Iron Butterfly Salvage Ship (Converted Merchant Vessel):

There are huge number of merchant vessels operated in the Three Galaxies and a large number have been converted to other roles. Some have been converted to the role of tanker, some to liners, some to salvage vessels, and some even to military roles. Most famous in the military role are Q-Ships. Mone of the main roles if for these ships to pose as regular merchant vessels until a pirate goes after them and then the Q-Ship pounces. There are even pirate ships which have been converted from merchant vessels. Still, the vast majority of merchant vessels have been converted to less military roles.

Converted merchant vessels are well suited to the role of salvage vessels because they are still fairly small yet have a huge amount of cargo space. They also are comparatively inexpensive, especially when purchased used, and are readily convertible to the role. They can also often still operate in the cargo ship role with a slightly reduced cargo load due to additional equipment. Salvage can often be big business and can be highly profitable. Most salvage ships converted in this manner only have the cargo bay altered into workshops for salvaging. This includes the addition of cutting and welding gear but also include a large amount of powered presses and specialized power tools. As a salvage ship, the crew is also increased beyond standard in most vessels. A crew of forty-five to sixty is common onboard salvage vessels due to the need for extra hands for salvage operations.

The Iron Butterfly cannot be considered a typical salvage ship. Still, it is not unknown for ships to be more radically converted than simply converting the cargo bays. In many cases, there is concern about being attacked and having more than standard merchant weaponry. As well, many salvage captains might be interested in being able to jump on the claim of another. Some have accused salvage captains often being little more than pirates and there are many cases of very suspicious salvages. The Iron Butterfly fits well into this category with many suspicious individuals having been part of her crew over the years.

While many salvage ships do have extra weapon systems fitted, the Iron Butterfly is extremely heavily armed for a converted merchant type ship. It does carries the standard four point defense laser batteries and four medium range missile launchers. Payload of the medium range missile launchers is unchanged. The standard weapon systems are supplemented by a pair of long range missile launchers and a pair of heavy particle beams. The particle beams are the standard models carried on the Hunter class destroyer and have a limited rate of fire. The long range missile launcher has a limited payload. Even with its limitations, this ship can be a nasty surprise. Unlike most ships of its size, the Iron Butterfly has a tiny hanger for a single light cargo shuttle for use in salvage operations. It can be extremely useful in such operations and is also sometimes used to explore a salvage area while the Iron Butterfly is working on salvaging a ship.

Still, the ship has its limitations as a combat vessel. Electronics are comparatively primitive even compared to fairly low end military hardware. It does not carry a stealth system or any powerful ECM equipment. As well, the hull has not been reinforced compared to a standard merchant hull. Shields are standard merchant class as well and are non-variable. A Hunter class destroyer, which is only about half the size, has almost as powerful shields per facing as this ship has total and several heavy starfighters have more powerful shields than the ship. It is also fairly slow because it retains the standard sublight and faster than light drives of a merchant ship. Most runner class ships can easily escape from it.

This starship design uses modified starship speed and weapon range rules. See Revised Starship Rules for Phase World / Three Galaxies for more details.

Model Type: CML-1200SV
Vehicle Type: Salvage Ship (Converted Merchantman)
Crew: 55 (10 Officers and 45 Ordinary Crew)


1Light Cargo Shuttle

M.D.C. By Location:

Heavy Particle Beam Cannons (2, built into sides):650 each
Point Defense Laser Cannon Turrets (4):250 each
Long Range Missile Batteries (2):500 each
Medium Range Missile Batteries (4):300 each
Outer Hull (40 x 40 ft/ 12.2 m x 12.2 Area):100
Inner Hull (40 x 20 ft/ 12.2 m x 12.2 Area):75
Shuttle Hanger Door:500
[1] Bridge:1,000
[2] Main Engines (2):2,000 each
[3] Main Body:5,000
[4] Force Field (Regular):1,200

[1] In reality this is how much damage needs to be done for a weapon to hit the bridge through the ship’s hull. This ship does not have an auxiliary bridge. Even if the bridge is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but ship is -3 to dodge and all weapon systems will be at local control. Weapon hits near the bridge that do not penetrate the ships integrity can injure crew members on or near the bridge.
[2] Destroying the main engines means that the ship’s faster than light systems are destroyed and maximum sublight speed is reduced by half.
[3] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will put the liner out of commission. All internal systems will shut down, including life support and internal gravity. The ship itself will be an unsalvageable floating wreck.
[4] Shields are not variable. Shields regenerate at the rate of 5% (60 M.D.C.) per melee round.

