Wow. Has it really been 6 months since my Find A Job post? I guess so. Time really flies when you're traversing the stars at warp speed.
Anyway, I did finally craft a Traveller-esque cargo table. But since I chose to use 2d10 instead of d66 it came out rather different. I was able to shave the 55 options down to 20 by combining several of them.
Here's what I have:
2. Raw materials: ore, lumber, plastics, chemicals
3. Foodstuffs: seeds, spices, alcohol, preservatives
4. Manufactured goods and textiles
6. Medical supplies: diagnostics, vitamins, vaccines, antibiotics
7. Simple electrical/mechanical parts
8. Advanced/assembled electronics and machines
9. Robotics and cybernetics
10. Polymers and synthetics
11. Petrochemicals and fuel cells
12. Weapons, ammunition, explosives
13. Radioactive materials/waste
14. Jewels and precious metals
15. Luxury items
16. Exotic items
17. Stolen items
18. Illegal weapons and modifications
19. Illegal items: drugs, chemicals, exotics
20. Human cargo: slaves, wetware, corpses
Because using 2d10 lays out results in a curve, you could easily adjust for supply and demand mechanics depending on the type of world you're shipping to/from. Or if you just want something quick and don't care the likelihood, just roll 1d20 where the odds toward any one kind of cargo are all the same.
I haven't decided what the value per ton per parsec would be, and it would fluctuate anyway.
Something I have decided is the base wage for simply hauling freight.
I'm thinking it would be 500 credits (known as creds or dits) per ton per parsec, up to 10 parsecs. There is an additional incentive of 250 credits per ton per parsec for any distance exceeding 10 parsecs.
So 10 tons for 15 parsecs would pay: 50,000 base + 12,500 incentive = 62,500 credits upon delivery.
I might incorporate the notion of major and minor hauls. Major is anything over half of the ship's capacity, thus minor is anything less than half.
As for how much you can haul at a given time, I figure a nice round number is to say that an average ship can carry 20 "standard" 20 foot cargo containers, with each container holding 20 tons = 400 ton max.
But not everything is shipped in completely full containers.
1 container holds 20 crates in 4 rows of 5, stacked two on two.
1 crate holds 4 canisters or cells. Liquids must always be transported in canisters. All other goods are packed in crates.
1 canister holds 50 gallons at approximately 10 lbs per gallon; therefore, each canister is 500 lbs, each crate is 1 ton, and each container holds 20 tons.
Logistically, the canisters don't have to be packed into crates. The cylinders could be stacked atop each other inside a container, or even laid on their sides like whiskey barrels or beer cans. But the problem with this is that they get jostled about alot during shipping and one of the worst dock disasters is to have a crew open a container and have loose barrels come tumbling out, crushing, maiming, and generally making one hell of a mess.
A medium freighter cannot (safely) haul more than 700 tons, which is 35 containers. Any captain found moving more than that - some push their luck, stacking 40 containers - can be fined or jailed by port authority. Depending on the severity of the charge, which is directly related to the goods being moved, a captain can even lose his ship.
A heavy hauler maxes out at 1,000 tons if every possible inch of the hold is crammed with cargo, but it means that crew cannot move about in the bay. It also means that containers much be inspected as they are unloaded. This takes more time and skill meaning that dock workers and harbormasters demand a higher pay. A smart captain, or a smuggler, will stack 40-45 containers (800-900 tons) and hope to distract the harbormaster's crate-mates in they are trying to hide something or just wheedle a lower offload price.
400 tons x 10 parsecs = 2,000 credits
400 tons x 15 parsecs = 2,500 credits
700 tons x 10 parsecs = 3,500 credits
700 tons x 15 parsecs = 3,875 credits
900 tons x 10 parsecs = 4,500 credits
900 tons x 15 parsecs = 5,125 credits
Things I'd still need to work out is the value of the credit in relation to cost of living and purchasing/maintaining a ship. Maybe a standard ship costs 50,000 credits on the low end - think of Serenity - or 80,000 to 100,000 brand new. By the way, I think I will call 100,000 credits "kash."
If you figure cost of living to be 20-25% of a captain's take - 30%+ for the crew - that means 400-500 credits for a haul is already spent just to keep himself fed and flying.
Building upon the previous post about ship classes let's figure travel and cool down times between jumps.
Let's say a freighter doesn't have the capability for frequent jumps that say a military cruiser does.
Being a maximum class 3 means that it cannot jump more than 9 parsecs. The time it takes to jump one parsec is 5 days (120 hours) - so 45 days maximum in hyperspace. But anything exceeding 30 days is thought to be dangerous because people can go mad in the Ether/Nether. The duration of the insanity lasts longer the longer they were in hyperspace.
The crew and core must then be chilled/cooled over a period of 5 days at regular burn, which is one third the speed of jumping. Traversing 1 parsec at regular burn takes 15 days, meaning that burning 9 parsecs would take 135 days, or 4 and 1/2 months. But that's still going pretty quick considering a parsec is 3.26 light years across.
A class 3 would need a minimum 60 days (2 months) to travel 10 parsecs. And if you figure that's just one job, minus cost of living, and downtime to find another job, it would take several years and dozens of treks to pay off the rusty tub you're shooting the stars in.