My love affair with starships began, as was the case for many of us, with Star Trek. While I became acquianted with Star Trek through the television reruns, it was the Starfleet Technical Manual that cemented our relationship. I remember from 1975, my brother bringing home the Starfleet Technical Manual. Within that book were page upon page of blueprints for everything from Starships to Spacesuits, Planetary orbits to Phasers, Tricorders to Tridimensional Chess. I pored over that book for hours, carrying it with me to elementary school, and dreaming of being a starship captain.
I discovered Dungeons and Dragons via my brother in 1976, finally permitting the stuctured role-playing I craved. Traveller soon followed in 1978. I never played Traveller as much as I played Dungeons and Dragons, but I always had a soft-spot for that game. My favorite supplements were the ones with starship blueprints. Leviathan. Traders and Gunboats. Broadsword. Azhanti High Lightning. My favorite starship blueprints, by far, were for the Zhodani: many of those starships had a winged, spidery, almost Romulan quality to them. As I recall, Judges Guild produced some nice starship blueprints, though my collection of Traveller stuff is largely official GDW material.
Which brings me to Firefly. I missed Firefly while it was in distribution. I suppose the fact that Firefly was the brainchild of Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, kept me away. Having since purchased and watched the entire series and the related movie, Serenity, I can confidently say that, as far as science fiction television goes, Firefly is probably the closest we have ever, or will ever, see of a Traveller series.As a fan of Traveller, I really like the Firefly universe. I also like the starship, Serenity, which has a high tech/low tech quality to it that I always identify as Travelleresque: in the Traveller games we played, we were always living hand-to-mouth, scrapping every last credit together to pay for the repair of a broken engine part or the fuel we needed for our next jump. In Firefly, the same desperate hand-to-mouth struggle exists.
Several free blueprints for the Firefly starship exist on the internet. Some are designed to fit with the standard 1.5 m x 1.5 m blueprint grid used in Traveller. But my favorite Firefly blueprints are the ones found here, in this booklet. Though costlier than free, I absolutely love the level of detail they have provided, which brings me, full circle, to the Starfleet Technical Manual. The level of detail being provided in the Firefly Reference Pack seems absolutely decadent. But its the sort of decadence that only someone who would pore over a Starfleet Technical Manual at the age of eight can appreciate.