Traveller – The Wanderer

The Wanderer Orion-Class Surveyship

   Here’s a small starship that was originally assigned to a group of special agents. In that campaign the characters were all presumed to be 1) on active duty, 2) trained psionics using a notably extended psionics system, and 3) too eccentric to serve under any normal Captain, yet too valuable to be discharged. They were issued a very sophisticated – if rather small – starship, assigned the most laid-back player-character commander in history (“Your attention please… I have an announcement to make. So far there have been two armed mutinies on the bridge today. If there are any more armed mutinies on the bridge before dinner, there will be no dessert.”), and were sent on a wide variety of special missions. How to pull off said missions was entirely up to them.

   As for how the ship could make an appearance in your campaign… Who knows? Perhaps some idiot failed to check the secure part of the paperwork, and sent it off to be released under it’s cover information as a battered old scoutship. Perhaps Captain Aaron and his team have disappeared, leaving it to be salvaged. Perhaps there’s been a slipup and a few odd characters are escaping on it somehow.

   Regardless, if you do let your characters get a hold of the Wanderer without the disadvantages of the “active duty special agents” assignment, they’re going to have a good time explaining some of the stuff on board. Considering it’s history, and the crews penchant for setting up concealed storage compartments, that could be practically anything – most of it highly illegal.

   The “Wanderer”:

   Tech Level 15 (Modified) Orion-Class Military Surveyship

  • Mass: 360 Tons
  • Crew: Variable, nominally seven.
  • Dimensions: 62M Length, 42M Width, 13.5M Height
  • Acceleration: 6G sustained, normally operates at 2G
  • Jump: 3, with jump governor.
  • Primary Power Plant: Total rating-12, two 6-point fusion plants with hydrogen scavenger system (87.82% efficient).
    • Microgenerator backup of 120 pt-hrs, maximum yield of 3.
    • Fuel-Cell “Batteries”, 15 point-hour capacity, maximum yield of .25.
  • Engineering: Dual Helium-Ion reaction drives, contragravity lift system to allow nondestructive landings/liftoffs. Single jump drive.
  • Gravatics: Inertial compensators, variable floor fields of up to +/- 5 gravities.
  • Electronics:
    • Model/5 fiberoptic computer with two programmable neural interfaces (tech level d+, provides a +2 bonus on relevant operations), speech synthesizer, voiceprint analyzer, games circuitry, and minor peripherals. All weapons systems have integral fire control chips (Target, Gunner Interact, and Launch as appropriate) to reduce the load on the main system. Programs; Target (1), Multi-target 3 (2), Predict 5 (2), Gunner Interact (1), Select 3 (1), Launch (1), Maneuver-Evade 6 (3), Return Fire (1), Antimissile (2), ECM (3), Jump 1, 2, and 3 (6), Navigation (1), Generate (1), Anti-hijack (1), Library (1), Science Data (1), Translator (1), Watchdog (2), Planetary Survey (.6), Low Monitor (.2), Encrypt/Decrypt (.2), Medicaid 2 (2).
    • Geophysical and Astrophysical survey modules.
    • Passive sensors DM +2, Active DM +4.
  • Range:
    • Unlimited maneuver via bussard ramfield outsystem, insystem use cuts maneuver fuel consumption by 50%. 124 tons fuel tankage with fuel scoops and purifiers.
    • The genetically tailored hydroponic plants can support up to eight indefinitely, the galley holds one ton of supplies, enough for some 360 man-weeks.
  • Armament:
    • Two dorsal triple turrets, each with two pulse lasers and an autocannon (for use in ground-support operations and for close-in ship defense).
    • One ventral bay with particle cannon, autocannon, and subfloor missile rack (16 missile capacity, normally stocking two combination sand/window/flare, two ECM/Deception, and four each HE, nuclear, and sensor probes).
  • Screens: Langston field absorbs up to forty “Hits”, recovering four per turn until overloaded. The “Blackout” effect gives DM -4 to be detected unless the shields are currently recovering, which radiates enough to provide a +2 DM. If the screens are overloaded the energy release will do 1D6 additional hits beyond the effects of the attack. Screen Generators are taken from Expanding Universe, a series of articles on Traveler in White Dwarf magazine.
  • Configuration: Wedge, light armor, fully streamlined.
  • Capacity: Somewhat variable (see ship design), basic 36 tons cargo, 6 or 12 passengers. Concealed and shielded 6.5 ton secret stowage areas.
  • Ship Vehicles: a standard survey shuttle – basically a G-Carrier, modified with computer system, more instruments, cameras, and life support.
  • Special Features:
    • Miniature lab/shop facilities, DM +2.
    • Gravatic cargo/docking/etc grapples.
    • Psi-flux Enhancer (see notes).

