Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christmas War - Tinkering with the rules

I posted a couple of questions to the Two Hour Wargames discussion list tonight, just to see if I was at least in the same country, let alone ball park, regarding some of my character generating assumptions for 5150: New Beginnings.

It appears to me that, as I have chosen to create a new Alien race for 5150: New Beginnings, for my sins I also have to design the Generator and Profession tables. As the Rimbaur are pretty much like any other people in my Traveller universe, I have pretty much adapted the Basic and Zhuh-zhuh Professions tables, while skewing them slightly for a high tech society.

Rimbaud II/Gamelea B-434478-D
Agile +1d6 on any Physical Challenge involving agility
Slight –1d6 in melee
Leap can leap onto single story buildings or 6” distance from a standing start by taking a Physical Challenge.

Rimbaur Generator (2d6 added together)

Rimbaur Professions
2 - 5 Blue Service1Delivery Driver
2 - 3Culinary
4 - 5Store Owner
6Service Staff
6 Dependents1 (1 - 4)Children
1 (5 - 6)Elderly
2 (1 - 2)Religionist
2 (3 - 6)Student
3 - 4Homemaker
6Trophy Wife
7 (1 - 5) Exotic1 (1 - 3)Pilot
1 (4 - 5)Resistance Recruiter
1 (6)Patron
2 - 5Mercenary/Resistance Fighter
7 (6) Government1Diplomat
2Government Asst.
3 - 5Office Holder
6Secret Police (roll again for Cover Profession)
8 Labourer1Farmer
2 - 3Manufacturing
6Power Supply Tech
9 Technical1 (1 - 3)Engineer
1 (4 - 6)Doctor
4 (1 - 3)Med Tech
4 (4 - 6)Lab Assistant
5Data Analyst
6Computer Specialist
10 - 12 White Service1Translator
6Corporate Exec.
Criminal Element#Profession
1 (1 - 2)Dealer
1 (3 - 6)Black Marketeer
2 (1 - 3)Thief
2 (4 - 6)Smuggler/Transporter
4 - 5Net Runner
Law Enforcement#Profession
1 - 5Police Officer
6Police Sergeant

Note: Under the Kalar-Wi occupation of Rimbaud II, Rimbaur Police are despised by the general populace and are considered to be lackeys of the occupiers. Either Kiang or Kalar-Wi fill all Police ranks above Sergeant.

Edit: Have bitten the bullet and reconfigured the table in HTML.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas War – Off with his head!

The Harook from Mad Robot Miniatures are undercoated and ready for their transformation into Rimbaur; I have ten Ventaurans from Eureka Miniatures painted up already as Kalar-Wi; and I’m thinking that the Kalar-Wi might also deploy some of their Kiang allies, for which I will use Rebel Miniatures Kurgan.

This evening I successfully completed my first head-swap as I converted a Ventauran trooper into Inspector-Lieutenant Adra’kal Dreseka.

It was rather easy to remove the Ventauran’s head and then I drilled a small pilot hole where his neck would have been. Widening the hole, the neck plug for one of the pointy-eared heads I bought from Astro Miniatures just dropped straight in. Easy peasy.

I bowled the base of the Ventauran’s head/helmet and glued it to the figure’s waist, so Dreseka has his helmet hooked to his belt. Nice, simple conversion, and it looks really good.

Painting day tomorrow - I hope!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas War - backgrounding

Zhodani Officer and Wardroids - 15mm Ventauran from Eureka Miniatures with two GZG Grav Mini DronesOver on Dropship Horizon, Chris K has posted the skeleton of a Christmas War campaign and invited all readers to join in. Several things have come into alignment for me, and I suddenly thought, "I can do this."

Recently, I finished painting a squad of Eureka Ventaurans. With the proof-of-concept uniform details finalised, I can probably knock out another squad fairly quickly.

Mad Robot publicity pic of Harook, figures painted by Spacejacker, image stolen from Dropship Horizon blog without permissionAnd then, two packs of Harook arrived from Mad Robot Miniatures a couple of days ago. These are lovely, crisply cast miniatures, and one of the few avian alien races available in 15mm.

And finally, I have almost finished reading through my copy of 5150: New Beginnings from Two Hour Wargames.

I was already thinking about playing some 5150: New Beginnings within the existing frame work of the RimWorlds. The concept for that game is to follow the career of a shady young man making his way through the twists and turns of the criminal underworld. His adventures take place in the years following the death of the Boss of Bosses of an interstellar criminal network, the Black Comet Organisation in 1097 – some 12 years before the current campaign date.

Gamelea SubsectorWhile I’m tempted to play this game for the Christmas War, the arrival of the Harook figures reminded me of another incident in the history of the RimWorlds – the conquest and liberation of Rimbaud II.

The Kalar-Wi have been enthusiastic supporters of House Juharl of Gamelea, Fleet Admirals of Gamelea Subsector, in their struggle with House Zarquestuir, Siridar-Dukes of Gamelea. Playing a key role in the defence of Imperial space during the 1st and 2nd Outrim Wars, Kalar-Wi ambition fell afoul of Imperial policy, and the union between Houses Juharl and Zarquestuir, in 1022 during the brief, yet hard-fought, Klorin Asteroid War. Kalar-Wi remained in possession of the Varch system following the war, though out of Imperial favour, in spite of service during the 3rd Outrim War of 1025 – 1038.

Kalar-Wi intervened in the Rimbaud War of 1042 – 1044, occupying the devastated planet of Rimbaud II and endured veiled Imperial threats of retaliation for the attempted genocide of the native Rimbaur Minor Race. From the Kalar-Wi point of view, their intervention on behalf of one of two Rimbaur factions ended a bitter civil war that had already turned biological and which actually briefly went nuclear. Kalar-Wi was to continue to occupy Rimbaud II until 1105, and defeat at the end of the Kalar-Wi War. By this time, Kalar-Wi and Rimbaur Climatic Engineers had stabilised the shattered Rimbaud climate, and had even decontaminated small areas of the equatorial continent, though the bulk of the surviving Rimbaur population still dwelt in the high northern latitudes. In these settlements, some Rimbaur still waged a ‘war of liberation’ against the Kalar-Wi ‘oppressors’.

The Christmas War campaign I’m thinking of playing involves a Rimbaur Liberation Army (TkUK – Tre’kuorm Ureekai Kho) cell seeking to locate a captured TkUK leader and freeing her, and then staging an all-out attack on a Kalar-Wi garrison.

The first scenario takes place on the Eve of Puranthea Malathu, a Kalar-Wi religious festival recalling the birth of Malathu’kal Sourka, the first Warlord of Kalar-Wi who united the clans and turned them outwards into space. Traditionally a time when Kalar-Wi military units stand down and celebrate their lineage and battle honours, on this Eve of Puranthea Malathu Inspector-Lieutenant Adra’kal Dreseka of the JKW/22 (Jourlaki Kalar-Wi Unit 22 – Kalar-Wi Command Force Unit 22, or Kalar Wi Military Intelligence) has been tasked with interrogating a captured TkUK leader in an effort to roll up a local TkUK organisation.

Meanwhile, TkUK Cell leader Vras Srakaal has been ordered to rescue the recently captured Region Overofficer Kouss Shubar who is being held in the local town by the Kalar-Wi oppressors. Srakaal must locate and capture JKW/22 Inspector-Lieutenant Dreseka and extract Shubar’s location from him.

