Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's In Your CPU, Captain?

The starships one encounters will virtually always be armed if encountered outside an A or B port. Just because the PCs start out penniless doesn't mean everyone does. Corporations won't ever have their ships unprotected; subbies will at least have a turret active so they can get mail contracts.

But the most basic arming of a merchantman is an expensive prospect! A free trader wishing to mount a simple pulse laser must invest:
mcr .25 for the single turret
mcr .5 for the laser
mcr 1 for the target program alone. mcr1.75!!!

Mounting a single sandcaster is actually more expensive still: although the defensive weapon is mcr .25, the launch program adds another mcr2. A whole 3.5! And that's not counting defensive programs.

(Yet another reason for most ships to stay on well-defended routes.)

After all, the Navy craft protecting the A and B ports will virtually always be found armed to the teeth, with top of the line programming. Such ships should always be running the best defensive and targeting programs money can buy, and be -5 to hit and should never be less than +3 to hit (Predict 3 and GI can add up!) (One might argue for the presence of programming BEYOND what's available for purchase, but that's REALLY imbalancing.) Navy ships - Type T for the most part - can afford to be aggressive: they're not paying for repairs, and they don't have to capture aggressive foes. Sticking close to friends like these, straight merchants won't need much unless they're handling mail contracts, in which case they'll probably stick to a pulse laser or two.
EVERYTHING in the book: M/E-6, Pre-3, GI, Multitarget, select, the whole nine.

Type Cs, in proper service, will generally have a mixed array of weaponry: Heavy on missiles for ground support, with some sand capability; beam and pulse lasers for a mix of accuracy and punch.

Any merchant heading into the rough can be assumed to be armed unless they're really dumb or really desperate (that is, PCs). Merchant craft should always have at auto/evade available, and should never bother with Maneuver/ Evade unless they have a PC-skilled pilot (A recap: for Maneuver, M/E and A/E interpretation, I follow Mayday:

Maneuver allows the unrestricted use of the ship’s maneuver drive.

Maneuver/Evade allows use of the maneuver drive while inserting evasive maneuvers to defeat laser fire. In order to do so, the ship must sacrifice forward acceleration: A ship running M/E operates at 1G less than the ship’s potential acceleration. A 4G ship can maneuver at 3G while evading: a 1G ship cannot maneuver while evading.

Auto/Evade allows evasive action, but does NOT allow maneuvering.

A/E cannot be operated simultaneously with maneuver.

So, if you're a Free Trader, Even ME/5 won't help you any better than A/E unless you're pilot-3 or better.)

So the rest of a merchantman's spread is likely to be a combination of sand and lasers, and will almost certainly have an antimissile program. Predict programs are likely, since gunnery skills are probably low. The object of the merchant is to prevent damage to the craft and its contents, and either jump to safety or await the cavalry. Missiles on such craft are likely to be rare: they're expensive, take up space, and in small numbers they're relatively easily defended against. (A/E=1, Launch=1, Target=1, Return fire=1, Antimissile=2 OR Pre 1, 3 or GI.)

Pirates should be as heavily armed as possible, of course: committed pirates, as opposed to opportunistic and aggressive merchantmen, are likely to be as upgunned as the Navy is (after all, they do have multimillion credit ships at their disposal). Ship's programming may be similar to that of merchantmen, though: if they weren't on a budget to begin with, they probably wouldn't need to be pirating; also, anyone selling such software will likely be alert for non-military buyers, and the skill levels needed to program them are very rare. (It may be plausible to limit such ships to those programs their own crew could believably write!) Their posture should actually not be far different from merchants, though, because they can't afford to absorb damage the way the Navy can. Beam lasers, employed as accurately as possible (select should be running) are desirable, as the goal is to disable a ship quickly and board it. There should be a mix of Sandcasters and Missiles should things turn hairy.
(A/E=1, Launch=1, Target=1, Return fire=1, Antimissile=2 , GI=1; Select=1 or some other m

Scouts are tricky. Bigger scout craft should be armed as heavily as the Navy; but the ubiquitous S has computer limitations.
If a scout's going to make use of missiles or sand, it'll need half of its programming taken up by
target and launch. The best M/E program generally available (6) requires 3 spaces of CPU, so the next best - M/E5 is the best option if the scout's a scoutishly-good pilot. But even that's a limitation if the scout's trying to jump-2 out of system, so likely many scouts will sport A/E as a backup while they're trying to make tracks. An MM, SM or SS combination gives no missile defense unless ECM is available.

all laser configurations require no more than target, leaving room for m/e 6, but that's not very versatile, and if any accuracy in fire is desired ME 5 and pre-3 are the best bets. A more defensive array of ME5 target and return fire makes more sense for a good pilot; AE, target, returnfire and pre-3 are probably best compromises overall. Antimissile software has to be swapped in. Mixes of Lasers and ordinance get a little hairy:

AE, Target, Launch, pre3, OR AE, Target, Launch, Return fire seem to be the best bets.

