Ortillerist class Torpedo Ship
|Ortillerist class Torpedo Ship|
|Type: OS Strike Ortillery Ship|
|Hull Configuration||Box Hull|
|Fuel tank||0 Tons|
|Manufacturer||[[Sindalian Empire Royal Shipyards]]|
|End of Service||Examples still operating post-Collapse.|
|Cost||MCr153.9. MCr138.51 in quantity.|
|Quick Ship Profile||DS-EU11|
|Also see||Strike Ortillery Ship|
|Canon||Published, fan design|
|Reference||EXTERNAL LINK: MGT Forums|
|Designed with Mongoose Traveller High Guard rules, but portable to other versions.|
- It is a military ship and a dedicated Torpedo Ship.
- It's basically a portable torpedo bay with a drive, crew quarters, and a bridge attached like a squarish ring around the munition payload.
- It carries a large torpedo bay and a defensive suite.
- It ordinarily carries no subcraft nor drones.
- It has a three (usually two in practice) sophont crew and no marines.
Refining the art of orbital bombardment to brutal simplicity, an Ortillerist consists of a torpedo bay, fuel, and a smattering of ship systems. It has enough fuel for two 1-sector jumps, allowing it to jump in (...undetected thanks to its advanced jump drive), confirm planetary coordinates relative to a known target location, unload its ortillery torpedoes, then jump back out within a couple hours of breakout. Astrogation for the jump out will typically be partially done before breakout on the jump in, and completed while the torpedoes are firing, timed with charging the jump engines so the ship jumps as soon as the last torpedo volley is outside the jump bubble. (A typical sequence is: breakout, up to half an hour confirming ship's and target's location, unloading all torpedoes for about an hour and a quarter, then jump out, being in-system for less than two hours total. Highly competent crews have been known to compress this to under an hour and a half.)
Although the vagaries of jump drive make it difficult to jump in right over a specific planetary location, this stealth operation gives the torpedoes time to descend unseen. If they are spotted well before reaching the target, alert defenders may have time to thwart the volley with electronic warfare and/or point defenses. The Ortillerist will be long since gone by the time this happens, so routine operations involve having a scout vessel - usually passing as a harmless merchant - to report on the results of bombardment. Alternately, a would-be invader can gamble on the chaos such a bombardment may have caused, especially if a fleet of Ortillerists jumped and attacked in sync.
- An image of an Ortillerist-class off an older workstation screen. The band straddles the middle of the craft.
General Description & Deck Plans
- Deck Plans for this vessel. Several architects have summarized it as, "a boxy picture frame straddling a gigantic torpedo bay".
Basic Ship Characteristics
|Basic Ship Characteristics |
|1.||Tonnage / Hull||Tonnage: 500 tons (standard). 7,000 cubic meters. Unstreamlined Box Hull.
|2.||Crew||Crew: One pilot and one gunner. There is also need for an astrogator, but this position is usually filled by the pilot. (The gunner will be busy unloading the torpedo bay while the second jump of a mission is plotted, with the ship not maneuvering during this time.)|
|3.||Performance||Acceleration: 1-G maneuver drive installed.
|4.||Electronics||Model/3 bis ship computer.|
|5.||Hardpoints||5 hardpoints, all used for the gigantic torpedo bay.|
|6.||Armament||One large torpedo bay carrying 360 1/3 ton torpedoes, usually fired in 12 salvos of 30 each. Sometimes heavier munitions are used, but always summing up to 120 tons of ordnance. It will typically use the most destructive munitions available, which has sometimes been thermonuclear Thunderball munitions.|
|7.||Defenses||No defenses of any type.|
|8.||Craft||None. Crew's vacc suits allow extra-vehicle activity. Rescue balls for crew escape usually carried.|
|9.||Fuel Treatment||None. The ship is dependent on local facilities for refueling and maintenance. When conducting strike operations, these facilities will usually be located one parsec away from the target, where its strike mission originates from and ends at.|
|10.||Cost||MCr153.9 standard (no architect's fees on this standard design). MCr138.51 in quantity.|
|11.||Construction Time||5 months standard. 3 months in quantity.|
|12.||Comments||A dedicated torpedo ship. In some ways the closest thing possible to a Jump Torpedo.|
Ship Interior Details
Conditions aboard an Ortillerist are best described as "austere." The boxy, cheaply made vehicle, consisting of ship systems wrapped around a large torpedo bay and fuel compartments, fulfills the minimums necessary for operation and little more, not even boasting any armor.
Most Ortillerists fire their torpedoes from the front (the side of the bay furthest from the maneuver drives). A few are configured to fire from the left or right side (a very few can fire from both), to achieve a classic broadside effect.
While the Ortillerist class was optimized to carry two crew (favoring the pilot and astrogator being the same person), there are three consoles on the bridge, one for each official crew position: pilot, astrogator, and gunner. It is suspected that this was in response to regulations requiring one console per position, and likely would have been reduced to two consoles had the Sindalian Empire been the first to manufacture and put it through proper design trials. They were not: the rebels put the plan into production under expediency measures which included skipping the design trials, so the Empire had to do the same when it finally produced these. Some subsequent builds reconfigure the bridge for more crew comfort at the expense of a third console, but these are usually custom modifications, rarely identical across even two Ortillerists and certainly not a class-wide refit.