Well, that gives us the first scenario, so things to do include painting up some Harook as Rimbaur, converting and painting up a figure for Inspector-Lieutenant Adra’kal Dreseka, painting up some more Ventaurans as Kalar-Wi, and prepping up a play area. I might also have a look at some of the PEF tables and see if I need to modify them for my Traveller campaign.

What fun!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

On Still, Clear Waters ...

15mm Ventaurans from Eureka Miniatures
... ducks drift, while beneath the surface little webbed feet are flailing frantically.

Feels a bit like that, at times. I have managed to finish some figure painting, including the first squad of Ventaurans from Eureka Miniatures. I have painted up my Ventaurans as Zhodani proxies/Kalar-Wi.

I have managed to finish a couple of other little painting projects as well as move a few closer to completion - and have finally made some more scatter terrain from some rocks I picked up at Maraetai nearly a year ago. All this should be up on my website over the next few days.

I'm still plugging away at trade figures for the RimWorlds and have had some further thoughts on Gazolan Subsector. If Real Life slows down, I might even be able to write something about it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sector Fleet

Cover of Sector Fleet from Mongoose Publishing. Used completely without permissionSector Fleet
by Martin J Dougherty
Mongoose Publishing

Marc Miller first examined the Traveller Imperial Navy in detail in MegaTraveller’s Fighting Ships of the Shattered Imperium. This book expanded on the Classic Traveller Supplement 9 Fighting Ships, which was purely a collection of ship stat blocks, to include a small section on the Fleets of the Imperium, and how they were organised. It also examined how this organisational structure had adapted to the Imperial Civil War era of the MegaTraveller setting.

In 2006, Martin Dougherty published Grand Fleet, the first comprehensive work on the Imperial Fleet, its composition, mission, and organisation, through Avenger Enterprises. In 2010, Martin expanded upon his earlier work and released Sector Fleet for the current version of Traveller from Mongoose Publishing. As Sector Fleet is about twice the page count of Grand Fleet, it is obvious that Martin has given the subject of the Imperial Navy, the way it recruits and functions, its facilities and resources, and the way it interacts with the Imperium, considerable thought.

Sector Fleet gives a Gamesmaster a comprehensive picture as to how an institution like the Imperial Navy might function – not as a deux ex machina, but as a series of systems that follow their own internal logic and traditions based upon experience and the demands placed upon them by the government that they serve.

As a bonus, Martin provides a pretty comprehensive breakdown as to how the Spinward Marches Sector Fleet is deployed just prior to the 5th Frontier War, and what its structure looks like. Even if you don’t game in the Spinward Marches, or use the 3rd Imperium Background, this section is invaluable for the insight it provides a Gamesmaster with an interest in running a Naval campaign. From Martin’s baseline numbers, it is possible to extrapolate upwards or downwards, depending upon whether you favour a small ship or a large ship campagn, or even just compare Trillion Credit Squadron-derived budgets against.

This supplement is well worth getting, even just as another tool in a Traveller Gamesmaster’s toolbox.

Friday, 28 October 2011

5150: New Beginnings

Cover of 5150: New Beginnings from THW site5150: New Beginnings is a Science Fiction immersion game from Two Hour Wargames, and the first immersion game that I have bought. While I’m still reading the rules, I like what I see.

I’m not sure if “immersion game” is a tagline that THW has coined for their games, as I have not come across it before but, essentially, it describes a type of game that sits between a tabletop skirmish game and an RPG. By using reaction rolls, the characters in the game are meant to act and react to events as they unfold in a way that is more natural and logical than the traditional “I go, You go” of tabletop wargames.

What I really like is that there is an extensive campaign side to the game, and that the game can be played solo as well.

I first came across the game either on TMP or on one of the many blogs I follow. I joined the Two Hour Games Yahoo Group and read a couple of very entertaining After Action Reports written by guys fumbling their way through character creation and initial encounters. What sold me on the game was that I could easily see myself using my Traveller campaign as a setting, and actually getting to play with some of the figures I have been painting. My initial plan is to set the game in the Border Worlds – along the Lymethius and Gamelea Subsector borders – as this is an area of friction and conflict, which tends to generate good stories.

I elected to get the printed version of the rules from Two Hour Wargames, rather than the pdf, and it came, spiral bound, on a nice weight of paper with a colour card cover. The spiral binding made sense after my initial surprise as the book is going to spend a fair amount of time open when in play. I intend to rebind it, adding clear plastic covers to protect the very nice cover art, as I have access to a spiral binding machine.

I will post some updates on this soon, I think.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Trade Makes the Galaxy Go Round

Cover of GURPs: Traveller - Far TraderI’m still crunching away at the trade figures for the RimWorlds. At present, I have covered most of Lymethius and Gamelea Subsectors and already some interesting patterns are beginning to emerge.

GURPs: Traveller - Far Trader works by creating a World Trade Number for each main world – derived from that world’s Tech Level and population, and modified by the Starport type. An individual planet’s World Trade Number ranges from 0 to 6.5.

The World Trade Numbers of two worlds are added together, modified by Trade Classification type, if applicable, and by the distance in parsecs between the two worlds. The resulting number is called the Bilateral Trade Number and represents the amount of trade between the two worlds in question. What we are looking for is the existence of Major, Minor and Feeder Trade Routes associated with Bilateral Trade Numbers of 10+, 9+ and 8+.

Where GURPs: Traveller - Far Trader is quite clever, is that the distance modifier uses a logarithmic scale. This means that while the serious negative modifier of –2 kicks in at 10 parsecs separation, it is still possible to have a Major Trade Route between two planets up to 19 Parsecs apart, assuming each had a World Trade Number of at least 6 and both were members of the same polity. If there are sufficient High Tech/High Population worlds, they will naturally daisy chain and create lucrative Mains.

Where this information becomes useful from a gaming point of view is when you want an idea of how much traffic, and of what tonnage, is likely to be in a system, and how much freight and passengers are likely to be hanging around, waiting for a ride.

Be prepared however, if you want to use GURPs: Traveller - Far Trader as an economic mapping tool, for a lot of initial work. While parts of the job can be auto-calced by a bit of cunning Exel-fu, there is a lot of tedious manual matching of pairs of WTNs with distance modifiers to arrive at BTNs. Though, if you stick to the formula rules, you can quickly correct any initial calculation errors – such as happened to me this evening when I realised that Acorlis V’s WTN was wrong; once this was fixed, the BTNs I had laboriously calculated all corrected themselves – which was a relief – and the trade routes I had noted leading to Acorlis V all disappeared as the BTNs had dropped below the Feeder Route threshold – which makes sense as Acorlis V is best described as a dusty pest hole the inhabitants are too poor to leave.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Fifty Followers - a mile stone

Original image by Mark ElowitzI discovered today that fifty people now follow this blog. This fact is in equal parts humbling and terrifying - humbling that fifty people care enough about what I write to subscribe to my blog, and terrifying that they might find out I have no idea what I'm going to write about next!

My thanks to you all for your support - I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Website Update #13

Splintered Light Dark Elves upgradedWhile work on Gazolan Subsector has ground to a halt, I'm still plugging away at trade routes with GURPs Traveller: Far Trader. Due to the slightly cock-eyed way one reaches inter-system Trade volumes, there is room for error and I had to redo a chunk of stuff when I realised I was deducting the distance factor twice.