Driving on the Ground: Not Possible.
Sublight: Has a special sublight engine that allows the ship to travel up to 20 percent of the speed of light and does not have military class particle shielding. Star Ship can accelerate/decelerate at the rate of 0.7 percent of light per melee.
Atmospheric Propulsion: Maximum speed is 300 mph ( 482 kph), can enter an atmosphere because flight system is using contra grav.
Stardrive: Uses a Gravitonic Drive system that allows the ship to reach a maximum of 3 light years per hour.
Maximum Range: Effectively Unlimited by either drive system. Carries about six months worth of supplies on board (Can be stretched to nine months in an emergency)

Statistical Data:
Length: 600 feet (182.9 meters)
Height: 70 feet (21.3 meters)
Width: 90 feet (27.4 meters)
Mass/ Weight: 11,000 tons (9,980 metric tons)
Power System: Fusion with a 20 year life span. The ship normally only goes 5 years between refueling and refitting.
Cargo: Cargo holds are scattered about the ship that allows for carrying up to 4,000 tons (3,630 metric tons) of cargo in addition to standard compliment of supplies and ammunition. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ship’s officers have more space for personal items. Much of the ship’s spaces are taken up by extra ammunition, armor, troops, weapons, engine, and other equipment.
Market Cost: Approximately 200 million credits with additional weapon systems


  1. Two (2) Heavy Particle Beam Cannons: The mounts are identical to those carried in a standard Hunter class destroyer and are extremely effective. They can often devastate another destroyer in just a few shots and usually all three are concentrated on a single target. The weapons have good range although not useful against fighters and has standard penalties to hit small targets. One cannon is in the nose and the other two are on the sides mostly in the hull and are extremely well protected. The weapon system cannot be used to engage targets while traveling at faster than light velocities.
    Maximum Effective Range: 10,000 miles (16,000 km) in space and 20 miles (32 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega-Damage: 2D4x100 M.D. each (4D4x100 Maximum for both)
    Rate of Fire: Each one can be fired up to one time in a melee.
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  2. Four (4) Laser Batteries: Weapon system is part of the original design and are used as an anti-missile, anti-power armor, and anti-star fighter. Weapons system has no penalties to hit fighters and small targets and can be operated by a gunner or a gunner program (+2 to strike, 3 Attacks per melee). The weapon system cannot be used to engage targets while traveling at faster than light velocities.
    Maximum Effective Range: 200 miles (322 km) in space and 4 miles (6.4 km) in an atmosphere.
    Mega Damage: 3D6x10 M.D.C. each.
    Rate of Fire: Equal to the combined hand to hand attacks of the gunner (usually 4 or 5).
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
  3. Two (2) Long Range Missile Batteries: Missile has a top speed of Mach 20 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 8% of light per turn (faster than any starship.) Whether weapons can be shot down is calculated from the speed of target, launcher, and missile. When drive goes dead, missile will continue to travel in a straight line unless set to self destruct but has very low odds of hitting star ships (Great for hitting bases and planets because target does not move and missile, when unpowered, is at -25% to be detected.) Long range missiles do not have penalties to hit small targets unlike cruise missiles and are all considered smart missiles. Launchers can launch on multiple targets each.
    Maximum Effective Range: Long Range Missile range is 3,400 miles (5,470 km) in an atmosphere and 1,800,000 miles (2,897,000 km/9.7 light seconds) in space.
    Mega-Damage & Properties: See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details (Fusion warheads inflict 2D4x100 M.D.C. each.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) missiles per melee attack.
    Payload: 48 total, 24 long range missiles per launcher. Extra missiles can be carried in the ship’s cargo hold.
  4. Four (4) Medium Range Missile Batteries: Standard weapon system from a merchant class vessel. Missile has a top speed of Mach 15 in an atmosphere and in space has an acceleration of 6% of light per turn. Normally used for anti-fighter and point defense. Batteries can launch on multiple targets each at the same time.
    Maximum Effective Range: Medium Range Missile range is 160 miles (257.5 km) in an atmosphere and 80,000 miles (128,750 km/0.43 light seconds) in space.
    Mega-Damage: Varies with medium range missile type (See revised Phase World / Three Galaxies missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2), four (4), or eight (8) missiles per melee attack.
    Payload: 24 per battery for a total of 96 medium range missiles.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

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