31 May 2015

Traveller to Firefly - The TANSTAAFL-Class Liner

Previously, I tried converting a character from Mongoose's Traveller to MWP's Firefly.  With that success behind me, though with questions, let's see how ships transfer over.  For this, I need a ship I know, the TANSTAAFL-class* Type M Subsidized Liner.

The Type M first appeared in Classic Traveller's Book 2.  The liner carries about twenty passengers, a couple hundred displacement tons of cargo, and a launch for passenger transfer.  The range of the vessel is good, capable of Jump-3, though only of 1G acceleration in real space.  That's the base model.  The Imperial Merchant Ship (IMS) TANSTAAFL I have in mind was converted from the version I just described to become a Q-ship, a pirate hunter far better armed than she appears, with two triple turrets with beam lasers and a miniaturized particle accelerator spinal mount for that extra surprise.  With this in mind, let's get going.

Creating a ship in the Firefly RPG is simple.  Choose a Class, choose two more Distinctions, select Distinction Triggers, select Signature Assets, then name the ship.  Creating a character is more involved than creating a ship, really.  Class has been decided, the TANSTAAFL-class Subsidized Liner, except that the ship doesn't exist in /Firefly/.  I need to find one that feels the same.  The Firefly rules break the ships into three types - military, transport, and service.  The TANSTAAFL is definitely a transport, but not a Firefly-class.  Two possibilities come up, the Polaris-class and the Tchaikovsky-class liners.  It's now a matter of interpreting what subsidized means in Subsidized Liner.

In the Third Imperium, groups of worlds can go in together to pay for a ship to guarantee service despite a lack of either population or facilities.  The Type-M and the related Type-R Subsidized Merchant aren't fancy vessels but do the job needed; they move people and cargo to worlds that would normally not see traffic from larger carriers.  Going back to the Polaris and the Tchaikovsky, the latter is described as luxurious.  It may work better for a corporate-owned ship as part of a fleet.  The Polaris-class is the older model in the Firefly-verse, fitting the idea of the Subsidized Liner.  It works for what I want.  That's not to say another Type M couldn't use the Tchaikovsky-class as the base to work from.  A Crew could say that their ship is set up for luxury, aiming to get the high-paying customers without relying on a subsidy.  It's a judgement call, all depending on how someone sees the ship.

Next, the two Distinctions.  Given the spinal mount, a weapon system typically only seen on ships far larger than a liner, Armed and Dangerous is perfect for the TANSTAAFL.  Cruising the Verse would be ideal for most liners.  The TANSTAAFL, though, is no longer a passenger vessel.  She hauls cargo and gets her crew from one spot of trouble to another.  Been Around the Verse should do; the TANSTAAFL was formerly the IMS Iniguru, and probably had another name before that.

With the Distinctions chosen, now it's time to select triggers.  Useful Cargo fits the class, allowing the crew to improve Assets when on board the ship.  For the second trigger, Y'All Are Outgunned really works for the particle accelerator.  Not many ships in the TANSTAAFL's weight-class have one, including military vessels.

Finally, Signature Assets, since the name was already determined.  The particle accelerator spinal mount counts as one.  Just having it was enough to turn away a few aggressors.  For the second, while Laser Cannons would work, the Armed and Dangerous Distinction covers them.  The launch**, though, should get a mention.  It has been used for a variety of projects away from the TANSTAAFL.  It's not big, compared to other Traveller small craft, including the standard launch, but it's useful.

The TANSTAAFL's ship sheet for Firefly:
Engine: d6        Hull: d10        Systems: d8

TANSTAAFL-class Subsidized Liner: d8
   Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8
   Useful Cargo: Personal Assets created while aboard the ship begin stepped up.

Armed and Dangerous: d8
   Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8
   Y'All Are Outgunned: Spend 1PP to double Systems when fighting a ship that
      lacks your firepower.

Been Around the Verse: d8
   Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8

Signature Assets:
    Particle Accelerator: d8
    Launch: d8
And, for comparison, the Fire, Fusion, & Steel stats for the TANSTAAFL:

General Data
Displacement:=600                Hull Armor: 10
Length: 69 meters                Volume:8400m3
Price: MCr 169.29                Target Size: S
Configuration: Slab SL                Tech Level: 12/15
Mass(Loaded/Empty): 4985.02/4154.33

Engineering Data
Power Plant: 1428MW Fusion Power Plant (47MW/hit), 4 months duration (TL15)
Jump Performance: 3 (1680m3 of fuel)
G-Rating: 1G (300MW/G), Contra-Grav lifters (60MW)
G-Turns: 76 (120.8 using jump fuel), 37.5m3 of fuel each
Maint: 249

Computer: 3xTL-12 Mod St Computer (0.4MW ea.)
Commo: 30,000km radio (1 hex; 1MW), 1000AU maser (¥, 0.6MW)
Avionics: TL-8+ Avionics
Sensors: Passive EMS fixed array 30,000km (1 hex; 0.03MW), Active EMS 3,000km (0 hexes; use long range for task difficulty in same hex, 8MW)
Controls: (medium integration) 8xWorkstation   

2x250 Mj (TL15) Laser Turret   10:1/10-30 (ultimate range 80) (loc 12,13)
1xSandcaster (TL15)   50cann, BR2d10x5 (loc 11)
Three turret hardpoint sockets fitted (Loc: 11; Arcs: All; Loc: 12,13; Arcs: 2,3,4)

Cracker small particle accelerator

Volume: 500 m3, 14.1 m2 surface area, mass: 702.25 tons, length: 32 m, MCr26.476, Energy Required 184.4 MW, Includes HPG, crewstation and MFD (base range 1 hex), Rate of Fire 50 (no penalties, no bonuses)
S1:182/ M2:182/ L4:171 /X8:85 (range:damage)
Battlerider stats: 1:5-2:5-4:5-8:3

Life Support: Extended (1.68MW),     Grav Compensators (3G; 42MW)
Crew: 10 (2xManeuver, 1xEngineering, 2xSmall Craft Pilots, 4xGunners, 1xCommand)
Crew Accommodations: 10xSmall Stateroom (0.0005MW ea.)
Passenger Accommodations: 10xEmergency Low Berth (0.001MW ea.)
Cargo: 1063.6, one large cargo hatch (76 tons)
Small Craft and Launch Facilities: 10-ton Launch in internal hangar (Minimal), with one launch port.
Air Locks: 6
Fuel purification machinery (10.44MW), 15.62 hours to refine 4530m3

Again, comments are welcome.

* TANSTAAFL - "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch", from Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
** Alas, the launch was never called the Free Launch.  Would have been deniable.  After all, "There ain't no such thing as a free launch."


  1. Somewhere, a very old and very rich Vargr is smiling.

    1. I've been playing around with the idea of using the Firefly rules for a Traveller game. This is proof of concept.