Design Specifications

Tons

Cost

“Custom” Hull, 360 tons

360

36.0

Fuel, Cargo, and Ships Vehicle

   

Fuel Tankage, 124 Tons.

124

Cargo Holds (Main 36 tons, Concealed^ 6.5).

41

Ships Vehicle, Survey Shuttle Bay.

10

Drives and Engineering#

   

Jump Drive F (TL 10, Fuel -20%, Size -30%)*.

24

60.0

Dual Maneuver Drive F (TL 10, Ditto above)*.

15

48.0

Dual Power Plant F (TL 10, Size -50%)*.

19

96.0

Micro-generator (provides backup power).

5

12.0

Ramfield Generator.

2

12.0

Required Volume 65 Tons, Assigned Volume 65 including 3-ton Engineering Annex Area (Area 35).

   

Bridge, Controls, and Sensors

   

Bridge. Includes basic controls, communications, avionics, scanners, detectors, sensors, chairs, coffee maker, etcetera.

20

1.8

Ships Computer, Model/5 Fiber-optic (TL 11, Size -20%, capacity +20% for 14/30)* Two “tons” of computer represent terminals and such in staterooms, passengers may access games/library only.

4

5.0

Two neural interfaces (TL 15).

25.0

Turret controls (x3) (Located in Turrets).

3

Geophysical survey module.

1

1.0

Astrophysical Survey Module.

1

1.0

Required Volume 28 Tons, Assigned Volume 28 (Note 6)

   

Staterooms and Living Quarters

   

Staterooms and living quarters (10).

40

5.0

Low Berths (x2).

1

0.1

Other Features

   

Hardpoints (4, 2 single, one double).

0.4

Atmospheric Streamlining.

3.6

Screen Generators (.1 tons* value at TL 15).

4

4.0

2 Triple Turrets, w’ weapons and fire control.

4.0

Ventral Bay, with particle cannon and missiles.

10.0

Laboratory and Workshop facilities.

4.0

   Notes:

   *The Tech Level Change Factor rule allows certain older systems to be improved at higher tech levels. It provides a reduction of [10(TL of Item – Local TL)]% split as desired between mass, price, fuel consumption, or whatever the GM permits. No factor may be altered by more then 99%. This rule was originally found in Dragon Magazine #108.

   #The tonnage minimums for the drives, bridge, and power plant are assumed to include appropriate workshops, tool lockers, engineering spaces, and so on. Areas that help make up these volumes include the laboratory/workshop (split between engineering and unassigned volumes), the survey modules (part of the bridge sensor arrays), the hydroponics room (as “staterooms”/life support), and the mechanical life support section (as an engineering space).

   ^ The concealed hold is nominally fuel tankage, and can even be used that way. It’s heavily detection-screened though, and the access is carefully concealed behind the equipment storage cabinets. Mostly useful for smuggling.

   Ship Operations Notes:

   Fuel Usage: Jumping requires [29 x (Jump Number)] tons of fuel, the power plants use 120 tons/month or 4 tons/day to produce the maximum (12 power point) output. 2G operation takes 1 ton/day, the reserve is therefore (124-87) = 37 Days, extended to 74 days by ramfield generator.

