Thursday, March 7, 2019

Traveller: Supernova! -- The Local Stellar Neighborhood


I looked at Solomani Rim and the GURPS Interstellar Wars map of Sol subsector and it looks interesting. But I am not using the Imperium and there's a big gap rimward from Earth. So I have no incentive to stick to the same map.

Sol Subsector - circa 2170
Stellagama Publishing's Near Space takes the latest astronomical data about the local solar neighborhood, including the current knowledge of exoplanets and brown dwarfs, and presents the nine subsectors centered on Sol.

Near Space
Stellagama added a number of brown dwarf stars to the area because they are difficult to find and they fill in some gaps. (Any star labeled "HSC" is one of the invented brown dwarfs. HSC = Hypothetical Star Catalogue.) In general, I ignored the added brown dwarfs, except in one instance: within 1 parsec of Sol. I used the same dodge that Traveller used -- a planetary body at 1 parsec from Earth to serve as a Jump-1 bridge to Alpha Centauri and Barnard's Star. Once we get to either of those stars, we have access to a nice big chain of systems all accessible by Jump-1. 

Mapping Software

With my map selected, I could start building up the planets of the sector. I just needed a subsector mapper. I looked at a couple but settled on Alex Schoeder's Traveller Subsector Generator. You can either generate a random subsector or input a list of your own worlds. The feature that sealed the deal was that TSG will connect each world to a page in a wiki page in Alex's CampaignWiki.Org, a wiki farm for RPG campaigns. So when you generate the subsector, you specify the name of your campaign wiki, and the software adds a link in the SVG file for each hex with a star pointing to the system page in your wiki. The map becomes the way to access all the planet data.

Filling in the Planets

Near Space gives size, atmosphere, and hydrographics for each planet. What I needed was what else was in the system. So I needed to generate the details of the rest of the system. I turned to GURPS Traveller First In to supply that. The random rules star system provides details like orbits, gas giants, asteroid belts, and terrestrial planets. The system also gives the Life Zone of the star. The world generator provides more details of planets, such as surface temperature, orbital and rotation periods, climate, atmospheric composition, and ecosphere (something I'm most interested in). 

For additional planetary data I turned to GURPS Interstellar Wars again. I pulled some of the details about the planets from these descriptions, removing references to the Imperium.

I can now generate all the content I need for this campaign as I go. I don't need to have all the systems spelled out, just the ones close enough that they could reach them in a game. Then based on the party's direction, I can build as I go. I now know where the other sentient races live, and I can plan accordingly.

I am very excited about this project.

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