Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Traveller

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-09-2019, 02:20 PM   #21
cptbutton
 
cptbutton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
It took me a moment to realize what you meant by the 598.5 dTons of cargo space on trips back to Agraria...

You simply subtracted the outbound from Industria from the 600 dtons required to ship TO Industria (sorry - I was being dense).

The answer to your question is "There will be no 598.5 dtons of empty carrying capacity". A single Scout ship with 20 dtons of carrying capacity might be contracted to drop off 1.5 dtons of value to Agraria, but it couldn't survive on carrying only that much freight by itself - not without charging full price for the empty volume not used! Why would it be empty? If the Trade rules invoking the Gravity trade model is true, Industria will not send another shipment of crystals to Agraria until Agraria has paid for its previous shipment with 600 dTons of grain. So, the freight movers literally have to charge DOUBLE against the farmers of Agraria to ship their grains and still maintain a Industria <=> Agraria trade route. The shippers would also have to charge Industria for the revenue lost by not carrying anything else.
So the answer is that there is no actual grain for crystals trade between Agraria and Industria? Agraia just has to manage without crystals until someone figures out some triangle or more complicated trade with through Transhippia or Diversieconomia? Possibly involving multiple ships?

Now I am thinking that this is how a lot of planets lose tech or die off in the Long Night or the Rebellion. Not because of being nuked or all the trade starships being destroyed, but just because there just aren't any profitable trades involving their planet any more.
cptbutton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2019, 05:42 PM   #22
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by cptbutton View Post
So the answer is that there is no actual grain for crystals trade between Agraria and Industria? Agraia just has to manage without crystals until someone figures out some triangle or more complicated trade with through Transhippia or Diversieconomia? Possibly involving multiple ships?

Now I am thinking that this is how a lot of planets lose tech or die off in the Long Night or the Rebellion. Not because of being nuked or all the trade starships being destroyed, but just because there just aren't any profitable trades involving their planet any more.
If I were pressed to explain how the Gravity model works...

There is absolutely NOTHING to imply that you can't have a container filled with break bulk goods, with a multitude of different things contained within. Today's tractor trailer trucks can be anywhere between 4 to 8 dTons in size. Think of just how much stuff you could pack into a tractor trailer. Is it always going to be uniform in what it carries? Likely answer is no.

A factory that puts out say, 5,000 units of TV's per month, may ship out those 5,000 units of TV, but it also has to receive all of the packaging, the raw materials for the consoles, the electronics etc - all before it can ship what it makes out.

So clearly - if a world is an assembly point but gains the other stuff through trade, those other things will "balance" the value of what is being manufactured on that world itself. So, I might have to trade my raw materials to Industria and perhaps Agraria. I want foodstuffs from Agraria. Agraria wants some of my stuff, and they in turn mix it with plant byproducts that Industria wants as packaging for their TV's. So - it is in reality, a three way trade cycle, but when all is said and done, trade between NonIndustria and Agraria along with Industria - will have a three way balance.

So - the biggest flaw if you will, is that it may very well be unlikely (unless here is a need to equip a new battalion) to ship out a LOT of M1 Rifles, but if there is - chances are good as well, that due to the unrest, goods at Agraria may rise in value.

The entire "Beast" that is the economy is rather complex. Years from now, some bright person is going to talk about the disruption of the late 20th Century that continued right on into the 21st. Why?

Corporations live and die by the bottom line. If the profits do not suit the stock holders enough, it can happen that the stock value drops. Another competitor can then offer to buy the stock of the now wavering corporation, and if the stock holders agree to the price - totally dismantle the otherwise healthy corporation.

Problem is - the more you trim your bottom line and remove people from the payroll, the more you impact on someone else's business. When they have to chop people off their payroll, those who lost their jobs can't participate in the economy as they once did. It becomes what is known as a negative feedback cycle until one of two things happen (actually three):

1) it stabilizes and further losses are stemmed.
2) it destructively destabilizes and destroys the system
3) it recovers from where it was heading, and returns to a healthier state

So, your scenario for the dark night or rebellion - would seem to be based off option 2 above. However, GURPS TRAVELLER and other incarnations that end up simplifying the "game mechanics" are going to have some flaws somewhere due to over-generalization.

