Justifying Starport Class

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Balfuset790
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Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:33 pm

This is a question mostly aimed at games running the OTU or using the base World Generation system from the Core Rulebook.

I've just started reading the Starports supplement from the Third Imperium range and run into a slight 'Huh?' moment. Now, I'll preface this by saying I'm aware the variant Hard Sci-Fi/Space Opera world generation rules would solve this for any universe I made for future games.

My players have just completed a mission in the Carey system in the Spinward Marches, and its UPP indicates a VERY low population, but a Class C starport. High hydrographics profile makes explaining the abundance of unrefined, and refined, fuel relatively simple. But otherwise this system is unremarkable, and the system for world generation, unless I'm mistaken, would allow for a Class A starport on a planet with no gas giant in system and no water table. How do people justify the Imperium (or other governing body) spending millions of credits or more on such an installation in an otherwise unremarkable star system?
ieqo
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby ieqo » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:51 pm

The justification (weak as it is at times) tends to gravitate toward supporting trade routes (since trade is what keeps the Imperium alive RealWorld Example : the Panama Canal Zone), front-loaded investment toward future development (which may or may not ever be realized), great expectations regarding a particular world which fell through (in your example, the world in question may very well once have had higher population and a strong economy but whatever factors brought it to its current state Real World Example: Detroit's international airport), or, possibly the most realistic, pork-barrel spending (Real World Example: Denver International Airport).
Balfuset790
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:40 pm

That makes sense, I mean, most of the worlds have nothing more than their map position and the UPP, so it's easy for the Referee to write whatever they choose to justify a Starport.

I mean, for the world in question I just winged it by saying the entire population of the mainworld were there PURELY to act as starport personnel with a large degree of robotic automation which dealt with a large mining concern in a nearby asteroid cluster. My players seemed content with that at the very least!

Still, if anyone has any examples of oddball planets, like an A class starport on a TL3 planet with no gas giant and only 20% water coverage it'd be interesting to read! :D
Galadrion
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Galadrion » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:37 pm

That last example would incline to think "strategic considerations": someone (military, corporate interests, or... other) has reason to invest in a highly capable repair/refit/construction center in a system which is otherwise marginal... at best. That entity's motivations are probably obscure (at the least) to any outside observer, but might be discoverable with some investigation. Of course, depending on how sinister those motivations are, investigation could be somewhat dangerous...
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:44 pm

Also, remember that within the OTU, the starport is Imperial property not local property, so for some reason the Third Imperium decided it needed a better starport. One way to consider it is that the starport personnel are NOT part of the Population code.

So your original world has a few hundred miners etc. and the Imperium (probably through a license to a Megacorporation) operates a very good starport to support trade and/or military needs in that area.

Also, while it is a Class-C starport, it is probably a SMALL Class-C starport, it probably has no Highport and only limited landing and repair facilities - they are there, but their capacity is limited.
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Balfuset790
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:45 pm

Galadrion wrote:That last example would incline to think "strategic considerations": someone (military, corporate interests, or... other) has reason to invest in a highly capable repair/refit/construction center in a system which is otherwise marginal... at best. That entity's motivations are probably obscure (at the least) to any outside observer, but might be discoverable with some investigation. Of course, depending on how sinister those motivations are, investigation could be somewhat dangerous...
Definitely interesting, I guess the confusion on my part comes from the fact that, as far as I was aware, all Starports in the Third Imperium are controlled by a central imperial authority and not funded by corporate or military concerns.
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:48 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:Also, remember that within the OTU, the starport is Imperial property not local property, so for some reason the Third Imperium decided it needed a better starport. One way to consider it is that the starport personnel are NOT part of the Population code.

So your original world has a few hundred miners etc. and the Imperium (probably through a license to a Megacorporation) operates a very good starport to support trade and/or military needs in that area.

Also, while it is a Class-C starport, it is probably a SMALL Class-C starport, it probably has no Highport and only limited landing and repair facilities - they are there, but their capacity is limited.
Definitely something for me to change in MTU when I get around to working on it. I prefer the idea of Starports that are operated by local government, even if they were funded by central imperial administration or the like. So you're going to get Class A ports only on worlds with significant trade traffic and then the class of port would degrade the further you get from the centre of the Empire.

