Justifying Starport Class

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1715
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby dragoner » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:50 pm

hiro wrote: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?

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Maybe, I don't claim to be an expert on mong trav, just trying to have fun. :D

That is too bad about Mark's campaign, still playing with Ian and Nick?

I got away from the "OTU" because it often was at odds with itself, but that often dealt with player perceptions.
Balfuset790
Stoat
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:06 pm
Location: Canterbury, UK

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:46 pm

GypsyComet wrote:
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.
Maybe, but as it stands, planets like Mora just don't make it feel like a Frontier sector to me, that's all...
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3412
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Reynard » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:05 pm

Then patch them holes! Give every populated world the same Tech level because settled planets shouldn't have lower techs than the parent world of the settlers. Physical and Population codes are done first and let that be random. Place starports based on population and relative importance to other worlds in the area. Rare A ports at hubs of commerce and strategic importance and within the range of the Tech level used so they connect as a communication and commerce web. B ports would be very common for their repair rather than building capacity. C, D E and X represent degrees of settlement at the borders or very small population worlds of the space power with C being the important link into the wilds and as common as the B port in civilized regions.
Epicenter
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 309
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:37 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Epicenter » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:46 pm

Balfuset790 wrote: 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?
I always suggest adjusting UPPs where they're totally unreasonable. While a lot of Traveller grognards are always talking about "use your imagination" the universe should not be filled with so many outliers that they outnumber of the "logical" distribution. :roll:

That said, I have another explanation for that system: Infrastructure decay.

Perhaps once that system had a Class-A starport for whatever reason (Imperial-level trade routes might shift, it might have been a profitable "free-port" to some part of the Imperium that was loosely held or not in the Imperium at all but has since been better incorporated, a local war might have required a long Imperial intervention and the world was used by merchants selling things to the Imperial forces, there might have a profitably exploited resource on the world in the past that's been overexploited or simply mined out - a water world might have had abundant quantities of sealife that were considered very palatable in another system and fetched high prices - over a few decades in true Imperial fashion, they overexploited it and since then interest in the world has vanished) that has gone to seed because the original impetus has vanished or failed. So there's a lot of dark, creaking infrastructure that's been abandoned, huge impressive looking refining facilities that have been stripped bare of important parts so are just hulks of rusting steel close up, and so on. What was once a Class-A starport dropped to Class-C pretty quickly.

Perhaps it is still falling and it is listed as Class-C but it is actually even worse...
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 7226
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Condottiere » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:06 am

If you plan to randomizely big bang a subsector, you're bound to get weird results.

If you can break down the costs for each component of a starport, and possible revenue streams and/or subsidies, you'd get a more realistic result based on the local economy, trade routes, local or Imperium interests.

Most planetary governments would want more interstellar trade, the Imperium wants to encourage it to knit the Imperium closer together. And in large advanced settled systems, there are likely to be more than one, perhaps serving specific roles and/or regions. with small merchants or private craft shuffled off in a more obscure facility.
GypsyComet
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2169
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:09 am

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby GypsyComet » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:08 am

Balfuset790 wrote:
Maybe, but as it stands, planets like Mora just don't make it feel like a Frontier sector to me, that's all...
Pfft. Mora has only been settled for 800 to 900 years or so, and is one of the oldest Imperial Human worlds behind the Claw. The Vilani stepped into space 11,000 years ago and had the First Imperium at its full size some 5,000 years ago. The Marches are definitely the young frontier.
CTMTTNET4GTT20THMGTT5
It's all Traveller, so it's all Good.
enderra
Stoat
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby enderra » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:45 am

Balfuset790 wrote: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?
Broken rng based world generation system. I know you were looking for an in-universe explanation, but that's really the root cause. I've been trying to create a Traveller sector and I'm having severe problems with it. The "hard sci fi" variant rules do not really help much (but it's better than the unmodified base system).

That said, if you do not want to manually override silly results, you'll have to assume that the dice don't tell the full story.

Spaceport too high:
- Maybe the world in question is an important waystation to other, more prominent, systems
- Local tourism industry might be disproportionate
- Important religious sites result in annual pilgrimage
- Spaceport was result of corruption - the real world is full of projects that do not make sense other than to make someone rich, or to further someone's ego
- Miscalculation - officials expected planet to do better, and it didn't.

Spaceport too low:
- Miscalculation: Officials did not foresee boom time and planned starport that is too small
- Might be in the process of upgrade
- Economic downturn or mismanagement has resulted in quality of spaceport to slide, thus prompting downgrade
- War or terrorism damage
- Was once top-notch but by today's standards it is simply just a C (or whatever)


And so on, you get the idea. For published 3I material I'd expect such explanation for any world that is more detailed than just the UWP line (i.e. even if it just has a few Library data lines).
Still working on my setting: Contact Light
CosmicGamer
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1181
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:45 am
Location: Central DE

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby CosmicGamer » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:33 pm

Generalizations. A star port is lots of things.

