They cruise the Black in Firefly and drive one of my players nuts for the physics of how they move — the skyscraper-like Tohoku-class cruiser.  They aren’t written up in any of the material for the RPG, so I took a crack at it.

Tohoku was laid down two months before the Unification War.  The vessel was to represent the height of Alliance technology, and was slated to be completed in 2510.  However, the war effort, coupled with cost-overruns, led to a seven-year construction cycle – two years late, the vessel was launched in January 2512 to great fanfare, and became a symbol of the might of the new Alliance government.  However, there were plenty of critics that cite the ship as an example of the bad economic policies and hubris of the Alliance government.

She completed her trial runs in August 2512 and was certified mission ready.  Alliance Space Force records, however, reveal several issues with the vessel: she is slow, un-maneuverable to the point of dangerous, and has strange flight characteristics due to asymmetrical mass balance.  Her offensive capabilities are staggeringly impressive, but she is lightly armored and has several weak spots that could be exploited by a well-armed opponent.  The Parliamentary investigation into the project found the vessel a major boondoggle, but the Ministry of Defense buried and classified the report.  as a result, six more of these monsters were on the slips by 2513 and IAV Dortminder and Magellan began seeing service by 2517.

Her first commander is the famous CPT Kerr, formerly of IAV Hood.  His logs show him to be unimpressed with the ship as a combat vehicle, but she is an excellent force projection platform.  Among the amenities is a state-of-the-art medical center, an artificial intelligence system that allows the vessel to operate with only 10% of her standard crew, construction facilities for repairing vessels or building civilian infrastructure, and is wonderfully comfortable to live on.

A comparison of scale for the various Alliance warships…  (I believe this image was created by Lynn Blackson, but I am not sure where I found itI will gladly remove it or credit the artist.)

Class:  Tohoku     Type: Heavy Cruiser     Length: 1800′     Beam:  2100′     Draught/Height: 2500′     Tonnage: 8.5m mtns.     Crew: 5,000     Passengers: up to 100,000     Fuel:  1 million tons (5000 hours)     Complexity: Very High     Cost: classified (est. 2.5 billion credits/ship)     Maintenance Costs/Year:  classified (est. c. 42 million/year)


Agility: d2     Strength: d12+d6     Vitality: d8     Alertness: d8     Intelligence: d8     Willpower: d10

Initiative: d2+d8     Life Points: 28     Speed: 1 (3 full burn)     Armor: 2W, 4S

TRAITS:  Allure [d4], Engineering Construction Facilities [d4], Intimidatin’ Presence [d4], Memorable [d4]

QUIRKS:  Pulls to positive Z-axis

SKILLS:  Athletics [d4], Heavy Weapons [d4], Knowledge [d4], Mechanical Engineering [d4], Medical Expertise [d4], Perception [d4], Pilot [d4]


Missile Systems — 210 long-range 200 lb missiles (d8W spacecraft-scale, x1.5 range), 200 long-range 500 lb. missiles (d10W spacecraft-scale), 200 2000lb. bombs (d12W spacecraft-scale), 12 nuclear missile/bomb (d12+d8W capital-scale)

Kinetic Weapons Systems — 8 12″ Cannons [1000 lb. warhead]: d12W (Capital Scale, x1.5 range); 24 8″ Cannons [200 lb. Warhead]:  d8W, (spacecraft-scale); 200 40mm Autocannon Point Defense systems: d6W, spacecraft-scale

AUXILIARY CRAFT:  50 ALST, 250 ASREV, 120 Warhammer-class Interceptors, 250 Arrowhead-class couriers, 20 St. Bernard-class SAR vessels, 50 Short-range shuttles.