On a happier note, I have almost finished painting a nice little crawler flatbed and some figure conversions. More here.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Into the Deep ep 4Issue 4 of Brett's Traveller fanzine, 'Into the Deep' is now available as a free .pdf from here.

With a focus on Reavers' Deep Sector, 'Into the Deep' also provides useful background information for Brett's Classic Traveller PBeM, Reavers' Deep. The game is coming up on its third anniversary and is still going strong.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

"The Department" Enters Its Final Week of Fundraising

Art from 'The Department'I have been following developments of the science fiction/film noir themed Skirmish Wargame/RPG "The Department" with interest. With influences as diverse as Blade Runner and the computer game Syndicate, it could be an interesting way of playing out those noir-style Traveller scenarios.

Joseph Dragovich, lead writer on this project, is using an interesting fundraising mechanism, akin to Eureka Miniatures 300 club, where interested parties in effect pledge some cash to ensure the project gets to press.

Joe says,

"We're entering our final week of our Kickstarter drive and we're well on our way to getting to our funding goal.

We have raised over $2000 so far but we still need more pledges if we are going to make our funding goal.

Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model, so if we do not meet our $3800 goal by the 16th of September, the game will not be produced.

We have a lot of great rewards for backers, such as t-shirts, posters and signed copies of the rules. We're offering Kindle, Ebook, Pdf versions of the game.

Our Kickstarter page

You can learn more about Kickstarter's all or nothing funding here

I've signed up for a copy of the rules as this looks like a game I would really enjoy.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Design Notes - Incremental Progression

Features of Gazolan SubsectorWith new figures to paint and a full diary, progressing development of Gazolan Subsector has temporarily stalled. I have, however, located the current (1109) subsector capital, Thiroor, at 2213.

Thiroor lies on the “lower lip” of the Wedding Cup, Miigaurshish and, incidentally, was one of the early systems in Gazolan Subsector to be occupied by the Imperium. House Hendrian of Thiroor, Subsector Dukes of Gazolan, have been slowly increasing their power and influence since the Sakul Wars of the late Ninth Century. With the death of Sector Duke Edenar in 1097, Akansair Hendrian was able to present both himself and his House as the most suitable candidate to succeed to the Sector Duchy. Akansair I was succeeded by his son Mekal in 1104. Mekal was succeeded by his brother, Akansair II, in 1107.

I need to re-examine the systems of the Wedding Cup as these would appear to be the core worlds of Gazolan Subsector – the centre of power that House Hendrian as protected and nurtured since the Sarkul Wars. It is these worlds that have given House Hendrian the wealth and resources to replace House Ulanor as Sector Dukes, and to hold their own against their enemies – both internal and external.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


As often happens when I’m working on a project, instead of continuing with the development of Gazolan Subsector I suddenly decided that I needed to re-examine the economics of the RimWorlds using GURPs Traveller: Far Trader. This then involved trying to beat the various GURPs economics formulae into a spreadsheet. After much swearing and Googling, I developed a semi-automatic method for generating the various World Trade Numbers, and then a manual method for linking them together to generate the Bilateral Trade Number.

Currently, I have worked up numbers for Lymethius Subsector and have just started moving out into Gamelea. I am starting to see the beginnings of trade routes, though the Far Trader rules demand relatively high values for routes.

Heaven and Earth would generate the trade routes for me, but it doesn’t seem to present all the World Trade Numbers. Also, I’m finding the exercise useful in getting me to see different patterns in my subsectors. I’m looking forward to extending the numbers up the Julnar Reach into Gazolan Subsector to see if the story I was beginning to create about the Reach in my last post is backed up by the economic data. Lastly, generating these numbers, while useful for the background of a trade game, will also give me a feel as to the true volume of shipping travelling the routes of the Subsector.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Gazolan Subsector #4 – Dealing with Randomness

Gamelea and Gazolan Subsectors
Heaven and Earth is a mighty programme for generating systems and sectors and I have used it to sketch out the subsectors of my Sector that I never got around to mapping back in the day. I used it again to map out Gazolan Subsector for me when I decided that I needed to take a closer look at this region of space. Then, when I sat down to look at the UWPs for Gazolan Subsector, I experienced the same feeling of “blurg” that I experience whenever I look at any of the OTU Sector maps and their endless lists of UWPs – basically, I feel no connection with these strings of numbers.

For me, part of the fun of system and subsector creation is the story telling that goes along with it. A vocal portion of Traveller players/referees moan and whinge about the “inaccuracies” of Traveller world generation and “how is it that a billion people live on an airless rock while a garden world a parsec away has a population of a couple of hundred people?” My answer is, “So, how is that? Tell me the story of settlement of this region of space. Tell me of the hopes and dreams of the people who came to this place, or evolved out of the mud of this place, and I’ll tell you why these people are here”.

So, I sat down and rolled my own UWPs, and here they are:

Hex No.PlanetUPPBasesPBGTrade

Looking at what I came up with, my heart sank. The story is that Gazolan was a rich subsector – that’s why Kolin I pushed into that part of space, even against opposition - and here I was rolling up Poor worlds, and Low Tech worlds, and crappy starports and next to no bases - almost time to dump the home rolls and go back to Heaven and Earth. And then it struck me, Gazolan was a rich subsector in the time of Kolin I, some five hundred years ago. It has also been fought over in various civil wars and border wars since then.

Looking at the systems that make up the new and extended Julnar Reach, I was struck by the number of Poor worlds, especially towards the Rimward end of the constellation. Kerak (1922) and Tulvan (2021) in Gamelea Subsector are already noted as economically depressed worlds, due to the Odinite mines paying out in the 1090’s. Perhaps Zekhiipkuka (2020) and Karpathurnal (2120) in Gazolan were also depressed mining worlds? Giirmuum (2319), a Rich world, and Julnar (1823), a High Tech world, dominate the economy of the Reach, with Tech Level 15 Julnar taking the economic lead over Tech Level 11 Giirmuum.

Suddenly, the columns of numbers I had rolled up were beginning to tell me a story, and it looked like that it might be a different one to what I had been expecting.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Gazolan Subsector #3 – The Reach that Ate the Main

Gazolan Subsector and surroundsBack in Accidents in Astrography: Gamelea Subsector #2, I indicated that the Kerak and Tulvan systems in Gamelea Subsector were part of the Julnar Reach, a broken reach that extends into Lymethius Subsector. Looking at the freshly generated map for Gazolan Subsector, I see that Kerak (1922) and Tulvan (2021) are actually the Rimward extensions of the seven-system Main (G). I toyed with the idea of including Main (G) in the Julnar Reach, but then decided against it. The stars of the Julnar Reach will all have the same proper motion and inclination to the Galactic plane which, in spite of the Jump-2 gap between Julnar and Por’via, will indicate that they are all members of the same group. I have yet to decide whether Run (H) in Daltharmai Subsector is also part of the Julanr Reach

So, Kerak and Tulvan are now members of Main (G), which links them culturally to Rimward Gazolan as is evident by the fact that Cassingal – a dialect of Gazolan Imperial Basic - is spoken on both worlds as well as along Main (G). At the moment, I’m mulling over whether to merge the mapMap of the Border Worlds
I created for the BurrowWolf webcomic with the existing maps. Doing so will introduce two new systems to the Gamelea/Gazolan Subsector border area; Acorlis V at 1822 and Shinurii at 1720. Shinurii does not cause any problems and expands Run (F) by a system but Acorlis V, on the other hand, links Julnar and Leminkainen to the Main (G) and effectively writes the Julnar Reach out of the story.

