Friday, June 8, 2012

Hop aboard the Omega Class Planet Skipper spaceship for X-plorers

The Omega Class Planet Skipper is primarily designed for planetary body survey and transport, but it's become the favored mission-ready conveyance of the 23rd Century. Manufactured by Hasegawa Shipyards near the Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt, the craft are known for their dependability and the ease with which they can be maintained/repaired.

Its optimal for a variety of objectives including: medium-armament gunship, wilderness patrol and rescue, and light cargo hauler on bodies with low-gaseous- or no atmosphere (when an ornithopter or rotor-wing craft would have been sufficient). It's also popular with system based privateers and freelance crews, oftentimes being favored by those with less than honorable intentions (space pirates, brigands, and the like).

Many starship captains begin their careers flying skippers on sortie missions to gain flight and command experience.

Skipper Crews
While small, the crew of a skipper is usually highly skilled and can even be tailored to the mission type. Common crew types usually consist of:
  • Pilot
  • Co-pilot (serving as navigator and communications officer)
  • Specialists (usually 2-4 crew who are trained to operate any number of technical tasks, including any of the following: engineer, mission specialist, cargo/rescue operations specialist, and any additional gunners)

Make: Hasegawa Shipyards near Martian-Jovian Asteroid Belt, designs later sold to Mongram Fleetworks on Ganymede
Length: 7.75 meters
Width: 5 meters
Height: 3 meters
Ship Class: 2
Type: Scout
Crew: 7, cockpit capacity: 3 (two seats up front for pilot and copilot, third seat mans a control panel just behind)
Hull Points: 13
No. Weapons: Varies, see below
AC: 8 (can be reinforced with armor or shields)
NPC Skill: 14/12/10+
XP Value: 90 unarmed; 190 armed
Cost (in millions): 39cr unarmed; 65 armed and fully stocked

Propulsion and Maneuverability: 4 directional thrusters (giving ship 1 extra move per round, total) and 5 main thrusters powered by Calcifer Propulsion Systems particle drive, which requires recharge between sorties. The ship is capable of delicate in-atmosphere maneuvers at high speed, as well as a range of evasive space tactics during dogfights.

NOTE: The skipper can travel between planets, moons, asteroids, and other bodies within the same system but lacks faster-than-light travel capabilities. Its function is primarily in-system missions.

Power: Power plants for weapons and shields are 1d6 x 1,000 and 1d4 x 1,000 credits respectively. Power plants are the size of a coffee table and the skipper can hold a total of four, stacked (on long edge) in the rear of the ship.

Cargo hold: The main hold can carry up to 3.5 metric tons. It also can be outfitted for passenger transport by adding a modular air-lock system that fits inside the bay door and can be removed between missions.

Armor/shields (AC): Skippers are lightly armored (8 AC) but fitted with a plasma shield generator +2 AC to any one cardinal direction at a time, when activated. Shield can be controlled by the pilot. Additional shields---such as a Holtzman Field system---will require a designated operator.

Weapons: Skippers can be fitted a variety of weapons, such as:
  • Turret mounts for energy-based cannons (360 degree firing arc; 2d8+2 dmg; requires dedicated gunner) 800 cr
  • S-foil mounts for high-power, particle cannons (linked firing, min 2/max 8; 3d6 dmg) 600 cr
  • Dual pulse cannons (fires twice per round; 2d6+1 dmg) 400 cr
  • Torpedo launch pods (sizes, ranges, and yields vary according to payload; requires gunner) 800cr per pod, pod holds 2, 4, or 6 missiles
  • Good-enough laser cannon, min 1/max 4 (single fire, 2d4+1) 200 cr
Other weapons may be used as well. Turrets must be manned to take full advantage of their firing arc capabilities. They will otherwise fire from their fixed positions.

NOTE: Energy consumption must be taken into effect for all weapons, so it's wise to counter with additional power plant.

Escape pods: None, but often carries pressurized, jet pack suits for bailing out.

Equipment: Just as with weapons, skippers can be customized quite easily to accommodate missions with an array of specialized equipment, including:
  • Sensor dishes (external instrumentation) and space telescopes (deployable instrumentation)
  • Cargo winches and hauler scaffolding (deployable from cargo bay)
  • Articulated arm instruments, including claw, drill, or other robotic fixtures (deployable from cargo bay)
  • Grapnel or tow cable harpoons (deployable from cargo bay or external fixtures)
  • Holtzman field generators for an additional +1d6 +1 AC boost (requires extra power plant, external fixtures)
NOTE: Any crew with skills pertinent to above equipment will greatly enhance the ship's capabilities during missions. Any equipment that is stored or deployable from the cargo bay will take up space, so be judicious in outfitting your craft.

