Liberty Ship Review

Liberty Ship is a supplement published by Stellagama Publishing and is compatible with the Cepheus Engine 2D6 SFRPG rules. Authored by Omer Golan-Joel and Richard Hazlewood, it is available from Drivethru RPG for $3.99, currently reduced from its normal price of $5.00 and contains 27 pages in PDF format. The Liberty Ship is a 1000 ton freighter which over its time in service, has produced a number of variants. Though the book is suitable for any Cepheus Engine game the authors have provided a complete background for the ship, based around Stellagama’s own books ‘These Stars Are Ours’ (TSAO) to help give the ship more character. It should be noted that the supplement is written with the main Cepheus Engine rules set in mind, however it can be used with the Cepheus Light rules set with only one or two minor modifications.

The first four pages comprise of a really nice-looking colour rendering of the Liberty Ship on the cover, contents, compatibility statement and conventions used. The next couple of pages set the scene with a brief overview of the TSAO ‘universe’ and general background how the Liberty Ship came into being. Page 8 details some variant starship rules to do with low berths and how these are prepared according to different Tech Levels, plus some notes on Ship Maintenance and Steerage Passage. Following a repeat of the cover image on page 9, the Liberty Ships statistics are described in detail. For your money, you get a number of variants; the base ‘Model /A – Freighter’ which is covered over two pages – the first includes the ship description and game statistics, the second the ship layout and deck plans. The Liberty Ship is a rectangular ‘block’ with a control centre on top slightly offset to the centre rear. Its a functional design which lends itself to a variety of uses. The deck plans are clearly laid out in monochrome with red lettering which shows up well when reading. Even when the deck plans are zoomed (eg. On a tablet device), there is no loss of quality or breakup of the text. Something struck me about the design of the Liberty Ship when I first saw it, there is a not-too-dissimilar likeness to the ‘U.S.S. Saratoga’, fleet carrier spacecraft from the ‘90’s series ‘Space: Above and Beyond’. Schematics can be viewed by clicking on this link.

I’m not sure if the likeness of the Liberty Ship is intentional or inspired from the U.S.S. Saratoga, but I couldn’t help making the link when I first saw the design.

The next few pages cover the following variants: ‘Model /B – Troop Ship’, ‘Model /C – Cicek Run’ (named after a particular supply route between Terra and Cicek space. An additional Model /C (modification) type is described, the ‘Frontier Merchant’. Showing how flexible the ship design is, is another Model /C variant, the ‘Pirate Base’. Some Liberty Ships have been converted for use as a base of operations by pirates, deploying the TL11 Berserker-class Light Fighter (game stats provided). Looking at the deck plans, a total of eight of these can be accommodated in two deck hangars. It does look like a squeeze to fit these into the decks, as their hulls go right up to the sides of the bulkheads. How practical this would be for the purposes of maintenance access I’m not sure, as well as retrieval from space. They certainly don’t access the carrier in the same way as the Colonial Vipers in Battlestar Galactica!

The Liberty Ship is an ex-warship and hence if you want to buy one, then you’ll have to purchase second-hand as the production lines are no longer active. However there are some caveats; you’ll need to roll on a D66 table to see if the ship has a ‘quirk’; one of those unusual things that you won’t see in another Liberty Ship. These are little things that give the ship character, everything from being ‘haunted’, all the lights go out when entering jump space, odd smell which can never be fixed or computer glitches which make it harder to navigate.

To round off the book, you are presented with ‘The Gilded Claw’, a modified Model /C which saw distinction on the Cicek Run. Now owned by a Cicek entrepreneur, it plys the spaceways looking for trade and adventure. These six pages describing The Gilded Claw cover the ship itself, deck plans and crew history and game stats.

In addition to the main PDF, you are also provided with six separate PNG image files of the deck plans which are in a higher resolution than the versions in the main book, which are ideal for printing. Zooming into the images reveals these are pretty high resolution images so I think they would look great even at A3 size with little or no discernable loss of quality.

Liberty Ship is a nicely put together package of ship variants which is presented in a high-quality, useful format. Though there is only the one colour illustration (the cover) which is reused in the book, there are a small number of line art illustrations, mainly to show what the main protagonists look like in TSAO. The book is well laid-out, my only criticism is the Liberty Ship variant page description and game stats pages appear to be slightly cramped with an amount of unused white space on the bottom half of the page. However the reason is to look consistent when compared to other tables further along in the book, as these pages use the same size text and fill a complete page.

There is a lot of content in the book and with the way that the ship’s background has been developed from the TSAO universe, the Liberty Ship doesn’t just feel like a book with simply game stats and some deck plans. Definitely worth picking up, especially at the currently reduced price its even more of a bargain! I’d like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for kindly sending me a copy of Liberty Ship to review.

About AlegisDownport

Musings on the Traveller RPG world, technology, astronomy and digital art.
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2 Responses to Liberty Ship Review

  1. Gavin Dady says:

    Hi there

    I was the artist for the deckplans and can comment on a couple of points –

    The original inspiration for the shape of the Liberty ship was actually…. A old VCR remote control. I had an old Sony unit with a sort of stubby thumbstick on it that always looked like some sort of spacecraft or submarine to me. It stuck around in my memory until Omer approached me to work on the Liberty Ship. You can see an image of it here: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/ELEAAOSwxFVeJbxj/s-l640.jpg

    The fighter bays are intentionally tight. Firstly, it’s a converted freighter, so any small craft operations are going to be jury rigged. Secondly using the ship construction rules you only get 10% additional volume over the carried ship for a minimal hangar bay like this. That’s basically just enough room to get in and out. Think of a big car in a small garage!

    Glad you like the plans. They were a lot of fun to work on.

    • Hi Gavin, thanks for getting in touch; its always interesting to hear an artists inspiration, no matter where it may have come from or ‘mundane’ it may be! I can see what you mean from the image of the remote control and how it inspired you, so it appears that it was pure chance that it looks like the USS Saratoga from ‘Space: Above and Beyond’. Thanks for the clarification around the fighter bays, I most certainly enjoyed reading the book your artwork! Best wishes, Steve

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