Starter ships

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
WingedCat
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Starter ships

Postby WingedCat » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:59 pm

Have you ever been in a Traveller group where the crew, fresh from character generation, quailed and/or flailed at the prospect of paying a high ship's mortgage? Or are you likely to be one in the foreseeable future?

If so, and you would like a better starter ship (to build your way up to glory from), then http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Stage_class_Far_Trader is for you.

More generally, is this a problem many players have faced: starting out with a ship a party can not make enough money from to pay the mortgage on? (Whether because of the ship itself, or because buying cargo for speculative trading takes more money than the party starts with and the party does not consider alternatives to speculative trading.)
M J Dougherty
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Re: Starter ships

Postby M J Dougherty » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:43 pm

Maybe it's worth letting them get a really broken-down needs-fixing ship as the reward for a first aventure?

That way the ship is a source of adventure ideas as well as an asset.
Linwood
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Linwood » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:27 pm

This is one of those situations where I don’t feel too bound by the results of the dice rolls.

The broken-down reward ship is a great solution - that’s pretty much what “High and Dry” and “Annic Nova” did (in different ways).

Some sort of subsidy is another idea. Maybe not a subsidized merchant arrangement exactly; more like a guaranteed freight contract. Or a generous charter - enough to cover expenses and debt payments while shuttling around nobles / scientists / explorers / galactic bird-watching clubs / tourists from heck for a few months with opportunities along the way to indulge in speculative trade and maybe a couple of profitable side adventures.

But my favorite is an adventure plot that dangles a big carrot in front of the group, enough to help put a serious dent in their debt if they can succeed before their creditors catch up to them...
M J Dougherty
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Re: Starter ships

Postby M J Dougherty » Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:01 am

Indeed. The ship can be a great adventure push if you don't just give the Travellers a nice one with no strings.

Maybe let them have something unusually good (like an extreme conversion of a standard ship) but at a price (it's really pranged up, abandoned on some backwater somehere with complications, and it needs special bits to unlock its full potential). That's a whole campaign framework.

..... aaaaand now I have an idea for a campaign sourcebook.
Moppy
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Moppy » Sun Oct 27, 2019 12:06 pm

A property development reality tv show, but it’s a spaceship instead of a dilapidated house with a vermin infestation?

Although more seriously, it sounds just like buying an old boat or houseboat, and living in the thing.
Linwood
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Linwood » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:16 pm

M J Dougherty wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 6:01 am
Indeed. The ship can be a great adventure push if you don't just give the Travellers a nice one with no strings.

Maybe let them have something unusually good (like an extreme conversion of a standard ship) but at a price (it's really pranged up, abandoned on some backwater somehere with complications, and it needs special bits to unlock its full potential). That's a whole campaign framework.

..... aaaaand now I have an idea for a campaign sourcebook.
I did something like that with my current campaign. The lead character (a high-ranking noble) ended up with a 400-ton survey vessel for his “yacht” that sounded great until the players realized how little cargo it could carry. So they’ve converted their ATV bay into a second cargo hood, left the lab space and two hard points empty, and have had to scramble for other ways to pay down the debt. They’ve done well so far, but they’re making their fortunes from providing services (helping build things in orbit, rounding up pirates, etc) rather than trading. Which as a GM is a lot more interesting than watching the players generate wealth by rolling dice...
Condottiere
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:17 pm

Engineering tends to be the big ticket item, one reason I spent considerable amounts of time trying to reduce that cost factor.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Starter ships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:41 pm

Computer m/4 bis? Do you mean a m/5 bis?
DickTurpin
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Re: Starter ships

Postby DickTurpin » Sun Oct 27, 2019 4:46 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:41 pm
Computer m/4 bis? Do you mean a m/5 bis?
I believe that number is based on the T5 rules. The Mongoose equivalent would be about a /20 bis.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Starter ships

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:53 pm

DickTurpin wrote: I believe that number is based on the T5 rules. The Mongoose equivalent would be about a /20 bis.
According to the meta-data the ship is designed with MgT2 and quite sensibly uses a m/10/bis computer (MCr 0.24).

A T5 m/4/bis at a cost of MCr 22 for the computer alone, or even a MgT2 m/20/bis (MCr 7.5), is highly unlikely in a budget ship.


I seem to have found the answer to my own questions in the meta-data to the wiki article.
Reynard
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Reynard » Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:26 am

Everyone expects a shiny new starship as a benefit then complain at the cost. One workaround is using the Older Ships rules (Core book pg. 164) to lower the price. You end up with a Millennium Falcon which Han and Chewy treated as a fixer upper over the years.