Famous skippers of the CSC and their Captains:
All skippers were manufactured solely for use by Central Space Command, but over time vessels have been decommissioned and auctioned as upgraded models become available. Following are some notable craft over the last century or so.
  • CSC-10001 "Big Eagle" (currently restored and enjoys display at Central Space Command Academy back on Earth) Commanded by (then) Captain J. Jasper Allen who went on to become CSC Sky Admiral and found the first inter-species space camp for children with IQ exceeding 200.
  • CSC-10019 "Sparrowhawk" (destroyed in battle) Saw a great deal of action in the Asteroid Skirmishes of the 22nd Century (AKA, the Billiard War). Ambushed by rebel colonists. Cpt. Miles Keeney went down with the ship. 
  • CSC-10042 "Wiley Wasp" (still in service as a training craft) Cpt. Rebecca Thorne now commands the ship her grandfather Alistar once commanded (the Commodore has since retired). It's been through four major refits and lost approximately 86 crew in the line of duty.
  • CSC-10100 "Rattlebat" (sold to a private collector; not in service) Served in the Battle of Flush against the insectaur insurgency. Her captain, Zigg Zane is of course the war hero who stole that glowing hive cortex known as the HRONN, which helped us to defeat them 8 years later (once it was decoded). The ship's computer systems never quite recovered and so it was sold. Cpt. Zane's tragic suicide from the after effects of "hearing" what he called "the buzz" for years after is one of the great sacrifices of the many lost to the insidious bugs.
  • CSC-10565 "St. Bayonet" (destroyed in battle) Another casualty of the insects. Bayonet and her crew, including Colonel Lewis Nagai (called back into duty) led the charge in the final battle against the bugs. His ship was one of the last out of the asteroid hives, only to be taken down by a saboteur --a crew member who succumbed to mind control by Queen Zzkt herself.
Other famous skippers (after their CSC service)
These craft and the notable persons who commanded them:
  • "Vagabond Fox" / merchant vessel (formerly the Walcott CSC-10012; still in service) Captain Ballfour Huxley acquired it by way of his uncle's passing, who was gifted the Walcott by CSC for a lifetime of meritorious service. The only known case of a skipper ship: 1.) being given to a former captain, and 2.) later inherited by an heir. Last seen running cargo for OBT (Orion Beltway Transit).
  • "Strange But True" / private yacht (formerly the Axehandle CSC-10083; disappeared). Quadrillionaire Rex Nobel bought the Axehandle at an auction and had her customized/rechristened the S-B-T as an anniversary present for his wife (and interplanetary pop star) The Duchess. For the last 8 years they've been flying around the solar system, solving seemingly inscrutable crimes of passion for wealthy clients. The ship replaced the "Nobel Gains" his previous conveyance that was stolen near Callisto. Reports indicated that's where this ship--and her crew--likewise disappeared from.
  • "PT-099" / planetary patrol boat (formerly the Grasshopper CSC-10099; sold and recommissioned). Now in the service of the Phobos Colony Police Force, old '99 has been involved in several high-stakes collars thanks to her capable captain Melissa "The Hammer" Hamilton, including four moon heists foiled in the last 11 months and as many terrorist attacks on the space elevator, clipped.
  • "The War Witch" / pirate vessel (believed to be formerly the Warwick CSC-10074; currently sought by CSC authorities) The Warwick was one of the "hero" ships of the war with the insects, due to the valor shown by her captain Henry Mack Ellis. After the war, the captain and loyal members of the crew made off with the ship to pursue a life of piracy and spaceduggery. Since then it's been implicated in a dozen or so different illegal salvage ops and robberies. Ellis is a highly sought bounty and the Witch has a "Disintegrate on Sight" order on her file.
  • "Fortune's Fang" / pirate vessel (previous designation unknown; considered stolen; sought by CSC authorities but believed to be destroyed). Perhaps the most infamous craft on this list, the Fang first appeared (repainted with a fanged "Jolly Ranger"* decal on her hull) about 80 years or so ago. The vessel never appears on sensor scopes and attacks without warning, to maul and pillage her prey. Only a handful of survivors have ever been left to tell the tale of the faceless, unknown captain, a shadowy figure in a shredded astro-suit, peering out of a cracked space helmet with a pair of beady, purple eyes. The ship was last pursued around the Horn of Proteus** by a squad of Pegasus Class patrol ships, piloted by the Space Ranger Corps. A volley of particle beams tore through her hull and a great purple ring vented off the ship, seemingly vanquishing the rogue. But recently reports have surfaced that a dark and battered skipper bearing the skull and bubble helmet is raiding lagrange point colonies near Saturn....
*As in, space ranger
**A gravitational anomaly of Neptune's moon Proteus that juts several thousand miles out from one hemisphere of the moon and causes all captured objects to violently shove away from the planet. Think gravitational ski jump. This was of course caused by the Jumpgate Crash of 2285 which caused the moon's gravity well to become distorted from it's mass signature.

NOTE: Designations 10099 and lower are considered "vintage" serials at this point. The first 15 in the fleet (that weren't destroyed in battle or catastrophe) have been mothballed or put in museums in memory of their honorable service). Craft 10000 was a flight training ship called the Brightnoise. It was never in service and is now on display at the rebuilt Smithsonian, on Venus.

Click to enlarge

This entry is based on the Operation Omega Patrol Hopper model by Hasegawa, AKA the Eagle Lunar Explorer. The entry was loosely written using the X-plorers rules, but can be easily converted to other games.


  1. Very cool, Jay!
    The form of the ship reminds me of the Prometheus as well.

    [shameless plug]
    Being Manufactured by Hasegawa Shipyards [b]near the Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt[/b], it's a perfect vehicle for your team of X-plorers running the mission in The Deadly Dawn![/shameless plug]

  2. @WYETM, thanks! I agree, it is very "Promethean" but I think I need to redo the size specs. The model itself transforms into a space shuttle--but the shuttle's scale is much bigger. Expect an update soon...

    @Bill, thanks! Glad you're back!

  3. Oh, and all shameless plugs are welcome! :)

  4. Good, I had become afraid I was being tacky.
    But on topic, this is a very cool write up for X-p!