Business Name: Shipyard
Required Spaceship SystemsAll spaceships must be designed to include the following seven systems. A full explanation of the different costs, size and maintenance requirements for each system can be found in the Spaceship Equipment section.
Propulsion. Spaceships have from one to eight engines. Three types are available: rocket, atomic or ion drives. Rocket engines are often located at the stern (back) of the hull, while atomic and ion engines are mounted on struts and kept at distance from the hull.
Life Support. Life support systems are necessary to keep a ship's crew and passengers alive in space. The cost of life support depends on the number of creatures that must be kept alive. Life support includes air, water, food and waste utilization.
Computer. A computer is required on a spaceship to operate the engines properly, run the life support system, make navigation calculations and operate weapons or other special systems. The cost of a computer will vary with the size of the ship and the number and complexity of programs involved.
Navigation. A series of complicated instruments are required by navigators in order to take the readings necessary for interstellar jumps. The cost of these instruments does not vary much from ship to ship.
Communication and Detection. These systems allow a ship to send messages either at the speed of light via radio waves or at an accelerated rate with a subspace radio, and to scan the space around the ship for other ships, asteroids and assorted space objects. Communication and detection systems vary in cost depending on the complexity and range of the system purchased.
Emergency. Emergency equipment is designed to keep a ship's crew and passengers alive if the life support, hull or other major system should fail. Included in this category are backup life support systems, spacesuits, lifeboats and rescue pods.
Optional Spaceship Systems
In addition to the required systems, characters can have some or all of the following systems installed on a ship. The actual costs and space requirements of optional systems are listed in the Spaceship Equipment section.
Weapons. All of the weapons described in Knight Hawks game can be used in the role-playing game. Restrictions on the types of weapons that can be carried by each type of ship still apply (a fighter cannot be armed with torpedo, for example).
Defenses. All defenses used in the boardgame can be purchased and installed on the appropriate ship types.
Special Systems. This category includes the equipment and materials needed for agriculture, mining, exploring, research, or passenger or freight transport. The costs and space requirements of special systems vary widely. Check the Spaceship Equipment section for details.
A huge amount of raw material and many skilled personnel are needed to build a spaceship. Airdock facilities are also needed, to hold the ship during construction. The necessary combination of material, personnel and facilities can be found in only a few places throughout the Frontier.
Designing a Ship
There is no such thing as a "standard" or "typical" spaceship design. Besides the fact that each of the four races has its own design peculiarities and customs, most spaceship owners prefer to have ships designed that fill their specific needs. High technology in the Frontier allows spaceship designs and construction to be extremely fluid.
When players are trying to design spaceships for their own use, the referee should concentrate on maximum flexibility. Although each hull's general length and diameter are given on the Hull Table, there is no need to account for each cubic meter of the ship's interior. Extra space onboard a ship will generally be used for mundane storage: spare parts, spacesuits, small cargos, or ground equipment. Also, because starships larger than hull size 3 are not streamlined to land on planets, large pieces of equipment that will not fit inside the ship can simply be mounted on brackets outside the ship. Very general information on the space needed for some systems is given in the description of those systems in the Spaceship Equipment section. A few more guidelines are given here. Referees who want more information must generate specifics themselves.
Bridge. A ship's bridge (command center) typically fills one entire deck. This usually is the topmost deck in the ship, making it easy to restrict access to that deck.
Engineering Section. The bottommost deck in most ships usually is the engineering section. Repair shops, engine monitors and spare parts can be found in this area.
Ship's Vehicles. Very few ship's vehicles are kept inside the ship's hull. Workpods, lifeboats and shuttles usually are mounted outside the ship, with a hatch between the ship and the boat. (These hatches are in addition to the ship's entrance airlocks.) Launches and fighters generally are kept inside the ship, in small landing bays.
The time needed to actually build a spaceship equals the hull size of the ship x 30 days. For example, an assault scout (hull size 3) can be built in 90 days.