As an alternative, and just to show what coming back to a problem after a couple of weeks can do, if Main (G) and the Julnar Reach do merge with the addition of Acorlis V, an idea that I discounted above, there is no reason why Main (G) should not become the Julnar Reach. This would create a ten-system constellation stretching from Leminkainen in Gamelea Subsector to the system at 2319 in Gazolan Subsector.

Gamelea and Gazolan Subsectors

Julnar, itself, is the homeworld of the Julnari Minor Race who, in 1109, enjoy a high tech TL15 society on their water world. Their population isn’t very large, though, numbering only some 830, 000 natives in 1109. For the Reach to be named for the system, there is the implication that either the system’s culture dominates the constellation, or the system is associated with some astronomical feature that makes the constellation recognisable.

Oloro is the native language of the Julnari, though Cassingal, an Imperial Basic dialect, is the dominant language of the Julnar Reach. I did have some early thoughts about the Julnari perhaps having a pocket Empire that was absorbed by Imperial expansion but I think that whatever influence the Julnari may have had along the Reach has waned and that lower tech, but higher population worlds elsewhere now dominate commerce and culture in the Reach. At present, my thinking is that some feature either in or near the Julnar system is sufficiently detectable at distance to have leant its name to the constellation.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Gazolan Subsector #2

Gazolan Subsector and surroundsWith the basics of the map for Daltharmai, Gazolan and Thurgandarn Subsectors laid out in Heaven and Earth, I sketched in the current Imperial Border (A). While I have been discussing the expansion of the Imperial RimWorlds Territory – later the RimWorlds Sector – under Sector Duke Kolin I Venuraski in the 540’s, I have also had to keep an eye on the RimWorlds Sector of 1109 (the current campaign date) as I have to ensure that two ends of my historical account actually meet up. The current Imperial Border, for instance, actually marks a slight decrease in Imperial penetration of the Sector. Daltharmai Subsector was basically a wedge driven Spinward by the Imperium between the Klarthur Confederacy in Riinu Subsector and the Outrim Alliance in Lymethius and Per Vulia Subsectors. With pressure coming from both Coreward and Rimward on Daltharmai, exposed and lightly held worlds have been abandoned as the Imperium has sought more defensible borders.

Astrographic features of Gazolan Subsector:

A – Imperial Border (1109)
B – a three-system cluster
C – the 11-system constellation Miigaurshish (pronounced ‘me – e – ga – ur – shish’) – the Wedding Cup.
D – the ten-system Daltharmai Main running to Spinward into Daltharmai Subsector.
E – a four-system cluster.
F – a five-system Run.
G – a seven-system Main running Rimward into Gamelea Subsector.
H – a three-system Run in Daltharmai Subsector.

Given that the Imperium was restricted to Jump-3 capable starships in the 540’s, Gazolan Subsector would have been entered from Kaorin Subsector through either the three-system cluster at (B) on the Gazolan/Daltharmai border, or through the Coreward “rim” of Miigaurshish (C) – the Wedding Cup – on the Gazolan/Thurgandarn border, or through the “stem” or “base” of Miigaurshish in Thurgandarn Subsector. It is likely that within these two astrographical features “great mineral resources were discovered in the Gazolan subsector and these fuelled the rapid expansion of the Duchy. This expansion was not unopposed.”

Looking at the map, I suspect that Kolin’s scouts did not actual come across any major opposition until they crossed over to the Daltharmai Main. A pocket empire based on the Daltharmai Main, with Jump-2 technology, could access the five-system run (F) to Rimward, and the three-system Run (H) and the Main (G) to Spinward and Rimward of (F). They could have also secured the Rimward rim of Miigaurshish and it is likely it was here that the Imperium encountered their second major polity in the RimWorlds.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Gazolan Subsector – Graveyard of Sector Dukes

Gazolan Subsector and surrounding space

After having fun fleshing out the Venuraski Sector Dukes, I realised that to round off this section of the History of the RimWorlds I really needed a brief account of the conflict in Gazolan Subsector that claimed the lives of both Kolin I and his son Metch. And to write about this conflict, I needed to map the subsector.

This would be the first subsector I have mapped for my campaign in something like 15 years. As I began setting up for it, I decided that I would sketch out the basics in Heaven and Earth, and then edit and move systems as required for the narrative. While the actual system generation rules would be from Classic Traveller, I wanted to take the opportunity to look at the Mongoose Traveller world generation rules to see whether they added anything to the mix.

As I have been going through my six extant subsectors, I have found it very helpful to look at the starmap in Quadrant form (more properly sextant form, I guess). At this higher-level viewpoint, constellations of stars form and logical local polities and cultural/language areas become obvious. So, having run the generator, I picked out the Jump-1 groups and marked up the current Imperial frontier.
Gazolan Subsector and constellations

With seven groups, I had a couple of good candidates for the location of a wealthy pocket empire or confederation, that might give Kolin I grief when he came calling in the middle of the sixth century. Though, looking at the current starports, either the subsector had really fallen on hard times, or I was going to have to do some serious editing work.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Characters who can Drive the Story #3

Palace of Shandijuparanar on Raelmar/Thurgandarn
In my last post, the finger of suspicion was pointing in the direction of Dentian Venuraski, later Sector Duke Dentian I, as the murderer of Sector Duke Kolin I in 550.

To recap, in 550 Kolin I, at the age of 72, was on campaign in Gazolan Subsector, attempting to pacify a hostile and potentially dangerous pocket empire rimward of the Klarthur Confederacy. His son and heir, Metch, was, we have decided, serving as a theatre commander in Gazolan Subsector – possibly in a Ground role, but more likely as a Task Force Commander - with a Fleet Admiral and a Ground Force Commander to keep him from making any serious mistakes.

So where was Kolin’s nephew, the future Sector Duke Kolin II? While pondering this question, I re-read this passage from Origins of the Rimworlds Sector 497 - 557

“As tensions eased along the Spinward frontier, Viceroy Kolin turned his eyes Rimward and set his scouts in motion again.

“Following the path of least resistance, Imperial colonisation moved Rimward from Berimar’s Sceptre Subsector into Thurgandarn, and then into Nolgor Subsector. In 540, the years of planning and effort paid off. The Sector Duchy of the Rimworlds was formerly established with its initial capital on Raelamr/Thurgandarn and Kolin Venuraski was invested as its first Sector Duke.

“Great mineral resources were discovered in the Gazolan subsector and these fuelled the rapid expansion of the Duchy. This expansion was not unopposed. Ten years into his reign, Sector Duke Kolin I’s driving ambition led his downfall when he was killed on campaign. Gazolan subsector was to claim the life of his son and successor, Metch (reigned 550 – 552), before being finally pacified.

“The Perrsherrik Rift in Nolgor Subsector halted the march to the Rim for a few years, but by 552 Imperial forces under Sector Duke Kolin II Venuraski had penetrated the Coreward end of Gazul Subsector.”