   Power Usage: Maneuver Drives 1.5 per gravity, Weapons Systems 1.0, Lasers on Doublefire +0.5, Basic Life Support .1 (per 500 tons of ship or part thereof), Normal Operations .15.

  • Normal operations include communications, sensors, etc, and cost .15 for any size ship.
  • Firing weapons costs .25 per Hardpoint in use. Maneuver drives divide the power required by the maximum thrust to get the power required per gravity.
  • From the information under “drive failure” a ships batteries will supply basic life support for 1D6 days, implying a basic value of 15 pt-hrs and a peak output of .25 per 500 tons of ship or part thereof. The batteries are used to make up for small variations in ship power demands, avoiding constant adjustments to the fusion plant, so when called upon they will normally be (1D8*10)+20% charged.
  • The Emergency Microgenerator: A TL 15 power plant “A”. (TL 9, Size -20%, Fuel -40%) 3 tons, a month’s fuel is 6 tons, so 5 days or 120 pt-hrs worth is 1 ton. While the unit needs an overhaul after 120 pt-hours, it includes a 1-ton “overcharger” that boosts it’s output to 3 points for up to 4 hours before it must be throttled back to .1 points to cool for an equal period.

   The Psi-Flux Enhancer: This was a game-master plot device designed to give the characters a chance when they were assigned ridiculous missions and to let individual characters have a personal impact on ship-to-ship combat. It amplified psionic abilities enough to allow their use on a shipwide or even a limited orbital basis. The user could safely draw up to three psionic power points per point of his or her psionic strength rating from the system, but each power point drawn in excess of this limit would do 1d6 damage to him or her. Known applications included:

  • Teleportation: Evading attacks, by moving either the attack or the ship out of the way.
  • Warp Generation: Phasing the ship into jump-space, for a fuel savings of about 90%.
  • Telepathy: Rough evaluation-scans of planetary cultures, scanning nearby ships for life, and orbital-range communications.
  • Photon Manipulation: Making the ship briefly invisible, imposing a substantial DM against detection.
  • Perception: Expanding “passive” scans to cover a 500-Meter radius.
  • Empathy: Shipwide emergency treatments.
  • Mindscreen: Thought-shielding the ship.
  • Electrodirection: Electrifying portions of the ship or scanning it for power interruptions.
  • Psimechanical Engineering: Rapid repairs and minor alterations on a shipwide basis.

   Langston Field: This is a variant of the containment field used in fusion reactors, it absorbs all forms of energy, kinetic included. The energy is “stored” within the field and re-radiated as light and heat. Keeping the field intact takes power, as does keeping it from radiating inwards. It can re-radiate 10% of its storage capacity in “hits” each turn, but if it’s storage capacity is ever exceeded the field collapses and the energy release does 1D6 hits per 6 points of field to the main ship. Shield generators take up 4 tons and first become available at TL 15, the field can store up to 2*TL +10 Hits. The field density is limited, hence ships can only mount one set of generators per 500 tons of volume or a maximum of three sets. Any attack roll of a natural 11+ indicates a local “burn through”, doing 1-3 hits to the ship.

   Overcharger: This module can temporarily boost the output of a power plant by up to 2 points. Normally this would increase the mass by 6 tons, but due to their inherent limitations overchargers mass only one. The increased power output cannot exceed the maximum power output for the local tech level and cannot be sustained indefinitely like a normal plant. Increases of up to +1 can be sustained up to 16 hours, increases beyond that can only be sustained for 4. Afterwards the system output must be “throttled back” to 10% of normal for a similar cooling period. 4 MCr.

   Design Margin: The deck plans of a ship are considered acceptable if within 20% of the ships “real” size according to the rules. This margin exists because the design rules are highly abstracted, for example, “fuel tankage” volume assumes pumps, piping, modular tanks (QV “damage” under “starship combat”), and so on. Actual fuel is probably only 75-85% of this volume, “real” volume won’t match. Similarly, drives can share part of the listed volume, the actual drive is less then 50% of the size, the rest consists of workshops, component storage, access crawlways, and so on, some of which can be “shared”.

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