More Coriolis Ships

Posted: 2021-06-04
Word Count: 2201
Tags: coriolis rpg year-zero-system

After the original ship generation article I started brainstorming other ships, some of which may or may not fit into the Third Horizon setting:

Bulk Hauler

The Bulk Hauler is designed to carry as much cargo as possible with as few crew as possible.

By freighter standards, all the cabins are luxurious. The large cabins and arboretum help to reduce stress during long voyages. The ship accepts passengers, but at least twelve cabins go to regular crew: the captain, two pilots (on call and backup), two engineers (ditto), two gunners (ditto), two sensor specialists (ditto), a medicurge, and two EVA specialists to tend the shipping containers. (There’s plenty of stasis pods.) They’ll take on more crew if needed, e.g. more gunners, pilots, and/or sensor operators to keep watch for pirates, or more deckhands to wrangle containers with delicate contents.

Some critics contend that this design doesn’t have enough armaments. If piracy or open warfare are concerns, one could augment the reactor then replace some of the cargo modules with Autocannons to defend against missiles and boarding parties, or even add additional Accelerator Cannons (and gunners and sensor operators). Still, a ship of this size with such sluggish handling has no place near heavy combat.

Bulk Hauler
Class: V
Shipyard: Halgria
Crew: 5-20, typically 12
Energy Points: 7
Hull Points: 12
Maneuverability:-3
Signature: +3
Armor: 9
Speed: 1
Modules: Cabins - Suite (20 suites), Cargo Hold (1000 tons), Cargo Hold - External x 32 (128,000 tons), Chapel, Docking Station, Escape Pods (16 pods, 4 people each), Hangar, Medlab, Service Station, Stasis Hold (320 pods), Workshop; Countermeasure Dispenser, Data Pulse, Heavy Accelerator Cannon
Features: Arboretum, Blessed Ship, External Cargo
Extra Gear: 2 Cargo Tugs
Problem: Slow Accelerator

Cargo Tug

A Bulk Hauler may carry one or more short-range Cargo Tugs to transfer cargo to the surface of a planet or to smaller stations that cannot accomodate a Type V ship.

Cargo Tug
Class: II
Shipyard: Halgria
Crew: 1-2
Energy Points: 4
Hull Points: 4
Maneuverability:0
Signature: -1
Armor: 4
Speed: 4
Modules: Cargo Hold x 7 (140 tons), Docking Station
Features: Atmospheric Entry
Extra Gear: None
Problem: Faulty Thrusters
Cost: 254,000 birr

System Ships

System Ships are designed specifically to move cargo within a star system.

Light System Freighter

A Light System Freighter hauls cargo between stations in a star system. While nowhere near as comfortable as a Class III freighter, it’s twice as fast. It’s lightly armed in case of pirates.

A Bulk Hauler, above, may carry a System Freighter instead of a Cargo Tug to avoid making multiple stops in the same system.

Light System Freighter
Class: II
Shipyard: Halgria
Crew: 3
Energy Points: 4
Hull Points: 4
Maneuverability:0
Signature: -1
Armor: 4
Speed: 4
Modules: Cabins - Coffin (5 bunks), Cargo Hold - External x 4 (80 tons), Docking Station; Accelerator Cannon, Countermeasure Dispenser
Features: External Cargo
Extra Gear: None
Problem: Slow Accelerator

Heavy System Freighter

A Heavy System Freighter hauls bulk cargo between stations in a star system. While nowhere nearly as large or cost-effective as a Bulk Hauler, they’re cheap and fast enough that they compete favorably with bulk haulers in systems with significant inter-planetary traffic. Heavy System Freighters can also carry passengers, albeit in cramped conditions.

Heavy System Freighter
Class: III
Shipyard: Halgria
Crew: 5
Energy Points: 5
Hull Points: 6
Maneuverability:-1
Signature: 0
Armor: 5
Speed: 2
Modules: Cabins - Coffin (20 bunks), Cargo Hold - External x 8 (1600 tons), Chapel, Docking Station; Accelerator Cannon, Countermeasure Dispenser
Features: External Cargo
Extra Gear: None
Problem: Slow Accelerator

System Shuttle

Unlike surface-to-orbit shuttles2 common on stations and larger ships, this System Shuttle travels between planets in a single system. As it’s too small for most pirates to bother with, it carries only an Autocannon to repel torpedoes and boarders. It’s faster than most larger ships but far more cramped.

