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Working through my Traveller conversions for the ships of Elite, I finally have a completed Cobra Mk III. Since this was going to be probably the most important of the ships, I wanted to leave it until after I’d finished most of the others. There have been a few retro-modifications along the way, as I figured out what worked and what didn’t. I’m bound to make make changes to it in the future, but I think that it’s in a ‘good enough’ state for now.

The full 8 page PDF is available for download. A full set of deck plans and images are available as a ZIP file over on the main site.

The Cobra Mk I was similar to a typical 200t Far Trader, but with a faster manoeuvre drive and heavier armour. Given the central importance of space combat within the original game, I wanted to preserve the combat orientated nature of the designs. This makes all the Elite ships somewhat tougher than the core designs, at the expense of cargo space.

Cobra Mk III

Since I wanted the Mk III to have two laser turrets (the game version had four fixed mount lasers, plus missiles) and missiles, Mongoose rules say it has to be at least 300t. This makes the Mk III quite a heavy ship, though still smaller than the Subsidised Merchant.

I increased the TL over the original Mk I to 13, since it’s a later model. I’ve decided to keep all the standard ships within the TL 10 to TL 13 range, with the Constrictor (a special ship encountered in one of the missions) being TL 14. This allows the Constrictor to use Bonded Superdense armour. My memory of that mission is that the Constrictor had extra tough armour (it definitely took a lot of killing), so that would fit the TL designation.

The interior of the Cobra is split across three decks, with the cargo hold in the middle deck and bridge and living quarters focused on the upper deck. In order to maximise one large cargo hold, some of the engineering got moved to the upper deck. The decks actually have an extra 4t (taking them to 304t), to account for the two free airlocks they get (a 300t ship actually gets three airlocks, but two was enough).

Deck 1 (Lower)
Deck 2 (Middle)
Deck 3 (Upper)

The Cobra Mk III was a single pilot ship (though in the novella, it had room for two pilots). With sufficient automation, this version can be flown by a single pilot, though more crew are better. After all, the computer game was a single player game, whereas Traveller is a multi-player RPG, so adding more crew is better suited to the RPG.

Carrying passengers was never a thing in the computer game though (unless they were unwilling), so my standard conversion doesn’t leave much room for passengers. I’ve included two variant models – the Model P which has extra staterooms for passengers, and the Model X which has increased cargo space. I do like having variants of each ship design, but it does take time and effort to do.

One of the statistics that I hadn’t really been thinking about too hard when I started this project was the In Service date for the various ships. The Elite manual gives some in AD, but I wanted to switch them over to the Third Imperium timeline so had been making up new dates for them. I’ve decided to now actually go back and redo them all properly. As a start for this, I made a table of all the official dates sorted in chronological order.

ShipOriginal DateTLTraveller Date
Cobra I285512755
Orbit Shuttle285610756
Asp II2878778
Cobra III3100131000

Some of the assumptions I originally made didn’t match up to the dates, but it’s not that big a deal. The TLs are vaguely okay chronologically. The Python was much older than I’d assumed, but I’d made it TL 11, which is the minimum for Jump 2. Since I’d made the Worm a docked craft on the Python, I changed the Worm’s date to be older. All the others have kept their chronological order.

First draft of Mamba fighter

I’ll make the Mamba TL 13, since it’s the most modern of all the ships listed above. I’ve also decided to make it 20t, similar to the Sidewinder. So rather than competing with the 40t Viper, it’s competing with the other fighters.

I’d already planned on making the Fer-de-lance TL 13, so that fits nicely with the chronology. The Asp was the fastest ship in the original Elite, but it’s also quite old. To be faster than the Sidewinder, it will need to be TL 14 as well. Not sure yet how I’m going to deal with that.

Another change I’m making is for the Boa to be 1,200t (rather than my original planned 1,600t) and the Anaconda 2,400t (rather than my planned 3,200t). This brings all the ships into the ‘adventurer class’. I might give the Boa Jump-3, just to make a difference.

I may take a bit of a break after getting these ships done, before starting to take a look at ships from ArcElite and maybe Oolite. It’s probably going to be another few months before I’d done though. Big ships like the Boa and Anaconda are going to take a while to get right.

Samuel Penn