I imported the Niron blender model image into a paint program to make the deck plans. The first problem was one of scale. I had wanted a large hauler and I had placed space for 4 shipping containers in the bay. But now that I had dropped a square grid on the ship I was thinking 5 foot squares. Once I had the deck plans laid out I realized that it needed to be at least 10 foot squares to carry anything of significance. Stars without Numbers assumes very little trade is occurring in bulk commodities. There are no mining worlds transporting raw materials to industry hub worlds. The inhabited galaxy is just too isolated and the spike drive ships are too small to make this economical. But I still want to be able to carry at least the equivalent of 4 large cargo containers.
Containers that get shipped across the ocean today in the real world are generally 48 feet long and 9.5 by 9.5 feet in cross section. I decided that in Wolf sector the standard sized container (M) is 30 x 10 x 10 feet but a large container (L) is 70 x 30 x 30 feet. So the Niron free trader can carry four of these large containers or 16 of these more standard (M) containers. The bay has locking mechanisms to hold the containers and can be configured for either. There might also be even smaller shipping containers (S) that are only 15 x 10 x 10 feet, the Niron can carry 32 of these small containers. Of course the automatic locking systems can be configured for a mix of different sized containers. They also have the benefit that they can be dumped in space should the trader captain be under attack and decide to drop his cargo.
|Niron Free Trader Deckplan|
The layout of the ship is pretty simple and greatly restricted by the enormous cargo bay. As you can see there is no access to the cargo containers from the ship. The Niron is simply a hauler. The crew is not poking around in the cargo. This opens the possibility of unknowingly carrying illicit cargo but I assume the Niron crew would carefully scan any cargo container they are locking on to. In Stars without Number the spike drive is used both for in-system maneuvering and spiking up through dimensions for interstellar travel. But in system the ship would not normally spike up in dimensions (unless under attack). So I decided the ship engines and the spike drive generators would be separate items. I included some fuel bunkers which look woefully inadequate but we will just hand-wave that.
There is room for a crew of six. But the Niron could be run by a single crew. I could make different layouts of the forward area with maybe a larger cargo bay for secure, pressurized cargo storage. The ship’s computer and the life support are in one area. Not much is said about ship computer technology in Stars without Number. I was thinking I would have near A.I. ship computers that would be an NPC in the campaign. The computer would be the representative on board of the company/bank/lending agency that actually owned the ship. This way if the crew got any idea about going to another system to skip payments the ship would immediately shut down and return to the nearest star port.
This is what I think will probably be the starting ship for the players in a Wolf Sector Campaign. They would owe the bank 600,000 credits when they pay the downpayment of 45,000 credits. With a 10% annual interest rate the players have to pay about 6,500 credits per month to pay off the ship in 15 years (standard ship loan contract).