|This amazing art is courtesy of Ian Stead, whom I commissioned to draw this piece.|
His blog, The Work of Ian Stead, is essential viewing for all fans of Traveller.
Despite the short duration of the war (only 16 months by Imperial reckoning), there were many merchant ships who took advantage of the Imperial Navy's offer of a retrofit in exchange for wartime service. The nature of these ships - fast, with long legs and decent cargo capacity - made them appealing to many merchant crews whose ambitions were greater than mere speculative trading. Consequently, in the 21 years since the cessation of formal hostilities between the Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate, the Runner class has been a popular choice for risk-takers and adventure-seekers.
Ships of this line include, but are not restricted to, the following named craft:
- Blockade Runner
- Star Runner
- Home Runner
- Base Runner
- Blade Runner
- Logan's Runner
- Rum Runner
The Rum Runner has several features which distinguish it from an Empress Marava. Perhaps most notable is the low berth bay is immediately adjacent to the passenger lounge. While only carrying 6 low berths, there are in fact 7 beds -- one of these is used for medical examination and first aid purposes, turning the entire bay into an infirmary of sorts. In more affluent vessels, this bed is replaced by an Autodoc.
An iris valve connects the infirmary to the relocated air/raft bay. This enables wounded crew members to disembark (or be carried from the back of the air/raft via stretcher) and receive immediate attention. The air/raft enters and leaves through a retractable door in the ceiling.
The fore-most passenger suites are configured expressly for High Passage. If there are no high passengers to be found, these are preferentially given to couples or family members. Due to their exterior windows, iris valves between the staterooms and common areas have been installed.
In the aft starboard corner of the common room is a Steward's Closet. This contains spare linens, a compact washer/dryer unit, and other supplies that passengers might need (such as toothpaste and other hygiene items). Fore of the passenger lift is a small food preparation area with a dumbwaiter that leads to the ship's galley, below. There is also a hidden and unmarked manual hatch in the floor.
Most distinctive about this deck is the large loading ramp. Six displacement tons in volume, it is ideal for express cargo which needs a fast turnaround. If such is not carried, this is where passenger cargo is often placed.
You will note that unlike the Marava, this class of ship is not troubled by the lack of security between passenger compartments and the bridge. Passengers may board through either air lock or the loading ramp, taking the elevator up to the common area. The iris valve to the crew deck is then locked for the duration of the trip.
Directly aft and to port of the bridge are a spare toilet, the ship's locker, and the galley. To starboard is computer access and a stateroom which is usually assigned to the pilot. Due to its cramped nature the pilot is usually given the privilege of bunking alone, though this stateroom can support double occupancy.
The port side of the ship features the captain's cabin with adjacent ship's office and more staterooms. The empty area to port of the staterooms is a small common area, where breaks are taken and meals eaten by the crew.
Directly aft of both sections are small access airlocks followed by cargo locks, capable of processing 4 dtons of cargo at a time. These 8 dtons are not counted in the ship's cargo capacity as Imperial regulations expressly forbid the blocking of any airlock which would be used by passengers to evacuate the ship in case of emergency.
Attack and Defense
Perhaps the worst thing which can be said about the Runner class is that it has no armor at all. This is a deliberate design choice rather than an oversight, as it was felt that 4 Gs of speed and an innocent appearance were sufficient passive defenses. However, retrofitting armor at the cost of cargo space is a popular choice with many crews. A less radical option is the addition of a reflective hull coating to protect against lasers.
In regards to active defense, however, the ship is not lacking. All Runner class ships come standard with two dual turrets. The port turret is for defense and is armed with a pulse laser and sandcaster, the starboard turret is offensive and carries a beam laser and missile launcher. The magazines for the ship's turrets may be accessed from the cargo locks for loading or changing of munitions.
Stats for the Rum Runner (using Mongoose Traveller rules) may be found here.
Author's Note: While I love the Mongoose Traveller rules, their ship designs leave something to be desired. I wanted something that looked like a "proper" Far Trader of classic design, rather than the squat monstrosity of MongTrav. Brook West helped lay out the hull and proportions, and Ian Stead prettied it up and helped decorate what I called my "space dollhouse". Both of these gentlemen are phenomenal people and if you are a fan of Traveller you would do well to get to know them both.