Friday, December 5, 2014


One thing that has always confused me about Star Wars RPGs (including the current effort by FFG) is the strange and warped economy. The worst offenders are the starships.

The Light Blaster Pistol is listed at 300 credits. As a weapon with a dual self-defense and "sporting" use, this compares favorably with a 1:1 dollars to credits exchange rate if we look for a real-world alternative. This suggests that, for low prices, the Star Wars RPG economy is seemingly correct if you assume 1 credit = 1 US dollar.

What about the YT-1300 light freighter? In Star Wars RPGs costs a mere 100,000 credits brand new. Less than half the cost of a Ferrari!

A bit of searching online tells me that a well-equipped Winnebago (in the real world) is $425,000.

A brand-new semi tractor trailer costs $125,000.

Ocean-going yachts are at least $500,000 and can easily climb to the multi-million dollar range.

Single engine aircraft are in the $75-100,000 range at least. A small luxury Learjet costs $17 million. A larger luxury jet can be more like $60 million. A Boeing 737 cargo plane has the same cargo capacity as the lowest figure listed for a stock YT-1300 (~20 metric tons), but you'd need the Boeing 777 to reach the highest figure (~100 tons). The 737 costs $78 million and the 777 costs $310 million (and neither can go into space!).

It seems as if it would be hard to see a YT-1300 selling for less than $100 million. That sounds like an awful lot. Even $10 million sounds like a larger investment than a smuggler like Han Solo could hope to pull off. However, let's take a look a the cargo capacity and what they could earn in one trip somewhere. If they carried 25 tons of gold, that would be worth $953 million in today's prices. Illicit drugs (like spice) could likely fetch $680 million for 25 tons (if it costs the same as cocaine). With the cost of cargo factored in, a $100 million freighter doesn't sound so bad. Talk about being in debt to a crime lord!

With all of this taken together, I'd suggest the Star Wars RPG price for a space transport is off by a factor of 1000.

Now for a look at starfighters and capital ships. A military-grade F-16 fighter jet costs $15-20 million dollars, while an F-22 Raptor costs $150 million.

An Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, used by the US Navy, costs $1.843 billion, and the cost of Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is $12.68 billion.

None of these things is rated to fly into space. Or has a hyperdrive!

For standard vehicles, like airspeeders, the prices are probably only 5-10 times too low. This is based off comparisons between high end motorcycles and speeder bikes/swoops, for one.

Since the X-Wing represents "...the cutting edge of starfighter performance..." (according to the WEG Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition Sourcebook), I would suggest that starfighter prices are at least 1000 times too low. Charging 1000 times more for an X-Wing still makes it cheaper than an F-22 Raptor. I would hazard a guess that a hyperdrive-equipped space vehicle would be more than double the price of a high performance atmospheric craft; so for a rough guess we could assume starfighter prices are "off" by something like 3000 times.

For the sake of comparison, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, above, has a crew complement of ~330. Roughly speaking, comparing the price to something in the neighborhood of the Vigil-class corvette, we can use this to guess at the capital ship price modifier. I estimate something like 400 times (1200 times, if we factor in space-worthiness). The Gerald R. Ford-class carrier has a crew complement of 4300. This is something like a 75% sized Victory II-class star destroyer. I'd estimate that we'd be off by approximately the same 400 times factor (1200 times for the space-worthy "upgrade").

In reality, of course, these massive capital ships (and military-grade starfighters, for that matter) would never actually be for sale to a random buyer. Kuat Drive Yards won't accept a check from the Rebel Alliance for a cool 60 billion credits and build them a Victory II-class star destroyer. The price of any of these sufficiently large behemoths would effectively be listed as "not for sale".

Here are the modified prices for the starships listed in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook and elsewhere.

Military Grade Starfighters and Captial Ships
RZ-1 "A-wing": 450 million credits (not for sale)
T-65B "X-wing": 360 million credits (not for sale)
BTL-A4/BTL-S3 "Y-wing": 240 million credits
A/SF-01 "B-wing": 450 million credits (not for sale)
TIE/ln: 150 million credits (not for sale)
TIE/in: 225 million credits (not for sale)
TIE/d: 900 million credits (not for sale)
TIE/sa: 330 million credits (not for sale)
Lambda-class shuttle: 420 million credits (not for sale)
Sentinel-class shuttle: 720 million credits (not for sale)
Vigil-class corvette: 4.2 billion credits (not for sale)
CR90 corvette: 1.44 billion credits
Lancer-class frigate: 5.71 billion credits (not for sale)
Nebulon-B frigate: 10.2 billion credits (not for sale)
Dreadnought-class heavy cruiser: 8.64 billion credits
Vindicator-class heavy cruiser: 12.48 billion credits (not for sale)
Interdictor-class heavy cruiser: 18.48 billion credits (not for sale)
Imperial I-class star destroyer: 180 billion credits (not for sale)
Praetor II-class battlecruiser: 840 billion credits (not for sale)
Victory II-class star destroyer: 60 billion credits (not for sale)
MC80 Liberty-class cruiser: 124.8 billion credits (not for sale)