So, contrary to what I suggested had happened a couple of posts back, expansion Rimward began soon after Kolin I signed the Treaty of Choraptur with the Klarthur Confederacy in 530. Imperial forces encountered little or no resistance as they moved through Thurgandarn Subsector and the Coreward end of Nolgor Subsector, advancing about a parsec a year until, sometime in the mid/late 540’s, Kolin’s Scouts ran into the Perrsherrik Rift. The establishment of the first Sector Duchy capital at Raelmar (Thurgandarn 0808) in 540, close to the advancing wavefront in Nolgor Subsector, and handy to the increasingly problematic Gazolan Subsector to Spinward, would seem to indicate the choice of capital was governed by the proximity of perceived flash points.

The Perrsherrik Rift was to hold up the Imperial advance for several years until Antoi Perrsherrik’s original crossing point through the Thrisk and Lotarf systems was secured. Imperial expansion then continued Rimward, encountering progressively stiffer resistance from the Zoni of Lur and the Dokari Diarchy in Core-Spinward Gazul Subsector until Kolin II’s reign when the 1st Rimward War was finally fought.

It was on this front – the march to Rimward – that Kolin Venuraski would gain command experience and why, I believe, he fought the 1st Rimward War. To Kolin I would go the honour of establishing the RimWorlds Sector. Kolin II sought his place in history by taking the Imperium to the edge of Intergalactic Space. With this goal in his mind, the war in Gazolan was a distraction for Kolin II, robbing him of the fleet elements he needed to put down the Zoni and to break up the Dokari Diarchy.

The transition between Kolin I’s administration and that of Metch, in the midst of the Gazolan War, would have effectively stalled Kolin II’s Rimward campaign. It is likely that Kolin II was required to be present for Metch’s investiture, which would have taken him out of the Gazul theatre and his conflict with the Dokari Diarchy. Given his Rimward focus, which he returned to with a vengence after Metch’s death, I am inclined to believe that Kolin II did not murder his uncle.

So, where was Dentain during this time? If Kolin II was in his fifty’s when he died in 557, and Dentian was five or six years younger, then that would make Dentian somewhere between 46 and 50 when his brother won the 1st Rimward War and was killed at the Battle of Gorth. This would make Dentian between 39 and 43 when Kolin I was murdered in 550.

Given that by 550 the conflict in Gazolin Subsector had been under way for upwards of five years, and that Dentian’s brother already had the Rimward front in hand, I suspect that Dentian – the younger of the refugee cousins - would have been put to work in some fashion in Gazolin, as another Venuraski theatre commander may very well have been of use there.

Was there some military disaster associated with Dentian, or one of his entourage in 549 – 550? A public dressing down, or similar humiliation by Kolin I, may have been the tipping point where a “disgruntled gardener” sought to do service, or regain face, by removing the Sector Duke. As Dentian did not immediately stake a claim to the Sector Duchy, nor was executed by Metch, Kolin’s successor, could it be that Metch supported his younger cousin in the face of accusations over the deeds of a minion? Metch had a war to fight, and with only two years to live, he may have taken Dentian’s word instead of waiting for the findings of a formal inquiry, which would have taken time to deliver a verdict. The murderer’s identity was discreetly buried, possibly along with his body, and Metch took the Ducal coronet.

And here’s a thought – was the indomitable Kolin I in failing health at this time? The stress of command in an increasingly bloody war, coupled with the onset of some form of age-linked neurological disorder, coupled with some form of setback that caused the Sector Duke to fly into a public rage? While TL 13 medical technology might be able to cure such things, if the patient is in a borderline state and is then suddenly pushed over the edge, the harsh words and decrees might be issued before the medics could make a difference.

I think we have processed this inquiry about as far as we can, without coming right out and making a definite statement. By examining the character and times of one individual, and it must be admitted that Kolin I Venuraski is one of those exceptional individuals, we have been able to cast some light of a personal nature upon events five hundred years before the current campaign time. This, in turn allows us the possibility of artefacts, or people, with links to those far distant times who, in turn, will have value or motivations of their own which can set events in motion even in the current time.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Characters who can Drive the Story #2

Image - Aeon-lux and Vipiteno Castle

When attempting to solve a murder mystery, see who gains.

Sector Dukes of the RimWorlds

House Venuraski of Raelmar/Thurgandarn
Kolin I 540 – 550†
Metch 550 – 552†
Kolin II 552 – 557†
Dentian I 557 – 594 Abdicated

Kolin’s son and successor, Metch, inherited both the Sector Duchy and the war in Gazolan Subsector following his father’s death in 550. Given that Kolin was 72 when he died, Metch was probably in his 40’s or 50’s when he succeeded his father, assuming Kolin married and had issue in his 20’s or 30’s. Metch held the Sector Duchy for two years, dying on campaign in Gazolan Subsector in 552. Metch was succeeded as Sector Duke by Kolin II who finished the Gazolan War, and pushed Imperial expansion Rimward as far as Kasimir in Gazul Subsector before his death at the conclusion of the 1st Rimward War in 557.

Apart from the suddenly truncated timeline – three Sector Dukes within seven years, a war in Gazolan Subsector and a Rimward War, and a 15 parsec advance of the Imperial border after years of little or no progress – we also have the interesting question of the Ducal Succession. This is interesting in light of the question of who killed Sector Duke Kolin I.

My original Sector Ducal list is a sequence of Houses, names and reigns. The actual relationship between the various holders of the title and office was left rather vague, though hints of various relationships are evident in the accompanying initial draft of the Imperial History of the RimWorlds. While some Houses might still practise primogeniture, I reasoned that the council of elders of most Houses Major would collectively nominate the House’s most able member to fill such roles as might be granted to the House by the Emperor. And while such councils would have their own internal politics, as a clan or corporate body, the seniors of the House would strive to maintain the honour and status of the House above all else.

In the case of House Venuraski, Kolin I was such a dominant, and domineering force, that, unexpected death or not, his will dominated the political thinking of his time. In the middle of a conflict to pacify a subsector, a sudden change of leadership, or leadership policy, could be catastrophic to the war effort. Given his age, it is more than likely that Kolin’s son Metch was already an experienced Ground or Space Commander and serving in that conflict. It would not take much, when Kolin’s death was announced, for the military to rally behind Metch, and for the politicians to then submit to the fait accompli.

Then two years later, the war in Gazolan was almost over and Metch was dead. If Metch had murdered his father, or had his father murdered, then he had gained little from that heinous crime that he would not have received in due time and in the usual fashion, given that his father had, in effect, already secured the Sector Duchy for him. Therefore, it seems unlikely that Metch was involved in the death of his father.

This leaves the last two Venuraski Sector Dukes – Kolin II and Dentian I – as possible suspects. While turning over in my mind the relationship between these two and Kolin I, I recalled that Kolin I was initially described as “the head of a cadet branch of the House of Deneb”. My initial assumption had been that Kolin II, at least, and perhaps Dentian I, were younger sons of Kolin I. Now, I wondered if Kolin II and Dentian I were not in fact nephews, fostered in Kolin I’s Sector Ducal court to advance their careers.

