SOCS17 Atlas-class Freighter Review

The latest in the Gypsy Knights Games ‘Ships of the Clement Sector’ series, the seventeenth book is the ‘Atlas-class Freighter’ which is now available from Drivethru RPG for $7.99. The fifty-page PDF follows the same format as previous releases from GKG in the same line, in that you get copious illustrations by Ian Stead, Bradley Warnes and Michael Johnson. There are two narrative sections describing a situation which features the starship in question, which helps to set up the book quite nicely. Like the previous Rucker-class release, you get not just one ship, but four variants in total.

The book continues with the background on how the Atlas came into being, the brainchild of a certain James Lancaster, a shipping magnate. Taking advantage of new drive technologies, the Atlas came into being at a displacement of 800 dTons fulfilling a need to standardise on some of the ships owned by Lancaster Shipping. Now a one hundred-year-old design, the Atlas has proved to be an incredibly successful design which can be found throughout the Clement Sector. Though not streamlined, it does have the ability to land at dirt side space ports, equipped with a total cargo carrying capacity of 345 tons across six external pods (57 tons each). The spacecraft can also be equipped with either a Utility Pinnace or Ships Boat, which are attached to the Atlas externally, on top. The cargo pods can be used in a variety of ways and a number of variations have been introduced over the years, including low berths or missile racks.

You get a complete walk through of all the decks, describing what can be found in the various rooms and what is available for passengers as it has capacity for 10 middle-passage passengers (in double-occupancy) with the standard design. The deck plans are split across two pages (one deck each) for all four variants along with a ship specifications listing. The four standard variants described are:-

  • Standard model
  • Colony Ship
  • Armed Merchant
  • Missile Ship

The colony ship utilises four out of the six pods to accommodate 440 low berths for colonists. The two remaining pods at the rear retain the normal cargo capacity. Upon landing, the cargo pods can be detached and used for accommodation.

The armed merchantman variant is equipped with additional hard points to help defend against pirate attacks; it should be noted though that the Atlas isn’t the ultimate freighter with plenty of armament and cargo capacity. The Atlas has no hull armour so if you get hit, the ship will take an amount of damage which could seriously impair the it. The advantage being is that if you can get an overwhelming strike in first, you are more likely to survive and beat your opponent.

The final variant is the missile ship; this is another bonkers variant (like the Rucker-class missile ship in SOCS16) where a substantial amount of the ship has been converted to carry missile launchers and ammunition. Page 33 illustrates this perfectly, with missile bays opening from the top of the cargo pods, launching their deadly cargo. Even a missile ship of this size has some limitations in that only two pods can launch at once at the same time as recharging the next two bays and bring them online to launch. Seven reloads of missiles complete the cargo bay usage.

Along with the full descriptions of the four Atlas variants, you also get specifications and deck plans for the Utility Pinnace and Ships Boat. To round the book off, you get an NPC ships captain and twelve adventure seeds, split equally between traders and military to cover all the variations of the Atlas.

This is another cracking book from Gypsy Knights Games with usual high quality writing from Michael Johnson and illustrations by the aforementioned artists. The Atlas reminds me of the ‘Python’ in the space trading game ‘Elite’ on the ZX Spectrum. It was the ship everyone wanted to take on and beat (aside from the Thargoids…!) – but you would get your ass kicked if you weren’t well armed! Definitel well worth picking up from Drivethru RPG; I would like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for very kindly sending me a copy of the book to review.

About AlegisDownport

Musings on the Traveller RPG world, technology, astronomy and digital art.
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