Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:21 am

Separate the sheep from the wolves.

Never a good idea to empower the sheep.

Image
hiro

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby hiro » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:23 am

Not if you're a wolf, no.

The sheep tho, they quite like their new found power....
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:25 am

It's a Vargr plot.

You may think it's the Hivers who like to screw with your mind, but the Vargr are the ones that really run the galaxy.
haveahappy
Stoat
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:44 am

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby haveahappy » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:46 am

The Imperium embraces free market forces. The fixed ship prices in the books would appear to be at odds with this, but remember that these are "fresh off the line" prices. A party starting out IMO is unlikely to be purchasing a brand new ship, let alone designing one.
This does not preclude them owning a ship outright if you want them to. They could easily have claimed a ship at salvage, inherited it from a trader uncle, stolen it, or have some rich angel investor who has faith in their abilities at speculative trade.

Still, while expensive enough to keep the casual trader at bay, a ship still needs to be cheap enough to make a profit from it's intended use, or none would be made. How much equity you need in a ship to make it profitable after mortgage payments is the question. This is where market forces come in. Profits should not be riskless nor excessive.

I do think a situation where a 100% mortgaged ship is used to generate virtually riskless profits trading is untenable, and would result in an "unwashed masses" scenario. I think the market forces of competition, arbitrage, and supply of skilled labour (pilots, astrogators etc.) would tamp this down fairly quickly. In this sense, ships are not "too expensive".
hiro

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby hiro » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:58 am

I'm using a version of what was proposed on the second page of this thread by Nobby-W

Ships are 40 years old and paid off in full, they've come to the end of their useful life for the original purchaser who is selling for pure profit. At that age I'm using 4 rolls on the quirks table from the draft 2nd Ed of MgT.

It brings the price down and gives me stuff to throw at the PCs when something on the ship breaks.

My PCs are investing their ill gotten gains avidly and are likely to have enough for the down payment on a 40 year old ship in the next few sessions.
User avatar
pasuuli
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 711
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:53 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby pasuuli » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:28 pm

I'm sure leasing is doable, but what I typically see is chartering a ship for a period of time. This may include in effect a kind of lease, but it also includes options such as a supplied crew or even equipment. The Mercenary Ticket can at times look like this in a certain way: players are given temporary use of a ship and/or equipment and are compensated for a military task.

In other words, the ship is typically not the focus of a transaction. It tends to be part of the agreement, one way or the other.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4921
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby phavoc » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:23 pm

Assuming that 40yr old ship was properly refurbished, it should more or less act and work like a new one. Look at the B-52s that are still flying with their original engines and wings but updated electronics. There's certainly real-world precedents for it.

I don't know enough about the shipping market to handle that, especially the modern one, but three are some older tramp freighters still running around. More so in the past, but today everything is either in containers or bulk transports, which is usually the primary reason we don't see that as much.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:48 am

A well crafted craft will have mini quirks after forty years, possibly none at all.

One that's been heavily used, inconsistent quality control during manufacture or cheaply produced, and arbitrarily maintained probably would have developed quite a number.
hiro

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby hiro » Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:51 am

I learnt a few things from this process:

Game wise, the difference between leasing and mortgaging is not significant. The money isn't hugely different between leasing and buying what changes is the responsibility. A lease (and this could be wet lease - short term just like chartering or dry , long term leasing) absolved the players from the long term effects of paying a mortgage off. Some games don't run long enough to see a mortgage paid off, I've played a campaign over many months/years in real time but game time it wasn't a significant period. The difference between leasing and buying became moot.

I juggled numbers with Nobby-W's suggestion, linked earlier in the thread and was happy with what it yielded as long as I stuck with free traders or ships with a balance of income derived from passengers and cargo. As soon as you use the formula for a courier ship or one with very little cargo/passenger space you have to fill the gap to make the price up to something reasonable. I had planned to use this as the default method of pricing older ships but now consider it's best use for off the beaten track star ports with limited (mostly free traders or similar) ships for sale.

A forty year old ship can have a wealth of problems. The table from both the 1e and 2e of MgT can yield some major effects on the use of the ship. In keeping with what others have said that seems harsh for a ship that's made it's maintenance payments, been taken care of, started as a well designed/built ship and not been shot (much :wink:). A mature design of ship that is potentially centuries old should have it's eccentricities ironed out and I'd qualify any ship that gets the standard design discount as mature.

