The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
PsiTraveller
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:47 pm

The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:51 am

I am writing up a module for TAS and it involves the fuel dump at 0406. (pg 232 of the core book)

In the Pirates of Drinax campaign (bk 1 pg 38) it is described as hundreds of 4 ton hydrogen drums.
This got me to thinking. The fuel dump allows ships to refuel and bridge the J3 gap between the Theev cluster and Salif and Noricum and the Florian Main.

So how much traffic does this fuel dump see? And what price would you charge per ton of fuel? I figure it should cost about 3000 credits per ton. This is based on 2000 credits in transport costs. 1000 to get the fuel from Theev to the fuel dump, 1000 to get the empty fuel hauler back to Theev, plus 500 for the regular cost of fuel, plus 500 credits for being literally in the middle of nowhere. A ship is not going to want to Jump empty after a delivery and not get paid.

Anyone else have a different pricing structure in mind?

Next question is how many ships go through the sector in a week, a month? If there are hundreds of drums, lets pick 500. That is 2000 tons of fuel capacity in 4 ton drums. This would allow 20 000 tons of shipping to use the drums before they needed filling. I get that number because I figure all ships are ever going to take Jump 1 fuel from the fuel dump. Ships heading from Theev Jump 1 and refill to do a Jump 2 to Salif or Noricum. Ships heading to Theev Jump 2 to the dump and get J1 fuel to make it to Theev and the gas giant. This is based on my cost for fuel.

Anyone else have a different usage in mind?

Third question is how well known is the fuel dump? In the Drinax game it is a secret known to the pirates of the area, but the route from the Imperium to the Florian route makes it a nice hopping spot to cut weeks of travel off the route. Realgar to Noricum is 11 Jump 2's by way of Fist, or 4 Jumps with the fuel dump.

So how many folks have it a known factor, or is it a pirate and secret knowledge situation in your games?
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3987
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby phavoc » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:19 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:51 am
I am writing up a module for TAS and it involves the fuel dump at 0406. (pg 232 of the core book)

In the Pirates of Drinax campaign (bk 1 pg 38) it is described as hundreds of 4 ton hydrogen drums.
This got me to thinking. The fuel dump allows ships to refuel and bridge the J3 gap between the Theev cluster and Salif and Noricum and the Florian Main.

So how much traffic does this fuel dump see? And what price would you charge per ton of fuel? I figure it should cost about 3000 credits per ton. This is based on 2000 credits in transport costs. 1000 to get the fuel from Theev to the fuel dump, 1000 to get the empty fuel hauler back to Theev, plus 500 for the regular cost of fuel, plus 500 credits for being literally in the middle of nowhere. A ship is not going to want to Jump empty after a delivery and not get paid.

Anyone else have a different pricing structure in mind?
The opportunity cost is pretty low. Being a unique resource that would make it a pretty rare commodity and either you pay for it or you die in space. Which brings up the other cost - security. Desperate people are going to not care if they die of suffocation because they are broke and can't afford the fuel, or if they get blown up trying to take it. So whoever runs the dump has to have their own ships, defenses, crew, and hazard pay.

And it's a smuggler's hideout, you have costs associated to keeping it secret. Payoffs, bribes, etc. At some point someone down on their luck or in need of credits is going to sell the info to the authorities (or give it away for free because they want to see the dump raided).
ochd
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:33 am
Location: Wantage, Oxfordshire, UK

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby ochd » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:14 am

I'm glad you've raised this. My players are at the point in the first Drinax adventure where they will make use of this on route to Theev in the next session, and just based on the description in the Drinax adventure did not think of it as being as a fuel station as such, where they would have to pay -- more like someone's personal fuel dump (maybe Admiral Darokyn, given that Krrsh knows about it).

So, I would have just let them collect fuel and proceed on to Theev, but then thinking more about it, and now seeing that it is also mentioned in the core rulebook, it seems that it's more than just someone's personal collection.

The rulebook says the cost of the fuel is as much as Cr1000 per ton (ie, twice the standard price). Cr3000 seems too high, but then I haven't done any detailed cost-benefit analysis. Perhaps even at 600% mark-up it is worth it in order to not have to worry about using up cargo space to store extra fuel, in collapsible fuel tanks for example.

In my campaign, I'm going to have it operated by the cabal of pirate lords on Theev or by GeDeCo. What I'm not sure about is how payment is collected and how the stash is protected. Although the existence of the fuel station is not common knowledge, enough people know about it to make it vulnerable to theft or destruction. The Drinax campaign recognises this, and has the presence of some dodgy fuel as a way to deter would-be thieves, but I don't see how that would work -- especially as running it through a fuel processor seems to get around that. I guess just the simple fear of the Lord of Theev keeps people honest.

Anyhow, thanks for the post.

Dan.
PsiTraveller
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:47 pm

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:44 pm

I figured the cost of fuel like this.

Delivering a ton of frieght (the fuel) is 1000 credits for the trip to the fuel dump. The ship has to return empty, but needs to be paid for the trip, so that is another 100 credits per ton of shipping cost. Then you add in the cost of the fuel at normal prices, that makes it 2500. Add in your extra profit for being literally in the middle of nowhere.

I don't see how it can be 1000 credits a ton unless there is a good political or military reason for it to be that heavily subsidized.

You could argue the cost of the return jump down a bit, paying enough to deadhead back to keep the ship solvent. It could be a subsidized operation to keep the ships moving along the route. Then you get into who is benefiting from having the fuel dump there, and how do they pay for it all?

