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Small Craft Design




A small craft is any ship from 10 to 99 tons. Small craft cannot use jump engines.

The Hull

Hulls are identified by their displacement, expressed in tons.
Hull Hull Code Price (MegaCredits)
10 tons S1 1
20 tons S2 1.2
30 tons S3 1.3
40 tons S4 1.4
50 tons S5 1.5
60 tons S6 1.6
70 tons S7 1.7
80 tons S8 1.8
90 tons S9 1.9
100 tons S10 2

Configuration

Streamlining a small craft increases the cost of the hull by 10%. A distributed small craft reduces the cost of its hull by 10%. A standard-hull small craft may still enter atmosphere, but is very ungainly and ponderous, capable of only non-lift generating powered flight.

Armour

Armour Type TL Protection Cost Max Armour
Titanium Steel 7 2 per 5%1 5% of base hull TL or 9, whichever is less
Crystaliron 10 4 per 5%1 20% of base hull TL or 13, whichever is less
Bonded Superdense 14 6 per 5%1 50% of base hull TL
1 or one ton, whichever is greater. Armour does not need to be added in 5% elements, but it must be added in whole armour point values.

Options

Hull & Structure

Tons Personal Scale Ship Scale
  Hull Structure Hull Structure
10 2 4 0 1
20 4 6 0 1
30 6 8 0 1
40 8 10 1 1
50 10 10 1 1
60 12 12 1 1
70 14 14 1 1
80 16 16 1 1
90 18 18 1 1
100 20 20 2 2

Manoeuvre Drives

A small craft cannot be equipped with a Jump Drive. It can be equipped with a Gravitic or Reaction M-Drive or a solar sail
  • A Gravitic drive is a smaller version of the drive plates used by larger spacecraft, and propels the craft using artificial gravity.
  • A Reaction drive is a rocket. Reaction drives are cheaper and smaller than Gravitic Drives, but burn fuel much more quickly and are less efficient.
  • A Solar Sail is large, up to several kilometres across, made of a flex flexible synthetic fabric that has limited self-repair capabilities. Particles emitted by the sun – the ‘solar wind’ catch the sail and provide a minuscule amount of thrust. A ship using a solar sail as its primary method of propulsion has a Thrust of 0 and requires several days or weeks to change its course or speed. A solar sail costs 0.01 MCr per ton of ship, and takes up 5% of the ship’s total tonnage when stowed.

Power

Like a larger spacecraft, a small craft must have a power source. There are four standard options.
  • Fusion power plants are the most common power source used throughout the Imperium.
  • Chemical plants use petrochemical or synthetic fuels Chemical plant fuel can not be skimmed from gas giants or taken from water sources and can not be used by rocket motors.
  • Chemical batteries storing electrical energy. Eventually they need to be recharged.
  • Solar Panels. Extendable panels provides power, as a backup to a chemical or fusion plant, as a recharging source for chemical batteries or, if the power required is very low, as an independent power source.
Chemical Batteries: The sizes of chemical batteries are based on the power plant required to deliver a performance rating of 1. A chemical battery the same size as a fusion power plant of the same tech level will provide 1000 hours of use assuming the vessel is not manoeuvring, using active sensors, refining fuel, making significant use of long range communicators or energy using weapons (such as lasers, rail guns, meson guns, fusion guns and particle beams). Alternatively, the same sized battery will give 1 hour of performance without these restrictions. A battery can be scaled in size to give any endurance and costs 4 times the equivalent fusion power plant. A TL7 battery is the same size as a TL 8 battery. The time to recharge a battery is equivalent to the battery endurance used (in low power setting) divided by 1000 divided by the power plant rating multiplied by 2. If using solar panels to recharge the battery, the “power plant rating” is 0.1. Solar Panel: The size of solar panels required to power a ship is 1/10th that of the main power plant. If the panels are fitted to a ship without a chemical or fusion power plant, then assume the (non-existent) main power plant is sized to deliver a performance rating of 1. A craft equipped with solar panels consumes power plant fuel at one-quarter the normal rate as long as it is only engaged in minimal manoeuvring and does not fire weapons. Minimal manoeuvring does not include long periods at full thrust. Solar panels cost 0.1MCr/ton. No power plant fuel is consumed, and endurance is considered as infinite, if the ship is not manoeuvring, using active sensors or refining fuel for use.

