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  #21  
Old August 24th, 2010, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by fiat_knox View Post
Perhaps it doesn't work like that in the Far Future, and even the great shipping lines can no longer ensure that degree of reliability in transport.
That sounds highly implausible to me.

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A large cargo might need a big ship to transport it - but if you have, say, a thousand tons of anagathic precursors to ship in bulk somewhere, and you put it in one cargo hold in one big ship, and that one big ship misjumps, then that's a thousand ton cargo the destination is never going to see, and a whole lot of debt back home.
The risk of misjump is minimal for well-maintained ships (game rules says it's non-existent, but I've always assumed a tiny risk of a so-called "unprovoked misjump"). But a misjump doesn't necessarily mean that the ship and cargo is lost. If it is, a comparatively small company like Akerut has a fleet worth MCr50,000. The loss of a ship, even one with a valuable cargo, wouldn't cripple a feeder line like Akerut, let alone a bigger company.

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But if it got broken up and put in the holds of a bunch of smaller ships, at least some of the shipment is likely to get through, because a hundred ships with a bunch of ten ton cargoes aren't all likely to misjump on the same route, are they?
Or they could split the valuable cargo into several lots and transport them on several ships in succession.

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Furthermore, due to the threat of piracy, corporate warfare between rivals etc., a shipping firm cannot afford to put its most precious payloads into its more visible ships because those vessels are clear targets for piracy and hijacking.
They're also practically impossible to target. Due to jump variation, a pirate has to arrive in the system before the target ship could arrive if it jumped in early and lurk at the jump limit for 12, 24, or even 36 hours. A world with someone rich enough to pay for a shipment worth many megacredits will have a sizable population, so it will have adequate system defenses. Pirates just aren't going to be left lurking at the jump limit for more than a few hours. Even if they are, the target ship can arrive at any point along half the circumference of the jump limit. Odds are that the pirate would have to chase it down the gravity well and into the arms of defending units.

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So the corporations have to hire the more discreet, honest small traders to ship these cargoes on the QT, while the larger vessels run decoy with empty cargo holds, or cargo holds filled with less valuable loads.
Or they could shift some of their own small ships away from their regular routes and use them (assuming for purposes of argument that this was actually a good idea).

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And lastly, even the largest corporate shipping lines cannot afford to acquire the taint of impropriety...
Why not?

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...yet they do have to get some cargoes delivered. No matter how illegal those cargoes may be at the destination world, like a shipment of copies of Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" to Pysadi or copies of The Zhodani Dictionary to Jewell.
Why would a big shipping company bother with cargoes like that? While they're likely to be very profitable in relative numbers, they're unlikely to be worth much in absolute numbers.

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Hence, free traders operating as private contractors. Verbal contracts, no questions asked and if they get caught, the corporate lines' hands are clean.
Free traders operate in the cracks left by the companies, sure.


Hans
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  #22  
Old August 24th, 2010, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiat_knox View Post
Perhaps it doesn't work like that in the Far Future...

Fiat,

That suggestion is... well... extremely implausible is a more polite term.

Economics and trade have worked essentially the same way since goods were traded. Whether carried by hand, camel, barge, or container ship, the same basic precepts hold and suggesting they'll be different aboard starships is... well... extremely implausible.

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... and even the great shipping lines can no longer ensure that degree of reliability in transport.
And yet the Imperium can ensure a reliable x-boat service but Tukera cannot schedule freighters? Sure.

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A large cargo might need a big ship to transport it...
And big ships, ships in the megaton range, are found in canon.

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... but if you have, say, a thousand tons of anagathic precursors to ship in bulk somewhere, and you put it in one cargo hold in one big ship, and that one big ship misjumps, then that's a thousand ton cargo the destination is never going to see, and a whole lot of debt back home.
First, the risk of misjumps is wholly overblown by folks who are unaware of the actual rules. Even in CT a misjump is impossible if a ship takes elementary precautions like using refined fuel and jumping from beyond the 100D limit. Misjumps are primarily GM imposed events and, even when they do occur, they more often result in a damaged drive aboard a vessel remaining in it's departure system than a ship vanishing into jump space.

