A pair of spaceliners boarding passengers

Spaceliners (passenger transports) are built in a variety of hull sizes (6-15). Modern spaceliners are fast, quiet ships, capable of providing a wealthy passenger with every conceivable luxury. Many older liners are smaller, somewhat decrepit vessels that promise only basic life support.

The number of passengers carried by a spaceliner ranges between 75 to just over 4,100,[1] taking into account the size of the ship, and the type of accommodations offered. Luxury accommodations take up more space than normal, whereas you can cram more people into Storage. [2] Engine durability on spaceliners can vary as much as size. Some require an overhaul after three jumps while others can make 8 or 10 interstellar trips without maintenance.

Some freighters elect to carry passengers as well as cargo. Such accommodations are typically Storage class in nature, little more than cargo pods outfitted with the necessary equipment to maintain freeze fields while in transit.

Starship Accommodation and Costs[edit | edit source]

Travelers may purchase three types of starship tickets: First class, Journey class, and Storage class.[3] Prices are regulated by interstellar treaty for travel along established trade routes. Non-standard and uncharted routes are beyond the scope of these prices, and must be negotiated individually.

First Class[edit | edit source]

First class tickets are the most expensive, but first class passengers get the best food, the biggest cabins and on-board entertainment. A first class cabin is at least 6 meters x 6 meters, though it may be larger. A liner may charge higher prices for a larger cabin.

The first class section is closest to the starship's lifeboats and emergency spacesuits, so these passengers have the best chance to survive a catastrophe. Lifeboats or escape pods are required for all first class passengers. Furthermore, these escape devices must be placed on the same deck as the first class cabins. If more than one deck is used for first class, then each deck must have enough escape devices for all of the first class passengers on it.

A first class passenger can bring along up to 1,000 kg of cargo at no extra charge. The space set aside during construction for the luggage of a first class passenger must cover at least half as much area as a first class cabin (approximately thirteen square meters). The hold does not need to be on the same deck as the cabins.

A First class ticket costs 200 Cr per light-year traveled. For example, a first class ticket from Prenglar to Cassidine (7 light years) costs 1,400 credits.

Journey Class[edit | edit source]

Journey class passengers get smaller cabins, poorer-quality food, and practically no entertainment, compared to first-class passengers. A Journey class cabin is at least four meters square [4 x 4 m], although some are as big as 4 x 6 meters. Larger cabins are, again, likely to be more expensive.

The only emergency equipment required for journey class passengers is a spacesuit for each passenger. A spaceliner may carry lifeboats or escape pods for these passengers as well, but this is purely the owning company's option. Ships that do carry additional rescue equipment will mention this fact prominently in their advertising.

A Journey class passenger may bring along up to 500 kg of cargo at no extra charge. The space set aside during construction for the luggage of a Journey class passenger must cover at least one-fourth the area of a journey class cabins (approximately four square meters [2 x 2 m]). As with first class, this space does not need to be on the same deck as the cabins.

A Journey class ticket costs 100 Cr per light-year traveled.

Storage Class[edit | edit source]

Storage Class tickets turn passengers into semi-living cargo. Storage passengers are "frozen" (placed in stasis using freeze field technology) before being loaded on board the liner, and are stored in special berths (approximately 1.5 square meters [1.5 x 1.5 m]). This “freezing” can be done at any spaceport terminal, as well as most space stations. The process is completely safe, and involves no risk or loss of abilities to the frozen character. “Frozen” passengers are revived at their destination.

A Storage class includes up to 100 kg of cargo. One square meter of cargo space in the hold is sufficient luggage space for three Storage class passengers, although it is not uncommon to see Storage-class berths with integral stowage space, so that the passenger and his/her luggage are kept together as one unit, reducing logistics for the shipping manifest.

A Storage class ticket costs 30 Cr per light-year traveled.

Schedules and Layovers[edit | edit source]

Starship flights are not always scheduled at convenient times. Characters who must travel through several star systems to reach their destination may have to make layovers at each star system along the way.[4] The characters must stop and wait for another scheduled flight to their next destination or for their ship to be ready to move on. If the characters are working for a company that is delivering them to their destination, their ship probably will not stop over in a system for more than one or two days - just long enough to pick up supplies, fuel, and news

If the referee does not have a specific flight in mind, he or she may roll 3d10 and subtract 3. The result is the number of days the adventurers must wait before the next scheduled flight leaves for their destination. If the result is 0, a starship is leaving that day.[5]

Running the Business[edit | edit source]

Carrying passengers from planet to planet or star to star in the Frontier is a major business. A character who owns a spaceliner may offer to sell passage to individuals on a regular route or charter the ship for special trips.

