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Futuristic Oddjobbers: Chalkydra (Space Opera - Privateer / Tramp Freighter)

Sub Genres
  1. Adventure
  2. Dystopian

Mitheral

"Growf!"
3160 AD

This RP is going to be a space opera based loosely on a Serenity type ship (the Chalkydra) and crew. The setting, however, will be something more akin to the one in the Battletech rpg - minus all the mechs, massive jumpships, etc. Drives will be a mix of the fusion drives or M-AM drives of Expanse, with the hyperdrives of Lensman or Star Wars. But I will get more into those details later on.

Oddjobbers is a job description I used for members of a crew like that in Serenity. They do a bit of everything. Smuggling, cargo hauling, passenger transport, salvage, whatever makes them money. Their “big payday” is their next job - or so they always hope.

Chalkydra
Every ship has a name. Here is the name of ours. It is pronounced Khalkydra.

Crew
I plan to toleplay the Captain. But there will be plenty of other roles. Ultimately, if the Captain doesn’t like you, you aren’t going to get the job. He does need skilled help. Suggested positions: engineer, medic, comms, mercenary/gunner, combat pilot. When it comes to a crew, I am mainly inspired by Firefly / Serenity. Part of their backstory should be about what led them to becoming a member of the crew.

*Note: I will also be looking for help with world building here. Members should be willing to help create the culture of their House or Territorial State, if they have a background being from one. Or if the group prefers I will create them. I am very good at world building. The hardest part is coming up with all the names.

Blank CS

Edit: I am often asked about allowed images for the CS - whether an anime is okay. The short answer is no. What I am looking for is a very clear facial image. The image serves as an avatar. It puts a face to a name. Some blurry or toonish image just doesn't work well. High quality sci fi art might work. Yes, I have characters for whom I have sought a good image for for years and never found one, except for an anime. I share your frustration.

Setting
I am adopting the general design of Battletech for the setting - just the interstellar nations and politics. But a lot of details and names will be altered. As much reading as I have done from playing the rpg, even I can’t keep the history straight. I wouldn’t dream of expecting anyone else to. And there are parts of the canon lore of Battletech that I don’t like. Just think of a powerful but decadent central core (Coalition), surrounded by the rest of the Inner Sphere (Houses), surrounded by the Periphery states, and finally beyond the Periphery. If you want freedom, you have to get as far away from Earth as possible. But the further you go, the less lawful space gets. The centralized government is most similar to Imperial Britain. (History repeats itself.)

Some Entities to know:
Terran Coalition - dictatorial and decaying. They are at the heart of human civilization and possess the most advanced technologies. Corrupt, and largely under the sway of Comstar.

Star League - a self-policing interstellar council formed from the Terran Coalition, the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere, and the Territorial States of the Periphery. Each of the States of the Star League is required to provide soldiers and war materiel for the mutual protection of the Star League Defense Force (SLDF), but otherwise is allowed to maintain its own standing army, and even conduct (rare) small-scale wars. Though not completely stable, it offers relative peace, prosperity, and advanced technology of the Star League.

Comstar - holds control over the interstellar banking system. Also controls interstellar communications. Pretty much a monopoly. Religiously fanatical. Its technicians are more into dogma than technology. Science hasn’t evolved much in centuries. In fact, it would be fair to say that there has been a long dark age.

Rebel Alliance - attempted to rebel against the Terran Coalition in what was called the Outer Reaches Rebellion, but was crushed. But the defeat was far from total. Still the rebels lack the infrastructure, technology, manpower and equipment to stage an effective threat.

The Houses - The Coalition is surrounded by several great Houses, each larger in area than the Coalition itself. The space controlled by the Coalition and Houses is referred to as the Inner Sphere.

The Periphery - Region of space outside the Inner Sphere. It has several Territorial States that are recognized by the Inner Sphere.

Plots
For plots I will be looking to the group for ideas - not that I can’t come up with them. But location is everything. The Inner Sphere offers one set of challenges. The Periphery offers others. The Chalkydra will start out with a neutral reputation in the RP. Step on the wrong toes and the SLDF will become less than friendly. It will make getting supplies and repairs harder. But the available tech will be better. And if we can get our hands on the right tech, it wells really well out on the Periphery.

Drive Systems
Fusion is what most ships use. Matter antimatter has never been considered safe and reliable enough for use in propulsion. Interplanetary travel times are comparable to that seen in the TV series Expanse under Stage I propulsion (known as Torch I). It would take about 5.89 days to go from Earth to Saturn.

The Expanse's Epstein Drive
This is a link to a technical evaluation of the Stage I drive. All you really need to know is that a good bit of realism went into the concept - and it takes days to get far enough from a stellar primary to enter hyperspace. This assumes soem very harsh high G accelerations.