IMTU Space Traffic Blather

More blather about MTU trade and spacecraft:

1) Passenger service and pay-per ton shipping is certainly available, at least between A or B ports. Service to and from C or D ports is NOT a given, and will almost always require special charters.

2) Given that average starfaring tech is between 10 and 12, ticketed passage will generally be available for Jump 1-3. Higher jump spacecraft will virtually always be military or otherwise official craft. They won't let you ride the SR-71 to Tahiti, will they now?

3) The Free Trader is pretty much the only ship that can meet its expenses (and financing payments) by handling passages and pay-by-ton cargo. Everything else needs a different business model. Think of the trading game: paid cargo gets loaded AFTER the captain/owners own cargo is arranged, unless things are so tight that no speculation is possible.

4) Subsidies - particularly for the ancient types M and R - knit space together. A large percentage of the ships on major routes will fit these types.

5) None of these ship types serve C or D ports particularly safely: Type S ships might do it, though. A Traveller wishing to travel to such a world might negotiate a journey with a Scout, before trying to talk a Merchant craft into such a risky venture. Type A ships will go there if they're desperate. Types R and M might go there if they're assigned to the route. Yachts have it a little safer if they've only had to travel J1 to get there, since they've fuel enough for two jumps.

6) High-tech routes between major worlds may see larger craft - they'll be designed with the route in mind - but not too huge. They'd be specced out so that they'll almost always be full.

7) Financing generally won't be available for any ships over Jump 1, unless the borrower is a corporation with fixed offices. Skipping's too easy and attractive for anything Jump 2 and above.

8) Construction of small, J-1 ships should be an easy affair at almost any type A port - perhaps making their financing an easier matter. Though I'd venture to guess that a type A port for a non industrial world might be a mite slower at the job.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pieds-a-Terres: "Factories"

So, your Merchant Hero has access to a ship, and either is plying a route, or is bouncing around a cluster of worlds buying and selling.

Following the LBB2 rules speculative goods become available on a weekly basis: Your merchant captain drops in-system, offloads his cargo, sells what he can and scouts out the markets for what's available. If the price is right, he picks it up. Then he fills up with passengers and freight, and off he goes.

Now, supposing he's not operating on a schedule: he stays in orbit for a week, and checks for another cargo. Maybe he sticks around until his hold is filled, and THEN leaves. There's potential for major profits, there: but not only is there more risk, there's a sacrifice in revenue: that's two, three, four weeks of no passengers and no paid cargo. The average Free Trader can't afford that: the Subsidized Merchant or Liner has a route to maintain. Most merchants can't wait around.

Enter the factor: a merchant designated to settle onworld, and buy cargo to set aside for his company's ships when they make port. In the 16th and 17th centuries, European nations built forts in Africa and the East Indies to defend the stockpiles of silks, spice, gold, ivory, and slaves they accumulated; these were called "Factories."

A factor generally needs capital; after all, his primary role is as a buyer (unless he's going by a different business model, whereby resources are being obtained by industry or theft.) Generally, though, he'll be carrying cash (or will establish a local account) or he'll be assigned the sale of some of the Ship's trade goods that have arrived with him.

A factor operating in a world with an A or B starport might have things pretty sweet: living arrangements only cost money, and the starports will likely have convenient and secure warehousing available to be paid by the ton (how much is fair? cr10 per ton per week? More?)

On more remote worlds, housing and warehousing might be harder to come by: an ATV fitted for cargo might serve a frontier factor well to start out with, both for living arrangements and the storage of a few tons of cargo. As he accumulates goods for his ship, however, he may have to rent land or construct warehouses. And he'll need more security: Especially as the goods stockpile grows, he'll need to protect both the goods and his person. A brace of hard men, ideally with military experience, can't be amiss. On truly remote worlds where pirate raiders might be a problem, a factor may require the services of fully armed mercenaries, supported with enough firepower to take down a raider's pinnace.

