Life Support

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dlpulver
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Life Support

Postby dlpulver » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:53 pm

You need Cr. 2000 a month per stateroom for life support whether they're occupied or not and Cr 100 per month for low berth.

I'm working on a Mongoose adventure involving a trading ship and two things came up:

(1). What happens if you're low on funds and can't pay this? We know what happens if you use unrefined fuel, if you skip maintenance, if you skip on debt payments - but not life support.

(2). What are you actually buying? If you're away from civilization or visiting a class X starport or a scout ship or warship... If you loot another ship for life support, what happens to them and how do you know how much they had? Can you trade with TL 0 locals for life support for your staterooms and low berth (cr. 100) per month) or is it something you can only buy in a starport?

(3). Can you stock up, and if so, how much extra tonnage per month does it require?

(4). Is life support per month (MGT) or per trip (as hinted in CT)?

(5). In a lot of Traveller, a classic trope is finding the lost ship with the person in a low berth who has been there for months or even years. But how can this happen if you need Cr. 100 in supplies per month for a low berth? Most people won't stock that much up....
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Re: Life Support

Postby Easterner » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:24 am

dlpulver wrote:You need Cr. 2000 a month per stateroom for life support whether they're occupied or not and Cr 100 per month for low berth.

I'm working on a Mongoose adventure involving a trading ship and two things came up:

(1). What happens if you're low on funds and can't pay this? We know what happens if you use unrefined fuel, if you skip maintenance, if you skip on debt payments - but not life support. You are short water and food, the toilet quits and the shower adds dirt not lifts it off.

(2). What are you actually buying? If you're away from civilization or visiting a class X starport or a scout ship or warship... If you loot another ship for life support, what happens to them and how do you know how much they had? Can you trade with TL 0 locals for life support for your staterooms and low berth (cr. 100) per month) or is it something you can only buy in a starport? Its food water and chemicals/cleaning products/linen etc. Low berth is cost of monthly maintenance and any parts needed.

(3). Can you stock up, and if so, how much extra tonnage per month does it require? A person needs 4 pounds of food per day so that gives you weight. Cleaning supplies nil and would fit in Ships Locker

(4). Is life support per month (MGT) or per trip (as hinted in CT)? Each stateroom on a ship costs Cr. 2,000 per month, occupied or not. This cost covers supplies for the life
support system as well as food and water, although meals at this level will be rather spartan. Each low passage berth costs Cr. 100 per month.


(5). In a lot of Traveller, a classic trope is finding the lost ship with the person in a low berth who has been there for months or even years. But how can this happen if you need Cr. 100 in supplies per month for a low berth? Most people won't stock that much up....
If maintenance was successful unit continues till it quits. Covered in GURPS DARKMOON where inmates were recovering very long lost low berths with varied success in reviving. I.e. if you do your rl car maintenance it usually lasts longer, skip it and it often dies.


Over all it is somewhat fudgeable in that crew salaries are part of it and keeping track of food is most of it and parts should be rare and rarer still with higher tech. The malfunction article back in JTAS 15 will tell you if parts fail w/o maintenance.
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Re: Life Support

Postby IanW » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:47 am

Im going to rant about this.

This is one of the stupid, brain dead, broken rules that exist because Marc Miller is crap at economics. Its up there with 'Cr1000 per jump' freight costs.

This rule either (a) destroys belter colonies as viable entities, or (b) theres some magic feature about food, water and oxygen that goes into jumpspace as versues food, water and oxygen that doesnt that means the former costs Cr2000 a month and the latter doesnt.

Oh yeah, and its utterly inconsistent with any design system that allows Extended Life Support for long distance missions.

In short, its a typo. It should read Cr 200 not Cr 2000, and then it vaguely matches with all costs given for anything else in Traveller.

For example, "A person needs 4 pounds of food per day so that gives you weight." ok, so thats call it 100 kilos of food, oxygen and water for KCr 2. Plus some cleaning chemicals. Or KCr20 per ton. Or call it KCr20 per dton of 10 tons.

Does food, water and oxygen cost KCr 200 per dton in any set of trade rules ? No, it does not.

