Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Traveller Tuesday: Two Subsidized Liner Variants

I have been on a project involving the Type M Subsidized Liner (sorry, I can't talk about it just yet), and let me tell you, it's difficult to make what is essentially a cruise ship into something exciting.

So naturally, I made variants.
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
Sadly, these aren't very exciting either. I plan to do more of these, as I feel the Stellar class is underutilized -- Jump-3 for a civilian ship is impressive -- but these are the ones I had ready for tonight. 
Art by the amazing Ian Stead.
For purposes of comparison: assuming a full cargo hold of freight, all low berths full and all passages High, the standard Type M earns 598,000 Cr for each jump-3. Assuming all passages medium, this total falls to 347,000 Cr. But remember, these are ideal circumstances. 

Cargo Liner
(link opens Google document)
A variant I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned before, given that a lot of Traveller PCs like to trade in speculative cargo. The biggest hauler reasonably available to a PC group is the 400 dton Subsidized Merchant, which balances its cavernous 205 dton cargo hold with the fact that it can only make jump-1, thus restricting it to stellar mains. 

Well, guess what? When you strip out most of the passenger fittings from a Type M, you not only end up with almost as much cargo space as the Merchant, but you can also access worlds 2 or 3 parsecs away, opening up many more markets for trade. 

In addition to more cargo space I gave it slightly more weapons and some reflec coating, and improved its computer by one level to allow it to run better versions of Evade and Fire Control. But none of those things are strictly necessary, so long as the ship sticks to civilized space. 

Earnings per jump-3: 140,000 from hauling freight, plus maybe an additional 40,000 if some High Passengers are carried in the empty rooms. But that is, of course, for hauling freight. Most PCs wouldn't bother with freight unless the pickings were slim indeed; most experienced Traveller players are salivating at the thought of what they could do with 200 dtons of speculative cargo at all the markets they could reach at J-3. 

Colony/Refugee Liner
Let's go the exact opposite route and make a cattle car. Perhaps this ship is being paid by a local government or corporation to help establish a colony, or perhaps it goes into war or disaster zones to evacuate civilians. 

300 low berths are added, as is a second turret just in case and an additional fuel processor to speed up the return trip from the ass-end of nowhere. 

Earnings per jump-3: 455,000 Cr just to ferry people back and forth (again, assuming full cargo hold and low berths). This is better than the standard version full of middle passengers, but not as good as a liner full of high passengers. However, let me say this: it's a lot easier to get low passengers than it is middle or high. 

But Erin,  I hear you cry, there's a maximum of 9d6 low passengers at any given starport!

Well, fair enough. Maybe outside of a disaster area a ship like this won't fill up at once. But here's the good part: low passengers don't age, so it doesn't much matter how long it takes them to get there.  Set an itinerary and take a grand tour of the Spinward Marches -- you'll get them there eventually, and you can fill up along the way. Cut them a discount if they complain too much. 

... or, you know, there's always slavery. (Hey, it's dirty but it happens. There's rules for it in Merchant Prince which leads me to believe that at least one PC party tried it.)

All right, maybe these variants aren't economic powerhouses. They still show what you can do with an under-utilized design. 

I'll have more exciting versions later.

EDITED TO ADD: Neither of these designs require breaking the designated subsidy. I'm sure there are worlds three parsecs off the mains that would love regular freight and mail service, or assitance in increasing their population. A subsidy can do much to make such ships profitable -- and even a poor world can usually command enough money to make a captain of such a ship feel wealthy indeed. 

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