This is why on one hand, I LIKE the idea from MERCHANT PRINCE, and I largely suspect this is why Marc Miller retained that game mechanic for his T5 system. It has to be specified up front however, that much of the earlier days of CT's trade system of monolithic goods per dton is probably unrealistic.

Note that in FAR TRADER, the value of goods per dton is variable and it isn't detailed SPECIFICALLY as to what the good are per se. 600 rifles is SPECIFIC. 600 Rifles at retail, is valued at near half a MCr in value. Now, a shipment with 50 rifles, 40 stereos, 20 mopeds, 500,000 rounds of ammunition, and a bunch of crates filled with clothing will have a much lower overall value per dTon than 600 rifles.

Does that help?
hal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2019, 08:07 AM   #23
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
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 View Post
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 View Post
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 08:23 AM.
swordtart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2019, 09:06 AM   #24
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
If one were to do a cost analysis for return on investment for staterooms, or retaining the space for cargo carrying capacity, largely depending on your route, the cargo space wins - and it also depends too upon which game system you're using as far as Traveller goes.
I dug out my Monte Carlo analysis of my 200 ton tramp freighter (80 dTon cargo, 10 high/middle berths + 16 low berths). 42 MCr (unarmed).

I used a simple two system closed loop trade run.
(USMABE and Maxieris systems (on this subsector http://skarabrae.pandemonium.de/cgi-bin/svg-map.pl)

After 26 jumps back and forth I had made 15 MCr profit (after all expenses) of which 2.4 MCr were from passenger tickets. I was fortunate as 95% of the time all berths were filled both ways (making 94 KCr per trip) (or 1.9 KCr per dTon). This was helped with crews with decent Streetwise. Admin and Steward Skills.

Limiting myself to 80 tons of cargo (and bringing a decent Liaison skill along) means that I never had a problem filling the hold efficiently.

I had 3 crew with the essential skills distributed between them. To be fair, I paid them the full amount for each role they fulfilled so the Steward/Medic got full pay for Medic and Steward. This only added 18K per month and more than paid for itself.

The sale value (after deductions) of cargos varied between 3,500 and 22,000 per dTon. Sales in Maxieris averaged about 10 Kcr per dTon but sales in USMABE rarely exceeded 5 KCr and probably averaged about 4. Once the purchas eprices were taken into account (4200 per dTon in Maxieris vs 2500 per dTon in USMABE the sales in USMABE barely made any profit, but this was offset by the Maxieris sales (which were about 6 times more profitable).

Nevertheless it is clear that in this rather safe and cosy milk-run I would have paid off the full 42 MCr vessel in three years.

I didn't take account of potential mishaps but to be fair in safe space over such a short period I am happy that any mishaps would have been minor. After a few trips I could have upgraded with turrets and weapons (as the ship was fitted for but not with).

Last edited by swordtart; 01-10-2019 at 09:16 AM.
swordtart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2019, 01:24 PM   #25
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by swordtart View Post
I dug out my Monte Carlo analysis of my 200 ton tramp freighter (80 dTon cargo, 10 high/middle berths + 16 low berths). 42 MCr (unarmed).

I used a simple two system closed loop trade run.
(USMABE and Maxieris systems (on this subsector http://skarabrae.pandemonium.de/cgi-bin/svg-map.pl)

After 26 jumps back and forth I had made 15 MCr profit (after all expenses) of which 2.4 MCr were from passenger tickets. I was fortunate as 95% of the time all berths were filled both ways (making 94 KCr per trip) (or 1.9 KCr per dTon). This was helped with crews with decent Streetwise. Admin and Steward Skills.

Limiting myself to 80 tons of cargo (and bringing a decent Liaison skill along) means that I never had a problem filling the hold efficiently.

I had 3 crew with the essential skills distributed between them. To be fair, I paid them the full amount for each role they fulfilled so the Steward/Medic got full pay for Medic and Steward. This only added 18K per month and more than paid for itself.

The sale value (after deductions) of cargos varied between 3,500 and 22,000 per dTon. Sales in Maxieris averaged about 10 Kcr per dTon but sales in USMABE rarely exceeded 5 KCr and probably averaged about 4. Once the purchas eprices were taken into account (4200 per dTon in Maxieris vs 2500 per dTon in USMABE the sales in USMABE barely made any profit, but this was offset by the Maxieris sales (which were about 6 times more profitable).

