Friday, 15 January 2010

Accidents in Astrography: Gamelea Subsector #1

Gamelea Subsector

The Gamelea Subsector was the first subsector generated for my RimWorlds Traveller Campaign.

In and of itself, the Gamelea Subsector isn’t very unusual, until you start looking at it from an economic and political point of view.

The Gamelea Subsector lies nearly at the Rimward edge of Imperial space within the RimWorlds Sector (Miazan Subsector, off the bottom of the Gamelea Subsector map, marks the Imperial frontier to Rimward). This, in itself, isn’t a problem until you start looking for the obvious links coreward of Gamelea. While the Xboat route links Kalath and the worlds of the Gamelea cluster via Julnar to the core worlds, this is a Jump-4 link. A Jump-3 route is possible from Kalath to Leminkainen but with Leminkainen’s poor D Class Starport, there’s not a lot of support for ships smaller than Long Liners or Megacorp Longhaulers. It would seem that the heart worlds of my Traveller campaign were actually unreachable for standard adventurer type Jump-2 ships.

When I started looking at my Traveller campaign again a couple of years ago, I began to realise that the J-3 Rift running through the subsector was a major impediment. This Rift, incidentally, continues to Trailing, bisecting Nolgor Subsector as well, and continuing over the Sector border. I suppose I could have just thrown a couple of systems into the Rift and then the problem would have gone away, but the mapping of the Lymethius Subsector, to Spinward of Gamelea Subsector, had thrown up a reach just inside that subsector border that looked as if it might provide a solution to my shipping quandary.

When I started working with Dave Redington on The BurrowWolf webcomic, I redrew the Border Worlds area on a J-6 map template I discovered on Berka’s Zhodani Base website. In this format, star patterns that were not readily apparent in the conventional 8x10 subsector map format leapt into view and suddenly provided a reason for the Imperium's dogged defence of these worlds through a series of border wars with the neighbouring stellar polities.

So, the lesson I learnt through this process is that terrain, even in space, is what defines a polity and access ways and borders exist for reasons. In works of fiction, a plausible reason why something exists enhances the story background, and gives possible hooks for future stories.

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