Why are Low Passages so deadly?

Stingray_tm

Mongoose
I am not talking about the in game explanation but more about the reason for the authors to make cryo sleep travelling so deadly. Assuming a regular ship doctor with a +3 to his medic check we are still talking about a death rate of 8-11% (depending on TL). This is ridiculous and how any of this could be part of regular interstellar space travel is beyond me. Just assume that today every tenth commercial aircraft would crash and that would be considered an acceptable risk...

I always ignore this rule in my games but what are your thoughts?
 

Being

Banded Mongoose
Its like steerage in Liners. Its all some people can afford. The risk is known, the Tech not perfect. Thats why its not considered the best means of travel. Its not the usual means of travel its a last resort. Plenty of places in the world today where transport methods are really unsafe.
 

AnotherDilbert

Cosmic Mongoose
The standard passage is Mid Passage, but they are very expensive. Low berths are dangerous, but much cheaper. Low berths are for the poor and desperate.

If low berths were risk-free, why would anyone pay ten times as much for a stateroom and loose a week of your life in-prisoned in a tiny tin-can??
 

AnotherDilbert

Cosmic Mongoose
Stingray_tm said:
I am not talking about the in game explanation but more about the reason for the authors to make cryo sleep travelling so deadly.

The actual reason, I believe, is that they are taken from books (Dumarest? Space Vikings?), where low berths were intended for live-stock, but sometimes pressed into service for humans.
 

Stingray_tm

Mongoose
I would never take a 10% risk of dying unless i was extremely desperate. Again it is not one in 1000 which would still be a large incentive to travel mid passage but 1 out of 10 people dies! Every time!
It's like travelling on an official, regulated ferry but with the risks of a refugee boat in the Mediteranian Sea.

It seems to me like the game designers wanted to include a risk mechanically but the 2d6 system does not allow for something like risks below 3%, especially if you want to influence this chance by medic skill and other factors.
 

AnotherDilbert

Cosmic Mongoose
Stingray_tm said:
I would never take a 10% risk of dying unless i was extremely desperate.

Lots of people are desperate... Look at illegal migration routes into the US or Europe, they are not risk-free, yet they exist.

But I agree, low berths are not for affluent middle-class people leading comfortable lives. Unless they want to experience other worlds at a back-packer budget.
 

Stingray_tm

Mongoose
But this is the whole point. This travel option is not illegal but fully supported by the Imperium. And my impression of the Third Imperium was that this entity does not simply disregard safety and human lives. It's like tehe EU accepting an licensing an airline that regularly kills a significant part of its customers.
 

AnotherDilbert

Cosmic Mongoose
The Imperium deals with worlds, not people.

The Imperium keeps the trade flowing, it does not care if a few people dies in the process. Worlds and states within the Imperium can go to war with each other without the Imperium caring, as long as the trade keeps flowing.
 

Reynard

Cosmic Mongoose
Medic check [(8+) EDU 1D6 minutes] +Medic skill -passenger END + Characteristic (EDU) DM +2 take time (1d6X 10 minutes) +1 Ship TL 12 and better +1 Medical bay.

Medic 1 = paramedic. Medic 2 = doctor. Don't skimp on the personnel if you don't want a rep as a death ship.

I can see starports having a medical facility meant to service ship low berths if the ship doesn't sport their own medical bay and qualified staff. I'm sure passengers considering low passage must read and sign consent forms as we see today for many risky situations. You know the risks, you are willingly taking the chances today and a few thousand years in the future.
 

Being

Banded Mongoose
The Imperium is pretty loose. It doesnt cover all chartered space.
They chalk up some Low Berth regs and people sign a disclaimer, nobodies forcing you too travel (well usually). Its a means for people to travel with a risk.
Road traffic accidents are one of the major killers of mankind, probably your biggest chance of dying or being seriously maimed is in a RTA. Doesnt stop people climbing in their cars every morning, or crossing roads, more western servicemen have died in RTAs than combat in the last 20 years.
All of our present world doesnt have the safety regulations of the EU and even many countries within it dont enforce said regs in many areas.
Alot of people died going west in wagon trains during the expansion of North America, the real threat of dying from multiple means didnt stop them trying and they paid for the passage.
Its not so much of their being a risk of dying from Low Berth, or the % chance of that risk, but why a person would take the risk. I think people would take that risk if they thought the perceived outcome was worth it.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
If Dungeon and Dragons takes it's tropes from Lord of the Rings, Conan and Dying Earth, Traveller is inspired by Space Viking, Foundation and Dumarest.

Dumarest made deep freeze risky, and you could add Space Seed.

On the other hand, two years later, Alien made it rather safe, as the crew (and Marines) had other things to worry about. Come to think of it, popsiclization was safe enough to take your family along for a trip, in Lost in Space.

Psychology says that the most of us will endure Economy in order to save a couple of bucks; you save a lot of money on Low Berth, but at a quite great risk.


That's what I do, but I fly mostly Singapore Airlines; when one cabin crew invited me to view Business Class, I told them I'll book when I'm considerably richer, or when someone else pays.
 

heselbine

Mongoose
It is completely ridiculous. Can you imagine anyone travelling today with even a 0.1% chance of dying? I houserule this silliness away.
 

