I'm looking for rules for running a starport. The book starports has a decent description of the cost involved in buying/building a starport, but not any information about actually operating one. At the cost presented in the book a group of character could conceivably afford to found a small starport.

Is there in any published book or available on internett in general a system for actually running a starport? Maintenance cost, income, random events and so on? Or do any one have a suggestion for such a system?


1 Answer 1


GURPS Traveller: Starports is the most detailed treatment. While there are a few GURPS specific rules in the character section, the Starport Design section can be readily used in Mongoose Traveller campaigns. Similar to how the economic rules in GURPS Traveller: Far Trader have worked their way into general use by the Traveller community.

You can download a Table of Contents here. Starport Design process in Chapter 5 takes you through all the steps of designing a starport. It starts out by estimating the trade volume in yearly d-tons of freight, passengers and revenue based on:

  • Planet TL
  • Planet population
  • Port class vs expected class for that planet type (population and TL)
  • Distance to nearest star system
  • Allegiance

The trade volume is used to calculate how much of each of the following resources the starport will need:

  • Berths/Spacedock hangars
  • Shuttle capacity
  • Warehouses
  • Fuel processor
  • Staff
  • Comercial space
  • And much much more

Note the Starport Design process in Chapter 5 goes into budgets and personnel allocation at the end (page 86 to 87).

The books is a great resource for fleshing out a starport. It helps a GM put numbers to all sorts of variables on a starport. How many people are working in traffic control? How many ships arrive at the port each day and so forth.

However, it does not include a system for operating a starport. The income is fixed based on trade volume. Which again is based on things that a player wanting to run a starport has very little control over, planet population and technology level for instance. Neither does it take into account the amenities the starport has or hasn't. For instance having a casino adds no revenue or profit. Neither does a casino increased crime or draw tourists to your starport. It is just a line in the description same way as having a prayer room.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This generalizes well. GURPS: Anything has a very high likelihood of being the best and most detailed treatment of that topic, regardless of whether you're interested in using the GURPS system. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Mar 21, 2016 at 20:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you got any experience using the GURPS starport rules in Mongoose Traveller? What works, what doesn't, and what potential pitfalls should the OP look out for? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Mar 22, 2016 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mentioned my experience, that the starport design rules work with MongTrav, what works is the former, what doesn't work is the character creation stuff. And reinforced with the reference to Far Trader which is a similar example of a GURPS supplement used by the larger Traveller community. It not an answer that needed an essay. \$\endgroup\$
    – RS Conley
    Mar 22, 2016 at 18:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RSConley I can't see where you mentioned your experience; As written, it's possible to read your answer as speculative rather than informed. Now, obviously you do have experience, because you just said so in a comment, but comments are transitory - you should really edit it into your answer. Also, providing more detail about the advantages and disadvantages of this solution would also help the OP to make an informed decision about it; As the moment your answer is the assertion "this will work" without any explanation as to why and how. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Mar 22, 2016 at 22:56

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