Star ship berths

jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 22, 2012 - 2:23pm
Khs has a dice mechanic for figuring how soon a berth becomes available, yet one of the rewards of Dramune Run is a ships berth paid up for three months at inner reach. It seems odd to me that something so in demand could be tied up and left empty becuase someone paid rent but is off Galavanting around the frontier with their ship. Or does it simply suggest that political and piratical situation in Dramune that small ship operations can aford the going rate to rent a berth.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 22, 2012 - 3:52pm
Or it just means that once you arrive in system you radio in that you are arriving and they make sure a berth is waiting for you once you get there.  Since you are still 2-6 days out depending on exactly how you work the mechanic (83.3 hours to decelerate from 0.01c to stop at 1g or half the jump distance in days) there is plenty of time for other ships to leave and then they hold one for you.  At worst case, they may have to ask someone to move out just before you get there but I suspect that happens very rarely.

Basically I think it means that they will guarantee a spot when you arrive.  I doubt it sits empty when you're not there.
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AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
June 22, 2012 - 4:40pm

If you got the credits for the berth to lease, than of course it should be open, you leased it after all. With their only being a few available, well that's just being lucky and either knowing someone at the right time when it came open.


rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
June 23, 2012 - 5:38am
Since most shipping do their unloading and loading to orbiting bases since they can not land on the surface a constant traffic into these bases is necessary. Now depending on local laws and customs not everyone will need to stay at the dock once they are done unloading and loading. Possibly there are two types of docking bays. Ones for those to do their business and than leave to establish an orbit or just move on to their next destination and others for those hanging around awhile for maintenance (what they can get done at that base), recreation or conducting business.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 24, 2012 - 1:44pm
rattraveller wrote:
Since most shipping do their unloading and loading to orbiting bases since they can not land on the surface a constant traffic into these bases is necessary. Now depending on local laws and customs not everyone will need to stay at the dock once they are done unloading and loading. Possibly there are two types of docking bays. Ones for those to do their business and than leave to establish an orbit or just move on to their next destination and others for those hanging around awhile for maintenance (what they can get done at that base), recreation or conducting business.
Excellent point, perhaps it that they use the gullwind's berth for this when she's gone and when she arrives in system they put a hold on the berth for her. Its a short time window essentially for this proceedure so no real chance for a tie up. One issue might come about when a station over books its "rented" berth and all the chickens come home to berth.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
June 25, 2012 - 4:17am
IIRC there was also a clause stating that if the berth was occupied, it would be vacated upon the leaser's arrival.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
June 30, 2012 - 4:59pm
This is one of the problems I find with berths on stations, if a berth is big enough for a HS 20 frieghter. You're not going to waste it for a scrappy HS 5 or 6. Berths would work very much like a loading dock for semi-tractor trailers. Once the hauler is in the berth it must be loaded at once, or unloaded. They aren't going to let an empty ship just sit in a berth and take up space for no reason. Time is money even in the SF universe. If a frieghter isn't loading, unloading or being repaired they won't be docked waiting for a new asignment, once unloaded and ship would moved out of the berth and sit around until it's captain can arrange a new job. This would be where a booking agent at the station ahead of the ship to round up new cargo to move would come in handy. The place I work at is like this, if the truck is in it's loaded. Once loaded it leaves. Ships can't just sit around waiting, especially freighters.

This also makes me think of how rare HS 20 freighters must be. Only the largest and most populated worlds would have need of these things to haul goods. But once you start getting into the fringes of the frontier the HS of freighters would start getting smaller, making HS 5 and 6 freighters much more common.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 1, 2012 - 1:52am
Good point, although it would probably hinge more on population than the station itself. 

For example, on a world like Clarion where inbound ships arrive fequently that could be the case...but take a station orbiting Laco and the numerous insystem ships may not even give it a passing glance on their way to Truane's Star/Prenglar.

As for berthing a HS:20 freighter, the rules specify how big of a ship may dock at a given size station. IIRC only a class 6 station can accomodate such dreadnaughts, so it becomes a moot point on any smaller station. And it would also stand to reason that if a station can berth a HS:20 craft and none are present, then they can easily accomodate multiple smaller craft in that berth --- re: # of hatches per hull size, meaning a HS:20 ship has 8 hatches os a HS:20 berth would have 8 corresponding "hatch points", meaning those hatch points could accomodate four HS:5 craft (with 2 hatches each). Alas, if a HS:20 ship is inbound, those smaller craft will have to be moved. Just like with automobiles, a Smart car is much easier to park and move around than an extended cab duallie pick-up trucks, and you can easily fit 3-4 Smarts in said truck's spot (since the Smart is as long as the duallie is wide). Wink

Ships have upkeep costs as well...starting with the monthly payment and any crew salaries. No captain is going to let that ship linger in a berth while making those payments, so the "parking" problem basically solves itself. Any downtime and "need for berth" conflicts, the captain is ordered to park the vessel in orbit. Otherwise as long as there is no impending need for the berth and it a lease is paid, the ship may "park" accordingly. To that end, each station may have "tugs" to move such craft if the captain can not be located --- and depending on local/political relations, they may or may not tow the ship back to berth accordingly.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 1, 2012 - 8:47am
The Captains would be part of the equation but another would be agents and brokers who could have cargoes ready to go for ships when they arrive. Even independent Captains could have contracts with agencies. Also not all Captains are owners and the owner could be working the cargo contracts for the ships.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
July 1, 2012 - 7:07pm
"Ships have upkeep costs as well...starting with the monthly payment and any crew salaries. No captain is going to let that ship linger in a berth while making those payments, so the "parking" problem basically solves itself. "