Let's say there is a star port that was subsidized and built a huge refinery and it's on the edge of a large water supply. It can supply large quantities of refined fuel. It has lots of open solid ground with navigational systems for landing over 50 ships, including large ships up to 5,000 tons. The navigational systems are ground based, there are no satellite networks providing guidance and telemetry to ships. Plenty of warehousing. Several hotels, numerous restaurants and other commercial buildings.

But it is low tech or limited skilled labor or little funding. There is no high port so the port can not support non streamlined ships. There is not even the capacity to shuttle cargo to and from orbit. There is no shipyard, not even for small craft but some limited repairs are possible.

I hope that sound like a possibility?

Lets break some of that that down.
- supply large quantities of refined fuel: Class B
- It has lots of open solid ground with navigational systems for landing over 50 ships, including large ships over 5,000 tons: At least Class C
- There is no high port so the port can not support non streamlined ships: Class C or lower
- The navigational systems are ground based, there are no satellite networks providing guidance and telemetry to ships: Class C or D
- There is no shipyard, not even for small craft but some limited repairs are possible: Class D

So how would this star port be classified?

EDIT: For simplification, how about a star port with refined fuel but no ship yard. I'd think it not hard for a star port near water to set up a refinery while there are lot's of good reasons for not having the ability and/or need to set up a shipyard.
Does this system get noted as having a Class B Star Port to let people know that there is refined fuel available?
Egil Skallagrimsson
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 838
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 6:59 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:35 pm

Balfuset790 wrote: 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.
One way of thinking about this is that the, SPA controlled starport, is separate from the UWP. In the world you describe (and there are a fair number of low population worlds with high status starports in the Spinward Marches) the farmstead could be one family of eccentric survivalists, or a small religious cult, or a couple of retired scouts or .... Whoever they are, they have no contact with the starport, whose population are in addition to the UWP. Technically the extra-territoriality line would mean that those living in the starport and startown are not necessarily citizens of the planet.

Egil
Alles fur Gram - Official motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Wein, Weib und Gesang - Unofficial motto of Gram's 3rd Grenadier Regiment
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2521
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:20 am

Balfuset790 wrote:
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.
What if Planet there has a population of billions? It might be remote from the imperial core, but the planetary government there might decide to build its own starport class A because it might want to manufacture its own starships. For them their planet is their home and not the frontier.
Balfuset790
Stoat
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:06 pm
Location: Canterbury, UK

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Balfuset790 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:00 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Balfuset790 wrote:
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.
What if Planet there has a population of billions? It might be remote from the imperial core, but the planetary government there might decide to build its own starport class A because it might want to manufacture its own starships. For them their planet is their home and not the frontier.
Certainly makes sense in the OTU sense where sentient life has been seeded across the galaxy and 'rediscovered' by the current Empire to start reuniting the galaxy after the fall of a previous regime. Which is in fact a decent explanation in and of itself now that I think about it, a class A starport could be a remnant of the First or Second Imperium that's been rekindled by the Third.

Makes me wonder whether I want to use distance from the Imperial capital as a determining factor in planetary population for MTU, hmm... then with the starport-class-relative-to-population model that does exactly what I need.
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3412
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Reynard » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:51 pm

In my own campaign universe, based on the actual region around Sol, population was modified by distance of jump routes and time. Each stage of colonization was limited by Jump until the technology increased enough. There were three stages of colonization over a couple centuries and each layer out had modifiers to the population die roll. Using the population modifier in the Hard Science sidebar made starports less advanced towards the frontier compared to core worlds.
Jame Rowe
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1222
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:52 pm
Location: Boston Area, MA/USA
Contact:

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Jame Rowe » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:49 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:EDIT: For simplification, how about a star port with refined fuel but no ship yard. I'd think it not hard for a star port near water to set up a refinery while there are lot's of good reasons for not having the ability and/or need to set up a shipyard.
Does this system get noted as having a Class B Star Port to let people know that there is refined fuel available?
In my house rules a Class C port automatically has refined fuel. They might overhear a large ship's crew complaining how their ship couldn't get enough refined fuel due to low reserve stocks, though.

It also has at least the possibility of a ship yard for non-starships up to about 1000-3000 tons based upon population, e.g. a pop-4 world would generally not build more than 600 tons.
"Are you in charge here?"
"No, but I'm full of ideas!"

Baron Damascaa Kiikiigulii/Sakhag/Antares. Deal with it - come visit!
steve98052
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 926
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby steve98052 » Wed May 07, 2014 7:45 am

The biggest mysteries in terms of starports seem to be cases where the starport is better than the world seems to deserve. An obvious explanation for that is that the world had a valuable resource, but it's tapped out and the world has been largely abandoned. But it still has one key resource, its starport, which it maintains as its hoped-for path back to prosperity.