Does food, water and oxygen cost anywhere close to KCr200 per dton in any set of trade rules ? No, it does not.

Can you ship a dton of food, water and oxygen from an Ag or Rich world across a sector for half of that ? Yes, you can.

Kill. This. Rule. With. Fire. Turn it into a KCr2-per-passenger tax. Ignore it and reduce passenger costs by Kcr 2 per jump. Call it something other than Life Support, and do what you need to do to return some sanity to the economics of Trav.
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Re: Life Support

Postby Captain Jonah » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:50 am

As far as Low berths goes I treat this as a restock of the injections and such that are used each time someone goes into the berth. Or Cr50 per person per trip. If you have long term sleepers they don't cost more since the berths are covered under ships maintenance and the power comes from engineering.

In terms of the life support costs. This is as contentious a subject as fuel at Cr500. :roll:

A half way decent ship should be recycling 90+% of its air and water. All you need is the air fresheners to get rid of that metallic smell to the air and a mild flavouring to do the same to the water.

Food very much depends on who you are and what variety you want. A scout ship or a bunch of cheap PCs could be living off tins and long life food packs for months.

If you look at the per meal costs from the various books you can be spending from Cr15 to Cr150 per day. Allow that Cr15 a day is ration packs and that middle passengers will want double that and high passengers four times that in value.

So Cr30 per day for a middle passenger including both processed and a little fresh food, condiments, real drink such as wine of beer not mixer syrups.

Cr60 per day for the high class passengers who want a lot more fresh food and good quality drink.

That very quickly adds up. Yes you can live like a student on beans and noodles but no passenger will want to live like that if they are paying and your crew will rebel.


Terra/Sol broke it down to pallets of stores that are used as and when. For example you buy a Dton of standard life support (each cabin holds 0.25Dtons of stores within its 4Dtons so you can drop them in without needing extra tonnage) which lasts you 50 person weeks(Cr250 per week). Economy stuff lasts 60 Weeks (Cr200/week) but cannot be used for passengers, luxury stuff lasts 35 weeks but is more expensive (Cr450/week). Each pallet contains a little extra air, water, consumables, fresher supplies etc as well as food and drink.

However in order to reduce costs and to add some more reasonable costs (Yes I know I am talking about reasonable and Traveller economics in the same sentence :wink: ) you only use life support supplies for when you have people consuming them.

So if you have 12 staterooms you can hide 3Dtons of supplies in the cupboards and overhead lockers, this gives you 150 person weeks. With 5crew and 7 passengers on board for a week you use 12 weeks of stores. The following week you have just the crew living on board so only use 5 weeks of stores. Then you jump again with 5 middle passengers but 2 high passengers who want better food so you need 2 luxury weeks extra and use 5 passenger weeks and 5 crew weeks. The last week you set down and the crew are on planet so use no stores.

End of the month you have used 27 weeks of standard supplies and 2 weeks of luxury. You can restock your stores to replace the 27 weeks or keep going for several more months before you run low of food. (I presume that food is picked up on every stop to keep fresh food available but that’s just me).

27 weeks standard at Cr250 per week is Cr6720 plus Cr900 for the luxury stuff. It’s a bit more paperwork but most groups have someone like me who loves doing this sort of thing.

Instead of spending Cr24,000 on life support because you have 12 staterooms which were empty half the month you spend Cr7,650. A somewhat more reasonable amount even given that you are serving hotel standard because you have passengers and like the crew.
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Re: Life Support

Postby Hans Rancke » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:55 am

I agree completely with Ian. The life support rule is broken. In addition to the points Ian made, there's another problem. At Cr2000 per fortnight, the difference between 9 days worth of life support (the average that a passenger consumes in a trip) and 14 days is significant. It's about Cr700 per passenger. With ten passenger it makes a difference of Cr7000. I've known players who were willing to go a little more into details to save that much (In fact, I'm one of them myself). Mongoose changing that to Cr2000 per month doesn't fix the problem, but it does reduce it.

And then there's the question of plausibility, which has to do with David's question: Just what do you buy for the money? For the sake of willing suspension of disbelief, players should feel that they are getting what they're paying for. For the sake of role-playing, if it's consumables, the PCs should have the option of sticking up on worlds where the cost is low (at the expense of tying up cargo space). If it's maintenance, it should be spelled out how often such maintenance must be carried out.

