Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Moppy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1044
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Moppy » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:24 am

Linwood wrote:
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.
This is how it's supposed to work. If there is a standard loan and the government pays the ship loanee, the loanee often spends the money on something else. So the government will try to negotiate a low rate loan directly with the bank on behalf of the loanee (edit: Or they just pay the bank directly; either way the ship operator shouldn't see the money)
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4820
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby phavoc » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:14 pm

Another way to provide the subsidy without investing in a ship (and hoping that ship would make the cargo runs) is to simply pay a higher premium for every ton of cargo delivered. So the standard Cr1,000 per ton might be increased to Cr1,500. Or else the planet / station pays a premium for specific types of cargo and standard rates for other.
paltrysum
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 730
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:16 pm
Contact:

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby paltrysum » Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:36 pm

Linwood wrote:
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.
Great idea! I would just take caution not to "give away the farm" to the players. A subsidized merchant is a significant boon to a group of players and—in my humble opinion—you want them to earn it. The trade RAW are quite generous and you'll have multimillionaires on your hands after a couple of sessions if there isn't a period of hard work by the players to pay off their 400-ton trade machine.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
Old School
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 816
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Old School » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:21 pm

Yeah, the rules are pretty generous to small merchants one jump-1 routes.

That’s the primary reason I didn’t like standard merchant campaigns. To avoid quick and easy wealth accumulation the GM needs to constantly come up with pirates, thieves, taxes, dangerous passengers, etc. Otherwise the struggling merchant never really struggles. Always seemed a little contrived. A group of travellers who goes looking for trouble, rather than just for the next cargo, always seemed more fun. Just my opinion. Play what works for you.
Linwood
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 581
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:41 am

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Linwood » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:56 pm

Fortunately (?) the PCs will likely be locked into several Jump-2s. The sponsoring government is an agricultural system and it’s five parsecs to the nearest best market ( a HighPop system). So that should help dampen the quick wealth accumulation a little...
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 7461
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:59 am

Subsidization is an attempt to engineer a certain outcome.

Going Dutch is an example of that.
paltrysum
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 730
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:16 pm
Contact:

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby paltrysum » Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:31 pm

Old School wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:21 pm
A group of travellers who goes looking for trouble, rather than just for the next cargo, always seemed more fun. Just my opinion. Play what works for you.
Agreed. Had I taken the time to simulate trade before starting my last campaign, I would have modified the rules first. Yes, you want the occasional trade run to be bogged down by one of the above “unexpected problems” but you don’t want to have to come up with one after every jump.

Mongoose has the crux of a good trade mechanic there; the multiple for prospective profit just has to end up being about 0.2-0.3x. I wouldn’t simplify it quite like that but that needs to be the end result, perhaps with the possibility of an occasional jackpot.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 7461
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Condottiere » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:06 pm

Subsidization can also be an attempt to transfer tax payer funds to large political campaign donors.

And friends and family.
Linwood
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 581
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:41 am

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Linwood » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:32 am

That sounds like an interesting adventure seed....
Old School
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 816
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Old School » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:47 am

Can also be a powerful politician’s pawn to move as needed. Goods or passengers need to be moved quietly. No one suspects the boring fst trader plying its gov’t subsidized backwater route. . .
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 7461
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:10 am

Subsidization could include a reserved cabin or four tonne container space, when presented with the correct credentials; no questions asked.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4820
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby phavoc » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:27 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:10 am
Subsidization could include a reserved cabin or four tonne container space, when presented with the correct credentials; no questions asked.
That's not subsidization. That's either black ops work, criminal smuggling, or working off the books for the ships captain to pocket the money (which, due to the life support cost rule, is pretty much impossible for small ships. On a larger liner you could weave a few people into the mix and call it variance. Otherwise your consumables would show up in the bookkeeping.
Moppy
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1044
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Moppy » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:50 pm

