Steve Jackson Games Forums Shipping in a Traveller Universe
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 12-29-2018, 04:08 AM #2 hal   Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Buffalo, New York Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe Remember my original calculations above were based on the laser rifle taking up TWICE the volume that the M1 Garand required. CT would have us believe that the back pack battery weighs 4 kg in mass, and costs 1500 credits. As always, when one has to determine how much volume a given "thing" takes versus its weight, we go to the density formula that specifies that Density is equal to Volume/Mass. So, at 2.66 grams per cubic centimeter for a Nicad battery (calculated density of a D-cell battery at 33.6mm diameter by 61.5mm height), the volume of the battery pack would be roughly 1500 cubic centimeters in volume. You could pack roughly 10 of those batteries in a half cubic foot of volume. Now, those are back of envelope calculations, and in all probability, the density of the battery pack will be HIGHER per cubic centimeter than what we use for today's NiCad batteries. The energy density of those power packs have to power 100 shots after all... In any event, my conservative "doubling" of the volume for shipping purposes for laser rifles was, if anything, TOO conservative. At 600 rifles per dTon volume for the M1's, chances are good that we're not going to get only 300 laser rifles per dTon volume as I originally estimated, but probably closer to perhaps 400 to 500 INCLUSIVE of their battery packs. If shipping battery packs separately, even assuming that you need 1 cubic foot of volume per 10 batteries (instead of getting maybe 18 per cubic foot) - a single dTon of roughly 500 cubic feet is going to be able to carry roughly 5,000 battery packs. Let's be nice and double the packaging requirements and lower the number of 2,500 battery packs per dTon (Just for giggles). That works out to a per battery surcharge of .4 Credits per parsec jump under the old Classic Traveller rules. In order to DOUBLE the cost of those self same batteries worth 1,500 credits per battery, we'd need to ship those batteries roughly 1,500/.4 or 3750 parsecs. This puts it in a whole new perspective when it comes to just how worth while it may be to ship any given "goods" any given distance from a world to its outlying markets. I happened to pick the M1 Garands because I had stats on them, and could find the shipping crate stats that carried 10 rifles to a crate, and in turn, could determine its overall volume requiements and then try and figure out how much a dTon could carry. Other consumer goods such as radios, medicines, vehicles (although vehicles end up getting the worst of the situation because the ratio of value to volume is worse). 600 rifles worth 200 credits each has an overall value of 120,000 credits (not the 30,000 listed in book 2 for speculative cargo). But were the original rules subjected to the same level of analysis just performed above - chances are good that the economics of shipping goods across interstellar distances would have been a touch more interesting. How many BIC pens could one pack into a dTon of space? Going to Amazon, looking up BIC pens, I find that I can buy a box of 36 pens whose case dimensions are 2.8 x 3.8 x 6 inches or 63.84 cubic inches. Assuming that the packing cases are somewhat larger, I'm only going to assume 400 cubic feet's worth of product to fill 500 cubic feet of volume to account for the thicker packaging for the bigger cases containing the packs of 36. That works out to 388,800 pens per dTon of volume, worth \$21 per case x 27 cases per cubic foot x 400 cubic feet or \$226,800. (Note that this isn't wholesale costs, but retail!). What would it take to double the price value of those pens assuming that \$1 today was equal to 1 credit? (not the case I'm sure, but just doing the math) 1000 credits per dTon carrying 10,800 "cases" of 36 pens each - would spread the shipping cost per unit to .092 credits per case. To double the value of a \$20 case, we'd have to ship it roughly 216 parsecs. So, the whole point of this thread is to give you an idea of just how effective it is to ship goods in a Traveller Universe. Divide the cost of 1 displacement ton shipping by the number of units carried in that same volume, to determine the actual markup required to break even for the cost of shipping. Even BIC pens shipped at large quanties would benefit from such a shipping price assuming that the market has a demand for the product in question. If you factor in the exchange rates for currency as originally set up in Classic Traveller, low tech worlds with poor starports would end up having to pay a higher "local price" for the goods they can't manufacture using their low tech manufacturing base. I largely suspect that BIC pens will outsell quill pens any day. ;)
12-29-2018, 01:54 PM   #5
Fred Brackin

Join Date: Aug 2007
Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
 Originally Posted by hal e with material technology. Somewhere in the rules for character creation, are rules for what high tech goods above your campaign average technology is worth. e.
Those are in Gurps 4e and are x2 per TL. They are quite abstract and shipping would probably be only one factor.
__________________
Fred Brackin

