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  #11  
Old February 7th, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
In CT, the average skilled starship crewman makes about Cr3k-4k per month or about Cr42K per year. So, a Cr8K middle ticket costs about 19% of his annual wages and a Cr1K low passage costs 2.3% of his annual pay.
As an aside, by realistic costs, CrImp8,000 is too dear for a jump-1 trip, about right for a jump-2 trip, and too little for a jump-3 trip.

(The exact "right" cost for a ticket depends on which starship construction rules you use).


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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:03 PM
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As an aside, by realistic costs, CrImp8,000 is too dear for a jump-1 trip, about right for a jump-2 trip, and too little for a jump-3 trip.

(The exact "right" cost for a ticket depends on which starship construction rules you use).
Agreed, though it also depends very much on the ships themselves. No high-jump starship can compete with a low jump starship on low jump routes. The reason is that the high jump starship has significantly higher opportunity costs -- it has to allocate much more tonnage (and money) to drives. Most dramatically, it has to allocate significant tonnage to fuel storage.

So economic efficiency demands that jump-1 routes be serviced by jump-1 ships; jump-2 routes by jump-2 ships, etc.

This analysis was apparently not done by the designer of MGT...
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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:25 PM
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Agreed, though it also depends very much on the ships themselves. No high-jump starship can compete with a low jump starship on low jump routes. The reason is that the high jump starship has significantly higher opportunity costs -- it has to allocate much more tonnage (and money) to drives. Most dramatically, it has to allocate significant tonnage to fuel storage.
Yes, I've taken that into account in my calculations. One of the factors that makes a considerable difference is whether or not a ship has to spend 1% per jump number of its tonnage on tankage for power plant fuel (as the CT rules requires) or not (as plausible power plant fuel consumption would allow).

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So economic efficiency demands that jump-1 routes be serviced by jump-1 ships; jump-2 routes by jump-2 ships, etc.
Etc. for jump-3, but not for jump-4. Two jump-2 trips are slightly cheaper than one jump-4 (when you adjust for jump-4 ships having smaller cargo bays). Two jump-3 is a lot cheaper than one jump-6.

For 4-parsec trips the difference in cost is so low that I'd expect a lot of passengers to be willing to pay for a jump-4 trip rather than two jump-2 trips.

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This analysis was apparently not done by the designer of MGT...
Well, to be fair, it wasn't done by any of the designers of the previous Traveller incarnations, except for the authors of Far Trader.

But if MGT still have free traders bought (and financed) from new, then sent out to tramp the starlanes, then it is perpetuating a big mistake from earlier incarnations. IMO free traders are 40+ year old obsolescent ships, bought at used starship prices (25% or less of new price). Consequently they have much lower loan payments and can survive on marginal cargoes, half-filled staterooms, and week-long layovers during which the crew can be out having adventures.


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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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Travel in Traveller is no more expensive than transatlantic travel in the 19th century. By that time, shipping prices were commoditized and the main variables were speed and luxury. So percentages should work fine as a mechanism to simply determine how well an RPG ship captain does. It will yield far better results than an absolute method in my opinion.
Well, the trade rules support small ships and subsidies; i.e. the setting.

Now, that doesn't mean travel in Traveller isn't cheap... on large liners. That's why most everyone who travels uses them instead of my grungy old Far Trader. I'm picking up the scraps, here.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Travel in Traveller is no more expensive than transatlantic travel in the 19th century. By that time, shipping prices were commoditized and the main variables were speed and luxury. So percentages should work fine as a mechanism to simply determine how well an RPG ship captain does. It will yield far better results than an absolute method in my opinion.
Well, the trade rules support small ships and subsidies; i.e. the setting.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:58 PM
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1. Replace "shares" with Mcr1.0 of "equity" in a ship. This is a more accurate term in any case.

2. Equity can be "spent" for the starship downpayment, to reduce the loan balance, or (maybe) pay for starship improvements, but can't otherwise be converted to cash.