The other issue is so many scenarios give out pittance rewards. Travellers are adventurers who should be looking for big ticket missions with big payouts. While running routine jobs they use the mobility to check out all those Rumors and go where all the other spacers in the star town bars fear to go. Don't be too generous but don't be a miser at payout time.
phavoc
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Re: Starter ships

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:29 pm

This is essentially how the detached Scout-courier ship works as a built-in adventure hook for a referee. Since the ship is always potentially able to be re-activated it provides nearly unlimited ways to get the players into an adventure.

For civilian ships it's works out the same way - to make this months' payment (or to make a few months' payments that are in arrears) a job needs to be taken on.

You can also provide a ship to the players that isn't quite the same as the book's, but is more affordable. Maybe a previous owner had downgraded the drives and/or jump engines to the absolute minimum to make the ship more affordable. Or the sensors/computer are barely adequate to let it fly. So the costs are much less than normal, and also give the players something to sink their credits into...

Or else there is the old RPG space game, ala Elite or one of the others, where the players inherit something to start with and endeavor to work their way up the merchanting ladder.
Moppy
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Moppy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:40 pm

A different approach could be fractional ownership.

25% paid off means you get to use the ship 1 year in every 4.

It’s similar to how fractional ownership schemes for planes work today, provided by companies like Netjets.

Yes this a modern version of the timeshare, but better regulated and more reputable.
phavoc
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Re: Starter ships

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:20 pm

Fractional ownership is more like a time-share on a condo than actually owning a starship.

Turning over you ship to someone else 75% of the time would kind of put a dent into adventuring with a ship.
Moppy
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Moppy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 4:07 pm

i could see it working if it was a year at a time.

having to book daily would be a huge problem and made worse by jump speed communications
phavoc
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Re: Starter ships

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:02 pm

Not sure it could even work for a freighter, what with the many variables present. It could for yachts or personal starships that operate like private aircraft do today. I suppose it's possible, though seems like it would be annoying to all involved.

I agree the timeframe would have to be much longer than normal fractional jet usage is, since transit times between star systems are a week long.
Moppy
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Moppy » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:41 pm

Lab ships could also use it.

Can’t see it being much of a problem for a tramp freighter. Certainly would be a problem for a scheduled service.
Condottiere
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:16 am

Honestly speaking, Traveller starships are amazingly cheap.

Problem is, wages haven't caught up.

And you can't get around default minimum ten tonne jump drive.
Linwood
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Linwood » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:42 am

The one way I could see fractional ownership work is in terms of a very large exploratory/trade expedition where your ship shares lease a certain number of staterooms and so many dtons of cargo space for their own personal speculation. Characters with ship shares could be investors, the rest could be crew members. Shareholders are expected to generate enough income to cover their shares of operating costs (with the combined payments covering all operating costs) while the main hold cargoes, trade agreements, and intellectual properties from discoveries go to payments on remaining ship debt with leftovers split between shareholders or put into funds for the next voyage.

Or something like that, anyway. Not sure all those thoughts make sense; haven’t had enough coffee yet....
Rerednaw
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Re: Starter ships

Postby Rerednaw » Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:06 am

WingedCat wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:59 pm
Have you ever been in a Traveller group where the crew, fresh from character generation, quailed and/or flailed at the prospect of paying a high ship's mortgage? Or are you likely to be one in the foreseeable future?

If so, and you would like a better starter ship (to build your way up to glory from), then http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Stage_class_Far_Trader is for you.

More generally, is this a problem many players have faced: starting out with a ship a party can not make enough money from to pay the mortgage on? (Whether because of the ship itself, or because buying cargo for speculative trading takes more money than the party starts with and the party does not consider alternatives to speculative trading.)
Very similar to what I created for my 2E game.
Eco Trader. TL11
Hull: 100 tons, -10 hp, -25% cost, streamlined +20% cost, free scoops.
Man 1G, budget -25% cost, uses +30% power
Jump 2, budget -25% cost, uses +30% power
Bridge
Power Plant TL8 4 tons 40 power, budget +25 % size, -25% cost (5 tons)
Computer 5 bis
— Maneuver Prog
— Jump Prog 2
— Library
Staterooms x3
Low x2
Common Areas 4 tons
Fuel J-2, 8 weeks
Turret single
Mining laser
Fuel scoops (included for free)
Fuel Purif 1 ton 20 tons/day
Sensors basic
Power needed without jump, 39. Power for jump 26. Jump dimming needed.
Cargo: 33 tons.

Cost after 10% volume discount 16.6455 MCr. <- incorrect, didn’t include hull cost.
EDIT CORRECTION: 19.7055MCr. Even less when used.
The nice thing is there is a lot of room to upgrade as you go.
Last edited by Rerednaw on Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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