Imagine a combat focused party that does the tough dirty jobs: mercenaries/bounty hunters/smugglers or transporting valuable cargo (persons or things) that will make the party a target
What official ship would you recommend... I'm thinking either the YT-2400 (core book) or the HWK-290 (Far Horizons)
There are a lot of good ships. I guess the first factor is how much money can be spent? The page at http://swrpg.viluppo...&flattened=true which is sorted by price is a pretty good first approximation of how powerful the ships are, from most to least. You could also look at that list sorted by the number of weapons they have by default, (see http://swrpg.viluppo...&flattened=true)
Is the GM okay with the party having a Sil 5 ship? How much extra crew is the GM willing to allow? The DP-20 Gunship is pretty damn nasty, and actually slightly less expensive than a Consular Class Light Cruiser. But the Consular could relatively easily be manned by the PCs plus a small number of droids, while the DP-20 would need more than just a small number of droids. And both of those are more expensive than a Rendili Stardrive Neutron Star-Class Bulk Cruiser, but do you really want them to have a Sil 7 Capital Ship?
If the party will top out at Sil 5, then the Lancer-class Frigate is damn powerful, but it’s pretty slow. It also has higher crew requirements. The CR-90 Corvette is a favorite, if only because of the first scene in Episode IV "A New Hope". Likewise, other Corvettes, Frigates, or Light Cruisers could be considered. But these are pretty much all heavily militarized ships, and are likely to have high crew requirements. Myself, I would think that a ship with around 10-12 crew would be the maximum I would be likely to let the party have, in which case the Gozanti-Class Armed Transport looks nice, if a bit slow.
You also want to look at the combined amount of default weapons installed plus the default amount of available Hard Points. More Hard Points means more capability to customize the ship as desired, but more default weapons means that it would be better "out of the box" before any customization is done.
If the players are restricted to a ship that is not large enough to reasonably mount a Turbolaser, then they’re stuck at Sil 4 or smaller. Yes, they could use the external mount option from DC, but that would be pretty damn obvious and would put a huge target on their backs. In the Sil 4 range, the GAT-12H Skipray Blastboat and the Incom A-36 Pathfinder-Class Force Reconnaissance Vessel are a bit faster at Spd 4, but at Spd 3 the 4R3 Light Assault Transport has 5 weapons by default and 4 available HPs, which is a little better than the YV-929 Light Freighter which has six weapons by default but only one available HP.
Overall, I think maybe I like the ILH-KK Citadel-Class Light Freighter best — it has a pretty good combination of all of the above factors. Not as fast as the Blastboat, but well armed and 4 available HPs, small crew requirements, decent cargo space, and decent passenger capacity.
Of course, the creators of the game have clearly tilted the tables in favor of the YT-1300 and its close relative the YT-2400. They’re quite good for the money they cost, but to me they seem a bit bland and the obvious choice, and I personally like to be a bit more individualistic.
So, I think it really comes down to how the party works and how they would be likely to use the ship. Some of the examples above are obviously much more militaristic, and if they would definitely attract a close inspection in more civilized systems. Some of the examples are more likely to be seen in an Imperial setting, while others are more likely in a Rebellion environment — that might be important if they’re trying to blend into the background and not attract too much attention.
The HWK-290 is great as a large fighter/small freighter carrying highly specialized cargoes, but it may or may not be a good fit for the party. Likewise with every single other example above — you need to know how they work and how the ship is likely to be used.
The only thing I would hope is that the GM doesn’t intentionally shackle the party with some particular ship just because the GM thinks it’s "AWESOME", but the rest of the party hates it with a passion.
[ Edit: for clarity ]
Edited by bradknowles, 16 August 2014 - 09:50 PM.