My suggestion is to figure out per individual cost of being on a spaceship for 10 days (with several options, e.g. minimum survival, spartan living, ordinary living, comfortable living, luxury living) and (if it seems plausible that such must be performed more often than annually) per ship maintenance of the life support system every, say, three months or whatever (With consequences of skipping maintenance spelled out). Passengers consume one unit per passage, crew that stays off ship while in port likewise; crew that lives on ship all the time consume three units per month. LS units have specified volumes, with room for a certain number of units included in the 4dT per stateroom. Anything more must be stored in the cargo hold.


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Re: Life Support

Postby phavoc » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:22 pm

I agree that the book rules are a bit off. Life support costs are (or should be) about consumables - filters, chemicals, etc, that are necessary to keep the air fresh and filtered.

I did some figures and came up with some different costs:

A monthly charge of Cr2000 per stateroom, which also covers food costs, or Cr3000 if you are using double occupancy. That's about Cr1,500 for life support, and Cr500 for food. For comparison sake the 'average' cost to live is Cr400/month. This would be for Soc Standing 6 person. This covers food, clothes, housing, etc... but all at basic levels. It wouldn't cover someone buying an assault rifle every week, or lots of clothes or whatever. Think of it like what you pay normally month to month. You go out a few times, but also eat at home and purchase your own food to keep your costs down.

The rules also were a bit wonky where it said that you paid the life support cost whether or not you had the cabin occupied. I just whacked that rule, since if you have no person breathing in there you can seal off the cabin.
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Re: Life Support

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:48 pm

Anyone know which Traveller ship was used as a template for figuring out life support costs?
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Re: Life Support

Postby alex_greene » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:25 pm

Ignore it. Costs are deducted from the passage costs. What's left is your profits. Set the value as low as Cr 100 for middle passage, and mid passengers have to bring in their own essentials or buy their supplies of toothpaste and bog roll from the purser (who, of course, always stocks up every chance he gets - that's what the luxuries are there for in cargo) and, say, Cr 500 for high passage or even higher depending on the level of luxury you want to give your high passage crowd - bear in mind that "luxury" on board a free trader might mean you have real faux ivory and faux ebony chess pieces and a real wooden chess set to play on rather than a cheap travel magnetic chess set or a holo chess video console).

As for unrefined fuel vs. refined fuel, again if you don't like the disparity, ignore it. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. If you decide it's cheaper than a square Cr5 meal for a half ton of refined, and that low berths are so solidly built that they could last a century on their internal power and to blazes with the costs, so be it. It's your universe.
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Re: Life Support

Postby dlpulver » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:17 pm

If maintenance was successful unit continues till it quits. Covered in GURPS DARKMOON where inmates were recovering very long lost low berths with varied success in reviving. I.e. if you do your rl car maintenance it usually lasts longer, skip it and it often dies.
I'm specifically asking about the Mongoose rules, based on but modified from CT. (In GURPS Traveller and when I wrote Darkmoon my own rules for life support were used, which differ from MGT).

I'll take a loot at JTAS 15 and see if it is applicable to the Mongoose life support rules, though: thanks for that reference.]
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Re: Life Support

Postby dlpulver » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:32 pm

Hans Rancke wrote:I agree completely with Ian. The life support rule is broken. In addition to the points Ian made, there's another problem. At Cr2000 per fortnight, the difference between 9 days worth of life support (the average that a passenger consumes in a trip) and 14 days is significant. It's about Cr700 per passenger. With ten passenger it makes a difference of Cr7000. I've known players who were willing to go a little more into details to save that much (In fact, I'm one of them myself). Mongoose changing that to Cr2000 per month doesn't fix the problem, but it does reduce it.

And then there's the question of plausibility, which has to do with David's question: Just what do you buy for the money? For the sake of willing suspension of disbelief, players should feel that they are getting what they're paying for. For the sake of role-playing, if it's consumables, the PCs should have the option of sticking up on worlds where the cost is low (at the expense of tying up cargo space). If it's maintenance, it should be spelled out how often such maintenance must be carried out.

