Venture-Class Exploration Vessel
One of the oldest civilian designs still in service, the Venture exploration vessels were once the cutting edge of human expansion. Even today, dozens ply the space ways as trading ships, pirate vessels, and more than a couple are still pushing the fringes of known space.
The Venture-Class Exploration Vessel is a cruiser-sized ship designed for long-range travel, scientific exploration and cargo. First going into production right before the first war with the Arkhon, many served in that war as heavily armed merchantmen and scout ships. After the war, they returned to their true calling and flew right into history. To this day, no class of human starship has explored more new systems and discovered more new planets than Ventures. Every planet settled as part of the Free Colonies was first scouted out by Ventures. Ventures have made the most extensive explorations of the Expanse, as well as the new frontier, and no ships have traveled deeper into Arkhon space than Ventures that worked as scouts during the war.
Ventures are durable, reliable and easily updated. Since most were refitted to be light combat vessels, they also have reasonable armaments, pushing the edge of what is acceptable for a civilian vessel. Though self-reliant and sturdy, they are not well armored and they are not fast. But a powerful sensor package and modern updates to the Negative Mass Drives means they are often able to identify and flee an enemy before that enemy sees them.
While still doing some exploration, most Ventures are owned by small or large companies who cannot afford a fleet of the much more expensive Pulsar Multipurpose Cruisers. Some are in the hands of private individuals, but most private transport operators prefer light to medium transports over a large, crew-heavy merchantman.
Pirates also enjoy the Venture. Not only is it easy to upgrade, makes it easy to carry large boarding parties, and numerous enough not to stand out, but there’s also a romanticism regarding the Venture that has been held by most of the public for many years. This tends to feed into the romantic, swashbuckling pirate image that people would like to have (even though the truth is pretty far from that at times).
The Venture is also the only human ship design known to have been purchased in significant numbers by alien species. The Xintrin have purchased more than 100 over the decades. Originally, it was to shore up their fleet during the war with the Berylan. However, afterwards, the Xintrin were impressed with the ship, and bought more. At least three dozen are said still to be in service. The Mogg’therin have also purchased over two dozen over the years, mostly used. The Xintrin are eying the Pulsar, the Venture’s philosophical successor, as a potential buy as well, which may lead to humanity earning itself a reputation as a producer of multipurpose cruisers.
Model: E1 Venture Exploration Ship
Crew: Varies, skeleton crew of 60 is required for simple cargo runs. Scientific expeditions and pirate crews tend to be about 120-160.
Two small shuttles, OR
Four fighters, OR
One shuttle and two fighters.
M.D.C. by Location
Laser defense turrets (2) – 250 each
External Cargo Frames (2) – 500 each
Forward ion cannons (2) – 800 each
Sensor dish – 300
Module connectors (2) – 2000 each
Primary Drive Engine (1) – 1,500
Secondary Engine Clusters (2) – 2,300 each
Engineering Section/Docking Bay – 6,000
*Bridge – 900
**Main Body (forward 2/3 of the ship) – 12,000
*Destroying the bridge of the ship destroys helm control, and many primary systems. The ship can still be partially controlled from engineering, but at -4 to strike and dodge, and with only the defensive laser as weapons.
**Depleting the M.D.C. of the Main Body will leave the ship a floating wreck with no primary power and multiple hull breaches. This will activate the escape pods in order for surviving crew to escape. Reducing the M.D.C. to -3,000 will cause the vessel to explode, doing 1D4x100 M.D. to everything within a 1,500-foot radius.
Maximum Sublight Speed: .15 C (15% of the speed of light)
Maximum Acceleration/Deceleration Rate: 5Gs per melee round
FTL Speeds: Varies, most civilian models have Cx183 drives (half a light year per day), but some have newer Cx365 drives designed for the Pulsar cruisers. These drives cover one light year per day.
Top Atmospheric Speed: NA, these ships are not designed for atmospheric insertion and use shuttles to transfer people and goods to and from the surface of a planet)
Height: 88 feet
Length: 616 feet
Width: 176.5 feet
Cargo: 40,000 tons internally, up to 60,000 additional tons in external pods.
Power Plant: Anti-Matter Reactor
Range: 365 to 730 light years, depending on the NMD drive type. Can carry two years of consumables for a maximum crew of 180.
Cost: Varies, generally about 80 million credits.
1. Ion Cannons (2): Unusually heavy weapons for a civilian ship, these guns were added to all Ventures during the first war. These guns can be fire-linked or fire independently, and the mounts can rotate 90 degrees up or down, or 45 degrees laterally. Even those these guns could be the primary weapons on a frigate, the Venture does not require a special permit. This is due to the fact that the guns are small compared to the size of the Venture, which is comparable to a cruiser. Also, the ships were originally built for expeditions beyond human space, and it was expected that the crews may have to defend themselves against significant threats.
Primary Purpose: Defense
Mega-Damage: 1D4x100 M.D. for a single blast, 2D4x100 M.D. for a shot from both cannons fired simultaneously.
Rate of Fire: Each cannon can fire twice per melee round.
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
2. Laser Defense Turrets (2): Larger than your standard gun turret, these weapons take a crew of three to operate. They can rotate 360 degrees and can elevate 70 degrees up from the hull. They are used primarily to defend against missiles, fighters, and small rogue asteroids.
Primary Purpose: Defense
Mega-Damage: 4D6x10 M.D.
Rate of Fire: Each turret can fire four times per melee round.
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
Sensors: The Venture has extended range mass sensors of one astronomical unit, and short-range sensors of 400,000 miles.
Note: Pirates will often add two or more additional weapon systems, including missile launchers and sensor jammers.