Vehicles of the Distant Fringe

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Vehicles of the Distant Fringe: A listing of some of the more common civilian ground vehicles (and riding animals) found within the Distant Fringe region.

Details (Specifications)[edit]

Basic Assumptions[edit]

Each vehicle has a basic description. This serves to give a general impression of its construction and performance. Details such as the internal layout are representative only – alternative layouts are very common.

  • The vehicles maximum dimensions are given. These are used to provide a very general outline of its mass in starship displacement tons ("dTons"): this can also be used to determine how much internal space a vehicle uses if it is carried aboard another vessel. Different versions of the same general type of vehicle will have different physical characteristics.
    • A displacement ton ("dTon") is calculated at 13.5m³.
    • The enclosed volume of a vehicle (those parts surrounded by its exterior skin) is generally much lower than its overall dimensions might suggest. The exterior of the vehicle is generally shaped for practicality though they are often designed to be aesthetically appealing. The contours of the vehicle are loosely defined by its configuration.
  • Performance details are generic: different models of of the same vehicle will have different characteristics. Different manufacturers will also compete with one another to produce the model with the "best" performance figures, often trading off aspects such as handling or environmental fittings in to gain advantages in performance.
  • Internal cargo storage can differ greatly between different models of the same vehicle. Manufacturers often emphasise the larger cargo capacity of their particular model as a selling point.

Technological Level[edit]

The listed technological level is the lowest at which the particular vehicle may be constructed. If the same vehicle is built at a higher technological level, it will be more efficient, it is likely to be constructed from more advanced materials, and it may have an improved performance. It may also include additional items of equipment or upgraded environmental systems. Often a higher technology design exists which directly supersedes an earlier version.

See also Technology of The Distant Fringe.

Building World[edit]

Vehicles designed and built on a world generally only function on that one world. If they are transported to other worlds they will generally perform far outside of their normal parameters, often with catastrophic consequences. For example, air-breathing internal combustion power plants designed on a world with a standard atmosphere (Type 6 or 7) will struggle in thin atmospheres (Type 4 or 5) and may suffer internal damage if operated in dense atmospheres (Type 8 or 9).

  • Vehicles designed to work in higher gravity environments will have bizarre handling properties in lower gravity, and vehicles designed to operate in low gravity may struggle to perform at all in higher gravity environments.


Vehicles designed to operate on one world may be modified to allow them perform more efficiently on other worlds.

A huge industry exists offering such conversions. Skilled mechanics change components designed to utilise atmospheric gases and upgrade or replace fuel and exhaust systems. Adjustments are made to transmission, suspension and braking systems, ballast is added or excess weight is removed, and power plants are tweaked, retuned or even entirely rebuilt. These modifications and conversions allow a vehicle to operate relatively efficiently and safely within its new environmental conditions.

Such conversions allow the vehicle to operate within a single new environment, though "multi" conversions may be performed that allow the vehicle to operate in a far wider range of conditions. It generally costs a substantial percentage of the vehicle's new price, in some cases far exceeding it, to have a conversion done. For prestige, luxury or collectible vehicles (or even ordinary but much-loved family vehicles), their owners consider the money very well spent.

Power and Fuel[edit]

Each vehicle has a power plant and carries a supply of fuel. Steam vehicles utilise high pressure boilers which heat water to generate steam, which in turn drives their machinery. Most vehicles use internal combustion power plants using hydrocarbon fuel (typically a liquid such as gasoline or ethanol). More advanced vehicles may use electrical batteries or fuel cells.


The listed cost for a vehicle represents the retail price from new: in some cases mass production of a vehicle and corporate marketing strategies create an artificially low price. Previously owned vehicles are likely to be significantly cheaper but are also likely to have minor faults, reliability issues, or perform less efficiently than a brand new model.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

No information yet available.

Beast Power[edit]

Animals are used as riding creatures, as pack carriers, and to draw vehicles.


Name Weight
Batha Beast 3700 kg
Brobdee (heavy horse) 1000 kg
Greyhump Camel 500 kg
Horvath's Pony (horse) 700 kg
Verant 600 kg

Beast-Powered Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Batha Cart TL 1 4.0 dTons
Chariot TL 1 0.2 dTons
Light Cart TL 1 1.0 dTon
Open Cart TL 1 1.3 dTons
Buggy TL 2 0.7 dTons
Box Cart TL 2 1.8 dTons
Dray TL 2 1.8 dTons
Chaise TL 3 1.1 dTons
Stagecoach TL 3 1.4 dTons

Rail Vehicles[edit]

Many worlds within the Distant Fringe use railroad networks as an intrinsic part of their domestic infrastructure. Railroads are descended from designs pioneered on old Terra and share many characteristics with their ancient ancestors.