Nevertheless it is clear that in this rather safe and cosy milk-run I would have paid off the full 42 MCr vessel in three years.

I didn't take account of potential mishaps but to be fair in safe space over such a short period I am happy that any mishaps would have been minor. After a few trips I could have upgraded with turrets and weapons (as the ship was fitted for but not with).
Ok, I see that the two worlds are 1 parsec apart.


Maxereis 0707 A55A747-12
Usmabe 0607 A540A84-15

After further analysis, I can see easily, how this was a milk run of extreme proprotions!

Usambe, with its atmosphere of thin tainted, zero surface water, and a population value of 10, is going to have a WTN of 5 + 1.5, or 6.5. This is not further modified by having an A class starport.

Maxereis with its Thin Atmosphere, 100% water coverage, is going to have a WTN of 3.5 + 1 or 4.5. Add +.5 due to A class starport and final number is 5.

BTN = 11.5


In light of that? Your ship will never ever lack for 100% Freight capacity - as in general, you will have your pick of about 1,000 to 5,000 dtons of freight daily. At the lowest spectrum, you will generally have about 71 freight lots to choose from, and at the highest - some 357 lots (assuming an average of 14 dTons per freight lot)

As for passengers, available passengers per day is between 50 to 100 passengers. So, filling your 5 staterooms is not going to be difficult (assuming a bridge crew of 3 plus a steward plus an Engineer).

So yes, such a "milkrun" port is going to be incredibly easy to fill everything to capacity.

That kind of milk run however, is not typical in a Traveller Universe.
hal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2019, 01:29 PM   #26
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Incidentally?

GURPS FAR TRADER (page 16) has this to say about the average value of tonnage being shipped...

"In converting from credits to dtons of trade, the table above assumes that freight is worth, on average, between Cr10,000/dton and Cr50,000/dton."

So, that hopefully answers the question about Agraria and Industria. If Agraria's value is about 5,000 per dton (just for giggles) then it would take between 2 to 10 dTons of Agria product to match 1 Industria Product. Not as bad, but still a pain for the Shippers who somehow have to make ends meet and handle the market's needs.
hal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2019, 03:02 PM   #27
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
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).
swordtart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2019, 04:06 PM   #28
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

What probably should have been factored in, was a set of rules similar to Basic Abstract Difficulty. High Population Worlds with A class starports should probably have a competition aspect to it that modifies your own skill roll for gaining contracts.

The penalty/bonus for taking unwanted freight types is likely not enough.

The problem I quickly found with Far Trader is that isn't sufficiently gameable at the table. Try to set up a program, and you not only have to generate the possible freight lots for the potential world you wish to go to, but all of the stops between your host world and destination world. It can be done, but the real problem is that it isn't something you can run at the table itself.
hal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2019, 03:52 AM   #29
swordtart
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
It can be done, but the real problem is that it isn't something you can run at the table itself.
Sounds like their should be an App for that ;)

For the wider issue of keeping things fresh without stretching implausibility, I was thinking of doing a solo game where you start at a particular system and then jump into the unknown, generating systems as you go (sort of like scouting, but focusing on the trade aspects).

This would be divergent from the basic Traveller canon where everything is already mapped out, but you could put it forward as extending trade to a pocket empire hitherto uncharted after a self imposed quarantine like Japan in the 19th century. I was also wondering about doing a TNE campaign where things have changed. You can safely assume the Gas giant for refueling was still in place, but the TL and economy of systems would be very different from the historical records.

This would be making new markets and for a few months you would be lord of all you had surveyed.
swordtart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2019, 10:07 AM   #30
hal
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Default Re: Shipping in a Traveller Universe

Quote:
Originally Posted by swordtart View Post
Sounds like their should be an App for that ;)

For the wider issue of keeping things fresh without stretching implausibility, I was thinking of doing a solo game where you start at a particular system and then jump into the unknown, generating systems as you go (sort of like scouting, but focusing on the trade aspects).

This would be divergent from the basic Traveller canon where everything is already mapped out, but you could put it forward as extending trade to a pocket empire hitherto uncharted after a self imposed quarantine like Japan in the 19th century. I was also wondering about doing a TNE campaign where things have changed. You can safely assume the Gas giant for refueling was still in place, but the TL and economy of systems would be very different from the historical records.

