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Trade outposts & Starports.


Following from a discussion about the new collapse and recovery proceedure currently under development for 1248, I entered into a debate over a particular world in Diaspora being able to reactivate a starport on a neighbouring hostile atmosphere world. There were various opinions raised as to it's likelihood based on the primary worlds capabilities. It lead me to want to gather other peoples opinions as to exactly what might be required to reactive a starport.

My short list consists of jump capable ships, knowledgable manpower, and the ability to sustain life in the hostile atmosphere.

The example primary world had a population in the tens of millions from a pre collapse tens of billions and pre collapse, intermediate and current tech levels of D, A, and 7 respectively.
The target world had and atmosphere 2, very thin and tainted requiring TL5 Filter/respirator masks only as the ambient temperature is mid twenties celcius. Tech levels were F, A, and 0 (boneyard)
All I wanted was the former B class starport reopened as a Trade nexus and Starship maintenance facility.

However this thread should equally apply to target worlds of atmospheres 0,1,2,3 and A+

Sorry this post hasn't been as clear and concise as I'd have liked but you're all wise people I'm sure you'll figure out the kind of discussion I'm after:)
Actually there are several variables that you need to address that you have not, though I will try and point out what IMHO is going to be relevant. Perhaps my ramblings can help you set the time table according to what you consider important or not.

First off: Was the starport actually infected by Virus? If Yes, What strain and how much damaged did it do before the facility went inactive? Anyone who understands Virus will IMMEDIATELY find/destroy All IFF black boxes/computers to be found even before THINKING about powering ANYTHING up, REGUARDLESS of weather or not any Virus infection is confirmed or not. This includes any portable computers that might have been carried by any corpses left in the terminals. If IYTU Virus can leave "eggs" in lower tech electronics, you need to decide if/how many/what kind/ and where such "eggs" will be. ((Eggs are copies of the Virus code loaded into a machine too small to allow it full sentience in the hopes it will be connected to a larger system)).
Did the starport just shut down due to the people dying off? Was the Starport salvaged for parts to try and save the Life support system of the planet? Was it subject to sabotage, vandalism/looting when the food started running out? Answering these questions will tell you what the current state of the starport is in, and what, if anything, you have to work with.

OK …Assuming you have made your starting point (remnants of the previous starport) as Virus safe as you can: What’s next?


If the power plant that was servicing the starport is going to be used, or even the starports back up generators, some of the steps above will need to be repeated. If you plan on importing generators the time requirement will be MUCH lower.

Not certain how much technical knowledge you have, so please forgive me if I say something you all ready know:

Real life, modern day Navy ships can draw power from the power "Grid" of a city. Its just a REALLY big plug (actually several, and the cables that go from the pier to the ship are heavy…. Trust me). I picture spaceships do much the same thing: plug into the grid while on the ground/docked to be able to shut down power plants and service them.

What most people don’t know is that its a 2 way street: the ship could run its generators and FEED the grid. During relief efforts, one Aegis Cruiser provided all the power for an island of 20,000 people and didn’t break a sweat. As long as you have a power source, a power regulator (switching station), and something to carry the amount of voltage in question (big enough wires), a power grid doesn’t much care WHERE the power comes into it from.

This in and of itself could be a problem. Example: Crew comes in, cleans out the space station of any Virus hiding electronics. They power up the station somehow (either back-feeding from a ships power plant or portable ones brought with them, or back up generators doesn’t matter how really). Suddenly, there is power on the grid and anything that’s plugged into it will have power available UNLESS they isolate the space station from the rest of the grid. It would really suck to fire up the starport, and have that virus infected ICBM missile silo half way round the planet wake up now wouldn’t it?

As is what you have is a Class E starport with a lot of infrastructure already built for you. After Power is restored the next most important thing would be environmental control. A work crew that doesn’t have to wear suits or masks is a happier, more productive, crew.

