Life support costs

paltrysum

Emperor Mongoose
I'm having a rules lawyerly discussion with some of my players about life support costs. The rules on p. 144-145 of the Core Rulebook seem to indicate that each stateroom costs you Cr1,000/months whether it is occupied or not, but there is text that seems to conflict with that. For example, the Cr1,000 is said to cover basic life support plus food and water. But is it possible to shut down staterooms that are not being used and therefore not incur the cost? There's also the bit about being able to shut down non-essential systems.

Following (I'm the lawyer in question)

My understanding of the rules is this:

Shipboard life support costs are 1000/stateroom (occupied or not), + 1000 per person, + 100 per occupied low berth.

So a single-occupancy stateroom costs a total of Cr 2000/month (1000 for the stateroom, 1000 for the occupant), and a double-occupancy stateroom costs a total of Cr 3000/month (1000 for the stateroom, 2000 for the two occupants).

Life support on a Scout ship run by a solitary scout would cost Cr 5000/month - 4000 for the 4 staterooms, plus 1000 for the scout. If there was a crew of 4, the cost would be 8000 (4000 for the staterooms, 4000 for the crew).

My interpretstion is the same as Jump Dave’s. I get the argument that an unoccupied stateroom should not have a life support costs, but there’s fresh air, ventilation, and filtration for the whole ship to consider. Cost per stateroom is the “fixed cost” of supplying those, and the person costs are on top of that.

Are you (or your players) tracking those costs in the campaign? We did for a while and gave it up.

The life support rules are, umm, bad.

Food costs elsewhere are based on your SOC, so in theory that cost needs to fluctuate based on the class of the passenger.

The rules about occupancy have the costs for life support as a fixed cost, regardless of occupancy. And yes, the rules do actually state an error where the costs are per stateroom, but then do bad math based upon occupancy levels.

My reccomendation is to simply toss the life support costs altogether and let those costs be handled as part of the annual ship's maintenance. The other costs, based upon occupancy, is going to be dependent upon the class of passenger. Here's what was in MGT v1:

Living Expenses
Standard of Living Cost / month Cost / week Cost / day Soc Standing
Very poor Cr 400 Cr 100 Cr 13 2
Poor Cr 800 Cr 200 Cr 27 4
Low Cr 1,000 Cr 250 Cr 33 5
Average Cr 1,200 Cr 300 Cr 40 6
Good Cr 1,500 Cr 375 Cr 50 7
High Cr 2,000 Cr 500 Cr 67 8
Very High Cr 2,500 Cr 625 Cr 83 10
Rich Cr 5,000 Cr 1,500 Cr 167 12
Very Rich Cr 12,000 Cr 3,000 Cr 400 14
Ludicrously Rich Cr 20,000 Cr 5,000 Cr 667 15
Living expenses assume housing, food, and clothing at basic levels.

Example Hotel Costs
Cheap – Cr 10/day
Good – Cr 50/day
Luxury – Cr 100/day (or more)

Think of it like a cruise ship. Basic meals (bkfst/lunch) are nothing to write home about, but they are decent meals. Dinner is much nicer, similar to what you would get at a nice restaurant for an evening meal. Booze is always extra. Crew should get decent fare because it's what they literally live off of. So that would be at the Good level in the chart above. Figure that food is around 20-25% of the average persons budget, that's 75-85Cr/week that their food will cost. That would be what it should cost to feed crew and anyone lower than that.

Higher class passengers will (and should get) more. Using the same chart above, thats Cr125/week, and whether or not you include alcohol is up to you. Say you did, for Cr75, that's 200Cr in COST for the food per passenger. Or well fed + happy crew.

Yeah, thats exactly what I want to do when I roll play. To roll as Soc for every passenger and calculate the alcohol costs for the trip.

phavoc said:
The life support rules are, umm, bad.

Food costs elsewhere are based on your SOC, so in theory that cost needs to fluctuate based on the class of the passenger.

