[ATU] Shattered Federation


For the last two or so years (more than that for some bits and pieces), somewhere between OTU work and other projects, between thinking about house-rules and campaign-weaving, something else, Traveller related as well, was cooking in my mind. Maybe this was the influence of playing the old Starflight computer games and watching Babylon 5 re-runs; maybe its just my mind drifting from time to time to kinds of more "space opera" sci-fi which is neither the OTU nor the near-future hard-science of my other projects; perhaps this is part of me that wants a long-term setting to invest in beyond the confines of the Trojan Reach or of my project.

My thoughts in this direction do not yet posses a final, definite form. Though some clarity came with time, I'm still playing with the components in my head. So I'll list the ingredients one by one, in an order which I hope will be more or less logical.

1) The Zoo-keepers. About 60-70 million years ago a sentient species (or a group of species?) built an interstellar civilization in an area of space not far from Earth. They had a habit of terraforming worlds and transplanting creatures from various "interesting" (to them, that is) worlds and spreading them across a number of terraformed worlds, perhaps creating menageries or hunting preserves or simply tailoring the local biosphere to their tastes. They didn't commit much (if at all) genetic engineering, but rather planetary and biosphere engineering and life-form importation.

Now they are long gone. The vast bulk of their technology and cities was eventually reduced to nothing but anomalous concentrations of elements in the soil and the rock. None (and I mean it - no exceptions) of their machines survived in an even remotely operable form. Some of their artifact - more commonly, trash - was fossilized; there are also fossilized bones which may or may not be fossils of the "Zoo-Keepers" themselves (again, there might have been more than one sentient species in the "Zoo-Keeper" civilization).

However, their true legacy is not fossilized archaeological artifacts but terraformed worlds and a wide spread of certain life-forms across multiple worlds. Some worlds failed and reverted to their pre-terraformation forms; others survived; all were changed by the passing of 60-70 million years. Some life-forms were extinct alongside the "Zoo-Keepers" or in the intervening millions of years; others - such as cockroaches imported (either purposefully or by accident) from Earth - survived virtually unchanged; yet others continued to evolve. And on at least one world, transplanted organisms reached sentience.

2) Precursors and Inheritors. There were several waves of interstellar civilizations between the time of the "Zoo-Keepers" and the current era. The latest pre-modern wave, occurring a few millenia ago or even several centuries ago, was a multi-species society now called the Precursors. Unlike the "Zoo-Keepers", many Precursor artifacts are still, in some cases, intact and some might be reverse-engineered by xeno-archeologists. The Precursors have disappeared in what looks like a massive interstellar war.

The Precursors have one more legacy - the Inheritors. When the precursors roamed the stars, a species of semi-sentient (or near-sentient) scavengers and opportunists spread alongside them, perhaps as pets and perhaps as pests. Soon after the Precursors died, the pressures from the post-war environment led to the final step in the Inheritor evolution towards sentience; alternatively, some of them might have been "uplifted" by the Precursors soon before their fall. They become fully intelligent within a few thousand years (or even less), which is extremely fast in terms of evolution.

Developing in an environment filled with huge amounts decaying technological remains had strange impacts on Inheritor society and culture. One might say that they've reached a civilization "too fast", using scavenged Precursor technology (or, at least reverse-engineered technology) as "shortcuts" of technological evolution. The end result is a society combining high-tech in some areas with deep superstition in others, partially-understood principles with black-box cargo-cult belief that "this is the way things should be done". The inheritors have built an interstellar society centered on their homeworld about thirty parsecs to the Coreward-spinward from Earth. They are excellent in improvising, jury-rigging, scavenging and reverse-engineering but aren't that good in understanding the scientific basics behind their devices.

3) Celirans. On a former "Zoo-Keeper" world called Reniya orbiting a G2V star about twenty parsecs to the Coreward-Trailing from Earth, theropods transplanted from Earth eventually evolved into a sentient race called Celirans.

Celirans are a bit smaller than Humans, have green skin with soft scales, large yellow (or orange in some cases) eyes and a long, flexible prehensile tail (which is also a bit useful when swimming). They are bipeds but don't exactly walk upright (their pelvis is similar to those of their theropod ancestors or to that of birds - they walk bent forward from a Human perspective). They have bird-style legs and three fingers in each hand (one opposing two). They also have a crest of feathers on their heads and a bunch of feathers at the tip of their tail. They also have chirpy voices and are much better singers than humans (especially the males). They are, of course, egg-layers.