Assuming that there are crew quarters at the space station, renovating one of them for work crew comfort and adding a company bar/ recreation area would speed up the repair time by a minimum of 10% and probably closer to 15% imho (this is from personal experience, if any of you smart people with degrees care to correct me I would welcome it). Most starports have hotels connected to them which would serve in this purpose perfectly.

Your framework is now in place: Systems to be brought up next, in order, would be:

Landing area repair (potholes/cracks)
Unrefined refueling capability (pumps,pipes,tankes)
Refined refueling capability
Starship repair capability
Non starship construction capability

Things that will/may be needed:

Heavy equipment (removal of junk starships/debris)
Replacement parts by the ton (going to have to replace just about every piece of electronic gear in the place)
Much of the port will have been automated (repair/building especially) and will require new computers or new facility’s if its now going to be more of a manual operation.

Time frame:

You start out with a glorified Class E starport. Assuming a crew of 50 people with the correct gear, knowledge, and parts: 6 months to get the WHOLE port clear of electronics you don’t want anywhere near your new parts and 25% of your base habitable. Add 2 to 6 months if you plan on using existing power generators at the port, and 6- 9 months if you plan on using the planets power generators. Ignore this time if power is available from the start, though adding a month just to do general maintenance on the existing wiring would be a good thing.

1 month after that you have refueling ability to one landing area (you have to decide if an "area" is one landing pad or say a group of 4?) and 50% of your port habitable.
You now have a class D starport

2 to 7 months later you would have Refined fueling ability to one landing area, and some rudimentary air traffic control systems online. At this point you can start dividing up your work crew into smaller units: perhaps 25 to start working on a repair bay and the other 25 to start working on the next Landing Area.

1 month later you have a repair bay for one landing area, refined fuel available at 2 more areas (3 total now).
You now have a class C starport.

To get the non starship construction back online would take a minimum of 50 people 6 months. This is assuming all of the equipment was mothballed correctly and put away properly. If not, double or triple that time. Unless you really need to build non starships, if your workforce is limited, you might be better served just staying a class C starport and getting more landing areas online.

Once you have achieved Class C status, add 1 or 2 landing areas a month , and add 25% to the "Habitable" area of the port until you reach 100% habitable, then its 1-4 areas per month.

If this was the only starport, with a population of (10’s of millions), you probably have enough docking area to service 100 to 150 ships, and a whole BUNCH of area for parking (get in, unload, refuel. Now Get your ship over to the parking lot Mister and stop blocking the gas pumps….)

I have rambled on long enough. I hope this helps, or at a minimum, starts a productive debate.

Peace out..
Impressive first post Highguard. Belated welcome to the boards. What took you six months before joining in?

Actually this is one aspect of the kind of response I was looking for and has made me think about a few things I hadn't given enough thought on or hadn't thought of at all. Good work.

For roleplaying and adventure potential I'd like the possibility of my players "missing something" that later wakes up when fed power, but thats up to them and how thorough they are. I wasn't thinking on the scale of a planetary defence site though.

A work crew of about 50 people is about what I was thinking and since the primary world (at this time) only has 5 jump capable ships it need not be a huge port. Nor do I think it was a huge port back in 1116 with the worlds pre collapse population being 90,000.

Actually small craft, fighter, or small SDB construction probably will be a priority, but not until the port is active and capable of maintaining "the fleet". The primary world has a larger, functioning C Class where current maintenance is conducted.
Thank you for the welcome and the very nice compliment. As to why so long... mmm I am a player in an almost 4 year D&D campaign. As I will be taking up the GM stick here in the next few months I have taken a more proactive interest in the information here instead of just the occasional fly by. I am a firm believer in the 2 minute rule: Need to listen to a conversation for at least 2 minutes before jumping in, and be willing to listen 2 minutes after your last comment.

I have been playing traveler since it came out in '77 (I was 10 and in LOVE with spaceships. Still am.) Closest thing I got to Space though was the Navy for 10 years.