Second, risk management is a practice as old as trade itself. Suggesting that shipments be reduced to sizes whose loss can be "handled" through insurance and other mechanisms is nothing new. Gillette, for example, limits the number of razor blades in every shipping container for this very reason. However, Gillette still ships razor blades in containers carried by huge ships.

Suggesting that megaton cargos are going to be routinely cut up into decaton lots is little more than a desperate search for an excuse to explain away the economic illiteracy at the heart of too many Traveller trade systems.

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But if it got broken up and put in the holds of a bunch of smaller ships, at least some of the shipment is likely to get through...
Or provide more chances for them to be lost, damaged, interfered with, etc.

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... because a hundred ships with a bunch of ten ton cargoes aren't all likely to misjump on the same route, are they?
Please read LBB:2 again and disabuse yourself of this fixation regarding misjumps.

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Furthermore, due to the threat of piracy, corporate warfare between rivals etc., a shipping firm cannot afford to put its most precious payloads into its more visible ships because those vessels are clear targets for piracy and hijacking.
So shipping firms don't defend their ships? And Al Morai doesn't own several Gazelle-class close escorts as route protectors? You're simply suggesting more excuses and not providing any rational reasons.

Seeing as large shipping firms will fly along large trade routes between large worlds that will have large defenses, cargoes are more likely to be tampered with in warehouses. It's the tramp traders, those small ships flying to backwaters without escorts that need to worry about piracy and hijackings, not the other way around.

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So the corporations have to hire the more discreet, honest small traders to ship these cargoes on the QT, while the larger vessels run decoy with empty cargo holds, or cargo holds filled with less valuable loads.
The mind boggles. You're confusing freight with speculative trade goods. Ships are paid to carry freight, ships own trade goods, and we've been talking about trade goods here.

SuSAG isn't going to ship 100dTons of anagathics by selling it to the players. They're going to ship 100dTons of anagathics by hiring someone to carry it as freight.

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And lastly, even the largest corporate shipping lines cannot afford to acquire the taint of impropriety...
Which, of course, is why Oberlindes committed several acts of piracy over a two week span at an Arekut deep space refueling point and Arekut burned down an Oberlindes warehouse.

You invoked trade wars as a reason for corporations using multiple smaller shipments just a few paragraphs ago and are now claiming that corporations won't want to be involved in trade wars due to the impropriety. Which is it?

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No matter how illegal those cargoes may be at the destination world...
No. The free movement of goods is what the Imperium was founded to provide.

The illegality of a certain item on a given world does not enter into the equation unless that item crosses the world's extrality line. The Imperium enforces the free movement of nearly all goods between starports. Not across extrality lines, but between starports. While Bluenose-III can prohibit the shipment of alcohol across it's extrality line, it cannot prohibit the shipment of alcohol through it's system.

When we talk about the few items the Imperium does prohibit, psionic drugs, warbots, and very little else, we're entering the realm of the smuggler and that an entirely different proposition.

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Hence, free traders operating as private contractors. Verbal contracts, no questions asked and if they get caught, the corporate lines' hands are clean.
Hence more excuses resting on a torturous interpretation and mistaken appreciation of the OTU. And more excuses that confuse freight with speculative trade goods.


Regards,
Bill

Last edited by Whipsnade; August 24th, 2010 at 10:37 AM.. Reason: spelling
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  #23  
Old August 24th, 2010, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiat_knox View Post
if you have, say, a thousand tons of anagathic precursors to ship in bulk somewhere, and you put it in one cargo hold in one big ship, and that one big ship misjumps, then that's a thousand ton cargo the destination is never going to see, and a whole lot of debt back home...
Furthermore, due to the threat of piracy, corporate warfare between rivals etc., a shipping firm cannot afford to put its most precious payloads into its more visible ships because those vessels are clear targets for piracy and hijacking.
Nah, I don't buy it. As long as a ship's using refined fuel, properly crewed, and doesn't jump within 100D, it's not going to misjump at all, ever. If it sticks to A and B class ports, and it likely will, your biggo freighter's going to be traveling in well-patrolled systems without pirate problems (war zones aside.)

