Subsidized Merchant Fiances

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atpollard
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Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby atpollard » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:10 pm

So how exactly does the "Subsidy" in a Subsidized Merchant work?
I couldn't find anything in the MgT (1 or 2) rules.
Can someone point out what I missed?
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby paltrysum » Thu Apr 04, 2019 3:46 pm

I've never seen anything in the rules that describes the arrangement in detail. It is just assumed that paying for a Subby's monthly mortgage would be impossible for an independent merchant and therefore ownership of one must be "subsidized."

For your game, perhaps come up with an investor who contributes a certain percentage of the cost of the ship. Whatever that percentage is becomes his stake in the company and somehow reflects how much of the profits the Travellers make when using the ship to conduct trade. The trade rules are pretty generous if a referee does not apply various "taxes" to them, so I think your Travellers should be able to come out okay even if they do have to give away XX% of their earnings to their investor. It might even make for an interesting Travellers/NPC relationship that becomes a fun part of the game.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby AndrewW » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:16 pm

Aramis: The Traveller Adventure wrote:The ship's subsidy contract is owned by a blind trust based in Regina and the crew has broad discretion in selecting cargoes, destinations, and charters provided only that basic financial and contract obligations are met.

The March Harrier has been running its assigned route in the Aramis Trace for something over five years. Under its subsidy contract, it must serve its route 70% of the time and is free to server other words, take charters, or otherwise leave its subsidy route for the remainder of the time.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby DickTurpin » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:42 am

Often it is a world or group of worlds that buy the ship to increase trade and stimulate their economies. They then contract with a crew to fly the ship itself. The actual terms of the contract can vary widely and should be negotiated as part of the adventure where the characters get access to the ship. The requirements could be a strict schedule with specific targets for freight, passengers and mail transport, or a more open arrangement where the ship must visit one or more worlds several times a year with no other requirements.

Since the ship is a significant investment for any world new enough to require that sort of deal to ensure contact with the rest of the galaxy, they will want to receive significant benefits in return; I would expect them to keep a pretty tight leash on the crew's activities.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Condottiere » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:25 am

Would assume a private public partnership, in that the government, or even another private corporation, wants a transportation service between certain important communications nodes, but either can't or won't fund it entirely, and may think private enterprise can better manage the project, in terms of efficiency and cost.

If the originator is a private corporation, I believe this is known as outsourcing, but with financial backing.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby NOLATrav » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:00 pm

Back in the 1e days I had a group that couldn't decide if they wanted to do a trader game or something more action/intrigue oriented so I gave them a Subbie when it came time to resolve the mustered Ship benefits. I had the players throw 2D-2 for how many worlds were contributing to the subsidy, with each world providing 10% of the mortgage payments in exchange for a visit every six months with a few extra stipulations here and there. In that case they threw 6 so the majority of the mortgage was taken care of, the players had a semi-backwater route to work and if they got tetchy they had time to scratch that itch. Good times.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby JNJ » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:14 pm

I am thinking about this these days : One character in my group recently rolled a physician-biologist who "received a lab ship with 25% of the mortgage paid on it" as a benefit.

It is a first for me !

It says on page 45 of the core rule book "roll 1d times on the old ships". That doesn't make sense to me.
Is it 1d instead of the normal 2d on outdated ships (would mean not older than 31-40 years) or 1d spacecraft quirks ?
If anybody knows it would be helpful.

That said, if 25% have been paid off, there remains 75% to pay.

Normal price is 135.9018 MCr.
Let's assume it is 25 years old so price is reduced by 20% = 108.7214 Mcr
So 81.5410 Mcr remains to be paid !

81.5410/240 = 339 754.5 Cr to pay each month for the next 40 years !

Without the pinnace and air rafts cost
Without annual maintenance, crew salaries, fuel...costs
An no real possiblity to trade to make a living.

The solutions I see are :

1 - The traveller owns 25%, will have to pay 25% of the costs and earn the same of profits.
a/ Other individuals (scientists) own the remaining shares and are part of the crew (or not). Research contracts acceptance are voted. Something like "Grand Endeavour"
b/ Megacorporation or Research institute own the remaining shares, and give research missions 75% of the time and the character can choose his contracts and keep the full profit 25% of the time.
That way the ship is "fully owned" and there is no mortgage to pay.

2 - The traveller owes 75% of the ship and must pay according to the above mortgage schedule.
If so he must find contracts by prospecting potential patrons (megacorporation, research institute, scout service, rich men like in Safari, ...) ... and earn that sum each month.

It means a research contract involving a Lab Ship would cost around 500 000 Cr/month of use (if you want to get any small benefice after paying your monthly mortgage amount).
So a megacorporation wanting to make a 3 month survey of the biological potential of a world (for new medicine plants or whatever) would pay 1 500 000 Cr to the character owning the Lab Ship.
Does it seem realistic ? Probably not as an already paid off ship would be able to propose much cheaper contract prices.
So how could he earn a living and pay his mortgage ? Sell the product of his research (new anagathics, ...) ?
Did I forget something ?

Any other ideas welcome...I didn't took my final decision.
As they are 1st time players, I intend to have them go to take possession of "their" lab ship ... and it will be Death Station !

A side question about Lab Ships :
All versions I found include 4 entrances : 2 airlocks for the air rafts, 1 sliding panel for the cargo access plate and 1 in the docking ring for the pinnace.
If the pinnace is in place and the air rafts in place it doesn't leave any obvious entrance for the characters arriving by air raft to Death Station
How did you manage it if you played this scenario ? Did characters hack some security to open the air raft airlocks ? Other solutions ?
In the Gurps version of the lab ship plan they added a "normal" airlock next to the bridge if I remember well.
Any story of your charactes approaching or entering Death station is also welcome.