No. Just, no. For the main reason see the post above Phavoc's. Tracking life support cost, even when standardized, are a hassle. (I track ship income and expenses in a spreadsheet and it is still a hassle). Requiring the GM generate a SOC for each possible passenger and then negotiating a suitable passage price for each is a complete non-starter.

If you insist that a Duke requires a special high priced diet while travelling then just assume that he is charged more than the standard rate for that food but the extra payment is entirely consumed by buying the added luxuries leaving the standard cost and expense amounts listed in the book.

By the way, the 2nd edition costs are an improvement over 1st edition. It used to be a flat Cr. 2,000/month for a stateroom, occupied of not. The current Cr. 1,000 overhead + Cr. 1,000/passenger is more accurately reflecting the fact that an empty room requires less food and water than an occupied one.

You are reading too much into that. It gives you a cost basis, per person, for what you are looking for. And, depending on what you are doing, you'd know that a Soc 13 person would have much more expensive tastes on average, thus the cost to stock their yacht for the upper deck folks might be 10x what the crew gets.

But it's a data point you can use or discard at your preference. Personally I prefer to have the data from which I might build the adventure, or participate in it. If I'm trying to get something on to a noblemans yacht then I'd know the catering would go for high-dollar booze or foods. So maybe the players have to role play a catering company trying to convince the guard "these Artellian Prawns are very delicate and his lordship would be angry if they suffered in the starport heat/cold. And the Cr1,000 is not coming out of MY pay!" But it may be low-grade frozen dinners for the tramp freighter, so the methods are different.

Don't forget if you are playing a con you would need capital to act like a rich person, hence knowing how much their food and things costs sets the stage for making PC's come up with the initial bank roll. Even that might be an adventure in itself.

DickTurpin said:
No. Just, no. For the main reason see the post above Phavoc's. Tracking life support cost, even when standardized, are a hassle. (I track ship income and expenses in a spreadsheet and it is still a hassle). Requiring the GM generate a SOC for each possible passenger and then negotiating a suitable passage price for each is a complete non-starter.

If you insist that a Duke requires a special high priced diet while travelling then just assume that he is charged more than the standard rate for that food but the extra payment is entirely consumed by buying the added luxuries leaving the standard cost and expense amounts listed in the book.

By the way, the 2nd edition costs are an improvement over 1st edition. It used to be a flat Cr. 2,000/month for a stateroom, occupied of not. The current Cr. 1,000 overhead + Cr. 1,000/passenger is more accurately reflecting the fact that an empty room requires less food and water than an occupied one.

On a liner everybody gets roughly the same food, so costs would be standardized among class. Why would you ever roll individual SOC for each passenger?? That's crazy! Cost of high = X Cr * number of passengers = per week food cost. Swap out crew for the next calc and you are done. It's quite simple if you don't overthink it.

MGT CRG v2 throws a curve into the mix because it mixes costs, especially with combined cabins. For example, p145 CRB - Life support costs Cr1000 per stateroom, Cr 3000 for double occupancy (in the table). Below this it reads, "Each stateroom on a ship costs Cr 1000 per month...... Each person on board a ship who is not in a low berth will cost an additional Cr1000 in life support costs. Skip to 148, Basic Passage - Up to 4 people per stateroom. Skip to pg 207 and passage costs table. J1 passage rates are High - 8500, Mid - 6200 and basic - 2200.

Now let's do the numbers. First section says Life support costs are Cr1k per month, period. Occupied or otherwise. Then you pay Cr1000 PER person (no duration given, but let's go with the same period, 1 month). A scoutship with 4 staterooms will incur a basic charge of Cr4000 for a month. Assume 4 personnel, each with their own cabin, and you get another Cr4000, for a total of Cr8000 per month. Pretty basic. Now let's complicate it. By the rules this costs TRIPLES when you DOUBLE occupancy. Umm, why? Based on the explanation there is no logic to that statement since the cost of a stateroom "covers supplies for the life support system as well as food and water, although meals at this level will be rather spartan". Certainly a need for meal costs for passengers there, but let's move on.