My suggestion is to figure out per individual cost of being on a spaceship for 10 days (with several options, e.g. minimum survival, spartan living, ordinary living, comfortable living, luxury living) and (if it seems plausible that such must be performed more often than annually) per ship maintenance of the life support system every, say, three months or whatever (With consequences of skipping maintenance spelled out). Passengers consume one unit per passage, crew that stays off ship while in port likewise; crew that lives on ship all the time consume three units per month. LS units have specified volumes, with room for a certain number of units included in the 4dT per stateroom. Anything more must be stored in the cargo hold.

Hans
Some good ideas there! I'm not writing this for my own campaign but for an actual Mongoose book, so I need to have something that does not conflict too much with the core rules.

By the way, how long are months in the Imperial calender and do monthly payments work? Are they still 4-5 weeks? I can't find my copy of either Forms and Charts or Imperial Encyclopedia... I vaguely recall months being poorly defined in Imperial usage - which is odd when they're the basis of maintenance and debt payments (and in CT 480 months of payment = 40 years).
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Re: Life Support

Postby alex_greene » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:48 pm

dlpulver wrote:Some good ideas there! I'm not writing this for my own campaign but for an actual Mongoose book, so I need to have something that does not conflict too much with the core rules.

By the way, how long are months in the Imperial calender and do monthly payments work? Are they still 4-5 weeks? I can't find my copy of either Forms and Charts or Imperial Encyclopedia... I vaguely recall months being poorly defined in Imperial usage - which is odd when they're the basis of maintenance and debt payments (and in CT 480 months of payment = 40 years).
"Imperial Calendar: Calendar established at the creation of the Third Imperium as a universal calendar reform. Dates count from the founding of the Imperium, the year ‘zero’. Dates before zero are negative, dates after are positive. For example, Terra discovered jump drive in -2431. The Imperium was founded in year Zero. The year is divided into 365 standard days, which are grouped into 52 weeks of seven days each. The lengths of days and weeks are a legacy of Terran domination during the second Imperium. Days are numbered consecutively, beginning with one. The first day of the year is a holiday and is not part of any week. For example, the first day (Holiday) of the year 1104 is 001-1104. The last day of the year 1105 is 365-1104."
-- Library Data
It does mean that there are 13 months in any given year, I ought to say ... :)
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Re: Life Support

Postby Hans Rancke » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:58 pm

alex_greene wrote:"Imperial Calendar: Calendar established at the creation of the Third Imperium as a universal calendar reform. Dates count from the founding of the Imperium, the year ‘zero’. Dates before zero are negative, dates after are positive. For example, Terra discovered jump drive in -2431. The Imperium was founded in year Zero. The year is divided into 365 standard days, which are grouped into 52 weeks of seven days each. The lengths of days and weeks are a legacy of Terran domination during the second Imperium. Days are numbered consecutively, beginning with one. The first day of the year is a holiday and is not part of any week. For example, the first day (Holiday) of the year 1104 is 001-1104. The last day of the year 1105 is 365-1104."
-- Library Data

It does mean that there are 13 months in any given year, I ought to say ... :)
Either that or it means that there are 4.33 weeks in any given month. Since the ship payment rule shows that there are 480 months in 40 years, that's the one I'd vote for myself. In my own campaigns I spell it out for my players that monthly payments are made on every day of the calendar that is divisible by 30. Another possibility is that payments are made on day 2 and every 30 days thereafter (I don't think payments would be due on Day 1 (Holiday).)


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Re: Life Support

Postby dlpulver » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:42 am

Classic Traveller was not quite as problematic in some ways. Book 2: Starships differed from MGT
in two ways:

(a) The expense was "per trip (2 weeks)" for staterooms and "per usage" for Low Berths.
(b) It was only applied to occupied staterooms or berths.

This is much more logical, especially for low berths (it could cover revival drugs or cryogens).

The requirement for "all" berths and staterooms in MGT may be taken as an abstraction or, perhaps, a commercial safety regulation.