Stage II Anomaly Drive. This is the successor to the Stage I and uses a low level LQG warp field to reduce the time required to hours rather than days. The drawback is that the term “Torch” becomes very appropriate. There is no hiding from sensors under this drive. Smugglers will tend to use Stage I to sneak in and out of a system, switching to Stage II to outrun trouble.

Stage III is hyperspace drive and requires a working Stage II drive. It is similar to the hyperspace drive of Star Wars. It is possible to analyze a warp signature to determine the destination of a jump. There is also a warp emergence signal that emanates from where a hyperspace jump will emerge shortly before it does so. The distance to a safe jump point will vary by local gravity wells. Sol has a well that requires a distance of about 10.2 AU or a little over 5000 LS. It IS possible to jump much closer, but very, very dangerous. A Master Pilot / Astrogation rating is required for all Hyperspace pilots. In short, the jump has to be calculated and executed correctly. The result is a misjump - which can be very, very bad. Speeds of FTL runs about 10 LY per day for a typical freighter to 50+ for an FTL scout. Larger ships are slower. Some military FTL Scouts and Courrier vessels manage a bit more.

Sensors
Ships sensors can detect other ships, etc at anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 LS. (It is about 500 LS from Earth to the Sun.). Most interstellar law enforcement agencies and military defense forces use sensor buoy arrays to cover a star system.

Personal Weaponry
Good old fashioned slug throwing weapons are still a mainstay in the civilian world. Damage depends on caliber and specialized ammunition. However, there are some military weapons that make it into civilian hands.

CRG - (Carbonium Railgun) Often called a blaster. A personal railgun that fires hypersonic pellets composed largely of ionized carbon. The pellets impact superheated. May fire semi or fully automatic.

Lasers - Silent and invisible without augmented vision. Recoilless.

Tangled - fires a tangle web pellet. Ideal for capturing victims.

Dally Gun - tripod mounted weapon that can be shouldered by powered armor. It is a combination of three weapons. Blaster MMG, Laser MMG, Grenade rifle.

Monowire edged weapon. Good for shipboard combat.

Sorry, no lightsabres.
 
Last edited:

spacepirate

this side of the galaxy
I've got nearly the perfect username for an rp like this haha! I'm in- I have an idea for a comms officer who comes from a bit of a posh background and speaks multiple languages, to boot, so he can also serve as an interpreter if there's a power outage and the translator tech goes down. Hope this takes off!
 

Hengleford

It's okay, I can't read either...
Hi Mitheral Mitheral <3 It's been a good while!

I would absolutely love to give this a try, maybe as the Chalkydra's helmsman if that's okay with you? I may also create a second character as the co-pilot/engineer but i'm happy for those roles to be filled out by other people if they wish for that role.
 

Mitheral

"Growf!"
Gotcha .. What I loved most about the Firefly crew was their flaws. Jayne was actually one of my favorites - especially after the episode where the crew learned about a planet that idolized him as a folk hero. Episode 7, "Jaynestown".
 

Mitheral

"Growf!"
I had not decided yet on that. I have considered two classes of ship. One is a Fleet Corvette with a displacement of about 12,500 tons. Probably way too big and would draw a lot of attention.

The other would be in the Scout class. One of my favorite vessels has a 375t displacement, but might be too small - ie too much engine and too little cargo space. Scout class runs from 250 to 1000 tons. This is the size of ships like Firefly and Millennium Falcons.

Privateers run in the 2500-5000 tons range.

I DO want a cargo bay big enough for a land vehicle or two and maybe an asteroid mining / salvage scooter.
 

Tarmagon

Murphy was an optimist.
Well, the reason I asked was I have a character who is the owner/pilot of a repair/salvage sled.

And yeah, I had a scout corvette that I created for a different rp. Took a minimum crew of 80, really needed nearly 200 for maximum effectiveness.
 
Last edited:

Mitheral

"Growf!"
Well, I did plan on having a couple asteroid mining / ship salvage scooters. Probably same idea. They were about like having a space Harley up to something like one of those box trucks that go around saving motorists by replacing flay tires, dead batteries, blown radiator hoses ... Personally I like something more like a day cab hauling a pup trailer 0 but for space. More modular that way.

If we go with a Scout, the smaller options fit best. Crew for those is about 10. If we go with the Fleet corvette, crew is more like 100.

If we want the more personal crew relationship as in Firefly, a smaller ship is in order. Or ... a lot of automation on a larger ship - which IS an option.
 

Mitheral

"Growf!"
Gave this more thought. Leaning toward the Scout class. A smaller crew makes for a better dysfunctional family atmosphere.
 

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