Almost nothing is written about Kolin II directly; even his age and birthdate are not recorded. I picture him being of a similar age to his cousin Metch – in his mid-to-late fifties. He is active in command roles in the middle years of the 6th Century, both in the expansion of Imperial territory (more on this in my next post) in the Trailing Subsectors, the conclusion of the conflict in Gazolan Subsector and the 1st Rimward War – which costs him his life. Metch’s sudden death in 552 thrust Kolin II into the role of Sector Duke, which while unexpected, did not find him completely unprepared.

The character of Dentian I is drawn in slightly more detail, more for the latter part of his reign and his enforced abdication. He was a strong-willed individual, standing very much upon the points of the original charter of Kolin I’s Private Equity Company. Described by his opponents as more concerned with his own power and prestige than ruling justly, he sounds both vainglorious and tyrannical.

Could Dentian I be our murderer? I have decided that he is Kolin II’s younger brother. If Kolin II was in his 50’s when he died, perhaps Dentian I was five or six years younger. Having been in Kolin I’s Sector Ducal court for a decade, plus in his Vice-Regal court for at least a further 15 years, Dentian I had spent over half his life as a dependant of his uncle. As Kolin I manoeuvred his way between political hazards, did Dentian come to resent him and his real politik? And did he resent him enough to have him murdered?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Characters who can Drive the Story #1

Garden of Ilyuan, Heavenly City, Gourth/GazolanAt the end of my previous post, I briefly discussed the death of Sector Duke Kolin I Venuraski in 550. As you may recall, his brief biography in the Library Data ends Kolin’s driving ambition led to his downfall when he was killed on campaign in the Gazolan Subsector, killed, it is said, by a disgruntled gardener. I concluded that Kolin’s death at the hands of a gardener had the hallmarks of a historical myth – the mighty brought low by the humble – and left it at that.

A day or so later, I read a post on the Fire Broadside Blog about Oniwaban – ninja attached to the Court of the Tokugawa Shoguns who acted as intelligence agents and bodyguards. Martin at Fire Broadside had pretty much cribbed the fluff from the Infinity game site (as he’s busy painting up Infinity figures) but a quick Google on Wikipedia uncovered further information about these special agents that got me thinking.

Back in the day, I used to be a fan of Cerebus the Aardvark. At one point Cerebus, while working as Head of Security for Lord Julius, was given the title of Kitchen Staff Supervisor. Lord Julius was a great believer in impenetrable bureaucracy and miss-direction by mislabelling. He had a theory that a job title did not define the job and, in fact, it was better from a security point of view if a person’s job title actually had no relation to their actual job.

So, an interesting scenario presents itself. Sector Duke Kolin I is on active service in Gazolan when he his killed, not in battle, but by someone in his entourage. This person becomes known to history as a disgruntled gardener, in effect written out of history even though they have just killed a Sector Duke. When examined with a slightly suspicious mind, this could hint at a deliberate blurring of events to protect … whom?

Like double cream, the plot suddenly thickens.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

History of the RimWorlds #10 – Missing Years

Traveller funny found on the Internet and created by Christian for a RPGnet threadA chronology is a series of date pegs that one hangs events from. A history takes these date pegs and attempts to construct a narrative that carries the reader along with it. The problem with the latter approach is that without enough of the former, the story moves in fits and starts, just like a jerky piece of film. And, just like a jerky piece of film, when you look closely, you realise that there are pictures missing.

When we last left Viceroy Kolin Venuraski, the Treaty of Choraptur, settled in 530, had reduced tensions with the Klarthur Confederacy along the Spinward Frontier of the Imperial RimWorld Territories. This enabled Kolin’s exploratory missions to begin to move Rimward again.

“Following the path of least resistance, Imperial colonisation moved Rimward from Berimar’s Sceptre Subsector into Thurgandarn, and then into Nolgor Subsector.”
- The Origins of the Rimworlds Sector 497 - 557

What is interesting, here, is that the Chronology states:

History of the RimWorlds

497First Imperial presence in the RimWorlds in Kaorin and Berimar’s Sceptre subsectors.
525Lord Kolin Venuraski is created Viceroy of the RimWorlds by Imperial Patent.
526First Imperial contact with the Klarthur Confederacy in Riinu Subsector.
530Treaty of Choraptur defines the border between the Klarthur Confederacy and the Imperial RimWorld Territories.
540Sector Duchy of the RimWorlds established with its capital on Raelmar/Thurgandarn. Kolin I Venuraski is first Sector Duke.
552 - 5571st Rimward War. Sector Duke Kolin II extends Imperial Rule into the Gazul Subsector against the opposition of the Rimward Coalition.

Whoa! In 540, Kolin Venuraski becomes Duke Kolin I of the RimWorlds Sector, and twelve years later Sector Duke Kolin II is fighting the 1st Rimward War in Gazul Subsector. Besides taking twelve years to move the frontier 14 parsecs, what happened to Kolin I whose career has played such a part in the Imperial narrative of RimWorlds history for the last 55 years?

The Origins of the Rimworlds Sector 497 – 557, quoted above, is part of a longer essay, entitled The RimWorlds Sector: An Imperial Overview, which I wrote to bring together all my notes into some sort of coherent form. It is still a work in progress as I add to it. It picks up the narrative thusly:

In 540, the years of planning and effort paid off. The Sector Duchy of the Rimworlds was formerly established with its initial capital on Raelamr/Thurgandarn and Kolin Venuraski was invested as its first Sector Duke.

Great mineral resources were discovered in the Gazolan subsector and these fuelled the rapid expansion of the Duchy. This expansion was not unopposed. Ten years into his reign, Sector Duke Kolin I’s driving ambition led his downfall when he was killed on campaign.

Gazolan subsector was to claim the life of his son and successor, Metch (reigned 550 – 552), before being finally pacified.

The Perrsherrik Rift in Nolgor Subsector halted the march to the Rim for a few years, but by 552 Imperial forces under Sector Duke Kolin II Venuraski had penetrated the Coreward end of the Gazul Subsector.

So, we learn a little more about Duke Kolin’s fate, but not much.

At some stage I wrote a brief biography of him for my Library Data:

Kolin I Venuraski
Kolin Venuraski (478 - 550†), Sector Duke of the Rimworlds 540 - 550. Head of a cadet branch of the House of Deneb, Kolin saw, early on, the possibilities for expansion into the Rimworlds. Through deft manoeuvring, Kolin succeeded in having himself appointed to head the Imperial Commission that considered the Scout Service reports on the Kaorin and Berimar’s Sceptre Subsectors. Shamelessly exploiting his position, Kolin was made Viceroy of the Rimworlds in 525. Pooling the resources of his immediate family, and tapping the fortunes of his cousins, Kolin organised the massed settlement of the Thurgandarn Subsector. Part of his success lay in his ability to recruit talented younger members of the other Houses Major of the Greater Deneb Sector and skilfully exploit their skills and resources to achieve his own great aim. In 540, the years of planning and toil paid off with the creation of the Sector Duchy of the Rimworlds and the investiture of Kolin Venuraski as its first Duke. Ten years later, Kolin’s driving ambition led to his downfall when he was killed on campaign in the Gazolan Subsector, killed, it is said, by a disgruntled gardener.

Hmmm, death by gardener. Sounds a bit like a myth, especially with the “it is said” qualifier, but still a suitably delightful end to such a colourful character.

