What's left to explore?

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sinmaan
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What's left to explore?

Postby sinmaan » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:50 am

I am reading the Spinward March supplement and from what I understand its supposed to be one of the most backwater area in the whole 3rd Imperium. However, i have the impression that pretty much every system in every sectors of that "backwater area" are well defined, which makes believe they have been explored.

I understand that every star system is composed of a number of planets and that only the main ones are fully explored (which leaves plenty of room for exploration), but are there still some star systems, or even whole sectors, that have not been explored in the 3rd Imperium?

Where is the scout service spending its time?

Thanks
Dave Chase
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby Dave Chase » Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:28 am

You could try the Outer Veil setting by SPICA.

It has that open space, explore the unknown built into it.

And it is based of Mongoose rules.

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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby Captain Jonah » Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:44 pm

sinmaan wrote:
Where is the scout service spending its time?

Thanks
Well in the Spinward Marches the scouts are busy doing the following:

1. Spying on the Zhodani along the borders, Intelligence gathering on the enemy that has attacked four times so far. The Imperial Navy does this a swell along with civilian agencies but it is part of the border and beyond scouting aspect of the scouts.

2. Watching on the Puppies along the borders, Intelligence gathering on the pirates and raiders that constantly threaten the civilian shipping of the Imperium. The Imperial Navy does this a swell along with civilian agencies but it is part of the border and beyond scouting aspect of the scouts.

3. Updating navigational data for every system in the 3rd Imperium. This is a constant ongoing task, solar systems are huge and have a lot of moving objects in them. Known and predictable space objects can have their courses changed minutely by some event and years later are light minutes away from where the charts say they are. Plus events, human action, accidents and disasters, rogue bodies arriving from deep space etc all put new risks in the jump lanes.

4. Updating survey data. Worlds are not stable, even over the short life time of the 3rd Imperium climates change, disasters happen, political events and wars change worlds or systems. Keeping all of the thousands of systems in the 3rd Imperium up to date is a constantly ongoing task. Note that this includes not just the inhabited worlds but every world in every system. That uninhabited system with a gas giant that is used as a step between two worlds still needs to be checked and updated, storms within the upper levels of the inner gas giant could damage or wreck hundreds of ships before the word spreads of the danger since few civilian ships would be able to survey the gas giant and most would put it down to pilot problems of a one of event. The scouts surveying the giant with experts and advanced sensors could identify the storms and either map safe refuelling altitudes or post the entire gas giant as an amber zone so every ship would be warned when it updated its charts.

5. Exploring the millions or worlds, moons, asteroids and other known bodies within the Imperium. When the last time a team of scouts surveyed the seventh planetoid of the system was over 100 years ago that data is now very out of date. Ships could have been wrecked there, tectonic activity caused by the super gas giant in orbit 6 will be reshaping the land masses, a super volcano could have changed the atmosphere from trace to pure sulphur decades ago. That long buried ancient ruin could now be visible due to the heat thrown off by the volcano melting vast sections of the pole.

6. Maintaining the X-Boat network and communications in general. While the bulk of the mail goes by X-Boat there are still many worlds so far off the beaten path that having a free trader or scout land there every few months is the only contact they have off world.

7. Pirate hunting. The navy may be the people who smash the pirates flat but who is it that sneaks into the system and quietly has a look around to find that hidden pirate base. The navy claims the credit of course but it’s the humble scouts who spent a month in the system using long range passive probe drones to track the pirates back to the hidden asteroid base.

This is just a few of the things they are doing. As I see it the scouts have a much wider and more varied list of duties than the navy.
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby Woods Walker » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:34 pm

I strongly agree with the above comments about the scout services other duties. Real world naval charts have to be updated constantly and while not exciting are very much needed.

Now taking a broader look the sub-sector creation rules state that those SYSTEMS (not merely planets) that show up on the map are not all their is. When it comes to space density is as much a factor as distance. If you have a sparsely populated sector whole worlds may have been passed over simply due to a lack of resources needed to properly colonise them. A colony could have failed centuries ago due to disaster, mismanagement or loss of resources at a critical point. Maybe that mining colony went bust when the deposits played out? Their are a lot of abandoned towns in the US Rockies because of that.

Litigation and the subsequent inability to get permits could prevent others from moving to an abandoned planet. Over the decades and centuries these places "fall off the map". I think the internet functions as a pretty good example here. Create a blog, do nothing with it and see how much activity it gets in a year. Nothing to see? Oh, well move on. It could still be in the records but if nobody searches for it and the system wouldn't generate navigational hazards nobody is going to really care.

Using the rules and looking at some supplements I've noticed that a lot of systems are sparsely populated in the Traveller universe. If a sector has a population of less than a billion per system then their is no real reason to pull up stakes and search for every viable or almost viable system you can find.

