Cheap ships, expensive to run.

Nobby-W

Mongoose
Saladman said:
Nobby-W said:
...

This helps keep the overall level of finances in the campaign to a more tame level, which is useful for game balance.

Fair enough... but did you have a system or a guideline you could share with us, or were you eyeballing it? Also, does "keeping available money low" mean quest rewards and no trading game, or including the trade system?

What I mean is that if you have a lot of money flowing through the hands of the party just to keep the starship fed and watered then the money needed to buy kit for adventuring, bribe NPCs etc. becomes just a drop in the bucket.

If the overall finances of the ship are smaller then you can achieve the effect of a party grubbing for enough money to keep their ship going more easily, and keep the ship running without unduly affecting the game balance of other adventuring. This makes it easier to achieve a reasonable game balance between trading and other adventures.

You can have whatever mix of adventures and trading you like without either affecting the game balance of the other unduly.

As for a guideline, take a look at the revenue generating capacity of the ship - how much revenue can you earn from cargo and passengers annually. The example was based on 60 tons of cargo and 5 middle passengers, which is roughly the capacity of an A2 class trader in CT (actually I forgot to factor in low berths but it doesn't make a big difference). Maybe factor in an assumption that you will fly with an average of (say) 75% of your capacity utilised. Then calculate the annual costs of running the ship - fuel, maintenance, crew salaries, life support costs etc.

Gross margin = revenue - expenses. Apply whatever target ROI you deem appropriate - say 15-25% per annum. The market value of the used ship is the expected gross margin divided by the ROI that you (or the bank) requires.

Most editions have some rules that cover the running costs of a starship; the revenue assumptions are Cr8,000 per middle passage and Cr1,000 per ton of cargo or low passenger.

The party can also do some speculative trading on cargoes to supplement their income.

I don't have a blog or anything with this written up and it's a house rule that I've used in a few campaigns. If there's enough interest I could write up something more formal and post it here or on COTI.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
To reiterate, ask your players how they envision getting around.

If they want their own starship getting hold of a matching power plant and jump drive are requisites.

Maybe add in a character that can construct them, or put together spare parts.

Or they're taken hostage by pirates, and they hijack the pirates' ship.
 

Nobby-W

Mongoose
simonh said:
Nobby-W said:
I handled this a bit differently - make the ships cheap to buy and cheap-ish to run, but keep the total amount of money available to the PCs low.

How have you modified the trading system to achieve this? If operating costs and repayments are low, using the standard trading system would mean the PCs would make an absolute killing, but you haven't mentioned any adjustments to it to ballance things out.

Simon Hibbs

The day to day finances aren't radically different - Mortgage payments are still a substantial amount, but the mortgage is taken out over a shorter term. I'm working around the large capital outlay to run the ship. If you had MCr50-100 then actually a free trader isn't that great an investment. If you can club together to raise MCr1 and could get a deposit on a decent used ship at that price then it's something you could plausibly do for a life style.
 

Reynard

Cosmic Mongoose
I know there is the Primitive and Advanced option in High Guard to have an older, cheaper ships but one edition of Traveller had a whole rule section to create used starships. For every ten years age the price went down but earned the ship a 'quirk' disadvantaging it in minor ways. Built your own Millennium Falcon.
 

AndrewW

Cosmic Mongoose
Reynard said:
I know there is the Primitive and Advanced option in High Guard to have an older, cheaper ships but one edition of Traveller had a whole rule section to create used starships. For every ten years age the price went down but earned the ship a 'quirk' disadvantaging it in minor ways. Built your own Millennium Falcon.

Traveller Core Rulebook page: 136 said:
Old Ships
Many ships serve for decades or even centuries before being scrapped. Adventurers and free traders are often forced by necessity to purchase outdated or damaged vessels instead of new or pristine ships. Characters purchasing an outdated ship gain 1d6 ship shares per 10 years of wear. For each ten-year term of wear, choose what role that ship was engaged in, and roll on the table below:
 

Reynard

Cosmic Mongoose
DAMN IT! Sorry, I have so many books for Traveller I get confused and somehow missed that page while looking in the Core for that section. Thank you very much! I'm amazed more (or any)people don't mention using those second hand rules more often considering all the howling about ships too expensive.
 

Epicenter

Mongoose
Pardon a bit of thread of necro here, but given my players are discussing ship purchasing for a new game, I've been giving this quite a bit of thought.

I'm thinking that "cheap ships, kinda pricy to run" might be something I try in my next game.

Bringing down the costs of running a ship would allow me to also bring down the value of cargoes being carried on a ship by quite a bit. This has advantages:

* It makes the amount of money players have to earn not quite as outrageous to purchase and run a ship.

* It makes things like combat and ship damage more bearable for the players because repairing the ship would be cheaper.

* It would make sense since I want to run with the idea of "smaller, older freighters in the shadow of megacorporate container vessels." Such enormous ships are going to drive down the costs transport (just as they have today on our 21st century Earth). Smaller freighters still have agility and would serve both periphery areas but would also engage in the tramp trade - a market that'd be simply enormous even between two high-population worlds. The volume of trade between the worlds would be enormous, so even if 0.05% of the total trade between two worlds being the tramp trade would still keep quite a few small ship operators in business (though obviously, they'd be lean and hungry men and women continually hustling for trade). These smaller freighters would also serve as "interstellar big rigs" and service less populous worlds and outposts with trade.

I haven't quite looked at the trade and costs numbers yet, but I'm really thinking of slashing them by anywhere from 50% to even more. The value of money would remain the same. At the same time, this would give me an opportunity to eliminate the 500 pound gorilla of stupidity - the cost of refined fuel from the equation.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Real world operating costs for ships are about 10% of purchase price per year.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Condottiere said:
Warships are very expensive to run.

That's fair. I should have said the figures apply to civilian, both merchant and pleasure, but not cruise liners (they have stupidly high manpower costs).

I suspect that if you add the R&D cost for warships into the build cost the figures might come out slightly better. For non-nukes I'd assume manpower was again their largest annual cost. I have no idea about nukes as I don't know what the reactors cost to maintain.
 
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