3. Unless otherwise agreed by the players, owners share profits and loss prorata by equity.

4. Use any of the one million online loan calculators to determine starship loan rates. Or, use the CT formula, which assumes a 40 year loan and 5.55% interest. Or tell me what your loan term and interest assumption is and I'll give you a rule of thumb.
This all seems reasonable. Perhaps Gareth means 'equity' when he uses the term 'shares'?
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  #17  
Old February 7th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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This all seems reasonable. Perhaps Gareth means 'equity' when he uses the term 'shares'?
<shrug>

Then one wonders why he wouldn't use the term equity. And of course, why he wouldn't write rules that treat it appropriately.

In any case, the shares system is, IMHO, a needless and pointless gloss on something that frankly isn't that complex. If you've ever financed a car (or know someone who has), then you can understand the basics of financing starships. No gloss, "clever" mechanics, or more comforting euphemisms are necessary.

Last edited by tbeard1999; February 7th, 2008 at 02:39 PM..
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Old February 7th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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Well, the trade rules support small ships and subsidies; i.e. the setting.

Now, that doesn't mean travel in Traveller isn't cheap... on large liners. That's why most everyone who travels uses them instead of my grungy old Far Trader. I'm picking up the scraps, here.
While it's true that subsidies can exist, subsidies cannot exist everywhere (or most everywhere) within the free market economy generally assumed by Traveller. In any case, it is still necessary to determine real market prices, if only to properly calibrate the black market and the reasonableness of subsidies.

Prices are a fundamental component of the economic system. If any RPG economic system is going to be logical, it must determine prices logically. MGT does not do that.

And while it's true that previous CT versions didn't do that, that is no excuse. I expect an RPG designed in 2008 to be better than an RPG designed in 1977. And in the case of MGT, the designer did introduce a number of changes. The problem is that they did nothing to fix the defects in the system.

A familiar story, it seems.

Last edited by tbeard1999; February 7th, 2008 at 02:38 PM..
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Old February 7th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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So economic efficiency demands that jump-1 routes be serviced by jump-1 ships; jump-2 routes by jump-2 ships, etc.
Etc. for jump-3, but not for jump-4. Two jump-2 trips are slightly cheaper than one jump-4 (when you adjust for jump-4 ships having smaller cargo bays). Two jump-3 is a lot cheaper than one jump-6.
I should have been clearer. What I meant is that (for instance) a Jump-4 ship cannot economically compete with a Jump-1 ship, on a single Jump-1, all else being equal. The reason is that the Jump-4 ship cannot carry anywhere near as much paying cargo (which includes passengers) because 40% of its displacement is spent on fuel, vs. 10% on the Jump-1 ship. In addition, the Jump-4 ship has bigger and more expensive drives.

So I think that the pricing for Jump-1, 2, 3 (and maybe 4) routes should assume a ship designed for that Jump number.

Not sure what your point is in comparing 2 Jump-2s to a single Jump-4. The two trips are not comparable for the simple reason that the single Jump-4 takes half the time. The same is true when comparing a single Jump-6 with 2 Jump-3's.

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For 4-parsec trips the difference in cost is so low that I'd expect a lot of passengers to be willing to pay for a jump-4 trip rather than two jump-2 trips.
Me too. And the fact that starship costs are largely fixed means that it's possible that the total cost of making a Jump-4 is less than the total cost of making 2 jump-2's.

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Well, to be fair, it wasn't done by any of the designers of the previous Traveller incarnations, except for the authors of Far Trader.
Not much of a defense, IMHO. I expect MGT to be better than a 30 year old ruleset. If it isn't, why bother?

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But if MGT still have free traders bought (and financed) from new, then sent out to tramp the starlanes, then it is perpetuating a big mistake from earlier incarnations.
Yep. And I can forgive MWM for missing this point in 1977 (before spreadsheets), especially considering the many things he did right. I'm not so charitable to Mongoose (or anyone else).

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IMO free traders are 40+ year old obsolescent ships, bought at used starship prices (25% or less of new price). Consequently they have much lower loan payments and can survive on marginal cargoes, half-filled staterooms, and week-long layovers during which the crew can be out having adventures.
I agree with your estimation.

