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Who's on the Bridge?


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Both LBB2 and Hg list the tonnage and size of the bridge, but neither lists the crewmembers who are present on it. Who's stations are on the bridge, and who's stations are in other parts of the ship?

On one hand, yopu have the Startrek style, in which all senior officers (including the engineer and sometimes even the medic IIRC) have worstations on the bridge and control the ship's activity from there; Babylon 5 has a similar model. On the other hand you have Firefly in which only the Pilot (and sometimes his wife too) works on the bridge while the Engineer attends to the engine in the egnieering compartment.

So, where are your engineer and medic stationed? Who works from the bridge?
My TU, based on a set of CT guidelines posted somewhere around here and elsewhere for deckplans, breaks up the bridge into four general "parts".

Part one is 25% or 50% depending on what I feel like drawing, sometimes I only draw half of it (25%) and just handwave the rest. It is half electronics suite (sensors, commo, avionics) and half mechanicals for that and other functions realated to ship operation (antennae, small thrusters, cg lifters, landing gear, etc.)

Part two is 25% and is the minimal required safety elements consisting of airlocks and lockers (a 60/40 split). The lockers contain Vacc-Suits (1 hard suit per required engineer and 1 standard suit per additional required crew), survival gear (of planetary landing type), emergency gear (on board fire fighting, hull breach, etc., kinda stuff), and a full set of tools and parts to make emergency repairs and/or routine maintenance of that ship model. There's usually enough room left for some small arms and the usual assorted junk Traveller's collect ;)

Part three, and the part on topic to this thread, is the remaining 25% and consists of 1 crew workstation per ton. These can be anywhere on the ship and are usually grouped by function. A small ship may have them all together while a large ship may have several areas (flight operations, gunnery control, engineering, etc.).

My small ship (1000tons and under) standard is 4 crew workstations on the "bridge" and 1 crew workstation in engineering. It doesn't have to be this way though, each of the workstations is capable of functioning in any control setting, including gunnery (especially for battery fire). So for example while the turret on a type S does have a local control station (which btw can only control that turret in mtu) it is often actually fired from the "bridge", usually by the lone operator simply by switching from Pilot layout to Gunner layout.

To answer the question, for mtu at least, stations will depend on actions and needs. If there's a seat someone should be filling it
IMTU, Bridge crew are Pilot, Nav, Electronics Ops, up to 3 Command Crew, Battery Directors.

Engineers are in Engineering. The engineering repeaters on the bridge are for reports, not action.
Originally posted by Employee 2-4601:
So, where are your engineer and medic stationed? Who works from the bridge?
On any ship with two or more engineers, at least one (the "watchtender") is assigned to a bridge station (and one to an auxiliary bridge, if available), and the others (the "black gang") are in the engineering spaces.

On ships with one engineer, it depends on the ship design - lower tech levels mean the engineer needs to babysit the drives directly, while engineers on higher tech ships can control essential functions from a bridge station.

Edit: Medics on military vessels are in sick bay and with damage control parties when at action stations. On civilian and commercial ships, it varies a bit - usually the purser/steward and the doctor or medic are responsible for both passenger well-being and deck security, so they tend to be either on the passenger deck or close to the access points when not in jump space. Personally, if I'm master of a free trader or the like, I like my medics to also be gunners - cuts down on crew staterooms...
Originally posted by Employee 2-4601:
Both LBB2 and Hg list the tonnage and size of the bridge, but neither lists the crewmembers who are present on it. Who's stations are on the bridge, and who's stations are in other parts of the ship?
One idea I've been kicking around is taking the modern notion of a "glass cockpit" and extending it to bridge workstations.

Other than joysticky attitude & translation controls for the actual Pilot, I don't see any reason why bridge stations couldn't be reconfigurable from one function to another as needed, just by switching between software desktops... thus a bridge would have a routine flight config, a combat config, a flight in controlled aerospace config, a jump watch config, an interplanetary flight config, a survey/sensor ops config, an owner-aboard impressing potential clients config, and so on, with assorted crew taking positions and adjusting workstations to suit the task at hand.
Most of the time….nobody. Why bother? 168 hours of nothing, not even sensor readings. *ish*

In small ships a single display panel or wrist display can let the crew know what is going on. IMTU ship computers are smart enough to have in their operations programs the ability to recognize obvious threats and malfunctions. Otherwise use a robot or just [hands waving].