Basic scout ship with 8 PCs. Life support costs are Cr3000 per stateroom (Cr12,000), life support costs are a further Cr8,000, so in a month your ship's double occupancy is now at Cr20,000 with spartan meals. Spread across all people it's Cr2,500/month

Let's say your peeps picked up some extra dudes for a mission. The ship can hold a theoretical maximum of 16 (using basic passage rules). 4 cabins MORE than double occupied still only do a list price of Cr3,000. Life support costs are Cr16,000 for the month. Cr12k + Cr 16k = Cr28k for crowded, spartan conditions. Or Cr1,750 applied across all crew. Whee! It's Cr250/month cheaper to cram it to the walls!

4 crew - Cr2,000/month per person
8 crew - Cr2,500/month per person
16 crew - Cr1,750/month per person

If we look at it another way, base cost is Cr1000 for one, Cr 3000 for two, so a 50% increase per person. Extrapolating that, it should be Cr 4500 for three, and Cr6000 for four. That certainly throws our above numbers into the toilet.

But wait, it's more fun! Now we go back to steerage costs. Packing 4 dudes into one room nets you Cr8800 per jump 1, or per week. Assuming perfect 7 day jumps, 4 * 8800 = Cr35,200. Now to costs. Cr6k for life support, and 4k for food and spartan water. That's a profit of Cr25,200 on 4 dtons (Cr35,200 - Cr10,000). If the poor bastards are only crew, you spent Cr10,000 for their one cabin.

Now does any of that make sense? Not to me. Please check my math for errors, as I did all this on the fly.

Sorry, man. I know you put some effort into that post, but life support costs aren’t anywhere close to important enough to my games for me to get into the math of various scenarios.

It’s quite simple if you don’t overthink it
On that point I agree. Which is why I see no need to get into the weeds on it. Nothing in the traveller economy makes sense when you start digging, so as a general rule, don’t.

phavoc said:
MGT CRG v2 throws a curve into the mix because it mixes costs, especially with combined cabins. For example, p145 CRB - Life support costs Cr1000 per stateroom, Cr 3000 for double occupancy (in the table). Below this it reads, "Each stateroom on a ship costs Cr 1000 per month...... Each person on board a ship who is not in a low berth will cost an additional Cr1000 in life support costs.

That is an error in the table. A stateroom costs Cr. 1,000/month no matter what. A person costs an additional Cr. 1,00/month.
Single occupancy: Cr. 1,000 + Cr. 1,000 = Cr. 2,000.
Double occupancy: Cr. 1,000 + 1,000 + 1,000 = Cr. 3,000.
Put four in the stateroom, same math: Cr. 1,000 + 4x1,000 = Cr. 5,000. Stuff them in the cargo hold it's Cr. 0 (no stateroom) plus n x Cr. 1,000 where n is the number of warm bodies you cram in.

The gaming group has to enjoy doing housekeeping, otherwise the Dungon Master should just streamline these processes.

If you can seal off the stateroom, it neither requires power nor air regeneration, so effectively nullifying the life support aspect.

Theoretically, that also means that the artificial gravitation in there doesn't need to be turned on either.

I'd go with Jump Dave's version.

The fixed costs per stateroom represent ship-wide systems that run regardless of whether they're used or not: the infrastructure is there to support up to a certain number of people, and you can't just linearly shut it down. For instance, if you have a water purifier sized to support up to 2 people, it takes certain energy and maintenance so long as it runs whether it's supporting 0, 1, or 2 people.

Part of the cost does scale, and that's reflected in the per-person costs.

(Or just do biospheres, which handle both the fixed and variable costs on a self-maintaining basis.)

The food and water for staterooms is snacks / emergency supplies rather than full meals.

Cargo bays aren't a great place to house people, unless you're into bulk slave trading.

It's a question of minimizing operating costs.

Power doesn't really enter into the formula, if you're using fusion reactors, in terms of cost since you'll be paying end of year maintenance on it in any event.