Small Drive Costs and Tonnage

  Gravitic M-Drive Reaction M-Drive Fusion P-Plant Chemical P-Plant
Drive Code Tonnage MCr Tonnage MCr Tonnage MCr Tonnage MCr
sA 0.5 1 0.25 0.5 1.2 3 2 1
sB 1 2 0.5 1 1.5 3.5 2.5 1.25
sC 1.5 3 0.75 1.5 1.8 4 3 1.5
sD 2 3.5 1 2 2.1 4.5 3.5 1.75
sE 2.5 4 1.25 2.5 2.4 5 4 2
sF 3 6 1.5 3 2.7 5.5 4.5 2.25
sG 3.5 8 1.75 3.5 3 6 5 2.5
sH 4 9 2 4 3.3 6.5 5.5 2.75
sJ 4.5 10 2.25 4.5 3.6 7 6 3
sK 5 11 2.5 5 3.9 7.5 6.5 3.25
sL 6 12 2.75 5.5 4.5 8 7 3.5
sM 7 14 3 6 5.1 9 7.5 3.75
sN 8 16 3.25 6.5 5.7 10 8 4
sP 9 18 3.5 7 6.3 12 8.5 4.25
sQ 10 20 3.75 7.5 6.9 14 9 4.5
sR 11 22 4 8 7.5 16 10 5
sS 12 24 4.5 9 8.1 18 11 5.5
sT 13 26 5 10 8.7 20 12 6
sU 14 28 5.5 11 9.3 22 13 6.5
sV 15 30 6 12 9.9 24 14 7
sW 16 32 6.5 13 10.5 26 15 7.5
sX 17 34 7 14 11.1 28 16 8
sY 18 36 7.5 15 11.7 30 17 8.5
sZ 19 38 8 16 12.3 32 18 9
Hulls vary in their requirements for drives and power plants based on tonnage. The drive potential table lists 24 small craft drive types, identified by the letters sA through sZ (omitting I and O to avoid confusion). Also listed are various tonnage levels for hulls; any tonnage which exceeds a listed level should be read at the next higher level. Correlating hull size with drive letter indicates drive potential. If a – is listed, then that combination of drive and hull will result in a vessel with insufficient power or overpowered.
  • For manoeuvre drives, this potential is the Thrust number (Tn), which is the number of Gs acceleration available.
  • For power plants, it is power plant rating (Pn).
The power plant rating must be at least equal to the manoeuvre drive rating for gravitic M-Drives. For reaction M-Drives, the power plant rating must be at least 1.

Performance by Hull Volume

  10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
sA 2 1
sB 4 2 1 1
sC 6 3 2 1 1 1
sD 8 4 2 2 1 1 1 1
sE 10 5 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
sF 12 6 4 3 2 2 1 1 1 1
sG 7 4 3 2 2 2 2 1 1
sH 8 5 4 3 2 2 2 2 2
sJ 9 6 4 3 3 2 2 2 2
sK 10 6 5 4 3 3 3 2 2
sL 11 7 5 4 3 3 3 3 3
sM 12 8 6 4 4 3 3 3 3
sN 13 8 6 5 4 4 4 3 3
sP 14 9 7 5 4 4 4 4 4
sQ 10 7 6 5 4 4 4 4
sR 10 8 6 5 5 5 4 4
sS 11 8 6 5 5 5 5 5
sT 12 9 7 6 5 5 5 5
sU 12 9 7 6 6 5 5 5
sV 13 10 8 6 6 6 5 5
sW 14 10 8 7 6 6 6 5
sX 14 11 8 7 6 6 6 6
sY 15 11 9 7 6 6 6 6
sZ 16 12 9 8 6 6 6 6

Fuel

Total fuel tankage for a ship must be indicated in the design plans. There is no cost, but the capacity does influence how often the ship must refuel. All fuel requirements assume two weeks of operation. Gravitic drives do not require fuel. Reaction drives require fuel. The required fuel is a percentage of craft displacement equal to 2.5% per thrust hour. So to thrust a craft at 4G for 2 hours requires 8G-hours of fuel, which corresponds to 20% of the craft dedicated to fuel. In ship combat, there are 10 turns in an hour so multiply the number of G-hours by 10 to give the duration number of G-turns a ship can thrust for. Each point of thrust spent reduced the fuel reserve by an equivalent number of G/turns. Fusion power plant fuel is tied directly to the power plant letter (and assumes a 2 week operation period):
sA sB sC sD sE sF sG sH sJ sK sL sM sN sP sQ sR sS sT sU sV sW sX sY sZ
1 1 1 1 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 2 2 2 2 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 3 3 3 3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5
Chemical power plant fuel is also tied directly to the power plant letter (and assumes a 2 week operation period):
sA sB sC sD sE sF sG sH sJ sK sL sM sN sP sQ sR sS sT sU sV sW sX sY sZ
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120
When not using active sensors, weapons or more than occasional use of very long communication, craft with chemical power plants halve their fuel consumption. If you are reducing power plant fuel to a number of hours, endurance will be important, so multiply the number of hours of fuel by 10 to give the number of turns of operation at full power.

