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Ship classifications for the Terran Dominion


I am writing an alternate background for my new Traveller series. The system will probably be Megatraveller, with ship design from either T20 or the T4 QDSD system. It will be more of a first edition classic Traveller feel with some nods to modernity and technology. There will be a partially ruined Earth with the seat of government and primary population on the Moon. There will be Battle Dress but it will more resemble Landmates from Appleseed. There will be artificial people similar to the Tanks from Space Above & Beyond, and basically little bits from the gamut of SF.

If Marc could do it in 1975, I can do it now. ;)

I am thinking of using ship designations from the age of sail to spice things up a bit. There will be no Starships larger than 10,000 tons in the Dominion of Terra at the start of this campaign.

Military Ships

Ketch 1-300 tons
Corvette 3-500 tons
Sloop 500-1000 tons
Frigate 1000-3000
Cutter 3000-5000
Cruiser 5000-7000
Battleship 7000-10,000

Cog 100-1,000 tons
Caravel 1,000-2,000 tons
Clipper 2,000-4,000 tons
Galleon 4,000-6,000 tons
Carrack 6,000-10,000 tons

Do these classifications make sense? I have done some research, but I think some "age of sail" freaks may be hiding on this list.

Any special rules or knick knacks that people like in alternate starship design rules?
I know it makes it easier the way you have it, but I would actually have gaps between my ship classes. Otherwise, you get the, "What, I add a ton, and it magically becomes a Cruiser?" questions. And, break up the sizes just a bit - not every group should be 3,000 tons (or whatever).

I would keep your cog down below 500 tons - it was really small IRL. Also, I'm not sure whether Battleship was really used during the "Age of Sail". It really came into it's own during the steam age. But, I'm not a sailing ship guru. (I know just enough to be dangerous.)
I may use the term ship-of-the-line instead of BB. I am not yet sure. Thanks for the input, keep them coming.
Cutter is a big boat, not a ship. That is why the Coast Guard uses cutters, the biggest of which is the size of a corvette.

And you are mixing terms from 600 years of history.

What TL are you planning?

May I suggest, using 18th-19th century terms:
Cutter= SDB, limited range, fast, not big but well enough armed to hurt pirates or smugglars. And big enough to carry a boarding party or rescue a stranded crew.
Corvette: Smallest military class, equivalent to "destroyer escort".
Frigate: long range warship with enough firepower to take down anything smaller than a Ship of the Line (i.e., a big destroyer or a cruiser)
Ship of the Line (a battleship) The Big boys.

Sloop: small, fast merchantman
Brig: medium sized, small crew, not fast but economical
Ship: Any really big merchantman
Clipper: A large, high speed merchantman

For more of the age-of-sail feel, divide your ships into "ratings". Not historical exactly, but it has the right feel.
1st Rate: Over 10,000 dtons
2nd 5,000-10,000 dtons
3rd 2500-5,000 dtons
4th 1200-2500 dtons
5th 600-1200 dtons
6th 300-600 dtons
7th 150-300 dton
8th 75-150 dton.

So a 4,000 dton cruiser would be called a "frigate of tbe third rate". A 7000 ton fast freighter would be a "2nd rate clipper", A 500 ton "tramp" freighter is a "6th rate brig"
Sailing era "cutters" were single-masted light warships used for patrolling and customs duties. They would not be larger than frigates, indeed they would usually be the smallest armed warships.

The only warships I know of that were called "ketches" were specialized shore bombardment ships (carrying huge mortars). They usually had two masts and a small broadside and would be bigger than cutters.

"Brig" was a term for a two-masted vessel (with square sails on each mast) that served as a light warship. It would fit well between "ketch" and "sloop" or "corvette".

"Corvette" was the French term for what the British called a "sloop of war", referring to a three-masted square-rigged warship carrying armament on only one deck. These were the smallest "ships" (a technical term in the period referring to any three-masted vessel with square sails on each mast) that were warships. Since French corvettes tended to be larger and more powerful than British sloops you might reverse the order of the terms.

"Cruiser" (usually spelled "cruizer") was a generic term for a warship that could be assigned to independent operations; it did not refer to a particular size or type of warship in the sailing warfare era.

