Friday, December 17, 2010

Starter Traveller – Starships part 2

Starship Computers and Economics.

Computers in Traveller are not the sleek sort of thing that you can get at the Apple Store; the interfaces don’t look like those on the bridge of the Enterprise (reboot).  They look and act much more like those of the original Star Wars. 

Computers are rated 1-7, each with different storage and processing capability.  In addition, you need a computer of at least equal level to the ships jump rating.  So for our Jump 3 ship, we needed at least a level 3 computer.  I originally wrote a level 2 computer, but that would reduce our jump capability. 

Our level 3 computer has a rating of 5/9, which means it can store a total of 9 spaces worth of progams, and it can run 5 spaces worth at any one time.   From the list of available software the Grendel will need the following:
Jump 3 (3 slots)
Maneuver/Evade 1 (1 slot)
Navigate (1 slot)
Generate (1 slot)
Anti-hijack (1 slot)
Target (1 slot)
Launch (1 slot)

The computer comes with a MCr3 allowance for a “standard program package” which lets you spend up to MCr3 for free on programs.  Our total cost for the programs is MCr5.7 minus MCr3 brings us to an out of pocket expense of MCr2.7.

Our total cost for the Grendel is MCr135.0715 fully equipped.  To actually buy it, we’ll need to put down 20% or MCr27.0143, and a monthly payment of 562,797.92 Credits a month for 480 months. 

Additional monthly costs include 20-28,000 Credits for Life Support (5-7 crew), 1126 to go into the annual maintenance fund, and 21,400 Credits for crew salary (presuming 5 crew are all NPCs).  This is a total of 50,526 Credits a month, plus the monthly payment for the ship equals 613,324 Credits a month.  If we had to buy fuel we’d be looking at an additional 115,000 Credits per month for the refined stuff! 

To pay for these costs, the Grendel will have to make some very profitable ventures.  If the Grendel is able to completely fill its hold with mail and cargo and 2 passengers per trip it’ll bring in 222,000 credits per month, which leaves us 391,324.00 Credits short every month. 

Clearly, straight cargo runs won’t pay the bills.  Trade goods may do the trick, but I’m still several chapters away from that. 

How does this compare to the basic Free Trader?  With 82 tons of available cargo space, it brings in 164,000 credits just from that.  If we add mail it goes up to 204,000 per month.  When we add 6 high/middle passengers we get 48,000-60,000 additional Credits, plus 20 low passengers for an additional 20,000 Credits per trip.  This is a total income of 340-364,000 Credits per month. 

The Free Trader costs 154,000 Credits per month to the bank, 15,000 Credits in crew costs, 20,000 Credits in life support, and 309 Credits for the annual maintenance fund for a total of 189,809 Credits per month.  The basic Free Trader makes a healthy profit with basic cargo runs. 

Both of these scenarios are based on a full cargo hold and passenger complement.  Things only get worse for the Grendel if they run at anything under full, whereas the Free Trader has a very comfortable cushion.

I’ll return to this topic when I reach the Trading section!

Monday – Space Combat!  (Note: I edited part 1 to accurately reflect the posting schedule)

Like Greywulf says - The Classic Traveller Starter Kit is currently available for free from RPGNow. It contains all you need to play Traveller including rules for character, world, sector, starship and encounter generation as well as two complete classic adventures to kick start your own exploration among the stars. Go get it!


  1. Well done, good sir.

    Working out Software capacity and Starship expenses isn't for the faint of heart, and Classic Traveller is the easiest edition of the bunch.

    When it comes to running Starships, I find it's much easier for the players to be fronted by a benefactor, agency or corporation. That means they don't need to worry about where the next 100,000Cr-plus repayment is going to come from :)

  2. While I can imagine a system where starship creation and expenses is even more complex, I can't imagine wanting to play it. As it was I had a spreadsheet going just to keep track of everything as I went.

    And I can definitely see the benefit of getting a benefactor to loan them a ship, you then lose the drive to make sure they make their next payment!