U.S.S. Discovery: A Standard for Frontier Ship Design?

Malcadon's picture
April 4, 2014 - 4:34pm
I had two thoughts about ship design after finding out that Frontier ships are way too fast, and after looking at a wide range of sci-fi ship ship designs.

After looking at the U.S.S. Discovery, I find that its layout works well with slow moving ships, with much of the layout designed for zero-gee operations — the ship moves too slowly to warrant an arrangement based on reaction gravity as seen on most Knight Hawks ships — and it mounts a spinning grave-deck within the lower half of its spherical hull for sleeping and recreation. Then I thought how that would apply to the ships used in Star Frontiers. In most cases, the decks would like a McDonald's Playplace, in that is would be a maze of crawl tubes and cubbyholes, but is just wide enough for Vrusks to move trough, while decks assigned for quarters and/or rec rooms would be a centrifuge. This would drastically alter the maps of the ships, as rooms and corridors could run through floors and grav-decks would be presented as strips. This would not be an issue for most ships, but the flat ellipsoid freighters used in the setting would have to be more spheroid or ovoid to accommodate the grave-decks. Trans-atmospheric craft like shuttles and scout ships do not need the above arrangements, as they are too small to mount grave decks, and they might move fast enough to warrant an arrangement based on reaction gravity.

And as for movement, the normal "1 hex = 10,000km" seems too small given the scope and scale of space. If I was to draft an alternative, then I would boost the hex to some sort of standard Frontier astronomical unit, and time measured in days. If the GM needs to know how long a trip would take between planets or to jump points, then the GM looks at a chart based on the distance to the star and roll a number of dice to see how many weeks the trip would take. Ship-to-ship combat would be a deadly, drown-out, long-distance affairs that would be measured in hours or Bell shifts. Damage to ships should be abstract like a wargame for NPC ships, and a little more detailed for ships that mounts the player characters so they can deal with damage-control efforts first hand.

So how does that sound?