A Traveller Rediscovery: Bundle Two

This is the second set of FASA Traveller bundles. While the ships are fewer, they are larger, and do have their own charm, so I will be outlining them here too.

I do hope you buy them, not because of my (non-existent) cut, but because they can bring joy to a Traveller group, used creatively!

Probably what adds the greatest value to these ships is not so much the stats or the missions, but the deck plans. When you expect tactical combat in large ships, the deck plans are invaluable in figuring out who is where, and what are they shooting at.

I’m sadly resigned to waiting for 2050 for a computerized version of Classic Traveller High Guard, which automatically generate it’s own set of (customizable!) deck plans for every ship. Aslan, Hiver, Droyne, and K’Kree flavours built-in!


Fenris looks like a 2000-ton cargo ship, but she carries no cargo. Instead, her payload is eight Valkyrie fighters and a large supply of missiles.

A useful Q-ship for a starmerc company, wandering around the Imperial borders, hiring themselves out to local governments, large corporations or trading groups and looking for trouble.

I find the following amusing:

C-B The bottom half of the Captain’s split level room contains an extensive library of microfilm books and a small workshop. Crew members are free to borrow from the Captain’s library. Just about any type of book can be found here. The work bench is where the Captain spends a lot of time at his hobbies and special projects.

It isn’t the work bench that is ridiculous: it’s the ‘extensive library of microfilm books’!

  • Now, you can go full retro-Traveller, and have a 1950s-early 1970s cultural and technological universe, with the addition of jump drives (maybe discovered as a natural consequence of nuclear power?!?)
  • Or, you can have an odd culture, with serious technology AND a preference for microfiche reading material. Maybe it survived a disaster only because of a stash of microfiche science books, and microfilm has become respected prestige reading material!
  • Or, just forget about it… or replace it with a Virtual Reality centre… or a Hologram Deck… or a 80’s-style gaming arcade!

C-C This is the galley, theaftersectionis the storage area. The center contains an old fashioned grill, Alongthe walls are preparation surfaces, sinks and a modern food preparation complex. The three stewards carried on the FENRIS are experts in archaic food preparation.

But which archaic dishes? Vilani Mundane? Solomani <enter selected culture, over the last three thousand years>? The best dishes of currently-existing low-tech societies?

D-B This recreation room contains four video game terminals run by the main computer. These games exercise the mind and reflexes.

Well, then.

E-B The most used recreation room. It contains a game table which can be used for poker or with the assistance of a computer terminal, several role playing games.

Classic Traveller… or Final Fantasy MDLXIII?

Note: there are no ship’s troops deployed normally. On PDF page 5, we read:

The adventurers have been hired on as part of a force of ship’s troops for the FENRIS, kept in low berth to conserve space and supplies until cornbat sems imminent.

There are 43 low berths, so a large/reinforced platoon can be carried around if needed. (The crew breakdown is tucked into a corner of the deck plans, PDF page 12.) No lifeboats or cutters or ship’s boats are kept on board, just the eight Valkyrie fighters: so there is a certain lack of flexibility, if a client wants the Fenris to supplement other forces in a major raid, invasion, or other large-scale military action.

The amount of space given to the fighters is 144 tons.

(NOTE: The above does not match the metadata for the ship, as given at the Traveller wiki. The metadata assumes at TL 15 ship with TL 13 computers, which I doubt, but if you are willing to cheap out on computers with a warship (WHAT?), then hey, go ahead.

If you assume that it’s 144 tons of space per fighter, then a 100-ton fighter can be made to work.  I personally like this idea, given the heavy g’s the fighters are expected to pull: but I have not run the numbers myself.

I do wish that proper High Guard stats were given, but this supplement is pre-High Guard, so…)

The VALKYRIE is an advanced fighter developed in secret by the four partners of Phoneix Enterprises Limited at their base on the uncharted world of Australia.

This blurb is an adventure in itself.

(Checks travellermap.com)

Yep, no such system as Australia. The people of Phoneix are actually capable of keeping their mouths shut!


The King Richard is a detailed, 5000-ton Liner of Adventure. I like the deck plans most (of course), but the fluff is entertaining as well.

