Ship Design Changes

Agility and Hyperspatial Sensor Distortion

Normally the power plant or regulator (see below) must be large enough to handle the larger of the J-Drive or the M-Drive. If, however, the power is oversized, then this power can be used by either or both of the drives.

If the extra power (up to the M-Maximum) is fed to the M-Drive then the ship will have more Agility and be better able to dodge threats. This doesn’t make the ship faster, just more responsive to those little sideways jinks that pilots like to do to prove they earn their pay. Each level of Agility gives a -1 mod to be hit. Non-military engines are not made for this, so there is a chance things will go pear shaped the more Agility is used.

If the extra power is (up to the J-Maximum) is fed to the Jump Drive while in realspace the dimensional distortion will make it more difficult for sensors to lock onto the ship. This is called Distortion, and each level of Distortion gives a -1 mod to get a sensor lock on this ship. It also makes it more diffiult to see out of the ship, unless you have the equivalent of a Console/D dedicated to Sensors where D is equal to or greater than the current Distortion level. If enough computing power isn’t available, then there will be a mod of (needed computer – available computer) added to all sensor tasks. Again with the non-military engine boilerplate.

Agility costs double M-Drive EP Cost, and Distortion costs 0.1 EP-Weeks for each turn distortion is used.

Example 1

A ship with M-1, J-3, and R-4 can have either Agilty-1 or Distortion-1 because the Power is only oversized by 1.

Example Ii

The above ship with R-7 can have both Agility-1 and Distortion-3, which is the maximum this ship can have. If the ship only had R-6 then it could have Distortion-3 or Agility-1 and Distortion-2.

Power Systems

Commonwealth ships are not powered by fusion power plants, but rather by highly efficient batteries.

At TL 8 these batteries can be built. At this TL they hold the same power as an equal volume of hydrogen (1 EP-Weeks per ton), however, they use the Drive Tech Level Efficiency chart to describe their increasing efficiencies. AT TL 13, a more compact version is found that starts at 1/4 the volume of TL-8 Batteries, called Energy Cells.

Batteries require one control panel for each 100t or fraction batteries. Energy cells require one control panel for each 1000t or fraction energy cells.

In order to use and charge batteries efficiently enough to use on a ship, this requires a Regulator, which is as large at TL-8 as the equivalent Power Plant and costs 1/2 the base price.

The base price of batteries is 0.5 MCr per ton of batteries. The base price of Energy Cells is 1 MCr per ton.

Battery and Regulator TL Staging

For batteries, read Efficiency as the number of EP-Weeks that can fit in one ton of batteries and ignore Reg Size; for Regulators use the Reg Size as a multiplier on the size and Efficiency as a multiplier on the amount of power it can handle.

Stage TL Efficiency Reg Size Cost
Experimental 5 0.20 x10 x10
Prototype 6 0.50 x5 x5
Early 7 0.80 x2 x2
Standard 8 1.00 x1.0 x1
Basic 8 0.80 x1.25 /2
Alt 8 1.00 x0.9 x1
Improved 9 1.25 /2 x1
Generic 9 1.10 x1.0 /2
Modified 10 1.50 /2 /2
Advanced 11 2.00 /2 x1
Ultimate 12 4.00 /4 x2

For common Free Traders, generally built at TL 11, I would go with either the TL 10 Modified version with a lower price or the TL 11 Advanced one for efficiency if you can afford it; if you are able to get them, TL-12 Ultimate batteries are the best buy.

Power Usage

In EP-Weeks where t is the time in weeks and H is Hull tons/100

The jump drive can be used as a distortion field, giving a negative mod to the attacking ships to lock sensors.

