Starship

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Ship / Vessel Definitions: A vessel is any interplanetary or interstellar vehicle. [1]


Imperial Sunburst-Sun-IISS-Traveller.gif

Please refer to the following AAB library data for more information:



Description (Specifications)[edit]

A starship is a spacecraft equipped with a jump drive, essentially allowing it to travel at (roughly) 150 times the speed of light (or faster). Please note that very early (STL) spacecraft did not employ FTL drives. Due to the greatly enhanced travel speed of the jump drive, sophont species with the technology will use it.

Required Starship Components: Starships are constructed on the foundation of a hull, into which are fitted the drives and power plants, the fuel tankage, life support equipment, computers, controls, armaments, and other fittings that adapt it to its intended function. The total tonnage of the installed fittings cannot exceed the tonnage of the hull. [6]

The Hull: Hulls are identified by their mass displacement, expressed in tons. As a rough guide, one ton equals fourteen cubic meters (the volume of one ton of liquid hydrogen). When hulls are constructed, they are divided into an engineering section for the drives and the main compartment for everything else. All drives and power plants must be located in the engineering section, and only drives and power plants may be placed in that section. All other ship components, including fuel, cargo hold, living space, and computer must be located in the main compartment. [7]

There are six standard hulls which are available at reduced prices and construction times. Any other hull must be produced on a custom basis at a cost of MCr0.1 per ton with a minimum price MCr20. Construction (or build) times for custom hulls can often be much longer than standard hull construction. Hulls vary in their requirements for drives and power plants based on tonnage. [8]

Any specific drive will be less efficient as the tonnage it must drive increases. There are twenty-four standard drive types, identified by the letters A through Z (omitting I and O to avoid confusion). Also listed are various tonnage levels for hulls; any tonnage which exceeds a listed level should be read at the next higher level. Correlating hull size with drive letter indicates drive potential. For maneuver drives, this potential is the G’s of acceleration available. For jump drives, the potential is the jump number (Jn), or jump range in parsecs. For power plants, it is power plant rating (Pn). For example, a 200-ton hull equipped with maneuver drive-A can produce 1-G acceleration; an 800-ton hull equipped with jump drive-K can produce jump-2. [9]

A ship’s hull is broadly composed of two sections:

  1. Engineering Compartment / Section
  2. Main Compartment / Section

Engineering Section[edit]

The Engineering Section: Drives are installed in the engineering section. A non-starship must have a maneuver drive and a power plant. A starship must have a jump drive and a power plant; a maneuver drive may also be installed, but is not required. In all cases, the power plant letter must equal or exceed either the maneuver drive letter or the jump drive letter, whichever is higher. [10]

It is important to note that some drives will not produce results in some tonnages of hulls. Some drives will not fit into some hulls. Drive ratings greater than six are not available at TL-15 in 1115 IC. [11]

Main Compartment[edit]

The Main Compartment: The ship's main compartment contains all non-drive features of the ship, including the bridge, ship's computer, the staterooms, the low passage berths, the cargo hold, fuel tanks, armament, and other items. [12]

  • A. The Bridge: All ships must allocate 2% of their tonnage (minimum 20 tons) to basic controls, communications equipment, avionics, scanners, detectors, sensors, and other equipment for proper operation of the ship. The cost for this bridge is MCr0.5 per hundred tons of ship. [13]

The basic controls do not include the ship's computer, which is installed adjacent to the bridge. The computer is identified by its model number; the computer table indicates details of price, tonnage, capacity, and tech level available. In general, larger computers are more advantageous in combat situations. In addition, the model number indicates the highest level of jump which can be achieved by the ships. For example, a ship must have a Model/4 computer before it can perform jump-4, in addition to the proper size jump drive. [14]

CPU refers to the computer's central processing unit, indicating its capacity to process programs; storage refers to the additional capacity available to hold programs in readiness for processing. Programs themselves are classified by size, using a point indicator to specify how much of the CPU or storage capacity is required for that program to fit into the computer. The number of programs (and the exact types of programs) which are on hand, in storage, or in the CPU is important in the operation of the starship, especially in combat. [15]