I notice that your population was 90k pre-collapse? Very sorry I was under the impression that it was much larger than that. With only 90k people one might assume its a VERY small port. I would like to point out that NOBODY lives in a hostile environment (tainted, thin) unless there is a DARN good reason. Personally I can only think of 3 such reasons a person would live there, and only 2 are voluntary: You have no other choice, 2) The environment will be changing at some point (terra forming is in process), and 3) (most likely) there is something worth exporting on this rock that pays very well. If number 3 is the case, well then you have every right to make the port as big as you want to handle the export. With a thin atmo, even some of the REALLY big partially streamlined cargo ships can actually land. That would be an awesome selling point to any Captain that doesn’t get to set his ship down very often. Lets him/her get out and kick the tires.

As to surprises that might happen it needn’t be something as dire as a warhead <grin> just tossed that idea out as the OMG factor. Some other, less fatal things that could arise are listed below. Some of them could happen regardless of Virus infection or not. I will be giving examples below as if various systems are actually Virus infected, but a less dire version could happen even without that added threat. Feel free to use all or none of the below. If your players start looking at you as if you are one of the most Evil people on the planet, I will deny all knowledge of this post. <could possibly even mix and match, some virus, some not. Add 20% time to work crews that sleep poorly…muahahahahaha>

Traffic control grid infected: 1d10 days after power is restored have hover cars, grav sleds, baggage haulers etc. start suicide runs into equipment, or drive through the Plexiglas windows. Nothing like having a grav "18 wheeler" join you for morning coffee. (note: kill the power, vehicles continue in a straight line for 3 min then safety features shut them off)

Port security infected: Port security has several bots available for removal of suspicious packages/cargo. Each looks like Terminator with a motorcycle helmet on. 1d6 days after the "bar" is built a number of bots show up at the exit as the players are leaving and the bots think all the characters are things that need to be "removed" (as in take them outside). The security building or area will be connected to the port through one of the service tunnels away from the main building. Employee only area. Kill the power, they immediately wander off to their storage lockers. Another possibility that might be fun actually is have the "girls" behind the counters (help desk people etc.) Suddenly go West World on the characters. (Gulp) "I am SORRY Sir but your carry on luggage is TOO big.. You will need to DIE now. Have a nice DAY".

SIDE NOTE: I have been imagining this starport as having a large number of underground walkways. Its much easier to have a pressurized docking ring go from ship to ground than from ship to a large buiding way over there. Tunnels will also allow for landing areas much farther away from the terminal than normal, even with the atmosphere being tainted.

Public works computer is virus infected: possible problems: Paint truck comes out and paints a "yellow curb" next to the players landing craft, then gives them a parking ticket. Might even have it put a "boot" on one of the landing struts.

Small vacuum droids start sucking up all the spare parts off a pallet, (or perhaps personal items of the PC’s ) thinking its trash, avoid capture then escapes into a service outlet too small for the characters to follow

Toilets start to back flow, and the resulting flood is running across the floor towards that LIGHT stand over there…you know? The one plugged in….

Gah!! 03:07. I will post tomorrow. Give me a heads up on weather or not this is the type of thing you are looking for.

Thanks again for your kind words.

Peace out

They're all great roleplaying opportunities you've suggested and I really got a laugh out of the service bot painting a yellow line around the player's ship and then issueing a Ticket hehe. I think my player's might too but I can't see the more trigger happy one letting it get to within 50 meters of the ship

Just to clarify my specific example though I'll list the worlds and their three era stats.

The Primary world, ie the one doing the rebuilding;
Aight 3203 Khavle(D)Diaspora
*1117 C752A99-D 701
*1129 C752A98-A 701
current *1198 C752743-7 401

The target world, ie the location of the B Class port to be re opened
Dehrapur 3102 Khavle(D)Diaspora
*1117 B423474-F 901
*1129 B423451-A 901
current *1198 X423000-0 001 Boneyard
(or depending on your view)
B423000-A 001.

As you say though a reasonably small population for a B Class starport. The world is fairly small so it most likely has a low gravity though maybe it's Dense and might be good for minning.