I might make a suggestion over on the beta threads that instead of a straight number of rolls for a ship X years old, a table be rolled on to see how many rolls with DMs for prompt maintenance etc. There should be a way you can have a ship that has been paid off in full and has made it's original owner some cash but is still in decent order, cosmetic damage I can understand, being harder to repair likewise but a ship that has cumulative difficult to repair rolls is an accident waiting to happen and when you're still parting with a sizable amount of cash that seems out of kilter. Without wishing to add a level of bureaucracy to this, it seems possible that certainly in the Imperium, a ship has to meet a certain standard to be licenced to carry passengers. Outside the Imperium, haha, you pays your money, you take your chances... :mrgreen:
Epicenter
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 309
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:37 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Epicenter » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:39 am

hiro wrote: I might make a suggestion over on the beta threads that instead of a straight number of rolls for a ship X years old, a table be rolled on to see how many rolls with DMs for prompt maintenance etc.
There's something I concluded a while that I'll share here, since your post has convinced me to:

Unless you're playing some RL years-long game or you're playing some single-player (or nearly single player) "calculators and spreadsheets Merchant Prince" game with accelerated in-game time ... mortgages and ship payments add little to Traveller and shoehorn the game into the "making the monthly payment" tramp freighter game which sounds really cool ... but I've never actually played in a game like that where that actually worked out without some epic levels of GM fudging it (in a J-1 ship, you're better not even adventuring and just sticking to the timetables and schedules to make money hand-over-fist. In a J-2 ship you won't make money so you as might as well just skip or something asap.)

We all stick with this system because that's what Mssrs. Miller et al came up with in the hoary days of 1976 and it's lasted this long, so why not?

But it was never a good system, IMO. It should be replaced.

I can't think of the last time a "adventuring Traveller" tabletop game ever lasted long enough for a ship owner to pay off the ship doing it "fair and square" without patrons paying off the ship or finding some Ancient artifact that when sold paid off the ship or whatever. 20-years of payments as might as well be forever for a tabletop RPG. 10 years is the same. Even 5 years, honestly.

It reminds me of the Palladium Games' RPG "RIFTS." If anyone remembers RIFTS, remember the Juicer character class? (For those unfamiliar, the Juicer uses various "performance altering chemicals" to massively improve the potential of the human body, but at the cost of a very short lifespan, like less than 5 years.) There's a huge deal made about the guys and gals only living a few years. But seriously, unless you played a game with rapidly accelerated in-game time for some reason ... when did that lifespan ever mean a thing in your game? Regrettably most games simply don't last long enough for that lifespan to matter.

It's the same thing I've found in Traveller. Unless your players make some truly titantic windfall of credits, they're never going to pay off their ship (and that windfall pretty much means "the GM is tired of dealing with the ship payments"). If their ship gets blown up with payments still left, they still have to make their payments on a ship that no longer exists ... which usually leads pretty rapidly to some very put-out players. Otherwise, they're stuck with this annoying bill every month that frankly doesn't add as much to games as they should.

I've personally begun running all my games that start with the players getting a 40-year old (or older) ship that's completely paid off. However it's an old ship, it hasn't been maintained perfectly and it has various quirks and other issues. Paying for maintenance, rebuilding, and replacement is something immediate and interesting, and the quirky ships have real effect in-play.

Instead of allowing to make ship payments using mustering out benefits, the ship starts with a bunch of things wrong with it, and the repeat rolls for ships or payments allow the players to have rebuilt/replaced an item to reduce the number of problems their ship have before the game starts. I've found it allows me to run a variety of games without having to worry about monthly payments that pretty much leash me into a game where the players have to be regular and predictable to make payments ... or else "someone" pays it off and the players get a brand-new ship for free which makes the entire system pointless.

I personally feel that Mongoose for their next revision should make the "fully paid off semi-junk ship with problems" to be the default mode of the game. It's far more interesting and flexible. Leave in the old and broken rules for monthly payments and all that as an option for legacy players who insist on support for that system. But I'm pretty much willing to bet money a fully paid off older ship works better for games.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:54 pm

Make the ship another character in the adventure.
AndrewW
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4374
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:57 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby AndrewW » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:19 pm

Condottiere wrote:Make the ship another character in the adventure.
I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
hiro

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby hiro » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:10 pm

Epicenter wrote:There's something I concluded a while that I'll share here, since your post has convinced me to:
<snip>
I personally feel that Mongoose for their next revision should make the "fully paid off semi-junk ship with problems" to be the default mode of the game. It's far more interesting and flexible. Leave in the old and broken rules for monthly payments and all that as an option for legacy players who insist on support for that system. But I'm pretty much willing to bet money a fully paid off older ship works better for games.
I can't argue with you, all your points are valid to me. I think the issue lies with the setting and that the rules revolve around the setting and everything has a price. At the end of the day, the difference between your average Traveller and D&D game isn't a great deal. Everyone wants to up their characters, get rich and have a giggle doing so. It's the staple of RPGs regardless of genre. The moment you put some kind of economics in a game people jump at it. I prefer my games to have some shreds of believability, simply giving a bunch of trigger happy men in the throes of mid life crisis a squillion dollar ship isn't believable, how you get a ship into their hands in a Traveller setting without just hand waving it and rolling with the flow I am not sure. It would be companies and governments that could afford starships, working for a mega corporation seems a reasonable option but then the players are employees and not free to do stupid sh!t as players are wont to do.