The factor and his team will be salaried - perhaps steward's and gunners' rates - and should earn a bonus - perhaps a share of the company's profits. IN fact, it may be best for factors to be fully invested members of the ship's company, to help insure that their interests are in line with the company's.

A more established factor at a frontier port might begin to administer offer other services: a small fuel depot, providing refined fuel to company ships, or even a repair facility. An established factory can serve as storage for ship's overflow stock as well.


All sorts of bad things can happen to a factor, though.

A) Factors in established starport cities might have it cushy: but remoter factories might face difficulty from the elements, or with maintaining food supplies. Especially if the locals decide not to sell you food. After all...

B) He can run afoul of the locals: they might well not take kindly to profiteer spacers! It would not be out of the ordinary for an offworld factor to be harassed,robbed, jailed, driven out, or killed. Hence the security team!

C) He can run afoul of competing merchants: trade wars can get hot! More harassment, robbery, driving out, killing. Hence the security team!

D) Your company factor, entrusted with anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of credits in cash, cargo and supplies, might not be all that trustworthy, and the profit-sharing plan might not look so attractive. He might embezzle a little, skimming the accounts... or he might just abscond with the whole lot, with or without the help of the B) competing merchants. Maybe your factor ought to be a PC; maybe he ought to be a partner in the ship's company, investing his own money.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More On Fixing The Trading Game

1) The LBB2 spec trade rules are meant to model a particular corner of merchant trade, not an entire interstellar economy.
2) If goods can be bought and sold profitably on a given world, that market will be controlled by locals for the most part, and will not likely enjoy wide fluctuations in price. Once a price is determined for a specific lot of cargo on a specific world, its price is fixed. (Different lots of the same class of cargo may vary.) This means that if you want a better price for a cargo than you've got on planet X, well, you HAVE to bring it to a different market.
3) The idea is this: if product X is available very cheaply onworld, there's a reason for it: it can't sell well here.
4) Onworld trade certainly will happen: but Travellers won't have access to it normally. They're outsiders, and local trade will be the province of insiders. Breaking into that trade would run afoul of local authorities and merchants (and could be the source of adventure in itself.) But chances are, the profits won't approach what could be had by the canny interstellar merchant - which is why we take out the multimillion-credit mortgages.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why I Like Jump Tapes, plus Another Reason For Navigators To Be Alive

So you, a brand new starship captain, want to go fly. You've fueled up. You have a line on cargo and passengers. And you'd better have cr. 10,000+ handy if you want to buy a jump tape to go anywhere at all.

WHY? Well, because you don't have .85 MCr to spend on a Generate program, yet. But why do you need them?

I don't really think of them as tapes. They're charts.

Mariners have always needed charts, if they ever wanted to travel safely. And the more up-to-date, the better: coastal features would change, navigational hazards would be discovered, and new charts would be drawn up. Sure, some navigational atlases (The English Pilot comes to mind) remained in use for nearly a century, but by the later years of that run the book was considered a positive threat to navigation.

I make these assumptions:

*Jump navigation is incredibly, incredibly complex, having to take into account the gravitational influences and motions of objects in both the starting location and the end location (plus handwavium science of the far future.) Jump calculation and execution is the biggest reason starships need massive, resilient computers IMTU.

*Since all those factors are in constant flux, jump charts need to be up to date. Outside a few days +/-, they're worse than useless. Navigation programs won't even process them. If they could be overridden, the result would be a misjump, as sure as jumping within 10 diameters. This is why Jump Tapes are single-use, self erasing flight plans: not copy protection, but safe astrogation.

*Book 2 says that the tapes can be bought at any Starport. I can't reconcile that with D or E starports, though: neither have any other facilities at all to speak of: why should they have an astrogation department on duty? IMTU, Jump tapes can be got at A, B and C class starports, and D ports with a Scout base. Scouts on detached duty ought to be able to wheedle free/cheap charts at a scout base, as well. They're worth the cr.10,000 per jump number, because they're basically foolproof. They're produced with the benefit of weeks and months of regular analysis of a system and its potential jump routes, so if you don't do something stupid (like failing to maintain your drives, or jumping within 100 diameters, or using unrefined fuel) you should never have to worry about misjumping.

