SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant Review Part 2

First off, I’m truly saddened to hear of Carris Fishers passing earlier today. Though I’ve never been a ‘fan’ of the Star Wars universe like I have other imaginary worlds, I’ve always enjoyed the films and was inmensely pleased to hear that the original characters were joining from SW:TFA onwards. She led a colourful life and I have a lot of respect for her talents and her artistic skills in acting and writing. She will be sorely missed.

Rucker-class Merchant Design Notes

Following on from my last blog post reviewing the SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant; in case anyone is interested, I’ve taken some snapshots of the 3D views from my modelling software AC3D, which I used to build the original Rucker. I suppose you could call them ‘designers notes’? I wanted to show the underside and what the landing gear looks like, which is missing in the SOCS16 book. I used this model for the cover of ‘The Lost Girl’, where the ship is a matter of a few feet off the ground, kicking up dust just before touchdown.

The landing gear at the front is a couple skids that retract from the underside of the ship. The two back legs are telescopic, needed as they have a greater distance to cover before becoming level with the retracted front gear. The rear feet have ‘pyramid’ studs to help provide grip once on the ground. The feet can be angled slightly to provide a flat ‘foot’ in respect to a tarmac’ed surface, for example at a space port.

I’ve also found the original sketches of the Rucker I made when John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games commissioned me to design the ship back in 2012. I’ve taken a couple of snapshots which I’ve repoduced here:-


The first sketch in the image above (top left hand corner) has the Rucker’s wings much lower than the final design. I felt that it would make the ship too aircraft-like and moved the to the top of the wing surfaces were almost in line with the top of the main body. Most of sketch involves where the sections along an extrusion have to be modified, in order to make a curved surface. It also helps to work out the number of sections I have to count when specifying an extrusion.

My Rucker Merchant Crew

Over the past few years, I have been running a sort of solo game based around my own rules for trading and diversionary adventures. I call them ‘The Elite Traveller’ rules, where I used the Classic Traveller book 3 trading rules modified with additional encounters – its sort of inspired by the space trading game ‘Elite’ which I used to play on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Atari ST, hence the name. The crew (motley, of course) originally started with a Type-S Scout ship but part way along happened across an abandoned Rucker-class, with a mysterious female passenger, Ki. She has joined the crew and after being attacked by two military ships of an unknown type or identification, half of the original Far Horizons crew were killed.

Now all that remains are the following crew, looking for additional crew to join them at a starport, at the same time as trying to work out what Ki’s background is and why she appears to be being followed.

Rucker-class Merchant ‘Far Horizons’ Ship Registration ID: 271156

Current Crew Members (Classic Traveller Stats):

‘H’ Harry Slattery (rank General)

UPP AAC9A7 30 years old, 3 terms completed. 6′ 3″ tall. Looks like Clint Eastwood from the Dirty Harry films, with a bit less hair and longer side burns. Benefits acquired: 33000Cr, middle passage, gun – SMG, +2 education.:

Gambling-1 Vehicle-2 Blade Combat-3 Medic-1 Rifle-1 Tactics-1 SMG-2 Air/Raft-1 Electronic-1

The leader of the group, Harry is a grizzled veteran who was promoted and lucky in his army career. He met Robert during a visit to Regina and the two struck up an unlikely friendship through a love of bad sci-fi shows and Scottish malt whisky. Harry promised to help pay for some repair work on Roberts newly-aquired scout ship and the pair have had a agreement ever since. As they needed a crew to help run the ship, they advertised for additional crew members. The first of which was Dexter. Harry carries a rather special handgun, modelled on the ‘Robocop’ Beretta M93R. He had the gun specially made after seeing a similar thing on an ancient Terran TV show, its cost was 2000Cr.

Robert the Persian (ex-Merchant, achieved rank of Captain)

UPP 46A686 38 years old, 5 terms completed. Looks like: Robert the Persian from the American Road Trip special of ‘Top Gear’. Benefits acquired: 35000Cr, 3 guns, Blade, Suleman class scout ship (now sold)

Pilot-2 Steward-1 Navigation-3 SMG-1 Streetwise-1 Gunnery-1 Bribery-1 Blade Combat-1
Robert was an owner of a free trader after working his way up to the rank of captain, but due to some bad debts had to sell it to pay them off, along with his old crew. He eventually had enough money left over to buy a battered scout ship. After a couple of runs, he ended up at Regina where he met Harry. He smokes very bad smelling herbal cigarettes and is contunually unshaven and sweaty.