Courtship in their ur-species was similar to that of songbirds - the female chose the male: the more colorful a male was and the better he sang, the greater chances he had to find a mate. As a sentient species, of course, interpersonal relations vary from this, but the biological adaptations for this form of courtship remain: males and females have the same muscle mass; males have chirpier voices than females and sing better than them; and males are more colorful than females (all of these taken together was the source for some embarrassing incidents when the first Human explorers reached Renya). As both parents could roost and feed the young (originally with chewed insects and fruits; in modern times with a mash of insects and fruits made in a blender or bought ready), family structure tends to vary more greatly between Celiran cultures than between different Human cultures (as except for laying the eggs, both Celiran parents could fill the same rules). Most Celiran societies are slightly matriarchal, but not overly so, though religious leaders are almost always female (among other things, due to the fact that psionics manifest only in females in this species, and were known since a very early period in their history). Their most common religion in modern times is the faith in Meya Ennah ("One Mother"), a monotheistic agrarian (originally, that is) goddess; Renya itself is today a constitutional theocracy with the Council of Matriarchs sharing power with the elected Assembly; until a few years ago it was ruled by a single High Priestess. There are, of course, other religions (as well as multiple sects within this faith), most notably shamanic faiths, some of which have been adopted (in a modern form) by Celiran spacers.

Celirans have evolved in a swamp-forest, and are well adapted to eating insects, fish and soft fruits: they have many small, very sharp teeth. Due to their terragen origin, they could easily eat some Earth foods, though they find most kinds of meat - not to mention cereals and most "harder" baked goods - quite hard to chew; also, as non-mammals, they are incapable of digesting lactose (but some take lactase pills before a meal to try out these "human" foods; upper-class human-influenced Celirans sometimes go through a retroviral treatment to insert the genes for lactase into their digestive system cells).

Celirans developed space-faring technology around 1500AD (Earth time), when the moderate (and tolerant) nation of Ayajiyan reached the peak of its dominance on Renya. This was an era of rapid scientific and technological advance, and around 1600AD the Celirans began sending out STL colony-ships to nearby promising stars; they've also extensively colonized the Renya star-system. A space elevator was even built from Renya, making the transition to orbit easy.

For some reason, however, they didn't develop gravitics or jump-drives in that period; all Celiran space travel back then was done using reaction drives, slower-than-light travel, induced hibernation and rotating habitats.

Around 1670 AD, Ayajiyan's power began to decay, and circa 1700 AD it lost a prolonged war to Zabrebah, a far more intolerant and reactionary nation-state. Zabrebah was more interested in consolidating its place as the sole superpower on Renya (and fighting the 'heretics' who followed other sects of the Meya Ennah religion, or, worse following other religions altogether) than in space travel, exploration or colonization. A dark age of religious wars and technological stagnation followed.

The colonists on other worlds in the Renya system, as well as in the numerous orbital and asteroid habitats were more or less stranded. Many died. Others built their own society, the so-called "Spacer" society of mobile, opportunistic belter tribes; some of the more successful tribes completed the construction of a few abandoned STL interstellar ships and spread their distinct culture to the stars.

Meanwhile, the old Ayajiyan-era interstellar sleeper-ships reached their destinations, and there their colonies continued to develop on their own and in their own direction. So several Celiran cultures emerged: the conservative homeworld; the moderates (and other divergent societies) at the interstellar colonies and the nomadic spacers in the asteroid belts of the Renya system and other star-systems.

4) The Exodus from Earth. Humans didn't venture too much into space (except for a few probes and a few manned interplanetary expeditions, that is) until the mis-2050's. Then, the invention of crude gravitics and primitive fusion reactors made space travel cheap; soon space teemed with human activity.

But resources on Earth were dwindling, its environmental system was becoming increasingly unstable, and international conflicts intensified. While initially the more optimistic humans hoped that the wealth of interplanetary resources would ease Earth-side conflict, the new belt mines just gave the Earth powers new prizes to fight over. So during the 2060's and 2070's there was a growing feeling that a global meltdown would be imminent.

