On Starships

When I began my roleplaying hobby it was through the lens of Traveller. This was the late 1970s and the Classic Traveller game presented a universe where starships could flip a crew across interstellar space in approximately 168 hours. Ever since those early days, I have been dreaming of flying these craft.

My favourite starships come from two of the largest and longest-running TV and movie franchises: Star Trek and Star Wars. The sleak lines of the Federation’s vessels versus the rough and beaten-up look of ships on the edge of the Empire, it’s always been a joy to me. As I think about starships, it’s names like Enterprise, Defiant, Millennium Falcon, and Slave 1 that come to mind.

And Serenity. This one was, of course, inspired by Traveller.

Beginning a new science-fiction game means that you need a place to begin. I’ve been drawn towards building a starship as the first step because it gives you an excellent safe-place to begin play, a home for the player characters, and a mobile platform for getting to the adventure.

Every new starship deserves a name. You should also decide on a few quirks and details which give the ship a sense of identity. Think about Han’s wrestling with the Falcon, or Scotty’s relationship with the Enterprise. The ships are characters unto themselves and grow along with their crews. This is what I always loved about science-fiction: the relationship between humanity and our machines.

As I dream of the stars again, I am picturing the vessel that will take me there. I am asking myself if it’s the sleek lines and clean technology of an optimistic future, or something a little more run-down and ragged. Either way, I know that I am going to be in for a wild ride.

Game on!

3 comments

  1. I am a fan of the edge-of-civilization tropes. Ships kind of put together from salvaged parts of other ships.

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    • Most commonly, I use the Traveller Book2: Starships for knocking around basic ideas. But sometimes a game has its own system, such as with Star Trek Adventures. Of course, other times I just describe the ship and don’t worry too much about stats.

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