Trade codes for non main worlds

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PsiTraveller
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Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:20 pm

Just a question. The trade codes in the main book (pg 211) say that a world has the goods available to its trade codes. If you go to travellermap and get a system report there are other worlds in the system. These worlds frequently have different trade codes, as well as populations on the planet.

Would you allow players to try and get the goods available per trade code from these smaller worlds? Specifically I am looking at higher end goods worth more money as spec trade. Ice Capped, Desert and Fluid oceans allow for Precious metals to be available for trade, for example. If the home world is a Low industrial, Ag world normally this would normally not be available.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Galadrion » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:12 am

If it was my campaign, I'd rule that the mainworld classifications are the ones which pertain so far as interstellar commerce is concerned - secondary worlds simply don't have the trade volume to significantly impact interstellar trade. Mostly, secondary world will be trading with (and thus, through) the mainworld starport; their output is subsumed into that of the whole system. (I don't believe that anyone has ever seriously proposed that, for example, non-agricultural systems don't produce any food or other agricultural goods, just that they don't produce enough, economically enough, to compete on the interstellar stage.) This does mean that there is likely to be a significant amount of intrasystem trade (which is, after all, what such colonies are usually set up to facilitate), but such activities aren't usually a source of much ongoing adventure. Besides, local (in-system) trade routes will normally be filled up by locals as quickly as they can be made sustainable; there's not much room in that market for tramp (adventuring) merchants - maybe the occasional side adventure, but not likely anything ongoing.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Old School » Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:45 am

Spec trade is a tough campaign, because with RAW the profits are so enormous. Unfortunately you have to put barriers in the way to avoid bloat, especially with high value goods. So anywhere, mainworld or not, that is generating precious metals, or radioactives, or whatever, why would they sell to any tramp trader that comes along? If there’s a profitable destination nearby, there’s a high chance someone has that supply locked up. Neither the people doing the mining or other trading outfits in the system are idiots. They aren't often going to just leave those profits for the taking for any group of traveling ruffians that comes along with the cash. Getting to buy that high value cargo should be an adventure, not a die roll.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Garran » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:03 am

It could happen if there's local disruption: damage to ships/starport, a production glut/drop in demand, etc. Independents would be able to take up some of the excess stock in those cases, but it'll be a matter of 'right place at the right time'.

I suppose that a situation like that could become (semi)permanent if the system experiences a long-term shift in demand, in which case the now in excess producers will have to look for new markets, but even that would be a system-specific quirk rather than a typical situation.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Condottiere » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:54 pm

The strength and weakness of speculative trade on the interstellar level would be the time lag.

Insystem, traders would have a fairly timely update on current prices and market conditions.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby PsiTraveller » Sat Feb 20, 2021 7:52 pm

Trade rules allow for 1D of random items as well as the trade code items. This could be explained by other worlds in the system having something for sale and the players being in the right place at the right time. The random items also allow for worlds to produce more than the trade codes allow. Earth/Terra is a garden world on travellermap and should not produce petrochemicals as per the trade code, but that would be a surprise to Saudi Arabia or Venezuela.

The Inurin profile product has the main world, Inurin, as a TL 6 Ag, RIch and Low Tech world, while the Saxcorp planet is Ba and Va. Saxcorp also has mining operations in the asteroid belts and gas giant moons of the system. When I see a system like that it makes sense (to me at least), that the Highport/system clearing house may well have goods from several worlds/asteroid belts available for traders to pick up, certainly a broader range of products than just the main planet of Inurin. (Hence my question in the first place).

I agree that players will certainly hope to find the larger price items on the trade list. They have mortgages to pay.

From a gaming perspective having a system with a developed web of trade of in system traffic also offers more opportunities/justification for piracy activities if you are running a PoD campaign.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby DickTurpin » Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:45 am

I agree that any worlds/belts that have a population could have some trade goods available, just not nearly as many as the main world. Barren worlds would have nothing to sell because there is nobody there to produce them. Asteroid belts would have primarily Common and Uncommon Ores, with a few Precious Metals and very rarely Crystals & Gems or Radioactives. Other trade code could possibly have other goods available based on their trade codes as well. Belts could also have the less valuable items listed in the Belt Mining section on page 79 of High Guard.

Generally, I believe that goods available, if any, should be determined by the GM, based on what s/he wants to be there, but usually not more than half what the chart calls for if the planet was a main world and possibly only a few tons. Most independent belt miners take their own ores to market to get the best prices, but some may prefer to sell them rather than suspend their operations for two weeks or more to jump out and back to reach a good market. Larger mining companies likely move their goods on their own transport ships as well.

Exceptions likely exist; some "minor" worlds may be nearly as populous as the main world giving the system in effect two or more "main" worlds. A minor world may be attempting to establish/assert their own economic base, independent of the main world. Again, if the GM wants it to happen, then those markets will be there, otherwise probably not.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Ursus Maior » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:50 am

A lot of this might also depend on how long transits from the main world to other worlds takes. This can vary a lot during the main worlds stellar year, but its economy will have learned to rely on these times, developing something of an economic calender that includes work-force rotations, imports and exports, cultural events (visit the amazint aurora borealis on 'that exterior planet in Sixth-Month') etc.

By the way, does someone have a good simulator for planetary rotations, orbits etc.? This is something I cannot do in my head, but it seems to be extremely important to the people in a system.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Condottiere » Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:47 pm

I'm pretty sure we have one for our system.

I suppose that if you find any of those programmes, you can substitute in planetary bodies of the newly designed system.

