3 Rules to Designing Spaceships

My blog posts as of late have focused mainly on fantasy. Today we’re going to take a break from that and focus on science fiction (or science fantasy, since this applies equally to that genre) and take a look at spaceships. Making your own spaceship is fun and exciting. Ships can serve as the main setting for your game, places to visit on occasion, or familiar places to return. They are everything from the family car to the battle tank and all points in between. They fill a wide variety of roles but they still all have a number of things to keep in mind. So when designing space ships keep the following things in mind.

1) Have a Core Concept of What the Ship Is About.

No one designs a ships to fill every role. That is impossible and won’t sell. The “stealth racing family RV armored destroyer cargo carrier” (bet you can’t say that five times fast) would cost hundreds if not thousands of times more than if this were broken into five separate ships; either that or compromises will have to be made. Pick a simple core concept and stick to it. This should be as simple as a “cargo carrier” or a “destroyer.” Should a cargo carrier carry enough weaponry to defend itself? Yes. Assault a planet? No. Conversely, Should the destroyer carry enough cargo to give it fuel and food enough to carry out its missions? Yes. Enough to keep a gigafactory in operation for a day? No.

Well what about a “pirate ship” you ask? Simple concept but at its heart it wants to be the “stealth racing family RV armored destroyer cargo carrier” I mentioned earlier. Stealth to sneak up on its target, racing to outpace whatever it is after or after it, family RV since the pirates are going to be living there for a while and will get bored, armored destroyer since it needs to shoot at its query and take shots, and most importantly of all, have room for the cargo it steals. If you make that, it will cost more than any military vessel since they don’t need to have the cargo carrier in that ship. So it has to make compromises. Does it have to be both stealthful and racing? Possibly no. It could simply rely on one or the other instead of both. It could have the technology to not appear on sensors until only a short distance from their query. So its engines can be downgraded to only beating cargo ships. Does its armor and weaponry have to outclass warships or can that be compromised down to outclass cargo ships? By doing this, we just kept the price down and still have the pirate ship be effective.

2) Ask “Is This Necessary?”

Ask yourself this on EVERYTHING! This goes for weaponry choices to hallways. Yes, hallways. If there is any way to eliminate a hallway, do so. A hallway is cargo space not being used to transport cargo. If you have to have the crew recreation area double as the way to get from the bridge to the crew quarters and engineering while not wasting space on a hallways, do so. Reason why: that is space saved can be allocated towards cargo, making the ship more profitable.

3) Add Unique Flair

More than anything, this is the reason to make your own ship. Otherwise, you may as well simply buy a book of ships (such as the Foreven Worlds: Ships of the Border Worlds). Do you want the ships ideal for a crew without a mechanic? Make everything easy to repair. You want to show how this world’s technology just isn’t up to par? How about their armor is better than normal because they have been hit so often by raiders? Is it overusing gold and holograms to how just how rich the owner is? Give it personality.

Speaking of personality, our Prelude to War adventures feature a number of characters with lots of personality. Download the first two in the series The Rose of Death and State of Chaos, exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Traveller: See the Galaxy in the Galleon Megatanker

Providing fuel to the most dangerous parts of space, the Galleon-class megatanker can bring fuel almost anywhere. This enormous 3,500-ton tanker can skim fuel off of gas giants and process it for use or sale. Whether performing regular fuel runs for in-system use or taking it to systems without their own source of fuel, this ship can handle the job. With room for passengers, this ship can take your Travellers where they need to go and help repel invaders. Now your Travellers can upgrade their game in the Original Traveller Universe beyond the Imperial borders. In the Foreven Worlds, everyone still needs fuel, and this ship can provide it, even in the space between systems!

This 10-page PDF includes details on this massive ship, the ship map giving you a feel for the overall design, and two zoomed maps providing ease of readability.

Download Foreven Worlds Single Ship: Galleon Megatanker today exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Traveller: Unleash the Creatures of Distant Worlds Upon Your Game

Beyond the Imperium, unknown creatures await unwitting explorers. Even in established civilizations, devious politicians and gangsters keep dangerous pets to show off their status. On frontier outposts, scarcely documented plants and animals attack any who threaten their habitats and food sources. With Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds, you’ll have a new monster to throw at your players no matter where they go.

This 29-page book features more than 60 new creature stat blocks. These include:

  • 4 varieties of ants, from swarms of tiny creatures you can stomp with your boot to enormous specimens able to devour entire buildings
  • 3 varieties of mutated canines called devil dogs, known for their mean disposition and terrible bite
  • Blob creatures that can cause significant damage even to ships, such as magmites and space oozes
  • Psionic plants and animals that coordinate their attacks and lure their prey to their doom
  • Expanded traits and numerous benchmark creatures which enable you to create your own native flora and fauna for your games.

Give your players a new challenge today!

