Megafreighters

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Old School
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Megafreighters

Postby Old School » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:31 pm

So the core rules don’t really envision players getting theirs hands on a megafreighter, which is exactly the subplot I’ve made available to players in my Pirates of Drinax Campaign.

Their potential prize is a 30,000 dton vessel. Jump 3 with 15,200 dtons of cargo capacity. They are noodling over whether or not to make a go at it, and what to do with it if they succeed. One idea is to double its fuel to give it 6 parsec range, enough to travel from Byrni to Browne. Still would have 6,000+ tons of cargo capacity. Their theory is that they could charge a fortune for freight on this route. Browne has 30 billion inhabitants (or more, depending on the source), tech level 9, and no surface water. Being a ridiculously isolated, high population desert world, Browne would be literally thirsting for foodstuffs, right? At TL9 with high resource levels (except water), Browne would benefit from exports as well, right?

How would you go about determining freight levels and prices in this scenario? I don’t think the absurd jump-6 rates from the core rulebook make sense, but doubling the jump-3 rate isn't right either. I’m receptive to the idea that they would have no problem filling the hold with cargo bound for Browne at a high price, but what about the return trip?

They would use this to curry favor with multiple worlds (the campaign map is littered with garden and water worlds with limited export markets for agricultural products) while also making a bundle of cash. Thoughts?
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby paltrysum » Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:47 pm

I think you have to consider the value of Villane as a facilitator for a go-between in hex 2728 or 2828. Villane has three gas giants, none of which could possibly get much traffic being where they are. Set up a refueling station in 2728 or 2828 and start hauling unrefined fuel to the station. Make the station a stopover for the Browne route. Ships would only need jump-3 to cross the gap after stopping over.

You could end up with a new station similar to Chandler Station in Reft 0618.
Last edited by paltrysum on Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Old School
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Old School » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:05 pm

Your plan essentially opens up Browne to jump 3 traffic. Charge a fortune for fuel at that deep space station.

An interesting idea and perhaps a profitable one, but not the one my players have. It would be cool to see just what you’d need volume and price wise to make it work, but I don’t think I need to give them more ideas at the moment.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:32 am

Should work.

Browne presumably has very little trade, so is self-supporting. Hence it can spare industrial goods for Byrni. On the other hand, without regular export it would not have a steady supply of foreign currency to pay for imports.

You would probably have to set up a barter system at least in the beginning.


Neither world is very rich, so I would not expect anyone to make instant fortunes from this. If the route was all that lucrative, some mega-corp would already serve this route...


You have to calculate a break-even point for their ship on this route, and set a freight price from that. I get something like Cr(Imp) 6000 per Dton freight:
Image

Note that cost is totally dominated by capital costs for a new ship. If the players get their hands on a cheaper ship, breakeven costs go down dramatically.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Linwood » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:28 am

You could take a look at the trade rules in GURPS Far Trader for ways to estimate potential trade volumes. But in this case i’d treat them as suggestions - see what they say then modify the results to suit your campaign.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:34 am

Far Trader makes no concessions for isolated worlds like Browne.

Calculating the trade volume would lead to several million ton trade in-sector, and another million ton or so to other sectors.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Baldo » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:59 pm

Old School wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:31 pm
I’m receptive to the idea that they would have no problem filling the hold with cargo bound for Browne at a high price, but what about the return trip?
Try with people. Browne is horrendously overcrowded, I'm sure you'll find lots of aspiring High Passage rich tourists and/or Low Passage desperate migrants. Start spreading rumors and reports about the pleasant garden worlds out there (Pandora, for example -and Administrator Thollett will love you, see Book 1, p. 264-), and voilà: hold filled! :lol:
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:05 pm

2728 as a fuel dump location allows for J3 refuelling from Falcon, Ergo and Fantasy, and J2 from Byrni. This would allow more fuel to be moved from a Byrni base. Your J3 ship will be Jumping to Villane though, not Browne. This could either add an extra week to get to Browne, or you run a feeder route with smaller ships from the freight hub at Villane.

High Tech support from Falcon, they have the best Tech close to hand. One more week to Tech-World for the more advanced tech needs.

Coming out of Browne and Villane you could be shipping migrants to get to an agricultural colony world. Life support needs would have to be addressed.
Other options include processed raw materials from the Villane planetoid belt, or mining operations from both systems.

Browne has 10 worlds in the system. Doing a world generation could open up mining and resource development for the system, or for export. Or maybe you want to move 6000 tons of ice from an ice world to the home world and crack the ice, releasing oxygen to the thin atmosphere, and taking the fuel for shipping use. Heck, just go into the bottled water business in system. WIth 30 Billion people you can sell millions of liters a week of fresh water.
Old School
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Old School » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:52 pm

Thanks, everyone.