The fact that banks will finance starships at very low interest rates for 40 years strongly argues that even a 40 year old ship will retain significant resale value. In the Real World, banks will require a 20+% equity cushion if making a long term, low interest collateralized loan. Reverse engineering this requirement gives us a pretty good idea of how fast starships depreciate:

1%/Yr in years 1-10
1.5%/yr in years 11-20
2.5%/yr in years 21-40

(Numbers rounded for ease of calculation). So a Mcr100 ship will be worth MCr90.0 at the end of year 10; MCr75.0 at the end of year 20; MCr50 at the end of year 30, MCr25 at the end of year 40.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I should have been clearer. What I meant is that (for instance) a Jump-4 ship cannot economically compete with a Jump-1 ship, on a single Jump-1, all else being equal. The reason is that the Jump-4 ship cannot carry anywhere near as much paying cargo (which includes passengers) because 40% of its displacement is spent on fuel, vs. 10% on the Jump-1 ship. In addition, the Jump-4 ship has bigger and more expensive drives.

So I think that the pricing for Jump-1, 2, 3 (and maybe 4) routes should assume a ship designed for that Jump number.

Not sure what your point is in comparing 2 Jump-2s to a single Jump-4. The two trips are not comparable for the simple reason that the single Jump-4 takes half the time. The same is true when comparing a single Jump-6 with 2 Jump-3's.
My point is that long ago I designed a number of different 600 T ships using QSDS1.5 (the modular T4 ship design system that's a simplification of the more complex T4 system) and worked out the cost of a jump and the number of passengers/amount of cargo they could carry. If you wanted to ship something four parsecs and didn't care about how long it took, it was cheaper to ship it by jump-2 ship, though not a lot cheaper. It was roughly six times cheaper to ship something six parsecs by jump-3 than by jump-6.

I had to make some assumptions, of course, but most of them wouldn't affect the ratio of costs (i.e., I assumed that a regular freighter/liner could make 35 jumps per year, but that number applied equally to all types of ships, so if you cut it down to 25 jumps per year, the cost of jump-2 and jump-4 traffic would increase by the same amount, so their relative cost would remain the same).
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Me too. And the fact that starship costs are largely fixed means that it's possible that the total cost of making a Jump-4 is less than the total cost of making 2 jump-2's.
But if you actually work it out, it turns out that it isn't.

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The fact that banks will finance starships at very low interest rates for 40 years strongly argues that even a 40 year old ship will retain significant resale value.
There's an old Travellers' Digest Q&A where it is said that a 40 year old ship is worth 25% of it's original cost. I myself favor 20%, since it simplifies the calculations of a starship loan (You start by having 20% of the ship's value and 40 years later you own something that is worth exactly that ).

IIRC, the wear value rule from TNE also gives you a value of 25% after 40 years.

The big problem is that as the rules stand, there is no reason why is shouldn't be worth almost 100% even after 40 years. The maintenance costs are no higher, the risk of breakdown is no higher. You just keep on making the same amount of money, only now you don't have to pay off the bank loan, so you'll coin money hand over fist.

My take is that this is an omission (or simplification, if you will). 40 year old ships do have significantly bigger chances of malfunctions, which is why the companies sell them to optimistic free traders and buy spanking new replacements. Meanwhile, the free trader is gambling that he can make enough money to cover the upcoming repairs before the jump drive or maneuver drive or power plant conks out. Those who win that bet goes on to found fledgling lines while those that lose it goes into bankruptcy, whereupon the bank sells the ship to the next optimist.

All in all, I think that roleplaying rules for free trading should focus more on events (like maneuver drives beginning to smoke) and less on economics. The best cargo a free trader can find on a world is the one that'll take it in the direction the ref wants it to go, not the one the players after rooting through the UWPs decide will be most profitably sold on a world the ref has never heard of.

Quote:
In the Real World, banks will require a 20+% equity cushion if making a long term, low interest collateralized loan. Reverse engineering this requirement gives us a pretty good idea of how fast starships depreciate:

1%/Yr in years 1-10
1.5%/yr in years 11-20
2.5%/yr in years 21-40

(Numbers rounded for ease of calculation). So a Mcr100 ship will be worth MCr90.0 at the end of year 10; MCr75.0 at the end of year 20; MCr50 at the end of year 30, MCr25 at the end of year 40.
Sounds good to me.


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