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Locale: Startowns

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“That’ll be fifteen credits.”

Fifteen creds? For a coffin berth? I shook my head as I handed over my credcard. While the desk clerk ran it, I took a quick look around. This place wasn’t worth fifteen credits a night. With no time to find another place, I picked the first one that didn’t look infested.

After stowing my bag in a locker just barely large enough to hold it, I decided to get a quick bite before turning in. I saw Saderi Startown was the same after all these years: rainy, smelly, and  claustrophobic. I was focused on finding Czabrina’s café when I bumped into someone weighing every bit of 250 kilos. He…she?...didn’t even offer an “excuse me” as we slid past one another.

Right about the time I caught sight of Czabrina’s, I caught sight of Mareyl, the smuggler we’d been looking for. She saw me and turned to run. I forgot fatigue and hunger as I went after her. It was hard keeping eyes on her, but even harder would be dealing with the Colonel’s disappointment if I lost her.

I saw her duck down an alley; I hurried to catch up. But the moment I realized it was a trap was the moment four beefy guys flanked her out of the shadows. Mareyl smirked at my having apparently fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the book as her goons advanced.

The concept of businesses and services locating near transportation hubs is almost as old as transportation itself. Ancient trade routes linked new markets through sometimes distant and dangerous territory. Some of these trade centers; such as Constantinople (Istanbul), Samarkand, Alexandria, Tyre, Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo and Beijing; still exist today.

As humanity moved out into the galaxy, the concept of commercial enterprises locating near trade and transportation hubs followed, adapting to a new paradigm. Commerce centers near starports — which came to be colloquially called Startowns — are the most familiar to the interstellar traveler. Due to their freewheeling, pluralistic atmosphere, Startowns have a reputation for sleaze and danger.

These ubiquitous settings for Cepheus Engine and the Original Science Fiction Roleplaying Game (OSFRPG) have always been left to the Referee’s fertile imagination to place and develop and serve as a backdrop and spur to adventures. But when the Referee’s imagination or time runs dry, Locale: Starports can step in to help.

The rules are minimalist, intended to prick the Referee’s imagination without getting in the way, and allowing easy conversion to systems other than CE and the OSFRPG. Also included:

  • two methods of startown generation
  • overall startown character and reasons for their reputations, for good or ill
  • systems for determining the quality of startown businesses, the level of vice in the area, and the density of the crowds that visit.
  • a brief discussion of other types of businesses such as kiosks, carts, and vending machines
  • and even a set of tables that allow the Referee to create encounters, adventures, and rumors on-the-fly.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do…but when in Startown, rely on Locale: Startowns to get you through it unscathed.

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Mark H September 02, 2019 12:08 pm UTC
A preview that repeats what is announced on the product page is not a preview, even if it does also gives a page with Contents
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File Last Updated:
August 31, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on August 31, 2019.
Michael Brown
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