Category Archives: Starships

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

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.

The Pretty Penny – A Pretty Deck-plan

This product is a deck-plan of the Type M Subsidized Merchant “HIMS The Pretty Penny” from Scrying Eye Games.

Front Cover

It is the second deck-plan of about 20 that they have planned to release. I hope they do the Shivva Patrol Frigate. 😕

You can also get an air/raft in the same style for free.

The scale is 25 mm/square. The side of a square is 5 ft.  This fits a number of counters, card board heroes and miniatures nicely. But it doesn’t match the classic scale exactly (but close enough). It also makes the deck-plan of the ship quite large. The ship is fitted within 19 pages that you have to assemble yourself. It would have been nice if there was a hi-res image-file includes as well, so you could print it out on a large printer/plotter.

There are lots of details in the images. This is very nice compared to the standard classic deck-plans. Now you can see how everything will fit, and where all the rubbish will end up… Have a look at the engineering work station below. 🙂

Work Station

The need for deck-plans has always been there. In my group, and in other groups that I have played in, we have always used deck-plans. Even though there might not be any combat within the ship, it is always nice to see where your character lives and works. If there is combat within the ship, a deck-plan is a must.

Combat can be solved using standard traveller rules, or using special on-board rules like Snapshot.

Even though this is a very nice product, I will not use it. The reason for this is that my group is quite tainted by what the March Harrier from the Traveller Adventure looked like. The March Harrier is a type R. (The classic type M is a 600-ton Subsidized Liner.) There are a number of elevators in this ship. Where is the Launch? This is not the same ship. It doesn’t match the March Harrier. But for a new group it would probably be very nice to have this pretty deck-plan on their gaming table.

This is what I think a classic type R should look like.

Traveller Inspiration: Free e-books

Traveller was first published 1977, and was inspired by even older science fiction. While this means that the computer rules used in traveller might feel a bit obsolete, it also means that for some of the books it was inspired by, the copyright has expired. (The computer rules are quite easy to ignore or modify anyway, so that doesn’t matter much.)

At Project Gutenberg, some works that has inspired traveller can be downloaded in several formats that will fit your e-book reader. It is also possible to read them directly on the web.

Here is a suggestion of five books for you to download:

1, Space Viking by H. Beam Piper

In Space Viking, there is a group of planets called Sword Worlds that are named after legendary swords. Doesn’t that seem familiar… The image below of the spherical ships  is from the book. They look a lot like the Mercenary Cruisers from traveller.

2, Deathworld by Harry Harrison

Jason dinAlt is the hero of the Deathworld books. In the Traveller Supplement 1, 1001 Characters, you can find his stats as hero #3, the Rapscallion Gambler. Jason dinAlt is skilled in gambling and also has a psionic talent, that can help his gambling. In Traveller, gambling is a skill, and psionics isn’t impossible.

3, Gambler’s World by Keith Laumer

Jame Retief is a Diplomat for the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne. In Traveller Supplement 4, Citizens of the Imperium you can find his stats as hero #5.

4, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Hero #1 of the Traveller Supplement 1 is John Carter. In the Solomani Rim (0239), there is a small planet named Barsoom.

5, Triplanetary by E. E. Smith

Triplanetary is a Lensman prequels. Kimball Kinnison of the Lensman series is hero #2 in the Traveller Supplement 1. GDW also published a game called Triplanetary before they published Traveller.

Mercenary Cruiser?

Image from Project Gutenberg. Copyright expired.