Colonization history of the Third Imperium


Banded Mongoose
The GURPS Sword Worlds book has a good campaign outline for an exploration and colonisation project which could be easily drawn on for an easier milieu.

And the spirit of Traveller when faced with something that looks implausible is to make something up.

Why settle Mora?

Maybe it had a vital and rare resource like Lanthanum deposits?

Maybe a big colony ship had irreparable jump drive problems at Mora and so ended up settling there?

Make up a story.


Banded Mongoose
RogerMc said:
Maybe a big colony ship had irreparable jump drive problems at Mora and so ended up settling there?

Make up a story.

Were this a clean slate - "Make up a story" would be a fine bit of advice. ;)

The initial supporting material on the Spinward Marches specifies that Mora is settled by Ling Standard Products. There is other supporting documentation that I would sort of like to try and keep as reasonable as possible without having to venture too far away from "OTU" canon.

Which brings me to my next point. Life isn't always such that everything becomes known. The questions I've posted here and at SJGames forums all pertain to trying to work with the main material despite the issues involved. That being said, I don't want to have to fall back to "because I said so" approach. The less I force my players to hit the "I believe" button in an effort to override something that is clearly to "way out there" - the happier I am.

For now? I think this will have to be my approach...

The Imperium normally classifies its worlds based upon population, settlement type, and so forth. Worlds that are not full members of the Imperium with right to representation in the Moot, come under other ministry control. Colonies come under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Colonization, Resource harvesting settlements comes under the ministry of Conservation.

All else becomes a simple matter of the bureaucratic oversight and definitions.

Long story short? Mora's settlement is so unusual, that as GM, I decided that the year Cleon the First visited Vland and visited the data repository there, he discovered something so important, that he directed the settlement of Mora as surely as if he had published a decree to make it happen. That he didn't issue a warrant, and that as of 1105 - nothing further is said about the unusual circumstances of the settlement - implies that he worked behind the scenes, and that Ling-Standard Products would benefit from the undertaking despite its overly extended supply lines and transit distances.

Per the history of the Emperors - Cleon the First and Second would not survive to see the launch of the Colonization effort. If colonization efforts take months, perhaps even years of preparation, then it is probable that Cleon had to concentrate on things of higher priority before he could finally get around to starting the colonization effort. IMTU - Cleon the First had to engage in some SERIOUS back room bargaining, which ultimately would result in either financial rewards or social rewards (such as a charter of nobility). IMTU, Cleon the First sweetened the pot by giving Ling-Standard Products access to data collected by the IISS as well as some limited financial incentives that would last a set period of time - thereby increasing the revenues gained by the Corporation Ling Standard Products.

Mora as a world doesn't have a lot going for it. It is overly large (size 10 where Earth is size 8) along with 90% of its surface being covered with liquid water. Toss in a dense atmosphere, and Mora is far from being a garden vacation spot for the rich. That is is an industrial world is surprising to say the least.

Maybe Mora is rich in heavy metals mined from its oceans. Perhaps there are sources for drugs that are plentiful at Mora than anywhere else. That still doesn't justify an overly long supply line. What MIGHT justify this is...

A known Ancient Site.

More importantly, perhaps a Known Ancient Site with known artifacts recovered from it. It may have simply been a 3D mapbox of Ancients held star systems. Perhaps it was a psionic amplifier. Who knows. But for now? If the Ancient's sites was the impetus for colonization, it would also explain the scatter gun like approach to settling worlds rather than a measured rational approach to "Settle the garden worlds first, the marginal worlds last"

So - resource harvesting worlds are not true settlements in my eye. Colonies are attempts at permanent settlements, but have not as yet, reached the threshold of inclusion in the Moot proper. All that remains now, is to detail the worlds that lead from Vland to Mora and take it from there. :)


Banded Mongoose
I still don't understand the problem.

Canon tells us Mora was settled by LSP in 60 and not that much else.

We also know that Mora remains the sector capital and still a hugely important world a millennium later.

