Talking about Trans Travel

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 9, 2012 - 8:17pm
Just wanted to comment on this mega corp which I consider to be one of the biggest problems in Zebs

1. Its headquartered on Terledrom, Fromeltar which is a Vrusk/Dralasite system the furthest removed from yazirian space

2. Fromeltar is the one system that has the death penalty for smugglers- likely a vrusk idea

3. and then you get the big interstellar freight company head quartered at the most restrictive system on freight?

4. the company is run by a board of yazirians? in a vrusk/dralasite system? I'm just finding that a tought sell.

i suppose we could keep it run by yaz and come up with an explanation- I just think the race of the individuals running it probably ought to be changed and all other info could be kept.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 10, 2012 - 4:44am
Will think about this but believe there are two ways to go:
1) Since the Yazirian board of directors is supposed to be mostly unknown so their could be a secretive reason they are located there.

2)Change either the make up of the board of directors or the planet location.

one other item, Zebs lists planets with Docking Stations where starships can recieve overhaul and build starships. There are only ten planets with them between the Frontier and the Rim and none of them are located in the Fromeltar system. The biggest transport company outsources its maintenance program? I don't think so.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 10, 2012 - 8:25am
Does KHs list Fromeltar as a star ship construction center? Also a yaz controlled mega corp headquartered this far from Hentz suggests a desire to distance oneself from Fo1 and GODCo which could be a set up for industrial intrigue and espionage. No doubt GODCo would avoid using Trans Travel Hulls.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 10, 2012 - 4:23pm
Since starting this I have found I have a huge problem with the way the economy of the Frontier has been portrayed. Part of it is the satellites of the planets. Of all the planets in the Frontier and Rim only 10 have Docking Stations where a starship can get some maintenance and "possibly" where starships might be built. One of them is at Hentz so not seeing that one making assualt scouts for Spacefleet. Considering many ships need overhauls after one jump this means alot of crew work with little support.

Also there are at least three planets with Moderate Populations (whatever that means) that have NO satellites at all. Would not be bad except for the rule about nothing bigger than Hull size 3 (an assault scot) can land on a planet. This means starports ON PLANET are not starports just shuttle landing zones with maybe a big space or two if a Hull size 2 shows up. Based on the ship plans I have seen there is no where near the capacity needed to move passengers and cargo back and forth with out some kind of in system support.

Can you picture Hakosaur with all the merchant ships just floating in space waiting for shuttles to load and unload cargo?

For myself I have created an docking station system based on Traveller where each planet has a space station capable of either A) Full service and full building B) Full service and can build system ships and shuttles C) No building but Full service D) No building and only limited service E) No building and supplies and fuel only X) nothing

This is in addition to military space stations, trading stations, rest and relaxation stations and entry stations which allow cargo and passengers to be transfered in space to waiting shuttles so the shuttles aren't searching the sky for their star ships constantly. 

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 10, 2012 - 5:37pm
Yeah, there is definite infrastructure lacking if you assume that there are hundreds or thousands of ship flying around in each system.  If ships are few and far between that is another story but based on the costs, I expect there to be lots of ships. 

Of course that brings up a different issue with regards to a Sathar invasion, If a fleet of sathar ships drops into a system that has a couple hundred armed merchantmen around, even if they only have a laser battery apiece, the Sathar are toast.  I once worked it out and on average, something like 50 ships each armed with a laser battery are guaranteed to kill two sathar warships every 10 minutes regardless of hull size.  And in a swarm that size, the chance that your ship (if your are one of the mercies) is going to be the one hit by return fire is pretty slim. 

