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.