Variants would replace one or two Cargo Hold modules with a second Coffin Cabin module or a Stasis Hold to carry passengers, and/or Standard Cabin modules for VIPs.

System Shuttle
Class: II
Shipyard: Darkos
Crew: 2-3
Energy Points: 4
Hull Points: 5
Maneuverability:+2
Signature: -1
Armor: 2
Speed: 5
Modules: Cabins - Coffin (5 bunks), Cargo Hold x 3 (15 tons), Docking Station; Autocannon
Features: Atmospheric Entry, Turbo Projector (+1 Maneuverability, +1 Speed)
Extra Gear: None
Problem: Obvious Signature

Portal Ships

Portal Ships carries Bulletin broadcasts to Portal Stations3 across the Third Horizon. Depending on their size and configuration, they carry cargo and/or passengers between Portal Stations, where System Ships can carry them to their final destination.

Portal Hopper

A Portal Hopper carries necessary supplies and priority packages. Nearly every station has one, and larger stations have several at any one time. Between runs they sit in station hangar bays.

Portal Hopper
Class: I
Shipyard: Chelebs
Crew: 1
Energy Points: 3
Hull Points: 2
Maneuverability:+3
Signature: -1
Armor: 3
Speed: 4
Modules: Cargo Hold x 2 (2 tons), Stasis Hold (1 pod)
Features: Blessed Ship
Problem: Worn-Out Ship Computer

Portal Shuttle

A Portal Shuttle carries moderate amounts of cargo. While less common than Portal Hoppers, high-traffic stations around Kua and elsewhere own at least one. Governments and corporations use them to move priority cargo beteen systems; the cargo then transfers to long-haul freighters to get to its final destination.

Portal Shuttle
Class: II
Shipyard: Darkos
Crew: 2
Energy Points: 4
Hull Points: 5
Maneuverability:+1
Signature: -1
Armor: 2
Speed: 4
Modules: Cargo Hold x 4 (20 tons), Docking Station, Stasis Hold (5 pods)
Features: Blessed Ship
Problem: Worn-Out Ship Computer

Portal Ferry

A Portal Ferry carries passengers and their luggage to the closest station. From there they take intra-system transports to their final destinations. It’s a cheap and slow way to get across the Third Horizon.

Portal Ferry
Class: II
Shipyard: Chelebs
Crew: 2
Energy Points: 4
Hull Points: 4
Maneuverability:+2
Signature: 0
Armor: 4
Speed: 4
Modules: Cargo Hold (5 tons), Docking Station, Stasis Hold x 4 (20 pods)
Features: Blessed Ship
Problem: Worn-Out Ship Computer

Torpedo Ship

This is my Torpedo Ship. There are many somewhat like it, but this one is mine4.

Since this Torpedo Ship has three distinct weapon systems, up to two extra gunners can use Defensive Fire against incoming torpedoes while the principal gunner and sensor operator target other ships with torpedoes or the Accelerator Cannon.

Torpedo Ship
Class: II
Shipyard: Daharab
Crew: 3-5
Energy Points: 4
Hull Points: 5
Maneuverability:+1
Signature: -1
Armor: 4
Speed: 4
Modules: Cabins - Coffin (5 bunks), Chapel, Docking Station; Autocannon, Accelerator Cannon, Countermeasure Dispenser, Torpedo and Mine System (4 torpedos or 8 mines)
Features: Advanced Torpedoes (-1 to countermeasures), Robust Hull (+1 HP)
Extra Gear: 4 Torpedoes
Problem: Curse

The Ghost from Star Wars Rebels

Ideally we’d like to make our Ghost just like the TV version. But translating the Ghost into Coriolis is difficult:

  1. In Star Wars multiple ships dive and loop like fighters and bombers in World War II. In Coriolis two sides meet in the Black; ships attack from a great distance like naval vessels, or try to slip away like submarines. Having more than one gun and gunner is a necessity in Star Wars; in slower-paced Coriolis it’s a luxury for large military vessels.

  2. Star Wars crews in combat have one pilot, multiple gunners, and maybe an astromech or loose crew doing damage control. Coriolis crews virtually require, in addition to a pilot and usually one gunner, a sensor operator to find targets, an engineer to keep power flowing, and a captain to inspire everyone and make sure things get done.

