Clarification on cargo requirements for passengers in Traveller

I'm a little bit confused regarding the wording for space required for the different types of passengers.

In the trade chapter (chapter 11 in the version I have), it lists the requirements for each different type of passage that can be provided.

High Passage states:

It requires a stateroom, one ton of cargo space, and one level of Steward per ten passengers.

To me, this implies that for each passenger travelling this way, I will need to have a ton of cargo space free.

Middle passage is similar, with the requirement dropping to 100kg of cargo space

For Basic passage, the wording changes and it states two different numbers (emphasis added).

This requires 2 tons of spare room on the spacecraft, a resilient personality on the part of the passenger, and comes with a 10kg baggage allowance.

This is the source of my confusion. Is this stating that I need 2 tons + 10kg per passenger? So one passenger is 2010kg and 10 passengers are 2100kg?

If that is the case, does it change my understanding of how high and middle passage work?

First, some background

You've probably already read this in the rules, but "tons" measure volume, not weight. As described on page 42 of the Traveller core rules, the "tons" used in traveller are actually "displacement tons," i.e.: they represent the volume of fluid that would be displaced by the thing whose tonnage is being measured.

As mentioned on page 142 of the core rules, each represents about fourteen cubic metres of volume - a cube about 2.4 metres to a side, the size of a small room or large closet.

"About 14 cubic metres" might seem like an arbitrary value, but earlier editions of Traveller specified that it was because Traveller's d-tons were "displacement tons of liquid hydrogen fuel," one metric tonne of liquid hydrogen takes up 14.28 cubic metres.

Unfortunately, the rules don't specify whether the 10 Kg baggage allowance of a basic passage passenger is part of their living space, in addition to it.

As you've noticed, most other forms of passage assume that the cargo space is separate to their the passenger's living space, so it'd be sensible to assume that basic passage follows the same rule - but basic passage is weird. It was apparently designed to let players ignore carrying capacity limits that were a key feature of earlier editions, and 10 Kg is a tiny amount of cargo to keep track of compared to the multi-ton cargo holds of most starships.

Basic passage is unique to Mongoose Traveller, second edition

It's not found in any other flavour of Traveller. Most other editions of the game put a limit on how many people a ship's life support systems can handle, and tie that limit to the number of staterooms on the ship. This makes the idea of keeping passengers outside of staterooms a non-starter, rendering any question of how much baggage space they need moot.

The fact that basic passage doesn't appear in any other edition of the game means that there's no precedent from earlier editions that we can draw on.

If I were GM...

Still, were this to come up in a game that I was running myself, I'd almost certainly rule that the 10 Kg of baggage was either part of the basic passenger's allotted space (and that they spend most of their time clutching their belongings for fear they'll be stolen by another desperate refugee).

Alternatively, I might rule that the 10 Kgs of baggage does take up space in the hold, but that it's such a small amount of space that it isn't worth tracking. I mean, 10 Kg is only 1% of a ton, so you'd need 100 basic passengers on a ship for their combined baggage to take up even 1 ton of space.

Either way, it's just not worth tracking such a negligible amount of cargo. (I'm sure most basic passengers would disagree with that policy, but you get what they paid for, and they paid very little.)

No

It means that basic passengers are cargo.

From memory, 1 ton of cargo space takes up 1 cubic meter. So a basic passenger gets 2 cubic meters of space in the cargo hold - essentially a crawl space with enough room to lay yourself out and store 10kg of your personal equipment.

• 2 m³ is about what counts as a normal sized "Sleeping coffin" in Shadowrun btw. ; Also, 1 ton of water is 1 m³, Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 9:17
• So, they arent taking the weight, they are take the volume that could have potentially carried that weight? Got it Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 12:42
• I just re-read the section - they will share staterooms, or can be taken on as cargo! But thanks for clarifying! Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 12:47
• -1. Traveller's "ton" is short for "displacement ton." Which is to say, tons are a measure of volume, not weight. As mentioned on page 142 of the core rules, each displacement ton is about 14 cubic metres, and therefore that 2 tons of cargo space represents ~28 cubic metres of space. Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 21:52

Please recall that in the Traveller cargo system, anything with a density less than water (1 ton per m³) is treated as if it had the density of water for the purposes of calculating your ability to transport it.

Depending on your TL, this means either CryoBerths or Steerage Berths are taking up two cubic meters of your cargo hold per Low Passenge person that your ship is equipped to transport.

• -1. As described on page 142 of the core rules, Traveller's displacement tons are about 14 cubic metres each, not only 1 cubic metre. (This is because they're displacement tons of liquid hydrogen fuel, not water, and liquid hydrogen weighs only a fraction of what water does.) Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 22:01
• Also, cryoberths are only used in low passage, which is distinct from basic passage. Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 23:03