However, even using CT rules the problem of carrying extra life support for something like military, pirate, scouting, or exploratory trade (as per Leviathan) operations exists.

Okay, we have a very high price of Cr. 2000 for a month. This is obviously ultra-high for basic food stuffs, but the starships serve high passengers, the warships have nobles on them, etc. Presumably we wants our lobster, caviar, steaks, and bottles of wine. Then there's toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. (Three fine meals a day at TAS are Cr. 1,800/month, sans drinks. Of course, those are for the served meals with markup, not the raw ingredients)

It looks like actual mass should be pretty minimal, maybe 100 kg for a month, but that is for typical navy or freighter food rather than a restaurant in space. Since the bulkiest item will be food which is a lot denser than liquid hydrogen even with packing this should take up no more than 0.25 m3 or about 0.018 dtons. call it 0.02 d-tons per man per month. Say there's room for as much as 12 months in a 4-ton stateroom and associated food lockers, or about 0.24 tons per stateroom.

"You can buy supplies for additional months of supplies in advance. The ship's supply facilities included with staterooms have room for up to 12 months of supplies, which can be stocked in advance if you wish. Additional supplies beyond that are Cr. 2,000 and 0.02 tons per man-month. This allows serving high passengers and include a mix of foods and supplements and luxury goods carefully selected to meet the dietary requirements and preferences for all significant races and cultures in that sector of charted space. To optimize for a particular race or multiracial culture, e.g. Imperial, Solomani, Aslan, etc. - divide the cost by 2. For basic rations unsuitable for paying passengers and lacking the high standard of cuisine that the Imperial Navy and Scout Service boast of to attract recruits, also divide cost 2."

There is still the economic disparity between the price of supplies and the price of foodstuffs although I could make certain justifying arguments. Let's see how much bull I can shovel...

- By Imperial regulation space foodstuffs includes a wide variety of foods intended to meet all passenger / crew dietary requirements for multiple major races in the Imperium and its key neighbors (Aslan, Vargr, Droyne, and Hiver and all significant human minor races, as set out by ancient Vilani Empire traditions that remain within Imperial commercial shipping and Navy codes.

- Supplies are all carefully designed and packaged to survive modest radiation exposure, contamination, etc. have an Imperial Seal placed on them at the starport, and include provisions specifically intended for optional zero-G consumption in the event of gravitics failure.

- The combination of a need for special zero-G space food and the complex requirements of food for multiple races jacks up the cost well-beyond that of ordinary foodstuffs.

- Starport supplies are generally sold through Imperial monopolies granted to major megacorporations by local nobles who jealously ensure they get their cut, and by the starport authority. Carriage of commercial passengers, licensing, etc. requires authorized supplies.
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Re: Life Support

Postby dlpulver » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:47 am

Either that or it means that there are 4.33 weeks in any given month. Since the ship payment rule shows that there are 480 months in 40 years, that's the one I'd vote for myself. In my own campaigns I spell it out for my players that monthly payments are made on every day of the calendar that is divisible by 30. Another possibility is that payments are made on day 2 and every 30 days thereafter (I don't think payments would be due on Day 1 (Holiday).)

Hans
[/quote]

Yeah, the ship payment rules in all editions (MGT, CT, etc.) clearly say 480 months is 40 years.

0.33 of a week is a tricky number so your two other solutions - every day divisible by 30 etc. - seem the best way to go in order to get 12 payments.
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Re: Life Support

Postby IanW » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:14 am

dlpulver wrote: Let's see how much bull I can shovel...

- By Imperial regulation space foodstuffs
So its a tax. Be explicit about that, and make it clear that it doesnt apply outside the Imperial Frontier, or to smugglers or belters or other marginal types.
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Re: Life Support

Postby Hans Rancke » Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:21 am

dlpulver wrote:Classic Traveller was not quite as problematic in some ways. Book 2: Starships differed from MGT
in two ways:

(a) The expense was "per trip (2 weeks)" for staterooms and "per usage" for Low Berths.
(b) It was only applied to occupied staterooms or berths.

