Saturday, May 17, 2008

Longrunner Caravan Truck

A standard of Badlands caravans, the massive Longrunner truck is famous for its reliability. The vehicle is powered by a diesel engine coupled to an efficient generator and battery array. Each of the six massive wheels has its own electric drive motor and transmission, and the vehicle can often continue on without any loss of speed after losing two wheels to fire. A back-up foldable solar array can complete recharge the engine in about twelve hours. This makes the Longrunner inexpensive to operate and ideal for many caravan traders who use them as home as well as cargo transport. The truck's large size and high ground clearance allow it to cover rough terrain with relative ease and also provide some protection against natural and man-made dangers.

The Longrunner was one of the first vehicles to be produced by Neil Motor Works (Fort Neil, Badlands). It is still one of the firm's best-sellers, an unmistakable sign of the truck's sound design. Longrunners are often part of caravans crossing the Badlands. Usually, traders will secure the solar array sheet on top of the cargo bay to power their applicances without affecting their deployment range.

The six used by Kain Delacroix and company are as standard as they come. Here are some basics:


Front cabin: The round-shaped front cabin seats four on a massive bench, though it's a little cramped. Each forward cabin has three access points: left door (driver's access), roof hatch and rear access door. Behind the bench of the front cabin is enough sleeping space for one, two if no one has any objections to getting friendly. All of the Caravan's Longrunners have been equipped with pintle mounts for the roof hatches and an LMG or AGL. After a nasty encounter with an unanticipated armed and hostile Hopper, they are also equipped with a shoulder-fired SAM in the cab.

Cargo cabin: In the forward section of the cargo bay is space for another eight passengers. Sleeping space is modular, and most caravaners will use some of the cargo hold as living quarters. Entry points include: Human-sized access door at the front (directly opposite the rear door of the cabin), human-sized access door at the very rear, full retractable loading bay doors at the back, and four retractable roof/side hatches that fold out and down for easy cargo loading.

The cargo holds are massive - roughly 200 cubic meters of space, ten meters long and five meters tall. If necessary, the roof and sides can be folded away to turn the Longrunner into a flatbed truck. The middle black section is made of a flexible polymer/ceramite blend with reinforcement for strength. The dimensions of the hold are a little complicated, as it has a rounded T cross section. Naturally, there is ample space for cargo inside the holds, and there are two stowable gangways and many retractable shelving units.

Each of the Caravan's Longrunners has a motorcycle mounted on a quickrelease rack and protected from the elements by a sturdy tarp. These bikes are for qucik/light errands, pursuit, and other emergency conditions. They are part of the regular maintenance schedule and each mount a small emergency/survival kit.

Range: The Longrunners have an 850km base range at combat speed. This number represents the distance a Longrunner can go cross-country without maintenance. Fuel, however, is a different story. By switching back and forth between diesel and battery power, the Longrunner has a 2000km range before the diesel fuel tanks need refilling. The vehicle can run off its solar array: that requires one hour stopped for every 75km of travel (roughly). Setting up the solar array requires fifteen minutes, folding it up for storage takes ten minutes. The array can be deployed to recharge the battery while the diesel engine is going, however the array is susceptible to damage from dust, debris and wind. Also, the diesel engine recharges the battery while running.

Suspension: Each wheel has independent electrically powered hydraulic suspension. Between the suspension and the massive wheels, the Longrunner is very stable and rides smoothly.

Drive train: Six independently powered electrically driven wheels. Diesel v-engine for charging the battery while on the move.

Chassis: Steel, aluminum alloys with reinforced durasheet for strength.

Maintenance: The Longrunners of this caravan are all older, lived-in and built tough. They're also worn around the edges. Still, they are easy to maintain. Parts are plentiful and tolerances loose enough that if the specified part isn't available, something else can do in a pinch. That's a good thing, given this Caravan's almost magnet attraction for bullets.

UPDATE: The dimensions given for the Longrunner in the Heavy Gear sourcebook "Into the Badlands" are slightly unrealistic. The Longrunner has a cargo bay that can hold 200 cubic meters, at 10m long, 5m wide and 4m tall. It is also listed as having a height of 8.3m. This seems too tall, given that the cargo bay is the highest part of the truck. Thus, with a little eyeballing and some basic mathematics, we've determined a better set of dimensions for the cargo bay, and thus for the height of the Longrunner itself:

The cargo bay is shaped like a flattened 'T' (see illustration below). This means that computing volume is slightly more complicated than normal. Looking at the illustration, we have established that the 'gutter' of the cargo bay is itself half the width of the bay, while the height of the gutter is one third of the height of the rest of the bay (the top of the T). Given that the entire cargo bay is 200 cubic meters and that the gutter represents one sixth (1/3 x 1/2) of the full cargo capacity (33.3 cubic meters), we now know that the rest of the cargo bay (the top of the T) accounts for 166.7 cubic meters, at 10m long, and roughly 4.5m wide (again, determined with the Mk. 1 Eyeball). That gives a cross sectional area of 45 square meters. 166.7 cubic meters divided by 45 square meters = 3.7m for the height of the top of the T. Which means that the height of the cargo bay from the bottom of the gutter to the top is 3.7 + 3.7/3 = 4.93m. So barely under 5m.

Thus, the revised height of the Longrunner should be ~6.5m rather than 8.3m, given 1.8m diameter wheels and about .5m of undercarriage.

Hangout; The Cave; Uptown; Downtown;
Shop; Sugar; Spice; The Hold

Longrunner A
Long Range Caravan TruckPRIMARY COMBAT:9/+1
9mm Light Machinegun

37mm AGL

Cargo Bay
200 m3
Storage hold 4x5x10m

Easy to Modify
-+2 to Repair and Modify

Hostile Env. Protection-Desert
Improved Off Road
--1 to Terrain MP cost, min. 1

Passenger Seating
83 in cab, 5 in back

Rugged Movement System
-Absorbs first Movement hit

Searchlights3Fix fwd, 150 m range

Exposed Movement System
-Damage vs. Movement is one step worse

Large Sensor Profile
3Easy to detect

Cramped forward cabin



Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.