When you think about it, having a fuel dump in an empty sector is a pretty big operation, logistically speaking. You have to provide all the fuel needed for all the ships passing through and make sure there is always fuel there. If not, ships will be getting very nervous as they sit there waiting for the fuel delivery to arrive.
ochd
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:33 am
Location: Wantage, Oxfordshire, UK

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby ochd » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:55 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:44 pm
Delivering a ton of frieght (the fuel) is 1000 credits for the trip to the fuel dump.
Hi PsiTraveller,

How do you get that figure? Sorry if I am missing something obvious.
Then you add in the cost of the fuel at normal prices, that makes it 2500.
If it was the lords of Theev, GeDeCo, or some other consortium setting up the fuel station, then I'd assume they'd be acquiring the fuel at much less than the standard Cr500 per ton Travellers pay for it at starports.

Dan.
PsiTraveller
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:47 pm

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby PsiTraveller » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:40 pm

I figured the cost of shipping the fuel at 2 J1 trips. That makes it 2000 credits per ton shipped, according to the core book page 207. Basically the ship is being hired to do 2 Jump 1 trips, with no chance to make any money on the return trip since there is no starport at the fuel dump to get new cargo, so the ship has to be paid to deadhead back to the Theev system. (That is my reasoning anyway, gotta pay the mortgage of the ship off each month, and that takes 2 paying jumps a month.)

The cost for refining fuel can be really low if you get it yourself. AnotherDilbert had an ocean skimming design that got the cost down to 9.2 Credits per ton processed. That makes for a lot of profit.

The 1000 credits per ton as a price for fuel dump fuel makes little sense to me in economic terms, it is a loss leader in terms of the rules for shipping. BUT, supplying vital fuel at a point that leads all incoming ships carrying their ill gotten booty to your doorstep is a great idea. It gives Theev the first pick of all the goods coming into the system.

Maybe you could do the math and figure out the cost of fuel per ton. Take a J1 FreeTrader, maxed out for fuel and assume 2 jumps per month. Figure salaries, mortgage, life support and maintenance vs how much fuel can be delivered and see what the price per ton is. I would geek out and do it myself, but I am at work right now and supposed to be doing paperwork. :D

PIlot 6000, Engineer 4000, Mechanic 1000. Have the pilot act as astrogator for an extra 2000 and save yourself some money. Minimal crew. 6000 a month in life support, 3778 maintenance.
Mortgage on a ship is 189 k a month? (45 million/240) is 205 000 a month. roughly. to deliver 110 tons of fuel to the dump. So that is 1870 Credits/ton delivered. roughly.
ochd
Stoat
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:33 am
Location: Wantage, Oxfordshire, UK

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby ochd » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:02 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:40 pm
That makes it 2000 credits per ton shipped, according to the core book page 207.
Ah, right. I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Didn't realise you were talking about freight costs (even though that's what you said :D ). Yeah, if the fuel dump was set up by paying standard commercial freight costs then Cr1000 per ton would definitely be uneconomical.

But with the economies of scale and all that sort of stuff that bigger operations can do to lower costs, then I think somewhere around Cr1000 to Cr1500 per ton could be hand-waved as enough to at least break even and maybe make a profit. Or, like you say, make a small loss but cross-subsidised by the extra revenue you generate bringing business through Theev.

Dan.
PsiTraveller
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:47 pm

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:24 am

I used to think that the book was just wrong and that somebody missed the shipping costs of moving material through space, but the price makes sense to funnel allies through Theev. It brings in docking fees, taxes on goods traded, contacts, and first option on everything the ships are carrying, as well as ship repairs and maintenance income. So I have chnged my tune. It makes perfect sense to set up a fuel dump to bring people to your market.
Juums
Shrew
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:25 pm

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby Juums » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:04 pm

A lot of the discussion in the thread is predicated on the assumption that you need to haul the H2 fuel across the stars at FTL speeds. But is that necessarily so?

MgT 2e is, after all, a setting that's got reactionless drives that will produce motive force so long as power's fed into them and, while a bit schizophrenic about computers, emphatically does not embrace the rocketpunk aesthetic of Sixties-style computing. So it's certainly feasible to build a drone tug that's nothing but M-Drive, fusion plants, and reactor fuel, tether payload modules to it, and send it on a parsec-or-so duration flight across the void to your dump area to arrive in a decade or three depending upon how much velocity it can acquire before c-frac impacts cripple hull integrity. And then you could use a jump-carrier of some kind to ferry the tug back to its starting point and begin the cycle all over again.

Sure, it requires very long time-frames for the economics to make sense, but if there's one thing Traveller's got, it's time for things like this to be established, forgotten, rediscovered, forgotten again, and rediscovered for a third time.
AnotherDilbert
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2428
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:32 pm

Juums wrote: So it's certainly feasible to build a drone tug that's nothing but M-Drive, fusion plants, and reactor fuel, tether payload modules to it, and send it on a parsec-or-so duration flight across the void to your dump area to arrive in a decade or three depending upon how much velocity it can acquire before c-frac impacts cripple hull integrity.
Such a STL ship would be cheaper than a jump transport, but since it would take much, much longer to transport a load the jump ship would transport much, much more fuel per year, hence much, much cheaper per Dt fuel...
PsiTraveller
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:47 pm

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:05 pm

One JumpCarrier concept ship to Jump 10 000 tons of iceteroid into the empty hex. You lose 10 percent of it for the trip in, and a few more points to move the Rider back out. Then you have a system in the hex to convert the asteroid to refined fuel and sell to passersby.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5413
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: The Sindal Fuel Dump (some spoilers)

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:34 am

we've been told
in space so cold
possibilities are rife

iceberg holed
north south poled
and installed a jump drive

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BigDogsRunning, Bing [Bot] and 14 guests