So I have it as a part of the UPF charter than any armed ship registered to a member world is immediately deputized into SpaceFleet if Sathar appear in the system.  However, that deputization only lasts until first blood or the Sathar leave or are eliminated.  The "first blood" rule basically says that if combat is engaged and the ship is damaged, it has fulfilled its requirements and may immediately leave the battle.  That way you get dozens to hundreds of merchant ships that the Sathar have to face in addition to the SpaceFleet warships and each is sporting at least a laser battery.  The permission to withdraw as soon as they are damaged gives all the merchants a very good chance to survive while still contributing to the defense.  Plus SpaceFleet pays for any repairs needed for battle damaged ships that survive or compensation for any ships destroyed.

Bact to the original response, I think it might be a fun exercise to sit down and work out what infrastructure would be needed to support thousands of ships flying around the Frontier.  Maybe I'll take a crack at it.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 10, 2012 - 8:19pm
Well, to a certain degree, I think most stations do most things reguardless of what their stated purpose is- pretty much as Rattraveller suggests in his travellers ratings.

However, i think we need to preserve some of the original station classifications like resort stations- they would be on the low end of RT's ratings. Otherwise most stations can do some of what needs to be done to support star ship operations- it just makes sense
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 10, 2012 - 8:37pm
RE: First Blood rule- sounds like the age of sail where a captain would fire a broadside on the side of the ship facing away from the enemy (so as to not piss him off) but to cover the captain because he fired on volley for the honor of the flag.

Doesn't leave the Space fleet crews with a lot of confidence to be backed by a batch of deputized ships that will fall out of line with one hit.

Another issue with the deputized and first blood rule is that many ships will not be in position to support the battle with the sathar and the pressure will be on to engage the worms before they can range on inhabited real estate.

I'm smelling a KHs scenario in this where a patrol group: FF and 2 Assault scouts supported by a passel of freighters takes on a heavy sathar task group with a carrier as a flagship. Special rule: freighter takes a hit it falls out and or there is an LDR score for each freighter captian and every dice of damage subtracts 10 from that freighter captains LDR and then the UPF player rolls under that score for the freighter to remain in the fight otherwise it flees the battle.

EDIT: I wonder what the Navy would think of armed civilian vessels supporting it?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 10, 2012 - 8:53pm

@ Jed Yes exactly. I use the rating system for the Docking Stations and have a similar one for the landports. But I still have the space fortress, armored space station, fortified space station, trading station, rest and relaxation station and entry station plus any special ones like research station and private corporate owned stations of different kinds and privately owned stations with hundreds of purposes not to mention high security prison stations and other fun things.

@ Terl Yes exactly. As a fan of the American Civil War and since the Port of Columbus Civil War Naval Museum is 15 miles from my house I happen to know that at the outbreak of the Civil War there were thousands of merchant ships flying the American Flag both international waters and in country waterways there were only 47 ships in the US Navy. The US Navy immediately began acquiring civilian ships and arming them while they tried to build more warships.

Now this is another point the vast majority of merchant ships should not be armed. Just like today weapons on ships have several disadvantages. 1) they take up space and add to fuel costs to transport them, 2) specialized crew are needed for them who need to be paid and feed and life support which could be better used else where, 3) having weapons makes you a higher priority and more dangerous target. If you have weapons you must have something worth carrying weapons to protect, also Pirates will need to damage you more severely before boarding and may be in a more bloodthirsty when they do. But pirates like everyone else like things to be easy. If they have a reputation for just stealing the cargo and leaving the crews alive more crews will be willing to surrender to them and get it over with. If the pirates have a kill them all reputation the merchant crews will fight to the death since that is what they can expect anyway.

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 10, 2012 - 9:21pm
I agree with your three points in general.  However, I'd say rules 1 & 2 don't really apply in KH.  As the rules are written, laser batteries take up little space or cost, especially compared to the rest of the ship so why not have one or two.  As to the crew, I allow them to be computer controled with a base chance to hit from the grey column in the game rules (the one you're supposed to use as the base to add a character's skill to).  Thus even without a dedicated gunner, you have a base 40% chance to hit.  If you happen to have a crew member with a gunner skill, that's just a bonus.

