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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Traveller: a Class E Starport

A frontier installation (Class E) is just a bare spot of bedrock, marked with a beacon, and is a starport in the most technical sense only.
-- Traveller Main Rulebook, p.178, Mongoose Edition

Due to my prepper nature, I am a big fan of the survival shows that appear on Discovery and National Geographic channel. One of these that I am currently enjoying is called Life Below Zero, and it deals with people who live near the Arctic Circle in Alaska.

One of these people, Sue Aikins, runs the Kavik River Camp, which is a combination weather station, satellite relay, airfield, and base camp for hunting, fishing, and exploring. It's 100 miles from the nearest road and 500 miles from the nearest city (Fairbanks), and 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

It's also an excellent example of a Class E starport for Traveller.

If you squint a bit and use your imagination, the Quonset-hut looking things (they're actually tents) could be half-buried modular cutter modules, and the trailers (which I think are for guests during the summer months) could be conex shipping containers.

This image appears courtesy of Mirco at Traveller Illustrated

Let's look at what constitutes a Class E starport:
  • Quality:  Frontier.  Well, obviously. 
  • Berthing Cost: Zero.  Once you've landed, you just park your craft on the grass somewhere. 
  • Fuel: None.  Kavik actually does have aviation fuel, but only in small amounts for bush planes. These would be considered "small craft" at best in Traveller rules - certainly there isn't enough to fuel a 100 ton starship. 
  • Facilities: None.  In this case, "facilities" means "capability to build or repair ships or small craft." Sue might have some tools nearby she could lend you to help with whatever engine problems you might have, but nothing like a mechanic's shop. 
  • Bases: Pirate 12+.  Not to disparage Sue at all, but I could easily see a place like this being used to service smugglers and the like. 

No, it really isn't much more than a bare patch of ground...

Super cub departing Kavik River Camp in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

... with a beacon and a hut for the Starport Administrator.

Galley at Kavik River Camp in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge


  1. Nice article. I like the cutter illo, too.

  2. If it's a Class E starport what makes you think they would allow scum like you in anyway?

    The pun was just there begging to be abused...

  3. Traveller IllustratedAugust 4, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    Hi Erin

    Nice article. Thanks using my pic of the modular cutter here.
    I just wanted to friendly remind you, that the licensing for the image is Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    So as long as you add an attribution line with proper credits beneath the image we're good :)

    Cheers, Mirco
    Traveller Illustrated


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