 12-30-2018, 01:11 AM #6 jason taylor     Join Date: Aug 2005 Location: Portland, Oregon Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe What is the purpose of a Garand-equiv, as opposed to an ACR? Are you trying to manipulate some quarrel between natives? If so it is probably off the beaten path with the locals short of money. Do the rifles have accessory mounts? Telescopic sights? Infra-red sights? Bayonets? Grenade launchers? __________________ "The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
01-08-2019, 09:19 AM   #7
swordtart

Join Date: Jun 2008
Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
 Originally Posted by SteveS Clamp a laser pointer on a locally built bolt-action rifle and you have a much more accurate weapon. Clamp it on a flintlock rifle and you can shoot the hat off an enemy officer from ridiculous range.
There are inherent accuracy limitations to less advanced weapons even if the sighting mechanism were drastically improved (but see below). Hand loaded weapons are subject to variations in the quantity of powder, the quality of the powder, humidity etc. When the priming catches your view of the target is wholly obscured and if you flinch a small dot isn't going to get you back on target. If muzzle loading then forcing the projectile down the barrel can distort it such that it doesn't follow a predictable trajectory (and thus your training for drop and wind-age becomes worthless).

There is also the small issue that you have to be able to see the dot to be able to use it to aim and the distance you can see a laser point with the naked eye in daylight conditions (or the thick smoke from flintlocks) won't be that far what you could use basic iron sights for anyway.

We have to be careful when considering upgrades to low tech weapons as often they have been made to be as accurate as practical and adding on a single upgrade may may little practical difference, you usually need several upgrades to different elements of the gun to make a difference.

Consider that we had telescopes long before we had firearms, but the telescopic sight wasn't really practical until we had breech loading rifles. There was no point putting a telescopic sight onto a muzzle loader as you would be able to see better than you could shoot.

01-09-2019, 01:05 PM   #8
SteveS

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: near Seattle WA USA
Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
 Originally Posted by swordtart There are inherent accuracy limitations to less advanced weapons even if the sighting mechanism were drastically improved (but see below). Hand loaded weapons are subject to variations in the quantity of powder, the quality of the powder, humidity etc. When the priming catches your view of the target is wholly obscured and if you flinch a small dot isn't going to get you back on target. If muzzle loading then forcing the projectile down the barrel can distort it such that it doesn't follow a predictable trajectory (and thus your training for drop and wind-age becomes worthless).
Muzzle loaded rifles could be remarkably accurate, with a skilled marksman:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Murphy_(sniper)
Quote:
 There is also the small issue that you have to be able to see the dot to be able to use it to aim and the distance you can see a laser point with the naked eye in daylight conditions (or the thick smoke from flintlocks) won't be that far what you could use basic iron sights for anyway.
That's a stronger argument against them. But I think they would be a very advantageous tool in middle ranges, far enough that aim is useful, but not so far that weapon accuracy exceeds ability to aim.
Quote:
 . . . Consider that we had telescopes long before we had firearms, but the telescopic sight wasn't really practical until we had breech loading rifles. There was no point putting a telescopic sight onto a muzzle loader as you would be able to see better than you could shoot.
The problem there may have been expense rather than absence of value in aim. Short of a field test with a telescope and rifle made with 18th century optical manufacturing techniques, I'd say either argument is speculation.

01-10-2019, 09:07 AM   #9
swordtart

Join Date: Jun 2008
Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
 Originally Posted by SteveS Muzzle loaded rifles could be remarkably accurate, with a skilled marksman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Murphy_(sniper)
Elite troops can indeed work marvels, but by definition they tend to be very much in the minority. 300 yards is noted as extreme range for Murphy's weapon (other source say he could hit a 7" target at 250 yards) and he did take 3 shots before he hit. This is still a remarkable feat, but given he was able to achieve this without a laser sight I am not sure how it would have helped him.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by SteveS That's a stronger argument against them. But I think they would be a very advantageous tool in middle ranges, far enough that aim is useful, but not so far that weapon accuracy exceeds ability to aim.
I think the money spend on a laser sight for a flintlock would be better spent buying a better rifle instead (plus as a merchant you create a market for ammunition). A laser sight might enable quicker target acquisition (which is why they often appear on pistols and sub-machine guns), but with weapons with a long reload time, you might prefer your troops to take aim rather than risking a hasty shot.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by SteveS The problem there may have been expense rather than absence of value in aim. Short of a field test with a telescope and rifle made with 18th century optical manufacturing techniques, I'd say either argument is speculation.
Once you start talking about laser sights on flintlocks you opened the gates to speculation ;) 17th century muskets were fitted occasionally with tube sights (no lenses, just a tube). These were primarily hunting weapons as in this period actually aiming at people was considered bad form as it was tantamount to murder (rather than letting God decide where the bullets fell).

Last edited by swordtart; 01-10-2019 at 09:23 AM.

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