Citizens of the Imperium

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Golan2072 December 17th, 2011 05:56 PM

Re-Imagining the OTU
 
Disclaimer: What I propose here ISN'T the OTU per se and SHOULD NOT be viewed as a challenge to it, its history or, heavens forbid, Marc Miller's ownership of it. This re-imagination is done under the Fair Use guidelines and involves only Classic Traveller rules. Any opinion expressed here is just MY opinion and not The Truth(TM). Also, note that canon wars DO NOT belong to this thread. Feel free to discuss my speculations, however! :D

For some reason, when I had too much time on my hands, I picked up the Classic Traveller Books 1-3 reprint book from the shelf and thumbed through it. Then I began thinking about a re-imagined OTU, keeping parts of its spirit and ideas while making the whole thing much more playable. These thoughts have also been inspired by our previous attempts at Collapsing the OTU and Collapsing the OTU History.

The 'proper' OTU has some good drawing points to it - interesting cultures and history and several good adventures set in it (such as Twilight Peak and Leviathan), not to mention tons of inspiration to draw from. However, the OTU's weaknesses include massive, almost unmanageable size, an enormously long timeline, a large amount of action above the scale of what the PCs could meaningfully affect, and so on.

The basis of what I'm trying to do here is the universe implied in Classic Traveller Books 1-3, Adventures 1-4, the Double Adventures and Supplements 1-4, re-interpreted and re-mixed according to my own imagination. Inspiration also comes from sci-fi/space-opera sources such as Herbert's Dune, Anderson's Van Rijn, Niven's Known Space, Star Control II and a little bit from Babylon 5 and Firefly/Serenity.

I'll be using CT-LBBs 2-3 technology progression (in which you get J6 at TL9 but larger jump-capable ships in higher TLs); small ships; and NO empty-hex jumps (so astrography matters). This would be Proto-Traveller.

Let's start from the universe itself. I propose a universe in which the entire Known Space, including some unexplored space, would fit inside a 3x3 sector grid. While loosely inspired by OTU astrography, I've tried to give each sector a feel of its own and a "space opera"-sounding name (these are the Imperial names, of course; alien names may vary).

The Empire (AKA Imperium) dominates the Imperial Heartlands, the old Imperial sector where the new Imperial capital of Sylea and the old Impeial capital of Vland shine among the starts. The Imperial family rules the Imperial Heartlands on its own, with the emperor's first-born son or daughter being Duke of the Heartlands; each of the eight Major Noble Houses controls one of the peripheral sectors, or, at least, whatever space the Empire holds in it.

Deneb Sector is the Empire's latest acquisition, a bustling frontier threatened by the Outrim Coalition (AKA Barbarians), a wide but loose alliance of humans, vargr and minor races who inhabit the sparsely-settled subsectors to the coreward and Trailing of the Imperial holdings in Deneb. Droyne presence is quite intensive in this sector, as are Ancients sites, and rumours speak about a City of the Ancients, full of profitable artifacts, hidden somewhere to its coreward-spinward.

Sagittarius Sector is home to the Vargr, a chaotic species of uplifted Terran canines (probably uplifted by the Ancients). The Empire controls only the most rimward subsectors in this sector, but they are heavily garrisoned because they serve as the only corridor bypassing the Great Rift and connecting the Heartlands to Deneb.

The Centaurs, who call themselves K'Kree, inhabit several subsectors in the Trailing part of the Antares Sector, and tensions etween them and the Empire are quite high, as they see humans as potential predators out to feast on the soft, sweet Centaur flesh. Another small polity there is the Julian Protectorate, a humano-vargr polity formed in defence against Centaur raids.

Crucis Sector is a backwater, bisected by the Empty Quarter, and luckily so, as it serves as a buffer zone between the aggressive Centaurs of Antares an the scheming Hivers of Spica.

The Hivers, strange and unfathomable starfish aliens, reside in the trailing-rimward part of Spica Sector. Relations with the Empire seem to be quite good, as the Hivers trade high-tech robotics and electronics for various organic goods, but no one knows what the Hivers really are up to (especially when they carry a screwdriver and a mop! :twisted:).

Sol Sector is the birthplace of Humanity, the centre of the Rule of Man of days bygone and the scene of a cold war between the Empire and the United Terran Republic (AKA Solomani), a small but militant human polity. The fact that Terra itself is occupied by the Empire doesn't help to ease these tensions, either.

Canopus Sector is where the Cicek live, proud alien warriors who resemble inteligent, warm-blooded (and hot-blooded, too!) tokay geckos with some mammalian an avian characteristics. An intense web of honour, pride and tradition prevents their males from tearing each other to pieces (except for in limited tribal wars, that is), while their (comparatively) more relaxed females serve as their merchants, scientists and explorers. Some Cicek tribes ally with the Empire; others don't care; an yet others are hostile to it; a few even ally with the UTR.

