Listed crew requirements are regulation crew. In theory, one sufficiently skilled person could cover all positions on a Thorez, but it would likely be a bad idea. Commercial ships are supposed to run with a full watch at all times, and bridge crew requirements are largely irrelevant of ship sizes.
I think phrases such as “should”, “supposed to” and “regulation” will be out the airlock as soon as you leave the core. The arms and the frontier, where I expect to find players running ships, will be very much as many or as few as we absolutely need which will probably end up being about 4 or 5.
The pilot obviously, an engineer, someone to crew comms and sensors, a navigator if the pilot cannot do that and an engineer in the engine room. This would be at high risk times such as landing or taking off. Most of the flight its going to be someone watch standing who has been trained to recognise problems and shout for the rest of the bridge crew.
I can also see regulations going out the window on the smaller military ships. Those armed 100Dton scouts with a crew requirement of 16 simply don’t have the space for 32Dtons of crew space.
Anyway as you are here Colin what about the other part of my question? Cargo?
As I read the rules cargo is Lv750 per LY per Dton making it vastly more expensive to haul than people are but there seems to be no reason why.
A ship pays life support costs and needs stewards for passengers. Each high passenger takes 4.1Dtons of space, needs a fraction of a Steward and costs Lv2000 a month in life support in return for Lv500 per light year two or three trips a month.
Cargo requires no life support, probably requires a cargo handler fro every 400Dtons or so and requires no life support costs.
An example. A player controlled Thorez picks up 50Dtons of cargo, 2 high passengers and 6 middle passengers on a colony world for transport to a world 7 LY away. The ship will pick up and deliver to down ports as neither world has orbital interfaces.
It’s a 7LY run so the charge for the passengers is Lv3500 each for the two high passengers, Lv700 each for the middle passengers and Lv5250 per Dton for the cargo.
On top of this the book says To Orbit is Lv5000 per passenger and Lv20,000 per Dton for cargo plus Lv500 and Lv2,000 for the From Orbit at the other end since the Thorez is acting as a space plane as well.
So each Dton of cargo will cost the shipper Lv27,250, the whole 50Dton load will cost Lv1,362,500. The passengers who occupy 5 staterooms between them (20Dtons) will cost Lv55,200. Kick out those extra staterooms and haul more cargo
Where does this money go? The overheads for the ship are tiny in comparison to the cargo income alone. Fuel Lv50,000 a run. Crew costs for a player type crew with a few NPCs Lv50,000 a month, life support Lv32,000 a month. The mortgage is tiny since the Thorez costs MLv14, that’s Lv60,000 a month.
The entire operating costs for the ship for a month run to about a quarter million. They clear 1.4 million in this one run and that wasn’t even full. Shorter runs bring in less but you can make three of them or maybe four of them in a month. If it can make even a single run full or two runs half full in a month the Thorez can clear its own mortgage and be a free ship in less than a year and a half.
I may well have missed something since I haven’t yet run the rules for a game and am just playing with ships and shipping to see how it works.
But passengers are literally a waste of space on a ship and cargo is a ridiculously good money maker where shipping costs are not supported by overheads to the hauler.
It gets worse as you scale up. Something like the Anjou is within player range with 6 or 8 NPCs. Buy the thing on a mortgage and you are looking at total monthly costs of Mortgage Lv500,000, wages Lv100,000, Life support 100,000 and maintenance 10,000. Lv710,000 a month. The ship can comfortably make two runs a month. To break even just shipping from interface point to interface point without any to orbit or from orbit costs it must carry 135Dtons a month. If over the entire month it carries its full load of 1,712Dtons split between its runs it will make a mere 8.2 million profit paying for the ships mortgage in little more than a year. If it manages to make both runs at half or better full it can easily make 10 to 12 million clear.
Am I missing some massive costs here somewhere, is there a tax on this income. Because if not then I would start a group of players, form a crew, use shares to get an Anjou, run it for a year to buy it and then another two months to clear enough money for a Thorez or another 6 months and buy an old warship then go adventuring on the frontier in style and this doesn’t begin to cover what a decent Broker skill can do when you have a working fund of 8+ million a month.
I know 2300 is traditionaly about ground adventures but having ported it into Traveller with the expectation that Traveller games involve ships players are going to be looking at running ships. Characters get ship shares to buy those old civilian frieghters and liners and will most likey be doing just that.
Even for Traveller the shipping charges and overheads are a little off balance.