Starship Sundays: Ptolemy

Welcome to Starship Sunday, presenting a new spaceframe for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, filling in some gaps until official material can be released.
For March I’m detailing some ships with a more civilian slant, for players who might be disinterested in boldly going or defending the Federation. Or simply ships that might be necessary in the background. This week is the tug/ freighter, the Ptolemy-class.

Like a few previously described ships, the Ptolemy-class starship was copied from Franz Josephs’ Star Fleet Technical Manual and used in the background of the movie. The ship is basically a Constitution-class without a secondary hull and the main deflector sticking out the bottom of the saucer. As a cargo ship, the primary job of a Ptolemy is hauling goods from one end of the Federation to the other. As a pretty large ship with a surprisingly large crew, the Ptolemy also likely involves some construction and unloading after. It doesn’t just haul freight, but hauls it for a purpose. And unlike the other ships that will be featured this month, this is technically a Starfleet vessel and is fairly well armed. While not designed for combat operation, the crew of a Ptolemy ship might find themselves involved in all kinds of shenanigans, as they’re targeted by Klingons or Orion raiders, or caught in the middle of a battle between smaller powers. The Starfleet Corp of Engineers was probably involved in all kinds of adventures.  

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  1. I’m curious if you think any of the Ships statistics would change when the cargo pods are attached? And, would the various cargo pods have their own statistics? One of the campaigns I ran under the old FASA system had the characters assigned to one of these in the Triangle. It was a great cover for Intelligence gathering, and there were a few rather special pods that they ended up hauling around too.

    1. I wouldn’t change the statistics, but I might increase the difficulty for Conn Tasks if the ship is pulling numerous cargo pods.

      The pods themselves might have a Structure score but likely no other numbers, being just spaceworthy shipping containers.

  2. Thanks, although there are some specialty pods in a couple books I have which might have some stats. I’ll see if I can dig them out and either describe them or find some online links to them. I think there were a couple in the original Tech Manual and maybe one of the Jackill’s books.

  3. Long time later, I know – just getting into STA, and I’ve set the players’ ship to be one of these. I’m curious as to why such a relatively low Weapons score? The class has twice the phaser power of a Hermes. The S.S. Xhosa – a civilian freighter albeit from the 24th century – has a Weapons score of 6; the OTV shuttlepod from the previous century, has a weapons score of 4. I’d think that an actual main fleet vessel should be much higher than a 5?

  4. Well, a Ptolemy, being a Starfleet ship, will have escorts assigned to it if it’s going to be ferrying cargo during wartime or if it’s traveling a trade route known to be targeted by pirates. During peacetime or running through safe starlanes, it won’t need weapons. This justifies the Ptolemy’s low Weapons score.

    Kassidy Yates, on the other hand, is plying the trade routes with only her own ship, so it makes sense that she’d want better weapons for self-defense. Whether or not her weaponry is entirely Federation-legal, or even needs to be Federation legal while trading in the non-Federation Bajor Sector, could crop up as significant story factors… (Kassidy Yates as the Star Trek female version of Han Solo? Stranger things have happened!)

    1. The ship was commissioned with substantial phaser banks precisely so it could transport cargo and personnel without tying down escorts. Sure, it shouldn’t be going toe-to-toe with a cruiser, but it should be capable of defending itself from anything less than a cruiser or a purpose-built scale 3 warship. Mind you, I also see that the total structure score is only 42; other ships in the TOS era are 46. So it’s not consistent.

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