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Old April 25th, 2005, 05:09 PM
far-trader far-trader is offline
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Greetings RickA and Co. and a belated welcome aboard

Originally posted by RickA:
I read some discussions here about how hard it is to make money as a jump 2 free trader.
Well those discussions mostly are about the case of a trader not being able to make a profit under the per jump (not per parsec) rate for freight and passengers if the ship is more than J1 capable. As you are finding, in other cases you can make big profits.

Originally posted by RickA:

My group is on the Broad Side of a Barn adventures, a little jump 2 scout ship. With way too many crew (7 people!) who are working without wages (their recompense is a cut of profits) they've made a ton of money over operating expenses in 6 jumps. Just buying and selling speculative cargo with a character aboard who has an automatic + or - 3 on the buy/sell chart almost guarantees that you will make good money flying around the galaxy.

Soon the merchant will have an automatic + or - 4 on his roll, meaning they will make even more money on every transaction.

Is this what you guys see as well? Maybe I'm doing something wrong but I don't know what it could be.
If you and the group are having fun then you're not doing anything wrong If on the other hand you mean are you misinterpreting the rules or doing it in a way I (for one) would find "wrong" or are there things wrong with the adventure as written, well that's another story entirely and one that needs more information.

First off I find it unrealistic that a ship in that condition and devalued to that point is eligible for a 40 year mortgage. More realistically for me is a 10 year mortgage when it reaches the final depreciation block and is valued at a mere MCr4.2578. That means a monthly payment of Cr70,963. Can your crew cover that doing speculative trade [img]smile.gif[/img] Quite possibly but not so easy.

So let's say they can. You still have expenses. About Cr18,000 monthly for life support if bought in bulk.

Let's not forget fuel, which brings up a problem with Broad Side of a Barn in the adventure. It is described as having a fuel purifier which is good. Even this ship saves money with one. Problem is the cargo hold has not been corrected in the adventure stats to reflect it's inclusion. Your 20tons of cargo space just shrunk to 13tons to make room for the 7ton TL11 fuel purifier plant. That means less speculative cargo each run. The good news is you can buy unpurified fuel and only have to pay Cr4,400 a month for it and purify it yourself. Running to the GG will add a week of down time and most worlds with water will have local regulations so you won't usually skim for free.

You should of course be budgeting for routine maintenance, that's another Cr1,330 a month. The good news is that will reduce your annual maintenance budget to only Cr2,218 a month.

Lastly don't forget the berthing fees. Let's put aside Cr600 a month to average that.

Total expenses per month, Cr96,911. A far cry from the adventure's idea. An idea which seems designed to be made to almost work with freight revenue rather than being based on business. The goal being to keep the player's hungry so they have to adventure. That model fails as you have found when the player's speculate well. That's why my model should be used instead.

Now then, let's look at revenue. Noting that you are reduced to just 13tons of cargo space let me first note the nature of that cargo space. It's not all cargo space on a Scout/Courier. Have a look at my posts for the T20 type S here:

INSIDE - The Type S Scout/Courier

While that description refers to my T20 deckplans a similar situation exists for the CT type deckplans in the adventure. The attic space is narrow and low, half height at best, with no direct external access. It is mostly designed to house additional sensors and electronics, and of course the fuel purifier. The lower cargo hold, not forward as labled since it won't fit forward, volume is better suited to cargo but again still too small for major or minor lots. Finally there is the empty commo bay in the rear which would make a nice hold except for the small access hatch, again no major or minor cargo will fit. Rather than using the empty air/raft bay for junk/parts storage as stated in the adventure I'd put that in the commo bay and use the air/raft bay for cargo. It has a nice sized hatch and you can use it as a cargo airlock. As you can see however true cargo options on this ship type are very limited. It is NOT a merchant ship. No major or minor cargo, incidental lots only, and not easy to load. So in most cases of speculative cargo (all the ones where the size of the lot is a x5 or x10) the crew can't even consider it.

Of all the rolls they may get each week in port (up to 8 on the table) only the ones that have no multiplier will be possible for them to carry. Further I don't think they should be able to break up any of those incidental sized lots so whatever the size roll if it all won't fit they can't take it. That is going to further limit the chance of them finding any speculative cargo they can carry, never mind if it's got good profit potential.

Finally let's address your crew broker. There has been discussion that crew broker rules are broken. How can the character know the market of an alien world on their first visit? How can they do better against a local broker of the same skill? I'd suggest that the DC for the attempted bonus be increased by 5 for non-local brokers as a circumstance penalty. This will encourage even players with broker skill to hire a local broker (even Broker-1) as an aid (combined skill check) to avoid the penalty, at a cost of 5% of the final value of course. And that fee is due whether the purchase or sale proceeds.

Further there may be an argument for making all broker rolls an opposed check. You don't think you're the only one smart enough to negotiate the price do you? I'd use a local broker with total mods (rank plus stat) of 20 at Class A starports (attempts +4 bonus), 15 at Class B starports (attempts +3 bonus), 10 at Class C starports (attempts +2 bonus), and 5 at Class D starports (attempts +1 bonus).

But of course this is just the way I see it. You are free to make your own call with the goal always being to have a good game with good friends.
Dan "far-trader" Burns

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