People looked for a way out, and the invention of a simple jump-drive in 2066 gave them this emergency exit: faster-than-light interstellar colonization. Colony ships were soon produced in huge numbers. The typical colony-ship was a small TL9, Jump-1 ship carrying a few hundreds of colonists (the largest carried 10,000) in cold-sleep, about 2-4 tons of colony supplies per colonist, as well as a waking crew and supplies for several months of consecutive jumps and frontier refueling. Each colony-ship would then check system after system for habitable worlds, and once it would find one it'd land on it and settle down; the ship itself could then serve as a colonial transport.

The most common colonies ships were the 1,000-ton Energiya Type-70a (affordable even by smaller government and larger organizations) and the 2,000-ton Boeing-BritishAerospace Mayflower-class (typically used by richer governments and corporations). Several less common models were employed including the enormous Constitution-class 30,000-ton vessel (a joint project by several American manufacturers) and the Japanese 1,000-ton Tokagawa-class fully-automated colony ships.

Dozens of colony ships left Earth between 2069 and 2096, reaching and colonizing many worlds both near Earth and quite away from it. In 2069, however, a multi-sided war broke out on Earth, eventually escalating to massive use of nuclear, biological and nanotechnological weapons. Most of the fighting took place on Earth, but some of the sides send lighting strikes against some of the nearer colonies; further-away colonies survived virtually untouched.

5) Independent Colonial Development. As Earth descended into a prolonged dark age, the colonies developed in isolation. While some still had their working jump-capable colony ships, few had the infrastructure required to maintain such ships on the long run, not to mention producing new spacecraft; returning to Earth was out of question due to high surface radiation and still-active (and aggressive) orbital defense satellites. Around the 2150's almost all interstellar traffic ground to a near halt. Then, each colony was left to fend for itself.

Most colonies started out with 250-10,000 colonists (Traveller populations 2-4), and, given good conditions, could grow by an order of magnitude in 25 to 100 years (average 72.5 years; depending on the colonists' reproduction rate and the presence or absence of exogenous gestation technology). So around 2400AD some of the more successful colonies reached a population of several hundred millions.

Some colonies developed quickly; some developed even faster, reaching better technological levels than their original ones brought from Earth; some developed rapidly but then burned out in one sort of cataclysm or other; and some never took off the ground and declined to low barbarism. Finally, some died off completely. So space around Sol and a bit further is full with human colonies in various stages of development.

6) Two Milieus. Both milieus share the same time-line (2630AD), but are separated by about 20-30 parsecs and aren't (so far) in direct contact with one another. One is set in the nascent United Terran Republic (UTR), the government which has finally emerged and united the chaotic Earth survivors under a single leadership; the other is a cluster of successful human colonies about 10 parsecs to the Spinward from Renya.

The UTR milieu should have some similarities to the TNE milieu of Traveller, with the resource-starved, grimly-determined UTR tries to expand in the dangerous "waters" of the near-Earth star-systems where no other unified interstellar government exist but some pocket-empires do (and so do a lot of ruins and barbaric worlds resulting from late-war hit-and-run strikes on the nascent near-Earth colonies). The focus in this milieu should be exploration, recontact, and dealing with the strange new cultures emerging from the various isolated colonies.

The UTR milieu should be quadrant-sized (including some unexplored space) and centered on Earth. TL should be early TL10, with a few of the isolated colonies reaching higher TLs in specific fields (such as computers or biotechnology).

In the other milieu things went better, at least early on, partially due to the lack of late-war raids this far from Earth. One of these far-from-Earth colonies reached a population of three hundred millions, TL9 and interstellar tech around 2400AD, and soon recontacted the few other nearby colonies. This led to the establishment of an interstellar federation in 2452, centered on those "core worlds"; first federal contact with the Celirans came in 2461.

7) Cera Tellan. In 2095, the human colony ship Canaan crash-landed on the well-developed Celiran colony of Cera Tellan, a few parsecs away from Renya. While Cera Tellan was around TL8 at that point, the colony ship's drives were too badly damaged to be reverse-engineered with the technology at hand. Some of the crew and colonists, however, survived the crash, and made the true first contact between Humans and Celirans.