Computer Software (programs) must normally be acquired separately by purchase (or they may be written by a crew member who has advanced computer expertise). Each computer model is originally furnished with a basic software package of commonly used programs. This package is selected by the purchaser from the list of available programs; the computer model (1 through 7) indicates the credit value which may be selected. For example, Model/1 allows a package with a value of MCr1, while Model/6 allows a value of MCr6. [16]

There are two bis models of computer available. Each is treated as the next higher level for jump support, but as the next lower level for software selection. Thus, the Model/1bis can support jump-2, but is allowed a software package value of only MCr1. [17]

Fire control equipment is required if weaponry is to be installed. Each installed turret requires one ton of displacement committed for the installation of fire control equipment. [18]

Original design plans for ships often include reserve tonnage for later use in installing fire control equipment, or for upgrading computers. [19]

  • B. Staterooms: Quarters for the crew and passengers are provided in the form of staterooms containing sleeping and living facilities. Each stateroom is sufficient for one person, displaces four tons, and costs Cr500,000. In some starships (especially exploratory vessels, military ships, and privately-owned starships), double occupancy is allowed in staterooms. No stateroom can contain more than two persons however, as it would strain the ship's life support equipment. A commercial ship must have one stateroom for each member of the crew. [20]
  • C. Low Passage Berths: Facilities for carrying passengers in cold sleep may be installed in a ship. One low passage berth carries one low passenger, costs Cr50,000, and displaces one-half ton. Low berths also serve well in emergencies, in that they can provide suspended animation facilities for characters when medical care, rescue, or assistance is not immediately available. Emergency low berths are also available; they will not carry passengers, but can be used for survival. Each costs Cr100,000 and displaces one ton. Each holds four persons who share the same chances of survival. [21]
  • D. Fuel: Total fuel tankage for a ship must be indicated in the design plans. There is no cost, but the capacity does influence how often the ship must refuel. At a minimum, ship fuel tankage must equal 0.1 MJn+ 10Pn, where M is the tonnage of the ship, Jn is the ship's jump number, and Pn is the ship's power plant rating. Power plant fuel under the formula (10Pn) allows routine operations and maneuver for four weeks. Jump fuel under the formula (0.1 MJn) allows one jump of the stated level. Ships performing jumps less than their maximum capacity consume fuel at a lower level based on the jump number used. [22]
  • E. Cargo Hold: The design plan must indicate cargo capacity. There is no cost but cargo carried may not exceed cargo capacity. [23]
  • F. Armaments: Any ship may have one hardpoint per 100 tons of ship. Designation of a hardpoint requires no tonnage, and costs 0100,000. Hardpoints may be left unused if desired. [24]

One turret may be attached to each hardpoint on the ship. When it is attached, one ton for fire control must be allocated. Turrets themselves are available in single, double, and triple mounts which will hold one, two, or three weapons respectively. Prices for turrets and weapons can vary greatly across Charted Space

Turrets and weapons may be altered or retrofitted. For example, a single turret can have its pulse laser replaced by a beam laser when it becomes available; a single turret can be replaced by a triple turret when it becomes available. Weapons for installation in turrets include pulse and beam lasers, missile racks, and sandcasters. All are used in the space combat. [25]

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Ship Construction: Space ships are constructed and sold at shipyards throughout the galaxy. Any Class A Starport has a shipyard which can build any kind of ship, including a starship with jump drives; any Class B Starport can build a small craft or ships which do not have jump drives. The military procures vessels through these yards, corporations buy their commercial vessels from these shipyards, and private individuals can purchase ships that they have designed through them as well. The major restriction on the purchase of ships is money. [26]

Construction Times:[edit]

Time required for building any vessel depends primarily on the hull. Standard hulls allow shorter construction times since those types are more familiar to the shipyard and thus easier to build. [27]

Ship Design (Naval Architecture)[edit]

Most vessels are constructed from standard design plans which use time-tested designs and combinations of features. Shipyards work from these plans which cover every detail of construction and assembly. [28]

Naval Architecture:[edit]

Small design corporations can produce design plans for any vessel type once given the details of what is desired. The design procedure is followed to determine what is available and allowed, and the results are presented to the naval architect firm. They produce a detailed set of design plans in about four weeks for a price of 1% of the final ship cost; they can be hurried to finish the job in two weeks if paid 1.5%. Once the design plans are received, the shipyard may be commissioned to produce the vessel desired. [29]

Standard Designs:[edit]

There are a number of standard design plans available; they have been in use for a long time, and are available for a nominal fee (Cr100 for the set).