Passage for a regular stateroom costs CR 50,000. This includes one jump period or about 9 days of stay aboard the ship. The basic fee covers all normal expenses including room upkeep, regular meals, use of ship’s entertainment systems, and 1000 CR worth of casino chips. All other expenses such as specialmealsr parties, and gambling are extra. Persons of established credit and reputation are permitted credit through out their stay on the ship. Passengers desiring the same privilages as credited people usually deposit a large sum upon boarding, this permits them credit until1that money is used up.

For special people, or the very rich, there are 8 stateroom suites. These special rooms have the normal sleeping compartment:and a sitting room or parlor. Fares for these room range from CR 150,000 to CR 300,000. Passengers taking these rooms receive special services and care during their stay onboard.

A single jump = 50,000 credits, ‘for the common folk’.

Heh.

I’m curious to know exactly what kind of ‘special services and care’ is worth up to 33,000 Cr/day.

This is the first ship where the air ducts are actually detailed in the plans. I’m sure the PCs will find a use for this…

These spacious staterooms are furnished with antiques and relics from all the known worlds. A typical room may have chairs from Semptura and the wardrobe carved by the famous woodcrafters of Laxhoult.

Neither of these systems can be found on travellermap.com. But perhaps these are antiques, from now-lost worlds of the First or Second Imperia.

(Well, not really lost: I mean, their location and identity has been obscured by the sands of time, or a nasty meteor strike, as the case may be.)

I love the level of detail for PDF page 32-33 (Deck Plan 11):

DOCKING
There is only one passenger entrance on the KING RICHARD. It is located on the Promenade Deck Aft. Local or ship’s shuttles dock to a special airlock adapter. Thfs device has one end mated to the KING RICHARD’s 6 meter entrance. The other end will mate to any standard airlock. This device creates the illusion of leaving the cramped quarters of the shuttle and entering the spacious luxury liner. Upon entrance the standard check-in procedure is followed.

Of special note:

In it’s tour of the Imperium, the KING RICHARD is never left unguarded. She is always escorted by at least two P.E.L heavily armed ships (i.e. The I.S.P.M.V. FENRIS).

Interesting, for a jump2 ship to be escorted by at least two Q-ships that look like freighters. Personally, I would prefer four 800-ton patrol cruisers: cheaper, and probably more effective. Still, if the locals don’t like lots of armed vessels, Q-ships have their place.

Wait… just a minute…

This ship plans to tour the Imperium at Jump2? 

Goes to Travellermap.com, types up a jump2 route from Mora/Spinward Marches to Terra/Solomani Rim. Yes, it’s doable. “313 parsecs — 159 jumps”

So, 159 jumps * 9 days = 1,431 days = 3.9 years, one-way.

And, just for kicks:
50,000 Cr * 159 = 7,950,00 Cr = 7.95 MCr for the journey.
Both ways, 15.9 MCr, 7.835 years
“Seven years, ten months, five days, give or take a week or three.”

Several times in the history of the KING RICHARD, pirates have engaged the escorts in battle, in hope of taking the prize. These attempts have always been easily and quickly repelled.

The Q-ships may well be useful here, in tricking the pirates into underestimating the level of opposition. A squadron of 400-ton Lumhaar Kitadurn Imperial Patrol Ships may well be cheaper, but it’s easier for an aggressive pirate to gauge the level of force needed, and a powerful and daring syndicate may well pull it off. It could be tactically better to have a surprise up your sleeve…

(But this is a trick that can only work once, so you may need to change your route a fair bit on the way back.)

The passengers of the KING RICHARD feel so secure in the ship, that during these skirmishes, they often gather at the huge windows and cheer. Occasionally, small wagers are placed on the survival of the fighters.

I can see gaming worlds — like Oloe/Empty Quarter, in the Rukadukaz Republic/Julian Protectorate — set up space fighter gladiatorial contests if the price is right…


Leander is a variable tonnage cargo ship with a 600-ton drive unit and up to ten 200-ton cargo barges.

This is actually a rather significant ship in Traveller history, being the forerunner of all the modular ships out there.

The ISCV:Leander is a variable tonnage cargo ship. Employing a unique design system, the LEANDER can be a 600 ton Jump 6 Maneuver 6 ship to a 4000 ton Jump1 Maneuver 1 cargo ship. The main part of the ship is the 600 ton power unit.

Excluding the revolutionary design philosophy, it’s not that exciting a ship: but if you want to focus on large corporate trade and business concerns, the Leander Class will do nicely.

