- They strongly tend to be the smallest of the merchant vessels, who ply the space lanes in an unscheduled fashion, speculating under private captains. merchant princes, and tiny, desperate crews rather than sizable trading houses and corporations.
- A-class vessels are most associated with free traders, freelancers, and tramp liners.
- Traders typically focus on opportunities within just a few clusters or traces before small scale trade dries up or they get in trouble with the law and are forced to run.
- A relatively high number of tramps reject legal postal union X-mail runs in favor of smuggling, black markets, and illicit trade. Some authorities rigorously inspect all tramp vessels as often as possible.
- The Supraclass designation is also known as Ship Mission, Ship Mission Code, Mission, or Ship Hull Designation.
- It is a starship supraclass.
Library Data Referral Tree
- Advanced Ship Classifications
- Basic Ship Classifications
A-class Traders are low tonnage vessels in the ACS category that cover the tramp market, which is to say unscheduled, high speculation trade routes that entail the possibility of great risks... and great profit. As soon as a tramp establishes a new route, the trail-broken trade route is likely to be snatched up by R-class subsidized liners or M-class freighter vessels with greater economic efficiencies. And the process begins anew...
- A top down schematic of a Beowulf with a typical shuttle.
- A simple crewsophont sketch of a tail-sitter Tequila class Free Trader.
- The flattened spheroid Tachyon class Light Trader, a rarely encountered design.
- An image of a variant Type A class Free Trader.
- An early model Beowulf under spaceflight.
- A contemporary trade vessel, a Jayhawk class Far Trader, which is also known as a Marava II class Far Trader.
- The venerable Wulf class Free Trader.
- The A1 is externally identical to the Early model A2, a Garu.
- A Salamander-class coming into a starport to trade.
- A very merchant prince-customized Jayhawk class Far Trader.
- A Type TJ class Merchant. The vessel could actually be a misidentified Type TI class Merchant: The two classes of vessel are externally virtually identical.
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)
Due to the risks, such A-class vessels often carry light naval armament, but can't honestly hope to fend off more than small corsair vessels. They stand almost no chance against military marauders and their only viable strategy must be to run against such opponents.
|A-class Trader Supraclass Archetypes|
|Armed Cargo Ship||(AA)|
|Armoured Fast Trader||(AA) or (AAF)|
|Deep Trader||(A3) or (A22)|
|Frontier Trader||(AA) or (AF)|
|Modular Systems Vessel||(A)|
|Trader Vessel||(A) (Namesake)|
Size-Class Roles for Trader Vessels
- Utility Craft (U) (1 to 99 tons)
- Light Trader (AL) (100 to 999 tons)
- Medium Trader (AM) (1,000 to 1,499 tons)
- Heavy Trader (AH) (1,500 to 2,499 tons)
- Freighter or Transport (M or T) (2,500 or larger tons)
Supraclass Archetypal Roles
These vessels typically serve the following archetypal roles:
|A-class Trader Supraclass Archetypes|
|Trader Vessel||A (Namesake)||Beowulf class Free Trader||Trader Vessels are the ships of high adventure and high risk. They maximize the concept of buying low and selling high, often skirting or bypassing the limitations of local system legalities and regulations. They almost never follow set patterns or prearranged schedules... for long.
|Free Trader / Free Lancer||A1||Alexandria class Free Trader||(J-1): They are typically light, free-spirited J-1 trader craft, built to speculate on primary mains. Incredibly numerous and common craft speculating almost everywhere throughout Charted Space.
|Far Trader||A2||Empress Marava class Far Trader||(J-2): They are typically a speculative trader with a J-2 drive built to travel off primary mains. Hardy, common craft going where free traders can't...
|Deep Trader /
||A3||Fat Cat class Far Trader||(J-3+): They are typically a ranged trader with a J-3 or greater jump-range for extended operations. Long or Deep Traders either employ a more powerful jump drive with greater range (J-3+), or a lesser jump drive (J-2+) with fuel for multiple jumps. Those employing a faster jump drive which can reach their destination in a single jump are often known as a Fast Trader. Uncommon and built to serve isolated systems in rift zones or low star density areas.
|Armored Trader /
||AA||Star class Armored Merchant||(Armed & Armored): They typically employ an armored hull and some defensive armament for dangerous trade in seedy, potentially hostile regions such as an Imperial Fringe. Uncommon, yet hardy and greatly valued where pirates and strangers dwell...
|Heavy Trader||AH||Leviathan class Merchant Cruiser||(1,500 to 2,499 tons): Heavy Traders push the limits of what an A-class vessel can do... They have higher operating costs and larger crews than smaller vessels and thus take larger risks when speculating along unknown trade routes. Almost all carry mail vaults and have at least a few staterooms for impromptu travellers able to afford the passage fees. They tend to better excel at subsidized work and most take a combination of tramp and scheduled workloads.
