It all started this way:
daryen wrote:I want a setting that is highly condensed and includes at least the option for the various major races. And they don't all have to be major players. I have no problem with the Aslan being reduced down to a nascent, growing pocket empire, and have the Hivers be mostly "off-map" except for some frontier colonies and envoys.
BTW, the other thing my suggestion does is allow for the reworking of important planets, too. In my hypothetical Spinward Marches setting, Capital is in Deneb; Zhodane is in Ziaf....; the Aslan homeworld (sorry, forgot the name) is in Trojan Reach; the K'kree homeworld is in Foreven. Lair is moved to Gvurrdon. (The Hivers stay off-map, but are close to Reft, not six+ sectors away.) I imply that the Imperium, Zhodani, and off-map Hivers are major players. How major the others are is up to how the setting evolves and develops. The important thing is not that they are all major. The important thing is that they are all there. Doing your solution by definition means you effectively jettison major races from the game. My recommendation does not.
(And remember that my Spinward Marches example is just that: an example. Maybe the Zhodani are an upstart power. Maybe the Imperium is just getting started. Maybe the Aslan or Vargr are widespread and hostile. The point of the example is not that it should be used, but to simply show what I mean and what can be done.)
Also, I don't require a reduced 1100 Imperium. It can be any kind of semi-feudal empire (though it probably will still be called "Imperium"). Change it up some. I don't care. The point is to condense and contract space so things are more manageable, and then bring everything closer to allow for accessibility.
Golan2072 wrote:I. LOVE. THIS.
Really, it gets my creative juices flowing. All the good OTU flavour, but with TL12 tech and a smaller universe (probably also a shorter timeline) - without the flaws of the OTU. I'm getting the urge to create a VTU (Variant Traveller Universe) based on something like this, as well as, maybe, the flavour of the old Laserburn wargaming rules.
Here is a rough map I came up with:Golan2072 wrote:I like this; this way, the Marches would be a good setting for a "Great Game" or "Cold War" situation between the various powers. The Darrians and Sword Worlders will serve as a buffer between the Imperium and the K'Kree; the K'Kree will probably focus their aggression at the Aslan but also continually probe the spinward border of the Marches; and so on.daryen wrote:In my suggestion, the "center" would be the Spinward Marches, which is a "neutral zone" sitting in the middle of all of the other powers that effectively ring it. Since the whole area would just be nine sectors, and the Imperium is in "Deneb" sector, that means it would have a completely uncharted sector to its trailing. Note that it would be purely uncharted from the point of view of the setting writeup. It is extremely likely the Imperium would have sent expeditions, found populated worlds, maybe even an extremely minor power or two, and whatnot. But that would be completely the purview of the referee. The setting would stop at the trailing border of "Deneb".
What I am looking for, however, is a variant of this where Foreven is the Imperial (as well as Zhodani, Aslan etc) frontier, so that I could write up about this mini-Imperium setting on my blog with MGT stats, under the Foreven License; and, besides, some of the best Traveller adventures ever are set in Foreven (Chamax Horde!). Maybe move the K'Kree to Deneb, and make the Imperial Marches (Spinward Marches) the heartlands of the Imperium. The Aslan will be in Trojan Reaches (more densely starred than in canon); the Zhos (probably re-interpreted as "greys") in Ziafrplians; the Vargr in Gvurrdon; the Hivers from beyond the Rift; and there will be a reptilian minor power (less than a subsector in size) in either The Beyond or even Foreven. The Imperium will have some holdings on the trailing side of Foreven, and there will be no Avalar Consulate or Mnemosyne Principality - just some Zhos at the coreward part of Foreven. A lot of independent worlds, sanctioned Imperial colonies and even more unsanctioned colonies.
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Now, on to the big question: what is the Imperium? I imagine it as a glorified cartel of the major Merchant Houses (AKA Zaibetsus), a bit similar to the Guild in Dune. The Imperium exists to facilitate commerce, especially by the Merchant Houses, and maintains a starport on most worlds, but does not intervene in local politics, or even small inter-world wars as long as the trade keeps flowing in and out. When a local regime threatens commerce, a trade embargo is usually more intimidating than the power-armoured Imperial Legions, though the latter are always ready to step on any local ruler who challenges the Imperial power. The Imperium allows for smaller traders, of course, but the major lines are owned by the Great Houses. "Nobility" is standing in the Great Houses; a Baron is usually a local Factor at a starport or his or her family; the Emperor is chosen by the Moot composed of the representatives of the Great Houses.
Oh, and no "Grandfather" in this VTU. There were multiple species of Ancients, including (but not limited to) the Droyne, Hivers and Darrians. And maybe also something more Cthulhu-esque. Who knows. But all Humans spread around space, and, eventually, colonized the space beyond the Great Rift, in the little-known days before the Long Night - rather than being transplanted by the Ancients. 299 years ago, the Imperium rose from the ashes of the Long Night and so did the local alien powers (who were also probably affected by whatever has caused the Long Night in the first place.
Most powers - Imperium, Zhodani, K'Kree, Vargr, Aslan - are TL13. The Imperium and Zhodani are mid-late TL13, while the K'Kree, Vargr and Aslan are lower-end Tech-13. The Hivers are TL15 (and sell late-TL13 goods to their trade partners, including the Imperium); the Droyne range from TL0 to TL16; and the Darrians are TL14.