*So: what of the starship that by chance or by grim necessity finds itself in a system without a chart and without a generation program? Are they just stuck? I'm inclined to come up with a task for a Navigator being able to use his skill to draw up his own chart. It's a desperate measure! How does this run for you:

Drawing up a jump chart requires:
* Nav-1 or better
* a working ship's computer capable of running the relevant Jump and Navigation programs
* a minimum of 1D6 days astronomical observations and preparation

Die roll (to be rolled on ACTIVATION of Jump program) 11+
Mods: + Nav skill
+ 1 per additional day (week?) of uninterrupted astronomical study
+ 3 if already familiar with route
+ computer model #-1

A successful roll means a successful jump. A failed roll means a misjump. A roll of 5 or less, and the ship explodes, or disappears forever in jump space, or turns into a frog and dies of explosive decompression.

So, a navigator with a skill of 2 working a ship with a computer model/3 would get a +4 to his roll, and better if he spent more time checking his work.

How much time do you think is reasonable? Not being an astrogator myself, I really don't know how long these things should take. ^_^

And maybe 11+ isn't high enough. 15+?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fixing the Trading Game

So, I did a bit of solitaire merchanting this past week: Came up with a merchant captain with a free trader eventually, and started him off in the core of the Festrian Main: all told, about thirty worlds reachable by jump-1. The catch, I figured, would be that many of these were cut off by a scattering of C and D port worlds, adding a modicum of risk.

However, in the immediate core, a stretch of perhaps 5 or 6 A & B class ports provided everything my merchant needed to trade well and pay the ship off in about four years: Between assiduously using the best brokers available, and the captain's bribery skill, the trip was rare that he didn't make some degree of a killing. (I'm thinking that probably, this was a mistake, and that a seller can either rely on his own skills, OR make use of a Broker, but that when using a broker it's out of your hands and your Admin and Bribery skills shouldn't apply. Otherwise, the mods get too high, and make the benefits offered by planetary trade classifications irrelevant.)

Therefore, there was never the least bit of reason to visit anything less than a B-port. Visiting even a C port brought the risk of piracy both coming and going. Simply leaving a C-port introduced the risk of misjump from using unrefined fuel: a reckless risk, and needless when such prosperity was available close to home! Even introducing the possibility of hostile encounters between rival merchant craft, raising the frequency of law checks, and requiring some sort of "adventure" in order to secure the cargoes identified in the trade table proved little impediment to my captain's rise to freedom from debt. And when he had his ship paid off? What then? It beggared belief to imagine that he'd take his mulitmillion credit ship, business and life and put them at wasteful risk by haring off towards the frontier. (On the other hand, if Broker mods and character skills can't be combined, then planetary mods might make some C-D-E worlds more tempting.)

It leads to the question: what makes it make sense for a merchant - with a ship - to go adventuring?

If I'm following Book 2 as a guide to MTU, and oh yes I am, trade ships do visit C, D and E ports, despite the inherent deadly risks. Indeed, Book 3 describes C class ports as routine installations - suggesting that the 1 in 60 chance of an unrefined-fuel misjump would be considered a routine risk. Now, if it were MY thirtyseven million credit free trader, and I had a choice of jumping my cargo of steam driven left hand widgets to a B port or C port, you'd really have an uphill battle to convince me that any difference of profit would be worth putting my whole investment on the line, even in the first fragile few months of ship ownership, when making that cr 154,500 monthly payment seems so challenging.

The difference between a B and a C port seems to me to be a fairly dramatic one. The inability to provide refined fuel implies a pretty serious lack of commitment to interstellar trade, does it not? The risk of piracy suggests that the patrolling of the system - by the native world or by an interstellar government - would be pretty haphazard, at best. C ports lack Travellers' aid posts; they never include naval bases. These are worlds that, within an Imperium, are largely neglected. and that's a C port: how much more excluded from the interstellar community must D or E class worlds be?

So: WHY do I fly my Free Trader to a world with a C port? Ever?

1) Interstellar geography makes it necessary. This assumes a certain lack of foresight in having selected a home port, or perhaps a lack of choice in the matter. Supposing our hero begins his tenure as Captain on an isolated main broken up with poorly developed frontier ports, it's possible he'll have to make intermediate jumps in risky systems in order to get to greener pastures. Of course, he'd be hard pressed to do it more than once if he could help it. My captain started out in a fruitful main, and never had any reason to leave it: he was printing money right where he was.