However the third point is really what may apply and keep most merchantment unarmed.  In which case, it may be that there aren't that many and so there aren't that many ready armed ships to deputize.

As to jedi's comments.  It only really works if you have a lot of ships.  If there are only a few, then the rules would change.  In a situation where there aren't a lot of armed merchants, I'd do it differently.  I also agree that most of the ships may not be in a position to help out.  I see them more as a defensive screen around the worlds.  But if there are 200 merchant ships out there, it's no real big deal if half a dozen or a dozen or really even half of them drop out due to damage over the course of an hour.  You still have a huge number of weapons platforms.

This is pure statistics but the numbers work out like this.  A LB does 11 points of damage 10% of the time and 5.5 points of damage 35% of the time on average.  An average hit by a LB does 1.975 points of Hull damage.  Assuming 1 in 4 hit (50% base change from a distance of 5 hexes), 50 ships would do 24.6875 hull points of damage each time they fired, or in one turn do 49.375 points of damage.  And that's ignoring any systems hits that turn into hull damage (there would be on average 7 system hits as well that would take out engines, weapoins, defences, etc.).  That's effectively a destroyer or frigate destroyed a round or a bigger ship every other round (which is a little less rosy then my original recollection).   And in return that one ship might be able to destroy one of those ships which drops the damage on the next round only slightly.  If it spreads its firepower around it could damage 4 or 5 that could drop out but that still leaves a formidable foe.

Anyway, it's just one possible way to do things.
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rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 11, 2012 - 4:34am
Then again there is rule 4) I didn't put any weapons on my ship so you can't deputize me, "Have fun storming the Sathar" I am off to the jump point.

This applies to the ones who do not see fighting as there business and think "why risk my ship when it's their job to fight" Even if the UPF pays for repairs are they compensating for lost revenues from the ship being out of service not to mention the cargo the ship was probably carrying when the attack began and paying full crew salaries for the time served.

Time is money
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 11, 2012 - 7:33am
That's definitely true.  In the end it comes down to your setting.  How dangerous is it to be unarmed in general?  If it is generally safe, then most merchants will be unarmed and SpaceFleet will be on their own.  If on the other hand you'd be foolish to be traveling the spaceways without weapons (i.e. sathar raids, pirate attacks, megacorp interefence, etc are common and they give no quarter) then they will all be armed as a matter of course.  Depending on how I wanted to play it I could set up the Frontier either way.  The earlier ideas were based on the latter. 

In a real physics world (i.e. no MR), the chance of getting jumped by pirates while in "deep space" en route between destinations is effectively zero.  In order to match velocity and position, the pirates would have to basically leave the same origin at the same time as you with you as a specific target.  Not impossible, but not likely either.  If they are coming from some other origin point, finding you and matching your velocity is going to be very, very hard.  So most acts of piracy would have to occur around planets, moons, asteroids or some other fixed location.  All of that argues for less armed ships as things are generally safer.

On the other hand, all the setting material for SF implies that ships are armed.  And although you could argue that the setting material is player centric and players want guns, almost all of the civilian ships presented in the game have weapons.  The Gullwind, the East Indiaman freghter, and all the ships in the Yachts and Privateers Dragon article were armed at some level.  Even the Eleanor Moraes had twin heavy lasers to fight pirates (not good in a KH scenario but for repelling boarders).  The only exception in the rules that I can think of is the freghter you have to escort in one of the KH scenarios in the boardgame rules. 

Then you have the whole first and second common musters at the time of the founding of the UPF.  Obviously there were a lot of armed ships flying around that enough could be mustered to take out the Sathar forces that suddenly appeared.  (In fact, the deputization law probably dates from the founding as at the time, they didn't know if the sathar were coming back and didn't have any ships and needed a way to generate a fleet quickly if the sathar did return while they were building up SpaceFleet)  Finally, the encounter tables for interstellar journeys have pirate or sathar attacks occuring on 2% of all trips thus making that a common feature as well pointing to the need for armed ships.  (The mining ecounter table has a 10% chance of encouter but they are more AD scale than KH).