Having drawn together such threads as exist, I feel the urge to flesh out the narrative a little as there was obviously a major conflict in the Gazolan Subsector which I want to learn more about, and I want to develop Kolin's relationship with Kolin II. But, that’s a project for another day.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Website Update #12

Imperial Marine Platoon - figures by Ground Zero GamesA long and wet weekend enabled me to finally get some painting done and I managed to finish my Imperial Marine platoon.

I still have to finish the vehicles for the unit, as well as find or convert some officer figures. More pictures and notes can be found on
my website in the Modeling log.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

AE: Bounty

Cover of AE: Bounty - used without permissionAE: Bounty
by Matthew Hope
Darkson Designs

One of the Bloggers whose blog I follow recently purchased AE: Bounty. He was still in the process of reading the rules and hasn't commented further.

As I was also looking for some skirmish rules, I decided to order a copy for myself. I sourced my copy from The Book Depository in the UK - delivery time to New Zealand was 12 days and postage was free.

So, a nice 98 page, A5, softback book, nicely presented. I am finding the small print and grey/burgundy page background a little difficult to read under artificial light, though. At the moment, I'm still wading through the game background, though I did have a quick flick through the rules mechanics earlier. The basics seem relatively simple, with a series Abilities, and a choice of weapons options, to modify the basic characters.

I'm quite looking forward to playing this, so I hope to report back with an update in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

History of the RimWorlds #9 – A last look at the Klarthur Confederacy

The Thongaloros Empire left strange buildings in out of the way places - image found on the Internet
This brief examination of the Klarthur Confederacy has answered some questions, but has raised more.

We know that the dominant race within the Confederacy is the H’ran – an aggressive bipedal reptilian species uplifted to sentience by the Thongaloros Empire and used by them as enforcers and shock troops. We know that the H’ran State managed to retain some of the Empire’s shipping during the Empire’s collapse, and that they used this shipping to dominate a small group of systems in the Aemilor Subsector. We know that, while militarily successful, the H’ran lacked the technological know-how to maintain their precious fleet so that within a couple of decades, their Pocket Empire was on the verge of collapse as their ships failed, one by one. We know that the H’ran encountered, and conquered the less aggressive, but more technologically-savvy Gherlach prior to this collapse, and that the Gherlach, while initially treated as servitor-technicians, actually took over the running of the H’ran State. And finally, we know that the Gherlach were still secretly in touch with, and ruled by, an isolated clan of Tsalur who had survived the collapse of the Thongaloros Empire.

The Tsalur clan The Talon of Dra’kken, working through their Gherlachi servants, initially encouraged the further expansion of the H’ran State. Then slowly, over a period of a century and a half, the Talon changed the H’ran’s relationship with neighbouring states from one of mutual hostility to one of mutual assistance. As alliances were strengthened, the Klarthur Confederacy came into being, named for the bright nebula that dominates Aemilor Subsector. The arrival of large numbers of human settlers in the RimWorlds, set in motion by Lord Kolin Venuraski’s Chartered Private Equity Company, quite probably disrupted long range plans for turning the Confederacy into a Second Thongoloros Empire.

This state of affairs would not have been apparent to the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service as it began exploration of the RimWorlds, nor would it have been apparent to Lord Kolin’s initial follow-on expeditions. First contact with the Klarthur Confederacy took place in the Choraptur system of Riinu Subsector in 526, 19 years after the First-In Scouts began moving into Kaorin and Berimar’s Sceptre Subsectors.

Discovering a large, organised stellar polity sprawled across four subsectors came as something of a shock to Viceroy Kolin Venuraski and Lord Saaroi hault-Creaso, his Vice-Regal Minister for Exploration. After initial skirmishes as scouts from both sides ran into each other, and each other’s installations, the vague outlines of a frontier zone began to emerge.

Fortunately for Viceroy Kolin’s future ambitions, Lord Saaroi was ably served by his chief Xenologists, Albathar Moranth and Htaukhealaiw Iyfa. Professor Moranth quickly realised that the H’ran State dominated the Confederacy Supreme Council, and that while the H’ran appeared to be in charge, it was actually their Gherlachi servants who made things happen. Professor Iyfa was then able to crack the social codes that enabled Lord Saaroi to deal directly with Humblest-of-the-Humblest-and-Guide-of-the-Masses Cliirumpurathaal, the Gherlachi Chief Servitor.

After several false starts, the Treaty of Choraptur, concluded in 530, defined the official border between the Imperial RimWorld Territories and the Klarthur Confederacy, splitting Riinu Subsector evenly between the two states and strictly limiting Imperial expansion into Daltharmai Subsector.

As tensions eased along the Spinward frontier, Viceroy Kolin turned his eyes Rimward and set his scouts in motion again.

History of the RimWorlds

103Thongaloros Empire falls to the Outrim Barbarians.
114The H’ran State in Aemilor Subsector declares its independence from the Thongaloros Empire and begins to expand.
139The H’ran State in Aemilor Subsector, on the verge of collapse, conquerors the Gherlach. Gherlach technological skill saves the H’ran State.
290The Klarthur Confederacy established. Initially based in Aemilor Subsector, the Confederacy expands into Riinu, Nantarn and Daltharmai Subsectors.
323Ftaioiaftew/Gazul settled by Aslan of Huiha Weakhayuwikhye.
497First Imperial presence in the RimWorlds in Kaorin and Berimar’s Sceptre subsectors.
525Lord Kolin Venuraski is created Viceroy of the RimWorlds by Imperial Patent.
526First Imperial contact with the Klarthur Confederacy in Riinu Subsector.
530Treaty of Choraptur defines the border between the Klarthur Confederacy and the Imperial RimWorld Territories.
540Sector Duchy of the RimWorlds established with its capital on Raelmar/Thurgandarn. Kolin I Venuraski is first Sector Duke.

Monday, 4 April 2011

'Into the Deep' Issue 3 released

Cover of 'Into the Deep' Issue 3 The third issue of Into the Deep, a Traveller fanzine that focuses on Reavers' Deep Sector, was released mid-March. I've only just got around to downloading it as I've been flat out, myself.

Once again, Brett has done a great job. Into the Deep is available as a free download from Brett's website.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

History of the RimWorlds #8 – Expanding Time

RimWorlds Sector map generated by Heaven and Earth
I have just spent a bit of time updating my time line and library data files on my website. Cross referencing everything, and trying to ensure that there are no glaring errors, is a bit like remodelling a jungle-gym - connections have to be tested, and links/return links checked out otherwise you end up in a tangle.

So, the expanded timeline, going forward from the beginning of the Imperial presence in the RimWorlds, now looks like this:

History of the RimWorlds

497First Imperial presence in the Rimworlds in Kaorin and Berimar’s Sceptre subsectors.
525Lord Kolin Venuraski is created Viceroy of the RimWorlds by Imperial Patent.
526First Imperial contact with the Klarthur Confederacy in Riinu Subsector.
540Sector Duchy of the Rimworlds established with its capital on Raelmar/Thurgandarn. Kolin I Venuraski is first Sector Duke.

While this may not appear to be a huge breakthrough, it does represent a move forward in the development of the Sector.