It could be just like a reservation for taxi. Driver has to do it, rescheduling if they have to, but it's still in the records.
AndrewW
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4268
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:57 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby AndrewW » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:34 pm

phavoc wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:27 pm
Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:10 am
Subsidization could include a reserved cabin or four tonne container space, when presented with the correct credentials; no questions asked.
That's not subsidization. That's either black ops work, criminal smuggling, or working off the books for the ships captain to pocket the money (which, due to the life support cost rule, is pretty much impossible for small ships. On a larger liner you could weave a few people into the mix and call it variance. Otherwise your consumables would show up in the bookkeeping.
Might have a mail contract which reserves some space.
Old School
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 816
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Old School » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:33 pm

phavoc wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:27 pm
Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:10 am
Subsidization could include a reserved cabin or four tonne container space, when presented with the correct credentials; no questions asked.
That's not subsidization. That's either black ops work, criminal smuggling, or working off the books for the ships captain to pocket the money (which, due to the life support cost rule, is pretty much impossible for small ships. On a larger liner you could weave a few people into the mix and call it variance. Otherwise your consumables would show up in the bookkeeping.
The point is that subsidization can be a pretext towards less savory work. And a couple thousand of life support disappearing in unexpected repair bills or crew perks is child's play in terms of bookkeeping.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 7461
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:54 pm

A mail contract means you get paid regardless if there is any, you just have to have facilities available, and presumably can't double book, or at least, not without cooking the books.
Linwood
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 581
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:41 am

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby Linwood » Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:45 am

phavoc wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:27 pm
Condottiere wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:10 am
Subsidization could include a reserved cabin or four tonne container space, when presented with the correct credentials; no questions asked.
That's not subsidization. That's either black ops work, criminal smuggling, or working off the books for the ships captain to pocket the money (which, due to the life support cost rule, is pretty much impossible for small ships. On a larger liner you could weave a few people into the mix and call it variance. Otherwise your consumables would show up in the bookkeeping.
It could also be something more benign, like a standing reservation for a stateroom so that the subsidizing body can send one of their people out on short notice. Sort of like when a corporation leases an apartment near a production facility because they often have people from the home office on site and it’s cheaper than a hotel room.

Granted, the more grey/black explanations may be a lot more fun....
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4820
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:44 pm

AndrewW wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:34 pm
Might have a mail contract which reserves some space.
For cargo space, yes. Not for a stateroom.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4820
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:49 pm

Old School wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:33 pm
The point is that subsidization can be a pretext towards less savory work. And a couple thousand of life support disappearing in unexpected repair bills or crew perks is child's play in terms of bookkeeping.
You haven't met the accountants that I work with... :)

But more seriously, if you are a merchant working for someone, missing a few thousand credits is going to cause an investigation by accounting. It's not that you couldn't figure out a way, but you'll need receipts, justification, etc. Accounting in the 52nd century is no different than the 1st century - except maybe there is more paperwork.

A subsidized ship would, most likely, still have to open their books to whomever is subsidizing them - especially if it's a governmental entity. That's just how those kinds of things work. A depotic government, a democracy, a feudal one, any sort of organization will want to know how their money is being used. The only way that wouldn't work out would be if the subsidized ship was given a block grant of funds for X tons of cargo for Y period. And if the subsidizing entity didn't use their pre-paid allocation then they could potentially lose it for that period.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4820
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Subsidized Merchant Fiances

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:58 pm

Linwood wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:45 am
It could also be something more benign, like a standing reservation for a stateroom so that the subsidizing body can send one of their people out on short notice. Sort of like when a corporation leases an apartment near a production facility because they often have people from the home office on site and it’s cheaper than a hotel room.

Granted, the more grey/black explanations may be a lot more fun....
That's possible. I've read that the UK government has an agreement with British Airways for preferential seating (i.e. they will bump a regular passenger in many cases if needed). And there are corporations who pre-purchase blocks of tickets from airlines for their employees who travel a lot. The companies I've worked for always had a policy of only buying tickets when needed. Their logic was to not lose any money on tickets that never got used.

It certainly could work, but it would be rather expensive if they didn't send someone out like clockwork. I don't know enough about how passenger travel was in the age of sail/steam to really address that particular one. Long and/or slow journeys like that are more akin to what this would be an equivalent to rather than airline flights. Just off the top of my head I would think that either England or Germany would be the best places to look at to see how they handled their overseas empire.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Linwood, Welf and 15 guests