Starship Design: The Kinunir

It was the first Traveller adventure but it’s less an adventure and more a showcase. Compared to other modules in this series it’s not particularly impressive, which isn’t to say it’s bad. It offers a good look at ship design and how every nook and cranny is filled in a battle cruiser. Traveller newbies might find this helpful and inspiring for their own designs.

The Kinunir is a discontinued model: a 1200-ton battle cruiser with a full crew of 46 plus 34 marines. The module provides layouts for all five decks and keys every single room and area on aboard, as well as stats and skills for the 80 crew/marines. It lists the construction information, tail number, shipping yard where it was built, and present locale for all 21 Kinunir ships before the model was discontinued. Three of the ships were lost (their fates and their crews’ unknown), one was scrapped, one was converted into an orbital prison, and the other 16 are still in the Navy’s service.

As for adventure scenarios, four are provided, independent and self-standing. The plots are sketchy and leave most details to the GM. In the first, the travellers are hired to obtain construction secrets of the Kinunir vessels. The characters have many options here, ranging from bribery, hacking into a computer, or investigating the hull of the Kinunir ship that was scrapped and now lies abandoned in a shipyard. The second and third adventures involve the Kinunir that was gutted and converted into an orbital prison hulk. (In the second, the travellers are imprisoned for transgressing forbidden planetary territory, and their mission is to escape; in the third, they are hired to break into the prison and rescue a senator who has been sentenced for political reasons.) The fourth adventure involves one of the three Kinunirs that was lost many years ago, and lies derelict in an asteroid belt (its crew long dead from vacuum), in an interdicted star system.

I’d use the fourth scenario if any. Boarding a derelict ship in a forbidden asteroid belt would make a solid intro adventure for new Traveller players. The second and third adventures are a bit non-sequiturish; the Kinunir isn’t even a starship anymore and the prison-escape plots aren’t terribly inspiring. (If you want a smashing prison-break scenario, use Prison Planet, which supplies all the necessary mechanics you could dream of.)

Really none of the four plots is essential. The module is a showcase for the Kinunir itself, so that the GM has a battle cruiser on hand whenever it’s needed for whatever reason. In that sense The Kinunir is as simple as modules get, and as modular as modules get — to be slid into literally whatever situation calls for it. The ship is well detailed, from the A Deck (containing the ship’s surface vehicles, an observation deck, and a secondary control bridge), the B Deck (the bridge, quarters for the ship’s officers, admin offices, computer room, library, officer’s mess, and captain’s room), the C Deck (the ship’s drives, marine barracks, sick bay, secondary computer, recreation area, and armory), the D Deck (port and starboard missile turrets, chapel, records office, storage), and E Deck (the bilges, cargo storage, missile magazines, and receiving area). It provides stats and skills for all 46 crew members and 34 marines.

The Kinunir is by no means an essential acquisition and by today’s Traveller standards may seem quaint. The 2e High Guard (2016) rules feature all sorts of military ships (strike cruisers, frontier cruisers, heavy cruisers, strike carriers, fleet carriers, dreadnoughts, etc.) that trivialize the Kinunir. But in the year 1979 I’m sure that GMs found it useful to have a battle cruiser mapped out on this level of detail. Who knows, if I take up playing Traveller again, I might actually get some use out of the Kinunir.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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