Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hammer Class Passenger Variant with Steerage

One of the regular blog readers, Peebo-Thuhlu Thuhlu, pointed out how well the steerage compartment might work with the Hammer Class starship. I decided it was too good of an idea to let pass, and put it on my ever expanding to-do list of Traveller ideas. It turns out it was one of those itches that just had to be scratched, and since the majority of the drawing and modeling was already complete I decided to just get it done.

The deck plan layout is based on the Ore-Hammer prospector's variant and fills up the entire 15 ton cargo space with only a few bulkhead modifications. A new ceiling allows the additional life support to be placed overhead, and even allows for some additional overhead cargo space. While intended to be left alone during flight, the attic space storage can be accessed by a panel in the lounge ceiling if necessary. The layout includes two steerage "dormitories" with two triple bunks each, and the basic lounge, galley, and fresher (with laundry facilities) you would expect. This is about as packed as a small ship can get without putting everyone in low berths. Since the Hammer Class has no real amenities, steerage passengers are rarely given access to the crew areas of the ship.

Most steerage bunks have a simple privacy curtain. For more privacy and safety, some bunks include retractable, hardened panels that lock from the inside, and only authorized crew members can override the locks. The bunks have variable transparency panels and each bunk contains basic environment controls. When not in use, each set of triple bunks can be completely sealed off.

Keeping Thing Under Control
From the crew's point of view, the biggest problem with steerage passengers is, well, steerage passengers. Any time you have a large number of people confined to a small space for extended periods of time there is the potential for problems. There are a variety of options a crew may utilize to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone:
  • Give the passengers something to do. A smart captain will have an extensive ship's library full of holovids, games, music, and reading material. Many ships include the free use of a personal library pad.
  • Employ a steward. Steerage passengers do not expect the services of a steward, so having someone provide even minor services is seen as a plus.
  • Put them under. Sleeping passengers don't cause trouble and they don't use as many resources. Some captains may freely distribute sleeping aids and other drugs. IMTU there is a jump variant of Fast Drug ("Fast Jump") which only last seven days. For those interested, it can make a week long journey feel like only a few hours.
  • Keep them separated. If there are groups or individuals not getting along, it is best to keep them separated. They can be moved to separate sleeping areas and allowed access to the passenger areas at alternating times.

To Avoid A Steerage Incident During Jump: Roll 6+ on 2d6 with the following DMs:
    +1 per level of Steward (limit +2)
    +2 if primarily corporate passengers, families, or chaperoned group
    +1 if passengers have access to ship's library
    -1 per 12 active passengers
    -1 if major religious, political, or other ideological difference between passengers (GM decides)
    -1 if 6+ rogue passengers

Steerage Incident: Roll 2d6
    2 - Fire in the galley causes major damage.
    3 - Classic barroom brawl in the lounge and galley. Several people injured.
    4 - A passenger reports theft of valuables from their locker. Crew or passengers can investigate.
    5 - Overuse of steerage toilet facilities causes overflow. Ewww.
    6 - Passenger screaming match leads to minor ship property damage.
    7 - Ongoing screaming match between passengers. Nobody hurt, but your ship gets a bad Yelp review.
    8 - Passenger gains access to major weapon. Stand off with crew or other passenger.
    9 - Passenger fight. The loser is beat unconscious.
  10 - Passenger fight. The loser requires low berth storage to survive.
  11 - Passengers fight. The loser dies.
  12 - Passenger discharges energy weapon and causes hull breach.

Crews experienced in operating ships of this type have learned another valuable lesson: keep the troublesome and questionable passengers in the forward dormitory. Nothing gives a bunch of drunken revelers (or potential hijackers) more pause than the lights and klaxons going off when the inner airlock hatch is opened from the bridge.

For a higher resolution PDF, click this link: (Traveller Starship Deckplan Hammer Class Passenger Liner). The deckplan was created to be printed out on 11"x17". Scale is 1" = 10'-0" so it can be used with 15mm miniatures. Enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Passenger Deck/Steerage Geomorphs and Illustration

Okay, so maybe I watched Titanic one too many times, but in my Traveller universe there is a passenger class between middle passage and low berth - steerage. A typical steerage compartment consists of a series of triple bunks, a communal galley/lounge, shared fresher facilities, and additional life support equipment. Quality and accommodations may vary widely from ship to ship, but the Imperium does have, and sometimes even enforces, minimum standards for passenger well being.

At minimum, each passenger is assigned a single bunk with a small storage locker - usually enough space for a suitcase or two. Fresh linens are provided at the start of the trip and changed weekly. Two meals per day are included, but are often not much more than unheated survival rations with appetite suppressants. Passengers are encouraged to bring their own food if they have special dietary needs. Access to toilet facilities is unlimited, but shower facilities are usually limited to once or twice per week. Bunks often only have a simple curtain to provide privacy, but some may provide a more secure, hardened and lockable screen panel.

Steerage passengers are often required to stay within the confines of the steerage compartment, except in the case of emergencies. Depending on the number of steerage passengers, the passenger's ticket price, and ship's amenities, some passengers may be allowed access to other areas of the ship during off hours. Steward services are not included, but a good captain will have a steward - or security personnel - do a walkthrough of the steerage compartment once a day to check on things.

Larger passenger liners may have a good portion of their ship dedicated to steerage compartments. With the increased passenger load per square meter, a shrewd captain can actually make more money with steerage passengers than with high passengers, although usually with considerable more headaches. The additional wear and tear of having large groups of people in a small area means stateroom fittings need to be replaced more often or more durable, and therefore more costly, fittings be installed in the first place.

Steerage compartments are generally open to any passenger, but some may be segregated by sex, alien species, families, etc. It is not uncommon for some groups to book an entire steerage compartment for their private use; corporations moving employees and their families to a new facility on another world, religious factions on a pilgrimage, student groups, traveling entertainers, or soldiers. Travelling steerage is a great way to meet a wide variety of travellers in a short period of time and a great source for news, rumors, and potential jobs.

Steerage passage typically costs between 2,000 and 4,000 credits per trip and is usually a "you get what you pay for" proposition.