Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IMTU Space Traffic Blather

More blather about MTU trade and spacecraft:

1) Passenger service and pay-per ton shipping is certainly available, at least between A or B ports. Service to and from C or D ports is NOT a given, and will almost always require special charters.

2) Given that average starfaring tech is between 10 and 12, ticketed passage will generally be available for Jump 1-3. Higher jump spacecraft will virtually always be military or otherwise official craft. They won't let you ride the SR-71 to Tahiti, will they now?

3) The Free Trader is pretty much the only ship that can meet its expenses (and financing payments) by handling passages and pay-by-ton cargo. Everything else needs a different business model. Think of the trading game: paid cargo gets loaded AFTER the captain/owners own cargo is arranged, unless things are so tight that no speculation is possible.

4) Subsidies - particularly for the ancient types M and R - knit space together. A large percentage of the ships on major routes will fit these types.

5) None of these ship types serve C or D ports particularly safely: Type S ships might do it, though. A Traveller wishing to travel to such a world might negotiate a journey with a Scout, before trying to talk a Merchant craft into such a risky venture. Type A ships will go there if they're desperate. Types R and M might go there if they're assigned to the route. Yachts have it a little safer if they've only had to travel J1 to get there, since they've fuel enough for two jumps.

6) High-tech routes between major worlds may see larger craft - they'll be designed with the route in mind - but not too huge. They'd be specced out so that they'll almost always be full.

7) Financing generally won't be available for any ships over Jump 1, unless the borrower is a corporation with fixed offices. Skipping's too easy and attractive for anything Jump 2 and above.

8) Construction of small, J-1 ships should be an easy affair at almost any type A port - perhaps making their financing an easier matter. Though I'd venture to guess that a type A port for a non industrial world might be a mite slower at the job.

3 Comments:

Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

I dig number seven on the list. While maybe not canon, it sure makes a certain sense to me.

As well number eight is also a pretty good point.

All in all, I am digging your universe here.

Laterness,
Craig.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Festeria said...

Re: 7, I think that LBB2's right on the money when it supposes that financing wouldn't be available for warships, exploratory vessels and yachts. It's inconvenient when the PCs really really want that jump-2 or jump-3 ship... but the borrower has to pony up a business plan that'll wash with the lender - and as many a flame war will attest to, J-2 and J-3 ships have a hard time making money via passenger and cargo service. Speculation works - but that's high risk, and I think a lot of lenders would balk unless there was a solid plan in place, PLUS some assurance that the borrower wouldn't skip: the average PC merch doesn't have a fixed address, so anything faster than J-1 is going to be too high a risk unless he stays at home at corporate HQ while his ships ply routes.

Looking at LBB2, remember, there's not a lot that divides one class of ship from another.

Merchant ships have to focus on space that produces revenue, and cheap operation. It means weak drives, minimal weaponry, and a focus on cargo & staterooms. The cheapest ships to run are all J-1 craft, and on most any route the small ones are a license to print money. Subsidized craft will include exceptions (like the J-3 type M liner) in order to serve their real customers, i.e. the subsidizing governments.

Craft like the Yacht (lots of subsidiary fun vehicles, lousy cargo facilities) exploratory craft like the Scout (long jump range, insufficient cargo or passenger space) and warships (high performance drives, maximum possible weaponry, overclocked computers, minimal cargo space) aren't going to pass muster at the bank IMTU. "Interesting far trader design, captain, but bring it back to the architect. A trader doesn't need to outrun a patrol cruiser."

7:26 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

Interesting: I've been running The Trading Game lately with a Subbie.

The Captain had been a pilot and major shareholder aboard a Free Trader I ran for a while. He made out like a bandit, and I figured that since he'd been familiar with his "main," had demonstrated its profitability, and moreover could afford the 20Mcr+ down payment and then some, that he'd be able to finagle financing for the bigger boat.

While passengers and paid freight aren't enough to keep a type R running, if the owner's *halfway* successful in speculation, that ship is a license to print money. You just need to have a little "float" to start out with, and if you can afford 21 MCr or whatever, you can probably hold out for another few million for startup expenses.

1:08 PM  

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