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Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters (1E Version)

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I am reading it cover to cover.  I'll make some notes.

The book is part sourcebook and part campaign outline.  I say outline because it will require some work on the details by the GM to make the adventures playable.  Still, the outline is more than an adventure idea.  There's lots of solid information there.  Many GMs, I've read, have put their creative talents to work on the Minos Cluster.

Chapter One is nothing but advice to the GM on how to pull new or existing characters into this campaign.

Chapter Two is a description of the type of atmosphere that is promoted in the campaign.  This isn't the world of the Rebellion, the Alliance fighting the evil Galactic Empire.  This is the world of Han Solo.  Life as a Fringer.  Scamping around in a tramp freighter, one step ahead of the Loan Shark's bounty hunters, trying to make a deal that will get you even with the crime lord.

Chapter Two is short, and it is suggested that the chapter be used as a player hand out before the campaign starts.

Chapter Three is a good GM's over-view of the state of the galaxy, from the point of view of a tramp merchant captain.  Good read.



Here's something from that chapter that you can use in your game:  On popular routes, the chance of encountering an Imperial Customs vessel is about 1-in-20.  5%.  (A roll of 6 or less on 3D is a 5% chance)  

For the GM who likes to have random, chance encounters, this is a nice bit of news to work from.  An encounter or two with Imperial Customs will go a long way to encouraging your players to take less well know, more dangerous hyperspace routes. 

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Escape From An Imperial Customs Frigate

Reading GG6 reminds me of an encounter I had, on the fly, with my players who had been detained by an Imperial Customs Frigate.  There were four crew aboard the PC's ship.  The ship docked with the frigate and one of the PCs was escorted by 2 Customs Guards to go over the PC's vessel.  The other three PCs were escorted to the Imperial ship.

One of the three PCs on the Customs Frigate decided to make a move.  He wanted to get back to the Rebel ship as fast as possible.  They were still wearing their sidearms--the Imperials had not taken those from them yet.

The Frigate has a crew of 16.  I made up this chart, on the fly, and let fate decide how hard it would be for the three PCs to get back to their own vessel.  I let the player roll his own fate.  If he rolled an 8, then there would be 4 Imperials to defeat.  Defeating them quickly meant that the PCs would be able to get past their obstacles and back to the PC ship before the Imperials realized what was going on (of course, there are still 2 other Imperials aboard the ship with the fourth PC).

If, on the other hand, the players got bogged down in a corridor firefight, this would seal their fate.  The Imperials on the Frigate's bridge would lock the hatch and give the PCs no where to go.

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Posted (edited)




Let's talk about cost--the cost of running a ship.

Now, this is impossible to figure because there are so many variables, but for illustration purposes, I'll make some generalizations.




Charters and speculative trade is very hard to figure.  Let's go with an example of a very generous drop point delivery schedule.  We'll use the stock light freighter from page 56 of the core rulebook.  Hyperdrive x2.  Crew 2.  Passengers 6.  Cargo 100 tons.  Consumables 60 days.

Just taking cargo from point to point provides income for the ship to the tune of 5-10 x Cargo in tons per day.  We'll use the example three day rout provided in GG6, and we'll assume that for each run, the ship is completely full.  The example trip is three days:  One day to load, one day for the journey, and one day to off load at the destination.

We'll track this for 60 days, since that is the limit of the ship's consumables, and we will only refill consumables once--at the end of the 60 days.

We'll assume continues use in a pattern like this:  Days 1-3, a cargo, Days 4-6 looking for cargo, Days 7-9 cargo, Days 10-12 looking again, and so on.  I'll also alternate income.  The first will be a 10/ton, the second will be at 5/ton, then back to 10/ton, and so on.

Over a 60 day period, this will generate 10 runs, gaining 3,000 credits and 1500 credits respectively (5 of each).  That totals 22,500.

Now, realize that reality could be a lot different, depending on  what people will pay for drop point delivery, how long the trip is, how much cargo is sent, and the hyperdrive on the player's ship.

What is outside the scope of this example is the chartering of the vessel, like Ben and Luke did with Han and the Falcon.  Remember, they paid 17,000.  Also, there's speculative trade, which can go all over the place.




Now, let's look at expenses.  First, we know that we have the one Standard Maintenance and Restocking fee of 4800.  

There's the cost of the docking port.  This usually runs 50 credits per day, but it can be as high as 150 credits per day at some busy ports.  I'll figure two days for each cargo (one day to load, one to unload the ship), plus the three days that the crew is looking for more cargo.  I'll just use the 50 credits for this.  Sure, the ship may land in a field somewhere on some worlds to drop off its cargo, but there will also be times when the fee is 150.  So, a flat 50 is fair for this exercise.  That adds up to 2,500 in docking fees over the two months.

And, there's the ship's overhaul that costs 1,000 and should be performed once every 20 jumps.  Since, over this two months, the ship made 10 hyperspace jumps, we'll take half that fee.  500 credits.

22,500  Drop Point Delivery Cargo Income
-4,800  Standard Maintenance and Restocking fee
-2,500  Docking Fees
-   500  Overhaul Fee
-5,000  Ship Payment to Loan Shark

2,425  per crewmember per month

We can't forget our ship payment!  According to the Sourcebook, a brand new stock light freighter costs 100,000.  A used one costs 25,000.  We'll say that this is a used ship, so the ship payment back to the loan shark will be 2,500 per month.  For this 60 day experiment, that's 5,000 credits.

And, I'll note that I didn't charge for ship's batteries, if you use that rule, and I didn't charge for cargo insurance that may be required by some shipping agents (it is hard to figure since it can be anywhere from 0.01% to 10% of the value of the cargo).

Also not figured into this is unforeseen expenses for ship damage.  This is Star Wars, so there's bound to be some space battles.  Plus, the crew may be trying to save to upgrade the ship.

Remember, the ship is rated for two crew, so that means that the profit shown above is divided by 2.  Each character, pilot and co-pilot, get 2425 credits a month (606 credits per week) on this very generous run.  Without the super-generous shippers (like clockwork, a new shipment every three days), this total could vary wildly.

Figure character upkeep into this over the two month period.  The players might say that their characters are staying on the ship, saving money for accommodations, but they'll only do that once.  Because you'll hit them with the 4800 resupply fee much sooner than 60 days if the characters are staying on the ship, breathing up and using up ship's resources.

Edited by player3412539

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