New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Master_of_Ritual
Shrew
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:50 am

New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Master_of_Ritual » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:07 pm

I'm not sure what I expected, but ship payment and maintenance costs are staggering. Given that your crew has to make the equivalent of half a million dollars every month, what sorts of jobs do Travellers usually do? It seems like moving a small herd of cattle to Jiangyin is not going to be enough.

Funny that this forum marks "Traveller" as spelled wrong.
steelbrok
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 321
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:13 pm

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby steelbrok » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:45 pm

Traveller is the correct spelling in the Queen's English

It is also my understanding that when Traveller was originally published GDW chose a non-American spelling to make it easier to use it as a trademark in the US
User avatar
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3543
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Reynard » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:25 pm

Please be a scout. Please be a scout. Please be a scout. Please be a scout. Please be a scout. Please be a scout.
One of the players gets a trader.
Crap.
User avatar
paltrysum
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:16 pm
Contact:

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby paltrysum » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:29 pm

If they're running in a free trader, engaging in trade—speculative cargo, freight, passengers and mail—that usually brings in enough to pay the mortgage and then some. If the Travellers ever come up short, well, that's just a great opportunity to put a nice lucrative adventure in their path. ;)
Last edited by paltrysum on Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
User avatar
NOLATrav
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 333
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:42 pm
Location: Crescent City

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby NOLATrav » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:39 pm

Welcome!

Yes, ship costs are really staggering. Traditionally, travellers will play the trade game (shipping goods and passengers from world to world), always on the edge of not making enough to cover expenses each month - and thus needing to do quick side jobs (adventures) to scare up some extra cash.

Depending on your campaign, you might have the gang doing deniable asset type jobs for Nobles, or megacorporations, or even government agencies. The kinds of jobs that pay six or seven figures every couple months.

You might also loan the gang a ship, such as the Scouts do with their surplus Type S ships. A Noble might lend them the use of a Yacht or Safari Ship in return for taking care of certain sensitive situations. Or a planetary government might subsidize a ship in return for the players to keep a certain trade route open. So they have use of the ship, the patron covers the mortgage, and the players only have to cover operating expenses.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8486
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:50 pm

Have a business plan.

Subsidized merchant is listed with a monthly maintenance cost of sixty six hundred and eighty nine bux.

Image
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4291
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:29 pm

Master_of_Ritual wrote: I'm not sure what I expected, but ship payment and maintenance costs are staggering. Given that your crew has to make the equivalent of half a million dollars every month, what sorts of jobs do Travellers usually do? It seems like moving a small herd of cattle to Jiangyin is not going to be enough.
This is intentional. Travellers are supposed to struggle financially, to force them to take risks and side missions, i.e. adventuring.

On the other hand speculative trade can, properly handled, soon make the characters rich, way too rich.

If you don't care for all the bookkeeping and rolling for passengers and cargoes every jump, just have a patron lend them a ship, as NOLAtrav suggests. But then they will not be free to chart their own destiny...

Master_of_Ritual wrote: Funny that this forum marks "Traveller" as spelled wrong.
It is not the forum, but your browser, presumably set to use some colonial dialect for spell checking?
User avatar
paltrysum
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:16 pm
Contact:

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby paltrysum » Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:33 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:29 pm
On the other hand speculative trade can, properly handled, soon make the characters rich, way too rich.
Exactly. Don't be too upset by the high mortgage costs. If you run the trade rules as written, you might find yourself with a different problem: Travellers who make too much money. Of course, referees have sneaky ways of equalizing the effects of too much income coming in.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
DickTurpin
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby DickTurpin » Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:37 pm

I play in a Pirates of Drinax campaign where we don't even track fuel/life support/maintenance/mortgage costs any more. My character did some extensive trading at the beginning and showed that he can easily make more than enough to cover expenses so we just assume that he is trading in the background to cover costs and focus on the adventures.

Broker 2 with an Expert(broker-1) program running on a handcomp is plenty to make a crew rich if they choose their trade goods carefully. If no one has the skill a more expensive Expert program or hiring local brokers will work pretty well also. Just have them haul freight and passengers the first few jumps to build up a trading fund then shove it all off-screen. This of course assumes that they have a trade ship, scouts or yachts do not work as well. A Lab ship can be a very profitable trader if you empty out some of the lab space and convert it to cargo hold.
Master_of_Ritual
Shrew
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:50 am

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Master_of_Ritual » Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:12 pm

Thanks for the responses, guys. They have been helpful.

A couple of you have mentioned how Travellers can become too rich, and that was actually a concern of mine. Since ship costs are higher than every other expense by an order of magnitude or two, how do you strike that balance?

@Reynard
In our character creation session last night, one of the players really wanted that one science ship that's a big ring and can support a whole team of scientists. He spent four Benefit rolls trying to get it, each at 2/7 chance. I was so relieved when he didn't.