Personally, I think I prefer the many, unarmed merchant vessels setting but the supplied material in my mind supports the other view, namely that everyone has guns and so my original thoughts.  If I were to redesign the game, I'd make weapons big and expensive and less desirable to have on your ships to make your points 1 and 2 more relevant.  Plus I'd have it that piracy was not common at all in "deep space" but occurs at locations and thus defenses would be on the AD scale and not the KH scale again encouraging most ships to be unarmed.
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rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 11, 2012 - 2:56pm

Two points.

First no one has ever discussed the legalities of arming ships. There is probably a reason every merchant ship floating on the ocean isn't armed with quad 50 cals to deter pirates.

Second if we are to believe Zeb's 80% of the non-military starship traffic is owned by Trans-Travel. That is 4 out of 5 ships. With that amount they are basically the armed merchant fleet assisting Spacefleet if they are indeed armed. Also do they have their own warships or highly armed civilian ships to deter pirates and Sathar  or do they contract alot with Merco? What is their policy on pirates and smuggler's? Do they wait for Spacefleet and Star Law to act or do they take care of business themselves?

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 11, 2012 - 3:28pm
Good points.  Based on the rules, it seems to be perfectly legal in the Frontier to arm your spacecraft since there was never any mention of it not being so.  But that would be an interesting discussion.  I can definitely see there being laws covering that area but it's definitely something the rules never talked about.

As to the Trans Travel owning 80% of space travel, I just don't see that one as happening and it is something I think should probably change.  I don't see PGC, Streel, CDC, and especially the CFM giving up the transport of their products to Trans Travel and I would suspect that they account for more than 20% of space travel.  Especially since they were there first and already had existing transport infrastructure.  Possibly over time as PGC, Streel, CDC retire ships and shift their focus to other areas they might contract with Trans Travel to ship non-sensitive materials but I see them still maintaining some capacity in this area.  And I don't see the CFM ever ceeding this area to another corporation.  But that's just my take.
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rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 11, 2012 - 7:18pm
It is just a line in the description of Trans Travel but it does seem to contradict the Capellan Free Merchants. How could a group of traders with less than 20% of the merchant shipping (if we give some to independents) be considered a megacorp? Yes we have found another Zeb screw up.

In through the nose out through the mouth.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 12, 2012 - 2:52pm
After a delivery today I am thinking we overthought this or possibly Zeb's did a poor job of writing this.

OK Trans Travel MAKES 80% of the merchant starships. They are the Mac and Peterbilt of the stars. You need a ship they can build you one.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 12, 2012 - 3:27pm
That makes a lot more sense.

The question with that though becomes, do they own the star ship construction centers or just have the majority of contracts being built in them.  If they own the SSCs (or 80% of them) who owns the others and how do independents build their own ships if they don't want ot work through TransTravel?
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 12, 2012 - 4:29pm
OK I am going with they own the dock yards which build the ships except for the ones in the Rim. Which if we go by Zebs means they own 8 of the 10 listed docking stations.

Independents do what truckers and ship owners do today. Either take a loan and buy a cheap used ship that the BIG lines are not using anymore or take out a BIGGER loan and buy a new one from Trans Travel.

Of course you can go with the other 20% to build yours but I think you will find yourself in the PC/Mac situation. Have to make sure you get the correct systems for your ship or could have problems.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

iggy's picture
iggy
December 12, 2012 - 9:59pm
From Zebs:

Trans-Travel is a planetary corporation composed of many different companies all financed by and headquartered on the same planet, Terledrom. The government of Terledrom formed this corporation at the outbreak of SWII. It was the first of the new mega-corps. All of these companies specialize in some form of transportation or the manufacturing of transport vehicles or machines.

