|Used Primarily By||Any|
|Crew (Min/Max)||0/15 (see below)|
|Man-Days of Fresh Air||1,800|
|Maneuver Class||F (see below)|
|Landing - Land||No|
|Landing - Water||Yes|
|Saves As||Thick wood|
|Power Type||None or minor helm (10%)|
|Ship's Rating||As per towing ship or helmsman|
|Source||SJR1 Lost Ships|
The simple cargo barge is an ancient design which has remained unchanged since the first days of human spacefaring. These unglamorous, usually battered craft are simple boats dominated by massive hitching-bollards for towing, and in some cases by high, removable side walls used to make carried cargo more secure. The cargo barge is not really intended to operate as a ship in its own right, but is rather intended to be towed by another ship. A towed cargo barge reduces the maneuverability of the towing ship to F.
None, although common practice is to assign one crewman of the towing ship to each barge in tow, allowing the crew to keep a watch on the lashings and security of the cargo. On those rare occasions when a cargo barge is under its own power it will typically carry a single pilot, or a pilot and a backup.
Towed Cargo Hauler: Barges are almost always used in space voyaging to bring extra air and cargo. Barges are popular amongst traders, explorers on long-range voyages, and warships wishing to carry extra crew. In a combat situation, the towed barge will typically be cut loose to restore the parent ship's maneuverability. The barge can even be cut loose in order to be used as an obstacle or a ram to bring about a "crash" result on an enemy.
Slave Boat: Some slavers have been known to use cargo barges to transport large quantities of slaves. One advantage of the cargo barge is that the ship's single open deck makes it very easy for a small number of slavers (typically 1 slaver for every 30-50 slaves) to keep an eye on all of the slaves. The major advantage of a cargo barge as a slave boat, however, is that even if there is a successful escape attempt on a slave boat, the towing craft can simply cut the barge loose, stranding the slaves in space without a helm, where they will quickly die. As a result, the slaves aboard a cargo barge tend not to make any escape attempts. If magical means to refresh the air envelope are available, these ships will often carry as many as 350 slaves in horrifically crowded conditions. The slaves are typically kept chained to long wooden beams that are bolted to the deck. When the time comes to unload the slaves, the beam will be unbolted, and all of the slaves chained to it (typically 20-40) will disembark simultaneously. The small crew hut will serve as the quarters for the slavers. Cargo barges serving as slave boats will typically be towed by a powerful combat ship. Illithids frequently use cargo barges as slave boats, typically with two illithid overseers. Illithid slave boats are usually equipped with series helms since even if a slave revolt is successful, the slaves will still be unable to pilot the ship.
Shuttle Tugs: A few cargo barges are equipped with helms of their own, and serve as escape craft and shuttles for the towing ship, or serve as a tug, towing several other cargo barges.
Power Rams: Neogi often use cargo barges for this purpose, although some other races are known to as well. A power ram is simply a cargo barge which is loaded with flammable or explosive materials (often a combination of greek fire, oil, smokepowder, and pitch) and allowed to crash into a ship or base. Power rams are piloted, since a cargo barge which is simply cut loose from a piloted ship will rarely hit its target. The neogi tend to use a standard lifejammer helm powered by a charmed slave on a power ram, an alarming concept since it shows that the neogi literally can afford to throwaway helms in this fashion. Other races using power rams tend to use temporary helms created by a Create Minor Helm spell. The pilot of such a craft is typically expected to escape in a wreckboat, or via magic, although sometimes the pilot will simply be a fanatic who is unconcerned with his own death.