@DickTurpin
You mention spending several jumps building up an inventory. How is that possible when each jump takes a week, and payments are due every month?
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4291
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:56 am

Master_of_Ritual wrote: A couple of you have mentioned how Travellers can become too rich, and that was actually a concern of mine. Since ship costs are higher than every other expense by an order of magnitude or two, how do you strike that balance?
Drain their cash by shooting at them, repairing starships (Core, p150) is slightly expensive...

Encourage them to upgrade their ship, e.g. turrets costs MCrs a pop. A triple Pulse Laser turret costs MCr 4. Replacing a stateroom with a Library (HG, p46) that contains entertainment and information systems that facilitates learning new skills costs MCr 4.

Encourage them to buy a fancy vehicle, it costs money and takes up space in the cargo hold, reducing revenue.

Let them buy more expensive starships that can shoot back, again much more expensive.

On older, more decrepit ships impose breakdowns now and then, requiring costly repairs that takes time during which the mortgage must still be paid without any revenue. Or perhaps the previous battle damage caused a more serious breakdown?

Occasionally let the speculative cargo be fake and worthless. With the increased rewards comes increased risks...

Offer them a lucrative smuggling deal, give them a good chance to get caught and the cargo seized and the ship fined. The patron is now unhappy...

Let some passengers try to hi-jack the ship, damaging something in the process.

A passenger is an Ine Givar terrorist / Zhodani spy / psionic agitator / known pirate fence. Unless the crew discovers this (not easy) and turns the passenger in, the ship is now suspect of organised crime and harassed, inspected, and detained every port stop for a few months, every port stop takes another week or two decreasing revenue per month.

A character is arrested for doing something, perhaps incomprehensibly, illegal on a high-law planet, legal battle ensues, costing time and money. The characters are good at Advocate skill, right?


Just don't repeat the cash drains too often, and give the players some chance to avoid them.


Rich characters are only a problem if they become difficult to motivate, or run off on unplanned excursions that you have not prepared for. If they are willing to work the trade system successfully, let them become rich and retire or "retire" to a new career, e.g. Lando Calrissian-style.
DickTurpin
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 251
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby DickTurpin » Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:11 am

Master_of_Ritual wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:12 pm
Thanks for the responses, guys. They have been helpful.

@DickTurpin
You mention spending several jumps building up an inventory. How is that possible when each jump takes a week, and payments are due every month?
Not an inventory, a trade goods investment fund. Few characters (except nobles, sometimes) have enough cash to buy trade goods at the beginning of the campaign. They are forced to fill all staterooms and haul freight at first. After a few jumps they should have enough extra to start buying trade goods and
only hauling freight to fill out unused space in the cargo hold. Once they can consistently exceed expenses on most jumps you can

If you have a player that likes to do the work, then by all means track income and expenses for the whole game. But if no one (especially you) wants to put in the time then just sweep it all behind the curtain and let the routine stuff slide.
Aldaron
Cub
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:24 am

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Aldaron » Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:50 pm

"...I got pieces flying off my ship, a crew that ain't been paid, and, oh yeah, a powerful need to eat sometime this month."

To me, this sums up most of Traveller. :)
Master_of_Ritual
Shrew
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 1:50 am

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Master_of_Ritual » Mon Jul 27, 2020 4:01 am

Thank you for that list, @AnotherDilbert. A lot of good ideas there.

@DickTurpin
Thanks for clarifying.
nats
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 441
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:34 pm
Location: Pocklington, East Riding of Yorkshire

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby nats » Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:11 am

Traveller is a UK spelling, traveler is the US spelling of the same word. But as the Traveller RPG was created in the US I dont know why they actually spelt it as Traveller, it would be interesting to hear how that came about.
6A6AB9, Citizen(Corporate), 8th Term, Rank 3, Cr Enough
Trade(Architecture)3, Art(3d Illustration)2, Computers2, Admin2, Leader1, Drive(Wheeled)1, Advocate1, Art(Painting)1, Flyer0
Comm(TL7), Computer(TL8), Binoculars(TL6), Tent(TL7), Ground Car(TL7)
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1439
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:45 pm

It's been explained in at least a half-dozen interviews with GDW employees - MWM, FC, LKW

They picked the UK spelling because that is how it was spelled in the Dumarest novels, it added a bit of brand identity, it was easier to get a trademark/copyright, it looks cool and different to a USA audience.
Old School
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1013
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:41 pm
Location: Florida

Re: New referee and--Dear god, the mortgage costs.

Postby Old School » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:33 am

DickTurpin wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:37 pm
I play in a Pirates of Drinax campaign where we don't even track fuel/life support/maintenance/mortgage costs any more. My character did some extensive trading at the beginning and showed that he can easily make more than enough to cover expenses so we just assume that he is trading in the background to cover costs and focus on the adventures.
We do the same thing. POD has enough going on, and we all consider trade to be rather boring, so we just assume enough incidental freight is carried to cover fuel and maintenance. I analyze financial data at work. No desire to be an accountant in a science fiction RPG.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 39 guests