[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

Starship Technical Manual

I've always admired the way in which Star Trek (©Paramount Pictures) has attempted to be internally consistent. While many might have problems with its "particle of the week" plot devices and sometimes sloppy science, the effort that went in to the Star Trek Technical Manual and Star Trek Interactive Technical Manual has always impressed me. The authors strove to give a solid technical framework for the adventures of the various Star Trek series and movies.

Years ago, Digest Group Publications brought out the Starship Operators' Manual. SJGames has published GURPS Traveller Starships. This site does not directly reflect either source. I consider the information here heretical. Its purpose is to provide the GM with a source for self consistent technical data, which will not always be scientifically accurate according to the laws of physics and engineering as we now understand them. To that I have two answers. The first: We don't know every thing. The previously discredited string theory is undergoing a resurgence that threatens to question the validity of the Big Bang premise itself. Who can tell what that might mean to the way we view physics? The second: It's only a game.

Like most of my published material, the Starship Technical Manual is long on texture and short on game mechanics. This is to allow the material to be used with any version of Traveller you wish. Where a out of character (OOC) statement is appropriate look for this symbol. Clicking on the Imperial Sun will take you to a page where game mechanics or other OOC information is contained.

Some of the information contained here-in is based on ideas originally posted online by J. Duncan Law-Green. I have expanded on some of his ideas and used others directly. The standard copyright notices elsewhere on this site apply.

Throughout technological development, sophonts have found that standardization promotes the advancement of infrastructure and development. This was a concept mastered millennia ago by the First Empire, and independently discovered by most societies that have developed an interstellar presence. Standardization promotes trade. Technological products from one world find a better market on another world if they are standardized to use common power systems, common control interfaces, common communication protocols. Operators, designers, and technicians can better utilize their skills when working on standard systems. Some devices lend themselves to standardization due to the limits of the available technology or the limits set by basic engineering principles.

In starship construction, standards have helped to ensure safe transport in a very hostile environment. Standards have helped to insure that vessels are crewed by competent personnel, who can more easily qualify on a variety of craft.

The purpose of this technical guide is to familiarize the student with starship systems. Not every ship will have all of the systems covered. Military Craft will have more extensive sensor, weapon and safety systems. Liners and Megamerchants will have a higher level of redundancy than the typical tramp trader.