In short, the game is based around an idea that isn't holding water for you and me, whether that's the opinion of the majority I couldn't tell you and for that reason I can't see a change in tack from Mongoose. I enjoy playing Traveller but my solution to this problem has been to look at a different setting and rules that work to it.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8776
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:29 am

That's why orc(/k)s can be quite fun.
Nobby-W
Mongoose
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:10 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Nobby-W » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:09 am

From another posting ('Cheap Ships, expensive to run'), here's a synopsis about a secondhand market for ships. I've used this on a few occasions now.

I handled this a bit differently - make the ships cheap to buy and cheap-ish to run, but keep the total amount of money available to the PCs low.

I've assumed a market for secondhand starships such as free traders, the price of which is largely driven by the condition of the ship and the revenue generating potential in a frontier region where such a ship might be operated profitably. Thus, you could buy a used trading ship for a few million credits and there is a grey market for used, refurbished and off-brand parts where the maintenance history and actual hours on the part might not be quite as presented.

This keeps the total monies in the campaign relatively low but allows the party to buy and operate a starship. This has the effect of reducing the gap between the costs of outfitting for adventuring and the finances involved in running the starship.

As an analogy, there are (or were until recently) routes on which it it was still economical to run Boeing 707s, which are obsolete by most modern standards. At one point the market value for an airworthy 707 was about 2 million USD. Similarly, there was quite a substantial market in third party parts and maintenance services for DC3's , which were widely used in third world countries right into the 1980s and later. These services went as far as upgrade kits to fit turboprop engines to the airframe.

If you take this analogy, you can have a market for folks buying and running used trading ships where the purchase price is a small fraction - perhaps 5-20% of the new value - of the craft. The price is driven not by the cost of constructing the ship but by the revenue generating potential.

Say, for argument's sake, that the revenue generating potential of a type A2 trader is Cr60,000 for cargo and Cr40,000 for passengers, giving a revenue of Cr100,000 per jump or Cr2.4 million per annum. Each jump uses Cr22,000 worth of refined fuel and the maintenance cost is Cr500,000 per annum and Cr1000 landing fees per jump for 24 jumps per annum. Crew salaries are (say) Cr250,000 per annum.

Assuming you've got 2.4 million of revenue and 1.3m of costs per annum your ship can bring in a profit of (say) Cr1.1m P/A. If you assume this is a somewhat risky venture and insist on a 20% ROI then this means you can justify investing Cr5.5 million in total, which defines the market value of the ship as Cr5.5 million less the cost of any work that needs doing. A bank might insist on a 20% down payment of 1.1 million, which is a figure that could be achieved by a party of adventurers without making them so wealthy as to cause issues with game balance.

This keeps the finances a bit more tame, so you can go with a party of adventurers running their ship on a shoestring without having to write in a third party stumping up 50-100 million for the purchase of the ship.
Epicenter
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 309
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:37 pm

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby Epicenter » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:41 am

Giving further thought to leasing, I'd definitely be of the opinion that the only time players would see leasing as possible would be in some "merchant prince" type single-player-and-the-rulebook type campaign where they need a ship.

From the nature of Traveller, I'd think that short-term leases are probably what would occur - not much in the way of longer term leases.

Leasing I think would occur in a situation where a bank has come into possession of a ship (either a repo or perhaps a seizure of assets to pay a debt) and are leasing it out while the bank considers what to do with it - they might be looking or a buyer or something else. Regardless of what they do, while they ponder what to do, they'll rent the ship out so they can make money on it.

The requirements of a lease would be as stringent as buying the ship - a bank isn't going to lease a ship that is designed to go into harm's way (unless the renter can put up collateral for the full market value of the ship). They'd lease ships like liners or cargo ships to people with "good credit" with significantly less collateral if the renter planned to use the ship to do safe, boring, and profitable runs. The difference between buying the ship and renting it probably would be that it'd be easier for both parties to dissolve the relationship - leases might be made for some negotiated short duration or a fixed term (perhaps 3, 6, or 12 months). At the end of the negotiated lease, the borrower can return the ship and walk away or the bank can demand the ship back (perhaps they found a buyer).
User avatar
IanBruntlett
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1028
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:18 pm
Location: Northumberland, England

Re: Leasing spacecraft in Traveller

Postby IanBruntlett » Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:58 pm

I like the idea that paid-for, used spacecraft would be a lot cheaper but quirky to run.

Prior to that I was going to ensure that at least one player character was an ex-scout and had an old scout ship on loan from the Imperial Scout Service.
-- My writings : https://sites.google.com/site/ianbruntlett
-- ACCU - Professionalism in programming - http://accu.org
-- Free Software Page : https://sites.google.com/site/ianbruntl ... e-software

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Old School and 21 guests