It does mean, IMTU, that unless your biggo freighter has enough tankage to carry refined fuel for two jumps, it probably won't visit C-class ports. (No refined fuel.) That's where you'll see the major corporations farming out shipments to indie traders: they're outsourcing risk to the subbies (who accept the risk of misjump and piracy as the price of their subsidies) and to whatever free traders are behind the eight ball enough to risk their whole investment in order to make payments.
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  #24  
Old August 24th, 2010, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jawillroy View Post
It does mean, IMTU, that unless your biggo freighter has enough tankage to carry refined fuel for two jumps, it probably won't visit C-class ports. (No refined fuel.)
Or the company rents a warehouse, sticks a fuel tank an a fuel purifier inside it and hires a local part-time to kee the tank full.

Incidentally, I once calculated that if refined fuel costs more than Cr350, it becomes cheaper for a ship to carry along a fuel purifier plant of its own. The money saved by buying unrefined fuel offsets the loss of revenue due to the reduced cargo capacity.

Carrying a double load of fuel is never cost-effective if there is a ready source of unrefined fuel. (Note: I don't count fuel from gas giants as readily available.


Hans

Last edited by rancke; August 24th, 2010 at 12:30 PM..
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  #25  
Old August 24th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Hans, Bill:
In MT, due to skill rolls, there is always a slim chance of misjump, tho those misjumps are, except in cases of poor maintenance, not taking one off target system, merely off time.

MGT also has a similar issue. Fail the jump initiation roll, and something goes wrong. If by not too much, just no jump. By eneough, and its the classic misjump.
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  #26  
Old August 24th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
In MT, due to skill rolls, there is always a slim chance of misjump, tho those misjumps are, except in cases of poor maintenance, not taking one off target system, merely off time.

Wil,

Pretty much similar to CT. Misjumps in MT more often impose a time penalty. You either spend longer in jump or you exit further away from where you planned. It's only when you've failed to perform the proper maintenance or done something equally stupid that the ship risks actual destruction and then not even a majority of the time.

Quote:
MGT also has a similar issue. Fail the jump initiation roll, and something goes wrong. If by not too much, just no jump. By eneough, and its the classic misjump.
Again, pretty much similar to the previous versions as a misjump's effects occur in stages: "No Jump" to "Bad Time/Distance/Direction" to "Destruction". Too many people forget that a misjump, which happens extremely rarely across all versions, doesn't always equate and lost or destroyed ship. The majority of the time, a misjump means "no jump" instead.

Because I remember the CT numbers and don't have either MT or MgT with me, I'll use the CT misjump mechanism to illustrate the point.

You either misjump by throwing 13+ or have your ship destroyed by throwing 16+ on 2D6, so it's obvious from the beginning that you need some "help" for either event to occur. Using unrefined fuel helps with a +1 DM, jumping within 100D "helps" with a +5 DM, and jumping within 10D is certain suicide with a +15 DM.

Unrefined fuel alone, unless you're using IISS drives at -2 or naval drives at -1, gives you a 1 in 36 chance of a misjump and no chance of destruction while a jump inside 100D alone gives you "only" a 1 in 3 chance of a misjump and a 1 in 12 chance of destruction.

(Oddly enough, poor maintenance in the form of too few engineers and skipped overhauls only prevents you from jump at all, so no misjumps can occur in that case.)

The upshot is you have to try to destroy your ship via a misjump. You have to use the wrong fuel, something corporations are unlikely to do, and jump from the wrong location, something corporations are also unlikely to do.

Will misjumps still occur? Most certainly, just as airliner crashes still occur in the West and for much the same reasons.

Will a fear of misjumps greatly influence shipping decisions as much as Fiat and some others would suggest? Most certainly not, just as air crashes don't greatly influence the shipping decisions of FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the hundreds of other air carriers who operate tens of thousands of cargo planes worldwide every day.

The concern of some folks for misjumps is wholly overblown across every Traveller version and the actual risk of misjumps will influence 57th Century business decisions in the same manner that the actual risk of airliner crashes influence 21st Century business decisions.


