Terraforming – Starships as Homes

“Captain, the course is set and autopilot is engaged. We will arrive in 36 hours.” Sarahnd gets up from her seat and stretches lazily, “Nap time?” A digital eyebrow rearranges itself to give the captain’s face a quizzical appearance as she smiles at her pilot’s lack of protocol. “I believe the words you are looking for are ‘Permission to retire?'” she says before laughing lightly. “Gods yes, let’s all go get some rest. I need everybody in peak condition, so stay loose, but take it easy. All of you, off the bridge, that’s an order.” Grawnmoot claps Sarahnd on the back as they walk out “Don’t oversleep, we have a rematch to take care of, and you are going to need time to recover before this mission!” The look on her face was friendly, but the gravel in her voice was serious. Still not used to the gargoyle, Sarahnd didn’t quite know if this was a friendly challenge or payback for some slight during their last game of hoopball. “I wouldn’t miss it!” she managed to reply without any hint of trepidation.

Hello, Randal here, back to talk starships again. One thing that I think a lot of players overlook, even though it is discussed in the rules, is the amount of time you spend traveling in your starship. Serenity wasn’t just their vehicle, it was their home. They had their own bunks or rooms, with a common kitchen. Heck, in Spaceballs Lonestar’s ship was an actual RV! Let’s look at ways to remind us that these are often our homes and how to treat it as such.

Recreational Vehicle. The most relevant real world analogues for this would be a motorhome/RV or a houseboat. These types of homes are general just the barest of frames and amenities, designed simply to give you a place to rest your head while you are partaking in other adventures. Each has their own take on kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms, all compact and customized. An RV is designed to travel from A to B on the open road while the houseboat is for water travel and exploration. It only seems fitting that the RV would eventually make its way into space. Just remember, such a cheaper ship is likely not going to be able to handle plaid, no matter how rustic the design.

I think a starship of this nature is going to be much more like when the Starfinder Society loans you a vessel in scenarios. It is outfitted with the bare minimum you need to get the job done, with very little to no care about the preferences of the crew. Maybe throw some fuzzy dice on the mirror, hang a poster of your favorite chef icon in the kitchen, and call it a day.

I would expect this style ship to be small (I would prefer something between tiny/small with only one or two expansion bays) with cramped living spaces that serve multiple purposes. While each frame comes with a default set of crew quarters, I would say this doesn’t, requiring they are part of the expansion bays, which likely include Guest Quarters, Passenger Seating, and Recreation Suite. Aside from the obvious Space Balls references, think about the living space that Bruce Willis’ character had in Fifth Element. The bed and sink shared a space while the fridge and shower shared a space.

Home Away From Home. You have a home, or perhaps reside with your guild mates planet-side. All the wealth and prestige you have accumulated is reflected in the estate, grounds, or furnishings. You have a family that needs stability, education, and a steady supply of oxygen that isn’t full of laser blasts. Perhaps you simply prefer to live off ship when you aren’t running missions, or you only take one or two missions a year, each for months at a time.

In either case, you like to have your belongings with you (or just belongings you can call your own that you travel with) and you tend to make your bunk or your room feel much more cozy. Perhaps you bring with you a favorite stim container, you know the one, it holds a full liter and has pictures of a grumpy feline. You probably have a favorite spot to hang out and watch the stars, perhaps that spot is simply your bed/bunk, or even your seat on the bridge. When your entire life isn’t on a ship, it can be enchanting to spend some leisure time there to offset the exciting times.

Most of the ships in your early adventures are going to fall into this category. I expect a medium class vessel with 4 expansion bays (I would prefer on the smaller side with 3 bays). As this is generally a working ship, I would expect the following to be your common expansion bays: Cargo Hold, Lab (Arcane, Science, Tech), Medical Bay, Recreation Suite, and Smuggler’s Compartment.

Home. Wether you don’t feel right around other people, lost far from your home world, perhaps on the run. You only have one home, your ship. Sure, you like to go planet-side to stretch your legs, but you spend so much time traveling that it doesn’t make any sense to call anywhere else home. If you aren’t lucky enough to have your own room and amenities, you share with your crew mates just as you did with your family back home. Any offense or attack toward your ship is an attack against you personally.

If you have your own room, all of your belongings are there. Your books are on shelves, your weapons stowed in racks, your armor hanging on a mannequin. Perhaps your favorite pop icon is on a poster over your bed? If you don’t have your own sleeping bunk, area, or room, sometimes you need some privacy, and likely have your own corner of the ship that you go to think, blow off steam, or just get away from the others. Be it a specific bulkhead, a favorite window, or just a closet somewhere, you have decorated it or stashed a game or book or something to help you pass the time in solitude.

I would expect these to be your bigger Medium ships with 5 bays, if you are part of a larger team than your standard adventuring party than I could see one of the smaller Large vessels. Crew quarters are likely to be Good or Luxurious, and there is a good chance that each crew member has an expansion bay geared toward their hobbies or lifestyle. Common choices are likely: Cargo Hold (homes need a garage, right?), Hydroponic Garden (fresh food!), Lab (Arcane, Science, Tech), Medical Bay, Passenger Seating (somewhere to hang out with guests, can pass as guest quarters in a pinch), Recreation Suite, Smuggler Compartment (you likely don’t have anywhere else to keep your valuables).

Sarahnd was finally getting the hang of this sport. She eyed her opponent, trying to position herself into the path of the ball as it bounced around the makeshift court. When Grawnmoot reached to steal the hoop from her clawed fingers, the wyvaran flapped her wings, getting a boost as she jumped up and over the hulking gargoyle. She looked down with a grin that showed her jagged teeth and began to do a victory dance as she swung the hoop around the ball. Her smile and laughter froze when the gravity in the room shifted, dropping the ball before she could score the final point, but also causing her to plunge to the floor. Angrily she jumped up turned to the gargoyle shouting “You agreed no gravity powers, you cheated!” Stunned, Grawnmoot replied “That wasn’t me, that felt like it came from …”, before she was interrupted by a proximity alarm.


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Randal Meyer

As a lover of crunch (rules and numbers), Randal is always tinkering with rules options. His love of magic users has led him to always fuss with the mechanics of magic and magic items. Years of GMing on the fly have given him vast amounts of ideas and content from which to draw on for adventures (ideas, plots, NPCs). When not working, playing with his kids, bowling, or running a PF campaign, Randal is likely writing some new mobile web app (http://halfmugtavern.blog) to enhance the experience of playing Pathfinder!

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