Once again I find myself going on but my point is distance AND density are factors. Those sectors can have systems anywhere you want and one system can keep a group of players very busy for a long time indeed.
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kafka
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby kafka » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:55 pm

To quote Douglas Adams...Space is Big, Really Big. So, even if the full force of the Imperial Scout service and Navy is called to bear...there are bound to lots of empty space. So, even if the Spinward Marches is a backward area there are parts of our Solar System we have not mapped and granted we are at TL 9.5 but even the Moon still is not fully mapped. Why should the Scouts and Navy worry about such worlds...if they have no strategic value either as resources (eg Hi In TL C+) or militarily...just as many parts of the world can be written off by the US. So, it is with the Imperium...eventually these worlds will generate enough interest/tribute to make them worthy.
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dragoner
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby dragoner » Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:09 pm

In my campaign, I went to travellermap and have made my own sectors over the years:

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locarno24
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby locarno24 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:01 am

Where is the scout service spending its time?
4. Updating survey data.
Agreed. Maintaining the Imperium's 'knowledge' of its own domains takes forever.

Let's say a detailled environmental survey of the mainworld and a quick check of the system (to see that nothing's been disturbed out of the Oort cloud on a continent bearing with said world, nothing wierd's showing up on solar activity, etc, etc) gets done on a five-year cycle. That doesn't sound too onerous.

Except each subsector has on average twenty or so worlds - and a round trip to most of them, even from a scout base within the subsector, takes a month. Add in a couple of weeks actually doing the survey, some maintenance time, and assorted 'odd-jobs' and that's a ship employed in each subsector full-time just doing that. Then you've got to get said results to the sector capital (at least) for it to matter.
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby IanBruntlett » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:38 pm

Here is a real life example of routine mapping finding something unexpected:-
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 08642.html
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Ewan
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby Ewan » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:14 pm

locarno24 wrote:
Where is the scout service spending its time?
4. Updating survey data.
Agreed. Maintaining the Imperium's 'knowledge' of its own domains takes forever.
The Classic Traveller adventure "The Imperial Fringe" dealt with a group of characters having to audit/update the survey data of various worlds of The Spinward Marches.
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ShawnDriscoll
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:18 pm

sinmaan wrote:I am reading the Spinward March supplement and from what I understand its supposed to be one of the most backwater area in the whole 3rd Imperium. However, i have the impression that pretty much every system in every sectors of that "backwater area" are well defined, which makes believe they have been explored.

I understand that every star system is composed of a number of planets and that only the main ones are fully explored (which leaves plenty of room for exploration), but are there still some star systems, or even whole sectors, that have not been explored in the 3rd Imperium?

Where is the scout service spending its time?

Thanks
Go to http://www.travellermap.com to see which sectors are blank. I'm doing stuff in Rift Center, which is blank for a reason.
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby phavoc » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:21 pm

Captain Jonah pretty much stole everybody's thunder in regards to your question. :)

While the scouts have mapped where pretty much the larger celestial bodies are, that doesn't mean they aren't still finding new things. As has been said, space if BIG. And things change. And the scout service does more than just map the planets. They are also involved in "mapping" what the cultures and peoples of planets do. With all the planets in the Marches, that's a pretty much never-ending job. And couple that with all the other "mundane" tasks they have, and you can see how they are never bored and without work to do!
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby Captain Jonah » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:38 pm

phavoc wrote:Captain Jonah pretty much stole everybody's thunder in regards to your question. :)
Thunder for sale, best bargain in the sector.

A few careless previous owners, good quality thunder.

Fell off the back of a Far Trader honest :lol:
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby AndrewW » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:50 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:Fell off the back of a Far Trader honest :lol:
Did it have any help falling?

Like a pair of gorilla hands...
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby phavoc » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:44 am

Are you sure that wasn't a Fat trader?
torus
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby torus » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:46 am

But essentially the OP is correct, there isn't anything left to explore 'terra nova' in the Marches, and in fact in the Imperium more generally. Lots of other things for Scouts to do, not all mundane, but in the 3I as presented I think it's fair to say all the real exploring was done hundreds of years ago. Other entities are still exploring, e.g. on the Solomani rimward frontier, the Zhodani coreward expeditions, and presumably the Aslan to spinward.
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby Captain Jonah » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:28 pm

phavoc wrote:Are you sure that wasn't a Fat trader?
I'm not Fat, I'm big boned :lol:

Oh wait you mean the ship, well it looked like the cargo hatch of a Far trader but it was very dark :wink:
torus wrote:But essentially the OP is correct, there isn't anything left to explore 'terra nova' in the Marches, and in fact in the Imperium more generally.
Well if you mean new stars to discover and never before seen systems to jump to then yes the Imperium is fairly well covered.

If on the other hand you mean to visit “Known” systems and worlds and find things not known to the Imperium then there is plenty of stuff to do.
Look the number of classic adventures that involve worlds within the Imperium where there are undiscovered species, ruins and relics of ancient civilisations, ancient sites, colonies and worlds abandoned in the long dark and never recovered since, special anomalies, lethal alien species never encountered before attacking helpless low tech worlds, sleeper ships drifting in the void, unexplained mysteries that have never been seriously investigated (entire colonies vanishing, the ghost fleets of the rifts etc).

