Tobia Highport Tonnage

Geir

Cosmic Mongoose
Well, depending on where you want to put them really. If it's known where, in relation to the planet, your 95D station or ship is located, then inbound ships can plot their jump entry to be in that area. For pure transfer traffic above/below the plane of the system eliptic is a good place to be.
If I were a traffic engineer (is there such a thing?) then especially in systems like red dwarf stars where the habitable world is way down the star's 100D limit, I'd put a 'highport' at some convenient point - perhaps far above the elliptic, if it made sense - but 'in line' with the busiest trade route. With thrust 0 station-keeping, the port wouldn't even need to 'orbit' the sun, just hang there at 99.5 D of the star, then offer fast shuttle service to the planet for those who needed it. for a fee, of course. But those just passing through and flipping cargo and passengers, they could be on their way in a day and everyone would come out ahead.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
I don't think it mattered, since you could almost call anything a starport, or in our world, an international airport.

It becomes an issue when it came about that the Imperium made them extraterritorial, and has an exclusive agency run them.

It would be interesting as to how the Darrians, Zhodani and Swordies run theirs.
 

enpeze2

Mongoose
I don't think it mattered, since you could almost call anything a starport, or in our world, an international airport.

It becomes an issue when it came about that the Imperium made them extraterritorial, and has an exclusive agency run them.

It would be interesting as to how the Darrians, Zhodani and Swordies run theirs.
Interestingly although we know alot about the traveller universe (many of it important, other things not that essential) we dont know how the Zhodani differs from the Imperium in their way of organizing space life.

I think the best would be to see the class A spaceport of large important worlds not as a single entity floating in orbit, which sounds oversimplified and thus not very logical to me, but as a network of installations with different functions and sizes. Eg. it could be that captains of freighters with dangerous chemicals, zoo animals or food are docking at different orbital installations than those with passengers.
 
Last edited:

phavoc

Cosmic Mongoose
There is nothing in the books that insists on there being a single starport for any given world, so the notion that the books have it wrong is a bit of a straw man argument. In various narratives, "the starport" is mentioned, which could mean one starport is present, but it might also mean that denizens of the star system see that one as the starport, while others serve various auxiliary functions. In other narratives, such as the descriptions of Mora, there are multiple enormous starports described.

I don't see any reason why the author should write the book to that level of specificity. Merely providing the game mechanics to create starports is enough and then let individual referees create things as they wish.
I haven't checked each and every version, but I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you. But that reasoning is a bit of a strawman argument as well. The usage of the word is common throughout sci-fi literature, and nearly always refers to a singular location just like someone today says "I need to go to the airport". Some cities, like NYC, have three major ones that serve it, and thus the natural corollary might be "which one?". Generally speaking that refers to THE airport for most cities - and when there are multiple ones people literally say "I need to go to LaGuardia/JFK/Newark". For the UK in London it would be "I need to go to Heathrow/Gatwick/Stanstead/etc".

So logically one would carry that logic through to the usage of a similar word being used as a descriptor for the person, of today's time period, to know where the person was going. While a planet may indeed have multiple starports (as I've described), the descriptions have always alluded to a singular facility.

The reason an author would, even with a single sentence, clear up the issue is due to the ambiguity. I do think we are both saying the same thing - planets would typically have more than one starport, with an Imperial being (most likely) singular, whereas the other ones could easily be in the multiples, and be used for different tasks/industries.
 

Sigtrygg

Emperor Mongoose
Traveller canon says otherwise. Terra for example has three and there are a couple of other references to more than one starport on a world.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
Logic indicates that would be multiple launch facilities on high population and/or balkanized worlds or multi planet systems.

The issue, as I see it, is whether for the vast majority of the systems within the Imperium, only one (set of) facilities is Imperium extraterritorial, administered by one Imperium department, and tagged as the starport of the system.
 

Arkathan

Cosmic Mongoose
Traveller canon says otherwise. Terra for example has three and there are a couple of other references to more than one starport on a world.
I was going by pg 126 of the Traveller Companion
The most important station is The Starport, the rest are spaceports, and may be competing with the main one for top billing, titles and bragging rights.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
Any competition would be for traffic, and the bottom line.

There has to be some advantage to docking with the local starport, unless you're RYANAEROSPACE, or easyJump.
 

phavoc

Cosmic Mongoose
I was going by pg 126 of the Traveller Companion
The most important station is The Starport, the rest are spaceports, and may be competing with the main one for top billing, titles and bragging rights.
This is overly ambiguous. What does it mean to be "the starport"? All customs and passenger clearances are done through it? All ships must first stop there? Neither are practical for a populous industrialized world. And this doesn't begin to deal with ships that are simply passing through the system.

The point of paying for rulebooks is to have a pre-defined system. Traveller (with the possible exception of the GURPS book set) has a long history of ambiguity, and MGT has continued that tradition. That's why people purchase books from publishers, to reduce the ambiguity and to have a defined framework. Some don't want to fill in all the blanks, and others use the books as a starting point for their own.

So adding a few sentences, or even an entire paragraph, falls with a reasonable expectation. At least that has been my experience.
 

IanBruntlett

Cosmic Mongoose
So adding a few sentences, or even an entire paragraph, falls with a reasonable expectation. At least that has been my experience.
Behind the Claw page 5 has a column of page on this topic and on page 6 has a half page diagram on this topic.

To quote the text:
STARPORTS AND SPACEPORTS
By convention, a world has only one starport but can
have many spaceports. The designation "starport" is
given to the world’s main port, where most commercial
and passenger traffic goes. Any other port is designated
a spaceport. This can cause problems on balkanised
worlds where several governments exist; most will claim
that their port is the main one.