Download this awesome book of monsters exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Traveller: Pyroplants

Next week sees the release of our long awaited book Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds. This 29-page book of monster for you to shoot up turned out exceptionally well and we are truly proud of it. We hope that you enjoy the creatures inside this book as much as we loved creating them for you. I personally consider myself first and foremost a monster creator so this was a labor of love above anything else.

Image by Tadas Sidlauskas
We have showed off the various monsters inside this book during its creation including ants, magmites, psirats, and spiders. Today, I want to share with you one that had quite a bit of fun inflicting on some poor unsuspecting players: a pyroplant. When you start igniting without an obvious source, words that I cannot repeat in this blog post get said. Watching their reactions is fun as hell.

Grab the Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds, available now at DriveThruRPG, and let us know how much you enjoy these creatures in your game.

Animal Pyroplants
Hits 6
Speed 1 m
Skills Telekinesis 3, Telepathy 0
Attacks
Traits Armour (+1), Camouflaged, Heightened Senses, Immune to fire, Psionic (5), Small (–2)
Behaviour Carnivore, Killer

Traveller: Change Up Your Adventures with Fessor Cargo

The Fessor Cargo-class Multipurpose Ship can be altered with a moment’s notice to fit the mission. Whether you’re making a heavy short-ranged cargo run or a light multi-jump trip, providing medical assistance to remote locations, doing some asteroid mining to turn a profit, or taking on additional passengers, this ship can change its configuration every time it leaves the spaceport. If you never know what kind of day you are going to have, this is the ship you need. Now your Travellers can upgrade their game in the Original Traveller Universe beyond the Imperial borders. In the Foreven Worlds, no two days are ever the same—so grab a ship that is as adaptable as you are!

This 12-page PDF includes details on the ship and five different pods that can be added or changed out for whatever you need to fulfill your mission requirements.

Download Foreven Worlds: Single Ship: Fessor Cargo today exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Traveller: Psirat

If you thought rats were difficult to kill without of a rat trap, imagine one that can talk to others of its kind telepathically. It can be a look out, warn others of impending danger, call for help, and much more. Larger, more powerful psirats can even detect the thoughts of other creatures, warning them to active dangers instead of merely potential threats. Nuisance does not even begin to cover these creatures. This is just one creature in the upcoming Traveller RPG book Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds.

Before the share with you the weakest of the psirats, let me just mention that you can find all of Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Traveller books and PDFs at DriveThruRPG, including the D66 Compendium 2, available now at 25% off the regular price. Download it now while this sale is going on.

Image by Ryan Sumo
Animal Hits Speed
Psirat 2 3 m
Skills Athletics (dexterity) 2, Melee 0, Stealth 4, Telepathy 0
Attacks Bite (1)
Traits Fast Metabolism (+4), Psionic (3), Small (–4)
Behaviour Scavenger, Reducer

Traveller: The Reidian Flyer Blasts into your Game

The Reidian Flyer-class Blockade Runner punches through enemy forces and orbital defenses with amazing speed. This starcraft outstrips missiles and quickly flies out of range of anything pursuing it. Now your Travellers can upgrade their game in the Original Traveller Universe beyond the Imperial borders. In the Foreven Worlds, danger lurks behind every asteroid—arm yourself well and live to make a cargo run another day!

This includes a 6-page PDF with full details about the ship and an 18″ x 12″ poster for you to print and hang on your wall.

Traveller: Reidian Flyer Poster

Whenever I play Traveller, I like to have the ship my players are in in a large format hanging on a wall for quick reference so they can see it in full detail. So when I set up to do the single ships for Traveller, I decided to include a poster map of the ships with its specs and an external picture. Having this helps to immerse my players in the universe of Traveller that much more at the start of every game session. We did this with the Gannet that we produced last year and we are doing this again for the Reidian Flyer.

The Reidian Flyer, incase you do not follow all the sneak peeks I post to Twitter or Facebook, is a blockade runner. What would normally be over a hundred tons cargo space is taken up with a high burn thruster reaction fuel. When the high burn and the standard gravitic drive are engaged at the same time, it produces a a full 11G of thrust, allowing the ship to pull away from pursuing missiles and get away from attacking ships. Whether your characters are passengers or in command of a Reidian Flyer, they can expect a bumpy ride while they are being shot at.

Download the Reidian Flyer when it is released and be sure to check out all of JBE’s other Mongoose Traveller 2e releases exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Traveller: What Monsters Do You Want to See?

Doing an update to the original Creatures of Distant Worlds has been on my agenda since the release of MGT2e. While I have been working on it a little here and there since then, I have been hard at work on it for a few weeks and are pleased to announce that Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds will be released very soon. But before that happens, I just thought I would ask you Traveller fans what you would like to see inside. We do not want to miss something that you want included. Please let us know in the comments below and we will do our best to include it.

Remember to check out all of our Second Edition Mongoose Traveller offerings at DriveThruRPG.

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