All of these are things that scouts can be sent to find or investigate. The Imperium has been around for many years and yet they are still finding new ancient sites that have gone unnoticed for many thousands of years.
Outside of the tiny area of a solar system that men consider home is a vast dark sea of stars. There are millions of objects out there, entire rogue planets or gas giants, asteroids and comets, floating alien cities and more.
Long range survey sensors run by the scouts will catch the slightest glimpse of something from time to time and it is the Scouts that send an exploration ship with enough fuel to double jump.

PC or NPC scouts can still set foot on fantastic new worlds that have never been seen by humans before and that last felt the light of a sun when human kind was still in the trees.

The adventures that the scouts and PCs can find are limited only by the imagination of the Ref and players. As old as the Imperium is there is still plenty to explore within its borders.
A scout could spend a lifetime visiting new places and leaving his foot prints in the dust of millennia before retiring with much still left to do.

This is Traveller. The only limits are those you set yourself.
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

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torus
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby torus » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:20 pm

Captain Jonah wrote: Look the number of classic adventures that involve worlds within the Imperium where there are undiscovered species, ruins and relics of ancient civilisations, ancient sites, colonies and worlds abandoned in the long dark and never recovered since, special anomalies, lethal alien species never encountered before attacking helpless low tech worlds, sleeper ships drifting in the void, unexplained mysteries that have never been seriously investigated (entire colonies vanishing, the ghost fleets of the rifts etc)
Ah yes but the Imperium was a different setting back when those adventures were written. The Marches in particular have had 30 years of detail and development, and each subsector is filled with populated worlds, starports, bases, patrols. The setting for some of those adventures, e.g. Annic Nova, is almost unrecognisable to someone reading the Spinward Marches today
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:02 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:
Well if you mean new stars to discover and never before seen systems to jump to then yes the Imperium is fairly well covered.

If on the other hand you mean to visit “Known” systems and worlds and find things not known to the Imperium then there is plenty of stuff to do.
One thing to realize is that the majority of settled systems are going to have ten thousand people *or less* resident in the entire system. Most of the Imperium is little communities, not gigantic metropoli. That means that even the main worlds are going to be largely untouched, have large areas not looked at very often, and have plenty of potential for "what is this doing here?"

Its no Star Trek five year mission, but its hardly Google Earth, either.
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torus
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby torus » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:17 pm

GypsyComet wrote:
One thing to realize is that the majority of settled systems are going to have ten thousand people *or less* resident in the entire system. Most of the Imperium is little communities, not gigantic metropoli. That means that even the main worlds are going to be largely untouched, have large areas not looked at very often, and have plenty of potential for "what is this doing here?"

Its no Star Trek five year mission, but its hardly Google Earth, either.
Agreed, however most systems are within a few weeks' travel from worlds with millions or even billions of inhabitants, and have been for at least a century. I would say the Imperium is indeed more like Earth in ths regard: there are huge regions where hardly anybody ever goes, but nowhere really unexplored.

I should say, IMTU I have depopuated the Imperium substantially, but that's for a different thread...
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Re: What's left to explore?

Postby Captain Jonah » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:19 pm

Something to consider in all this.

We live on a world with 7 billion people. We have networks of satellites watching our world from overhead. We have been flying around and looking down for a hundred years or so. Thousands of explorers have been everywhere they can reach to see what is there.

But consider how often the news contains new discoveries.

The Coelacanth, extinct for millions of years. Well no it was just unknown to science. The locals had been catching them but the rest of the world wasn’t aware of it. The locals may know about it but until it is recorded it doesn’t exist.
How many new species of dinosaurs have been found in the last few years, how many new types of animals, insects or plants are found in those out of the way corners. The hobbits in the cave a few years ago.

7 billion people on this world and yet we are still finding new things, there are places that have never been explored, caves still being found. High peaks and depths not yet even visited. The Egyptians keep finding the remains of ancient cities and inhabited areas that escaped history. How many people have walked past or on top of these fantastic discoveries unknowing.

This is a world with 30% land mass and 7 Billion people. A world with more landmass and a few thousand colonists or even a few million inhabitants is going to be virtually unexplored except for the most inhabited regions. Even then ask the archaeologists in Egypt about the necropolis they found when digging foundations. A huge complex and no one had a clue it was beneath a city of millions.

Having been inhabited for a thousand years is not a factor here. Being a single jump away from a world with a population of 10+ billion is not a factor. The time and detail of the exploration is the factor, even with high tech equipment you very often need boots on the ground or in the jungles. Worlds with lower populations are not going to have official exploration teams, they are going to have hobby explorers, small groups from the next system over’s universities and so on.

If the scouts at tech 12+ found the earth and it had a population of 100 million all living around the fertile crescent and the med it would take hundreds of scouts decades to begin to explore the rest.

Even in the 3rd Imperium there is plenty to explore.
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