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Colony Ship Request


SOC-14 1K
Good afternoon, All,

I'm looking on thoughts and possible ship designs regarding TL8 and TL9 Colony Ships, ships that move, either at sublight speeds (TL8) or via jump drives (TL9), transporting a large number of people to a distant world to establish a new colony.

As I understand it, you essentially need 10,000 for a viable colony size. Given that they will most likely travel in cold sleep (minus a rotating ship's crew), there's a chance that some won't survive cold sleep. So we'll probably want to carry as many as 12,500 to insure that at least 10,000 make it to the new colony world.

The ship needs to be able to also carry the equipment necessary to construct a colonial base that can house and support 10,000 people, including transport vehicles and such.

Not sure what else to consider in creating these designs, so I thought I'd post my request here, and see what other Travellers might wish to contribute to the discussion. Any comments or even design submissions would be welcome.

Thanks in advance,

For sublight ships try Trillion credit squadron, it has a vague description of 3 asteroid colony ships.

I have also have a 5ktn TL9 high guard colony ship design - do you want me to post it.

For rules on establishing a colony, the TNE world tamers handbook has probably the most comprehensive rules covering the colony mechanics (housing, roads, vehicles, industries, agriculture, power etc.) from all that you can work out what you need to take equipment and cargowise to support a given populations.

Things to take include - tents / portable buildings whilst your construction industry builds homes, food while the crops grow, and don't forget that the colonists will not be able to give their best efforts until they have acclimitised to the new planet (about 4 to 6 months).


I would greatly appreciate you posting your High Guard design. I am most interested in the colony ship itself, as I already have the idea I need to run the colony adventure I have in mind. But I want to create an appropriate colony ship (okay, one at TL8, longterm, and one at TL9, with jump tech). I am running the game in T20, but the design sequences were inspired by High Guard, so it should be easy enough for me to do the conversions from your original design.

Thank you for your offer,
The Janis Jo colony ship was inspired by the picture on the front of white dwarf 17 with a crashed cylindrical ship in a desert. The ship is 4999tns as this is the biggest size the TL9 computers could control

4999tns, Mcr 2171.962, Tl=9, Crew=52
2 batteries of sandcasters
2 batteries of missiles
6 batteries of lasers
Fuel scoops and plant, fuel=599.98, EP=99.98, Agility=1, Cargo=2250.24, Low=686 (colonists), Medium passengers (colonists) = 400, security troops=10, hangers for 4 x 50tn landers.

Landers are 50tn flattens spheres, M1G, PP1, Comp=1, No bridge, no weapons, crew=1, fuel=1, ep=0.5, agility=1, payload = 45tns cargo or 90 passenger seats, fuel scoops. TL=9, MCR=14.275

There is also a 20ktn TL=15 marco polo colony ship on the BARD pages.

How about that: (I've designed on the fly, Thanks to Mr. Falkayn's Spreadsheet!!)

Elizabeth - Far Settler Class Colony Ship
Designed by: Sandman (With Help from Falkayn's Engineering Software Bureau)

15000,-ton Hull (Dispersed Structure, Self-enclosed designed modules) - Unstreamlined
AC: 8 (13 vs. Meson Guns) AR: 0 SI: 500 Initiative: 0
Starship Size: Huge Cost: 3520,919. MCr (4401,149. MCr without discount)
Model/5 Fib Computer (Fib for Redundancy)
Avionics: Less than 50000,-ton
Sensors: Long Range
Communications: Long Range
Cargo: 5755,9.-tons
Extra Ship's Stores: 6400, person/weeks of Low Stores (Crew rations)
Annual Maintenance = 352,091.9 KCr (176,045.95 KCr if routinely maintained)
Routine Maintenance = 88,022.975 KCr/Month (880,229.75 KCr per year)

Acceleration: 1-G Agility: 0
Power Plant: TL-9 Fusion (300, EP output, enough fuel for 8 weeks, refueling using shuttles and the interstellar gas)
Fuel Scoops, Fuel Purification Plant (TL-9, 11hrs per 800, tons of fuel)

Hardpoints: 50
40x Triple Pulse Laser Turret TL-9, +3 To Hit, 3d10 (19/x2), Range: 45,000km
(Point defense against Space Debris/Meteors)

Ship's Vehicles:
6x 95-ton Shuttles, Cargo/passenger reconfigurable (External Dock - Unstreamlined)
Launch facilities for 2 Craft per turn