I prefer the porta display or all display screens in the ship (we are talking your 200 ton free/far traders here.) as status monitors. Sitting in a small cramped room for hour upon hour can’t be easy on the brain.

I am an in school suspension supervisor on many days and I can tell you that having to pay attention in a quiet room with nothing to do but monitor some kids for six hours is a mind numbing experience.
Originally posted by Kurega Gikur:
Most of the time….nobody. Why bother? 168 hours of nothing, not even sensor readings. *ish*
People being what they are, I have to imagine that as long as starships have human crews, there will be regulations requiring that someone stand watch.

IMTU the bridge watch is rotated among the crew while in jump space - the pliot and engineer each stand to for eight hours apiece during the ship's "day," and the medic or gunner pulls the duty at "night."

In normal space, a ship must have a qualified pilot at the helm any time the m-drive is operating.
I'm in agreement with a number of the points raised here, although I tend to design in "Geek-land (FF&S) these days. If you are using FF&S, Bridge workstations are defined as being reconfigurable, so unless the ship is at general quarters ("Alert Status") the ranking engineer is generally monitoring from the bridge, not physically present in engineering. For "smaller" ships (with total engineering and maintenance crew less than 3) the engineers generally stay in engineering, but my bridge placement on small ships generally tucks the bridge right next to engineering anyway, so the engineering workstations are usually located on the flight deck (AKA "small bridge")

To Address KG's point (about mind-numbing boredom) most ships under about 400Dtons have the galley right next to the bridge as well, so it's a convenient "socialization" spot, and does double duty on survey ships as a conference room, in much the same way as the officers wardroom (Eating area) in subs will often convert into the captains office. and impromptu surgery when at action stations.

Small ships generally have workstations for Pilot, Navigator, Sensor Ops. Depending on how far the Engineering spaces are from the bridge, Engineering may also be represented on the bridge. If the ship has serious fire control (master fire directors) these are generally also present on the bridge, unless the MFD's are built into the turret hardware.

Unless the ship is at "Action Stations" there is generally only a single crewmember on the bridge at any given time (the watch officer) although ships with large passenger capacities may require a minimum crew of 2 at all times as a precaution against hijacking.

If the ship does not carry passengers, the bridge is often largely unattended from 6 hours after jump to 12 hours before expected jump emergence (with *very* loud alarms in case any anomalies in the jump field are detected)

For larger ships, the breakdown is a bit broader: in general "Watch" crew will be one officer, one electronics tech (Sensors and commo) and an engineer. If the ship is military, then there is often a gunner on watch as well.

If a doctor is carried, he has a sickbay, and will *never* be present on the bridge unless called there by a watch officer (Note 1) If there are bridge casualties then it is the job of the damage control parties to evac them *to* sickbay.

A large ships bridge at "Action Stations" (Now we're talking military vessels, since the civilian compliment doesn't change much) will have the following breakdown

-Captain (Relieves current watch officer, or stays put if he is the watch officer)
-1st officer (if the ship has a third officer)
-Watch Engineer (or Chief engineer)
-Chief Sensor Ops
-Additional sensor / electronics ops
-Flight Control Officer
-Watch Gunner (He doesn't leave)

If the ship carries more than 3 non-local (not in the turret) gunners, they are generally grouped onto a fire control bridge. Most of the engineers and maintenance staff, as well as the 3rd-5th officers (if the ship carries same) are tasked for damage control crews, with the understanding that part of the reason they are there is so that the chain of command doesn't disappear if the ship takes a bridge hit. This is also the reason that the *watch* engineer is on the bridge, not the chief engineer (who is usually also the 2nd or 3rd officer)

The reason that the 1st officer is only on the bridge if the ship is large enough to have a 3rd officer is because you want 2 "line" officers off the bridge at all times at "Action Stations". One of the "line" officers is almost always the chief engineer (Generally the Second or Third Officer) so you want to have another officer leading damage control: If you only have caprain, O-1 and O-2, then the engineer is in engineering, and the other line officer draws DamCon.