Sigtrygg

Emperor Mongoose
You obviously haven't read up on illegal migrant death rates...
The UNHCR estimates that 2,275 migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2018. That's the equivalent of one death for every 51 arrivals last year.
For comparison, the death rate was one for every 269 arrivals in 2015, when more than one million migrants attempted the perilous crossing.
So in 2015 a million people tried it with a death percentage of 0.3% which has risen to a 2% risk of death by 2018.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
It's got me thinking.

It's quite possible someone else is paying for middle and high passages for the player characters.
 

Ursus Maior

Mongoose
AnotherDilbert said:
The Imperium deals with worlds, not people.

The Imperium keeps the trade flowing, it does not care if a few people dies in the process. Worlds and states within the Imperium can go to war with each other without the Imperium caring, as long as the trade keeps flowing.
True, but there are standards and guidelines set by the Imperium and its institutions. And while the Imperium might only care for trade - as trade generates taxes and taxes keep the Imperium alive - transporting persons is also a form of trade. The idea that one of ten low-berth passengers dies as a result of booking a passage is preposterous. No-one in their right mind does this if the numbers are openly known and there is no suppressing this in a society like the Imperium. This is precisely not like refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean. It's not like 10 percent of all refugees on a boat drown and the rest doesn't, for their boats either make it or don't and fleeing on a barge unfit for open waters is not like booking a passage on a liner.

In the current form, the question is rather: Who actually sees themselves take a trip in low-berth and for what reason? And why should I, as a captain, have these low-berths installed? From a moral and economical point of view, this makes no sense. And the Imperium, or its naval forces, certainly should rely on their "cold watches" to die on a one in ten chance. What if your ship looses its most valuable replacement crew members this way? Do navy personnel get hazard pay for being frozen? That all seems to be too sketchy to plan a strategy around. Let alone a business.
 

AnotherDilbert

Cosmic Mongoose
Ursus Maior said:
The idea that one of ten low-berth passengers dies as a result of booking a passage is preposterous. No-one in their right mind does this if the numbers are openly known and there is no suppressing this in a society like the Imperium.

Yet it is explicitly canon:
LBB2'77 said:
It is customary for the captain to contribute CR 10 out of each low passage towards a lottery in which each low passenger randomly guesses the number of low passengers who will survive the trip. If the winner does not himself survive, the captain receives the money. The lottery is administered by the ship’s steward.


Mid passages are very expensive. A normal salary is something like Cr 1000 per month (or lower). A single Mid passage costs perhaps 0.5-1 years pretax salary. For normal people a low berth is the only chance to get off-world.

If you live on a "shit-world" and want to get to a better world, a low berth is probably your only chance.

The Imperium is not a Utopia where all worlds are free wealthy democracies. Shit happens, just like in our current world.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
In the MongoVerse, market segmentation has taken place.

Steerage costs between one fourth to one sixth of a middle passage.
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
Stingray_tm said:
I am not talking about the in game explanation but more about the reason for the authors to make cryo sleep travelling so deadly. Assuming a regular ship doctor with a +3 to his medic check we are still talking about a death rate of 8-11% (depending on TL). This is ridiculous and how any of this could be part of regular interstellar space travel is beyond me. Just assume that today every tenth commercial aircraft would crash and that would be considered an acceptable risk...

I always ignore this rule in my games but what are your thoughts?
You don't want any risks for your character in the game?
You want a setting made for your game so that your character can be safe? A setting that you will probably ignore anyway, and make your own Traveller Universe?
 

Stingray_tm

Mongoose
Please do not strawman my position. I did not say that there should be no inherent risk but that this risk is ridiculously high to justify the current rules as even semi-realistic. Especially since we are not talking about an illegal option or some last-resort emergency travel option used by scummy smugglers and cold-hearted human traffickers. Low berths are installed as regular equipment on most starships and obviously completely accepted as a default budget travel option. And as was mentioned before, if we are talking about military operations where you have transporters full of frozen Marines assaulting a planet, you need to have a surplus of 10% of your intented force stenght, because you will lose them on the way...

1 out of 100 would still be a real risk that also could not dismissed out of hand by players. But 1/10 is just... No.
 

Garran

Banded Mongoose
I get the feeling that low passage and its high fatality rate is a hangover from the early days when dystopian elements were more prominent in the setting. A 10% casualty rate on any method of transport (other than for last-ditch emergency use) would never pass muster anywhere with any kind of safety standards, and even if some places are too lawless for that, a bureaucracy-laden place like the Imperium will certainly have them.

It gets even worse when you consider the further implications. For one thing, if deaths are that common then it will be hard to tell the difference between one that happened 'naturally' and one that was assisted by the low-berth operator(s), especially since these are being operated by all and sundry rather than a few well-regulated outfits. It's pretty much a murder/assassination side job waiting to happen. That's an enormous legal (and moral) quagmire that no government would want to deal with. Even the betting practice around survival rates is a problem: it pretty blatantly invites corrupt practices regarding the actual number of survivors on a given trip.
 
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