The warships should go something like this:

Line of battle ship (or battleship, or ship of the line)

As far as how to classify them in your game, think in terms of capabilities: ships of the line should have the heaviest armor/defenses possible combined with massive firepower, giving up some mobility if necessary. Frigates emphasize speed and range, with good firepower but often only light protection. In the sailing war period the smaller craft were usually distinguished by their rig (the number and type of sails/masts); classifying them by tonnage is a fair TRAVELLER equivalent.

As for the merchant ships, you have mixed together terms from different eras (they're all sailing ships, but "cog" is a medieval term while "clipper" is from the 19th century). I would not bother with any formal classification of merchant ships; in period they were classed based on their rig and today they tend to be classed based on their function (what kind of cargo they carry) with a modifier for size. So you have ships like the VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier, or supertanker).
Originally posted by Uncle Bob:
I think I'll borrow this

Thanks Uncle Bob.
Which I will add to by cut 'n pasting from this:
Originally posted by The Oz:
The warships should go something like this:

Line of battle ship (or battleship, or ship of the line)
Thanks Oz
Borrowing from primarily the 20th century ship classifications I created this for my small ship campaign years ago.

</font><blockquote>code:</font><hr /><pre style="font-size:x-small; font-family: monospace;">Medium Ships
dtons Class Code
100 Courier/Scout CS
200 Sloop SL
400 Brig BG
600 Corvette CT
800 Frigate FG
1 K Destroyer Escort DE
2 K Destroyer DD
3 K Heavy Destroyer HD
4 K Escort Cruiser EC
5 K Light Cruiser LC
6 K Heavy Cruiser HC
7 K Strike Cruiser SC
8 K Battlecruiser BC
9 K Battleship BB
10K Dreadnought DN

Civilian starships are classified based on dtonnage
dtons Class Code
100 Scout SI
200 Trader T#
300 “ M#
400 Subsidized Merchant SM
500 “ MS
600 Subsidized Liner SL
700 “ LS
800 Mercenary Cruiser MC
900 “ CM
1K Speculator S#
2K “
3K “
4K “
5K “
6K “
7K Jump Master JM
8K Express Cargo EC
9K Cargo Master KM
10K Bulk Master BM

Scout starships are classified based on dtonnage
dtons Class Code
100 Scout SS
200 Seeker SK
300 “
400 Surveyor SV
500 “
600 Explorer XP
700 “
800 Investigator IV
900 “
1K Diplomat DP
2K Intruder IT

Civilian non-starships are classified based on dtonnage
dtons Class Code
100 Scout SP
400 Patrol Cutter PC
800 Patrol Cruiser CP
1K+ Monitor C#</pre>[/QUOTE]The # for the Trader size ships was dependent on specialized type, free trader, far trader, etc. The # qualifier for the Speculator class of ships denoted it's sixe (1-6). There were no spinal mounted weapons. For the Monitor the # went from 1-9 for 1-9000 dtons then went A+ for 10,000 dtons and above, in increments of 10k each (A=10k, B=20k, C=30k, etc). Starships were limited to a maximum size of 10k dtons. For military starships sizes between designations were classed with those smaller, ie. a 300 dton starship was classified as a sloop.
The naval destroyer was originally called a " torpedo boat destroyer" IIRC.

In Traveller does the term destroyer escort mean a ship that accompanies destroyers, or should it be read as escort destroyer, meaning a ship that destroys escorts?

What class of ship is the Traveller destroyer actually capable of destroying?

Oh, and I like your list Randy
Originally posted by Sigg Oddra:
In Traveller does the term destroyer escort mean a ship that accompanies destroyers, or should it be read as escort destroyer, meaning a ship that destroys escorts?
From using Supplement 9, I thought that battleships fought battleships, cruisers escorted battleships and attacked all escort vessels from cruisers down, and "escort destroyers" were destroyers that were big enough (20kT+) to survive being used as escorts to the cruiser/battleship core group.

Destroyers (5kT) would be used as pickets, deployed as part of a loose shell around the main body of the fleet, acting as trip-wires in the event of hostile engagement.

