By Steven John Satak
As part of the special series, “Putting The Mega Into Traveller”, you were treated to a capsule review of the major changes in the area of starship construction, and a sample of an “improved” Scout craft, one designed according to the High Guard rules. It was originally intended to present the same craft design according to MegaTraveller rules, but lack of space prevented this.
As I began the task of translation, it became clear that the new rules were not only more specific, they were very closely tied in with each other and added a new dimension which had not been in the previous rules – volume. Very soon, it was obvious I could no just swap numbers – the ship had to be rebuilt from the ground up. So while every attempt has been made to maintain the concept of the Armored Scout, I.S.S. Vega, the ship you see in this article bears only a passing resemblance to the High Guard version.
The original concept of the Vega class remains the same: high-security courier missions, exploration, escort duty with survey ships going into amber/red zones, and “showing the Flag” in various starports under Imperial rule. To accomplish this, she is armored and furnished with more sophisticated support equipment than a standard Scout of her displacement. In designing her, we’ll begin with the hull; there’ll be five aspects we’ll keep track of: UCP is the Universal Craft Profile; power is in megawatts; weight is in metric tons; volume is in kiloliters; price is in megacredits; and CP is the number of Control Points required for the section being designed.
Note that the price modifiers are not cumulative, but rather applied one at a time as the various specifications are chosen, in the order shown. CP’s are determined by multiplying the price shown by 10 and then by the ship’s tech level. (Here, it’s TL15, so: 19.58x10x15 = CP sum). Doing this now will save you the heartache of having to do it all later when we do the bridge. When designing with armor, keep in mind that (1) minimum armor for starships is 40, and that for purposes of combat, every 3 levels of armor after 40 counts as 1 armor factor.
Next in the book is power supply. However, from sad experience, I have found this a real pain to do in the order suggested. At this point, how do you know how big of a power plant you’ll need? So we’ll just go on to locomotion.
For a starship, this section’s pretty simple. The fuel tank allocated to the jump drive is enough for a single jump-2 (or 2 J-1’s). Keep track of all totals. Avionics are needed if you want to zip around dirtside without hitting a mountain or something.
If you look at the simple ships in the Imperial Encyclopedia, you’ll see most are equipped with basic radio and have “fancy” communicators only when their mission requires it. As you can see, though, they’re cheap and it makes sense to have an alternate system if you find your comms being jammed.
The fun part is deciding which sensors are right for the ship. Vega isn’t all that different from an S-type Scout; she’s outfitted with both active and passive EMS and a high penetration densitometer. It’s easier to work these prepackaged sensors into the ship than buying them individually. There are other sensors and devices for special purposes, and are worth looking into if you have something special in mind.
A word about weapons: the original Vega was equipped with three missile racks, and had a missile magazine as well. In High Guard, missiles are very powerful. However, with MegaTraveller, you need a lot of explosives to do much damage to starship hulls. Second, turret energy weapons have a rate of fire (ROF) 30 times that of missiles. Because of this, I decided to go with beam lasers. Keep in mind that while missiles aren’t as effective as they were, they can penetrate and need practically no power (1 megawatt/rack vs. 250 Mw for beam lasers.)
The next section is for screens, but this doesn’t apply to Vega, so we’ll move on to the bridge.
Now we must figure the ship’s CP total. The book says to determine CPs by hull, power supply, locomotion, communications, sensors, weapons, screens, and environment control. At this point, we have to start juggling figures, though (thankfully) not much. We can’t figure power supply CP’s because as yet, we have none. However, since computers and control panels don’t use much power, it’s safe to use the ship’s overall power requirements (up to this point) as a good estimate. The power supply and computer design tables are forgiving of this “guesstimation”. There is no required figuring of CP’s for the fuel or accommodations sections (I can’t tell you why). Once can assume (as we did) that they are included under power plant and environment control, respectively, or you can just forget them, as they will only make a significant difference in larger ships/ Therefore, let’s do these before we decide on our computer.
Now we can figured the power plant cost, with all the other sections worked out. The ship’s total power requirements at this point is 907 Mw. For Vega, we want to allow extra for the computer, control panels, and agility. After guesstimating the power required for Agility-1 using the ship’s estimated final tonnage and the figures in the design evaluation section, we get down to the actual design of the power plant.
The power plant has been figured, so now let’s add them all together. Remember that accommodations and fuel will also be added.
When choosing a computer, you can elect to get one which just covers the CP input, or you can get one which reduces the amount of control panels required and gives you a better advantage in combat. It depends on your budget and the purpose of the ship. I used a Model 4 because of the reduction in total control panels and the increased defensive DM.
As an example of how the number of control panels and add-on features were added, it looks like this: the number of CPs is 9.732. First, subtract the CP value for the special control panel add-ons. This is 1,700, so now we have 8,032 CP’s. The Model 4 CP multiplier is 30, for a value of 267 (rounded off). Since we chose holographic linked control panels (CP multiplier of 1.5), divide 267 by 1.5 to get 178. This was increased to 180 for the sake of future modifications.
Next, work out the crew. The minimum bridge crew is 2, so that’s what we used. (It should be noted that when figuring the engineering crew, the formula uses “L” without telling you what “L” is! My best guess is that “L” standards for locomotion CP.) The crew segment value is one due to the tonnage of the ship. Air/Rafts are listed as having a UCP 2 volume (27 kl), so it will require 150% of that for the Air/Raft bay.
The ship’s equipment volume is 750. There’s 600 left for power plant fuel and cargo. Since we already calculated in a fuel purifier for 24 days of fuel, we’ll install it. There’s 24kl of room left for cargo. Final weight is unloaded weight (fuel weighs 54.5, cargo is 24.) Loaded weight is 1675.5. Powerplant output is 435 in excess of what we need, so agility becomes 1.