If the ship carries an Aux bridge, then the 1st officer is stationed there, and will generally split off the gunners workstations 50:50 between the bridge and aux con. In general, Aux Con handles "defensive" fire, while the main bridge handles the main guns. (Include "Missile Ops" as "Main Guns")

If the ship has a flag bridge then a similar grouping will occurr, with some of the gunners pushed onto the flag bridge. Captain and 1st officer are on the bridge, theh Second officer and flag officers are on the flag bridge. Gunners are "partitioned" from the flag bridge, and the flag bridge will often have a second set of dedicated sensors and sensor ops. In case the main bridge is rendered inoperational, the partition between the "flag" and "gunnery" section is removed, and the second officer will fight the ship from the flag bridge, while the Flag officers are forced to endure a bit more "battle chatter". The Flag bridge, like Aux Con will have a senior engineer present, if only to handle rerouting controls and sensor channels. The more "pragmatic" (cynical?) reason is to ensure that even with the loss of engineering and all other control sections, there is someone qualified to jury-rig repairs sufficient to limp the hull home for refit.

If the ship is large enough to have a bridge, Aux Con AND a flag bridge, then you get a truly prodigious amount of backup. In general, the Flag Bridge will not get more than 1-2 gunners stations, and they will only be manned (generally by flag officers) if the Bridge and Aux Con are already gone (at which point the Flag Bridge probably isn't effective for directing the battle anyway) There will generally be a seperate "fire control" bridge, which handles strictly defensive fire, The Main Bridge will handle direct fire, and Aux Con will handle missile ops. In this case you now have 4 "control" centers, with fire control split between 3 of them (Bridge, Aux Con and F.C. bridge) and Command and control spread across a slightly different 3 (Bridge, Aux Con, Flag Bridge)

Probably more detail than you were really asking for, but I thought that giving the reasons *why* the bridge crew breakdown was the way I described was at least as useful as giving you the raw list of "these people are here"

Scott Martin

Note 1:
The number of times that the ships doctor would be called to the bridge would be vanishingly small. The only circumstances that I can think of would be to call the bluff of a free trader captain claining to have some bizzarre plague ("so please don't board and inspect me sir") or to discuss how to handle a particularly fragile VIP. I could anticipate most military ships doctors seeing the bridge precisely once during each tour, during the orientation session.

Of course there is always "Relieving the commander due to medical reasons" but I would expect this to be done in sickbay, even if the "medical reason" is a tidy hole through something vital.

As with so much in Traveller, my answer to your question is: It Depends.

Just what takes place on a ships' bridge, who stands watch there, and how many people are required will depend on what type of ship is involved and the size of that ship. A Beowulf[/]-class is going to be far different than an Atlantic-class heavy cruiser.

A civilian vessel will have a bridge complete with the 'helm' and whatever navigation stations, sensor controls/displays, and communications facilities the vessel boasts plus rudimentary weapon controls(1) and engineering plant repeaters.

Depending on it's size (and only relatively small warships like the 400dTon SDBs will not follow this) a warship will have a 'bridge' and a 'Combat Information Center' (CIC). The 'bridge' is usually within or part of the CIC. Sometimes the two are separate. Rarely, and only in warships designed to operate for long periods within atmospheres, the bridge is known as a 'flight deck'. (The auxiliary bridges of HG2 merely duplicate whatever bridge/CIC arrangements the primary bridge has.)

Let me blather on with some examples using LBB:2, player-scale, vessels:

- A Scout/Courier (Type S) can be operated by a crew of one. That crewman is on the bridge obviously!
- A Free Trader (Type A) requires a crew of four; pilot, engineer, medic, and steward. Here, the pilot is on the bridge and the engineer in engineering.
- A Subsidized Liner (Type M) requires a crew of nine; pilot, navigator, medic, 3 engineers, and 3 stewards. Here, the pilot and navigator are on the bridge with 2 engineers in engineering and the third on the bridge.