This is much more logical, especially for low berths (it could cover revival drugs or cryogens).
If we're talking consumables (and what else can we be talking about?), the only logical cost is cost per individual. I.e. double up for double occupancy.
The requirement for "all" berths and staterooms in MGT may be taken as an abstraction or, perhaps, a commercial safety regulation.
Consumables that aren't consumed are not lost. They would be available for the next trip.
Okay, we have a very high price of Cr. 2000 for a month. This is obviously ultra-high for basic food stuffs, but the starships serve high passengers, the warships have nobles on them, etc.
That's just one of the fallacies of having only one price. One price definitely does not fit all. Free traders are tramp ships. They do not, as a general rule, serve any passengers unless said passengers either do not have the option of going by regular commercial ships or it's cheaper to go by tramp.
Presumably we wants our lobster, caviar, steaks, and bottles of wine.
Presumably the crew of a tramp merchant would have the option of sticking to more mundane and muxch cheaper foodstuff and bottles of beer.

And presumably passengers on a tramp freighter should not expect to get lobster, caviar, steak, and wine; and if anyone pays for a high passage, it's to get another passenger evicted, not to enjoy better food (Especially seeing as the food for mid passengers (and crew) costs exactly the same as food for high passengers).
Then there's toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.
Yes, and how much would that amount to for a ten day stay at a hotel? At wholesale prices, mind.
(Three fine meals a day at TAS are Cr. 1,800/month, sans drinks. Of course, those are for the served meals with markup, not the raw ingredients)
Exactly. So not a good comparison. And if it had been a good comparison, passengers use up Cr600 worth of supplies (ten days worth) per trip, not Cr1000.
It looks like actual mass should be pretty minimal, maybe 100 kg for a month, but that is for typical navy or freighter food rather than a restaurant in space.
A tramp merchant is not a restaurant in space. Neither is a privately owned ship of any kind.
Since the bulkiest item will be food which is a lot denser than liquid hydrogen even with packing this should take up no more than 0.25 m3 or about 0.018 dtons. call it 0.02 d-tons per man per month. Say there's room for as much as 12 months in a 4-ton stateroom and associated food lockers, or about 0.24 tons per stateroom.
You could probably get away with claiming that tonnage for a stateroom only includes room for 30 days worth of supplies for two (double occupancy is planned for in all designs even if it's not used).
There is still the economic disparity between the price of supplies and the price of foodstuffs although I could make certain justifying arguments. Let's see how much bull I can shovel...
I'm afraid it doesn't get past my built-in crap detectors. ;)

Seriously, any generic rule that relies on Imperial regulations to make sense does not make sense as a generic rule. Even if your suggestions had made sense as the result of Imperial regulations. Which they don't.


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Re: Life Support

Postby Captain Jonah » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:56 am

We are getting a little focused on just food here. Lets look at this from another angle.

Life support costs are the monthly payment for every consumable that the crew and passengers need each month.

Looking at what I have picked up over the last few months (bear in mind that higher tech is maybe more durable in many cases but often more durable means harder which is not wanted).

Cleaning Products: Washing up liquid, washing machine tablets, bleach, toilet cleaner, the Mr Muscle stuff for unblocking a sink, toilet fresh tablets, air freshener. A starship is a totally enclosed living environment, the crew need to keep it clean or they will be unable to get passengers and become vulnerable to diseases and infections. Something as simple as mould in the air ducts that is not cleaned out spread spores throughout the entire ship.

Personal Consumables: Soap bars, deodorant, toilet paper, underwear, tee shirts. These are used up regularly or wear out and need replacing. Keeping a stock of general items for both crew and passenger use. Even down to those little bars of soap in every passenger stateroom since the passengers are paying a lot of money and don’t want to be using used soap, shampoo etc.

First aid: Replacement for some of the time limited stuff in the medicine box. A new pack of sticky plasters. Prescription drugs and medicines. A ship is totally isolated; you cannot call an ambulance or pop down the local chemists so you need everything possible to handle accidents. Much of that has no shelf life but a fair amount does and you will also be using things like tailored inoculations for every world you visit, a passenger could come on board with something mild that none of the crew has ever seen before. On that world everyone has it as children so its mild in adults, however having the entire crew down with projectile vomiting at both ends is a serious risk to the ship.