Once the language barrier was overcome, the human colonists were allowed to settle at Sde Prachim, a continent on Cera Tellan still almost untouched by the seventy million Celiran settlers. Eventually, through slow interaction, cultural cross-fertilization and trade, a strange, hybrid culture emerged, a mixture of human and Celiran influences. By the 2460's, Cera Tellan/Sde Prachim had an almost unified two-species culture and the beginning of gravitic technology.

8) The Federation-Renya Relationships. By 2461, the Renyan world government has grown more moderate, and began re-expanding to the other intra-system worlds; the Renya Space Elevator was repaired and reactivated. When the human federation encountered Renya, the potential profits from selling gravitic and interstellar tech to a population of nine billion Celirans on Renya were too large to ignore. Therefore, the federation's trade board (representing the largest corporations) signed a treaty with Renya, providing the Renya Government with TL10 technology and ready-built grav modules and jump-drives. In return, Renya agreed to refrain from producing gravitics or jump-drives locally, maintaining the human monopoly (and thus potential for enormous profits) over these two key technologies.

Another part of this agreement was federal military aid to Renya for the purpose of re-integrating the various intersteallr Celiran colonies into a Renya-centered Celiran polity, in return for exclusive trade rights with these colonies. Within two decades most of the nearby colonies - including Cera Tellan - were integrated into the Holy Dominion of Renya, either peacefully or by force.

Human colonies not already part of the federation were also integrated into the federation either peacefully or by force. By the second half of the 24th century, both the federation and its client-state, the Holy Dominion of Renya, reached TL11 and their peak size. They were, however, full of integrated colonies, some of them not so content (to say the least) with their loss of independence. Furthermore, some of the Celiran colonies did not like being under the rule of Renya's theocracy.

9) The Civil War. The Cera Tellan Police Action and the Svoboda Police Action of the 2580's grew into the Trailing Pacification Campaign of the 2590's. Neither police actions nor pacification campaigns were successful. By the early 2600's they're grown into a bloody insurgency on several human on several frontier of the federation and on several Celiran colonies as well. This couldn't go on; the cost was too high in both personnel and tax-payer credits.

In 2604, the federation's prime minister, Feinstein, began implementing a plan to remedy this problem. According to this plan, the grieving colonies will be gradually given independence; furthermore, the federation will gradually withdraw its military aid to Renya and thus, in practice, allow Cera Tellan (and a few other colonies) to secede. While this plan looked good on paper, it was in stark conflict with several factions within the federal government (and the corporations) who had significant interests in either the rebellious human worlds, the trade agreement with Renya or both.

In 2605 this came to a head. As Feinstein refused to back from his plan despite significant political pressure, several of the federation's generals, led by Star Marshal Jaque Durnhal, declared Feinstein's regime to be illegal and organized a military coup. Feinstein was killed in the initial fighting; several of the other government officials fled the capital to re-established a provisional government in exile on the frontier. The federation was dissolved; the Hegemony was established instead, a "feudal"-seeming state which was little more than thinly-veiled zaibetsu-military rule, with Durnhal at is head as the Hegemon.

Some of the major worlds swore fealty to the Hegemony; some remained loyal to the federal-government-in-exile; yet others openly rebelled, rejecting both, either staying independent like Svoboda or joining the Community of Liberated Systems (CLS) founded by Cera Tellan. Renya fought on the side of the Hegemony to preserve its hold on its own colonies. The civil war began in full swing.

The game takes place either at the closing stages of the civil-war or a few months after its end.

10) Some more background about the Civil War. The main reason for the federation's breakdown was not just the aspiration of various worlds to be independent, but, more importantly, a problem haunting any Traveller polity: governance at a long distance given the slow communication times. The federations' centralized structure was fit for the small, subsector-sized polity it was in its infancy, but it was a strangling nightmare when it was nine subsectors at size - even at the (relatively) high communication rates of the new TL12 it has reached in the 2590's.

Each post-Civil War polity solves this issue in one way or another. The Hegemony, surprisingly, does so by being more decentralized than the old federation, with each of the eight megazaibetsus having significant autonomy in its designated area of operations. The CLS solves this by being small and by having a certain amount of planetary-level autonomy; the remnant provisional-government federation is small for the time being and so does the new Renya government; and, last but not least, many worlds simply remain independent.