Some more blather about watch locations:

Pilots - bridge, CIC, or flight deck.
Navigators - see pilots.
Engineers - engineering, damage control parties, and bridge/CIC.
Medics - with passengers first, then damage control.
Stewards - see medics.
Gunners - EITHER in turrets, local control stations, battery stations, or CIC.

A ship's 'bridge' and its engineering counterpart(2) are manned 24/7/365. Not every station in those two locations are manned, but someone is there all the time. As conditions change; restricted maneuvering, orbital operations, docking, General Quarters, loading, etc., both the bridge and engineering see an influx of watchstanders as more systems and evolutions need supervision and monitoring.

Using our Atlantic-class heavy cruiser as an example, while cruising normally her bridge will have helm, navigation, and engineering stations manned with sensor and comm watches operating in CIC 'nearby' all under the duty watch officer(s). As required, more watchstanders will come on duty in increasing numbers until the manning levels of General Quarters is reached. While the ship is fought at GQ, the bridge is fully manned complete with back-ups as are all the various sensors, comms, screens, fighter/small craft control, and weapons stations in CIC.

All of that is necessarily general. Each ship varies from the other so the specific watchstations involved in all this will vary too. Generally speaking, the larger the vessel, the more things the vessel is doing, and the more oriented to military operations a vessel is, the more watchstanders and watchstations it will have.

As you can see, military ships will have very different answers to your questions than civilian ships.

Hope all this nonsense helps.

Have fun,

1 - I've an article at Freelance Traveller discussing MTU's 'flexible batteries' and the turret/battery controls employed.

2 - Known as 'maneuvering', 'main control', or any other number of names.
How big is the bridge is your bridge? Yes, we all can pull out the deckplans or SOM. Is it a crowded space like on board like the ship in Alien with all sorts of electronics and mechanical contrivances that only allow a pilot and co-pilot. Or is it miminalist whereby most things are voice operated with very little in the way of mechanics prefering to use dynamic holographic displays a la ST:TNG or a hybrid which is seemingly what we see on Firefly?

IMTU, I always visualize the bridge as a cramped space like a cockpit of a modern Jumbo jet. Enough for essential personnel to get in and out of but no room for luxuries. As opposed to military vessels which look like the bridge of a contemporary luxuary liner.
Who's on the bridge?



Hu's on the bridge. He's the Captain.

What's his name?

No, Watt's the Engineer. He's in the engine room...
Originally posted by Kurega Gikur:
Most of the time….nobody. Why bother? 168 hours of nothing, not even sensor readings. *ish*

Bet it ain't so on a military ship!

As to the question asked, and comments made so far:
IMTU, for civilian ships most likely all except engineering types for entering and exiting jump. I have no problem with making remote fire control stations located on the bridge, It kinda explains why the bridge takes up at least 20 tons. It also allows direct communication between command and crew.

For military ships, I want my gunners and command crew separated in the event of a combat casualty. Guess that also would be the case for any ship that expects to have frequent combat.

I think the big thing would be what you decide is good and proper design in YTU.
While in jump space there is always at least 1 navigator ont he bridge at all times. IMTU I view the jump field as requiring constant monitoring, "oscialltions" "resonances" can build up in it rather quickly causing field instabilities and collapse. Computer programs can't seem to monitor it sufficiently except on the most well plotted of routes.

There may also be someone to watch the navigator and monitor other ship systems. But for most bridge crew there is little to do on the bridge while in jump.

Engineering is also busy during jump making sure nothing is goes wrong.

Medical might be treating jump sickness or just making sure the crew doesn't go stir crazy.

This is when the bridge is it's busiest and the navigator can get a rest (unless the ship is on jump alert). Depending on the size of the ship, at least a Pilot and Telemetry Officer (Sensors & Communications)and maybe a Systems Officer.

Poor Engineering doesn't get a break because now they need to tend to the M drives and tune up the J Drive especially if they are on jump alert.

For a military ship, this is also when the Engagement Section (Weapons and Shields) has something to do.