|Light Trader||AL||Aoa'iw class Light Trader||(100 to 999 tons): Light Traders excel at light scheduled or unscheduled speculative trade. They are light and nimble with low operating costs and small crews.
|Medium Trader||AM||Bloodwell class Merchant||(1,000 to 1,499 tons): Medium Traders are a compromise between the nimble trade abilities of lighter craft and the heavier cargo loads of larger craft. They have higher operating costs and crew requirements compared to the typical free, far, fast, deep... or other traders. But, they have their niche in the interstellar socioeconomic trade system.
|NOTES: There is semantic overlap between many of the classes and codes. Some codes organize by mission or capability, others by size and tonnage, and yet others by other characteristics.|
As soon as civilizations reach beyond their homeworld and its star system, a market for tramp vessels begins to develop... As colonies are established and new races encountered, the opportunity for interstellar trade and profitable speculation follows. There will always be adventurers, merchant princes, gentlesophonts, Travellers, and even a few scalliwags ready to explore and make a quick crimp.
Within Charted Space, most acknowledge that the Vilani were the first to the stars who still remain within the current order. Their tramp vessels first created and manufactured by the mighty Bureaux, the Vilani megacorporations, have been borrowed, purchased, stolen, and widely copied by nearly every sophont species with an FTL Jump Drive and a little hope. Some Type-A designs are literally over a thousand years old... They have seen empires rise and fall, a Long Night, mass conquest, and whatever other drama the reaches of Charted Space can provide. Desperate little crews still patch these vessels together with bailing wire and scrap metal, often cobbling together parts and technologies from very different sources. The original Vilani designs have been copied, cloned, further developed, modified, edited, mangled, and mutilated into a variety of mercantile mutt traders. Yes, they're glorious! Long live the venerable Type-A Traders in their many guises!
Selected Variant Types & Classes
- Type A class Free Trader (Type A1)
- Alexandria class Free Trader
- Basil class Merchant
- Beowulf class Free Trader
- Bremen class Caravel
- Carrack class Tramp Liner
- Coriander class Free Trader
- Lune class Freelancer
- March Harrier class Free Trader
- Moraine class Free Trader
- Regni Yards Type A class Free Trader
- Tequila class Free Trader
- Type A1 class Free Trader
- Type A-J2 class Free Trader
- Type A-P class Free Trader
- Type TC(S) class Free Trader
- Type A2 class Far Trader
- Akkigish class Far Trader
- Akkigish class Subsidized Merchant
- April Hare class Far Trader
- Avian class Far Trader
- Empress Marava class Far Trader
- Fanzhienz class Far Trader
- Farrou class Far Trader
- Garu class Far Trader
- Gizicih class General Trader
- Hero class Far Trader
- Hnneshant class Trade Boat
- Hugin class Trader
- Independent Hauler class Far Trader
- Jayhawk class Far Trader
- Khershawn class Trader
- Maru class Merchant
- Nymph class Merchant
- Princess Gunnhilde class Far Trader
- Salamander class Far Trader
- Soho class Light Freighter
- Solostar class Far Trader
- Stage class Far Trader
- Treader class Free Trader
- Type A2L class Far Trader
- Type HR class Trader
- Type VA class Trader
- Wulf class Free Trader
- Type A3 class Fast Trader
- Type AA class Armored Merchant
- Type AH class Heavy Trader
- Type AL class Light Trader
- Anjou class Freighter
- Aoa'iw class Light Trader
- Burning Sky class Merchant Schooner
- Consul class Provincial Trader
- Fortune class Merchant
- Garuda class Modular Systems Vessel
- Iguna class Trader
- Joshim P. Stone class Provincial Trader
- Liz Zhorka class Light Trader
- Manta class Small Merchant
- Panga class Merchant
- Paya class Light Freighter
- Rhapsody class Merchant Trader
- Tachyon class Light Trader
- Unholy Exile class Trader
- Type AM class Medium Trader
Ship Summary List
Some of the most commonly used vessels in this role or these roles include:
|0 Representative Free Trader / Trader Vessel (A1) Classes|
|0 Representative Far Trader / Trader Vessel (A2) Classes|
|0 Representative Deep Trader / Fast Trader / Trader Vessel (A3) Classes|
|0 Representative Armored Trader / Frontier Trader / Trader Vessel (AA) Classes|
|0 Representative Heavy Trader Vessel (AH) Classes|
|0 Representative Light Trader Vessel (AL) Classes|
|0 Representative Medium Trader Vessel (AM) Classes|