Free Trader

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A Free Trader is a small starship commonly used for interstellar trade and commerce that is capable of Jump-1.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Free Trader is the term given to an independent interstellar merchant ship, which plys the space lanes carrying cargo and passengers. Usually, a free trader is a 200-ton vessel capable of Jump-1. The Craft Type Code assigned to these ships is A. An example of this type of ship is the standard 200-ton Beowulf-class free trader.

Hundreds of variants exist. The typical size equals 200 tons. A similar starship capable of Jump-2 is called a Far Trader.

Using a 200-ton TL–9 streamlined hull, the free trader is an elementary interstellar merchant ship plying the space lanes carrying cargo and passengers. It is fitted with drives giving it Jump-1 and 1-G acceleration. Fuel tankage supports one Jump-1 and two months of power plant operations. Fuel scoops are included. Installed on the bridge is a computer Model/1 and the default sensor suite.

Cargo capacity, the ship’s most important feature, is 82 tons, plus a mail vault. The hull is streamlined, and can land on uneven terrain. The free trader requires a crew of four: pilot/astrogator, engineer, medic, and steward

Image Repository[edit]

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History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The term Free Trader can be very confusing, as it refers both to a group of individuals and a type merchant vessel. Free Traders (the people) are men and women who owe allegiance to no government and who call no planet home. In many cases they were born on ship-board and have never lived "dirtside." These Free Traders farm a loose-knit tribal community and are the only vestige of interstellar commerce in collapsed Imperial Space, albeit a sparse and thin vestige. Back in Imperial times, there were free traders as well, but the term was merely a description of a job (like "gas station attendant") rather than of a unique way of life under circumstances where there is no longer any interstellar authority. The Free Traders of the New Era are a nation without a state, but form a continuous link to a lost epoch.

The vessels called free traders are a small and relatively cheap type of merchant ship. Although these free traders can be of various specific classes (Beowulf TL-15 free trader, Moraine TL-10 free trader, etc.), all share certain characteristics: they displace 200 tons, have jump-1 and 1-G performance, and have a simple and inexpensive electronics suite.

During Imperial times, the starship free trader was often capitalized in order to specify those precise performance parameters, while the free trader profession was lower case as befitted a general job description. However, in the New Era these terms are differentiated in the text by the use of lower case for the vessels as opposed to uppercase for the people.

Finally, Free Traders who have regular contact with the Reformation Coalition do not fly free traders; you can't get to Coalition Space from the Wilds with a Jump-1 ship. [1]

Basic Supraclass Definition[edit]

THE FAR TRADER: The basic ship involved in free trade is called the free trader. Variations on the basic ship have resulted in variations in the name. The subsidized merchant, partly because of its size, and partly because of its subsidy, is called the fat trader. Some well-equipped high-G traders employed beyond the Imperial border are called fast traders. The type A2 far trader derives its name from its jump capability: its drives are capable of Jump-2, twice what the standard free trader can do. The far trader can be encountered anywhere in the Imperium. It ranges far and wide, and deals with every world it finds. Even amber zones and red zones are not considered off limits by its captains, provided there is profit to be made and the risk of being caught is slight. Marc Miller. Traders and Gunboats (Game Designers Workshop, 1980), 23.

Selected Variant Types & Classes[edit]

Merchant Vessel - Tramp Liner:
Free Trader / Tramp Liner:

  1. Type A class Free Trader
    1. Alexandria class Free Trader
    2. Basil class Merchant
    3. Beowulf class Free Trader
    4. Moraine class Free Trader
    5. Regni Yards Type A class Free Trader
    6. Type A-J2 class Free Trader
    7. Type A-P class Free Trader

Far Trader:

  1. Type A1 class Far Trader
  2. Type A2 class Far Trader
    1. Avian class Far Trader
    2. Empress Marava class Far Trader
    3. Garu class Far Trader
    4. Hero class Far Trader
    5. Jayhawk class Far Trader
    6. Prince Ferren class Far Trader
    7. Type A2L class Far Trader

Deep Trader / Fast Trader:

  1. Type A3 class Fast Trader
    1. Fat Cat class Far Trader
    2. Trojan Reaches Type A3 class Trader
    3. Type A3L class Far Trader

Armored Trader / Frontier Trader:

  1. Type AA class Armored Merchant
    1. Ronkli class Combat Transport
    2. Star class Armored Merchant

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.

  1. Frank Chadwick. The Guilded Lilly (Game Designers Workshop, 1995), 43.