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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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Old September 5th, 2017, 01:58 AM
Carlobrand Carlobrand is offline
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Default The Merchant Fleet in the Spinward Marches

I'm working on a GURPS/CT hybrid for background, drawing on the Wiki sector trade map. There's enough similarity between the two settings for it to work, assuming a departure from the standard cargo cost rules as follows:

Jump-1: Cr1000/dTon
Jump-2: Cr1500/dTon
Jump-3: Cr2500/dTon
Jump-4: Cr4000/dTon

These values give a 1000t cargo ship of the indicated jump capacity roughly the same profit margin as a J-1 freighter.

Anyway, I broke down the map to gather data:

Total shipping across the Marches: 135,333,500 dT weekly. Amounts to less than Cr200 per person per year, sector-wide, based on the GURPS standard of Cr10,000/dTon. Imperial share of that is 113,002,000 dT weekly. To move this tonnage in Imperial space requires:
  • 37,621,000 tons Imperial J-1 freight ships;
  • 67,168,000 tons Imperial J-2 freight ships;
  • 67,742,000 tons Imperial J-3 freight ships;
  • 5,364,000 tons Imperial J-4 freight ships;

assuming High Guard construction and ships of 1000 dT or more, or a total 177,895,000 dTons of freight ships. Of course, there will be free traders, subsidized liners and such in the mix - a lot of them - but since the bulk of shipping is along blue "major" and cyan "main" routes, they actually account for a very small percentage of overall tonnage.

Which brings up the next point: for small-ship-universe aficionados, more than 80% of Imperial shipping activity is in 3 subsectors: Rhylanor, Mora, and Trin's Veil. This creates a situation in which one can depart from the canon universe to build a small-ship setting by declaring that the Imperium husbands all of its major fleets in those three sectors and at Junidy in Aramis sector, covering the approach from Corridor.

In the frontier area, both the Imperium and the Zhodani by unwritten agreement operate only light forces of up to destroyer size. The great cost in blood and gold and the disruption wrought by the First and Second Frontier Wars, over systems whose economic value could not begin to justify such cost, prompts both sides to withdraw major assets to defend the most important subsectors and limit naval activities in the frontier to light units: each side independently decides to only to send larger ships forward if the other side crosses the line with larger ships. The frontier then becomes an area of border skirmishes, government sponsored privateers, and the occasional frontier border war fought only by destroyer squadrons. Jewell and Efate, with strong SDB defenses, are fortress worlds securing the most valuable systems of the Imperial frontier, Cronor serving a similar role in Zhodani space.

With a total 177,895,000 dTon merchant fleet and an estimated useful life of 40 years, Imperial shipbuilding is limited to about 4.5 million dTons annually, most of that in the Rhylanor, Mora, and Trin's Veil subsectors and most of it building the large ships that serve those subsectors and the few large ships that run the single main route through the frontier to Jewell and Efate. Frontier subsectors are limited to construction of smaller ships serving the minor, feeder, and intermediary lines of their subsectors, about 5% of the total construction tonnage, but since these are the smaller ships of 200 to 5000 dT, and represents about 235,000 dTons of ship construction annually, this still represents a decent amount of work for the smaller frontier yards.
Comments made are for the purpose of offering alternative campaign settings for consideration. The writer acknowledges that Traveller is intended to emulate certain common science fiction tropes and that, in the course of emulating those tropes and providing a better playing experience, some liberties must be taken with science. No statement by the writer should be interpreted as constituting a criticism of the game on that basis ... except for that bit about Virus. Dude, really?!

Last edited by Carlobrand; September 6th, 2017 at 12:05 AM..
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