11) Four Different Spacecraft Paradigms: Human, Common Celiran, Celiran Spacer and Cera Tellan.

11A) Human Paradigm. Humans got into large-scale space colonization only after they've invented gravitics. Furthermore, the first human interstellar-age spacecraft were designed by aircraft manufacturers. The result is that most human spacecraft are inspired by aircraft: the engines are "behind the back wall", the spacecraft are usually quite small and fully streamlined, sub-craft are rarely carried (except for escape-pods), and a squadron of smaller ships exists instead of a single large one. Human spacecraft terminology is borrowed from aircraft terminology, with a Spaceforce (or Starforce) instead of a Navy, Fighters/Bombers/Space Fortresses instead of Escorts/Destroyers/Cruisers, and Spaceborne (or Starborne) Infantry rather than Marines. High G ratings are common on human ships. Space stations are the exception to all of this but are rarely really mobile (beyond the confines of stationkeeping).

11B) Common Celiran Paradigm. Celirans had no gravitics before 2461AD, and thus they ahve a centuries-long tradition of building slow, long-duration non-gravitic craft. Even with gravitics some of these traditions remain: the engines are "under the floor", ships are typically large and dispersed, sub-craft are almost always carried for atmospheric operations, hydroponics are usually carried and a single big ship does the job of a squadron of human craft. Celiran spaceship terminology can be translated into naval terminology: Ships, scorts/Destroyers/Cruisers, Navy and Marines. Most Celiran starships ahve low G ratings but may carry much faster sub-craft (e.g. a battle-rider paradigm).

11C) Celiran Spacer Paradigm. Celiran spacers live in their spacecraft and thus treat many of them as buildings rather than vehicles: they have Platforms, Battlestations, Rigs and so on. Smaller and faster craft usually follows the common Celiran naval-derived terminology. Most Spacer vessels are big, slow and extremely long-duration, and carry large amounts of smaller, faster sub-craft for work and defense.

11D) Cera Tellan Paradigm. Cera Tellan (and colonies inspired by it) has a mixed Human-Celiran culture, and its ships are inspired by both cultures: names are mixed-and-matched between the two paradigms, and while many ships are streamlined they usually also carry sub-craft. Cera Tellan has a Star Navy carrying Stellar Infantry.

12) Technological Issues. The UTR's tech-level is early TL10, though some worlds the UTR explorers might encounter can possibly have much higher TLs in specific fields (such as biotech or computers). The federation/hegemony/CLS/Renya milieu is nominally TL12, or so it was before the Civil War; now only a few worlds have TL12 capabilities, and most TL12 ships were lost in the war, so lower TLs are more common.

12A) Gravitics. Magneto-gravitic technology progresses at a slower rate in this universe, and magneto-gravitic units are large, bulky and expensive. The smallest grav unit is the inefficient Sub-sA drive (giving 1G performance for a 10-ton hull), costing MCr0.6 and displacing 0.3 tons; the smallest grav-vehicle is, therefore, the 10-ton Gig. Even this drive is TL11, so at TL9-10 (e.g. in the UTR) only the larger sA drive is available as the minimal-sized grav unit. Grav-units small enough to fit into a small vehicle (such as an Air/Raft) are TL14, and grav-belts are TL16. For these reasons, most non-space vehicles are either land or water vehicles (or rotor aircraft) using fuel cells, or jet aircraft burning hydrogen.

12B) Fusion. Likewise, fusion reactors in the setting progress at a slower rate than the Traveller default. The smallest fusion reactor is the inefficient Sub-sA p-plant (giving power-1 performance for a 10-ton hull), costing MCr2 and displacing 0.8 tons; the smallest fusion-powered vehicle is, therefore, the 10-ton Gig. Even this reactor is TL10 (cutting-edge for the UTR), so at TL9- only the larger sA reactors available as the minimal-sized fusion reactor. However, a breakthrough is right around the corner (at late TL12, a few decades into the future) with fusion reactors a few m^3 in volume; later, in mid-late TL13, there will be a fusion unit small enough to fill a backpack (but still very expensive). Therefore most small vehicles use fuel-cells and not reactors for power.

