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 Post subject: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 10:46 pm 
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Why do many sci-fi RPGs present a planet as having only one starport? I realized that, just as the real world has more than one airport, many worlds would have multiple starports.

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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 11:48 pm 
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In Traveller, it's implicitly tied to the extra-territorial status of the port (which I believe pre-dates the OTU, though IDHMBWM to check). Presumably, it is easier to negotiate a single concession than multiple ones. The application of this logic to balkanized worlds, which could easily have competing nations eager for their own link to interstellar trade, suggests that there may be a policy angle as well: it may encourage consolidation.

David Pulver suggested a variant Imperium that was funded solely by tariffs on interstellar trade. In this case, the starport represents a monopoly on trade for whoever owns it, to be jealously protected from competition. Incidentally, this provides excellent motivation for The Trade (i.e., smuggling, particularly as a minor crime punishable by fines rather than confiscation of ship or jail time).

There is some justification in consolidating customs and quarantine for interstellar trade into as few locations as possible.

Most countries today have a limited number of "ports of entry," especially for air travel. Even if you are flying on to a final destination deeper in the country, you still have to land at the port of entry to clear customs. This avoids the need to have customs specialists standing by at every potential landing strip, while still maintaining some semblance of border control. You can sometimes get around this requirement by paying for a customs agent to meet you somewhere else.


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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 2:44 pm 
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I have always assumed that the published Traveller Starport is the best PUBLIC starport on the mainworld. Other spaceports do exist, but they are either private or smaller.

Thus a Class C starport world would likely have several Class D ports (depending on Population and TL of course). It could also have a Large Class A facility that is wholely owned and operated by Ling Standard and cannot be used by Tramp Freighters.

I see this as actually being pretty common in the Spinward Marches along the "Spinward Main". The books say that this is an important trade route, but many of the starports are pretty pathetic. The answer is that there IS a lot of trade down the Main, but it is mostly private and they have their own spaceports and don't use the Imperial Starport. So that world with a Class D startport doesn't look like it has much interstellar contact, but that is because most of it is going through that Class-B equivalent spaceport in the L5 position that only Imperilines can use and sees a 100KTn freighter every day.

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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 4:27 pm 
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It's not jumping straight to mind, but at least one adventure presents a world with a private starport (it might have been a Judges Guild adventure). I think the world didn't even have a public starport.

One of my thoughts is that a lot of the inspirational fiction has just a single starport, and generally a simplified view of the worlds which certainly matches Book 3 world generation.

My inclination would be to have private starports be a rare thing, part of what makes THIS world unique and interesting. I could see a balkanized world having multiple starports, and then definitely, the generated starport would be the best one (there might be two or more of the same class depending on how the world ends up being set up).

Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 5:57 pm 
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There was an old adventure that mentioned that a world with a Class E starport was actually the private retreat of a Noble family, so their facility was much better, but the uninvited were forced to use the equivalent of a Class E port (water is over there, don't cross the fence or we kill you). Can't remember the details though.

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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 7:39 pm 
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Looking through my notes on the adventures, one such case is The Traveller Adventure – Inselberg which has a Class X rating with a private starport.


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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 1:45 pm 
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I suppose it depends how much traffic and trade you think a single starport can handle. Is it crammed to bursting with flights taking off every couple of minutes like Heathrow or container ships queueing up to be offloaded at a busy port? Or do customs and space-traffic control spend their time having long tea breaks and updating their Facebook profiles to "very bored at work"?

Also how long does it take to get you or your cargo to the starport and does that add to the cost of travel/trade? I'd be a bit miffed if the only starport on Earth was in New Zealand, for instance!


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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:04 am 
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Jame Rowe wrote:
Why do many sci-fi RPGs present a planet as having only one starport?


In theory, the starport listed is the best starport intended to handle "public" traffic in the system (in many systems, they may be the only one). This is of interest for starship operators because a densely populated system where even rockballs in have a small starship handling facility might technically have hundreds or even thousands of starports but if they're all C and you need to have some serious work done on your starship, you're out of luck.

This doesn't take into account things like Naval Bases or Scout Bases, which are listed separately - they might have much better facilities, but they're not open to the public. (I figure actually that in some systems, the Naval or Scout base does handle civilian traffic, but not in all cases.)


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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:25 pm 
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In the GDW boardgame Invasion: Earth, Terra is shown as having three starports (if I'm remembering correctly).

Granted that this isn't technically Traveller "canon", it does represent a high population world and might reasonably be used as justification if such is needed.

The three ports are all surface facilities, i.e. "downports", and no mention is made in the game of any orbital facilities.


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 Post subject: Re: Multiple Starports
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:02 pm 
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Why wouldn't the information on Terra in the game be part of the Traveller canon? The invasion of Terra itself is canon, as it was the final action by the Imperium High Command in the Solomani Rim War (990-1002). The High Command decided that the invasion was necessary to eliminate the use of Terra as a rallying point for the Solomani in the future.

EDIT: Removed "Imperial" from the third sentence in part due to redundancy.

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Last edited by Traveller on Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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