It has to be economically viable to maintain trade routes, or have it subsidized: the government could pay you to maintain a regular schedule, and any extra cargo space can be offered at an acceptable commercial rate.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:14 pm

I use the chart on pg 153 of the Core book. A Far gas giant at 1g is about 1 week (166.7 hours on the chart) from the main world. So you can get anywhere you want in a system in a week or so.

Since it takes about 10-20 days to ship something across the Atlantic, (Source: Google) that's pretty good for shipping in-system. I could see independent traders zipping about in cheap asteroid ships hauling goods from station to station in a system.

This raises another point. What would a ship charge per ton to move something from a main world to a base a week one way in system? If a round trip takes 2 weeks a trading vessel could make 2 trips a month moving cargo. That will come at a cost to pay for the ship's mortgage and other expenses. And there will be a fair amount of trade between bases, in food if nothing else.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Garran » Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:07 am

If it's prearranged cargo and you're just carrying it then it's freight, and if it takes about a week to get there then it's equivalent to a Jump-1 route. True, you might shave a small amount off of that because the ship doesn't need to use up a bunch of fuel for a jump, but in the overall scheme of things that isn't likely to be a major expense.

Not needing to mount a jump drive would make a dedicated in-system trader a *lot* more efficient per-ton than a jump-capable vessel, although the other option would be to install much better maneuver drives to cut down on travel time (and make it somewhat easier to avoid pirates, especially since you can't escape with an emergency jump). In fact, you'd almost certainly want to do that if the trip would otherwise take a week or more since otherwise you'd be better off having a jump-capable ship hopping across the system.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:25 am

Extra M Drives are awesome for the profitability. A 2g ship shaves 2 days off the trip, one way (pg 153 again). So a fast ship could make several trips in a month, hauling food one way, and mined materials back to the main world. (for example)
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Ursus Maior » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:33 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:14 pm
This raises another point. What would a ship charge per ton to move something from a main world to a base a week one way in system? If a round trip takes 2 weeks a trading vessel could make 2 trips a month moving cargo. That will come at a cost to pay for the ship's mortgage and other expenses. And there will be a fair amount of trade between bases, in food if nothing else.
I was wondering the same, too, for some time already. The premium for moving freight does not rise linearly from j-1 to j-6 freight jobs, making it likely that TL-based availability of higher j-drives is an important factor besides fuel cost. All other cost are pretty stable regardless of distance travelled: crew costs, powerplant fuel, maintenance all do not change. They stay almost the same if you don't jump either. The only thing changing is that a boat wouldn't need an astrogator.

So, factoring out fuel needed for j-1 in contrast to intra-system travel and the now useless astrogator, I'd say intra-system freight is probably fetching prices somewhere between 25-75 % per dton compared to j-1 freight (so Cr250-750/dton). This is for freight runs that take 1 week to accomplish. Each day less (or more) should modify this by 1/7th accordingly. This will make starships completely unprofitable, since they waste a sginificant percentage of their displacement on j-drives and fuel tanks. So unless you transport fuel, that's not even close to a business model. The same goes for passengers probably. But of course, if you're making the trip anyway, why not earn a few Credits? A tramp trader might even earn kCr30-40 for such a trip, if completely filled to the top and going for a week.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Ursus Maior » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:52 pm

Yeah, spacecraft that use m-drives only are super-cheap intra-system cargo-haulers. And as soon as great corporations enter the game, they will probably push for high levels of automation to get crew costs down. A well laid out supply route will be able to push bulk and container freight from the outer planets for very small money. Orbital dynamics will be heavily exploited and some of the crew might be contracted to make most of the trip in cryo-berths.

For freight trips between planetary bodies very close to each other, it might be a different game, though. Orbital dynamics are still important, after all Mars and Earth can be apart between 55.76 and 400.2 million km, as their orbital dynamics are vastly different. That makes it incredibly important for an interplanetary economy to be able to handle schedules just in time on an astronomical scale. Remote colonies need to get their food at the correct time or they might be literally drifting into a long starvation period, unless a much greater effort is made to send a faster ship.

The good thing here is: All of this is highly foreseeable and can be planned for in advance of millenia. After all, planets don't change course.

Or do they?
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Ursus Maior » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:06 am

Garran wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:07 am
In fact, you'd almost certainly want to do that if the trip would otherwise take a week or more since otherwise you'd be better off having a jump-capable ship hopping across the system.
That depends on fuel prices, doesn't it? If you have a good contract for cheap fuel, a j-drive might be cheap to operate in order to get to a remote colony. But since you can calculate exactly when and where the colony will be, why waste good fuel? I bet, in a universe like this, it's even a (well paid) art form to design spacecraft as cheaply as possible: as large as possible for the quantities hauled, light hulls, thrust 1, maybe even no artificial gravity, because you will have constant thrust anyway. Maybe added capabilities to handle cargo in flight, so you can receive new cargo and drop off other, while in transit, simply by meeting smaller cargo lighters. Minimal crew, changed while in transit to keep salaries low, automated defences etc. Who cares for a few days, if the economy of scale gives you right of way.

Of course, each system has different orbital dynamics and numbers of colonies and thus will settle for a different rhythm. Maybe one system will settle for thrust 2 barges, the next will only need thrust 1. But there will always be space for a rapid delivery shuttle making the run in less time, because it sports high-thrust drives and is small enough to deliver the goods right onto the landing pad of that noble's private starport. Premiums will certainly be high for these jobs.
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Re: Trade codes for non main worlds

Postby Condottiere » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:22 pm

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