Regards,
Bill

Last edited by Whipsnade; August 24th, 2010 at 01:06 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old August 24th, 2010, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rancke2 View Post
Or the company rents a warehouse, sticks a fuel tank an a fuel purifier inside it and hires a local part-time to kee the tank full.

Hans,

Which is basically what Al Morai is explicitly said to do at Class C ports along it's shipping routes in The Spinward Marches Campaign. It maintains facilities in those systems which "upgrade" the local Class C capabilities to a Class B level for it's own shipping.

In an Amber Zone in an early JTAS issue, Asteroid P-something or other, another large corporation or megacorp maintains a private starport in a backwater system for the same reason Al Morai maintains it's facilities.

This, plus the description repeated across all versions that the UWP's starport code refers facilities available to the general public, strongly implies IMHO that corporations of all sizes fund and maintain private ports which are usually capable of more than what a system's UWP would have us believe.


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Old August 24th, 2010, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rancke2 View Post
Or the company rents a warehouse, sticks a fuel tank an a fuel purifier inside it and hires a local part-time to kee the tank full.
I can certainly see any significant company - even a merchant fleet of four or five ships - investing in a private refinery: not only that, but significant warehousing to stockpile cargo for the next ships going out: what they called "factories" in the 17th and 18th centuries. Though in any world with a C port or worse I'd also imagine they'd want to invest in some full-time security and a permanent brokerage staff. That's how I'd do it, anyhow.

And I'd agree that in any TU using High Guard or anything more recent, it makes no sense for pretty near ANY starship not to have fuel purification built in. (IMTU I've been disciplining myself to sticking to LBB 1-3, so the restrictions stay in place. I like the effect it has on a subsector's "terrain"...
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Old August 24th, 2010, 03:07 PM
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In MT:
To engage jump drive:
Routine [7+], Engineering, Edu [Edu/5], 2 min.
Referee: This task can begin once a successful jump preparation has been accomplished.
If the ship is using unrefined fuel (without a fuel purification plant), this task is hazardous.
Safe Jump: A ship at least 100 diameters out from all massive bodies, using the proper fuel, and with properly maintained drives can make a safe jump with no chance of a mishap.
Dangerous Jump: If the ship is within 100 diameters of a massive body, this task is Difficult (hazardous) [11+].
Desperate Jump: If the ship is within 10 diameters of a massive body, this task is Formidable (hazardous) [15+].
bracketed text mine, based upon MT RM p.11. (IE, p92)

Note that a natural 2 on a "safe" task is still a misjump (RM p13), and a fail by 2+ on a hazardous task is a mishap, tho it is always superficial.
Poor maintenance but refined fuel mishap is on a fail by 4+ or nat. 2. A hazardous task

This means unrefined fuel results in a mishap 1/36 jumps.

and the mishap types:
If a mishap occurs when the jump drive is engaged, handle it as follows.
Superficial [3+]: A jump relativity error occurs. The ship remains in jumpspace 1D+4 days (from 5 to 10 days) before emerging in the destination system, otherwise unharmed.
Minor [7+]: A jump relativity error occurs, but when the ship emerges in the destination system, it is 1D times 8 hours from the destination world.
Major [11+]: A jump relativity error occurs. When the ship emerges from jump, it discovers that it has misjumped.
Throw 1D for the number of dice to throw. Then throw that number of dice for the distance (in parsecs or map hexes) the ship travelled. Finally, throw 1 D for the direction of the misjump.
Destroyed [15+]: The ship is destroyed.
bracketed text mine, based upon MT RM p.14. (IE, p93)
It is actually much rarer in MT to destroy a ship than in CT... The mishap has to be triggered by a natural 2, and the task needs to be hazardous (Unrefined fuel or under 100 diameters), and the 3d mishap that triggers must be 15+.
On the other hand, 1 in 12 2d mishaps results in a classic misjump...
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Old August 24th, 2010, 03:20 PM
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Just a reminder for all, the thread is in and about Mongoose Traveller so while comparisons to other rules may be helpful in ways they may also not actually apply. It's easy to forget what the original intent is in a thread and get off track in replying.
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