Standard starship plans available are:

  1. 100-ton Scout/Courier
  2. 200-ton Free Trader
  3. 200-ton Yacht
  4. 400-ton Subsidized Merchant
  5. 600-ton Subsidized Liner
  6. 800-ton Mercenary Cruiser
  7. 400-ton Patrol Cruiser.

Standard plans are also available for the following small craft:

  1. 20-ton Launch
  2. 30-ton Ship's Boat
  3. 30-ton Slow Boat
  4. 40-ton Pinnace
  5. 40-ton Slow Pinnace
  6. 50-ton Cutter
  7. 95-ton Shuttle
  8. 10-ton Fighter.

Other standard plans may be available at various localities. Standard designs are easier to produce; their prices reflect a 10% reduction in normal pricing. The details of the standard designs are shown at the end of this chapter. Standard design vessels are often available used (10 to 40 years old) at reductions in price ranging from 10% to 40%, as indicated by the shipyard. [30]

Costs & Payments:[edit]

A shipyard will insist upon a 20% down payment with the order for the vessel, as well as requiring a demonstration that proper financing is available to cover the balance when due. [31]

Starships are designed to carry people from one star system to another, for the purposes of exploration, survey, trade, patrol, raiding, tracking, information gathering, conquest... in a word, adventure. Typically, starships have a large percentage of their volume dedicated to fuel, because the jump drive requires a huge investment in energy to transition to jumpspace. This limits the available space for other uses, severely in the case of ships able to jump long distances, or rejump repeatedly (which is a lifesaver if you can afford the space). Some ships greatly enhance capacity without sacrificing safety by mounting external tanks to the ship known as droptanks.

Starship Categories[edit]

Starships are distinguished from spaceships by the presence of a FTL jump engine and a mission of interstellar travel.

  1. Civilian Ships: Civilian starships conduct trade, tourism, and a variety of non-violent ends. They tend to be under private ownership and rarely carry more than light armament for self defense purposes.
  2. Paramilitary Ships: Paramilitary starships are a step in-between civilian and military starships. They patrol the system as police, inspectors, and in a variety instiutional roles. They may carry armament, but usually much less than a comparable military platform.
  3. Military Ships: Military starships are starships designed to defend a state against aggressors. This typically means that their design requirements are based on performance and survivability under attack. Military starships intended for combat are typically called warships.

Starship Equipment[edit]

Maneuver / Relativistic Drives[edit]

Relativistic Drives are starship engines uses in normal space for maneuver and propulsion. They are different than the jump drive.

Jump Drives[edit]

Please see the article Jump Drive for more information.

Astronics[edit]

What avionics are to aircraft, astronics are to starships. Astronics are specialized electronics meant for dedicated usage in void vessels, spaceships and starships. Many non-professionals still refer to them as avionics.

Interstellar Travel Motives[edit]

The first interstellar ships, while crude in light of more modern FTL jump drives, nevertheless have revolutionized every sophont society that developed them. Two motivations tend to drive the push for interstellar travel:

  • 1. Colonization (population pressure)
  • 2. Curiosity (exploration)

Some sophont species tend to also be driven by a fear of the unknown, a third common motivator. And yet others possess a religious, ideological fervor to bring their ideas and philosophies to the rest of Interstellar space, a fourth common motivator.

  • 3. Fear (paranoia)
  • 4. Belief (proselytism)

The K'kree, for example, while driven by several factors are strongly motivated to bring an ethos of vegetarianism to Charted Space.

Starship Representative Sampling[edit]

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. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  2. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  3. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  4. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  5. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  6. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13.
  7. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13.
  8. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13.
  9. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13.
  10. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13.
  11. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13.
  12. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13.
  13. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 13-14.
  14. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  15. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  16. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  17. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  18. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  19. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  20. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  21. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14.
  22. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 14-15.
  23. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 15.
  24. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 15.
  25. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 15.
  26. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  27. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  28. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  29. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  30. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.
  31. Marc Miller. Starships (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), page/s 12.