Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

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phavoc
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Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby phavoc » Wed Mar 09, 2016 3:31 am

So what do other GM's do to handle potential mis-matches? Imperial starports (A/B at a minimum) should, I think, be a minimum of TL-13, as that is the Imperial standard, and starports being official Imperial facilities they should conform to the standard tech level.

Now on planets of TL 14/15 the starports can easily adapt to the local TL (or not, depending on how you run that sort of thing). For the planetary UWP we get the TL of the planet, but not of the primary starport itself.

So how does everyone else handle that sort of thing?
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby GypsyComet » Wed Mar 09, 2016 3:40 am

Starports can, by definition, start from scratch on worlds of TL9 or above.

But the Imperium doesn't always wait that long, or worry about some world that was a mistake to colonize 300 years ago "catching up" just to justify a good port if the world is otherwise worth a good port. That can be as simple as location, or depend on local goods.

Maybe one of the megacorps wants a good port in the area and really doesn't care that the locals can't supply the lanthanum. Or maybe that's *all* the locals do. Remember that a lot of these worlds are essentially small towns.

Worlds with native races may be plenty of reasons for the Imperium (or whatever big polity you use) to put a good port there, whether the natives have crawled out of the swamp or not.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby Condottiere » Wed Mar 09, 2016 5:59 am

Could be just a convenient fuel stop, and the natives really have nothing worthwhile anyone wants to trade for.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:46 am

phavoc wrote:So what do other GM's do to handle potential mis-matches? Imperial starports (A/B at a minimum) should, I think, be a minimum of TL-13, as that is the Imperial standard, and starports being official Imperial facilities they should conform to the standard tech level.

Now on planets of TL 14/15 the starports can easily adapt to the local TL (or not, depending on how you run that sort of thing). For the planetary UWP we get the TL of the planet, but not of the primary starport itself.

So how does everyone else handle that sort of thing?
Starport TLs and planet TLs have nothing to do with each other.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby Epicenter » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:35 am

There's all kinds of reasons why the TL of the spaceport would be higher or lower than the planet it is on. There's even some real-world examples.

The leaders of a lower-TL world wants to join galactic society with trade and jobs and prosperity and all that, so they invite the Imperium / megacorp / whatever might exist in your universe to build a starport in the center of a "special economic zone." The intention is that the best and brightest of that world will be attracted there, take advantage of the economic opportunities, get educations, and so on. Many of the locals will be hired to do work at the starport, and then there will be people who will have jobs supporting those people, and so on. The leaders know most will stay there, some will emigrate off-world, but some will inevitably leave the starport area and diffuse around their world, improving conditions with new ideas, new thinking, and skills that will invigorate their world.

An organization (corporation or perhaps a cartel of corporations) might want a hub for transshipping, maintenance of their fleet(s), and training of new crews in a system that isn't very crowded so they don't have to jockey for good orbit spots, pay ridiculous amounts for refuelling, wait in the orbital queue to dive the local gas giant to refuel, or whatever. So they intentionally seek out some less-advanced world to build a starport on.

A high TL world might be largely indifferent to galactic society and trade. They mostly just want to be left alone. However, they're quite aware the more they try to isolate themselves, the more people will come prying. So they allow the larger galaxy to build a starport on their world with the agreement that the locals aren't going to help in any way; the materials, technology and everything else has to come from the outside. In return, the locals will provide some area of contact for the greater universe to interact with them - just at this one spot - where selected visitors might be received, trade might be conducted (if the locals find something interesting). The rest of the world is closed off.

Some world is targeted for economic development or for revitalization due to an economic depression. This may be a kind of "congressional pork" project where it's not really necessary but the local noble has significant clout and has the large construction firms who'd make the starport in his/her pocket. The interstellar polity uses its "development funds" to build a state-of-the-art starport in an effort to attract business to the world and allow goods made on the world to be more readily exported. For whatever reason, the project doesn't do as well as hoped. A run-down world now has a state-of-the-art starport that it doesn't really need or can't really use.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby phavoc » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:44 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
phavoc wrote:So what do other GM's do to handle potential mis-matches? Imperial starports (A/B at a minimum) should, I think, be a minimum of TL-13, as that is the Imperial standard, and starports being official Imperial facilities they should conform to the standard tech level.