2) Skipping. If our hero is trying to steal his ship, he might well risk the whole thing on a misjump if he's trying to put a sector between himself and the repo team anyway. In that case, he'd be unlikely to stop in port anyway, instead dipping from gas giants and trying to buy life support supplies from other ships en route. My captain never had a reason to go this route: he was doing just fine making his payments, and anyhow, he'd have had to fiddle around with collapsible fuel tanks (or some such) within five jumps or so in order to leave the Festrian Main.

3) The Big Score. A competent merchant - with Bribery or Admin at 2 or better, or both - need almost never lose money in the trading game, especially if he uses brokers to sell, (see edits above, but this is still pretty much true) even if he's stuck selling goods on worlds without advantageous trade characteristics. Such merchants, if they're smart, will be patient and stick to safe routes. A captain without strong merchanting skills, and without a good bursar on crew, might be tempted to bring his ship to a poor, non industrial world with a heavy load of, say, machine tools if it would guarantee him making payments and upgrading the ship's weapons - it's still a pretty dumb risk. It's mugs like this that make interstellar piracy an attractive option.

All told, though, these don't really add up. Any captain able to scrape up the seven and a half million credits to make a down payment on a new free trader is going to be savvy enough to do it in fruitful territory if he's got the choice: he'll pick a promising main, allowing safe jumps, adequate patrols, full holds and full passenger manifests.

The trick, for the Referee, is to create a rationale for that choice to be removed.

I think that introducing competition might do the trick.

I'm going to see if I can flesh this out into something more systematic later, but off the top of my head:

In a desert, if there's an oasis, the chances are good that someone already lives there, and has reason to control it. If it's easy to make money on a particular route, chances are that someone has been making money on it for years before our hero hits the scene. There's good rationale here for a cartel to be in control of the good routes, and that they'd blacklist an outsider: No passengers, no cargo, no legitimate trade without some significant concession (perhaps, 20% off the top of the take?). So, no mister captain: you can't do the X run without joining the cartel. But you're free to do the Y and Z runs if you want to risk your ship...

At least, it should be more difficult to buy and sell speculative cargo in A or B ports, because there are many other independent merchants vying for them than there are at C ports or worse. This might manifest in a difficulty in even locating a suitable cargo: it might simply result in a disadvantageous modifier to the price roll.

What might the effects of population be? Of Law? of Tech level? It seems these should have an effect.

A or B ports should be fairly organized and systematic, so it should be relatively easy to obtain passengers and paid cargo. But if a C port can't even protect its shipping from predation, I'm inclined to think that getting passengers and cargo isn't going to be as straightforward. Might a crew have to hustle a bit to fill its hold, and its staterooms?

I recall being pretty disappointed with Merchant Prince's rehash of the trade system, but I may have another look at it to see what I want to cherrypick.

Edit: There's a couple things I do like about LBB7/Merchant Prince trade, but I don't know that they work for me. The best starports have access to the best brokers, sure; but it does mean that the best starports will tend to offer the best selling prices, without regard to competition and the like.

It seems - though I'd want to play it out to be sure - that goods produced on a certain type of planet will tend not to sell well there, meaning there's less percentage in sitting on your butt on one world waiting for prices to fluctuate, and more incentive to interstellar trade. That's good.

It's an interesting change that purchase price for goods stays flat on a given world: they'll always cost the same to the merchant. Resale is what fluctuates.

And it's interesting that when the final sale dice are thrown, that's an indication of a commitment to sell that can't be backed out on. This is different than LBB2, where you can decide whether or not to sell the goods after you've seen the resale roll. (Though if you've hired a broker, you still have to pay him his cut, whether you decide to sell or not.)

And generally, I like that there's a modifier for relative tech levels when calculating resale values. High tech goods should cost more at lower tech worlds. However, it seems to me there should be some cutoff - Tech level 15 electronics should be very expensive on a tech level 1 world - but what, exactly, would the demand be? What're they going to use that computer for, a doorjamb? If the population is in the hundreds, who's going to be able to afford or need the higher value industrial goods? It seems to me there has to be some common ground between buyers and sellers of many products. A TL 1 world may well be a good market for firearms, but computers may be useless to them.

And law level, for example: A merchant trying to sell a load of firearms at a high-law world might find that demand might make them quite valuable, but that he might not be able to find a buyer at all, or might not be able to even bring the items to market without having to contend with law enforcement.

At the same time, one might take the position that the world, itself, isn't always relevant to the value of trade goods - the main market may actually be the other merchant ships visiting the starport: There may be a significant amount of trade that never even gets warehoused, but gets shifted ship-to-ship - in which case, shouldn't there be even different effects on pricing?

