- Please see the AAB ship entry on Type A class Free Traders for the iconic ship of this generalized type.
- It is a Civilian Ship, a merchant ship, a trader... often used for tramp liner work.
- The Supraclass designation is also known as Ship Mission, Ship Mission Code, Mission, or Ship Hull Designation.
- It is a starship supraclass.
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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.
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 82.0 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
Spectrum of Civil Shipping in Charted Space
|Spectrum of Civil Shipping in Charted Space: 1105|
|Synopsis||Tramp||Liner||Freighter||Transport & Tanker|
|Hull Tonnage||100 to 2,499 dTons||100 to 2,499 dTons||2,500 to 999,999 dTons||2,500 to 999,999 dTons or more... |
(...rarely more than 1,000,000) dTons
|Size-Cat||ACS||ACS||BCS & FCS||BCS & FCS (rarely WCS)|
|Ideal Freight Volume||Zero to Low (Hundreds of tons)||Medium (Hundreds to Thousands of tons)||High (Thousands to Tens of Thousands of tons)||Very High (Tens to Hundreds of Thousands of tons)|
|Market||Unscheduled low volume, high speculation trade routes||Mostly scheduled, medium speculation, subsidized trade routes||Scheduled medium and high-volume, low speculation trade routes||Scheduled high volume trade routes with massive economies of scale, or massive (...usually government) projects|
|Rough Market Share||10%||25%||45%||20%|
|Area of Influence||Cluster or Trace+||Subsector+||Sector||Multi-Sector|
|Business||Fledgling Line||Subsector-wide Line & Interface Line||Sector-wide Line||Multi-sector Line|
|Remarks||Merchant Princes & Adventurers||Scheduled & Subsidized Trade||Backbone of Merchant Trade||Corporate Bulk Trade|
|NOTES: While standards exist, ship naming standards evolve with time and over tech epochs. Class naming comments are only generalizations and many exceptions exist. Trade is heavily affected by local regulations, the rule of law, and local security conditions. WCS-class vessels are not ordinarily used for merchant missions as they are too large and expensive.|
Strategy & Tactics (Doctrine)
No information yet available.
Far Traders typically serve the following roles:
|A1-class Tramp Supraclass Archetypes|
|Tramp Vessel||(A) (Namesake)|
|A1-class Free Trader Supraclass Archetypes|
|Free Trader / Tramp Liner||A & A1||Beowulf class Free Trader||(J-1): They are typically light, free-spirited J-1 trader craft, built to speculate on primary mains.
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 form 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 almost all orginally had 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.
Basic Supraclass Definition
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.