12C) Computers and Electronics. In this universe, computers, electronics and related techs (such as augmentations and software) advance more quickly than in the default Traveller setting. Treat each TL as two TLs higher (e.g. TL12 as TL14) for the sake of such technology's availability. And yes, AIs may be available at TL9 if you work hard enough on them and invest enough money in the project.

12D) Terraformation. Terraformation is possible in this setting even at TL8, but at low TLs this is a very slow process (taking a few centuries to complete for the very least). TL11+ can terraform most "contaminated" breathable atmospheres (i.e. Traveller ATMs 4, 7 and 9) as well as some of the Exotic ones (A) in the matter of decades, but terraforming less habitable worlds still takes well over a century.

13) On the Importance of Industrial Worlds. Due to the fact that most human worlds are either 400-500 years old colonies or 100-or-so years old recent colonies (all starting from a relatively small population), worlds with a population of billions are rare; most well-populated worlds have populations of millions, tens of millions or, at most, hundreds of millions. As such worlds are the power houses of any interstellar economy, they are usually the cornerstones of one polity of another.

14) Psionics. Both Humans and Celirans have an innate psionic capacity. However, in its natural form, this capability is so weak that it can barely be detected even by the most powerful of instruments. Therefore, some means to amplify it are required if one wants to use the psionic ability in any meaningful way.

A plant native to Renya can amplify a Celiran's psionic capability to detectable levels if eaten, and to fully-operational (as per the Traveller rules) if its extract is consumed. This effect lasts for several hours, after which the user is exhausted and must rest for a few more hours. This technique was known on Renya from antiquity, and thus Celirans knew of psionics for much longer than Humans. No equivalent plant exists on Earth, and while humans can gain psionic abilities from consuming this extract, the side effects on them can be much more severe than on Celirans, leading, possibly, even to death.

Once humans learned of psionics, however, they eventually developed a technological device to artificially amplify the brain's weak psi emanations. This Psi Amplifier is safe to use for humans, and, if properly re-calibrated, for Celirans as well.

Note that Celiran females tend to have a higher Psi strength than males; Celiran females generate their Psi Strength by rolling 2d6, and males by rolling 1d6. Humans of both sexes roll 2d6.

15) Low Berth House Rules for MGT (I use these in all of my Traveller settings). The Low Berths are altered a bit from the vanilla Traveller version. The main difference is that my version is somewhat safer. Characters are rarely be killed by these berths, but injuries – including serious or even permanent ones - could still result from their use.

Under standard procedure, preparing a passenger for low passage takes 1-6 hours and requires the presence of a medic (but no task roll). Reviving a low passenger is a Medic, Endurance, 1-6 hours, Easy (+4) task using the passenger's Endurance DM. In both cases one medic could simultaneously work on up to 20 low berths, but the medic has to make a separate task roll for each passenger he or she attempts to revive. A failed revival roll results in 3d6 normal damage rather than instant death. Healthy low passengers frozen and revived using the standard procedure rarely die, but might need prompt medical attention in some cases; infirm, ill or wounded passengers are at greater risk.

In emergencies, however, it is possible to quickly freeze a character, taking only 10-60 seconds and not requiring any medic to be present. This emergency procedure is automatic and may even be initiated by the passenger himself by using an override switch inside the low berth. Reviving a passenger frozen in this manner is subject to a -2 DM.

It is also possible to quickly revive a low passenger using the emergency revival procedure, which is a Medic, Endurance, 1-6 minutes, Average (+0) task using the passenger's Endurance DM. This could either be done by a medic or by triggering an override failsafe mechanism of the low berth (which is treated as if it had Medic 0 for this purpose). A failed emergency revival task causes a roll on the Injury table (TMB p.37); damage is permanent unless treated in a hospital of TL10 or better (using the costs listed on TMB p.37).