You can save an infinitesimal amount of fuel by switching off basic systems in certain parts of the ship.

You can figure out food and beverage costs; the mystery for this particular aspect would be the cost and quantity required of oxygen scrubbers.

Rather than go into extreme detail on the SOC of the passenger, just use the CLASS of travel.

MID passage assumes GOOD food (CR1000 per month)
HIGH passage assumes Luxury food (CR2000 per month)

END

If you want to cater to the ultra rich or own a Yacht, then you would spend more.

The SOC of the passenger will drive them to accept MID, or HIGH passage.

baithammer said:
Cargo bays aren't a great place to house people, unless you're into bulk slave trading.

True statement! But 2nd edition does allow that possibility under Basic Passage "on some less scrupulous ships".

Strictly speaking, the current High Guard allows variants on accomodations.

I don't think it's ever been explained the relationship of a cargo hold with life support, so that's something you'd probably have to add from Central Supply Catalogue if you have a sudden population explosion.

Condottiere said:
Strictly speaking, the current High Guard allows variants on accomodations.

I don't think it's ever been explained the relationship of a cargo hold with life support, so that's something you'd probably have to add from Central Supply Catalogue if you have a sudden population explosion.

"Basic Passage: Also called steerage, this is where a ship’s captain tries to fill all available space with
low-paying passengers. It is generally considered more trouble than it is worth, but there is nearly always
someone desperate enough to use basic passage. Up to four basic passengers can be crammed into one
stateroom and other areas of the ship can be kitted out with simple bunks to carry more – two tons of
space is required for every basic passenger not in a stateroom.
" CRB p. 149.

"Basic Passage: For those not willing to risk low berths, the option of basic passage, or steerage as it is often
called, exists. Staterooms will be shared (typically four people to a stateroom in bunks) or, on some less
scrupulous ships, areas in the cargo bay or engineering will be set aside for very basic accommodation and
services (which may only extend to two meals a day and meagre washroom facilities). This requires 2 tons
of spare room on the spacecraft, a resilient personality on the part of the passenger, and comes with a 10kg
baggage allowance.
" CRB p. 206.

"Life Support and Supplies: Each stateroom on a ship costs Cr1000 per month. 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 person on board a ship who is not in a low berth will cost an additional Cr1000 in life support costs.
Each occupied low berth costs Cr100 per month." CRB p. 145.

The rules are pretty clear; Basic Passage is now available (including in a cargo bay) and Life Support costs Cr. 1,000 for each standard stateroom installed, plus Cr. 1,000 per person for High, Middle, and Basic passage.

Costs for optional components like Barracks, Brig, Cabin Space, High Staterooms, and Luxury staterooms differ. Those rules can be found on page 38 of High Guard.

I vaguely recall a post during the pre-publishing period my Matt about life support. If I'm recalling right, he said that each stateroom had it's own life support setup and was self-contained. IF that is the case, then there is no centralized life support, thus every compartment has it's own (including the cargo hold). This would make it possible to turn off the gear without any usage in unoccupied places and would not incur any additional life support cost for the unoccupied area.

It also would mean having 10 people in a cargo hold is no different, cost wise, in calculating 1, or 2, or 4 in a standard stateroom, aside from food perhaps.

My current goto yardstick:

Used by traders, stables are low-grade housing for animals and, in some systems, slaves. Stables come with their own air scrubbers and waste-collectors, avoiding the need to tax the existing life support systems of the ship.

Stables cost twenty five thousand Credit Imperiale per ten tons. A ten ton stable is capable of housing 20 human-sized or 10 cattle-sized creatures. Life support costs are two hundred fifty Credit Imperiale per ton.

So the base would one hundred twenty five schmuckers per capita, but I would expect that in the hold you could probably stretch it even further, though as I mentioned above, the exact relationship has never been clarified.

Replies
1
Views
393
Replies
21
Views
736
Replies
3
Views
578
Replies
5
Views
707
Replies
7
Views
481