anguish of the family not knowing the whereabouts of their loved one. Please visit the Find Marizela Website.
Over at Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/traveller) there is currently a competition to design some alternative 100 Displacement Tons Scout ships. Reddit user MininalMask created this ship and I thought it looked cool and he agreed to me doing a deck plan. The race that built it are the Korr, a 2m tall bulky humanoid minor race. The ship has a crew capacity of eight, so is quite cramped. See his write up at Reddit. The basic stats for the ship, created with Mongoose Traveller’s ship design system are:
With my interest in Scifi role-playing and drawing deck plans I browse a lot of star ship images and web sites that host them. I was fortunate to run across David Mueller’s Speculative Starship Designer site. I recommend that you go and have a look. An interesting mix of philosophy and science fiction. I began corresponding with David and asked his permission to try to do some of my deck plans based on some of his designs. He readily agreed and I have started with his Useful-class Freighter from his “STAR VESSELS” PROJECT.
David kindly provided me with some of the wire cage and WIP images he used to produce the images on his site, a few of which are published here. Please go to his site and spend some time browsing – you wont be disappointed.
His write up on the Star Hauler Useful
Star Hauler Useful
The “Useful” class Star Hauler is the most common Human medium cargo ship currently in service. It can tow two large cargo containers in addition to internally stowed freight. The main cargo bay can be accessed from both the front and rear of the vessel. A small complement of passengers can be accommodated along with the cargo. This stalwart second generation Tech Level 6 design has also been produced in survey ship and small hospital ship variants.
Date Entered Service : 464 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 100.9 meters
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.19 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 5.9 light years per day fully loaded
As far as stats for RPG games go – I have only worked this ship up as GURPS Space Ship design. As far as Traveller goes I am thinking about 4-5000Dtons comparing it to my other designs. As GURPS Spaceships design (my current favourite design system) it is a SM+10 ship (About 10,000 Stons).
With the help of Wbyrd’s fertile imagination the Zhodani theme moves right along.
Wbyrd got a lot of feedback on his last fighter concept aimed at giving the fighter a more Zhodani-like feel. A lot of readers thought that more classical Zho design features were needed. This is his second concept fighter in a week. A 10-Dton Fighter. I added a ventral access cockpit access hatch and a pilot seat with two modes – flight and landed.
Zhodanii Type 125 Fighter.
One of the newest fighters deployed by the Zhodanii fleet, client states, and Allied forces. Type 125 Sh’zahg ( “Frightful Shape”, Imperium Code Name Zack) is a swift, agile and lethal fighter. Reserved for more experienced pilots, the Sh’zahg is named after a lethal ray like aquatic predator revered by the minor race native to the designer’s homeworld. The Sh’zahg made it’s debut during a border dispute between a large mining concern and a Zhodani corporation. When the Mining Concerns mercenary security forces fired on a transport severely damaging it. A single Zhodani Carrier and it’s escorts were dispatch.
The flights of fighters launched by the Squadron disabled and nearly destroyed the four Mercenary cruisers in the area, and flattened the ground installation being contested by the two companies. Even with fighter support the four Broadswords were unable to deal with he massed missile and laser fire put out by several squadrons of fighters. In the end the mercenary cruisers were able to destroy several fighters, but they inflicted no harm what so ever on the carrier or its escorts as they hovered well outside of weapons range.
Like the Older 10 ton Trilobite the Sh’zahg is lightly armoured, and has few defences. The pilot also sits in a sealed cockpit, with only narrow blow out panels covering vision slots to allow the pilot to operate if his electronics are destroyed, The Fighter does however have some pilot survival hardware built in to allow the pilot to eject in safety and survive for an extended period while waiting for pickup by his carrier vessel.
While more sophisticated than the Trilobite, the type 125 is still highly vulnerable to hostile fire, and its pilots have only a marginal survival advantage over the older fighters. The Zhodani have put more attention to the weapons and firecontrol systems of the newer fighter, but still seem to consider even experienced pilots as unfortunate casualties.
An older widely seen fighter deployed as a screening, scouting force for Zhodanii warships the Type 95 (“trilobite) is a fairly cheap, largely expendable fighter which is used in large numbers to harass enemy shipping, and screen larger ships against light attack craft and gunships.
Reasonably agile and fast the fighter can close into attack rage quickly and escape the heavier weapons of larger vessels before the formation is destroyed by heavy return fire. Few fighters can match its acceleration, and in expert hand the Type 95 can easily outrun missiles launched at them by other fighters and starships.
With few defensive system, light armour, and no pilot survival equipment installed the Type 95 is mockingly called a Prole Bomb, by Imperium fighter pilots. In practice the Type 95 is as effective as it’s Imperium counterparts, with numbers making up for the slightly better armour, and pilot survival hardware of Imperium fighters. Zhodanii admirals do not seem to concern themselves with the loss of mostly lower class Prole pilots assigned to these poorly defended craft.
Often older craft, or “Surplus” lots are sold at discounts to independent groups hostile to the Imperium. In the hands of Private “merchants” ,Pirates, and Vargr Raiders the Type 95 is as common in the hands of Rogue and criminal elements along the Zhodanii frontiers as it is in the hands of the Zhodanii fleet.
One distinctive feature of the Design is the hybrid Gravitic Plasma drives used by the designers. This is not a major advantage to the fighters since it has similar performance to a pure gravitic drive, and offer little advantage over their pure gravitic counterparts. They however do tend to leave a noticeable trail of ionised gas behind the fighter as it manoeuvres, giving opponents an easy visual cue to identify Zhodanii fighters among a mixed group of small craft.
This picture of a Type R Subsidized Merchant by William H Keith captured my imagination as a young Traveller player when I first saw it when I got my copy of Supplement 7: Traders and Gunboats in 1980 or 81. Thirty five years later is still does.
Since I began drawing these Traveller starship deck plans I always had it in the back of my mind to do one of this vessel. She is a 400-Dton ship, has a crew of seven and can carry up to sixteen passengers and 200 tons of cargo. Her drives are capable of Jump 1 and she plods along at 1G acceleration. She carries a small 20ton launch on a dorsal mount for on-planet errands and passenger transfers. I have copied the layout from Traders and Gunboats as far as I could, but I had to change the location of a few doors here and there to use some standard. Hope you enjoy this one.
Who said I never listened to readers of my blog. Apparently I missed the obvious thing that a guy like Dave would be doing in his spare time in Jump Space. Bored with golf, he has taken up a new hobby, if only he can get the thing assembled – what was that old adage? RTFM Dave.
Dave Kashikvili (X-Boat Pilot 4 Terms – so far)
Current IISS Rank 2(Messenger 1st Class)
Str 8 (+0) Dex 10 (+1) End 6 (+0) Int 8 (+1) Edu 8 (+1) Soc 7 (+0)
Story: Dave is your typical X-Boat pilot. For the most part happy with his own company and enjoying the freedom to be himself – he has recently begun to feel that something is missing in his life. He has had a fairly mundane career so far with no real problems coming his way. He is however, a bit of a slob, and the X-Boat Tender cleaning crew are forever complaining about the state of his ship when it comes in for servicing. The cleaning chief has reminded him many times that regs do not allow consumption of food at the comms or pilot stations. Like most X-Boat pilots Dave wiles away the long days in Jump Space on hobbies. He reads, watches old Tri-V shows and has recently taken given up golf. Apparently his putting is getting better but he needs a lot of work on his long game. He has now taken up amateur robotics. The return trip from Jae Tellona to Celepina should be enough to see if to Sim-software just not is the same as a the real game thing.