Ian's Starship Page
What follows are three starship designs, utilizing the Classic and High Guard systems (but NOT later systems, for reasons stated elsewhere). Deck plans exist for all of them, and they will eventually go here as well.
'Van Rijn' Class Deep Trader
'Dragonslayer' Class Q-Ship
'Firebird' Class Modular Sloop
'Van Rijn' Class
400 ton Hull (Streamlined), 3 x Hardpoints.
Crew: Five - Pilot, Navigator, Two Engineers, Medic. With double occupancy, Gunners can also be carried.
Fuel: 176 tons
Other: 100 tons of cargo space, One passenger/supercargo stateroom.
Two Emergency Low Berths (Variants: Four Low Passage Berths; Security Vault; or Small Stateroom).
The 'Van Rijn' Class Deep Trader is designed purely for speculative trade. It has less cargo space than other freighters of its size, but makes up for this with a very high Jump rating - enabling it to reach its destination more quickly and easily. Given the running costs and high degree of specialization, the vessel is recommended only for expert traders or for well-established trade routes.
The fittings are all standard, but the interior is slightly cramped compared with other freighters. Only a few vessels have been produced so far, but the Scout Service and a number of corporations are rumoured to be interested in the design.
400 ton Hull (Streamlined), Factor 4 Hull Armour.
1 x Particle Accelerator Barbette (concealed), 1 x Pop-up Turret (Twin Plasma Guns), 2 x Standard Turrets (Mixed Triple: Pulse Laser, Missile Rack, & Sandcaster).
Computer: Model/3 fib
Crew: Ten - Pilot, Navigator, Three Engineers, Medic, Four Gunners. Two spare staterooms. With double occupancy, up to fourteen Ship's Troops can also be carried.
Fuel: 140 tons
Other: Auxiliary Bridge, 50 tons of cargo space, Four Emergency Low Berths, variable ID, "Murder Hole".
The 'Dragonslayer' Class Q-Ship is a pirate-hunter, pure and simple. It appears identical to the classic 400 Ton Fat Trader, but has drives comparable to a Vargr Corsair. Since many pirates target their prey's bridge, the 'Dragonslayer's' standard Bridge is often vacated during combat, with the Auxiliary Bridge used instead. The Particle Accelerator is located on the ship's spine near the stern, and is contoured to look like the Gig that many Fat Traders usually carry there. The Pop-Up Turret is located where the rear cargo door is usually placed.
A noteworthy feature is the so-called 'Murder Hole". The main airlock is configured to look normal from outside, but is heavily armoured. Instead of opening directly into the Reception Lounge, it instead opens into an additional airlock chamber, very heavily armoured and with weapons slits facing inwards. The Murder Hole can withstand explosives and even fusion gun fire for short periods. Standard procedure is to lure enemy boarders here, where they are locked in and either intimidated into surrender or blasted into oblivion. Faced with this choice, very few individuals will even consider resistance.
Some 'Dragonslayers' have had the Murder Hole replaced with a shielded internal weapons emplacement pointing outwards through the airlock. The weapons installed have just enough traverse to sweep the whole interior of the airlock - and incidentally chew up the guts of anything docked on the other end (!). Autocannons, machineguns, and plasma weapons are popular choices for this, often in multiple / mixed configurations. Rocket launchers and large lasers have also been used to great effect. At least one crew has successfully installed and used a VRF Gauss Gun!!!
'Dragonslayers' are used for anti-piracy duties by navies (Imperial, subsector, and planetary) and a few MegaCorporations. Those commissioned into the Imperial Navy are also popular for covert operations. Despite the type's success, a few 'Dragonslayers' have inevitably fallen into private hands. Also, some frontier shipyards are believed to produce illegal copies of the design.
150 ton Hull (Streamlined), 1 x Hardpoint.
Computer: Model/2 bis
Crew: 1+ (Total of 7 single-occupancy staterooms).
Fuel: 50 tons
Other: 4 tons of cargo space, provision for one 30-Ton 'Pallet' on the vessel's underside.
(Partly inspired by a ship design mentioned in TNE, and mainly by the ever-faithful Modular Cutter.)
The 'Firebird' Class Modular Sloop very closely resembles an up-sized Scout / Courier (which technically it is), with provision for a 30 ton pallet slotted into the vessel from underneath. It is an experimental design being evaluated by the Scout Service, but it is likely that other groups will also be interested.
The original concept was for a starship, based on the classic Scout / Courier, that could utilize the same modules as the well-known Modular Cutter. Ultimately, the cylindrical shape of the modules proved too difficult to accomodate without seriously comprising the vessel's structural integrity. Thus, the Sloop's pallets and the Cutter's modules are NOT interchangeable (as well as being different dimensions, the pallet is box-shaped with rounded corners, the module is a cylinder).
The 'Firebird' cannot jettison pallets whilst in flight, but can function without a pallet in place. Installing a pallet requires about one man-hour of work (mostly making and checking connections) plus a means of lifting and lowering the ship. In the field, it is possible to disconnect one pallet, have the ship lift-off vertically (leaving the pallet behind), then carefully land over the other pallet and make the necessary connections. [Think 'Thunderbird 2', but make sure your Pilot is pretty good.]