In MTU, the Spinward Marches, for example, probablywouldn't have any Starports above Class C, well, maybe one Class B at the entrance to the territory, just given how far away it is from the Imperial Capital.
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:53 pm

If you are going to go with locally funded starports, then the optional rules for rolling up the starport based on population would be appropriate.
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Balfuset790
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:56 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:If you are going to go with locally funded starports, then the optional rules for rolling up the starport based on population would be appropriate.
Yeah, that's what I plan on doing. I'm just trying to decide whether I want to similarly go with the reduced chance of habitable planets from the Space Opera/Hard Sci-Fi variants as well. I need to finalise the feel of the setting first! :D
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Reynard » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:00 pm

The old Pocket Empires supplement had you upgrading your planets' including tech level, economics and spaceports. It became clear not every planet would become advanced uniformly as you decide which needs upgrading or additional upgrading based on the overall need of the empire.

Not every planet is deemed worthy for massive outlays in time, money and resources. Some may have been originally considered a good investment but circumstances eventually said otherwise. Those worthy can take decades or even centuries to go from X to A for many reasons. Some worlds are independent settlements which may be backed by small corporate concerns and never really go far even if there are systems around them all high tech trade giants. The random system design is head scratching at times but it also represents that Age of Sail flavor that has always been part of Traveller. I love looking at a UPP and creating the reason it's like that.

Sign on a Class D starport control tower door, "Be back in 5 minutes".
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:05 pm

Reynard wrote:The random system design is head scratching at times but it also represents that Age of Sail flavor that has always been part of Traveller.
How so? I don't suspect you;d find tiny islands in the Caribbean with huge ports for no explainable reason in the 17th Century o.O
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Reynard » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:15 pm

And not every port in 17th century Caribbean was the best no matter what. Large and small ports were everywhere. Of course they weren't rolled randomly but, if only cinematically, it was considered wild and chaotic. Traveller could have gone Star Trek with the majority of planets having homogenous tech and infrastructure including starports. It went chaotic and created a universe to explain it.
ieqo
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby ieqo » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:18 pm

Or tiny islands in the Pacific in the 1930s which, despite no indigenous or aboriginal inhabitants, boast fairly sophisticated infrastructure to support the PanAm China Clippers. :-)
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:25 pm

Maybe, but the relative size of ports made a little more sense, I would say.

Havana, Port Royal, Kingston... they all had impressive ports because of their importance to the controlling nations, and the fact that they were large settlements supporting local naval actions and had a lot of trade.

What I find confusing about the Traveller system is that you get the Starport and THEN the Trade, rather than the other way around. Or at least that's how it seems to be implied.

The Imperium builds a Class A starport, suddenly some no name backwater becomes a hub for millions of ships and trillions of credits of trade. Rather than the Scout service finding a habitable planet in a system, a small frontier settlement being established and then expanding as they realise 'Wait, there's X resource in this asteroid/ring system/underwater trench'.

Maybe I'm thinking about it the wrong way, but the idea of a Class A or B starport on a planet that consists of a single TL2-3 farmstead is s little silly. If the planet was that valuable, the Imperium would surely funnel the resources to up the TL and build a larger planetside military or industrial complex to cater for whatever resource or strategy prompted the decision to give it a massive port.
ieqo
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby ieqo » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:30 pm

As you said in your OP: 70s-era random generation schemes sometimes give you bizarre results. One exercise I find useful is ask why. You can come with some fascinating setting details that your players will love (or ignore) that way.
Balfuset790
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:33 pm

ieqo wrote:As you said in your OP: 70s-era random generation schemes sometimes give you bizarre results. One exercise I find useful is ask why. You can come with some fascinating setting details that your players will love (or ignore) that way.
Hmm... I think I may roll up a randomised subsector using the basic system tonight and then consider things, may answer my own question that way.
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby hiro » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:36 pm

Traveller doesn't always make sense! I've acquiesced and given up fighting! If you use the Traveller system to create random worlds you then come up with as feasible explanation as you can as to why it's there.

The reasons can be fun and I'd say are quintessentially Traveller.
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:57 pm

Balfuset790 wrote:
In MTU, the Spinward Marches, for example, probablywouldn't have any Starports above Class C, well, maybe one Class B at the entrance to the territory, just given how far away it is from the Imperial Capital.
That makes maintaining those fleets that keep all those Vargr pirates and the Zho at bay a LOT harder to maintain.
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby dragoner » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:20 pm

hiro wrote:Traveller doesn't always make sense! I've acquiesced and given up fighting! If you use the Traveller system to create random worlds you then come up with as feasible explanation as you can as to why it's there.

The reasons can be fun and I'd say are quintessentially Traveller.
There is a good quote from Mark Twain on the subject, of how fiction has the onus of being believable, where reality has no such restriction. What I try to do is just weave it all together, sense and nonsense.
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Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby hiro » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:30 pm

Yeah, that's a good place to be but ultimately its one of the contributing factors that led to me leaving Strictly Business, the Traveller universe has too many holes!

Are there Mongoose rules for worm holes?

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