  3. In Star Wars crews engage their hyperdrive to travel between stars, while in Coriolis crews must go into stasis while their ship goes through a portal. So that’s one extra chamber.

  4. Star Wars ships have deflector screens. Coriolis ships just have armor.

So I made some decisions.

In Coriolis I doubt anyone needs two docking stations, but I put them there anyway. The Ghost clearly has two airlocks visible on the port and starboard points. Plus ships sometimes docked through the cargo hatch using force fields or something. So two seems almost like a compromise.

Also there should be five cabins, not four, because they come in fives in Coriolis. By GM fiat the fifth cabin was converted to second bunks in the remaining four.

This ship requires a crew of six unless we let Hera be both Captain and Pilot on a Class III ship without penalties or we consider Chopper a Ship Intelligence or we add droids to Coriolis, which is just silly. Here we’ll assume Hera set up the crew stations like a Class II ship: pilot + captain (her, but bestowing no Command bonuses) and a “co-pilot” that can serve as engineer + sensors with no penalty … as long as they don’t also try to fix something. The captain can also fire the forward guns, but at the usual -2 to Pilot and Ranged Combat as she lines up the shot. It’s still a Class III ship.

And the whole reason it’s called the Ghost is because it can mask its signal and fake its transponder. “Stealth Technology” seems almost inadequate.

The Ghost

Note that the cabin setup is unorthodox (i.e. GM fiat to match the show), and the actual Ghost needed no Stasis Pods because of hyperspace.

The Ghost
Class: III
Shipyard: ???
Crew: 2 to 5
Energy Points: 6
Hull Points: 6
Maneuverability:+2
Signature: -1
Armor: 5
Speed: 4
Modules: Cabins - Custom (4 cabins, 2 bunks each), Cargo x 2 (40 tons) Docking Stations x 2 (port and starboard), Hangar (for Phantom II), Stasis Pods (20 pods); Ion Cannon x 2
Features: Atmospheric Entry, Blessed Ship, Precise Thrusters, Stealth Technology, Supercharged Reactor, Turbo Projector x 2
Extra Gear: Phantom II
Problem: Unreliable Sensors
Precise Thrusters:
+2 to docking, landing, evasion
Stealth Technology:
near-invisibility, -1 to Signature
Supercharged Reactor:
+1 EP
Turbo Projector:
+1 Maneuverability, +1 Speed; may be taken multiple times.

The Phantom II

Rather than figure out how a small shuttle can also fire a weapon in Coriolis rules, I’ll just work from the later episodes where their shuttle just took people places.

Phantom II
Class: I
Shipyard: ???
Crew: 1
Energy Points: 3
Hull Points: 2
Maneuverability:+2
Signature: -2
Armor: 3
Speed: 4
Modules: Cargo x 3 (3 tons)
Features: Atmospheric Entry

Appendix: Select Modules and Features

Some of the less intuitive features used in multiple designs are explained below. All descriptions come from the Coriolis core book.

Autocannon

A small Vulcan cannon used to counter boarding attempts or incoming torpedoes. Can be used for defensive fire (page 170).

Note: Accelerator Cannons have longer range, but can’t be used defensively. Their only “defensive” use is to deter or destroy attackers.

Blessed Ship

Some event in the past has resulted in the ship being blessed by the Icons. +1 to all PILOT rolls when portal jumping or travelling long distances.

Countermeasure Dispenser

A powerful sensor buoy launched from the ship to lure away incoming torpedoes. A ”hit” firing this weapon means that the target torpedo misses its target. May also be used for defensive fire (page 170).

External Cargo

The ship is modified to carry external cargo, using a system of grabber arms and magnetic hooks. For each cargo hold on the ship (see above), specify if it is an internal or external one. External cargo holds can hold four times the tonnage of internal ones but lack atmosphere – put an exo on if you need to visit them.


  1. Only matter can go through interstellar portals. So the Third Horizon has no interstellar Internet, no subspace, no HoloNet, no ansibles. A space ship has to carry all information from system to system. Outside the Kua system, Bulletin “broadcasts” are days if not weeks behind. ↩︎

  2. For example the one on page 160 of the Coriolis core book. ↩︎

  3. Stations that coordinate traffic near interstellar portals. ↩︎

  4. It can also carry mines. ↩︎