I designed this frieghter to give me a civilian comparison to the party’s ship — I wanted a freighter at the same size (SM+10), but built for freight and economy, not a weird unique ex-military kind of thing. This would be an example of the campaign’s “light freighter” whereas the Eos-class (at SM+11) would be a standard size freighter. While the Eos holds ~21k tons of cargo — normal for a freighter — this class, the Soapberry Bug, holds just ~6k tons. This is the perhaps the origin of its diminutive name, as it is smaller than normal and has a rotund shape similar to the body of a soapberry bug.
To make this slightly more interesting I gave this freighter some minimal defenses: light force screens and a point defense gun. I’d assume this smaller ship is operating in hostile territory of some kind that justifies these expenses. This could also be a target ship that the players want to take over for the purpose of space piracy.
Soapberry Bug Light Freighter / Deep Space Transport
The Soapberry Bug class is a tried-and-true tramp freighter design popular throughout the Imperium. It is suitable for trade lanes where passenger liners may not be present, as it comes equipped with a larger number of passenger cabins than the average tramp freighter of its size, and more facilities. Streamlined and fitted with some recreational and repair/maintenance facilities, it excels at long-distance runs where it spends long periods away from developed spaceports. It is unlikely to ever outrun any opposition, but the force screens and point defense turret are intended to make capturing the ship a more costly problem for any would-be pirates, and they are usually a suitable deterrent.
As a light freighter, the 6,200-ton cargo hold is modestly-sized when compared to standard designs–this means it will be more likely that a Soapberry Bug will be employed to carry higher-value cargoes.
Crew and Passenger Capacity
By regulation and design, the minimum crew is 12 (as shown on the stats block) — this allows 8 unoccupied crew staterooms to be used for additional passengers. Running dead head (totally empty) and with no medical staff (e.g., if an automed were installed) this could be reduced to 9 crew as an absolute minimum (subtract the medic, purser [passenger care], and cargo master). However a more typical crew on a long-distance run is 20, providing a safety cushion of extra hands and redundant skills in the event an emergency arises on a distant outport.
If passenger cabins are double-bunked for additional revenue, it can carry up to 40 passengers, but a more typical load would be 20-30 and booking 40 passengers will be extremely crowded and unpleasant, even with the onboard bar, gym, and housekeeping facilities.
As usual, this was produced using Eric B. Smith’s amazing Microsoft Excel GURPS Spaceships Spreadsheet
If you are looking for a map for the interior of this freighter, the Future Armada and Codex line on DTRPG produces excellent maps, although most of the ships are too small for my campaign. In this case I would use the MisFortune deck plan, even though the layout is not the same as the GURPS stats block that isn’t really worth worrying about.
(Image coda: I imagine this freighter looking like digital artist Mark Hirst’s 2009 drawing of the “Skipjack,” although by the stats the ship pictured should be a little bigger I think.)