“Referee challenge: design a set of three adventurers that revolve on Tukera Line managers, keeping a fleet of Leander Class transport humming and profitable across the subsector. Perhaps a small team of fire-fighters, stamping out problems as quickly and as cheaply as possible, “without the public relations nightmares, thank you very much!”


Tethys is a 1000-ton mercenary transport with small craft support (six pinnaces).

The TETHYS was constructed by Captain Van Tromp at P.E.L. shipyards in 116.23. Captain Van Tromp hires his ship out to organizations requiring the capability of transporting a full company of fighting men. Missions for the TETHYS include anything from planetary exploration to planetary invasion.

This ship can be quite busy and profitable in a region like the Six Subsectors, where every system has a hostile neighbour, biding its time for the right moment to strike…

“Well, if the Six Subsectors worlds actually has the money to pay for these high-tech mercenaries, instead of being the largest collections of backward and impoverished systems under the Imperial Banner…”

“I can still see the Tethys being hired out by Nobles or Corporations, to protect their property or do a quick strike at an enemy. And there are a few worlds that can foot the bill, if they really need the muscle right now.”

“The Bwaps and the Iper’mar — folks with money but a finite (Bwap) or no (Iper’mar) paramilitary force — could sometimes find a use as well. But I wonder what would happen if a gentleman of the Muslim Brotherhood showed up…”

“His Majesty’s Government is unconcerned, so long as the Imperial Laws of War are upheld.”

“…or a polite member of one of the Ikonic Corporations?”

“The Imperium dislikes starmercs who work with pirates, and expresses this dislike with a short noose and a long drop.”

The ability to take on peacetime (exploration) missions as well as wartime missions helps keeps the money coming. (The war/exploration mix has a slight Star Trek feel to it: rather odd, for a mercenary team.)

Still, I’d like to compare three landing teams:

  • Team A, that has been pulling exploration jobs for the last four years;
  • Team B, with a mix of exploration and assault (perhaps anti-pirate) work;
  • Team C, doing orbital insertions on a world undergoing a major conventional war (global or hemispheric; possibly system-wide, or multi-moon within a gas giant system) for the same period of time.

Comparing the stories and the situations would be enlightening, methinks.


Vlezhdatl is a 2000-ton Zhodani Strike Cruiser (with 30-ton Vlezhdest fighters) typical of the naval forces deployed along the frontier with the lmperium.

Ah, an adversary craft! Not very useful in the Empty Quarter, though, except as a very rare visit by Zhodani embassy/consulate personnel.

Why on earth would a Zhodani consul visit a very distant, very poor region of the Imperium? Your guess is as good as mine. Personally, I’d time such official visits as once every two centuries or so…

Another variation in the design of VLEZHDATL ships is psionic gear. Even in the vast populations of the Zhodani Consulate the number of exceptional psionic talents is limited. To make even greater use of these individuals, special equipment designed to enhance their already great powers may be installed. This gear is usually seen in blisters attached to the bridge. As Imperial expertise in the area of psionics is limited, the exact nature and use of this equipment is not known.

A ha! Classic Traveller confirmation that you can design and deploy psionic electro-mechanical tools! I wonder what the Hivers – who don’t believe in the existence of psionics – would make of it…

VLEZHDATL class ships are usually found in groups of three, in a triangular formation. This way the heavy fire power of the ships can be directed against one target or many.

The supplement was written in 1981: Pre-Wrath of Khan… but post Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Yes, I still remember that Klingon-vs-V’ger incident.) And you have to admit, three 2000-ton warships with damage-9 missiles and particle accelerators are a serious problem for any craft the PCs are likely to skipper!

I wonder how useful two, and only two, 30-ton fighters are likely to be. Perhaps scouting/sensor work, or ground support. Six fighters – a.k.a. a full squadron of Vlezhdatl Strike Cruisers – can be useful in a fight, I admit.

 

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About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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One Response to A Traveller Rediscovery: Bundle Two

  1. Andrew says:

    I think the HighGuard stats are on the title page of the booklet of the larger ships (Tethys, King Richard, et al.)

    Many people poo-pooed the FASA designs, but the details and write-ups always seemed to be well thought out. The hotel writeup even has suggestions to use individual floor levels as plans for stations or businesses.

    Like

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