Error about Fuel skimming

1. If fuel processors are also used for large scale water purification, you aren't getting rid of them.

2. As a pilot, I would be less than enthusiastic to fly a spacecraft with factor two acceleration into a gas giant.
Who knows what all they are used for? Apparently they can turn Jupiter's atmosphere, seawater, and space ice into liquid hydrogen. Perhaps they also make drinking water. I don't recall it ever saying so, but sure. It doesn't change the fact that ubiquitous fuel processors makes the original refined/unrefined fuel distinction obsolete.
It is not, but space station fuel refineries include the gathering equipment (drones and their hangars) as well as the refinery equipment itself, so it' not a fair comparison.
Yeah, I seriously wish this line had not been included: "Space dedicated to refineries includes hangars and other facilities required for tugs to bring asteroids back to the space station." It is a nightmare -- try figuring the required docking and UNREP space, and then justify why they can be lumped into the 'refinery' tonnage but the fuel tanks cannot; especially since prices for a 'Docking Facility' (which is 2.5 more expensive than a 'Fuel Refinery' at TL 7-9) are on the same page.
Does not seem to, but if you have to account for the per person costs, then you have to deal with occupancy levels and it's probably best to just assume it goes into monthly maintenance costs. Same goes for commercial zones for that matter - but they all need power - in addition to what the station needs for tonnage, so that's a tradeoff with standard stateroom costs.
Which raises the question: if a 4 dTon Residential Zone (which is 20% of the cost of a stateroom) has no additional life support costs, why are these not used for occupancy on starships?
I haven't actually looked at the space station refinery math. But shipboard refineries have been steadily made better and better over time. We are now at the point, imho, that distinguishing between refined and unrefined fuel is a pointless relic.
Whole-heartedly agree. I remember somewhere back in the mists of time, someone referencing the original HG fuel purifiers ('80 edition I think?) and saying "Why doesn't every ship have one of these?!"

And now they do and there's really no point to wasting time with skimming, quite frankly. Nor for starports to invest in offering refined fuel when every ship can do it for itself. But when skimming does happen I'd like my Travellers to have to make some decisions about how to go about it, whether there's pirates lurking about or not. I mean c'mon, surfing the storm clouds of a multi-colored superjovian is sci-fi bad-assery - and it should be risky.

I did run a short campaign where fuel purifiers were really big and expensive and ships under a few thousand tons couldn't economically install them and that was fun for a bit. But keeping up with updated ship sheets and deck plans was a pain so... meh.
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The original version in 79 High Guard were 30 to 50 tons at the tech levels commercial ships used. That's a hardship for adventure class ships. But by HG '80, you could get them down to like 6 tons. (Or 3 tons if you were building at TL 15).

Skimming is still generally a bad idea for a commercial vessel. The time lost travelling to the gas giant (assuming a gas giant moon isn't the main world, like with Regina/Assiniboia), skimming (with whatever risk that entails), and *then* finally jumping to the next system almost certainly costs the ship more than the price of unrefined fuel that your on board refinery can process while you are doing normal cargo transfers and R&R.

I'm always in favor of interesting mechanisms for players to make important decisions, generate RP, and possibly get into trouble. I just don't think that the Gas Giant Ops rules in the Companion are remotely that.
Okay, Geir’s-Total-Unofficial-But-Workable-and-Consistent-with the-Core-Book rules for gas giant refueling:

Refueling at a Gas Giant: Difficult (10+) Pilot check (Special duration, DEX).

Duration: 2 hours for each 10% of total hull volume refueled. Each positive point of Effect reduces time by 5%. For example, to refill 20 tons on a 100 dton ship, or 40 tons on a 200 ton ship, requires 4 hours, with each positive Effect decreasing time by 12 minutes.

This task can be performed carefully, resulting in an Average (8+) check requiring twice the indicated time, or rushed, resulting in a Very Difficult (12+) check requiring half the indicated time.

If the task is successful, the ship emerges from the gas giant and continues on its way.

If the task is failed, the operation is aborted one hour into the operation, with no fuel collected. The pilot must make a Difficult (10+) Pilot check (1 hour, DEX) with a DM equal to the negative Effect of the initial failed check to avoid damage and to allow a second refueling attempt, if desired. Positive Effect on this check will reduce the time interval by 6 minutes to a minimum time of 30 minutes.

If this task is failed, the ship suffers hull damage equal to 1D times the Effect of the failure, times the tonnage of the ship divided by 100. For example, if a pilot of a free trader (200 tons) fails this second check with Effect -2, then the ship takes 2D x 2 points of hull damage, a range of 4 – 24 Hull points. As a free trader has 80 Hull points, critical hits occur when damage exceeds 8, 16, and 24 Hull points – the referee can roll a Severity 1 critical for each 10% interval or may choose to roll once at a higher Severity (for example a single Severity 2 if 16 Hull points of damage occur). This may result in more Hull damage, more criticals and other bad things.

