SOCS 15 Milligan-Class Hospital Ship is the final book in the set of three Gypsy Knights Games ‘Ships of the Clement Sector 13-15: Escort and Support‘, available from Drivethru RPG as a Softcover colour book for $24.99 or as a PDF download (for just SOCS 15 only) for $4.99. It is 32 pages long and describes an important component in any fleet operations – hospital and medical facilities.
The ship is a 1000dT displacement spacecraft that provides complete medical facilities with evacuation transport capacity, served by two medical cutters and a fast transfer launch. Medical ships have been used since the middle of the 19th century and facilities and function have evolved in following conflicts through the centuries. If anything, having a medical component in a fleet is even more important in the Clement Sector due to the vast distances involved between worlds.
Whereas many (wet-navy) ships used for hospital purposes are simply re-purposed civilian cruisers or liners, the Milligan-class is a bespoke specialised design which Anderson & Felix (the main shipbuilders in the Clement Sector) have now taken over the construction of new ships since the collapse. An important capability of the ship is being able to land on planetary surfaces, which helps to minimise the amount of time the injured are waiting to receive medical attention. This ‘golden hour’ has been proven time and time again, for example as most recently by the British Army Chinook helicopters evacuating injured personnel from the theatre of operations and getting them back to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, where they can be seen by surgeons.
Not just being part of a fleet, its entirely possible for one of these ships to be based somewhere (space or planet side) to provide a near-permanent medical facility.
The book describes how the ship is divided into three distinct decks, which can be isolated at various sections should the need arise. Double airlocks are also available in specialised isolation wards, essential when dealing with infectious diseases or viruses for example.
The deck plans are extremely detailed and cover just about every type of emergency or medical requirement needed. There was one design element I noticed, but this may be my 21-century thinking (and limited medical procedures knowledge here) forming this opinion; location 11 shows an isolation ward, containing 10 beds. However, as the recent Ebola virus outbreak shows, isolation procedures were vital due to the risk of cross-contamination between patients. I would have thought having a number of individual isolation wards would have been just as vital, especially with the risk of infection from unknown space-diseases (!) Perhaps the procedure would be to get the patients into the low berths at location 21, which is right next to the medical cutter docking bays. That minimises the route distance getting the patient from the cutter to isolation, perhaps that would be the 24th century approach?
Its rare to find a major problem with the Gypsy Knights Games products, they are always very well written, edited and illustrated (this book authored and deck plans by Michael Johnson with additional material by Bradley Warnes, who also supplied the artwork with Ian Stead. You get a complete breakdown of all three decks with location descriptions and deck plans, with details on the three service craft (one small shuttle and two medical cutters). The book is compatible with the Cepheus-Engine 2D6 SFRPG / OGL rules set. There is a great deal of background on how the design came about, along with its current operators (both naval and civilian) and some short operational ‘excerpts’. You also get a page of background on one of the major civilian operators of the Milligan-class; the ‘Lady of the Lamp Society’ and the book is rounded off with two NPC descriptions. I must say the one looks a bit like a serial killer – I won’t say which so you’ll have to buy the book to find out! The last page has six adventure seeds centred around the Milligan-class spacecraft.
Its good to see books like this featuring support craft, all too many publishers churn out books that look similar or have the same type of spacecraft. A very worthwhile purchase from Gypsy Knights Games, my thanks go to John Watts for sending me a copy to review.
Before I close this post, there are a couple of books that I wanted to mention; the first has just been released by Stellagama Publishing, called ‘The Space Patrol’. It is a 2D6 OGL / Cepheus-Engine compatible supplement that details rules and background for creating Space Patrol characters, background to the organisation and ships they use to patrol the spaceways. I’ll be reviewing ‘The Space Patrol’ soon.
Secondly, coming soon from Gypsy Knights Games is another spacecraft book – SOCS 16: Rucker-Class Merchant. I’m particularly excited to see this book as the original design is one I came up with for GKG a few years ago just as John Watts was launching the Clement Sector background. I produced a few covers and some deck plans for the Rucker-class, which were published in ‘Save Our Ship’ and ‘The Lost Girl’. Unfortunately due to real-life and job demands, my artwork has had to take a back seat and I only get chance to work on a few images a year, posted over at my art gallery Digital Waterfalls. Ian Stead is working off my original design, so I’m really interested to see his interpretation and the background to the Rucker-class! This should be out in early December – can’t wait!