High-Space Dolphin

Posted: 14 September 2012 in Arioniad

So, I’m noodling around with the High-Space Beta. I don’t think it’s fair to review it while it’s in beta, but I am trying stuff out. Naturally, on seeing the ship design rules, I wanted to see what the Dolphin would look like. As you may recall, the Dolphin started out as a Classic Traveller scoutship, and has mutated over the years.


One of the interesting features of High-Space is the concept of Acquisition Points. Each PC has a number of these, depending on his Rank, which he can use to gain constructive possession of Really Expensive Toys like vehicles or starships.

My starting point is that this has to be a credible ship for a beginning Savage Worlds PC to have. A Novice has one Acquisition Point (Fleet Manual p. 5) which means his ship has 3 points to spend on Traits, and 3 free edges, plus a mandatory Design Edge.

High-Space largely treats ships as characters, and they begin with d4 in each of their five attributes: Manoeuvre, Computer, FTL, Displacement, and Quality. The only one that can’t be changed in play is Displacement – the ship can get better, but not bigger. As an exploration vessel, the Manual recommends it should have a minimum displacement of d6. If you squint (or expand the scale on p. 9 in Acrobat) you can see that this covers ships of 11-50 metres in length; the CT Type S is 24 metres long, so that’s fine.


This represents the ship’s original purpose. Obviously, I pick Explorer (p. 12); this gives it +1 FTL die type, +1 Pace, and means it has 2 Payload per displacement and 1 Hardpoint per displacement. It’s not clear whether that means the die type, or the die step up from d4; I decide on the latter, giving it 4 Payload and 2 Hardpoints, as a scoutship with 12 Payload and 6 Hardpoints just feels wrong. YMMV.


The Dolphin now has Manoeuvre d4, Computer d4, FTL d6, Displacement d6, and Quality d4; I’ve used the free boost to FTL from the Explorer design edge, and one point from the three I’m allowed. I decide to add one point to Manoeuvre, and one to Computer (you’ll see why in a minute); that’s all my free Trait points used up. Increasing Manoeuvre and FTL by one die step seems like a good match for Jump-2 and Manoeuvre-2.


Browsing through the Hindrances, I don’t see anything appropriate, so we’ll leave that be. For my three Edges, I select:

  • Positronic Computer Core. This requires a minimum Computer Trait of d6, which is why I picked that, and allows the ship’s computer to have a simulated personality and learn from experience. Costs 1 Payload.
  • Guest Accommodation. Cross-referencing the ship’s Displacement with the number of times I take this edge (1) tells me it allows for 6 passengers. I can’t see how to work out the crew accommodations, so I’ll leave them for now. Maybe when the full rules come out. Costs 1 Payload.
  • Luggage. A small, pressurised cargo compartment. Cost 1 Payload.

I have 2 Hardpoints spare for when the ship gets an advance, which will just fit an X-Ray Laser. If the ship were a PC, it would gain experience normally; otherwise, after each adventure, one of the crew can give an experience point to the ship, allowing it to level up over time.


I think that’s everything except the derived statistics, so let’s work those out and list the full statblock.

Dolphin, Surplus Scoutship

Attributes: Manoeuvre d6, Computer d6, FTL d6, Displacement d6, Quality d4.

Hindrances: None.

Edges: Explorer, Guest Accommodation, Luggage, Positronic Computer Core. 2 Hardpoints held in reserve.

Pace: 11. Toughness: 5.

I like this system. It manages to produce ships with character while maintaining the Fast, Furious, Fun nature of SW. I await the production version of the rules with interest.


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