After a failed refueling, the ship remains at the layer of the refueling attempt. By default, a refueling takes place in the Deep (4) layer. Careful refueling occurs at the Shallow (3) layer. A rushed refueling also takes place at the Deep Layer, but is performed at higher velocity, resulting in more fuel gathered, but at greater risk.

Descriptions of gas giant Layers are as in the Traveller Companion (p.163-164), but layer penalties are not applied to the refueling task, only to other Piloting tasks conducted at that layer. For non-refueling operations or the aftermath of a failed refueling, task DMs as indicated in the Companion (for instance DM-1 in the Shallow and DM-2 in the Deep), but only one (Usually, Average (8+)) Pilot task check at the deepest layer (or per day of gas giant operations at that layer) is required. Failures result in the damage indicated above, based on the Effect of the failure, not the Layer. This damage result balances piloting skill and size of the craft, causing less percentage damage to an almost successful check but more absolute damage to larger vessels.
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I would think most acceleration factor/two commercial spacecraft stick to shallow skimming.

Pilot (spacecraft) uses many of the same skills possessed by small-craft pilots but there are more things to be concerned about. While it might take a light touch to fly a shuttle, dexterity is valuable to starship pilots as well. Most small craft are used as interface vehicles and do not have accommodations for long, in-system flights. This task falls upon starships which, in addition to flying to and from jump point, must also travel between the various planetary bodies of a system when required. While large and capital ships often use shuttles to skim for fuel from gas giants, the vast majority of wilderness refuelling is performed by starships. Skimming for fuel is a potentially hazardous task, one which subpar pilots should avoid.
I'll stick with
"ok you skim fuel from the gas giant, now what"
Geir, your probabilities make it such that tens of thousands of ships would be lost every year if they attempted something that doesn't require a roll in CT.
Very different setting.
I'll stick with
"ok you skim fuel from the gas giant, now what"
Geir, your probabilities make it such that tens of thousands of ships would be lost every year if they attempted something that doesn't require a roll in CT.
Very different setting.
That's one of the beautiful things about Traveller, you can adapt the rules to your own style and that of your players.

I can see the thought that's gone into Geir's rules and if that works for all concerned then great, crack on and glad you're enjoying Traveller :)

Personally, my own players wouldn't enjoy quite so many dice roles to achieve skimming fuel.
They prefer a much more narrative approach with the activity described in a more cinematic way, with clues that things are getting out of hand such as the hull starting to creak and groan, or a secondary vent bypass valve blowing out portside on deck 1 and needing the engineer to get down there right now to try and patch things up.

Both are valid playstyles, and what suits one group may not be what the other wants at all :)
Don't get me wrong, such rulings are useful for appropriate circumstances.

Say you are running TL9 campaign during the early days of interstellar exploration and gravitics are also still a relatively new technology, say early Vilani interstellar scouting and trade, Earth explorers setting out into the Ziru Sirka or heading off to rimward, trailing or spinward.

But by the TL15 57th century...
I'll stick with
"ok you skim fuel from the gas giant, now what"
Geir, your probabilities make it such that tens of thousands of ships would be lost every year if they attempted something that doesn't require a roll in CT.
Very different setting.
True. But it's not 1977. Or 1981.
But the task is taken straight from the Core Rulebook's Difficult Pilot task...
The Companion rules make it almost impossible to complete a refueling without some sort of potentially disabling failure, AND take a lot of dice rolls to get there.

If someone was going to routinely refuel at gas giants, it would be handy to perform the task carefully and have aerofins, which means it is the equivalent of a Routine task. Then add, say, two points of Pilot and a DEX DM and you only fail on a 2. Which is only DM-1 to the Difficult task for recovery that you got DM+3 for skill and DEX, and more than half the time even the failure causes no additional harm except for lost time.
Yes, it makes it risky with anything other than a Serpent-class Scout and a good pilot (or a specialized refueling ship), but as I said, it's consistent with what's in the Core rulebook.

If you don't like it, you can always lower the difficult from Difficult to Routine. Even just landing and docking are Routine tasks in the Core rulebook, but I wouldn't roll for them unless it serves a greater purpose. Otherwise all the Highports and Downports in the galaxy would be littered with wrecks.
Not only do I not like it I will never use it for a game set in the 57th century unless it is some bootstrap TL9 attempt at gaining a foothold in the interstellar community.

The Third Imperium that has forty odd years of canon behind it does not have such dangers inherent in operating spacecraft. It is meant to be as common and safe as air travel is today.
If this is the route taken, a dice roll for every routine operation, in the new SoM then its usefulness to me will be as nothing more than part of the collection.