Saturday, 28 April 2012

A to Z: Y is for Yacht

The Yacht is an executive or private starship, not dependent upon trade to cover its operational costs. The basic Yacht from Traveller Book 2 is built on a 200 ton hull and is capable of Jump-1 and 1-G acceleration. It carries sufficient fuel to make two successive Jump-1’s. There are 14 staterooms aboard – two of which have been combined into a master cabin for the owner. Straight off the slips, there is one hardpoint installed, but no weaponry. There are three ship’s vehicles: an air/raft, a 30 ton ship’s boat and an All Terrain Vehicle. As the Yacht is unstreamlined, the ship’s boat is fitted out to carry the ATV to a planet’s surface and back again to the ship in orbit. An 11 ton cargo bay is also included – which could make for a rather large wine cellar if required.

With a crew of four - pilot, engineer, medic and steward – and with the steward handling the driving duties for the ship’s boat, ATV and air/raft - there is room for nine, single occupancy, passengers aboard. At MCr 51 and change, the Yacht isn’t actually too bad value for money.

Apart from a glorified party bus, why would anyone want such a ship?

I have discussed, in prior posts, one of the basic premises of Traveller – that there is no Faster than Light communication. If one were a noble, or a corporation, with holdings or interests in other systems, at some stage each year one is probably going to need to send the auditors around each of the estates or local offices to count all the pencils. A ship, like the standard Yacht, would function excellently as a mobile office for the duration of the audit.

Alternatively, the CEO/Sector Manager/Owner might use the Yacht as a mobile headquarters while making a tour of inspection of company officers and divisions.

The only drawback with the ship design as described is the one parsec Jump range. This pretty much limits the ship’s operational range to a Main or Cluster. Admittedly, the Yacht can make two successive Jump-1’s so it is possible for it to cross gaps between systems or Mains, though at the cost of extra time taken for the voyage.

As with most things in Traveller, as soon as players and Games Masters began playing around with the rules and scenarios, adaptations and modifications to existing designs began to appear. Like almost anything else, the concept remained the same while the actual specifics changed over time.

Yachts tend to remain in the 150 – 250 ton displacement range, though some have their Jump Drives uprated to Jump-2 or Jump-3 – especially if they’re built at higher Tech Levels. This is because component size, such as the tonnage required for each parsec of Jump from a Jump Drive, declines as Tech Level increases, granting more bang for each credit.

Usually, the number of passengers stays about the same as 7 – 9 seems a good number for an entourage. Sometimes, extra bodyguards, or other staff, are included on the crew manifest; though this depends on how much trouble it is assumed the party will get itself into.

Having the players start on a yacht can be a great way of dropping them directly into an adventure.