Now on planets of TL 14/15 the starports can easily adapt to the local TL (or not, depending on how you run that sort of thing). For the planetary UWP we get the TL of the planet, but not of the primary starport itself.

So how does everyone else handle that sort of thing?
Starport TLs and planet TLs have nothing to do with each other.
Shawn, do you ever actually READ the questions before you spout off? You are rarely, if ever, helpful to others with your responses. Please re-read the question before you respond again. I think you will find it answers YOUR question. At a minimum you missed the first actual question of my statement.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby phavoc » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:47 pm

Epicenter wrote:There's all kinds of reasons why the TL of the spaceport would be higher or lower than the planet it is on. There's even some real-world examples.

The leaders of a lower-TL world wants to join galactic society with trade and jobs and prosperity and all that, so they invite the Imperium / megacorp / whatever might exist in your universe to build a starport in the center of a "special economic zone." The intention is that the best and brightest of that world will be attracted there, take advantage of the economic opportunities, get educations, and so on. Many of the locals will be hired to do work at the starport, and then there will be people who will have jobs supporting those people, and so on. The leaders know most will stay there, some will emigrate off-world, but some will inevitably leave the starport area and diffuse around their world, improving conditions with new ideas, new thinking, and skills that will invigorate their world.

An organization (corporation or perhaps a cartel of corporations) might want a hub for transshipping, maintenance of their fleet(s), and training of new crews in a system that isn't very crowded so they don't have to jockey for good orbit spots, pay ridiculous amounts for refuelling, wait in the orbital queue to dive the local gas giant to refuel, or whatever. So they intentionally seek out some less-advanced world to build a starport on.

A high TL world might be largely indifferent to galactic society and trade. They mostly just want to be left alone. However, they're quite aware the more they try to isolate themselves, the more people will come prying. So they allow the larger galaxy to build a starport on their world with the agreement that the locals aren't going to help in any way; the materials, technology and everything else has to come from the outside. In return, the locals will provide some area of contact for the greater universe to interact with them - just at this one spot - where selected visitors might be received, trade might be conducted (if the locals find something interesting). The rest of the world is closed off.

Some world is targeted for economic development or for revitalization due to an economic depression. This may be a kind of "congressional pork" project where it's not really necessary but the local noble has significant clout and has the large construction firms who'd make the starport in his/her pocket. The interstellar polity uses its "development funds" to build a state-of-the-art starport in an effort to attract business to the world and allow goods made on the world to be more readily exported. For whatever reason, the project doesn't do as well as hoped. A run-down world now has a state-of-the-art starport that it doesn't really need or can't really use.
Starports serve multiple functions. The first and foremost is that they are the connection every system has to the Imperium. And just as important, they connect the Imperium together. Some planets are hostile to the Imperium and would prefer to NOT have a starport controlled by the Imperials on their planet. But they have no say in that matter. Other worlds have starports that could not, at least on their own, support a Class A/B starport, but the traffic through the system makes it possible, and at times necessary, for the starport to be there. Though one should not read TOO much into the maps that get generated with starport distributions, at times the locations and classifications make no economic sense.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby Infojunky » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:20 am

phavoc wrote:So what do other GM's do to handle potential mis-matches? Imperial starports (A/B at a minimum) should, I think, be a minimum of TL-13, as that is the Imperial standard, and starports being official Imperial facilities they should conform to the standard tech level.

Now on planets of TL 14/15 the starports can easily adapt to the local TL (or not, depending on how you run that sort of thing). For the planetary UWP we get the TL of the planet, but not of the primary starport itself.

So how does everyone else handle that sort of thing?
Mostly I don't, as a world's Technical Index has little to do with the Starport.... In terms of the 3rd Imperium. Also note the Imperium's Standard TL is 15, the average TL is 12, or that was the case last I checked.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby Askold » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:43 am

If an outside force has set up a A/B starport on a much lower TL planet then it should always have a story behind it. Did the Imperium simply decide that they need to use a Starport there for strategic reasons? Is some organization trying to improve the planet's TL and the starport is there as a part of the package even though building up the infrastructure and educating the locals isn't done yet? Is there some organization that has access to high TL tech but is keeping it away from (rest of) the locals?
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby Merxiless » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:24 pm

I do not use the Imperium as a setting, and never have.