I tend to suspect it's entire population was in some manner connected to a ship building industry of some type. Probably just small craft. If you look at the rest of the subsector, Dehrapur stands almost alone, being one of only four worlds, who's starport didn't decline during the rebellion/hardtimes era. That suggests to me that someone put alot of effort into maintaining it or that it was pretty vital to alot of someones. It's Tech level did decline however, to the same level as Aights.

By contrast Aight's starport was owned by virus for some time during "the short nap" before the locals forcibly removed virus, and then rebuilt it to its former rating and approaching it's former glory.
However they never had better than a C Class. Thus they never, even pre 1117, had ship building infrastructure. Though with a population and Tech level that high I'm betting they had a hugh manufacturing base and probably many facilities that churned out starship components like; entire turret assemblies, smaller powerplants, starship grade computers, fuel purification plants etc etc.

For the general discussion though, I think I stated my request better in the 1248 thread....

What does a Pocket Empire need to rebuild a starport or Trade outpost on a neighbouring world?
A PE needs:

1--Ships of jump capability & some cargo capacity [supplies, heavy construction equipment/ modular housing etc, supplies, workers]. Lets face it, if yer PE has 5x S-clas ships, at 10dtns per trip, its gonna take a while!

2--The need/ desire/ and funds in planet/PE budget to spend to reopen/ create said new/former port facility.

3--The personnel who will man/ operate and restore this facility.
a-Government [PE]Volunteers?
b-Military Conscripts?
c-Gulag criminal forced labor [Solee's favorite IMTU]
d-Private enterprise? [my player's solution]

think pretty much Highguard <WELCOME to CoTI!> has walked you through the stages of set up, etc, as well as mini adventure possibilities. Aight has TL-7 space capabilities. It has a gas giant. Possibly it even has some of those MT/HT STL-200dtn TL6/7 Frontier fuel harvesters working that one gas giant!

Have you seen this thread on the IMTU column here? Seems you have...


Dehrapur had nearly a pop 5 [90K+]. And the best B-class in the region its size save Medora.
Your target has atmos 2. 3 hydropshere [30%, likely ice deposits in the thin tainted atmos. Might be liquid facing the primary star..freeze at night?].
Only one gas giant, Like Aight.
No planetoid belts in Tppg of the UWP, so mining refining the hulls, probably imported raw material elsewhere, OR was done planetside. 1117 govt was balkanized. Then changed as her economy changed in 1129 to a Feudal technocracy.
Seems to me she was a Balkanized F-Tech/ corporate planet from the looks of things. The B-class yard with refined fuel for sale was a self contained company facility. Maybe the key employer of the 90k. [Not including the robots at TL-F like the Starmek An47's]. Mining/Refining was its own concern. A TAS hotel at the starport <albeit a small one>, The shuttle service to GG and back that brought the fuel in for sale..Atmos 2--Partial streamline vessels could land [Merc Broadswords, Nishemani Corsairs, etc for examples].

Hmm. AT Aight's current TL of 7, I'd say she could support a pop digit 3 size colony there.
[based on my hypothesis in the above forum thread
TL-5 being minimum pop 1;
TL-6, pop 2;
TL-7, pop 3.
BTW, the fanzine "Third Imperium", issue #7, page 16, described at prefab D-class starport:
TL-D [AIght's former TL, btw... ;)
cost of 1.13 Mcr
1 advanced base
1 Radio transmitterbeacon
1 Pulse laser installation
1 collapsible 200dtn fuel tank
1 warehouse unit
1 mechanical tool kit
1 electronic tool kit
1 [TL-D] Fusion power plant
1 dirt mover [a bulldozer blade for the ATV module in a Mod cutter worked fer us]
8 cannisters of foam Steel
1 assorted plans
1 assorted measuring instruments.
weight 30 tonnes metric.--page 16.

"Once constructed [in 200 man hours], crew of three: Gunner, Engineer/Manager, & a Communications/Electronics guru. Can handle up to 800dtns of starship /s."page 18.

"Can also be found used as Pirate bases" --page 18.

Sounds like you need one of these!
On the question of "who is going to staff it"?

What you need are: scientists, technicians and security personnel.