While Humans used low-berths in their colony ships and continue to use them as a cheap alternative to middle/high passage on civilian ships, military troops are almost always carried awake in double-occupancy staterooms; this means that many 'traditional' Human expeditionary military forces are small units of highly-trained experts using cutting-edge equipment. Renya, on the other hand, transports ground troops in cryo-sleep (other than small Marine forces used for boarding actions, that is). Coupled with their large ship sizes, this means that Renya can field quite large infantry formations on target worlds; this leads to the use of masses of hastily-trained conscripts and "Lizard-Wave" tactics. Cera Tellan, as always, is somewhere in the middle with smaller forces in comparison to 'traditional' Renya (carried either in cryo or in shipboard barracks) but larger than the typical 'archetypal' Human forces.
I think that Stan Johansen Miniatures has some minis that look a bit like Celirans:


By golan2072 at 2009-08-26


By golan2072 at 2009-08-26

Their bodies - and especially their tails - are a bit thicker than what I had in mind for Celirans, and they lack feathers (though I can add these to the tips of the tails with some paint), but they look like a close match and thus might be useful once I'll run this setting (in some undefinite point in the future, after we'll finish the Aslan campaign).

I've ordered 39 of them and I'm now in the process of paining them :)
Do you think the federation/hegemony setting will work best when set during the Civil War or will it be better to set it immediately after it?
The image of the simple jump-1 ships packed with colonists, sponsored by different governments as planetary lifeboats, is very evocative...

I like it.
Golan2072 said:
Do you think the federation/hegemony setting will work best when set during the Civil War or will it be better to set it immediately after it?
I think the setting would work best by starting it from midway through the war to late through the war. Its got plenty of scope for conflict and drama - for ideas along that line, look at the Babylon 5 stories set after Sheridan overthrew the Earth government.

BTW, I agree with the modification of low passage being less lethal than in the traditional Traveller setting.
IanBruntlett said:
Golan2072 said:
Do you think the federation/hegemony setting will work best when set during the Civil War or will it be better to set it immediately after it?
I think the setting would work best by starting it from midway through the war to late through the war. Its got plenty of scope for conflict and drama - for ideas along that line, look at the Babylon 5 stories set after Sheridan overthrew the Earth government.
I was thinking about either a mid-late war setting (2627) or a game set immediately (a few months at most) after the war with the PCs mustering out once the forces were partially demobilized after the cease-fire agreements.

Either way, the Civil War would be everyone's background.

IanBruntlett said:
BTW, I agree with the modification of low passage being less lethal than in the traditional Traveller setting.
Thanks :)
Mithras said:
The image of the simple jump-1 ships packed with colonists, sponsored by different governments as planetary lifeboats, is very evocative...

I like it.
I've been trying to work out an idea I've had for a while...

as The Imperium was collapsing and people from Earth were spreading out into it... different regions became small empires/confederations/alliances. This would allow me to give each region a diff unifying goverment, earth culture/mix of earth cultures, assign different settings from books/tv/movies I liked and so on.

One was to be Firefly, one the Harringtonverse et.

Some trade between the areas but because of routing issues etc.
GamerDude said:
Mithras said:
The image of the simple jump-1 ships packed with colonists, sponsored by different governments as planetary lifeboats, is very evocative...

I like it.
I've been trying to work out an idea I've had for a while...

as The Imperium was collapsing and people from Earth were spreading out into it... different regions became small empires/confederations/alliances. This would allow me to give each region a diff unifying goverment, earth culture/mix of earth cultures, assign different settings from books/tv/movies I liked and so on.
One of the reasons for me to create such a setting was that I wanted to "seed" humanity over a wide range of worlds without keeping them close to Earth; this way I could build my own setting from the ground up while using (relatively) near-future humans.

This also allows me to create two settings: one far from Earth, with some space-opera touching, and one around Earth, which would be similar to TNE.
How balanced would (in MGT) be a space battle between one or two big ships (say, 2,000 tons or more each) and a fleet of smaller vessles (say, 10-20 ships of 100-300 tons each)? This will affect the amount of variation between the Human and Celiran ship design paradigms...
I've posted the baseline astrography (just before the formation of the Federation) HERE. Now I'll work on developing this astrography 200 years into the future, into the late Federation era, and later I'll apply the effects of the Civil War to this to create the final astrographical data.
Now that I have a starmap I've found that first contact (other than Cera Tellan, that is) probably occurred on Cera Nayen (Subsector G 0107); trade missions to Renya soon followed far ahead of what was then the Federal colonial frontier.
16) Stages of the Civil War:

16a) The Three Years of Chaos (2605-2608). Immediately after the coup in 2605, the Civil War spread through known space like a wildfire. Riots, or even open insurrections, erupted on most worlds with significant populations. Ships within the same squadrons and soldiers within the same units took sides and either defected or fought each other. Loyalties were unclear; battle lines were not set yet. Neither side - even the Hegemony - was not yet organized and consolidated enough to mount major military operations.