Space Transports and Others
YT-1300 transport: 100 million credits
YT-2400 transport: 130 million credits
YV-929 transport: 380 million credits
Consular-class transport: 340 million credits
Gozanti-class transport: 200 million credits

Super-class star destroyer: (estimated) 1.37 trillion credits (not for sale)

Note: I think FFG's price of 3,400,000 credits for the Consular-class transport is too high for their scale. Comparing it to the Gozanti-class vessel, I'd say the Consular-class should have been listed for 340,000 credits.


  1. Here's another bit for comparison. An M1 Abrams tank costs $8.58 million. A data point for looking at walker prices.

    1. Or any prices, for that matter. Trade in your tracked tank for 85(!) YT-1300s or a brand new Nebulon-B. Doesn't seem to make sense, does it?

  2. The more I think about it, the more I am sure these prices listed above, while probably more "realistic", are just too far out of the human scale to be a good fit for Star Wars.

    No two-bit bounty hunter or half-baked smuggler could possibly own a space transport in this case.

    And if they did, they'd likely not gallivant around like they do in the movies, etc.

    And think of Lando losing the Falcon in a game of sabaac. HIGH stakes sabaac, indeed.

  3. In the FFG AoR economy, an Under Barrel Flame Projector attachment for a rifle costs the same (3000 credits) as a military grade (armed!) speeder bike. It simply doesn't make any sense.

  4. Another data point. A C-130 Hercules can carry 21 tons of payload and costs something like $30 million.

    Using the "double or triple the cost to fly in space" rule, we still get something like $100 million for a brand new YT-1300.

  5. $120 million for a brand new oil supertanker; which can carry 2 million barrels of oil (at a total cargo value of $140 million by today's market price).

  6. Still mulling over these prices, especially the $100 million YT-1300.

    Keep in mind that that is the list price, payable to Corellian Engineering Corporation for a brand new, fresh from the factory transport.

    No "regular" person, and certainly no "on-the-edge-of-legal" smuggler would be in a position to make this sort of purchase.

    Brand new YTs are probably only purchased by large shipping companies for their private fleets. Even then, it is likely (as in the real world of airlines) that the vessels would be leased instead of purchased outright.

    Used transports, *very* used transports, could certainly find a home on a secondary (or tertiary) market. One could assume a used YT with a ton of "miles flown", but still in good working order, might fetch 20-30% of the brand new price.

    Stripped down versions, damaged vessels with major issues or missing pieces could probably be had for 5-10% of this cost. Still a huge, multi-million credit purchase, but more doable for outer rim types.

    A few more points to consider:

    Like the Falcon, most of these transports are probably finicky and tempermental, requiring a ton of attention and upkeep.

    Being as these ships cost so dang much, we should assume that stealing a startship of any kind is very difficult. All sorts of layered security and personalized "features" (not to mention quirks and unique wierdness of each ship) probably make it impractical to have a robust market in stolen ships.

    It is probably as common as people stealing Learjets and luxury yachts right now. Probably has happened, but it sure sounds rare.

  7. All valid points. Your 1:1 ratio is probably a bit off, however. A somewhat decent "blaster pistol" today would cost at least $500 and likely closer to $800 if you are looking to cover sporting purposes as well as just light weight man stopping capability. So right away you are up closer to 2.5 or 3 to 1. Take into account the absolute shift in materials cost when we are talking galactic supply instead of world supply, labor shifts for same, and just the technological encheapening of production and now we're maybe closer to correct pricing than we thought.

    Although I do agree that a YT-1300 should be more than $300,000 dollars new (3:1), once someone who owns multiple star ships gets desperate at the card table, a run down constant-repair-trap like the MF might be put on the table for a "sure hand!"

    1. Thanks for the comments!

      The rational part of me likes this prices post, the practical gamer part of me desperately wants the cost of the starships to be much lower (more like 100,000 credits) so that the actions of PCs have a chance of building up toward buying one (or paying one off).

      As with many things on this blog, we have to keep in mind that maddening George Lucas quote:

      "Star Wars isn't about answers."

  8. Whatever the final price is/was, owning a hyperdrive-equipped spaceship of any type is a big deal. The character treats the vessel as a mobile home and a member of the family, likely. To each owner/operator, the vessel is basically irreplaceable.

    1. Definitely a big deal. A hyperdrive ship would be a lifestyle equivalent to maintaining a dual mast sailing vessel today; always wondering where the funds would come from for that next repair, and loving every minute of it. Also, only a very few having the skill to maintain it and travel without a very ugly certain doom being the result.

    2. Great points!

      I concur wholeheartedly