The ship isn’t coming with a mortgage, so they don’t absolutely need to maximize revenue. They might want to keep it off of well travelled routes, however (which makes Byrni a little problematic). They are also very interest in currying favor with both worlds, and others as well.

I don’t see a fuel dump as a practical solution. You have to build the storage tanks, and then make a ridiculous amount of effort to get the fuel there. That’s something you do for but of military necessity, not commercial convenience. Is it really easier to do that than to do a double jump-3 with your mega freighter? Going to Vilane adds a week, with dramatically lowers your return for your cargo by slowing the turnaround time. It could work if you have jump-1 ships capable of moving that level of freight to and from browne, but that’s another level of complexity/ships they don’t have.

If getting ice from other bodies in system is viable for Browne, I imagine its already being done.

The real question Is Browne as an exporter really viable? Tech level 9 is appealing to some nearby mid tech worlds, but they are all relatively low population. I’m thinking they could sell enough to pay for low value food products that they need, but not enough to fill 6000 dtons outbound every 6 weeks.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Old School » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:27 pm

Couple of other thoughts:

Charging 6,000 credits (double the jump-3 rate) per dton seems very cheap, as the jump-3 doesn’t take into account the reduced cargo capacity (from roughly 50% of total hull volume to 20%) necessitated by making a double jump. Then again, they are trying to make friends here. . .

Shipping people out of Browne makes sense, but a freighter with massive cargo decks with very high ceilings makes that very inefficient. Cargo stacks alot easier than people. Low berths are a huge investment, and take up space both ways, limiting the cargo run back to Browne.

I’m starting to think more or less full of cargo inbound to Browne, and some combination of cargo, basic passage, and dead space outbound.

They still need to steal the ship, however. They are just trying to determine if it is worth the effort and the repercussions. Repercussions are potentially limited by the unique circumstances.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:29 pm

10 worlds in Browne and 16 in Villane. There has to be a mine with useful materials for export.
The fuel dump increases cargo capacity, but if that is not an issue then a double jump can work. There are some profitable tricks to play with external mounts and fuel storage, but again, if there is not much coming back then why bother.

If you are willing to take the risk you could take a page from a discussion somewhere on the forum about shipping people with Fast Drug. You have 2 months of sleep time for 200 credit dose of drug. Ship people in crates and stack them to the ceiling.
Old School
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Old School » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:47 pm

I’m sure there are minerals to export. But are there buyers, especially given the expense of shipping out of Browne? Raw materials don’t cost that much, and there’s no shortage of mining concerns in the area. Maybe so, Tyokhe and Vorito would both be consumers.
Last edited by Old School on Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Juums
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Juums » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:34 pm

On the subject of a deep space fuel dump, if that's a direction you're interested in developing, it might be worth remembering that Space Is Really Big™. And the odds of there not being a single usable block of ice -- be something small like a (very?) long period comet or something big like a KBO, to say nothing of true rogue planets -- with which to use to make fuel in situ transiting a given cubic parsec is rather slim. Armed with a megafreighter and some ambition, an intrepid group of Travellers might try to locate one of those objects and haul the necessary materials to setup a fueling station. They might even try locating multiple ones to build a chain of J-1 or J-2 stations across the void as a spur to the main trade route, to plug in Browne and Villane into the wider Reach economy.

And given that the Ancients are implied to have had star-cracking superweapons and deployed them in the Trojan Reach, there're all kinds of adventuring opportunities for Action Archaeology and discovering eldritch horrors on the not-so-dead husks leftover in the Great Rift from the War of the Ancients.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby DickTurpin » Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:19 am

Old School wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:27 pm
Shipping people out of Browne makes sense, but a freighter with massive cargo decks with very high ceilings makes that very inefficient.
Spread the cargo out evenly and haul the people on top of the cargo. But really, the Fast Drug plan is the best way to haul a whole bunch of people cheaply.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby baithammer » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:01 am

With a megafreighter your looking at moving raw goods rather than expensive ones, as the demand and amount required is far more stable.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Moppy » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:53 am

Pirate mothership?
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:26 pm

Image
WingedCat
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby WingedCat » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:39 am

Would it be possible to find some large ice-bearing body in the empty parsecs between Byrni and Browne, and set up a jump bridge (ice mining and fuel processing)?
Old School
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Old School » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:23 pm

WingedCat wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:39 am
Would it be possible to find some large ice-bearing body in the empty parsecs between Byrni and Browne, and set up a jump bridge (ice mining and fuel processing)?
I suppose its theoritically possible, but if it was that easy everyone would be doing it.
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Moppy » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:51 pm

WingedCat wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:39 am
Would it be possible to find some large ice-bearing body in the empty parsecs between Byrni and Browne, and set up a jump bridge (ice mining and fuel processing)?
Space Trolling 101: Tell some lies about our pretend jump bridge, hide in space and watch people die.

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