Ergo there must have been a jolly good reason it was settled in the first place.


Banded Mongoose
RogerMc said:
I still don't understand the problem.

Canon tells us Mora was settled by LSP in 60 and not that much else.

We also know that Mora remains the sector capital and still a hugely important world a millennium later.

Ergo there must have been a jolly good reason it was settled in the first place.

On the presumption that I'm not expressing myself very well... (sorry)

Let's put this in a sharper perspective. Suppose you're in charge of deciding the direction of how NASA will spend its time, its resources, and such for the next 30 years. Now, let's specify that the space program has finite resources. Let's further stipulate that you're given a choice - either establish a base on Mars, or establish a base on one of Saturn's Moons.

Least energy orbits hohmann transfer orbits, being what they are, would require the following:

Delta-V: 9.8 mps (miles per second)
Transfer duration of Earth to Saturn: 2220 days

Delta-V: 3.4 mps (Miles per second)
Transfer duration of Earth to Mars: 260 days

Now, with finite resources, which means you have a limited number of space craft, a limited amount of money to pay for fuel etc - how would you go about deciding which base is going to be better worth your time and effort?

First, you'd ask "what is at Saturn that isn't at Mars? What is at Mars that isn't at Saturn? Then you'd likely ask yourself "If I have only 10 ships, and I have to build a base using materials and people etc - all from Earth" you'd have to schedule those 10 ships to the best of your ability right?

Now comes the issue. A two way trip takes 4440 days. Add in the staging time required to load your ships up etc, and in the span of say, 10,000 days, you will get at most - 2 full trips there and back. With 10 ships, that's a total of 20 ship's worth of people, food, materials etc - to the Saturn Base.

With Mars, you'd get 19 return trips in 10,000 days. That's 190 ship loads of people, food, materials etc for the Mars Base. This is essentially a look at the logistical aspect of what is involved in colonizing Mora from Vland (which is closer to Mora than is Sylea). There are far many more worlds similar to Mora that are closer to Vland than is Mora. The written aspect of the histories of both Deneb and Spinward Marches is that they are relatively uninhabited. There are a few instances of worlds that are "lesser race home worlds" such as Darrian. That we don't know how much of a population Darrian had in the early days is a pain. We do know that per written information (story telling history as it were), that Darrian had an influx of 30,000 high tech population that mixed in with the low tech natives.

Now, why did that raise a flag for me? The Spinward Marches colonization history (as written in other publications by GDW over the years) starts with Mora - but continues unabated to where multiple worlds are being settled, and that by a given date, we have not the one world as a colony, but an additional 16 others (for a total if memory serves me right, of 17 worlds rather quickly).

The journey from Vland to Mora takes almost 16 months if you use Jump-2 ships. The schedule you'd have to keep is thus:

Jump: 7 days.
Approach Gas Giant/water rich world for wilderness refueling: 1 day
Refuel: 1 day
Leave World in prep for Jump: 1 day

That works to 10 days per jump with some worlds taking less time, some worlds taking more time. THIS only works if you KNOW where the worlds are going to be so you can jump to them. Otherwise, you have to jump within a given distance of the world, scout about until you find a fuel source, then move to it, then engage in wilderness refueling.

So, 10 days per jump at BEST, with 3 jumps per month, or nearly 16 months duration for a one way trip.

It gets worse.

Milieu Zero lists the starport type as A for Vland, which means it can build star ships. But its TL of A means that it can only produce Jump-1 ships. One could still build ships with an eye towards Jump-2 (ie 20% of the hull devoted to jump fuel), but the ships would have to spend 2 weeks in jump using consecutive Jump-1 journeys.

Per the background books given, the Third Imperium grows at a rate of about 1/2 parsec per year. After 50 years, the Third Imperium's borders have expanded out by a function of about 25 parsecs from the original border of the Sylean Federation.

Jump-2 ships are only possible at worlds with TL B per the original rules for Traveller. Jump-3 ships can be built at C starports. Jump-4 starships can be built at the highest TL possible of D.

