Category Archives: Starships

Starships construction and operation. Deckplans, HighGuard, Book2, FF&S etc. GearHead Area!

Spherical Space Ships

In science fiction we have seen lots of spherical space ships. We remember the ships used by the Space Vikings by H. Beam Piper and the Death Star from Star Wars and the Heart of Gold from the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the ship from E.T. and the Borg Sphere from Star Trek: First Contact and lots of more.

Space Viking - Mercenary Cruiser
Image from Project Gutenberg. Copyright expired.

In Traveller we have the Mercenary Cruiser and the Tigress class. We all know that the Mercenary Cruiser is supposed to be able to land. But in Traveller it cannot do that since it is only partially streamlined and the rules say that it then cannot land. I think it should be able to land under certain conditions. These conditions might be a slow decent and no flying in the atmosphere. For a quick assault, the cutters would still be needed.

Some pretty pictures of the Mercenary Cruiser:

Some pretty pictures of the Tigress:

Peter Elson, who has painted a lot of the images for TTA (that we love) has also made a spherical ship. This ship is also able to land in an atmosphere.

The Long Result by Peter Elson.
The Long Result by Peter Elson.
Posted by permission of the estate of Peter Elson.
© Peter Elson.

Zhodani Base Awards 2012

Welcome to the Zhodani Base Awards 2012! 2012 has been a very good year for Traveller. There have been lots of new publications and a few interesting Kickstarter Projects.


The first category is “Best Cover“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Cover” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2012 is: Solomani Rim: From Mongoose

There were lots of Traveller products with nice covers this year. Lots of love for all nice covers. This one was the one that I liked the most.


Next category is “Best Fanzine or Online Magazine“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Fanzine/Online Magazine” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2012 is: Freelance Traveller (again).

Freelance Traveller has again proved that they are the best fanzine by publishing (almost) monthly issues with lots of good contents for free.


Next category is “Best Adventure“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Adventure” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2012 is: 21 Plots III: From Gypsy Knights Games

There were lots of fine Traveller Adventures for different settings published. This year I prefer one with a number of hooks that can be used for lots of settings.


Next category is “Best Ship or Deckplan“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Ship or Deckplan” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2012 is: Ship Book: Garuda Class MSV: From Gorgon Press

There was lots of fine ships for Traveller published this year. I liked the Garuda Class MSV since it can be used in my adventures and it looked cool.


Next category is “Best ATU Product“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best ATU Product” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2012 is: Outpost Mars: From Zozer Games

I am just a sucker for Mars… I hope they will do a lot more for this setting.


Next category is “Best OTU Product“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best OTU Product” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2012 is: Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society. Issue No.1-24: From Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW)

Even though it is a re-release, it is over 1200 pages of Traveller goodies. It just had to win.


A final bonus category this year is “Best Free Traveller Product“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Free Traveller Product” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2012 is: T5 Traveller5 Wallpapers From: Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW)

Those wallpapers are really nice. (Did you support the Traveller T5 Kickstarter?) Now, go and download all of the free Traveller Products. Why? They are free!

A quick review of Quick Decks 2

Quick Decks 2 from DSL Ironworks is a tool that helps you to quickly make deckplans for Traveller starships. However, when you start using it and see how good and useful it is, you will probably spend a lot of time using it to make pretty deckplans. The front cover of the product shows what you can use the resulting deckplans for.

Quick Decks 2
Quick Decks 2: Expansion Pack
From DSL Ironworks

In the example that I have done for this review there is a lounge with a bar in the front of the ship. Just outside the lounge are two “freshers”. (I thought that was needed outside the bar…) A wide corridor leads to the next section. In the corridor there is a first aid cabinets and a fire cabinets and a sofa. There are four staterooms connected to the corridor.

Example from a Liner
Example from a Liner. Made using Quick Decks 2 and GIMP.

I used GIMP when I made the deckplan in this example, but any other good image editor will work fine. I set the grid to 100*100 pixels and the offset to x=75 and y=75 pixels, and then selected snap to grid. Then it was easy to import images from the pdf to gimp and fit them exactly where I wanted.

There are lots of components to choose from. There are the usual classic symbols and many more. There are premade staterooms, lounges, briefing rooms, libraries, laboratories, brigs, armories, barracks, barbettes, sensors, magazines, boarding equipments and more. With the armories and barracks I also want to build some Starship Troopers inspired deckplans.

In 2005 there was a discussion at the CotI boards about additional book-2 components. I suggested some of those we now see in this product. This product makes me happy, since it helps me to implement deckplans using my old ideas.

This is an inspiring product. You just want to build more and more deckplans with it. Another nice feature is that the pdf is layered, so that you can hide some of the components in the images. You can try it using the full size preview. This product is the second in a trilogy of deckplan tools. You might need them all if you are a serious deckplan designer.

A Fat Cat or an interesting ship

The Fat Cat (tIG TPT-133 “Fat Cat” Logistics Transport) is an interesting ship from Fat Cat Games. It’s a 300 ton trader with an unorthodox design. 300 tons might be a nice compromise between the 200 ton far trader, that might seem too small and the 400 ton Subsidized Merchant that may be too big. This feels like it would be a perfect adventure ship. The design is done for Mongoose Traveller rules, but can easily be used with any Traveller rules. The design is for an unspecified ATU (that I think we will soon hear some more about), but can easily be used in the OTU.

Fat Cat front cover
tIG TPT-133 “Fat Cat” Logistics Transport
From DB Game Design

The deckplans in the book are in black and white. The level of detail in them are better than what we are used to see in a CT product. The side views are really cool. I like that they have included images of humans to show the size. The descriptions of the deckplans are very good.

Side View
Side View of Fat Cat

The CGI images are good but I think the texture on the ship is a bit boring. (I want to see serial numbers, name of the ship, company logo, warning markings, etc.) The darker images are the ones I like the best. The mirror effect on the landed ship is quite cool, since that is not what we are used to see. Showing humans with the landed craft is also a good idea.

Fat Cat in Space
Fat Cat in Space

In the last part of the book there is an example crew and 3 Patrons (adventure hooks). I like this, since I like adventure. Now it is easy to use the ship, either as an encounter or as a PCs ship to run some quick scenarios.

I like this product. It could serve as a template for what a product for a Traveller Starship should include. (I only missed a good index.)

You can get this now as a pdf at DriveThruRPG, but there is also a Kickstarter project for a printed (and updated) version. At the Kickstarter site, there is also a nice picture of the ship landed in water.

The Zhodani Base National Day of Sweden Contest 2012

Another quick competition. A $10 prize at DriveThruRPG for the winner.

Design a medium-sized Spherical Ship using any Traveller rules. It doesn’t have to be a Mercenary Cruiser. You may assume that it can land and take-off (but not fly) in a standard atmosphere. You may add write-ups for crew, deck-plans and any other stuff you like. Name you design after anything Swedish. (Have a look at the ship names of the Swedish navy at Wikipedia.)

Coolest design will win $10 at DriveThruRPG. Send Your entries by e-mail. Please use plain text format and attach any images. Word files will not be accepted! Send in your designs before the 5:th of June. The designs will be published at the Zhodani Base on the National Day of Sweden.

The competition starts now and ends 5 June 2012.
By entering the contest You allow your entry to be posted at the Zhodani Base. All entries might also be posted in PDF format as a free down-loadable file at the Zhodani Base.

Space Viking Merc Cruiser
Image from Project Gutenberg. Copyright expired.