Interestingly, when the Sector capital is established on Raelmar/Thurgandarn some fourteen years later, Kolin Venuraski is sufficiently confident in the security of his Spinward Border, that he establishes his capital some 17 parsecs from the terminus of his Whisp Route supply line in Berimar’s Sceptre Subsector and 16 parsecs from the nearest Confederacy outposts in Riinu Subsector. While ideally placed to oversee Rimward expansion into Nolgor Subsector, being at least four weeks behind the news to Spinward would be a major disadvantage if this frontier remained a flash point. At this point, I can only conclude that Venuraski’s Imperial Officials managed to reach some form of accommodation with the Confederacy Supreme Council.

Monday, 21 March 2011

History of the RimWorlds #7 – The Klarthur Confederacy: scratching at the surface.

Ktualesa“And later in the bulletin, we will have an extended interview with Lord Saaroi hault-Creaso, Vice-Regal Minister for Exploration, on the implications of Klarthur Confederacy claims to systems in the Riinu and Daltharmai Subsectors to further Imperial expansion in the RimWorlds Sector. But first, results just in from the Berimar’s Sceptre Aeroball League …”

In spite of resistance by the Klarthur Confederacy, the Imperium continued to expand into the RimWorlds. Following the path of least resistance, Imperial colonisation moved Rimward from Berimar’s Sceptre Subsector into Thurgandarn, and then into Nolgor Subsector. The Perrsherrik Rift halted the march to the Rim for a few years, but by 552 Imperial forces under Sector Duke Kolin II Venuraski had penetrated the Coreward end of the Gazul Subsector.

Design Notes:
And this brings us back to the thorny issue of the Klarthur Confederacy. After some thought, I have come to the following conclusions:

The Klarthur Confederacy is named for a nebula – the Klarthur Nebula - in Aemilor Subsector.

The dominant species in the Klarthur Confederacy is the H’ran, an aggressive bipedal reptilian race that were originally raised to sentience under the Thongaloros Empire. Serving as ground forces and shipboard marines for the Empire, the H’ran secured sufficient interstellar shipping during the collapse of the Thongaloros Empire to extend their sway over several systems in the Aemilor Subsector. The H’ran State was on the verge of collapse, as it lacked the industrial base to construct its own starships, when it overran the Gherlach, a much less aggressive but technology-savvy reptilian race.

The Gherlach were assimilated into the H’ran State as a servitor-technician caste but, soon, the Gherlach began to dominate the councils of the H’ran as they were in contact with an isolated clan of Tsalur, the ruling race of the Thongaloros Empire. The Tsalur were content to rule the expanding Klarthur Confederacy through their Gherlach servants, while the H’ran were directed to, initially, wage wars of expansion, and then to resist Imperial expansion where they could.

Have Spaceship, Will Travel

Cover of Venture Class Frontier Courier by DB GamesdesignVenture Class Frontier Courier
by Dave Blalock and Arthur Pollard

Recently, I met Dave Blalock through the wonders of the Intertubes. Dave has been steadily publishing Traveller and Traveller-related material for a number of years now, under either his D. B. Gamesdesign imprint, or as part of Hell Creek Sanitarium. Talking to him reminded me that I had actually bought one of his products a couple of years ago, the Venture Class Frontier Courier and deck plans.

Statted for Mongoose Traveller, the Venture Class Frontier Courier is a 150 ton, Jump-2, Manoeuvre-2 vessel. Used mainly as a courier or mail ship in backwater frontier regions, it’s designed for endurance, cost-efficiency, and ease of maintenance.

The bulk of the booklet consists of two very nice deck plans and accompanying descriptions. There are also several very nice exterior drawings that give the reader an idea of what the ship looks like, as well as how large it actually is. Three adventure hooks complete the presentation.

The deck plans are also available separately, which is a bonus if you like to use miniatures during your gaming session.

Being 50 tons larger than the Type-S Scout Courier, though with similar performance parameters, makes this ship design just that more viable as a PC owned vessel – 47 tons of cargo space goes a long way towards paying the bills. With cabin space for three crew and three passengers, a standard PC party can be accommodated aboard easily. At a squeeze, the life support system will support up to fourteen passengers and as well as three crew. This extends the vessel’s potential usefulness into the realms of small-scale striker mercenary actions. Finally, you have got to admire a ship design that includes a garden and pool with full height view ports giving the patio area impressive views of space.

I really like this supplement. It is cleanly presented and nicely illustrated. I noticed a couple of typos but I understand that these were corrected in the pdf. If you haven’t seen the Venture Frontier Courier, then check it out.

Friday, 11 March 2011

History of the RimWorlds #6 – A Pocket Empire with Teeth: the Klarthur Confederacy

Lanii Harpurii - Interstellar News Anchor“In breaking news, Imperial Interstellar Scout Service sources have confirmed that the loss of the survey vessel, IISS Joralanii, in the Choraptur system in Riinu Subsector, was due to hostile action. This contradicts earlier statements by Lord Saaroi hault-Creaso, Vice-Regal Minister for Exploration, that the Joralanii had suffered catastrophic decompression following a collision with ring material during a refuelling run around the main Choraptur system gas giant.

“IISS sources further confirmed that the Scout Service, as well Vice-Regal officials, have been aware for nearly six months that a large and reasonably technologically advanced Pocket Empire has a presence along the Spinward border of RimWorlds Sector Map
the Riinu Subsector. Believed to be centred in Aemilor Subsector, this Pocket Empire has, so far, disputed Imperial claims to systems in Riinu and Daltharmai Subsectors.”

In my last post on the history of the RimWorlds, I was happily writing along when this last paragraph fell out:
Expansion was rapid and successful, and Kolin began to dream of a Sector Duchy. And then his advancing wavefront of scouts ran into a technologically competent Pocket Empire, the Klarthur Confederacy.

While chronologically and spatially logical, we are currently in the 497 – 540 period and, as seen below, it’s nearly 150 years before the Klarthur Confederary boots the Imperium out of most of Riinu Subsector. So, what happened, and who are the Klarthur Confederacy?

History of the RimWorlds

103 Thongaloros Empire falls to the Outrim Barbarians.
497First Imperial presence in the Rimworlds in Kaorin and Berimar’s Sceptre subsectors.
540 Sector Duchy of the Rimworlds established with its capital on Raelmar/Thurgandarn. Kolin I Venuraeki is first Sector Duke.
690 - 699Reign of Sector Duke Morthar II the Weak. Imperial control of the Sector, disrupted during the Civil War of 602 – 610, continues to weaken. Morthar is assassinated by his cousin, Deserai, who succeeds him as Neal Zuro II. During Morthar’s reign, Riinu Subsector is mostly lost to the Klarthur Confederacy.

The Klarthur Confederacy is one of those things in my sector history that I have never made a decision upon. And now it has slipped up and bitten me.

So, options –
· A Thongaloros Empire successor state. Though, this is a “confederacy”. This could mean a number of Tsalur clans working together at an interstellar level, though independent at a planetary/system level, and possibly jockeying for status within the Confederacy. On the face of it, it doesn’t sound particularly strong – strong enough to hold off Kolin and his mates.
· A true confederacy that happens to include some Tsalur worlds with their higher technology. If the Tsalur dominate the fleet, with their high tech heritage and past control of Jump tech, this may explain their stubborn, yet long-term approach to resisting Imperial expansion into Confederation space.

I need to think on this and post in a couple of days.