Usually, but not always, the starport is the best port on
the planet and others will be inferior. Normally, there
will be a main port accompanied by a startown, which
is often the planetary capital. The startown is usually
geared to offworld visitors and doing business with other
star systems, so may have more relaxed attitudes and
laws than other regions of the planet. This is not always
the case, however.

The Imperium considers a starport (but not usually a
spaceport) as Imperial territory, so Imperial law, and
not local law, applies there. In practice, there is often a
compromise, with shared jurisdiction. Law Levels vary
but a typical well-regulated starport tends to restrict
visitors to sidearms – this may be more or less than
people are permitted to own or carry outside the port.
The startown is planetary territory, not part of the port,
and theoretically local law applies there. However, the
startown is often a buffer zone between world and port
and if there are radical differences in Law Level then
sometimes the startown has a special set of laws in
place within its limits.

The planetside part of a starport or spaceport is termed
the downport, although there may also be an orbital
component termed the highport. In some cases, this is
big enough to be a city in space and there may be no
need to descend to the planet at all if business can be
conducted in orbit.

An important system might have a large highport
serving a downport at the capital. Large ships dock at
the highport and use shuttles for passenger and cargo
transport; smaller vessels can land if they choose. From
the orbital highport, it is possible to go to the main
downport or spaceports in each of half a dozen cities,
plus a commercial port serving an industrial complex.
Meanwhile there may be a dedicated military port,
a small government port and a couple of spaceports
serving installations on other bodies in the system, such
as a mining colony on a moon of one of the gas giants.
A minor system, on the other hand, may have little more
than a shed and a marked landing area.
 

Sigtrygg

Emperor Mongoose
Within the Third Imperium setting there are several examples of worlds with more than one starport and are designated as such and not as spaceports. The author is either making a general statement, that the canon setting changes, or is unaware due to lack of knowledge or research of prior Traveller canon.

I already mentioned that Earth has three, in addition -
The local planetary navy is rigidly enforcing a new order funneling traffic through Junidy's two major starports, and is executing numerous spot checks.
and
Tureded/Lanth (0207-W65540-9) There are four starports at Tureded, situated equidistant along the equator. Each has full facilities for a class C starport

The DGP World Builder's Handbook (which is a mash up of DGP CT Grand Census and Grand Survey) contains rules for generating alternate starports on the mainworld. Additional starports cannot be better than the main starport but can be equal.
 
Last edited:

phavoc

Cosmic Mongoose
Behind the Claw page 5 has a column of page on this topic and on page 6 has a half page diagram on this topic.

To quote the text:
Ah, thanks for that citation from Behind the Claw. That sort of thing belongs in a core High Guard / main rule book, in my opinion at least.

It's good that it's cited, though it's still not practical or logical for a planet with a large population base that is industrialized. To be fair, it's not as if it hasn't been put into some sci-fi settings, such as the Flinx novels by Alan Dean Foster. There Earth has a primary spaceport in Australia, but its hundreds of miles in diameter. And from there you take a shuttle to your other destinations. It's fictional, so it's fine for the author to do such things, but it's not a reflection of what would really work. It would be akin to saying all sea traffic in the Atlantic has to pass through NYC, and all sea traffic in the Pacific has to pass through Long Beach / Los Angeles. Sheer volume would overwhelm a single facility and choke it out, which is why historically you see such things spread out and expand elsewhere as volume increases. Still, it's a game, and at least it's potentially plausible.

Traveller has always steered more (or less) towards the science portion of science-fiction gaming, rather than the space opera/Star Wars parts. So the practical/logical version has always been the preferred method. So one would expect a planet with a multi-billion population to have a plethora of ports, both orbital and ground-side, and traffic would be routed based upon a multitude of variables - none of which are necessary for playing, but explanations allow for a host of options for both GM and players. Knowing the your local contact at this smaller starport has already been bribed so PC's wouldn't bother with any of the larger ports with more active / less likely to be bribed contacts. GM's then may route the players to a much larger, more reputable installation due to an 'emergency' or whatever. While people can (and often do) think of such things themselves, I've always been a big fan of having source materials lay the groundwork for cleverness and possibility for me.

I do appreciate the citation since I wasn't aware of it. I'll have to peruse the book in greater detail now to see what other nuggets might be there.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
It's quite possible that the continent of Australia is now a megapolis with billions of inhabitants, with a huge ass space launch facility in the middle.

Terra is also under martial law, so I suspect there's quite a lot of scrutiny about who's coming and going.

Suspect the same with Capitol, without the overt martial law, just heightened security.
 

phavoc

Cosmic Mongoose
It's quite possible that the continent of Australia is now a megapolis with billions of inhabitants, with a huge ass space launch facility in the middle.

Terra is also under martial law, so I suspect there's quite a lot of scrutiny about who's coming and going.

Suspect the same with Capitol, without the overt martial law, just heightened security.
Assuming the above, the amount of traffic required to service the needs of billions of people on the continent would be rather large. And that size would dictate the need to have multiple starports to handle the massive passenger and freight traffic required to service them. Since those people are going to be spread out through the continent, it makes more sense to have distributed ports to handle the traffic.

It would be illogical to route everything through a singular facility. Multiple stations in orbit would be needed to handle the number of docking ports required, let alone hangar space, for ships. Just because one has a 10,000 dTon station doesn't mean it's got an abundance of places for ships to dock, or to build hangars. Delays cost merchants time and money, and passengers aren't going to be happy about it either.

It would be far more likely that 'the starport' in a system is simply the one that is known as the primary port. However the other ports may be larger or busier, or often more services, but aren't 'the starport'. That makes a much more reasonable explanation.
 
Last edited:
Top