Starport X

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Matt Wilson
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Starport X

Postby Matt Wilson » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:00 pm

I was messing around creating a pair of subsectors using the optional "space opera / hard science" rules on p. 180 of the pocket rulebook.

I like that starport size is related to population, but the roll of 2d6-7 + pop generates a LOT of Class-X starports, and I'm wondering what the implications of that would be. On a pop-3 world, for example, if I roll a 6- then I'll get a class-X starport, and that's about a 42% chance.

I was thinking about house-ruling it so that a class-X is really class-E unless I GM-fiat that the locals are a bunch of xenophobic jerks (the original method is only a 2 on 2d6 which means maybe one world per subsector). But maybe there's something I'm missing and a subsector chock full of class-X starports is a bounty of adventure that I shouldn't pass up.

I tweak all kinds of results, but I like to look before I tweak. Has anyone run into this situation and come up with their own edits?
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Re: Starport X

Postby Mytholder » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:42 pm

No star port on a planet doesn't mean that fuel/supplies aren't available - it just means that there's no one-stop shop to resupply, refuel and pick up cargo. Maybe the only source of refined hydrogen is the corporate outpost; they usually reserve it for their ships, but if you bribe the right foreman, you can refuel in the dead of night. You can get your damaged engine repaired, but the only qualified engineer is out prospecting in the mountains, and I sure hope she didn't get ambushed by a cave spider.

There isn't even an agreed-upon place to land - the PCs will have to find their own spot to set down, and arrange their own security. If you're using the Imperium, then there may be no Imperial presence on the planet most of the time, just a magistrate or other official who visits once a year or something. It's the wild frontier.

In effect, Class-X lets you turn mundane tasks into challenges for the players. It's probably best suited for gritty games where worrying about supplies and fuel sources are fun for the players, and where the laws regarding spaceships differ from world to world. If you don't want to spend half a session dealing with the logistics and scene-setting every time the players visit a new planet, then you can upgrade those Xs to Es and have a more consistent approach to travel.
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Re: Starport X

Postby Matt Wilson » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:15 pm

I see. So in 3I terms starport class has a lot to do with official imperial presence and certain guarantees of availability, etc.

And a small private mining operation with a few hundred people that's class X may have a fantastic setup for ship maintenance and fuel -- assuming you're one of the contracted resupply ships.

Something like that?
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Re: Starport X

Postby Nathan Brazil » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:10 am

The Starports book (a Third Imperium book) has a group called the Star Port Authority (SPA) which assigns a rating for the mainworlds In the book, Classes only a Class E thru A is addressed.

A class E in that book must have the following;
A building to be designated as the port headquarters.
A fence must be built to demark that it is SPA (read Imperial direct) authority/territory.
It must have at least one landing pad or maybe more, but none are greater than 1000 tons.
D3 people to man the port.

On standard atmossphere worlds have no hangers and only basic facilities for the cargo at most a "few hundred" tons.
On Tainted, Exotic, Corrosive the only airlock is one at the headquarters to get in or out safely from the building.
Class E do not have fuel storage

So an X could mean that a the first is that Starport does not even classify as an E. On Imperial worlds, I would go with Headquarters, Fence, Pad.
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Re: Starport X

Postby CosmicGamer » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:25 am

Mention is made in the books that systems can have not just an Imperial Star Port but also one or more local space ports.

Any reason there could be no Imperial star port but services could still be available via a local space port?




Although the starport book identifies a SPA, what about independent worlds outside the Imperium? The Star Port is obviously not Imperial Territory. Should it be called a Space Port instead?
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Re: Starport X

Postby Nathan Brazil » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:33 am

Like many of the rating systems in the "Core Rules", that may not be how it is done "in the setting". As an example, we playing the game we use the sector/subsector/hex designations for ease of use. Within the Third Imperium, systems are designated with the radian/ray system.

Ultimately it is your game so YMMV.
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Re: Starport X

Postby Nathan Brazil » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:44 am

CosmicGamer wrote:Mention is made in the books that systems can have not just an Imperial Star Port but also one or more local space ports.

Any reason there could be no Imperial star port but services could still be available via a local space port?

Although the starport book identifies a SPA, what about independent worlds outside the Imperium? The Star Port is obviously not Imperial Territory. Should it be called a Space Port instead?
Well, it would not be SPA if it is not in Imperial Territory. Perhaps is an "in setting" manner, the ratings would be what the SPA might rate the port if it was in Imperial territory. So for an Non-Imperial world, a Class E is a Headquarters, a Fence designating port territory, and a Landing Pad. The port authority whatever powers it is granted.
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Condottiere
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Re: Starport X

Postby Condottiere » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:13 am

1. There's nothing to interest the run of the mill commercial interests in the system.

2. The Imperium can't find the place interesting enough to license a starport and send a bunch of unlucky bureaucrats to run it.

3. The Imperium is interested enough to discourage others not to bother to visit the area, but doesn't want to make it obvious.