Anyway...thinking about this gave me some adventure ideas for the future...that is a part of character creation that I love.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:45 am

25% of the mortgage paid off means 25% of the time, so 10 years of the 40 year mortgage. The monthly payment is still just as big, but only for another 30 years. It also reasonably means the ships is 10 years old.

More ship shares can be used to lower the price of the ship, and hence mortgage payments.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Condottiere » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:07 am

Always sounded more like a time share, that various user owners opted in and out.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby JNJ » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:15 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:45 am
25% of the mortgage paid off means 25% of the time, so 10 years of the 40 year mortgage. The monthly payment is still just as big, but only for another 30 years. It also reasonably means the ships is 10 years old.

More ship shares can be used to lower the price of the ship, and hence mortgage payments.
Yes, that is one of the possibilities but I took the 2nd option in my calculation : deducted 25% from purchase price, then payment on 40 years instead of 30 to lower monthly payment.
Core rules says :

"Every time a ship is rolled as a benefit, 25% of the
original mortgage has been paid off. In practice, the
Traveller may choose to continue to pay the calculated
mortgage for ten years less every time the benefit is
rolled (continuing the mortgage) and pay his ship off
faster, or deduct 25% from the purchase price of the
ship before calculating the mortgage cost (effectively
re-mortgaging) to be paying less per month."

and as i suppose they meant to roll 1d quirks, I would say that depending on the result the ship would be batween 6 years old (1 quirk, less 10% value) and 75 years old (6 quirks, less 35% value). Seems logic ?

Thanks,
JNJ
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby JNJ » Sat Apr 06, 2019 1:17 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:07 am
Always sounded more like a time share, that various user owners opted in and out.
Yes, this is one of the possibilities, as detailed in one of the adventures (do not remember which) where a subsidized merchant ship must work 75% of the time for the subsidizer on a planed itinerary and 25% free time and profits.

Could be also applied to a labship.

Thanks
JNJ
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Condottiere » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:15 am

If it's on a communications route, you'd want that service like Japanese time schedules, not as I understand how Virgin operates.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:04 pm

Subsidization was described in earlier Traveller versions, not sure why it isn't explained well here.

Here's the deal:

A group (assumed to be a planetary government, but it could be others) buys the ship. The crew operates the ship without a Mortgage, but the Owner takes 50% of all profits. Crew is responsible for all maintenance and upkeep costs.

The ship is usually locked into a certain route for 80% of the year, but is allowed to take side jobs during the rest of the time.

It's a pretty sweet deal, but not the best option for wandering Travellers or Tramp merchants.

Given a route that includes 3-4 interesting worlds, a Referee could set up recurring characters on each world. Allies, Enemies, Contacts and Rivals can become VERY useful in this type of game, as the same worlds would be revisited every few weeks/months.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:07 pm

Older versions of Traveller explained this pretty clearly.

Subsidized ships are bought by a government that "leases" the ship to a crew. The government takes 50% of the profit and makes all mortgage payments. Crew is responsible for maintenance and upkeep costs.

Ships are locked into a fixed route most of the year (I think 80% of the year?).

So, a tramp trader game doesn't work with one of these deals, but setting up a route with 3-4 interesting worlds and you get recurring characters. Allies, Enemies, Contacts, and Rivals become VERY important as the ship returns to the same worlds over and over on a pretty fixed schedule.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Moppy » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:17 pm

Even if your ship is paid off you should consider taking out a token mortgage on it with a minimal payment. This will allow you to raise cash fast by just increasing it. Otherwise you have to apply for the mortgage and have a full ship inspection.

These days most ships are leas3d for reasons of tax and cash flow, but this instrument doesn’t exist in the standard traveller rules.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:33 pm

Moppy wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:17 pm
Even if your ship is paid off you should consider taking out a token mortgage on it with a minimal payment. This will allow you to raise cash fast by just increasing it. Otherwise you have to apply for the mortgage and have a full ship inspection.

These days most ships are leas3d for reasons of tax and cash flow, but this instrument doesn’t exist in the standard traveller rules.
I always thought of the Subsidization as a Lease. You lease the ship from the government. Your lease payment is 50% of your profits and you agree to service a set route of worlds.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Moppy » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:52 pm

At least today, and in general, a subsidy is given to lower the cost of furthering a cause e.g. developing or servicing an area, or a housing subsidy to reduce housing pressure, or a farming subsidy to keep farmers farming so your country is self sufficient. While a lease usually carries no such restriction or motive beyond financial. It’s possible Traveller uses the terms differently.
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby paltrysum » Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:25 pm

The best source for truth on the operation of subsidized merchants is The Traveller Adventure—or, using the Mongoose version—Aramis: The Traveller Adventure. The basic arrangement is that the ship is paid for by the subsidy agency and that the crew pays its running costs. That's a gross oversimplification and there's a bit more to it, but you can get a more detailed rundown in the adventures above or in the "Subsidised Merchants" article in Mongoose's upcoming publication, JTAS #6. Written by yours truly. ;)
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Old School » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:29 am

paltrysum wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:25 pm
The best source for truth on the operation of subsidized merchants is The Traveller Adventure—or, using the Mongoose version—Aramis: The Traveller Adventure. The basic arrangement is that the ship is paid for by the subsidy agency and that the crew pays its running costs. That's a gross oversimplification and there's a bit more to it, but you can get a more detailed rundown in the adventures above or in the "Subsidised Merchants" article in Mongoose's upcoming publication, JTAS #6. Written by yours truly. ;)
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Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Linwood » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:38 am

I’ve been toying with a different sort of subsidy - having a system government offer a low-interest loan (say half the usual rate) to a group planning to buy a ship in return for other considerations. Maybe something like a required route, reserved shipping space at a discount for local companies, or similar.

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