That said, an Ortillerist can carry up to four people if the staterooms are double-occupied, though the third and fourth are more often friends or loved ones to keep the crew sane and happy, than crew themselves. Spending two weeks (or more) just to deliver death and destruction at a distance is a task most sophonts find grim. Games and stories that desophontize the enemy - or that preach the necessity of force when certain sophonts intentionally harm others for no morally valid reason (in the eyes of the intended audience), are demonstrably aware that this is wrong (assuming they share the narrator's reasoning, which is the most common disconnect from an Ortillerist's targets), and refuse to mend their ways - are common recreations aboard an Ortillerist. In quite a few cases, the third or fourth person aboard is essentially a steward selected in part for skill with these games or stories, to make sure the other crew comply with their moral lessons in the critical moment of attack, and resolve any resulting stress during the jump back so the Ortillerist (and preferably the crew) can be used again.
While examples similar to this design have been around for ages, this particular design originated with the rebellion near the end of the Sindalian Empire. While the rebels were the first to get one into production (though both sides manufactured them before the war ended), naming the first ships of the class (and thus popularizing the class name) for simply what they did in defiance of Sindalian naming standards, design credit for the class goes to the Empire, which drew up the plans but ultimately shelved them in favor of less discriminate bombardment.
Historical Vessel Users
After the fall of the Sindalian Empire, most people who encounter this ship class do so via logs, displayed as part of an exhibit at the Museum of Sindal, of two rebel Ortillerists and their tender, rotating Ortillerist crews for each two-week strike mission over a period of several months.
Major Polity Non-Use
No major polity operates ships of this class:
- The Aslan Hierate views it as useful mainly for unannounced attacks on a planetary scale, and thus only in unlimited open or total wars which they seek to avoid, over and above the fact that an Ortillerist is all about attacking land.
- While the Solomani Confederation appreciates the principle, the worlds they might use an Ortillerist against are mostly either built up enough that they would consistently detect the torpedoes in time to stop them, or with little enough infrastructure that space superiority is easy to achieve, negating the need for a dedicated orbital bombardment ship.
- The kind of leaders who acquire and use Ortillerists are not the kind of Vargr who attract enough followers to do so.
- The Zhodani Consulate and Hiver Federation simply do not conduct orbital bombardment frequently enough to find Ortillerists useful.
- While the K'Kree use similar ships, the cramped living conditions aboard an Ortillerist mean they would barely survive a single jump aboard, let alone the return jump, and would likely not be in any condition to attack after that first jump.
- Finally and most severely, the Third Imperium has issued shoot-on-sight orders regarding the Ortillerist class, regarding mere possession within its borders as evidence of intent to violate Imperial law. (After the Collapse, these orders are continued in the Republic of Regina and the Fourth Imperium.)
Minor Polity Users
A few Ortillerists are still seen among Pocket Empires and in the Wilds, rarely more than one per polity. Against small populations or those living in hostile environments, a single Ortillerist represents a credible threat to wipe out an entire colony without warning. As such, pirate hunting expeditions sponsored by the Third Imperium (and successors) are generally of the opinion that they do locals a favor by destroying Ortillerists whenever found.
The Tyrian Lordships are known to have acquired the designs and believed to have planned to construct a batch if they could get their manufacturing capabilities to TL-12, but did not manage it before mercenaries from Acis brought them down.
While the Sindalian Empire and rebels mostly used it for direct attacks, subsequent users have more often used it for diversionary or false flag operations. Any strike from an Ortillerist demands retribution, but since the Ortillerist fled immediately, those who would seek vengeance must usually spend time search the surrounding parsecs - a fruitless endeavor if the Ortillerist jumped back to a waiting tender which spirited it away; in the mean time, whoever set up the operation may gamble that many of the target's ships will be tied up on this, and thus pulled away from their normal posts. If the Ortillerist can be identified (such as a transponder "accidentally" still broadcasting during the attack), the victim may instead go to the known location of its claimed sponsor, which may lead to war if the alleged sponsor is unable to convince the victim that the evidence of affiliation was falsified.
Relatively primitive strains of Virus that eventually got ahold of Ortillerists dumped the torpedoes against the nearest living target they could find, then crashed the ship.
More advanced but still genocidal strains were more of a nightmare. Coupled with supply ships to refine fuel and manufacture torpedoes, a single Ortillerist could pop in and out of inhabited systems, unleashing a new payload of destruction each time, getting away before any response could be mounted. These operations moved on to new targets once previous victims either built up their point defense or were completely wiped out. Fortunately there were few instances of this, but an exact tally might never be knowable, especially if the tales of two-ship fleets - one Ortillerist and one supply ship - depopulating multiple entire subsectors over time are true. It is known that some fell to lack of maintenance and some to heroic measures, such as one planet seeding its entire 100 diameter limit with mines so that no matter where the harassing Ortillerist broke out, some mines would be able to counterattack.
While it is not inconceivable that certain more sophisticated Virus users may have carried out diversionary or false flag operations, all currently known incidents are of direct attacks. There are tales of non-Virus users attempting to trick conquered Virus planets into wasting ships retaliating against each other, but many of these have run afoul of their targets' inability to strike back beyond their systems.
Class Naming Practice/s & Peculiarities
Having been originally produced in wartime, then maintained and produced in small quantities by pocket empires and smaller polities, Ortillerists tend to be identified by their serial number. Ortillerists produced substantially after the Sindalian Empire are sometimes just known as "Ortillerist", if they are the only existing example of their class known to their maker.
It is suspected the Tyrian Lordships would have issued their own serial numbers, starting from where they believed the Sindalian production runs ended, had they managed to begin construction.
Selected Variant Types & Classes
- Type OB class Bombardment Vessel
|This article has metadata.|
|The featured ship was originally designed using New Traveller ship design rules.|
|This article is missing content for one or more detailed sections. Additional details are required to complete the article. You can help the Traveller Wiki by expanding it.|