From world generation since the early days, The Tech level of the world has been modified by the presence of a Starport, but it often turns out that if you use the rules straight, even since the early days, worlds that are Earthlike are relatively lower tech in general, while worlds that are worlds that are very earthlike, with a moderqte popuation (read Colony) are not going to have the tech levels that an Asteroid Belt, or somall world with little to no Atmosphere to speak of, or something corrosive or insidious, with the exception of huge populations, which seems to be driven by the idea that you cannot have Pop C without higher tech, or you will get overpopulation and dieback (which isn't in the rules)

I would not say they are not related, they are linked withing the rules from the chart for Ports and Tech.

That being said, they do not "Have" to be related.

You could have by fiat an A port on a world that is low tech jungle, with only plant life going for it, if the story the referee wants to tell is going that way.

Otherwise it's a justification, that I come up with when I am not choosing by referee mandate what the world is. sometimes I get better ideas by coming to grips with the Why is this true for this world?

The different justifications will range across the board, based on the referee's perception of what the campaign is about. Even perceptions of what the Imperium is, or should be can vary wildly, from campaign to campaign, even playing it rules as written.

phavoc wrote:
"Imperial starports (A/B at a minimum) should, I think, be a minimum of TL-13, as that is the Imperial standard, and starports being official Imperial facilities they should conform to the standard tech level."

If you go by the charts, A is minimum TL 6, B is minimum TL 4. The other factors that can drive it up are Desert or Water World, Asteroid or Moonlet, so to speak "hard to breathe atmospheres", Huge population, or Balkanized. Combined, all of these can infer or cause a TL that exceeds 6, with no starport.

Populations max out at 10, unless you use the Space Opera / Hard Science Rules, which can give you Pop 11 (B) with a nice clean atmosphere..

So you could have an Asteroid Belt, Pop A, Balkanized D port, TL 8. How does that work?
The locals have to literally ship everything in in massive waves of ships, that do not have enough Berths. Local guys can get work by running impromptu cargo shuttles that drop off ores, and pick up food and water and luxuries shipped in, and distribute it to little enclaves all over the belt.

I agree that Imperial standard TL is 13. To me if every world with a big port is TL 13+, it becomes a sort of vanilla setting. I can go to the USA and eat at McDonald's. I can go to Thailand and eat at McDonald's. If your perception of the Universe you want to run is such that the Imperium decides We are here, were are what passes for imperial culture, then it is going to come out like that. This is the standard, and we shall uphold it.

But the contrasts and flavors come from the setting that is at variance. It is a mystery to be solved. A situation that we do not initially understand, but might be compelled to discover. If we arrive at a moderate pop ocean world, but the port is B, tech is lacking as players inside that setting do we say, oh well, referee rolled a "1" on the TL die roll?

We find out what creative story the referee is telling us... it's a small research station, the Port is B because they ship agro products like what passes for whale meat off world, and import speed boats or submarines, or hydropower modules or wind vanes or.. whatever.

I like and prefer that the tech does not match. That means that I am encountering the unexpected, which means a mystery to be solved. if we know the outcome, or we expect something, and get that something that we expected, there's no dramatic tension.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby dzanis » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:27 am

Like the user Merxiless, I like difference between TL of planet and starport, as it often forces me to create more creative explanations and make planets more memorable. Let me just throw out some ideas:

Say the starport is type B and planet's TL is around 6-7. This could be either in Imperium (assuming it doesn't get involved in local affairs too much) or outside it.

- the evil corporation: Some corporation finances and maintains starport, which repairs and fuels its ships. The local population salves away in some resource extraction industry that corporation profits on selling offworld, while trading back damaged basic consumer goods (production waste/surplus) that corporation would be unable to sell in more civilized worlds. The corporation does not see any merit selling there more useful technological goods that it can sell elsewhere, while any investments in more advanced extraction could be risky, costly, and prone to privatization by locals. So it continues. Competitors are warded away by heinously high starport fees for prolonged docking.

- power-hungry noble: The leader/king of the planet keeps his power due to having high TL weaponry and communication tools. His palace maybe equipped with a lot of high TL gadgets, but he views that any release of such in population threatens his power. Therefore he prohibits any high TL trading.

