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Old 01-13-2019, 03:02 PM   #27
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Originally Posted by hal View Post
That kind of milk run however, is not typical in a Traveller Universe.
I am not sure that is necessarily true. There are plenty of good opportunities (it is effectively an infinite universe after all). I note also that at least one way the trade is barely profitable but if just one side of return trip is lucrative, you can afford to take a minor hit on the other and still be up on gallivanting all over the galaxy. I suspect however that this approach might be somewhat dull from a players perspective and thus many Traveller campaigns would specifically avoid such easy routes (in defiance of logic).

It does however point out the slight failing in all the systems. They seem to be quite good at predicting how much cargo / many passengers per cycle (day/week whatever). What they fail to do however is identify how much of it has already been dealt with by the players rivals.

You could reasonably argue that all available cargo and passenger trade will have already been dealt with by the existing regular lines. As soon as a player finds a milk run the universe should react to flood that area with similar entrepreneurs until the market is again saturated. As I sated earlier that equilibrium would almost certainly have been established generations ago.

I would expect that any newcomer would need to carve their way into the market by disrupting the status quo (i.e. knobbling their competitors). That is where the Traveller adventure hook lies. Once a way has been forced into the market the adventure than becomes fending off the competitors rather than fighting the market itself.

When you jump into a sector expect encounters with rival shippers to regularly be something dirty. A tip off to the navy that you are carrying contraband (preferably backed up by slipping contraband into your cargo - easy if you are shipping cargo rather than speculating). A direct attack by an unmarked ship that jumps sectors away afterwards and can thus never be effectively traced. Poisoning your business contacts (either socially or literally). Monitoring what you are carrying and pipping you to the post - "I'm sorry captain, I'd love to help you, but we had a 200 dTon delivery of loom bands just this morning, I really can't take any more for at least a month".

A simple look at trade tables cannot really cater for this aspect and the existing random encounters are a underwhelming for those sort of adventure hooks. I am experimenting with playing solo and it's a bind.

Fro reference, I was using the Merchant Prince supplement which is even more simplistic than Far Trader (but at least there are opportunities for creativity in the gaps).
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