Anything smaller is just noise ;) although 1kT to 2kT destroyers (e.g. the Chrysanthenum-class) are good anti-pirate vessels.
CS implies "Strike Cruiser", not "Courier/Scout"; I'd recommend SC instead for that role.

I actually like the age of sail stuff. I'd suggest rather than gapping, overlapping:

Military Ships

Ketch 1-400 tons
Corvette 3-600 tons
Sloop 500-1000 tons
Frigate 8000-3000
Cutter 2500-6000
Cruiser 5000-8000
Dreadnought 7000-10,000

Cog 100-500 tons
Schooner 400-1000
Caravel 800-2,400 tons
Clipper 2,000-4,000 tons
Galleon 3500-7,000 tons
Carrack 6,000-10,000 tons
Destroyer-Escort: A small torpedo boat destroyer used to escort convoys of unarmed ships. A destroyer is bigger, faster, and able to keep up with the fleet.

I think name should follow function, but tht is a moving target as TL changes. A sloop, brig, brigantine, ketch or ship were all defined by the number of masts and kind of sails and went out of use when steam came in. A ship that would be a steam frigate in the 1830s was called a steam corvette in the 1850s. A ship with the same function (but a little larger) was called a Patrol Cruiser in the 1880s.

And in WWII a DE was 1500 tons, a DD was 2500 tons, and a light cruiser was 7,000 tons. Today a DE is 3000 tons, a DD is 7,000, and cruisers are scarce as hen's teeth (a few in the U.S. and Russian Navies, but these are used as big destroyers.)

IMTU I have thrown away most of the traditional names

Destroyer Capital ship, ~100 kdton. With a PA spine they are called "Lancers", with a meson spine "Boomers".

Frontier Cruiser 100 K dtons but with a smaller spine weapon, a company of marines, boats and fighters, scientific labs, and a modest hospital.

Patrol Cruiser 15 K dton, smaller version, not much science, Marine platoon

Armored Cruiser 30K dton Similar capabilities to a Patrol cruiser, but can easily defeat one used as a commerce raider. Armored Cruisers are sometimes called "Fleet Cruisers"

Escort Cruiser 5K dton, designed to escort convoys and defeat fighters and armed merchantmen used as commerce raiders
IMTU (Solar Triumvirate, Lydia Consortium and Serpentis Quadrant Alliance; the Matriarchate uses a different system) I use a modified system based on the WWII/Cold War one. Note that this is a TL12 small-ship universe in which Nuclear Dampers are TL13 (so they're still in preliminary R&D).

Frigate: A very small (below 400 dton) starship designed solely for escort and screening purposes.

Corvette: A small (below 1,000 dton) multi-task starship usable for independent operations; also called "Light Cruiser" by the Alliance.

Destroyer: A large escort (essentially any escort abouve 400 dton). Heavy Destroyers are as large as Cruisers (1,000-3,000 dtons) but are intended to operate as a part of a larger fleet rather than independently.

Missile Destroyer: A specialized Heavy Destroyer (typically 3,000 dton) with a single Missile Bay and multiple Missile Racks.

Cruiser: A large (abouve 1,000 dton) multi-purpose ship intended for independent operations as well as for fleet support. Cruisers usually carry a few fighter squadrons and a Marine unit (typically a Company).

Carrier: A large (usually 5,000 dtons, the new Reagan-class introduced recently by the Triumvirate are 12,000 dtons and use the "Multiple Engines" rule), relatively weakly armed and unarmored, and carrying ALOT of fighters. Always travels as a part of a Fleet or a Battlegroup.
In the official TU, a destroyer escort is a relatively small escort vessel of around 1,000dt while an Escort Destroyer is a vessel of around 10,000dt (roughly half the size of a light cruiser) whose name certainly implies its job is to destroy those small escorts such as the 1,000dt Fer de Lance's
Those definitions are from Shattered Ships of the Fighting Imperiun, right :confused:

The CT definitions from Supplement 9 are a little bit different:

1000t - Destroyer Escort
3000t - Destroyer
5000t - Fleet Escort