AnotherDilbert wrote:It's possible, but difficult. If it's easier for military ships, it's just that I assumed the Navy is a bit fanatical about squeezing the most out of their crews. Even a destroyer has tens of engineers, presumably it has a competent Jump engineer. I'm also assuming that the Navy can spend some money on augmenting the guy who initiates jump on a warship worth billions. Hence I'm assuming most warships have pretty good skills. The same cannot be said for a para-military Type T.
For a Free Trader on the other hand with a single engineer, probably not specialised in Jump the average skill level is lower.
My calculations are built on a large pile of loose assumptions, you might want to call it "best case" and "reasonable case" instead.
I get that. But the rules provide no real differentiation between military and civilian. So that merchie engineer is just as qualified as the military one. That Free Trader has just as good targeting software as the dreadnought, and that daredevil liner pilot is just as good as the one flying the heavy cruiser. So in this sense there is no real difference between military and civilian ships. Some of the designs for the military ones have zero armor cruisers. That's, well, silly.
Which leads me back to the point of if it's possible and common for military ships, then it must be possible (and less common) for civilian ones.
Let's make a quick estimate:
The Imperium has a pop of 18 trillion and a GDP of 140 PCr. If we assume 0,1% of the economy is building ships (probably too high?) that is 140 TCr worth of ships every year. If each ship is used for 40 years that is a total amount of 5600 TCr worth of active ships. If we assume a 10000 dT J3 freighter carrying 100 passengers and 5000 dT cargo costing MCr 2400 as average, that is about 2 million active merchant ships.
Each ship does 30 jumps per year, so that makes 60 million jumps with 6 billion passengers and 300 billion dT cargo carried.
A current major airport carries tens of millions of passengers per year, so the Imperium would have hundreds of starports as busy as current airports.
So as a quick estimate a stellar tech pop A world have a starport as busy as a major airport. Note that most of the Imperial population lives on such worlds.
A pop 6 world would have a much, much less busy starport, unless it's on a major trade route between pop A worlds.
I think those numbers are way too low. Multiple planets with populations in the billions will drive far more travel. And also you need to think about how the world's flying statistics are taken into account. According to IATA, the African subcontinent is woefully under-developed as far as air travel is concerned. But it's starting to catch up. And the two most populous countries, India and China, still have really anemic air travel industries for their size. And part of that is because the population is poorer than the average European or American, and also because of the population density it's easier and cheaper to use trains to move people (not to mention they still are building out credible aviation infrastructure).
And that begets the question, should we use the US/Europe and the western world for the example of what the Imperium is supposed to operate as? More likely the Imperium would be the same as Earth is. But the inelastic pricing model of both freight and passenger service for the game precludes using real world economic theory. If the cost of moving freight and passengers is so prohibitive, then you simply wouldn't seen the amount of interstellar traffic the game posits. Instead star systems would develop system-wide infrastructure and shuttle passengers and cargo INTRAsystem. With the technology of the Imperium, it would take a civilization a LONG time to exhaust the minerals of an entire star system. And with modern recycling tech you wouldn't need to consume as much either.
But that's reality, and I'm not wanting to play a fully reality-based Traveller game (taxes, piles.... ugh!). Still, I want the game model to make at least moderate sense, mostly because if I'm going to referee it, or play in it, I want to be able to dissasemble the rules so I know how the characters will and can accomplish things. It's no fun to be a corporate spy and find the computers are unencrypted and front door unlocked. It's also not realistic to have 50 guards surrounding the chairman's 13th removed cousin who knows the secret recipe that the players have been hired to steal. Or, in this argument, having to pay Cr2,500/ton for cargo space and Cr8,000 for a tiny room for a week on a tramp freighter that just showed up in the system and happens to be heading in the direction I'm traveling.