2300AD: Ship Economics


Emperor Mongoose
For those of you who are fiddling with 2300AD, has it seemed to you that it's impossible for a ship crew to make money in the game?

Given the high numbers of crewmen needed, just salaries completely prevent the stereotypical Traveller Free Trader campaign. Consider: even the Merchant career muster-out ship, the Thorez, requires a crew of almost 20. And each one of those personnel make about Lv. 2000/mo. So that's 40k in salaries alone at base pay... meaning that your crew all have skill levels of 1 or 2 in their primary job skills. Even Player Characters like to get paid at end of the month, even if they take part of their pay in shares purchases.
Now, the Thorez is a great 'adventurer' ship. It can get on and off most worlds without undue hassle. I has a decent turn of speed in stutterwarp, so she can get where she's going pretty quickly, and she's ubiquitous in two Arms of space. Maintenance and repairs are not too very burdensome.
But she just can't make a living, much less a ship payment, with the cargo space she has available plus the passengers she can carry.
If you go looking you may find an almost scrap military transport from one of the wars in the past couple of decades.
Unfortunately I don’t have any real experience with 2300AD but this situation sounds perfect for a subsidy route for the PCs. A route where the patron is increasingly tightening the screws, the runs are getting more dangerous and the PCs start to get really hungry to pay off that ship…
The Thorez was never a very profitable starship in the original canon. It was basically an insystem hauler designed to move ore back from asteroid mines to orbital factories. She did not have, even under the very unrealistic fuel to orbit rules in GDW, enough fuel to lift from a world with any load (she had enough fuel, just, to lift empty).*

The Mong version has/ is:

1. Far more expensive**
2. Has a larger crew
3. Has less cargo capacity than the original version

So, I suspect with higher costs and lower returns, the Thorez would not be economically viable. In GDW 2k3, she is barely viable if you allow for insystem distance to count for payment (which I always did, but that's not strictly what the rules said).

BTW: The artist intended the Thorez to be a lander, not a starship...

* GDW had 1 ton of fuel lifting 5 tons of dry-weight from a 1 G world. This was extremely unrealistic, and should be 5 tons of fuel per 1 ton of dry-weight using real physics.

** Mong 2k3 has revalued the Livre to be equal to 1 Imperial credit, instead of 5 CrImps = Lv1, but wages etc. have stayed the same value in both original and Mong, with no revaluing. Thus we don't devalue as we're comparing wages.
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