Offices[edit | edit source]

The first step in starting a passenger transport business is opening an office in each city or spaceport where the ship will take on passengers. For example, on a two-way route, the business must have an office at each end of the route. Spaceliners operating under a company charter do not need offices, as the parent company will take care of bookings, routes, and schedules.

Each office costs 500 Cr every 40 days (5,000 Cr per year). This includes a secretary/receptionist robot, videophone, small room, and use of a simple appointments and reservations computer.

Bookings[edit | edit source]

The number of passenger tickets that can be sold for a specific voyage depends on the number of cabins available. How these tickets are divided among First, Journey and Storage classes also is a question of ship design.

The Spaceliner Booking Table lists the percentage of berths of each type that will be filled on any voyage. The percentage sold depends on the populations of the departure and destination points; planet populations are rated H, M, L or O (heavy, moderate, light or outpost).[6]

To use the table, locate the type of population at the starting point of the trip (Start Pop.) and follow that line over to the population of the destination (Destination Pop.) The table entry at that point indicates a base number and a dice roll to be added to the base number. The appropriate number of dice are rolled and the result is added to the base number.

This sum is the percentage of all berths on the spaceliner that have been booked for that particular voyage. The tickets sold should be divided as evenly as possible between all three passenger classes. Any tickets remaining after this division will be for the best available class.

Spaceliner Booking Chart[edit | edit source]

Departure Destination Population:
Population Heavy Moderate Light Outpost
Heavy 82-100% (91%) (80+2d10) 73-100% (86½%) (70+3d10) 64-100% (82%) (60+4d10) 14-50% (32%) (10+4d10)
Moderate 64-100% (82%) (60+4d10) 64-100% (82%) (60+4d10) 43-70% (56½%) (40+3d10) 13-40% (26½%) (10+3d10)
Light 46-100% (73%) (40+6d10) 36-90% (63%) (30+6d10) 24-60% (42%) (20+4d10) 11-20% (21%) (10+1d10)
Outpost 28-100% (64%) (20+8d10) 24-60% (42%) (20+4d10) 22-40% (31%) (20+2d10) 1-10% (5½%) (0+1d10)

The above notes the typical percentile range, followed by the average percentage, and the dice roll to generate the percentile.

Independent Lines[edit | edit source]

Spaceliners operating with a company charter always receive the number of bookings indicated by the Bookings Table. The number of tickets sold by privately operated liners depends on the layover time the ship spends at the station, as follows:

  • If 20 or more days are spent in layover, the ship will sell the number of tickets indicated on the chart.
  • If fewer than 20 days are spent in layover, the number of tickets sold will be reduced by half. In this case, the number of tickets sold is rolled normally and divided by two. Fractions are rounded up.

Profits[edit | edit source]

The profitability of a spaceliner business is determined by subtracting business expenses from the money earned through ticket sales. While it is possible to make money in this area, characters should realize that it will take quite a few paying passengers to even begin to pay for the spaceship!

Risks[edit | edit source]

Operating a spaceliner is a fairly safe business since pirates generally leave liners alone. If a very important person (planetary or military leader, business tycoon, etc.) is aboard, however, the referee may wish to include an encounter with criminals, pirates, assassins or other undesirables during a voyage through space. Otherwise, the referee may roll d100 and check the Spaceliner Hazards Table each trip to find out whether any unfortunate incidents occur. The referee can modify the table if the ship is carrying VIPs or following a dangerous route.


01-02 Hijacking attempt by passengers
03 Pirates attack
04-05 Drive problems; repairs will take (2d10 minus engineer’s skill level) days
06 Renegade Sathar Frigate
07-00 Safe and pleasant voyage

Notes & References[edit | edit source]

  1. 4,125 exactly
  2. Knight Hawks p. 6 states that liners have a passenger capacity of 25 per point of hull size. Page 21 establishes that Journey class accommodations are considered the “standard”. Using that as a basis, and using minimum cabin sizes and life support requirements also given on page 21 (6x6 meters for Luxury, 4x4 meters for Journey, and roughly 1.5 square meters for Storage) a liner can carry one Luxury passenger for every two Journey class, and eleven Storage class passengers for every one Journey class. Note that luggage/cargo allotments are considered separately from living space.
  3. Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn Expanded Rulebook pp.49-50
  4. Some spaceliner companies use “whistle-blow” routes, where they have calculated the second leg of the route ahead of time, or have arranged for an in-system astrogator to plot the jump and transmit the calculations upon arrival in-system. In these cases, upon completing the jump (assuming the engines can make a second jump without an overhaul), the ship points its nose to a new vector and boosts. This maneuver can sometimes reduce transit time by over 50%. Of course, such routes are significantly more expensive that conventional single-jump routes.
  5. Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules pp. 50
  6. Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn Expanded Rules pp. 49
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.