Firebird Pallets known to exist (or be planned) are:
Cargo - 30 Tons capacity, large cargo hatch;
Fuel - 30 Tons capacity;
Quarters - 6 full-sized Staterooms, plus a rec space and separate airlock. 4 tons Cargo;
Survey - Planetary survey instrument package, with control space for 2-3 specialists. 2 Probe launchers, 12 tons Cargo, Air/Raft Bay;
Combat I - Particle Accelerator Turret, Bay for 2 craft up to 12 tons each;
Boat Bay - Open cradle that can accomodate any single vehicle up to a 30-ton Ship's Boat. Includes connecting access tube (with air lock) between the vehicle and the ship. Sloop can enter atmosphere with this pallet in place. In this situation, any vehicles carried must also be capable of withstanding reentry;
Shelter - Stand-alone habitation module for up to twelve people. Includes small fusion generator, airlock, comm gear, and life-support. Good for three months without replenishment. Must be detached from the Sloop and unpacked in order to function. Specialist versions for distinct environments (such as Zero-G, Deep Ocean, etc.) are possible.
Combat II - Triple turret (3 x Missile Racks), Computer 1/bis (for the pallet turret only), 6 tons Cargo, space for a 20 ton Grav vehicle or Ship's Gig.
Workshop - Basic facility providing a full range of equipment for Engineering, Electronics, Mechanical, and Gravitics tasks. Can function when connected to the ship or as a stand-alone unit. Includes one cramped stateroom (double-occupancy barely possible), double-sized airlock, ten tons of cargo space (mostly used for storing spare parts and raw materials), and life-support / power for three months. Can be connected to the Shelter pallet for mutual support.
Hospital - Provides intensive-care medical facilties for five patients (or basic care for ten) as well as a single-occupancy stateroom for one Medic. Can function when connected to the ship or as a stand-alone unit. Life-support and power for three months, an airlock, and can be connected to other modules for mutual support.
Miner - Like Pallets 9 & 10, this can function when connected to the ship, as a stand-alone facility, or linked to other habitation pallets. Two large heavy-duty mechanical arms (which can be fitted with a variety of tools), automated ore-processing and refining facility, one VERY small stateroom, 8 tons Cargo, and an airlock. Life support and power for three months.
Power - Intended for disaster relief situations. The entire pallet is one large fusion power plant (with built-in fuel refinery). Fuel must be provided from elsewhere (such as a Fuel Pallet) - and it is not recommended that the plant be activated while still attached to the ship. Can be connected to Pallets 7, 9, 10 & 11 which, given enough fuel, would solve any imaginable power shortage.
Garage - Can function when attached to the ship, or as a stand-alone. Basic garage (pressurizable and with limited maintenance facilities) for one vehicle up to 20 tons in size, 5 tons of Cargo, an airlock, and the inevitable tiny stateroom.
Troop Carrier - Barracks-style quarters for up to 15 troops. Extra- wide airlock and ramp included. Must be attached to the ship to function.
Fighter Bay - Variant of 6. Open cradle accomodating two fighters (up to 15 tons each), carried side by side. Includes airlock, but EVA is required to enter, leave, or maintain the fighters.
Junction - Proposal for building up entire bases out of Pallets Nos 1, 2, 7 - 13, 16 and 17. The Junction Pallet has six airlocks (one each Fore and Aft, and two on each side) for connecting to other Pallets or to provide outside access. Must be detached from the Sloop and unpacked in order to function. The interior can be configured several ways. Most standard civilian layouts are combinations of lounge areas, sensor arrays, and admin / control space. The military design eliminates the lounge, and adds armour-plating and a hardpoint for sensor arrays or weapons. The zero-g design has ten airlocks (the additional are added to the top and bottom). In all cases, life-support and power is gathered and pooled from all connected modules - the Junction only has batteries and airtanks for emergencies.
Security - Barracks space for six people. Well-armoured, one Hardpoint, two airlocks (no access door). Life-support and power for three months.
Combat III - The interior of this pallet is, in effect, a Missile Bay. Over four hundred missiles can be stored in it, to be launched en masse. There have been problems in development - the Sloop's systems are simply not up to controlling that many missiles, accuracy at anything more than point-blank range is non-existant, and there are major safety concerns as well. On the positive side, Sloops carrying this pallet have a 'Sunday Punch' that can, theoretically, obliterate much larger opponents. IF the ship can shoot straight, that is - one critic has said that the primary effect of this weapon is to frighten the target to death. Note that any kind of 'selective fire' is impossible thus far (possibly for the Combat Pallet III, v1.?). The Combat III Pallet is a one-shot, single-target, all-or-nothing proposition.
Except where stated otherwise, all Pallets have a door at one end (sealable, but NOT an airlock) allowing access to and from the parent ship. With a few minutes of work (and the 'Mechanical' skill), this door can be linked to an adjoining standard airlock. Typically, any airlock (or large other door) on the pallet is at the opposite end, meaning that several pallets can be laid out and connected end to end. The exception is the Garage Pallet, which has its airlock midway along the Port side, meaning that it is best used as an 'elbow' joint.
Much larger versions of the 'Firebird' have been proposed. They would carry multiple pallets which could be changed to reconfigure the ships for a very wide variety of missions. A decision on this has been deferred until the Sloop's evaluation has been completed.