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Old 04-06-2020, 12:10 PM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: Mapping a cramped living space (for a spaceship, bunker, etc.)

Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
I've been looking at mapping some cramped living quarters for an adventure I'm trying to run, and while many GURPS supplements seem to have vague guidelines for such things, I'm having trouble translating that into exact dimensions. So I'm going to think out loud a bit about what dimensions are reasonable.

Vehicles gives the standard dimensions of a "cabin" as 500 cubic feet. Assuming an 8' ceiling, that's 62.5 square feet, probably something like 7'6" by 8'. That's tiny by the size of most apartments being built in the US today, but in theory you can cram a lot into a space like that. I once lived a few months in Seoul in a room roughly that size, maybe smaller, and it actually managed to include both a toilet and a shower by making you sit on the toilet to shower. It was a bit weird, but it worked. Actually you could probably assume some of the floor area Vehicles allocates for that room is actually a section of hallway—maybe a 6' by 8' room adjacent to a 6' by 2' section of hallway.

I'm scratching my head a bit more over how to lay out bunkrooms which, according to various GURPS sources, seem intended to have four times as many beds as a cabin and some minimum amount of shared non-bed amenities. Are we stacking the beds four high, so that you can't sit up in bed without hitting your head? Are the beds even smaller than the 30" by 75", the size of a "small single" in the United States? Is there only a foot of space between the two bunks? I'm really struggling to visualize it.

There's also the issue of what to do if considerations unrelated to bed and bathroom arrangement force you to use awkwardly-shaped rooms. What if your rooms need to be 5' by 10' or, worse, 4' by 8'? I'm kind of hoping someone here has more experience with architectural and furniture tetris than I do.
Spaces like this are not so easy to map because they are very crowded and use all three dimensions, often with things folding up or sliding inside other things when they are not needed. On a boat or in a cave its likely that all the walls are curved in three dimensions. You might be better off with a sketch and a note of the penalties to combat for anyone in the space and the structure's cover value.

Aside from tiny houses, read Farley Mowat's The Boat that Would not Float for some typical early 20th century cabin space, or look up photos of u-boats and H.M.S. Victory. Bunks stacked four deep is not unusual!
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