4. Someone could always set up a spaceport.
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Re: Starport X

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:36 am

Matt Wilson wrote:I like that starport size is related to population, but the roll of 2d6-7 + pop generates a LOT of Class-X starports, and I'm wondering what the implications of that would be. On a pop-3 world, for example, if I roll a 6- then I'll get a class-X starport, and that's about a 42% chance.
A pop of 3 is one of thousands, so 1,000 - 9,999. Not that many. The "space opera/hard science" variations rule out a SPA setting up space ports as part of a galactic transport network, so small population worlds may lack the industrial base, or market opportunities to make starport construction worthwhile. You can still land somewhere, but re-fuelling will have to be out of the nearest water source. Time to dust off those fuel purifiers.

The basic rules often throw up the opposite problem, low pop, low tech worlds which generate very little trade themselves having B or C class starports. Some make sense in terms of linking other worlds, but some of the starports,, stranded at the end of spurs of little interest to business, look like bad corporate decisions ...

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Re: Starport X

Postby Somebody » Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:43 pm

In the OTU "Class X" within the 3I borders (and due to history likely within the Solomanie Confederation borders as well) means:

No Imperial (SolCon) starport in the system. Not even a fenced in ground / landing beacon

============

IMTU I automatically chance an "X" on an Imperial World to an E since from the way the 3I and what it rules is decribed there should be a port in every member system. Chances are the "X" is an artifact from the time the (sub)sectors where generated while the 3I was not fully defined (Spinward Marches) and then kept that way.

=============

In the MgT rules the result is not qualified with an "if in the 3I change to E" because the base books try to be setting-independent

=============

As for "low pop world" and starport: A prefab class E should be there as the equivalent to some "harbors" on say the Mittelland-Kanal. Those are little more than a bulge in the channel side with pilling wall (instead of the earth berm type), bits and an access road all resonably close to the next town. Enough for spending the night / bicycling into town for fresh supplies
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Re: Starport X

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:37 pm

Somebody wrote: IMTU I automatically chance an "X" on an Imperial World to an E since from the way the 3I and what it rules is decribed there should be a port in every member system. Chances are the "X" is an artifact from the time the (sub)sectors where generated while the 3I was not fully defined (Spinward Marches) and then kept that way.
Agreed. To fair, even on the Spinward Marches, few Imperial planets have an "X", and most which do are red zoned and/or barren. I suppose the reminder could be written off as so out of the way no-one has bothered to repair the beacon in the last 10 years. The practical difference between an "X" class starport, and an "E", is not great!

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Re: Starport X

Postby phavoc » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:34 pm

Keep in mind too that the starport listed for a hex could be just one of many. Planetary systems (which could also be binary or even trinary) listed are only the "prime" planet. The SPA generally will only have a single starport under it's control. While it's usually the most populous planet in the system, it's not always true. It's going to be located where it makes the most sense.

The 'primary' port might be class C, while there is a class B located elsewhere in the system or even on the planet itself (especially if it's balkanized).
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Re: Starport X

Postby Condottiere » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:24 am

Realistically, there would have to be some form of refuelling station in the system, as any planetary/system authority would want to exploit system resources, and if they didn't, their local entrepreneurs would.
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Re: Starport X

Postby Somebody » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:09 pm

Unless the system is a "stepping stone" that most/all trade ships must use due to range issues OR being a dramatical short cut I do not see a refueling station as a must have. A system without one will only be approached by ships that either have the legs to gon in and out on internal fuel or can do self refuelling. That in turn would result in less visits / lower trade but unless there is something worth an increased shipping volume a fuel station is a cost overhead without a benefit.

For some systems that "almost" rate a fuel station/port upgrade I could see some aging sold off navy fuel skimmers/tankers (or X-Boat tenders) offering fueler and provisioning service. Actually an old X-Boat tender, maybe with her J-Drives guttet, could even perform those services in an uninhabitat system / Class-X starport system

Some real life example:

A local Rhine harbor basin nearby has some large loading facilities (sand/gravel) but no fueling/provisioning available. Ships fuel up at Duisburg (<=15km), come up-river for loading and go on their way

The channel harbor at Ibbenbüren has no fueling available. Ships that need fuel call the Bergeshöveder harbor (<= 10km) at the Mittelland/Dortmung Ems chanel crossing and a fueler is send up to them
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Re: Starport X

Postby Reynard » Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:37 pm

When I was doing improvisational acting, as an exercise, the director creates a situation and says "GO!". I use that for Traveller systems. Here's a system which includes an X starport. GO!

Look over the UPP and the subsector. Now determine why it's an X starport within the rules of the game, no starport, no fuel, no repair, no bases. If you game is made by you, wilderness worlds can be a dime a dozen (or 42%) and that way because they are unexplored or undeveloped. For 3I, there is the Long Night and oodles of conflicts over the thousands of years that might explain no port such as bombed back to the stone age or abandoned because... so get creative.

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