Of course YTUMV.
Hey Andy

In many versions of Traveller smaller military ships are akin to eggshells armed with sledgehammers: a single hit is likely to be a mission kill. As a result seperating fire control and bridge crew is iffy at best. Gunners for Local Control of turrets on sub-Kton displacement warships (corvettes) is (in TNE / Brilliant Lances anyway) generally tonnage that is better spent on point defence or additional capabilities.

CT / HG where your weapons are limited by hull tonnage is less of an issue, but in TNE I'd generally rather have another 2 turrets (or another 10 missiles) than the extra hull armour that would go into a HG ship, because you can't put enough armour on a small ship to stop missile or laser penetration, and many smaller ships will take 1, maybe 2 engineering hits to take them entirely out of action.

HG "crits" kill small ships dead too.

Scott Martin
Well, as a former Naval Submariner (closest thing to a starship I know of) we had ROVING watches.

I agree that civilian and military ships will be very different.

For SMALL Civilians:
During Jump: 1 roving watch that goes through engineering and the bridge at least once a an hour. This duty is boring and repetitive, but necessary. This person would be the first to respond to an emergency and the first one killed by Hijackers. On slightly larger ships their would be 2 or 3 people. Probably 1 person on the Bridge and others roving the ships with assigned report times back to the bridge.

During N-Space it is pretty much everyone out. At 1g, you are only maneuvering for a few hours to and from the 100d limit, so just about everyone is involved. Pilot, Nav, Computer guys on the bridge, Engineers in Engineering (maybe one on the bridge on really big ships). Gunners/Stewards standing by.

Large Civilian Ships (including most passenger ships):
JUMP: You will want to have 2 people up at all times. On one the bridge monitoring all the systems and one roving to watch the passengers and non-monitored wiring, etc.

N-Space: Similar to small ships just about everyone is involved.

JUMP: Similar to civilian ships. Typically the crew will divide up into 4 watch sections of 6 hours each (not true today, but what we always wanted). The larger the crew the more people Roving around and the more people on permanent duty; Bridge first then Engineering then Backups. Again, the ship is divided up into areas so that the Roving Watch can complete a circuit of the assigned area in about 15 minutes, but is required to make one circuit every hour, including checking in.

N-SPACE: About 1/2 the crew will be on watch at all times, the other half will be in DC parties. The "Maneuvering Watch" involves just about everyone, since this is a busy time. If the ship is involved in long patrols, things start to back off to something similar to the Jump Watch, but more crew would be placed on the Bridge (min 2 plus a command person).

Fire Control would be in a separate section, often near the weapons, but for Batteries, they operators would probably be part of the bridge.

CJ Cherryh's Chanur books give a good general description of merchant shipboard operations. There is a lot of shunting info between stations etc.
to Scott Martin:
Check the stats on modern small naval vessels - most today are built the same way. In 1967, a 70-ton OSA-class missle boat took out a 3000-ton Israeli destroyer.

To Plankowner:
What? No dog watches? Otherwise, I agree.
Hi Bill and Plankowner: Welcome to COTI

A small missile boat isn't going to do much more than scratch the paint of an "Iowa" class, even emptying all 4 tubes into it at point blank range.

The analogy isn't quite there, because Traveller naval combat is more of a "Ships of the line" or "Age of Empires" paradigm: there is a lot of resistance to introducing that pesky "real world"

A 1 kg slug of steel travelling at 3,000 km/sec will probably take out anything it hits, armour or no, which means that *any* ship is an eggshell with sledgehammer armament... this will hit with the energy equivalent of a small strategic nuke in contact with the hull.

Bad Ju-Ju

But that's a different topic: apologies for the thread tangent.

Scott Martin
I was thinking about the Type-S' bridge. This ship could be operatable by one to three persons (from one Scout who is Pilot/Engineer to a Pilot, an Engineer and a Gunner). So I'm thinking about a two-station bridge, in which each station could be reconfigured as needed (in six modes: Pilot/Engineering, Pilot/Gunnery, Gunnery/Engineering, Pilot Only, Engineering Only and Gunner Only) plus one Engineering-only station in each side of the Engineering section (in my version the Engineering Section is split into two parts); only one has to be accessed in order to operate Engineering.