Trans-Travel itself controls 80% of nonmilitary space travel. This includes transportation of raw materials, processed goods, passengers, etc. Trans-Travel's slogan, "Your safest route is with Trans-Travel," is as much a warning to the mega-corps as an advertisement. T-T considers smuggling a serious crime and will punish it by death, if given a chance.

Referee Note: The Capellan Free Merchants seem to be an exception to many rules governing mega-corps, such as not really being an exclusive manufacturer of materials and being able to avoid the Trans-Travel lobby. This is because the CFM were granted a UPF charter to do so, the only one of its kind, in gratitude for their help during the rough days following SWI.

From this I note:

composed of many different companies all financed by and headquartered on the same planet
AND
The government of Terledrom formed this corporation at the outbreak of SWII.

This sounds like a union that used the political climate of SWII to become a company.  Terledrom somehow gained control of a lot of companies in one fell swoop.

Also:

controls 80% of nonmilitary space travel
AND
The Capellan Free Merchants ... able to avoid the Trans-Travel lobby.

This again feels like a union gone over to the other side and become a corporation.  Notice the term Trans-Travel lobby.  They function like a union with governments but are established by the government of Terledrom.  Makes me wonder about the type of government on Terledrom.  Feels a little bit like China to me.  Many companies but all are owned by the government.  What doesn't fit is companies from other worlds.  Could the government of Terledrom been planning for years to take over transportation by providing astronomical tax incentives to headquarter and incorporate on Terledrom with the future plan of grabbing them all when the conditions were right?

The only guys that stayed out of their hostile take over was the military industrial complex supporting the UPF and CFM, both other governments.  I don't think I trust Trans-Travel.

Who were the many many previous companies that got sucked into T-T?
-iggy

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 13, 2012 - 4:29am
If you look at the subsidiaries listed Trans Travel has one of the longest lists. Each deal with a specific type of transportation. Going with each of the subsidiaries has also acquired other companies in their fields and you have them.

Still think they build the space ships but to fly them then they would need a merchant marine academy and enlisted training facilities much bigger than Spacefleet's because there are just so many more biengs involved.

Also still no explanation why a Vrusk/Dralasite government lets a group of Yazirians run their company.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 13, 2012 - 5:30am
rattraveller wrote:
If you look at the subsidiaries listed Trans Travel has one of the longest lists. Each deal with a specific type of transportation. Going with each of the subsidiaries has also acquired other companies in their fields and you have them.

Still think they build the space ships but to fly them then they would need a merchant marine academy and enlisted training facilities much bigger than Spacefleet's because there are just so many more biengs involved.

Also still no explanation why a Vrusk/Dralasite government lets a group of Yazirians run their company.


Nothing to say that a group of yazirians couldn't move to Terledrom and start a company and be successful. for me though why would they? And the yazirians have just undergone a mass relocation and a shadowy group of rich yaz move to terledrom and take all their investment capitol? I find it hard to believe.

I keep coming back to just change it to vrusk running the company.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
August 26, 2016 - 11:02am
rattraveller wrote:
Yes we have found another Zeb screw up.

In through the nose out through the mouth.


That's not surprising. Innocent
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
August 26, 2016 - 11:05am
jedion357 wrote:

I keep coming back to just change it to vrusk running the company.


That's probably a good idea.
Joe Cabadas

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
August 27, 2016 - 6:01am
Having spent alot of time thinking of this on and off again I have come up with this:

1) The Yazirians have the most experience with space travel having had to immigrate to the Frontier. They set up the first major ship yards to handle the large colony ships and many support ships they had. 

2) The other races after the Second Common Muster used the Yazirian ship yards to get their ships ready and repaired during the First Sathar War. 

3) The Profits from this allowed the original Yazirians to expand and acquire more transport companies and become a megacorp. They then located their HQ on the Vrusk/Dralasite colony so they could build a brand new mega-ship yard with the skilled labor and resources of a new planet.

Changes to my SF include the biggest shipyard in the Frontier here and I am one with a more Firefly type spaceship experience.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?