Not necessarily so, a crew that is in between jobs probably would have a clause in their contracts, if they weren't just hired by the job, that would account for down time. For example paying half normal pay when they are laid off while waiting for the next job. It is unrealistic, even in the frontier economy to think that ships will have steady work all the time. However, if you are working on the model that starships are in low supply then they would have lots of work to get done. 

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
July 2, 2012 - 5:33am
If we are comparing starships to long haul trucks then one thing we have really done is go over specialty vehicles. Most of the time we are dealing with starships that load up containers and whatever is in the container goes.

But what about starships designed to handle only some types of cargo like Hazmat, liquids, grains, system ships, bulk ore carriers and other items where having a cargo bay dedicated to it would make transport easier.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 2, 2012 - 8:48am
I'm betting that since space is in effect a hazardous environment that hazardous materials are actually safe guarded in special cargo containers/ pods- just in case of loss of pressure- in effect the cargo containers are self contained mini ship hulls for hazmat.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
July 2, 2012 - 12:17pm
I would agree Jedion, on top there are cargos that need to be protected from the vaccum and radiation of space. Cargo pods would be made for it's specific cargo, no one is going to haul food stuff in wooden crates unless they're carried on a sealed and refridgerated ship. So most cargo pods would be made for it's cargo, unless some unscrupulous broker puts food stuff in a bin that formerly held a toxic waste. There would be laws against such practices, but some might try it anyways. Hazmat containers are very likely to be disposed of at the final location to prevent it's use for other cargo.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 2, 2012 - 2:10pm
rattraveller wrote:
Also not all Captains are owners and the owner could be working the cargo contracts for the ships.

True, but in the absence of the owner the captain is a manager, calling all the shots. When the captain botches something up, he's the guy that the owner points a finger at. As such he's not off the hook until after the ship is safely berthed. And in those cases where the owner is merely an absentee landlord footing the bills, the captain has to beat the docks for cargo/passsengers etc and is never truly off the hook.


AZ_GAMER wrote:
Not necessarily so, a crew that is in between jobs probably would have a clause in their contracts, if they weren't just hired by the job, that would account for down time. For example paying half normal pay when they are laid off while waiting for the next job. It is unrealistic, even in the frontier economy to think that ships will have steady work all the time. However, if you are working on the model that starships are in low supply then they would have lots of work to get done. 

I do work with that model. After all, this isn't the "10,000 credits? We could BUY our own ship for that" Star Wars universe. Wink 

I treat the star ship in SF like a stronghold in D&D, not everybody gets one...they have to work towards acquiring it. The largest ship any of my players ever owned was HS:12, which was a negotiated deal between them and a planetary government over some space pirates raiding their shipping lanes stating that they would have a "first choice in the inheritance of any captured vessels" clause. The ship ended up being far too much work for their characters (who were also simultaneously operating their original HS:6 craft), and they later sold it in favor of going back to manning their original ship sans hired help. Selling the smaller craft would have still mandated hired help, and in the end they wanted off that leash. I have also GMed players with even larger ships, but the craft were not their own...they were the hired help, eventually earning enough to buy their own smaller vessel.


Anyways, back to crews & salaries.


Considering the time for plotting a jump, I would posit that an astrogator doesn't enjoy a lot of downtime. That short 4LY hop from Casssidine to Dramune mandates 40 hours worth of number crunching, and the astrogator certainly isn't going to stay awake for 40 hours straight to do the job. Realistically it's going to take four 20hr days (work 10/rest 10) to plot that jump. That work load increases exponentially with each longer jump, up to the grand daddy 14LY journey from Prenglar to Gruna Garu (and there are even further jumps if you opt for the Zeb's Guide mess of systems). Granted, with no destination the astrogator has no job.

Which brings me to my next point: atomic drives require 60 minus (3d10x10) hours to overhaul. Each. With an average of 45 hours per drive, and again taking into consideration of basic things like sleep etc, the engineer is a rather busy fellow. So those three drives on a HS:5-6 freighter are going to average 135 hours of labor, or 13½ 20hr days. Added to that, refueling takes (2d10 - 1 per engineer level) hours per drive. With one engineer aboard that HS:5-6 ship, you're looking at an average of 15 days worth of labor for all six tasks. The engineer won't get many days off regardless of destination plans.

Granted more astrogators & engineers could reduce that time, but those small ships do not accomodate larger crews like that. So half your small ship crew is going to be busy most of the time, with only pilots and gunners taking the extended leaves during downtime. The wise owner hires pilots & gunners that can double as assistant engineers and astrogators. Wink
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
July 2, 2012 - 2:38pm
And unless there is an office for arranginge the cargo, the gunners and pilots are the ones out beating the docks for new cargo while the others work the ship, so there isn't much down time for them either.
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