Small Craft & Fuel Requirements

Operation Time % of Base Fuel Requirements
Three hours (surface to orbit) 1%
Six hours (dogfighter) 2%
12 hours (surface to orbit round trip + manoeuvring) 5%
One day (Standard vehicle operations) 10%
Three days 25%
One week 50%

Small Craft Crews

Tonnage Minimum Crew
10-50 1
60-100 2

Drones

A drone command unit takes up 1.5 tons per required crew equivalent and includes a basic electronics suite.
TL Functionality Cost
9 Remote Operation (non-combat only) MCr 0.5
11 Remote Operation MCr 2
12 Autonomous Mode (non-combat only) or Remote Operation MCr 5
13 Autonomous Mode with Characteristic 7, skill level 2 or Remote Operation MCr 10
A small craft drone operating in autonomous mode is effectively a robot with a range of specialist intellect and expert programmes (see Core Rule Book pages 92-94). The characteristics and skills of an autonomous mode drone depend on its tech level, noting that all skills requiring physical characteristics used Intelligence instead.
TL Characteristics Skills
12 Intelligence 7 (+0) Education 9 (+1) Intellect/2, Expert Pilot/2 and 2 Expert/2 (from astrogation, comms, mechanic, electronics and sensors)
13 Intelligence 8 (+0) Education 10 (+1) Intellect/3 Expert Pilot/3, 1 Expert/3 and 2 Expert/2 (from astrogation, comms, mechanic, electronics, sensors and gunnery)
14 Intelligence 9 (+1) Education 11 (+1) Intellect/4 Expert Pilot/3, 2 Expert/3 1 and 1 Expert/2 (from astrogation, comms, mechanic, electronics, sensors and gunnery)
15 Intelligence 10 (+1) Education 12 (+2) Intellect/4 Expert Pilot/3, 2 Expert/3 and 2 Expert/2 (from astrogation, comms, mechanic, electronics, sensors and gunnery)

The Main Compartment

Cockpit or Control Cabin

A cockpit is much more cramped and uncomfortable, but takes up less tonnage. No extra passengers can be carried in a cockpit; a control cabin allows for half as many passengers as crew to be carried. The cost for a cabin or cockpit is the same – MCr 0.1 per 20 tons of ship. A cockpit takes up 1.5 tons per crewman; a cabin takes up three tons per crewman. The cockpit or control cabin includes a basic electronics suite.

Airlock

Unlike starships, a small craft does not have an airlock by default. Airlocks take up one ton each and cost MCr 0.2. If a craft does not have an airlock, then the crew cannot leave the craft except when it is landed or in a pressurised landing bay without opening the ship up to vacuum.

Cabin Space

Adding cabin space gives the crew more space to move around and to access other components of the ship, such as the engines or cargo bay. Every 1.5 tons of cabin space allows the craft to carry another passenger in moderate comfort (although passenger shuttles will customarily take Luxuries to upgrade the passenger section). Designating a section as cabin space costs MCr 0.05 per ton.

Other Components

A small craft may have any of the components allowed to larger vessels.

Armaments

One ton of fire control equipment must be installed for each turret or fixed mount (see page 111 of the Traveller main rulebook). Anti-personnel weapons do not need to be placed in turrets – instead, they are mounted on the external surface of the craft. One turret is required per three weapons carried.
Small Craft Size Ship Weapons Anti-Personnel Weapons
10 1 1
20 1 2
30 1 3
40 2 4
50 2 5
60 2 6
70 3 7
80 3 8
90 4 9
100 5 10
Ship weapon types are limited. Rapid fire mounts may not be fitted. Barbette Particle beams can be fitted but use the equivalent of two ship weapons (and a turret). Torpedo barbettes can not be fitted but individual torpedoes can be carried. Each torpedo displaces 2.5 tons and uses a ship weapon slot. The number of particle beams is limited as per the expanded space craft rules. Meson, particle beam and fusion bays can not be fitted. The armaments allowed to a small craft are further restricted by its power plant type. It may only equip up to the number of ship-scale lasers and, particle weapons – allowed by the following table. The number of missile launchers or projectile weapons is not limited by the power plant letter.
Letter code Energy Weapons
A-F 0
G-K 1
L-R 2
S-Z 3
Particle beam barbettes are the equivalent of 2 energy weapons each.