Monday, June 26, 2006

Reassessing It All: 1 of 9, the Berlings Reach

Well, I'm not scrapping Festeria.

But it's changing, largely because I really like some of what follows from an independent Travellers' Aid Society and an independent Scout Service, and because I like having a multiplicity of different stellar governments rather than one big one.

If I can find a program that allows me to enter in UPPs on a Mac, and print up a nice subsector map, I'll put some charts up. In the meantime, they're all hand-drawn, so I can't yet. I got a PC at work, that'd do fine with a number of programs out there, but I don't want to spend any more worktime at this than I already am.

Anyhow, this weekend I re-copied my subsector data *abandoning* the old trade routes I'd put in place, and started interpreting different worlds' spheres of influence. It's been fun. I'm 3/4 finished with subsector 1 of 9 (top left;) the Berlings subsector. The subsector takes its name from the population 9 tech E world near the middle; it's one of two worlds in the region that has both the tech, population, and starport to field a real navy; everywhere else in the subsector is either too low tech or low population to have one of its own. The fact that Berling's government is a Charismatic Dictatorship with intrusive law just adds to the interpretation: the subsector is home to an expansionist military dictatorship.

There's a disproportionate number of captive governments in the subsector, and it's pretty easy to say who's doing the capturing.

There's worlds that aren't captive, but where combinations of trade classification, government and tech clearly put worlds in dependent relationships with their neighbors. So while nominally independent, they're added to the Berlings Reach.

There's a couple fistfuls of worlds that are isolated from the pocket empire and pertnear everything else; one that's completely depopulated apart from the scoutbase and starport (I'm calling "planetary war and stellar raiders" on this one) and there's worlds that look like good candidates for the same thing in the near future.

There's also Paxaros, a hyper-populated industrial nonagricultural world with a tech of H, that's 17 folks, and I'm calling that one a redzone: Isolationist, noninterventionist, their only contact with the rest of the subsector being trade ships that scrupulously refuse to sell anything but precious metals and buy basically nothing but foodstuffs. (They HAVE to be self-isolating: there is no other comparable tech within the 9 subsectors I've plotted out, and if they were in the least bit expansionist they'd take everything.) They're ruled by an AI; their population is pretty robotic as well: all deep-taught and hyperspecialized. The ships are all long-jump capable and are able to evade by means of matter transference, so they're virtually impossible to hit; their weaponry is a disintegrator ray that causes criticals with every hit. They even appear to be able to jump in and out of system well within the 100D limit. The Berlings navy would have learned long ago: You don't mess with the Paxari. You let their merchants go where they want to, and you treat them nice, and then they go home. At the same time, The Berlingi Navy is sort of pinned down by the local presence of the Paxari - at least to watch them. And they're neighbors with the Festrian Empire, whose fleets would likely make regular -if mostly peaceful- incursions in Berlingi space, often shepherding the Black Ships (Oh yes, I'm keeping those) as they travel through Berlings heading out to the Beyond.

The Scouts seem to be pretty busy with coordinating humanitarian missions: holding the only port open on an otherwise blasted world, maintaining relations with the pocket empire in order to influence policy.

Once I've finished plotting out the relationships between worlds throughout the 9 subsectors, I'll plug in trade routes. Fester's still looking to be the biggest of the empires in the reach, and I'll need to see how it shapes up there before I determine where the routes go ultimately.

For backstory, I need to change a few things.

I'm sticking with the Old Empire for deep history, and the initial human spread.

I'm sticking with The Dark, the Fall of the Old Empire.

Fester, Berlings, and the other pocket empires are all arising out of the ashes of the Old Empire and The Dark. Navies and other armed forces are tied to their respective Interstellar and Planetary governments.

I'm keeping much of Fester's back history: the Witch Wars and all. The animosity that Festeria seems to have held towards Psions seems to be fairly universal, if not to so great an extent. (Why should this be? Are Psions somehow tied to ancient memories of The Fall and The Dark?)

The Scouts arise to preserve and reconnect humanity's scattered children, and prevent a return of The Dark. They're an Intertellar Non Governmental Organization.

Merchants fall into several categories: Megacorporate & their subsidiaries, Official government traders & subsidy holders, and Free Traders. Corporate merchants seem to maintain TAS connections and cooperate with setting interstellar trade policy; Governmental merchants are tied to their governments. Free traders, scattered as they are, are seldom able to muster up much influence, although there may be cases where temporary partnerships and unions might form to influence local markets.

The TAS appears to have been formed to regulate interstellar travel and trade, to keep both travel and shipping within the reach of non-shipowners: it's definitely not an advocate for the Merchants themselves. They seem to monitor starport conditions, at least in the A and B ports, and may exercise considerable influence behind the scenes influence in local governments. Like the Scouts, they are an Intertellar Non Governmental Organization.


Anonymous Prodigal said...

Love what you're doing here.

Think I may just have to get my Big Black Book out and kitbash up some starships when I get home.

9:16 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

Thanks, Prodigal!

Let me know what you come up with; it's fun to compare this stuff.

Here's the big challenge: a starship that can make a profit *without* speculative trade, using the basic cargo/passenger tables, at a longer distance than Jump-1. It appears to be virtually impossible: anyone working a long-jump route either needs a subsidy, or needs to rely heavily on speculation (which is where the big money is anyway, but.)

I work that into My Traveller Universe in terms of TAS pricefixing and a passenger/shipper driven market, rather than a merchant's market. But it's a neat puzzle.

9:42 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:45 AM  
Blogger KenHR said...

Hey, James,

I don't know if the links are still good, but this page has some Mac-capable sector software you might look into:

12:40 PM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

Alas, the Mac links seem dead-ish.

I may be able to crank out some galactic stuff after hours today though...

8:55 AM  
Blogger KenHR said...

If you need any help with editing anything Galactic spits out, let me know. I spent quite a while learning how to set up menus and such.

If I find anything Mac-specific, though, I'll be sure to let you know!

10:17 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

Tried fiddling with Galactic a little, but couldn't see how to enter in UPP data to take my hardcopy subsectors and make 'em galactic...

Found Imperial Grand Survey on BITS which looked nifty but it doesn't work on OS X.


6:18 PM  
Blogger KenHR said...

Custom Galactic maps:

Generate a random sector, entering a 0% chance for a star system in every subsector.

This will generate a blank sector map.

From there, you can insert planets and non-planetary object directly onto your maps.

There are other ways, but that's the easiest. If the above doesn't help, let me know! I'll provide more detail after work tonight if need be.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

Since I have a Mac also, I would find it ever so helpful if I could be informed if there is any Mac Traveller software for OS X.


10:54 PM  

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