Vehicle Handbook for Traveller
** Disclaimer: These rules are as the current draft, and may change (again) before release **
Supplement 5-6: The Vehicle Handbook has changed a great deal since it was first commissioned. As it stands, the design system itself is currently in the latter stages of playtest, and it is about ready to take you on a walkthrough of how the system works.
This book has become what we call a Christmas Tree Project (where everybody wants to hang something off it), a real magnet for ideas. When the playtesting started in ernest, those ideas came in thick and fast. ‘I want to create a high TL rickshaw for a frontier world,’ someone would cry, and we would sit back, smug, knowing that was already possible. Then someone else would say ‘so what about Jabba’s Sail Barge, but one really driven by the wind?’ Ah. Missed that one.
What has become clear is that we could spend a year playtesting this book and constantly adding new ideas as they occur, but that would do no one any good. Instead, I think you can expect to see a lot of free material and add-ons for this title after release.
Not that it is in anyway incomplete. From primitive wood and straw carts pulled by muscle-power alone to high tech pilotless drones, grav rail trains and aerodynes, we have a great deal of ground covered. Oh, and we threw in a complete Battle Dress design system as well, with possibilities ranging from small and light industrial skeletons that just give a small Strength boost to something just shy of a Space Marine dreadnought (which would actually be a Walker in the design system).
Anyway, on with the showcasing of the system!
The Design Process
We wanted the design system to be comprehensive, but also extremely easy and fast to use. Designed by Colin Dunn (also behind the forthcoming 2300AD), the new system does exactly this. After a brief introduction, you will turn the page and be presented with a Crash Course in Vehicle Design, which walks you through the necessary steps;
Step 1: Choose a Chassis Type
Step 2: Chassis Modifications
Step 3: Add Armour
Step 4: Weapons and Weapon Mounts
Step 5: Add Modifications
Step 6: Fill in vehicle roster sheet
And that is all you need to do. Let’s take a real example (remembering that these figures are from a playtest draft and may change upon release!). Let us say we wanted to create a nice family sports saloon for the late 21st Century. Let’s build Jaguar’s next car!
We’ll assume TL 8 for this vehicle (and TL is a big factor in vehicle design, as it automatically – and seamlessly – alters the materials and power systems used of the vehicle, along with adjusting how various modifications work).
We have to pick a Chassis Type at first. This will obviously be a Light Ground Vehicle (it travels on the ground, and is not a big lorry or truck). We already note in the book that a typical ground car has 5 ‘Spaces’. This is a Jaguar, so we’ll give it 8 Spaces (Jaguar owners will make some sort of joke now about about only 2 of those Spaces being available for luggage and passengers…).
Consulting the Light Ground Vehicle Chassis page, we can immediatly find out that this will cost us Cr. 9,600 (at this stage, this is also called the Base Cost) and will result in a car with Hull 4 and Structure 4. At this stage, the car will have a top speed of 120 km/h and a range of 400 km. Clearly, the speed will have to be improved, though the range may be generous!
At this stage, we can also make some changes directly to ther chassis – make it a motorcycle (or mono-wheel!), give it additional wheels, off-road capability, tracks, and so forth. However, none of those are really needed here.
Next, add armour. At TL 8, we have a Base Armour of 3, and I don’t see the need to improve it. We could increase it to maybe 9 to make it an armoured ‘government’ car, but we’ll leave that for now. Armour 3 is good for us. And we won’t put any weapons on the civilian model either.
Modifications next, and there are lots of these to choose from. First off, a great big super-charged engine (Jaguar do have an electric car – powered by gas turbines – in the works, but let’s go Old Skool for this one, and make a ‘proper’ XJR). Let’s increase Speed by 80% for a start – this will take it up to 216 km/h, at a cost of 8 Spaces. We will then decrease the fuel capacity (we could just as easily decrease fuel efficiency instead, but we need to claw back some space), by 30%, leaving us with a range of 280 km/h. A little generous, if you ask me, but that gives us 3 Spaces back.
4 Spaces will be taken up by passengers and the driver (we won’t go Double Occupancy on this car, leaving that for the minis driven by students instead…) and, currently, 1 Space left for cargo, or about 250 Kg or thereabouts. Again, if you have seen the boot (trunk) of a Jaguar, that is probably generous!
This is a Jaguar, however, so we’ll add some toys. Advanced Controls with drive-by wire steering and brakes, along with a heads-up display, will set up back Cr. 10,960, but increase Agility to +1.
We’ll skip past the fission plants, explosive belts, and life support options, however useful they may be getting to Sainsbury’s on a Saturday afternoon.
A Sat Nav would be standard of course, coming in at Cr. 2,000 and let’s give it an integrated comms unit (mobile phone to you and me) at Cr. 500. Let’s give it basic sensors as well (they already have radar these days), at a cost of Cr. 5,000.
Moving through the options, we’ll ignore modifications for Stealth and ejection seats… However, we’ll take a Cr. 4,000 entertainment system and a Cr. 500 fire extinguisher system. We alos make a note to do a stretched limo version of this car later, with a 3 person hot tub in the back (if you have to ask why a three person tub, you are too young to read this…).
So, we are left with;
New Model Jaguar XJ Cr. 32,060
Hull 4, Structure 4
Speed 216, Range 280
Agility +1, Armour 3
Advanced Controls, Basic Navigation, Basic Communications, Basic Sensors, Entertainment System, Fire Extingusher.
Simple as that! Just start off with a base chassis, and you can layer pretty much anything you want on top. Tanks with steam engines? No problem. Airships powered by aimed beams of energy shot into the sky? Already in there. There is a huge range of potential in this book, and much, much more begging to be added afterwards as players come up with some really weird and wonderful designs!
Pop along to our forums if you have any suggestions for vehicles, and if you want to be in front of the queue for this book, simply visit its page!