Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland
ffutures

Describing a ship

I'm trying to write a passage that gives a feel for the ship I'm using for the "League of Nations Space Patrol" campaign I mentioned. it's basically a British ship flying the League flag (so to speak); small, reasonably fast, beloved by her crew... but designed by a committee to be good at about fifty different jobs.

Originally I made some very pretty deck plans which showed a beautifully neat layout, very symmetrical, and accommodation for four. The problem turned out to be that often I've had five or six players in play tests, and have six pregenerated characters designed.

So I was going to redo it all with another cabin for two. Except that when I thought about it, I decided that I really don't believe in that beautiful layout. So instead I've messed things up a little, with a description that I hope gives more of a feel for life aboard the ship:

Endeavour is cramped, compared to many other ships, and in some ways badly laid out. She was originally planned for a crew of four. At a comparatively late stage the specification was changed to add two more single cabins, which are awkwardly wedged in on the lower deck, originally a machinery space with no accommodation.

As a result of these changes the ship's layout is cluttered, especially on the lower deck, with pipes, air ducts, and electrical junction boxes etc. obstructing movement. The lower cabins have limited headroom and are adjacent to the recycling equipment, which hums loudly and makes odd gurgling noises. They are intolerably noisy when the underjets are in use. They are also two airtight doors away from the control room, galley, head, and other facilities; two extra space suits are kept on the lower deck for emergencies, which may not inspire complete confidence.

Pipes run across the ceiling, some of them low enough to bash someone in a hurry (e.g., there's a water pipe just above eye level ready to concuss anyone running to the forward turret). As an example of the engineering compromises involved, the only way to reload the machine cannon is to climb over the water tanks, wriggle through a gap about eighteen inches high, and reach down extremely awkwardly to feed the belt in from above. This takes about twenty minutes. If anything goes wrong with the cannon they can only be serviced from outside the ship, by taking off some of the hull plating, which takes several hours.


I can't show all of this on a set of deck plans, but I've put some of it in, and I'm hoping that this will help it feel more like a "real" environment, so to speak.

Does this sound convincing?
Tags: forgotten futures, rpg, stanley weinbaum
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