Dexter Yamunkeh (ex-Scout)
UPP 788876 26 years old, 2 terms. Looks like: Jackie Chan (Police Story, 1985). Benefits acquired: 50000Cr

Gun Combat-1 Vacc Suit-1 Electronic-1 Jack-o-T-1 Pilot-1

Dexter is of Chinese ancestry and unfortunately didn’t have a great time in the scouts, leaving after two terms. He drifted around a couple of starports before finding himself at a bar where he saw an advert posted by Harry and Robert. As Dexter has some useful skills to bring to the crew, they took him on. He keeps a pet badger named ‘Alf’ which he keeps in his stateroom; Gordon continually winds Dexter up by threatening to turn the badger into a sort of hat.

Gordon Burns (ex-Marine, achieved rank of Captain)

UPP B9A977, 35 years old, unknown number of terms (won’t reveal). Looks like: Jesse Ventura (Blain in ‘Predator’ 1987) but with grey hair and fuzzy beard. Benefits acquired: Dagger, 0Cr.

Brawling-1 Dagger-1 SMG-2 Vacc Suit-1 Rifle-1 Revolver-1 Cutlass-1 Electronic-1 Engineering-1

Gordon is from a proud Scottish family and joined the Imperial Marines at 18 years old. Always having a love of guns and weapons (not matter whether its something that can be picked up or if its attached to a traders upper turret), Gordon built up a great deal of experience involving ship-borne and planetary surface actions. Gordon won the respect of Harry and Robert after intervening in a bar room brawl, where they were both outnumbered in a dodgy bar on Regina. Gordon fought off all the attackers and the three of them walked out, leaving the destroyed bar.

Somewhere along the line, Gordon learnt ship engineering skills, but lost all of his money at the same time. He is the ships engineer when needed. He usually sports a white t-shirt with ‘No, I will not fix your computer’ in blue lettering or another t-shirt with the lightning symbol and the logo ‘Flash’ from a late twentieth century sci-if film. He also has an extensive collection of hats which he changes every day, favourites being a knitted Pom-Pom hat in light blue and orange knit or a Tam O’ Shanter with comedy red hair. This is usually designed to elicit comment so a fight can be provoked.

Ki (Zhodani runaway) Prole (ex-Government clerk)

UPP 889799, 26 years old, 2 terms. PSI-12. Looks like Quora in the film ‘Tron: Legacy’. Benefits acquired: Cr 10000.

Admin-2 SMG-1 Computer-1

Ki was picked up when the Far Horizons crew was visiting a frontier world. She is on the run from the Zhodani military who want to use her high psi skills against her will. Taking pity on her and after helping the crew out on a few occasions, she has now become the latest member of the crew. When needed, Ki can be the ships steward. This can prove to be useful in extracting information from passengers, due to her high PSI ability.

One of the days I’ll be converting this crew (and rolling up a few more characters to complete the ships compliment) to run in the Clement Sector and Cepheus-Engine rules. In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed the past couple of posts about the Rucker; in the next one which will be out before the new year I’ll be taking a look at ‘The Space Patrol‘ by Stellagama Publishing.

Update August 2019: I’ve posted a quick review of the print book which is available to read here.

About AlegisDownport

Musings on the Traveller RPG world, technology, astronomy and digital art.
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5 Responses to SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant Review Part 2

  1. Michael Johnson says:

    Very cool. Thanks Steve.

  2. Pingback: SOCS16 Rucker-class Merchant Review Part 1 | Alegis Downport

  3. D. says:

    Thanks for sharing these design notes; in particular, I notice that the cylinder hull of your original model is a bit “fatter” than the one GKG used in the pictures in SOCS16. I’m glad to finally see where the landing gear is (always a sore point for me on Traveller ship designs!). So, a question, if I may: in the SOCS16 book the main cargo ramp is at the back of the saucer section. I’m presuming that the ramp therefore opens toward the back of the ship, so cargo has to be carried *under* the cylinder hull – is that right? And if so, does that mean that the legs have to be a *lot* longer, to give the appropriate headroom? As the original designer, I’d appreciate your comments.

    • Hi, yes you’re correct in your asumption the way that the cargo bay ramp opens from the front saucer section, towards the back of the ship. The back legs are telescopic – the illustrations in the blog post show the legs approximately two-thirds extended. They can extend a bit more, but not so they look like a pair of stilts (!) My original intention was that loading was performed by approaching the ramp slightly diagonally from the left and right sides of the rear half of the ship, then levelling up as you suggested under the ship, to approach the loading ramp.
      Thank you for the kind feedback; I try to fully design my ships with things like landing gear, this was definitely needed for the GKG book ‘The Lost Girl’ where the ship is landing in an open clearing. I hope that answers your question, best wishes, Steve

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