  • M-Drive: acceleration x H x t
  • M-Drive Agility: 2 * acceleration x H x t (additional, to limit of M-Drive)
  • J-Drive: Jump x H x 10
  • J-Drive Distortion Field: 2 * mod x H x t (chance of blowing J-Drive)
  • Life Support: 2 x t
  • Pulse Laser: 1 x t
  • Beam Laser: 2 x t
  • Plasma Gun: 5 x t
  • Active Sensors: 1 x t
  • Over-Powered Active Sensors/Comm: 5 x t

Wilderness Recharging

Ships that are designed to go to unknown destinations may require a secondary power source to recharge the batteries. The three main choices are:

  • A solar charging grid
  • A fusion power plant
  • A fission power plant

Solar Charging Grid

A solar charging grid is usually a one-time use item and it still takes weeks to give a recharge enough to jump even with a small ship. There are no current suppliers of these in the Confederation. NPI!

Fusion Power Plant

This requires a power plant as per the Traveller rules. It requires a lot of H2 burned to charge the batteries. This can be done over a long time if necessary and done with a smaller plant than allowed in the rules. The power stored in H2 is such that when 1% of the ship’s volume in H2 is fused it will charge the batteries with 1 EP-Week (or 10% with 10 EP-Weeks).

Fission Power Plant (N-Plant)

Fission plants are slow, but they are also compact. A gravitic-assisted fission reactor produces 2 EP-Weeks per week for each 1 ton reactor using high-grade fuel slugs. Using lower grade slugs will decrease the power produced. A high-grade slug contains about 100 EP-Weeks of power. A low-grade slug contains about 10 EP-Weeks of power. One slug can be used for each ton of reactor to speed up the process. These are fairly commonly used with larger ships, because they can get their H2 from water or ice, usually from cometary or asteroid ice.

A simple refining plant to create fuel slugs from ore is 1 ton, and takes about one to seven days per slug.

The TL for such a plant is 8. The TL for a fission fuel purifier is also 8.

Tech Levels for Drives

TL M-Drive J-Drive
9 A-E A-D
10 F-K E-H
11 L-Q J-K
12 R-V L-N
13 W-Z P-Q
14 R-U
15 V-W
16 X-Y
17 Z

In the table for staging of drives, I read the line for Mod as 110% eff and 90%u fuel use.

Force Screens

A force screen is a shield of force that acts like armor. Force Screens are available at TL-10.

The AV of a force screen is variable, and it can be set to lower than its maximum AV in order to save power. Like armor, a force screen comes in layers. Each layer is (H * 6) + 10 in tons. Each layer of screen adds an AV of 5 * TL.

Force screens will deflect most weaponry that can attack a ship up to over TL-15. It works by temporarily absorbing a number of high-energy hits up to its AV. As it absorbs energy the screen tries to radiate what it has absorbed by glowing; it radiates TL points per round at the beginning of the round. It starts at a dull red and goes up the spectrum to a bright blue until finally it glows white when it has fully absorbed all it can. If further attacks come they will cause the screen to overload, destroying the screen generator.

Another way to bypass the screen is to do a very tight-beam attack, temporarily overwhelming the screen in a single spot. This takes a concentrated attack equal to 1/4th the screen’s AV in a spot less than 1 meter in diameter.

Yet another way to get through the screen is to use a slow attack that doesn’t have enough kinetic energy to damage the ship. Attempts have been made to design a missile which will go slowly enough through the screen before it explodes. but there have been no successes yet.

One disadvantage of the force screen is that a charged force screen can be detected on sensors. In many cases, a screen is set to run on minimum power and have it automatically go on full as soon as the screen is hit with a high-energy attack.

The screen will not effect low-level energy, including kinetic and radiant. This means that even with the screen on, it’s invisible to the naked eye. However, it is visible with a Neutrino Sensor, a Field Sensor, or a Grav Sensor.

Force Screen TL Stage Effects

Stage TL Tons Mod Fuel Cost
Exp 7 x3 /2 2.0 x10
Pro 8 x2 -4 1.2 x5
Ear 9 x2 -3 1.1 x2
Std 10 x1 0 1.0 x1
Bas 10 x1 -1 1.1 /2
Alt 10 x1 +1 1.0 x1
Imp 11 x1 +2 0.9 x1
Gen 11 /2 -1 1.1 /2
Mod 12 /2 +4 0.9 /2
Adv 13 /2 +6 0.8 x1
Ult 14 /2 +8 0.7 x2

Ship Design Changes

Reclaiming the Stars DangerousThing