- magical religion: The local religion deems all too-advanced gadgets as evil magic and prohibits any use of them by power of inquisition. However, miracles by this religion is powered by such gadgets (and also used by inquisition to catch any heathens)

- painful past: Population voluntarily foregoes any automation or electronics by strong traditions. Maybe thousand years ago the advances in AI achieved singularity that ended with lethal results for 95% of population. Only with luck, people destroyed the AI and the tradition goes strong: never talk about that past; never use advanced technology, lest armageddon repeats itself.

- game of barbarians: a population is divided by perpetually warring nationstates (or tribes/kingdoms/ethnic groups) that use scheming, treachery, terrorism and any leverage to gain upper hand. The powers of good (technocrats/Imperium/small educated elite) guard and contain carefully technological advances within spaceport and only basic humanitarian aid (simple medicine, food) gets traded with the world outside spaceport, since anything more advantageous would be used for murder and power grabbing.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby hiro » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:51 pm

I'm playing a game in the Trojan Reaches at the mo and this issue came up frequently. I knocked up a simple chart to show what was available at what class of port. The default TL was 13 for A ports, 12 for B, 11 for C etc.

Edited to add:

Image
Last edited by hiro on Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby DickNervous » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:55 pm

phavoc wrote:So what do other GM's do to handle potential mis-matches? Imperial starports (A/B at a minimum) should, I think, be a minimum of TL-13, as that is the Imperial standard, and starports being official Imperial facilities they should conform to the standard tech level.

Now on planets of TL 14/15 the starports can easily adapt to the local TL (or not, depending on how you run that sort of thing). For the planetary UWP we get the TL of the planet, but not of the primary starport itself.

So how does everyone else handle that sort of thing?
There are several way to handle this...

First, you need to remember that the system TL is just a guideline to what the average TL of the system is (and that a system is multiple planets!). Earth is a perfect example of different regions have different tech levels. The TL of the US is going to be very different than the TL of say, South Sudan. So you can easily explain it as the most advanced country/planet in the system built and maintains the starport.

Another explanation is that someone with a higher TL (a megacorp, interstellar empire, etc) has decided that they need a trade route and that low TL system is in a prime location for a starport, so they build one. If the TL of the system is very low, it would most likely be a high port that the people on the planet don't even realize is there.

Or it could be that an independent group, such as maybe a very successful and well organized band of pirates, have decided that a particular backwater is the perfect place for their home port and have built one.

It could even be left-over from a previous civilization that fell apart or was destroyed by war, famine, disease, etc. You could have a TL14 system with a wonderful high port but balkanised and unstable political situation that finally reached the tipping point. After the global powers bombed each other back to something like TL8 or maybe TL9 that wonderful high port would still be up there.

And this is just what I thought of while on a conference call with work. :)
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phavoc
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Re: Starport / Planetary TL mismatch

Postby phavoc » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:47 pm

DickNervous wrote:First, you need to remember that the system TL is just a guideline to what the average TL of the system is (and that a system is multiple planets!). Earth is a perfect example of different regions have different tech levels. The TL of the US is going to be very different than the TL of say, South Sudan. So you can easily explain it as the most advanced country/planet in the system built and maintains the starport.
This 50 zillion times over. So many times I've seen players who think a star system consists ONLY of the planet the main starport is on, and that there is ONLY one starport.
DickNervous wrote:Another explanation is that someone with a higher TL (a megacorp, interstellar empire, etc) has decided that they need a trade route and that low TL system is in a prime location for a starport, so they build one. If the TL of the system is very low, it would most likely be a high port that the people on the planet don't even realize is there.

Or it could be that an independent group, such as maybe a very successful and well organized band of pirates, have decided that a particular backwater is the perfect place for their home port and have built one.

It could even be left-over from a previous civilization that fell apart or was destroyed by war, famine, disease, etc. You could have a TL14 system with a wonderful high port but balkanised and unstable political situation that finally reached the tipping point. After the global powers bombed each other back to something like TL8 or maybe TL9 that wonderful high port would still be up there.

And this is just what I thought of while on a conference call with work. :)
Yep, there are many reasons out there. And there would be many starports, of varying service levels, on highly populated planets. And then there are going to be the stations spread around the solar system - sometimes - that fulfill some other part of the economic pie.

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