Bedding and fittings: Bedding wears out, even with good quality washing products the colours fade. The crew may be happy to keep their own personal bedding even though it is more grey than floral but passengers want nice fresh crisp sheets every day. The same applies to rugs, blankets, towels, the throws over chairs, the carpets etc.

Cutlery. Do you use disposable utensils and cups or do you have a dish washer. Are your passengers eating off plastic or do you have a nice set of plates, bowls and cups in fine ceramic/porcelain with the ships logo. They chip and break and need replacing. The same for knives, forks and spoons. Do you have a proper kitchenette for preparing passenger food, pots and pans need regular replacing.

Entertainment. New TriDs and vids, diginovels, Emagazines. New or updated games. Physical books, magazines, new decks of cards (if you have games for low states/cash opening a new pack proves the game is sort of honest). The onboard storage capacity is huge and any ship will quickly build up a library of thousands of games and millions of books and magazines but they need to keep current. You need TriDs of the latest bands and performances, you need news stories that are as current as is possible in Traveller. This costs money.

There is far more than this but I don’t run a hotel or starship and don’t want to extend this further.

Rather than track all of this separately it is far easier to break it down into the three cost bands and allow that a little bit of the cost each week goes towards each of the above. Over time it will balance out.

Economy life support pallets are minimal and cheap in every category, it is generic products, a limited number of older cheap E-vids and books, it’s cheap earthenware plates and that soap that always feels a bit gritty.

Standard is the average. Its proper branded products, decent plates and cups, the normal E-Books and vids but not the high end or just released blockbusters.

Luxury is the very best, the 5 star hotel stuff. It is a download of the blockbusters released that week, it’s the high end luxury E-Mags and more of the expensive physical books and magazines. Its fragile but very fine porcelain table sets. It’s the best soaps and air fresheners and silk sheets and more.
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
Hans Rancke
Mongoose
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:41 pm

Re: Life Support

Postby Hans Rancke » Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:08 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:We are getting a little focused on just food here. Lets look at this from another angle.
Food is a sizable part of living expenses. For a generic figure, I believe one third is a good number. Another third would go to lodgings, and the third third to everything else (I'm unsure of a good term for that; I'll use 'personal goods' in this post). I know there are places where those fractions don't hold, but I believe food+lodgings tend to be fairly constant. In any case, I think it works as generic figures.

In CT we have figures for food and for lodging. They work out as:

Starvation level: Cr120 (180)
Subsistence level: Cr300 (450)
Ordinary level: Cr400 (600)
High Living: Cr900 (1350)

Numbers in parentheses are with my assumed costs of personal goods included.

Later versions (including MgT) have costs of living based on social standing. All of the versions have (IMO) been broken (too steep a rise at lower social levels, too flat at the high ones). MgT is better than the others, though.

According to MgT (Core Book, p. 87), an Average standard of living costs Cr1200 (twice what CT had) and a good standard of living costs Cr1500, a bit more than 10% over CT's High Living.

So either the Imperium has experienced a 100% inflation or the two tables don't speak of the same conditions. My suggestion would be to say that MgTs figures are for traveling people who pay more for food and lodging in temporary lodging houses or hotels.

It's not unreasonable to assume that cost of living while travelling on a starship would be closer to the MgT figures than to the CT figures.

