SlayerNZ (http://startradersrpg.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile&user=slayernz) one of the forum's senior moderators took the time to post this information about ST RPG:
There's a ton of information here, and there is also a half-complete Wiki guide that you can look at:
Also, there are a ton of guides for different classes scattered within these forums. I'll rummage around and see if I can't find a few links to help get you started soon.
When you have just started playing the game, here is what I would recommend:
There's nothing wrong with beginning with Basic or Normal difficulty when you are trying to figure out what is going on. At these difficulty levels, you can't permanently die, and things are just a bit safer for you to experiment on. When you find you are killing anything that moves with blatant ease, then you know you're ready to start a new game but with higher difficulty.
The most important two skills for me as a new player were Pilot and Stealth. I found that if I got both of those up to a reasonable amount, I actually survived encounters long enough to gain a foot-hold in the game.
Pilot allows you to change distances in combat more easily - meaning you can advance (or stop the opposition from retreating) more effectively, or you can retreat if you want to avoid conflict more easily.
Stealth helps you avoid getting hit when enemy ships fire at you. Also, it helps reduce the amount of encounters you have in space.
There are 6 factions here, and each have some very useful planets. It is possible to be diplomatic and become friendly enough with all 6 that you only get attacked by independents. However, encounters = combat = XP, so friendly means you will gain experience at a slower rate.
The best strategy for a new player would be to focus on one or two factions from the Syndicates and one or two factions from the Nobel houses. When I began, I started with Cadar, and buddied with De Valtos and Javat. All the rest of the ships out there were fair game. It gave me a good balance of safe havens and encounters.
So all of the above stuff will help you survive in the game, but Rumors are the thing that will make you prosper. It's absolutely crucial to keep your ear to the ground - always go to the Spice Halls and Palace and listen to the rumors there. There are two types of rumors - ones that help you with getting ahead in the game at hand, and others that just help you understand the game itself.
Shortage/Surplus rumors are where you will make lots of money. If you hear of a planet that has a shortage of, say, Crystals, flit from planet to planet trying to fill your hold with as many Crystal units as you can before going to that shortage planet. If you are lucky, even with a modest cargo hold (50 - 60 units), you'll make more than $70,000 profit. Do that a handful of times and you'll find money is quickly a non-issue. You'll be able to spend cash on upgrades, and on new ships for that matter.
Warning about shortages though - if Cadar and Thulun are trade embargoed, and you sell 100 Crystals to Cadar in a shortage, your reputation Thulun will plummet significantly more than in a non-shortage situation. Since I personally despise Thulun, that's never a problem
These people will help make your trip through the quadrant a bit more enjoyable. These people charge an up-front fee based on how much cash you have, so it pays to fill up your hold and do repairs before you sign up a new officer.
For the new player, focus on getting
1) Political Officer. This officer will tell you about embargoes when you land on worlds. It will certainly help you avoid accidentally selling stuff when it may result in pushing a friendly faction into negatives.
2) Mechanical Officer. This officer will help repair your ship during travel. Her job is made easier if you are carrying Crystals and Metal in your hold during your trips though.
It's okay to be a bully in this game - if you are level 20 and you come across a level 2 merchant, the unwritten rule is to turn off your ship-to-ship communication before you laugh maniacally.
Always watch your water-fuel level and know how much fuel you use up traveling both green and red sectors. The last thing you want to do is get caught without water-fuel in deep space.
Good luck ... hopefully all of the above helps out.