That still can't adequately explain Pixie, but one might explain that by saying that population figures are not consistently reported -- on some worlds they include Imperial facilities, while on others they count only population outside starports, bases, etc. Maybe Pixie has a naval base, xboat base, shipyard, and an off-the-books Ancients site with a population totaling tens of thousands, but its resident population is still under 1000.
GypsyComet
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2169
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:09 am

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby GypsyComet » Wed May 07, 2014 2:12 pm

steve98052 wrote:That still can't adequately explain Pixie, but one might explain that by saying that population figures are not consistently reported -- on some worlds they include Imperial facilities, while on others they count only population outside starports, bases, etc. Maybe Pixie has a naval base, xboat base, shipyard, and an off-the-books Ancients site with a population totaling tens of thousands, but its resident population is still under 1000.
That's easy once you know the history of the Marches. Aramis, Regina, and Jewell subsectors were taken away from the Zhodani in the First Frontier War. Pixie wasn't absorbed into the Imperium with a standing population, it was occupied expressly as a border fortress and because of its undocumented Ancients site. It has grown a (very) small population since, and there was probably a political tussle between the Second Survey and the Navy over whether that handful of "squatters" would be recognized as "native" population.
CTMTTNET4GTT20THMGTT5
It's all Traveller, so it's all Good.
dragoner
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1715
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:37 pm
Location: Indiana, US

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby dragoner » Wed May 07, 2014 8:10 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:
EDIT: For simplification, how about a star port with refined fuel but no ship yard. I'd think it not hard for a star port near water to set up a refinery while there are lot's of good reasons for not having the ability and/or need to set up a shipyard.
Does this system get noted as having a Class B Star Port to let people know that there is refined fuel available?
IMTU, there are fueling stations, often near Gas Giants; one corp is "FuelStar", for example. I think of a starport as more of an interface zone.
Rikki Tikki Traveller
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3409
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Arlington, TX USA

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Mon May 12, 2014 2:45 pm

I also allow Class C starports to have Refined Fuel.

Fuel Purifiers are just too cheap to not have them everywhere. I even allow them on some Class D starports (Roll Population or Less to have Refined Fuel).
My friends call me Richard.
You can call me Sir.
Jame Rowe
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1222
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:52 pm
Location: Boston Area, MA/USA
Contact:

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Jame Rowe » Mon May 12, 2014 7:31 pm

Reynard wrote:Then patch them holes! Give every populated world the same Tech level because settled planets shouldn't have lower techs than the parent world of the settlers. Physical and Population codes are done first and let that be random. Place starports based on population and relative importance to other worlds in the area. Rare A ports at hubs of commerce and strategic importance and within the range of the Tech level used so they connect as a communication and commerce web. B ports would be very common for their repair rather than building capacity. C, D E and X represent degrees of settlement at the borders or very small population worlds of the space power with C being the important link into the wilds and as common as the B port in civilized regions.
I think I agree but I would posit that settled planets might have TLs 1 to 3 lower than the parent planet to represent scale of manufacture - though TL8 would be my lowest settled-planet TL!
Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:I also allow Class C starports to have Refined Fuel.

Fuel Purifiers are just too cheap to not have them everywhere. I even allow them on some Class D starports (Roll Population or Less to have Refined Fuel).
I agree. In fact I actually came up with this rule on my own about 10 years ago when I GMed for my Traveller group.
"Are you in charge here?"
"No, but I'm full of ideas!"

Baron Damascaa Kiikiigulii/Sakhag/Antares. Deal with it - come visit!
Meanderer
Mongoose
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 8:47 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Meanderer » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:52 pm

Anomalies can be worked with.

A desert planet may have no large standing bodies of water, but still have water trapped in a form not readily usable for skimming (shallow lakes, rivers). Maybe there is humidity in the atmosphere but the soil composition doesn't absorb water. You have rains that run off into sink holes, water that spouts up in geysers, and such but no body of water to do a decent fuel skim out of. There could be mineral content in the water that would damage engines and which regular fuel purifiers cannot handle.

But that fancy class A starport the locals built has been great for trade and helps cover the costs of the more extensive filtration equipment needed to keep the local population going. This filtration equipment is also used to produce refined (and a less filtered unrefined fuel perhaps) which must be bought at the starport because there is no other fuel source. Standard fuel prices may still be in effect as the planet does not want to discourage trade (they subsidize the fuel, in effect.

Alternatively, there may be a moon around that desert planet that has a decent hydrographic rating but access to the moon is restricted (it is a strategic resource of the system government). The government mines the ice (or draws water if there is enough atmosphere) and purifies it for drinking water for the planetary population and for making fuel. The fuel and water are delivered to the main world highport and surface starport for resale.
Meanderer
Mongoose
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 8:47 pm

Re: Justifying Starport Class

Postby Meanderer » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:58 pm

Traveller has interesting examples of making anomalies work and these can be some of the most interesting worlds. In the original adventure Leviathan, there was a planet with no atmosphere and a primitive population. They had rudimentary airlocks set up to maintain the atmosphere in the caves (set up before they completely regressed technologically) and lived in caves with a self-sustaining ecosystem (maybe some mineral springs support algae like organisms that also break down carbon dioxide, replacing the effect of the sun and plants and providing an external "energy" source that keeps the whole thing going).

A way to have a vacuum and effectively tech level zero.

For worlds casually visited, players can accept that the ratings are what they are. If they choose to stay on planet and investigate further a more detailed explanation can be developed.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 38 guests