Spaceship Construction Centers
Spaceships can be built only at spaceship construction centers. Every construction center is rated as a Class I, Class II or Class III center. All centers consist of at least one Type 6 space station hull in orbit around an inhabited planet in the Frontier.
The docking bays of these Spaceship Construction Centers (SCCs) are large, open areas. Often, specific docks in the bay may be enclosed to contain air pressure, so workers do not need to wear spacesuits; these are called airdocks. Spacers generally refer to an airdock as "the shop."
Class I Centers can construct any type of military or civilian ship. Up to 140 hull points of ships can be under construction at any one time.
To determine whether airdock space is available for ship construction, roll d100 and add 80 to the number rolled. If the total is less than 140, it is the number of ship hull points currently under construction at that center. If the number is over 140, any points above 140 represent ship hull points waiting for airdock space. If not enough airdock space is available for the characters' ship, the characters must wait for space to open up. The number rolled will decrease by 1 every day, until there is enough room in the airdock for the characters' ship.
EXAMPLE: Several characters have a 5-hull point freighter that needs extensive repairs. A player rolls d100 and gets 72. Adding 80 gives a total of 152. This means the airdock is full, and there are (152 - 140 =) 12 ship hull points waiting for space ahead of the players. In 12 days, all these ships will be moved inside and the players' ship will be first in the waiting line. In another five days, enough space will be opened up inside for the players to move their ship into the airdock.
Class II Centers can house any civilian ship of 14 hull points or less, and military vessels of 6 hull points or less. Up to 50 hull points of ships can be under construction at one time.
To determine the amount of current work and backlog at a type II center, roll d100. The result is the number of hull points being worked on (up to 50) and the number of days a ship must wait before construction space is freed (any number over 50).
Class III Centers are used only for the construction of system ships, since installing and adjusting atomic engines requires equipment that is not available at these smaller centers. Any size civilian system ship can be built at a Class III center, but these centers will never be used for the construction of military vessels. Up to 20 hull points of ships may be under construction at one time.
A player constructing a ship at a Class III center rolls 3d10 to determine the amount of work and backlog at the station, using any number over 20 as the number of days wait before construction can begin.
Shuttles: Shuttles are small ships that can land on the surface of a planet and take off again. They can fly into orbit around planets, but their range is too short for interplanetary or interstellar travel. They are propelled with chemical drives (rockets). Shuttles are the least expensive spaceships to build. Shuttles are used to transport passengers and supplies from starships or space stations to a planet's surface, and from planets to ships in orbit. Unlike other types of spaceships, a shuttle can be flown by any technician that has reached the 6th level of ability.
System Ships: System ships are driven by chemical propulsion. They can be built in a wide variety of sizes, and most have much longer ranges than shuttles. These vessels are called system ships because they can travel among the planets, asteroids and space stations of a given star system. The limitations of rocket engines, however, prevent them from attaining the speeds necessary for interstellar travel. System ships can be used for many jobs. They are used to transport minerals from mining centers on asteroids or uninhabited planets to large processing centers. Some exploration and agriculture ships are system ships. In star systems where several planets are inhabited, they may carry passengers between those planets. Any character with 1st level spaceship piloting skill can operate a system ship.
Starships: Starships are the fastest and most expensive spaceships. The development of the starship paved the way for the United Planetary Federation's birth, and made it possible for Vrusk, Dralasites, Yazirians and Humans to meet face to face. Starships are driven by either atomic fission engines or ion engines.They tend to be large, although the recent introduction of the assault scout has created an exception to this rule, Starships are used for any job that requires transport from one star system to another. Most military ships, many freight haulers, passenger, research and exploration vessels, and some agricultural ships are starships. A character must have reached at least the 2nd level of spaceship piloting skill to operate a small starship. Higher levels of ability are required to operate larger starships. See the section on Spaceship Skills for more details.
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