Scientists may be a problem, but the rest look military to me.

Rotate them out every once in a while and you've got no problem.

I won't bother to tell you about my theory that infiltrating intel weenies onto free traders is an incredibly good idea for an aspiring PE. The ones that come back end up with handy technical skills, plus loads of interesting data about (and contacts on!) neighbouring worlds.
Venice of old did well by its merchant-intelligence officers...and a C-class port in the wilds does draw free traders to it for overhauls...
Once they've upgraded Dehrapur to C-class herself, the PE will no doubt re-colonize her pop digit to 4. when the B-class goes back online, say to produce Ftrs, shuttles, lighters, STL craft..pop digit 5 would be the next PE wave of folks there..[lowberthed hopefully as is cheaper and faster].
Other bits

You may want to throw in a couple more warehouses (spares, food, water, hydroponics facility, and also a large open recreation area).

Add in a power plant module, all those sensors and guns take lots of power.

Add a hanger module or two, big enough to get an ATV or 20dtn small craft in (easier to do maint in a shirt sleeve environment)

Plus some vehicles, a good number of trucks, at least 1 ATV, a fire truck / ambulance, lots of jeep type things, and a fuel truck with integral pump.

I liked the Third Imperium Fanzine kit for building starports (dammit I liked Third Imperium Fanzine - it was the model Traveller fanzine). I always modified it (in MT/HT not TNE) so that it couldn't produce more than a type E starport.

I agree with the o' wise Liam that the thing should be revived as product of TNE - if the Hivers were that clever, they would realise that Starports are barbarisms (and Virus's) worst enemy. Even type E starports.

Maybe a civilisation will build a Type E before attempting to get the old Type C back online. That way, eggs have limited effect on functional starport systems (PAD systems excepted!).
As the descriptions of Starports, and their rules, are fairly limmited in the TNE book I made up a modular "starport in a can" for mtu.

The book says a C Class is "Routine", capable of repairing "Major Damage" and supplying "Unrefined" fuel.

To repair major damage, also according to the book, requires parts, time, and skilled workers.
Parts can be fabricated at a machineshop or electronics shop if they can't be purchased directly from a manufacturer.

Based on all of this I decided a C Class port needs Hi orbit+ sensors and communication capabilities, a machineshop and electronics shop, a powerplant to power it all and a fuel purification plant wouldn't go astray either. At TL B I found I could fit all of this into a single 29Dt Module for a modular cutter.

Thus a Starport in a can.

Ofcourse you want to add habitation modules, cargo/storage modules, fuel tankage, etc etc.
But for mtu, one module at a habital worlds population center or a handfull of linked modules on an uninhabited world was sufficient for a "Small traffic load" C Class port.

So, yes I do also use modular ports, and since I have a j3 340/600Dt ship that carries 7x 29Dt modules + 1x 50Dt loaded Cutter + 1x 7Dt Fury Lander, and a 140/200Dt j2 ship that carries 2x 29Dt modules and 4x 0.5Dt missiles/sensor probes, modules get alot of use IMTU.

Thanks for all your input guys you've all really helped me solidify my position on this IMTU.
Your 29dtn C-class port in a can is 1dt shy of the D-class in a can of Third Imperium Fanzine issue # 7, pp 16 & 18, so you're well in the ball park.
And looking at a small C-class port on say, Berens/Madoc/Diaspora in Guilded Lilly 1, you aren't too far off. One could re-inhabit/ repair a building on your target world for the warehouses/ shops near your 1km x 1km landing zone. [minimum space for downside E-C class ports of small size.] thus sparing your having to pack said buildings in modular forms. But then, thats why you scout it first, then build!
The class C port in a can may have a problem - getting parts and materials. Some of the delicate high tech stuff, (jump drives etc, advanced electronics) are just too difficult to knock up in a workshop.

Workshops would be able to handle hull repairs, welding up damaged combustion chambers etc. but delicate adjustments on J drives will probably be too much. The mech workshop could build new parts (up to a certain size) if they had the bar stock, but the actual bar stock would need to be made elsewhere.