Accomodations & Fittings:
6x Double Occupancy Stateroom (Officers, 12)
35x Double Occupancy Small Cabin (Crews, 70)
13000x Low Berth (12500 Colonists, 500 Extra Low Berth in case of failure/preventive maintenance)
20x Emergency Low Berth (Crew & Officers, 80)
50x Standalone Fresher (6 for Officers and Crew, 44 distributed for the colonists when they'll be thawed
2x Engineering Shop (40 Engineers)
2x Laboratory (4 Scientists)
50x Sickbay (100 Patients)
4x Autodoc
11x Airlocks

Crew Details:
7x Command Officers, 4x Command Crew
1x Flight Officers, 20,x Flight Crew
1x Gunnery Officers, 4,x Gunnery Crew (Automated Fire Control for normal "Space debris", manpower in case of system failure)
2x Engineering Officers, 8,x Engineering Crew
2x Medical Officers, 0x Medical Crew (10 other crewmember cross-trained to serv as nurse)
1x Ship's Troops Officers, 10,x Ship's Troops
20,x Service Crew


Mish-Mash of Modular Pod containing Cargo, Low Berth, and other ship`s systems, looking like a HUGE Lego(TM) construction in space. Built for slow (1G) Acceleration and deceleration, the Far Settler Class Colony Ships are a sight to behold.

They can "safely" transport over twelve thousand colonists plus over six thousands tons of equipment and construction material to jump-start a colony in a starsystem near you.

Systems have been designed for redundancy, spreading the rusion reactor, Computer Systems, Sensors Array, Communication Array, Stellar Point Defense Array, Cargo/Colonist modules all over the ships, while its Dispersed Structure insures that the systems aren't all packed too closely in case of mishaps.

Settling down the Colonis is by "thawing" out the Life Support Task Forces. Composed of Medical Doctors, Nurses, Life Support Engineers and other much needed Engineers/technicians, they're the forerunners of the Colonists, preparing the site, basic living structures and systems for the colonist to live in.

Colonists are divided in "Task Forces", each with its specialty. To guard against the destruction of a single Low Berth Module, they`re spread out on every Berthing Module. These Task Forces are thawed as needed, following the Colonization Plan that has been pre-approved.

As more and more Infrastructures are completed, more and more colonists are thawed out, meaning that the rate of colonisation is exponential, every new colonists adding to the workforces.

Due to its modular design, the ship will be used (depending on the particular modules) as space platforms where the addition of solar panels will transform it into Power Stations, as Telecommunication Satellites, Weather Satellites, Mapping Satellites, GPS Satellites, Space Telescopes (Radio, Visible, X-Ray, Infra-red, etc).

Parts of its Core Structures will then be available for specialized structures on the ground.

EDIT: yes, OK it's a mix from what you wanted... only realized that AFTER posting... oh well...

EDIT 2: Forgot to add some leftover space to Cargo...
I have a design using FFS1 at 50,000 dt "Star Seeker" class. Its carrying capacity for colonists as designed is a bit low at about 2,500 colonists and crew. But the cargo capacity is 245,842.7 cubic meters. It is my opinion that people drastically underestimate the amount of support a start-up colony with no outside helkp available will need. Colonists in low berth could easily be traded against cargo volume if people want more bodies and less equipment and supplies.
Find the Star Seeker at

Originally posted by RichardP:
The Janis Jo colony ship was inspired by the picture on the front of white dwarf 17 with a crashed cylindrical ship in a desert. The ship is 4999tns as this is the biggest size the TL9 computers could control.
Actually, a Model 3 computer can control anything up to (but not including) a Size K ship, so the maximum size would be 9,999 T.

I remember a workround for building largers vessels than the computers could normally control, I believe it was called "Computer Networking". So if you need the computing power of 3 factor 3 computers to control a vessel each backup would also need 3 factor 3 computers.

Effectivle I have always thought that basing computer requirements on hull displacement was silly, especially as for most starships most of the enclosed volume is fuel tanks with little to control at anyone time apart from fuel pumps, pressure and temperature guages etc. which do not need much computing power anyway.
In the T20 design system, the only point where computers have to deal with hull displacement is in the avionics section. That provides, by extension, the limit on hull size by TL, if you are using that design system, of course. I can understand where the mass and aerodynamics can have an impact on flying the thing through an atmosphere, but I wonder if this could be bypassed for ships that are unstreamlined, and thus never going to have to use avionics to travel within an atmosphere.

Thanks, All,