Right. I mentioned that I was assuming Kirchoff because it doesn’t always apply, particularly to cargo and passengers: cheap back-loading is a thing. But it can apply either way: you can have expensive landings that use no fuel and cheap takeoffs that use a fortune worth of it,
I took a very quick look at soft landing systems, but it is hard to overcome the cost advantages of re-using a spaceship thousands of times and cheap, cheap water remass. Especially the cheap propellant, I eyeball the cost of soft landing as G$10,526 per SM+7 (15 ton) cargo system landed, which outcompetes everything except for fusion torches, but is dramatically undercut by fusion torches expelling water.
Soft-landing systems get more efficient as scale increases. I have this nasty image of 10,000-ton, 30,000-ton, 100,000-ton colony “ships” coming out of their JAFAL warp, de-orbiting with a passel of cheap chemical RATOs, and then splashing down in the seas of Tau Ceti III under parachutes the size of counties.
I’m with you about the steel armour. One of the things that GURPS does poorly is to make high-tech stuff more expensive and better. Mail was terrific armour, plate replace it because of being much cheaper, not by being more expensive and much better. The Industrial Revolution worked by making things much cheaper. New energy technologies generally drop in price by a factor of ten from introduction to maturity.