16b) The Offensive (2608-2613). Once the factions had consolidated their hold over their regions of space, and once the battle-lines were clearly drawn and the loyalties were clear, the factions launched large-scale naval offensives against their rivals. As fleets were still mostly intact, either side could achieve complete or near-complete space superiority in a given system at a given time, making ground offensives very asymmetrical affairs; for that reason, apart for small-scale operations by elite units, or, conversely, massive landings of invasion units, ground warfare was relatively limited in this period. But eventually, the massive naval warfare began to take its toll, and slowly but surely, the naval forces were being depleted by five years of intense space combat.

16c) The Attrition War (2613-2630). Once the naval forces were mostly depleted, complete or even near-complete orbital superiority was almost impossible to achieve. Consequently, conquering a planet was no longer a matter of placing an overwhelming naval force in low orbit - such forces no longer existed. Instead, the majority of warfare was conducted by ground forces, assisted by the limited naval assets still available. This was the bloodiest and most destructive part of the war, devastating whole worlds and killing millions. After seventeen years of carnage, the war reached a bloody stalemate and the warring factions were forced to sign a cease-fire agreement.
17) The Cera Nayen Startown Massacre (2607). In June 12, 2607, a Hegemony battlegroup led by Senior Captain Thomas Nakamura penetrated the orbital defenses around Cera Nayen, destroying the high-port and launching a massive nuclear strike against the startown on the ground before they were repelled by remaining defense craft. Five million people - both Human and Celiran - were killed in the initial attack, and fifty-three more millions died from radiation exposure and fallout in the following years. Cera Nayen's atmosphere was partially contaminated, raising clouds of dust from the attack and lowering the global temperatures.

Military speaking, this was a brilliant success, destroying Cera Nayen's main naval base and shipyards and, at least temporarily, greatly reducing its naval capability. Politically, however, this was a terrible mistake. When word spread out about the attack and its horrible consequences, many ships and military units decided to defect from the Hegemony, some of them switching sides to join the CLS (to which Cera Nayen belonged) in its plight. It also strengthened the resolve of those opposing the Hegemony.

Cera Nayen recovered within a few years, bolstered as it was by the large number of ships and military personnel who had defected to it from the Hegemony. A crash programme of re-industrialization without regard to environmental impacts began almost immediately, and by 2617 Cera Nayen had a new shipyard and a new Starport-A, albeit a much smaller one.

Nakamura himself, the Bucher of Cera Nayen, was killed in combat in 2609. The CLS ship crew responsible for his death was awarded with the Star of Courage for their actions.
After reading this thread, it appears that MGT space combat favors big, heavily-armored combatants with heavy weapons (particle beams, meson weapons and nukes/torpedoes). The swarms of small, lightly-armored ships I've originally envisioned as the Human paradigm, or the swarms of fighters used by the Celiran Spacers would probably fare rather poorly against the big mainstream Celiran combatants.

I think that I will have to change the paradigm a bit, with all sides using capital ships of one sort or another, but the Humans designing streamlined, self-jump-propelled ships with their engines at the "back wall", while the Celirans using self-jump-propelled tail-sitters (mostly unstreamlined) and the Celiran spacers using mostly unstreamlined tail-sitter battle-riders.
I'm looking for a name for this ATU. If this was set during the late Civil War, I'd call it Civil War 2627AD, but I think I'd like to set it up in the immediate aftermath of the civil war. My current designation for the setting is Hegemony/Renya, but I'd like a more catchy and less cumbersome name.

Any suggestions?
Golan2072 said:
I'm looking for a name for this ATU. If this was set during the late Civil War, I'd call it Civil War 2627AD, but I think I'd like to set it up in the immediate aftermath of the civil war. My current designation for the setting is Hegemony/Renya, but I'd like a more catchy and less cumbersome name.

The long dark period following the multitude of horrors that happened during the civil war?

Oh wait, you wanted something less cumbersome...