It seems that if one's to stick with LBB2, the Referee has to step in and make sure that there's some common sense injected into the implementation of the rules.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Modern Era

I'm supposing that the current date is somewhere in the vicinity of the fiftieth year of the reign of Fester III. The core of the Festrian Main is a stretch of worlds, accessible by J-1, reaching into perhaps three separate subsectors. It's the domain of the old duchy of Miralbis, and it's the span of worlds which Fester I was able to absorb during the Festrian Renaissance. It's closely neighbored by a handful of polities (haven't got the maps in front of me) which were pacified by Fester I, but then became largely autonomous during the Witch Wars. Fester III has re-forged relationships with all of his interstellar neighbors on a feudal basis; of the nearby interstellar polities only the Berlings "Republic" - actually an expansionistic dictatorship - has refused admission to the Empire and has been in a state of war with the Fester's coreward vassal state, the Duchy of Wisbeck.

Each vassal fields its own navy, and is responsible for maintaining patrols in its space. However, in actual practice each vassal's battle fleet is generally to be found out beyond the frontier, pressing out into the worlds of the Old Empire, guided by the reports of the wide-ranging Scouts. Fester's own battle fleets are placed close to home, both to protect the Imperial coreworlds and to maintain control over the Imperial vassal states. The whole arrangement is, as I've put it elsewhere, like a room filled with knife-wielding paranoiacs. As long as the lights stay on, everyone sees what everyone else is up to. But should the lights go out...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hello Again!

I've been thinking about Traveller again, so I'll yammer on about it a bit here.

I'm still keen on a pure LBB 1-3 setting, and on a fairly "cozy" play setting.

I've been leaning away from my notion of an "Independent Interstellar Scout Service," partly based on the way scout bases and navy bases get distributed in world generation, and partly for the convenience of having the players be more or less on the same side.

Stemming from some of the same areas, the setting that seems to develop from LBB3 worldgen seems to be better suited at building subsectors that are all within the embrace of a large, and hence not-cozy empire. So I want to think more about how to keep things small while still having them make "sense."

Another problem I'm running into with LBB 1-3 is that, as written, there's simply not enough to distinguish higher tech levels from each other. Incremental advances in computers and drives seem to be it; there's no real distinction between tech 13 and 15, for example. Maybe this isn't a problem: maybe this is an area where the Referee has to step in and get busy?

With my Festrian empire, I thought that the Imperial homeworld should be the highest tech possible, so frankly, I fudged it and made it so. This, I think, is a problem in a cozy empire. It puts the players closer to the core of absolute civilization, which is boring.

So I think I want to start again. I may retain all my old Festrian subsectors, not that it matters 'cause you've not seen them, but the issue of new Imperial tech might lead me to start from scratch.

The span of history is much like that which I put together in 2006:

1) OLD EMPIRE: After perhaps a millennium of expansion, The focus of human society shifts from its largely forgotten, ruined home to a large skein of J1 worlds. At its core, a centralized Imperial government forms. With advances in Jump technology, human society expands still further.
3) THE FALL: after an extended period of Imperial success, something happens. The outer worlds lose contact with the coreworlds, and the Imperium effectively ceases to exist. interstellar trade crumbles and fragments. Self-sufficient worlds carry on, and some maintain pockets of civilization. Some worlds, cut off but survivable, go primitive. Dependent worlds starve. The horrors of the fall last anywhere between 500 and 1000 years.
4) THE FESTRIAN RENAISSANCE: Far from the Old Imperial Core, a new pocket empire begins to develop from an ancient ducal seat. The last Duke of Miralbis, Fester, declares himself Emperor Fester I, and he begins the pacification of the subsector and the neighboring polities, envisioning a new Spacer empire, based on the following basic principles:
*The Festrian Empire is an interstellar empire of Man, the heir of the Old Empire and the New Light against the Dark of the Fall.
*Worlds within the empire have the privilege and responsibility of self government, protected by the Imperial Navy and Marines.
*The Scout Service is the torchbearer of the New Renaissance, forever spreading out beyond the Festrian Main, mapping the outerworlds of the Old Empire and preparing the way for the Navy to extend Imperial reach ever further.
5) Fester I was succeeded after a century by Fester the Mad, who perpetrated the witch wars. These all but shattered the new empire, and lasted fifty years until his assassination and the accession of Fester III, which brings us to the current era.