Designer’s Notes: Sailing the Open Skies

Pyramid064-cvr_thumb300When you are a game designer you’re not really allowed to complain lack of design support for this or that. Of course, you might cry “But this isn’t my wheelhouse!” or “I know nothing of cannons and early firearms!” True. But…you still have no excuse! Reading and research are your best friends. You should be able to pick up enough to create a gameable approximation. Or at least that’s what I thought when I decided “Hey, I need rules for sailing vessels using the Spaceships modular system.” To be fair, I did ask David (Pulver) if he could help a couple of times on the forums – but he was busy. Finally I decided, I’d have to do it myself. I originally meant to just write up a few things for my campaign… but it snowballed and I got to thinking “Hell…what if other folks need this stuff too?” We don’t have a workable GURPS Vehicles for 4th edition (yet) and Spaceships is as close as we’ve got right now. Really, I think it works better over all because any of my players can sit down, use the books, and design something. All with the help of excel or a calculator and no higher math. Eventually, the article ballooned out and became what was published. I did end up pulling out a ship design and a system which while cool… didn’t fit.

New Ship Design
The following is a new ship design for campaigns set in clockpunk settings.

Last Horizon-Class Dreadnaught (TL3+1^)
The Last Horizon-Class battleships are among some of the biggest airships to ply the open skies. Due to their expense, they are typically the flagship of a fleet. Its name is derived from an old airmen’s saying that seeing one in the distance would mark the “last horizon you’ll ever see.” Unlike most smaller ships the Dreadnaught doesn’t rely on sails, instead it uses powerful clockwork driven ducted fans that are powered by a massive magical power plant. This power plant is the prison of two powerful elementals, one of air and the other of fire, which power the entire ship. It is built using a 100,000-ton (SM+12) streamlined hull that is 600 feet long with nautical lines.
Ship Systems
[1]      Armor – Skystone (dDR 15 / 0.33Gs Lift)
[2]      Armor – Orichalcum (dDR 40)
[3]      Comm/Sensor Array – Tactical (Array level: 7)*
[4]      Hangar Bay (3,000 Tons / SM+8 / Launch: 500 Tons/min)*
[5!]    Secondary Weapon Battery (10 turrets with 300 MJ Rapid Fire Heat Rays)*
[6!]    Major  Weapon Battery (3 GJ Rapid Fire Lightning Cannon)*
[Core]   Habitat (Magical Life Support; 400 bunkrooms, 200 cabins, 50 offices, 40 luxury cabins, 20 cells, 20 small spaces, 10 clinics, four briefing rooms, two Armoury large craft shops, two Machinist large craft shops, two Explosives craft shops, two ops centers, and one Science! large lab)*
[1]      Armor – Skystone (dDR 15 / 0.33Gs Lift)
[2]      Armor – Orichalcum (dDR 40)
[3-4!!]  Medium Weapon Battery (3 10 GJ Heat Rays, 3 100 MJ Very Rapid Fire Sonic Disruptors)*
[5-6!]   Tertiary Weapon Battery (30 5 cm Very Rapid Fire Conventional Guns; 30 Very Rapid Fire 10 MJ Heat Rays)*
[Core]   Cargo Hold (4,500 Tons, 500 refrigerated)
[1]      Armor – Skystone (dDR 15 / 0.33Gs Lift)
[2]      Armor – Orichalcum (dDR 40)
[3]   Magical Power Plant (Caged Spirit; 5 Magical Power Points)*
[4-5!!]  Helicopter Rotor (250 mph)*
[6]      Hangar Bay (3,000 Tons)*
* 10 Workspaces per system.
Typical crew is three shifts of 15 bridge operators (including captain, executive officer, pilot, engineering officer, navigator, sensor operator, communication officer, and tactical officer – 45 total), 1300 marines, 500 Office Workers, 130 Technicians, 129 Craftsmen, 77 Gunners, 20 Scientists, 10 Medical, and 4 Passenger Care Officers.
TL          Spacecraft   dST/HP      Hnd/SR      HT    Move LWt.  Load SM    Occ    dDR          Range         Cost
3+1^      Last Horizon         20      -2/5  13      10/250    100,000      11,000     +12     2200A 55        −          $9.15025B

Mining and Refinery
Energy Refinery (TL^): Different types are possible, but the most common type for spacecraft is electromagnetic radiation. It is similar to a Ramscoop (Spaceships, p. 21) and uses the same price, but “collects” different forms of ambient energy. Variants for mana, psychic energy, or even orgone are possible! If the energy can take a solidified form and the refinery can transform it into this other form use double the base cost. If it has more than one form add a multiplier equal to (1 + number of forms).

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