Those Colony ships built with Jump 2 have to initially be built in the Sylean area, then transit to Vland, then pick up supplies and settlers etc - before they can start their trek of some 92 parsecs (47 Jumps).

The Mora settlement is tough enough when you factor in the costs involved for the settlers and such. It gets worse when you consider the fact that Corridor was the playground of Vargr during the First and Second Imperiums. It would seem that they might still have been the playground of the Vargr during the start of the Third Imperium. Deneb was also host to such issues including piracy.

For those colonizers to arrive safely at Mora through 47 jumps, 47 different star systems, all the while being potentially worth while targets of pirates or even tempting prizes for worlds that had Space technology, but not Jump technology - and you can get a sense that the colonization of Mora was rather unusual overall. That lack of appreciation at just HOW extraordinary the narrative regarind Mora is - can easily be attributed to the fact that the writers didn't have access to certain material that may not have been created until AFTER the narrative was laid down in supplements 8 and 11 Library Data. Alternatively, they didn't reference the Imperial Atlas, or if they did, many of the worlds in the subsectors depicted had NO UWP's, but were given names if their populations exceeded a given value. Problem is - ATLAS OF THE IMPERIUM was published in 1984, after SCOUTS had been published, and well after Library Data A-M (1980) and Library Data N-Z (1982).

Was it a function of "The data wasn't there, so they couldn't gauge how unusual their story is" or is it a function of "this is intentional, work with it" kind of thing.

Me? Because of what was written in 1980 and 1982, as well as using TRAVELLERMAP.COM (which does a lot of the hard work automatically such as plotting the shortest route between two points, listing the itinerary for the jump) gives me a bit of an advantage in hindsight that the original authors did NOT have.

Recapping my original point: Colonizing Mora doesn't make LOGISTICAL sense in both issues of time and/or money. There are world in Corridor that are better candidates for the Imperium. If people want to say "but maybe those worlds were inhabited" - the response is that per the written material, Vland stopped just shy of entering Corridor at all, and Earth was even further away from Corridor sector than was Vland. If Earth couldn't keep things running beyond about 4 to 6 hundred years before it goes to hell, chances are good that Earth didn't have the resources to colonize past Corridor either.

SOMETHING (as you say) had to make not only Mora worth it, but the surrounding worlds as well. That something had to be worth more than simply settling the closer worlds in Corridor or in Deneb. That something had to be worth the colonization ships being built, the escorts being built and the resources sunk into setting up a colony.

2 round trips versus 19 for real space near Earth using Hohmann transfer orbits to illustrate why we would colonize Mars before we'd colonize Saturn (all things being equal). Now, Transhuman Space (by SJGames) Postulated that we needed specific isotopes of Hydrogen for sustainable commercial fusion - making the mining of hydrogen from the surface of Mars and skimming from our Gas Giants a profitable venture.

So - that's the big story. The hullaboo about what I found to be unusual. My take on it is that what was discovered at Vland was sufficiently valuable that Mora gets settled far in advance of how most rational star civilizations would normally do it.

Some people (possibly most!) won't care saying "This interrupts a good story, sod off!" Some might say "Hey, good point" and then make up their own minds about what it all meant.


Emperor Mongoose
Colonization is push and pull, beyond those with wanderlust, people tend to be forced to go or think they have better opportunities elsewhere; and it tends to be one way, and you're also staking the fortunes of your family on the move.

However terrible the conditions in the Americas and Australia were, you knew that you could breathe the air and drink the water.

Rikki Tikki Traveller

Cosmic Mongoose
Wasn't there something published a while back about the reason for the 5th Frontier War was to get to an Ancient artifact on Rhylanor?

Perhaps something similar was needed to cause Cleon I to push for such a remote area to be "staked out". An advanced base from which most of the area Behind the Claw could be settled. Mora was selected and settlements spread from there, filling in the gap through Deneb and Corridor. Similar to how California was settled due to the Gold Rush, and then areas in the mid-western US were settled later.