World Stats: Star Ports and Trade
I’m treating Star Port class as an indicator of trade value. The actual star port class will generally follow the trade value more or less but in a flexible way.
See the “My 3rd Imperium: Trade Network” post for more details
A = extensive trade
B = moderate trade
C = low trade
D = minor trade
E = minimal Trade
nb treat as order of magnitude differences rather than linear
with rules like that and a trade network map like this
then you can tell a lot of things about a system at a glance
Class A star port, high population, high tech – these are the trade hub systems and will generally have a strong 3I presence, lots of fleets, lots of interstellar trade ships plus most of the system planets and moons colonized also so masses of in-system shipping as well.
A and B star ports within c. 6 parsecs of an alpha system signify systems that produce something the alpha system wants in exchange for tech.
Truck Stop Systems
Systems with C, D, E star ports aren’t part of the main trade network but if the system is on a main trade route between more important systems these systems will generally be truck stop systems providing refueling and repair facilities for passing merchant ships. Sometimes the truck stop portion is on the system’s main world but more often there is an orbital B grade space station that acts as a truck stop for the merchant ships, refueling etc. All stops on main trade routes have refined fuel. These truck stop space stations often act as a base for Belters.
Systems with C, D, E star ports that aren’t part of a main trade route. Free Trader territory.
From my trade map
- alpha system: Glisten
- hinterland system: Aki
- truck stop system: Windsor
- boondock system: Caledonia
Class A star ports with low population
A class A star port like this might represent the standard book description or one of a variety of B+ star ports.
1) ship repair but no shipyard (population 5-6)
2) only a shipyard (population 4-5) (company town or 3I)
3) B+ facilities and only seasonal production (population 1-3)
4) B star port enhanced by government or military presence (population 6-7)
5) combination of space station and planetary facilities (any)
6) systems with a particularly valuable trade good
Star Port C, D, E on a seemingly developed world
The star port only represents the value of interstellar trade and doesn’t mean the system has nothing to sell only that they have nothing to sell which a nearby system needs. So potential explanations:
- system doesn’t have much in tradeable goods
- system has regressed – maybe recent conflict of catastrophe
- isolationist system
A high pop, tech 9+ system like this could potentially have well developed solar system trade and system defenses.