The gauge (the distance between the inner faces of the two rails) for railroad networks within the Distant Fringe is generally 1.5m and most examples of railroad locomotives and rolling stock are built to match that standard. Some worlds, of course, use their own unique systems. For the most part, locomotives and rolling stock that are transported between worlds (and which can actually operate in the local environmental conditions) are able to utilise local rail networks without needing significant adjustment to the vehicle's suspension.

Beast-Drawn Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Tram TL 3 4.5 dTons

Steam-Powered Locomotives[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Early Steam Locomotive TL 3 3.1 dTons + 2 dTons
General Purpose Locomotive TL 4 11.5 dTons
Mainline Locomotive TL 4 12.5 dTons + 6.8 dTons
Express Locomotive TL 5 12.6 dTons + 7.5 dTons
Heavy Goods Locomotive TL 5 18.3 dTons + 10.7 dTons

Hybrid-Electric Locomotives[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Steam Motor Carriage TL 4 17.6 dTons
Motor Carriage TL 5 17.6 dTons
Switcher Locomotive TL 5 8.3 dTons
Heavy Freight Locomotive TL 6 22.4 dTons
High Speed Locomotive TL 7 22.5 dTons

Rail Rolling Stock[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Light Wagon TL 3 2.4 dTons
Box Wagon TL 4 15.8 dTons
Caboose TL 4 13.6 dTons
Flatbed Wagon TL 4 8.3 dTons
Goods Wagon TL 4 8.0 dTons
Hopper Wagon TL 4 15.8 dTons
Open Wagon TL 4 7.6 dTons
Passenger Carriage TL 4 17.6 dTons
Reefer Wagon TL 5 12.6 dTons
Tanker Wagon TL 5 15.9 dTons
High Speed Carriage TL 7 17.6 dTons

Ground Vehicles[edit]

Self-propelled vehicles manufactured between TL 3 and TL 8. Ground cars are everyday personal transportation vehicles of the type owned by ordinary people. Wheeled vehicles make up a very large proportion of readily available commercial transport assets.

Wheeled Light Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Motor Scooter TL 5 0.2 dTons
Motorcycle TL 5 0.2 dTons
Sports Bike TL 6 0.1 dTons

Wheeled Passenger Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Steam Car TL 4 0.6 dTons
Basic Ground Car TL 5 0.4 dTons
Basic Tourer TL 5 1.5 dTons
Roadster TL 5 0.6 dTons
Compact Ground Car TL 6 0.7 dTons
Luxury Ground Car TL 6 1.3 dTons
Subcompact Ground Car TL 6 0.6 dTons
Sports Car TL 7 0.8 dTons
Advanced Ground Car TL 8 0.8 dTons

Wheeled Light Cargo Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Light Goods Van TL 5 3.1 dTons
Pickup Truck TL 6 1.3 dTons

Wheeled Transport Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Steam Truck TL 4 3.6 dTons
Standard Truck TL 5 3.0 dTons
Box Truck TL 6 4.2 dTons
Tractor Unit TL 6 4.1 dTons
Box Semitrailer TL 6 7.4 dTons
Flatbed Semitrailer TL 6 3.7 dTons
Tanker Semitrailer TL 6 9.2 dTons
Heavy Tractor Unit TL 8 9.0 dTons
Heavy Box Trailer TL 8 31 dTons
Heavy Flatbed Trailer TL 8 12.3 dTons
Heavy Tanker Trailer TL 8 28 dTons

Wheeled Service Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Passenger Bus TL 5 7.8 dTons
Intercity Coach TL 6 10.3 dTons

Construction Vehicles[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Tracked Dozer TL 5 9.2 dTons
Tracked Excavator TL 5 3.3 dTons
Mobile Crane TL 6 11.3 dTons

Maglev Vehicles[edit]

Many worlds within the Distant Fringe use maglev networks as an intrinsic part of their domestic infrastructure. Maglev is a transport system in which trains glide above a guideway (most typically a square section box beam made of cast concrete), supported by magnetic repulsion and propelled by linear motors. The beam contains a magnetized coil which repels large magnets located in the train's undercarriage, allowing it to levitate a few centimeters above the guideway.

Once the train is levitated, power is supplied to the coils within the beam to create a system of magnetic fields. The fields interact with the linear motors built into the maglev vehicle (typically within trucks mounted at either end of the vehicle) and move it along the guideway.

The gauge (the width of the guideway beam) for maglev networks within the Distant Fringe is generally 2m and most examples of maglev vehicles are built to match that standard. Some worlds, of course, use their own unique systems. For the most part, maglev vehicles that are transported between worlds are able to utilise local guideway networks without needing significant adjustment to their suspension systems.

Maglev End Units[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Maglev End Unit TL 8 26 dTons

Maglev Rolling Stock[edit]

Name TL Tonnage
Maglev Passenger Carriage TL 8 26 dTons
Maglev Flatbed Wagon TL 8 11.3 dTons
Maglev Freight Wagon TL 8 26 dTons

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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