Equipment Labs: Exploring the Galactic Fringe – Nova-Drive 3-Z Light Freighter

Let’s be honest for a moment.  The selection of vehicles provided in the Edge of the Empire Beta is pretty sparse, particularly where suitable ships for a group of PCs are concerned.  Understandable, since the Beta was intended more to get people to stress-test the new system that Jay Little (aka Agent Y14) developed for Fantasy Flight Games’ new Star Wars RPG line.  But while we wait for the final version of the Edge of the Empire rulebook to come out, I thought we here at the GSA might offer up some interesting alternatives for a party’s ride as they travel from one end of the galaxy to the next.

For this week’s installment, we’ll be delving once more in the WEG archives, this time featuring a rarely known gem of a ship, one that has many of the perks of a YT-series freighter without being a YT-series freighter.  Though based on a much older design than the YT-1300, the Nova-Drive 3-Z light freighter can give the venerable tramp freighter a serious run for its money.

NovaDrive3Z

Hull Type: Freighter
Ship Class: 3-Z
Manufacturer: Nova-Drive
Hyperdrive: Primary: Class 2, Backup: Class 15
Navicomputer: Yes
Ship’s Complement: One pilot, one co-pilot/engineer
Passenger Capacity: 8
Encumbrance Capacity: 280
Consumables: 2 months
Cost/Rarity: 60,000 credits/6
Silhouette: 4
Sensor Range: Short
Speed: 3
Handling: +0
Defense: 1/1
Armor: 5
Hull Integrity: 26
Strain Threshold: 18
Customization Hardpoints: 5

Weapons
Light Laser Cannon (Fire Arc Forward, Port, Aft; Range Close, Damage 5, Critical Hit 3)
Light Laser Cannon (Fire Arc Forward, Starbord, Aft; Range Close, Damage 5, Critical Hit 3)

A small starship manufacturer located in the Mid Rim along the Rimma Trade Route, Nova-Drive is best known for its practice of licensing or purchasing older ship designs from the original manufacturers, and then making a series of modifications to the design to appeal to various niche markets.  So when the Corellian Engineering Corporation began phasing out the YT-1200 series of light transports in favor of the newer YT-1300 model, they thought little of allowing Nova-Drive to sub-license the YT-1200 design, figuring their new design would make that series obsolete within a few years.  For their part, Nova-Drive saw an opportunity to take a tried-and-tested design and upgrade it to make it a viable competitor in the modern light transport market.  The end result was the 3-Z light freighter, which has a hull that was redesigned and reinforced to enable it to support more powerful sublight drives as well as carry vastly more cargo than most other light freighter designs, along with a host of other minor improvements.  Best of all, because Nova-Drive didn’t have to spend much in the way of R&D, they’ve been able to price the 3-Z at an astonishingly competitive rate.  The only thing keeping Nova-Drive from dominating the light transport market is their limited production facilities and the name-brand recognition that the YT series of freighters carries with it.

Image is courtesy of Wookieepedia.

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