So let's compare cost of starship living to an average standard of living for travellers. That would be Cr1200 per month. But that includes accomodations, and a starship has the cost of accomodation covered by the bank payments and the annual maintenance. So that's one third off, or Cr800 per month for food and personal goods. That would be Cr400 per fortnight accounted for. The remaining Cr600 per fortnight has to be explained in terms of air and water recycling and... is there anything else that isn't covered by food+personal goods? And I just don't see air and water systems as costing that much to run (The machinery itself is covered in the cost of the ship and the annual maintenance).
Life support costs are the monthly payment for every consumable that the crew and passengers need each month.
Consumable, yes. So MgT's rule about having to pay for empty staterooms is unreasonable. (As is not paying double for double occupancy).
First aid: Replacement for some of the time limited stuff in the medicine box. A new pack of sticky plasters. Prescription drugs and medicines. A ship is totally isolated; you cannot call an ambulance or pop down the local chemists so you need everything possible to handle accidents. Much of that has no shelf life but a fair amount does and you will also be using things like tailored inoculations for every world you visit, a passenger could come on board with something mild that none of the crew has ever seen before. On that world everyone has it as children so its mild in adults, however having the entire crew down with projectile vomiting at both ends is a serious risk to the ship.
Most medical supplies have a greater shelf life than two weeks at TL 8. I don't think shelf life is going to go down with rising tech levels. (Indeed, an early amber zone had the PCs recover a load of still usable medical supplies that had been stashed away during the 4FW, more than twenty years earlier).
Entertainment. New TriDs and vids, diginovels, Emagazines. New or updated games. Physical books, magazines, new decks of cards (if you have games for low states/cash opening a new pack proves the game is sort of honest). The onboard storage capacity is huge and any ship will quickly build up a library of thousands of games and millions of books and magazines but they need to keep current. You need TriDs of the latest bands and performances, you need news stories that are as current as is possible in Traveller. This costs money.
No, you don't need that. If necessary, you can make do with chess sets and decks of cards (And role-playing games ;)). It's only 8-10 days. Now, if you're running a regular passenger line and want to entice passengers from a rival passenger line, you may decide to spend a bit of your potential profits on amenities that are fancier than absolutely necessary. But a tramp merchant is selling passage, not entertainment.
Rather than track all of this separately it is far easier to break it down into the three cost bands and allow that a little bit of the cost each week goes towards each of the above. Over time it will balance out.
Except that I think the five categories I suggested above would be better, I agree with that.


Hans
F33D
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1645
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 1:13 pm

Re: Life Support

Postby F33D » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:29 pm

Let's list the types of "consumables" used.

1) Food
2) O2 & H2O
3) Toiletries

An empty stateroom "consumes" none of those. Ergo, no cost for an empty stateroom.

42 meals for one person (even if "expensive" prepackaged) + air filtration + water filtration + toiletries for 2 weeks MIGHT cost ~$500/person/2 weeks, wholesale.
dlpulver
Weasel
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:31 am

Re: Life Support

Postby dlpulver » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:18 pm

Okay, as this is regard Mongoose Traveller, let's look at the rules (p. 138). Italics mine.

"Life Support and Supplies: Each stateroom on a ship costs Cr. 2000 per month, occupied or not. This cost covers supplies for the life support system as well as food and water, although meals at this level will be rather spartan. Each low passage berth costs Cr. 100 per month."

From this, it is clear that food is a minor element of the life support cost in MGT. Given that water and air are not known for their expense (except possibly in cheap sci-fi where invaders launch massive wars to steal our water, having never heard of comets or gas giant moons...) that's obviously not a big part of the cost either.

What I get from this is that "supplies for the Life Support" system mean something other than food or water, and presumably oxygen as it is trivial to crack water for air. I think that could break down into two elements:

* Replacement of filters, rapidly wearing-out parts or specialized catalysts that are in addition to the generalized MNT cost and specific to manned ships.
* General cleaning agents and fresher stock (not likely to be more than $200/month, though).

The argument that Maintenance already covers all repairs and parts is compelling but not entirely certain. MNT cost is, after all, strictly based on a percentage of ship cost.

A possibly justifiable argument would be that certain components, specifically staterooms, impose a far higher maintenance burden then their purchase cost indicates. (Consider a stray cat: it's free, but you keep paying and paying... sorry. Just had to visit a vet and got the bill...)
But wood is cheaper than high quality metal, but it can cost more to maintain a wooden ship.

Is there anything in Traveller that would explain why the cost per stateroom is high? Perhaps there is a semi-ablative radiation shielding grid included in each stateroom and low berth.
Perhaps the artificial gravity generation - based on corridor length slices and rooms included in each stateroom - has an unusually high wear-out rate and replacement cost.

My major concern, however, is not the cost - I've lived with Cr 2000/stateroom for a long time - but the question of how the life support can be replenished for trips out from civilization and how much extra supplies take up. "Spartan" food, water, etc. should be about 0.01 ton per month, I think, but I don't know about the other material.

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