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Venture-class Frontier Trader

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue.

This ship was built using the Classic Traveller rules as set out in the 1981 printing of Book 2: Starships.

Built on a non-standard 400-ton streamlined hull, the Venture-class Frontier Trader is designed for exploratory trade in areas where starport facilities may not be well-developed. It mounts Jump Drive E, Maneuver Drive F, and Power Plant F, giving performance of Jump-2 and 3G acceleration. Fuel tankage of 150 tons supports four weeks of power plant operation and one Jump-2, plus an additional 40 tons to support either extended operations or an additional Jump-1. The ship is equipped with fuel scoops and a refiner, allowing wilderness refueling and the use of unrefined fuel. Adjacent to the Bridge is a Model/3 computer. There are 10 staterooms. The ship carries an Air/Raft and 120 tons of cargo. There are three hardpoints and three tons allocated for turrets and firecontrol, but no turrets are installed by default. The ship requires a crew of five: Pilot, Navigator, two Engineers, and a Medic (if sufficiently skilled, one of the other crew members may double as Medic). If turrets are installed, one gunner for each is additionally required. As shown, the ship costs MCr191.9 (including the cost of the air/raft), plus architect’s fees of MCr1.92, and takes 14 months to build.

Design Worksheet


Component Volume (tons) Cost (MCr)
Hull 400 40.0
Streamlining (incl scoops and refiner) - 4.0
Jump Drive E (Jump 2) 30 50.0
Maneuver Drive F (3G) 11 24.0
Power Plant F 19 48.0
Bridge 20 2.0
Computer (Model/3; CPU 5/Storage 9)) 3 18.0
Staterooms (10) 40 5.0
Hardpoints and Firecontrol (3) 3 0.3
Air/Raft 4 0.6
Fuel Tankage (J2 + J1 + PPlant) 150 -
Cargo Hold 120 -
Totals 400 191.9

One of a long line of exploratory merchant ships, the Venture-class is the first of a highly successful design. Ventures are the third most common ship in frontier areas, behind Beowulf and other Type A Free Traders and the Type S Scout/Courier.

Financial Profile

If the ship is financed on the usual terms (20% down, 1/240 of the purchase price monthly for 480 months), and operated for 25 jumps per year (plus 2 weeks annual maintenance), the ship’s cost profile will appear as below.


Cost Item Per Week Per Jump (25/Year) Per Month (1/12 Year) Per Year
Ship Mortgage Cr183,943 Cr382,600 Cr797,084 Cr9,565,000
Life Support1 Cr10,000 Cr20,800 Cr43,334 Cr520,000
Annual Maint2 Cr3,840 Cr7,680 Cr16,000 Cr192,000
Crew Salaries        
  Pilot Cr1,385 Cr2,880 Cr6,000 Cr72,000
  Navigator Cr1,154 Cr2,400 Cr5,000 Cr60,000
  2 Engineers Cr1,847 Cr3,840 Cr8,000 Cr96,000
  Medic Cr462 Cr960 Cr2,000 Cr24,000
  Jump3 Cr19,231 Cr40,000 Cr83,334 Cr1,000,000
  Power Plant4 Cr3,750 Cr7,800 Cr16,250 Cr195,000
Total Costs Cr225,612 Cr468,960 Cr977,002 Cr11,724,000
Bold figures represent the “basic” cost from which others are derived.
  1. 10 staterooms, Cr2,000 per stateroom per 2 weeks. Assumes that the ship must maintain life support during Annual Maintenance
  2. Per week cost is based on 50 weeks, rather than 52, to account for actual Annual Maintenance period
  3. Jump fuel costs are based on Cr500/ton for refined fuel, 25 Jumps per year at J2 each (80 tons per Jump).
  4. Power Plant fuel costs are based on Cr500/ton for refined fuel, 30 tons per four weeks.

Revenue is Cr8,000 per passenger per jump, with a maximum of five passengers per jump. The worksheet below shows the required cargo profit per ton per jump to cover costs, based on the indicated percentage of use.


Percentage of Capacity Passenger Revenue Required Cargo Profit (per ton)
20% (1 Passenger, 24 tons cargo) Cr8,000 Cr19,207
40% (2 Passengers, 48 tons cargo) Cr16,000 Cr9,437
60% (3 Passengers, 72 tons cargo) Cr24,000 Cr6,180
80% (4 Passengers, 96 tons cargo) Cr32,000 Cr4,552
100% (5 Passengers, 120 tons cargo) Cr40,000 Cr3,575