This would be making new markets and for a few months you would be lord of all you had surveyed.
For a Traveller Milieu Zero campaign, that probably would work. As for the app aspect?

When I crafted what I had - I used an excel spreadsheet like data container (Datagridview). In it, I stored the following information:
Bid Status, Lot Size, Freight Code, Freight Description, Destination, Freight Rate, Delivery Date, and Distance in Parsecs.

I had a menu feature called "Spot Freight Market" which allowed for one to "View today's lots". The program would then open a file that contained all of the trade partners for that world per the original Far Trader rules, whose BTN was in excess of a given value (in other words, it had to actively generate daily trade). Then, it would generate all possible trade not only based on the limit of the daily trade, but also for each and every trade partner.

Once that list was generated, it was organized by Destination world. When the Cargomaster of a ship wanted to select any given lot, he'd simply right click on the lot in question, and a menu option appeared. Bid. If he selected bid, the bid status changed from "Open" to "Bidding" and the entire line would be highlighted in Green. Should the cargomaster change their mind, right click on that bid and the menu would instead show "remove bid" and the green highlight would disappear and the status would revert back to open. As you bid upon each lot, a running tally of how many dTons of freight lots being bid upon was maintained. Once you bid, it would generate a delivery due date, remove all outstanding "Open" lots, and leave showing only those that were bid upon.

The criteria for generating freight lots for the day was that each BTN relationship had a gross tonnage value for that destination per the rules given. Then, a for loop would call the function to generate a number as 4d6-4 value (if zero was the result, reroll until it was not a zero result). The loop would generate lots until remaining lot size was less than 20. If the remaining tonnage was less than 20 but greater than 0, it would end the process.

Mind you, that app worked to do what I wanted it to do, but here was the problem...

It always generated a new tonnage value between the worlds in the BTN pairing fresh. There were no provisions for those lots that were not bid upon the previous day.


I would have needed to implement a database structure to track per the rules, fluctuating lot sizes between worlds for each and every world throughout the game - even those worlds not being visited largely because of how the rules were structured (in case any given world was within range of the player characters or might be a possible destination). How much data would have been necessary to store would be debatable (ie up to the discretion of what I thought was necessary), but that would have required more work on my part.

The other problem is that pure distance from port to destination port does not equate to how many jumps it will actually take to get to the destination. For that, I would have either had to create an AI routine to determine best possible route, or I would have required that information to be manually imported by the user (best case scenario) or created a listing of destination times from each world to its BTN partner (ie by doing the grunt work ahead of time manually).

The nice thing was - if you were going to a destination that was 12 parsecs away, and you had to visit 5 worlds between your current location and your destination location, you could also view the available lots of freight on each of those 5 additional worlds and bid on them.

The reason I stopped working on the app was largely because the Traveller campaign had come to an end, and we moved on to a new GURPS campaign - why work on something I wasn't going to use any more?

For the cargo lot identification, I used the codes from TRAVELLER 5th edition for my code, so I could generate things like Live Animals, Meat & Meat Preparations, Dairy Products to Raw Hides & Skins to Petroleum & Petroleum Products to "Chemicals, Other" right on down to musical instruments.

In all, I had 101 freight description listings. :)

The other problem I have is that when I use the rules as written, without turning the ship into a "Line" (which technically speaking, your milk run became when you only plied your trade between two worlds) - a tramp freighter who owes money on monthly basis for its mortgage payment, can't survive on 700 credits or 650 for destinations in excess of 2 parsecs.

Eventually - GURPS SPACESHIPS would come up with modifiers for freight bidding in that if the ship has been there before within a certain time span, all rolls for available freight and cargo lots suffered a penalty. Those rules were not for Traveller however.

So - could someone actively write an app to handle all of this? That I got as far as I did using a text interface only, the proves it isn't all too difficult. It is just a bit tedious in how much of the manual grunt work will be to determine actual jump travel rather than distance in parsecs. It is also tedious in setting up a database to track numbers for star systems not being visited by the player characters or the ship itself. Last but not least, if I were to want to have a graphics based interface, I'd have to learn how to create bmp style pictures from scratch (something I didn't want to do with VB.NET).

it can be done however. Any time I want to remember how I learned to work with data in a Datagridview container - I refer back to that particular program, as it taught me how to do that kind of thing. :)
hal is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:12 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.