Generally you need the infrastructure behind this or your port is an overgrown assembly plant. May be the C class port could handle all h damage and H damage upto say 5H, bigger than that would require parts to be shipped in from homeworld.

The port in a can will definitely need to import parts. Presumably this is true of any port on a world where the local economy isn't capable of large scale high tech manufacturing.

It's not a problem if you have the shipping to support your outposts, and there is an actual reason why you have your outposts where they are. That is, your outpost is located somewhere where the local economy is likely to grow, you are trading for your services, or there is some other good reason for swallowing the cost.
My "port in a can" definately has no cargo space in itself. There is about 3 cubic meters which I deemed a vacc suit locker! For parts storage another 29Dt Cargo module, or a prefab shed, or a reclaimed building would have to do that job.

I envisioned their use mostly as a co-ordination center at a new port site or old port site under reclaimation. They're the type of thing salvagers bring along and make do with for the first three to six months whilst they build a new, or refurbish the old, starport.

Also mostly usefull for Boneyard outposts that serve jump route connections to better worlds.
For example the RC might drop one at the former Class A port site on Adrian 0432 Aubaine to service the initial salvage base and act as a stopover port for jump two traffic between Fija and Eos.

They are not designed to service the full range of starport duties a worlds starport usually should.

Though if your player's ship has lost it's PEMS antenna array, has two or three holes in the hull causing the cargo hold to no longer be pressurised, and has suffered one major hit(H) to it's power plant reducing the ship to one gee accelleration then I think most players would love to stop by for a day or two
Yes, that sounds like the kind of thing they would be good for.

More generally, you could probably do fairly well with a "starport" that had a range of parts that fit the most common kinds of vessels that visit. Since you can pretty much predict the traffic patterns through such an outpost, "the most common kinds" are probably pretty much the only kinds of ship that go through!

If some other kind of vessel comes through, it is most likely to be an outsider vessel, which you are under no obligation to support.
Originally posted by Badbru:

Also mostly usefull for Boneyard outposts that serve jump route connections to better worlds.
For example the RC might drop one at the former Class A port site on Adrian 0432 Aubaine to service the initial salvage base and act as a stopover port for jump two traffic between Fija and Eos.

They are not designed to service the full range of starport duties a worlds starport usually should.
Something that I did IM-TNE-U, yes! <Nods agreement>.
IMTU-Adrian, Arvid, Seliga, Buhle, Svarla, Savanjanni, and Conner in Aubaine subsector were thus opened, not only as salvage sites, but small feeder ports of call for RCES ships in need of repair to make it the last few parsecs back into the RC-Safe. Bestor, L'Steich, and Sarid in Oriflamme as well. Bestor serving those vessels bound into Shenk. But IM-TNE-U these were D-class ports.

Just been looking through Hardtimes and it has got an adventure set on your target world. The background info may be useful, apparently the population has heavily vilani. There is also a map of a small mega-corp private type C port on the planet - useful start for your salvage / recovery teams.

Hope that helps

What would you need for a minimum size class E port on a X class planet? Lets say something capable of supporting one 100dt scout ship. I know that GT:SP requires a terminal beacon, marking beacons, and a small sized office, along with unspecified engineering supplies/equipment. I guess I'm wondering how much dt the unspecified engineering supplies/equipment is going to take up.

Assume that this is a new world, say way spinward of the Regency--a couple of sectors past Astron.

Rockball One/Way Spinward 0101 X200000-0 ba 014na
I'd be guessing here, but the engineering supplies/equipment is probably the bulldozer (possibly) required to create the "flat area to land".
Most rules book references to E Class starports essentially call them that. ie a Flat place to land with a radio beacon to guide you there!

The radio beacon is probably solar and battery powered.

E Class ports aren't much really. IMHO.

Thanks for the "heads up" re "Hardtimes". I don't have it and have been wanting it for quite some time.
Guess I'll have to go to that website and download the recent re release .PDF version that recently became available. Though I'd much rather a Dead Tree version