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Danifred Class Light Trader

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue.

El Cheapo Deck Plans Vol. 1: Danifred Class Light Trader. Mike Leonard.
El Cheapo Products https://www.deviantart.com/madmanmike
Multiple files, PDF and JPG, ~40MB total

It’s not unusual for a campaign needing a J2 ship to just default to an Empress Marava, and there don’t really seem to be that many alternatives out there.

The boxy-looking-but-streamlined Danifred trader manages to offer the same J2 as the Empress Marava, with a nearly 50% increase in cargo capacity, and double the n-space thrust. Those extras come at a cost, however – the Danifred costs nearly twice as much as an Empress Marava, carries fewer passengers (though it does offer two high staterooms), and isn’t as well armed in its default configuration.

The ship is designed for customization at construction time, and a few ideas are given in the text. A bit of imagination will suggest some other possibilities, though, and nothing says that any particular customization would necessarily be impossible. Given that, if a referee doesn’t like the standard configuration, he/she can – and should – feel free to modify the configuration; the text suggests that the second-hand Danifred market offers plenty of options.

The ship is not without its flaws, however. The one turret leaves the ship completely unprotected from several angles, and there’s no easy way to cover much of that, even with the available customization options. The Empress Marava separates crew accommodations from passenger accommodations; the Danifred doesn’t. The fixed costs (mortgage and maintenance) for the Danifred run about twice what the Empress Marava costs, but it’s unlikely that its revenue potential is twice that of the Empress Marava.

The text and plans break from the Traveller standard: the measurements are given in feet, and one square on the deck plans is six feet instead of 1.5m. I haven’t actually sat down and calculated the volume of every space shown on the plans, but they do seem to follow the conventions for Traveller plans in that (for example) a standard stateroom (allocated at 4 tons) is six squares on the plans, even though the Danifred’s squares are slightly larger than standard. A bit of math, however, seems to suggest that the author’s conversion from English to metric measurements is off, so if accuracy is important, the referee should probably sit and count squares and do his/her own conversion.

Having said that, the plans as given look OK. They might give the impression of being somewhat cramped, but really no more so than any other ship.

The product includes six files: The “infodoc”, which contains the descriptive text and a reference deck plan, two high-resolution JPG files (one color, one greyscale) with deck plans, suitable for printing as posters, a stat sheet for Mongoose 2e, and two PDFs (one color, one greyscale) that, when printed on 8˝×11 paper, can be assembled into a deckplan suitable for 25mm miniatures.

Overall, an interesting alternative to the Empress Marava, but not necessarily one that’s economically viable in play. As a Traveller product, $6 isn’t really an excessive ask.