The Great Rift is a big extent of empty space, actually starting within the spinward side of the Heartlands. It separates the Heartlands from the spinward part of the Great Rift sector, as well as from most of the direct contact with Canopus and Deneb.

Adventure lies on the frontier; intrigues awaits in the Heartlands.

http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/9929/ninesector.png

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Golan2072 December 17th, 2011 05:56 PM

I'll be collapsing the timeline by a factor of 5. This way we'll be looking at:

General History of the Universe:
  • Ancients (circa -60000; 57,370 BC)
  • Long Silence (-60000 to -2000; 57,370 BC to 630 AD)
  • Rise of the Vilani (-2,000 to -809; 630-1821 AD)
  • Ziru Sirkaa (-809 to -486; 1821-2144 AD)
  • Interstellar Wars (-486 to -441; 2144-2189 AD)
  • Rule of Man (-441 to -355; 2189-2230 AD)
  • Long Night (-355 to 0; 2230-2585 AD)
  • The Empire (0 to Present; 2585- AD)
  • The Present (220; 2853 AD)

Detailed Imperial History
  • Empire Established (0 Imperial; 2585 AD)
  • Trailing-rimward part of Deneb first surveyed by the Empire (20 Imperial; 2605 AD)
  • Pacification Campaigns (15-24 Imperial; 2600-209 AD)
  • Solomani Hypothesis proposed (20 Imperial; 2605 AD)
  • Vargr Campaigns in Sagittarius (42-70 Imperial; 2627-2655 AD)
  • Imperial-Cicek Border Established (76 Imperial; 2661 AD)
  • First Imperial Survey completed (84 Imperial; 2669 AD)
  • Easter Concord absorbed by the Third Imperium (85 Imperial; 2670 AD)
  • Terra absorbed by the Third Imperium (118 Imperial; 2703 AD)
  • First Frontier War (119-121 Imperial; 2704-2706 AD)
  • Civil War (121-124 Imperial; 2706-2709 AD)
  • Second Frontier War (123-124 Imperial; 2708-2709 AD)
  • X-Boat Network established (124 Imperial; 2710 AD)
  • Zhakirov marries Antiama; Terrans fall out of favor in the court (136 Imperial; 2721 AD)
  • Solomani Autonomous Zone established (140 Imperial; 2725 AD)
  • X-Boat Network covers the entire Empire (144 Imperial; 2729 AD)
  • Psionic Suppressions (160-165 Imperial; 2745-2750 AD)
  • United Terran Republic established (195 Imperial; 2780 AD)
  • Third Frontier War (196-197 Imperial; 2781-2782 AD)
  • Terran Independence War (197-200 Imperial; 2782-2785 AD)
  • Second Imperial Survey completed (213 Imperial; 2798 AD)
  • Fourth Frontier War (216-217 Imperial; 2801-2802 AD)

I also suggest the following TLs:
  • Ancients (circa -60000; 57,370 BC) - TL17+
  • Ziru Sirkaa (-809 to -486; 1821-2144 AD) - TL11
  • Rule of Man (-441 to -355; 2189-2230 AD) - TL12-16
  • Empire Established (0 Imperial; 2585 AD) - TL12
  • Imperial-Aslan Border Established (76 Imperial; 2661 AD) - TL13
  • Civil War (121-124 Imperial; 2706-2709 AD) - TL14
  • Third Frontier War/Terran Independence War (197-201 Imperial; 2782-2785 AD) - TL15

So TL15 is about 20-30 years old.

A Few Random Notes.

I'm thinking about making the Vilani a little bit more interesting and memorable than in the 'vanilla' OTU. Cyborg's Post on that other thread gave me an idea for this, as he linked the Ziru Sirkaa with UFOs... So I'm actually thinking of making the Vilani into "Greys" of sorts, modified a bit by the Ancients when they were transplanted to Vland. So 'pure-blood' Vilani will have no hair whatsoever, will be somewhat shorter than Terrans, will have large, almond-shaped eyes (though with pupils - no bug-eyes here) and be, on average, leaner and physically weaker than Terrans but longer lived. Hybrids (both 'races' would be sub-species of Homo Sapiens and thus e able to produce fertile offsprings) will have hair on their heads, somewhat smaller eyes and a slightly stronger build. Oh, and long-range Vilani scouts did reach Earth in the 1940's, and there was covert trade between various Terran governments an Vilani merchants since then.

I don't think I'll be using 'proper' Zhodani per se, but rather "heretics" and "witches" of the various barbarian states in the Outer Rim Coalition in coreward Deneb. Also, the Vilani will have a psionic caste, but bound in A LOT of tradition and ritual (they are Vilani, after all) and thus quite limited in what they could do. The UTR distrusts psionics but uses them secretly... :twisted:

Also note that there was, is or will be NO Grandfather in this setting. Just Ancients, who were Droyne as a species. Modern Droyne preserve fragmented remnants of their old culture, but not all of them even know how to caste.

Here is a detailed 3x3 sector diagram with all the subsector names and polity borders.
http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/1...tordetails.png

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Dragoner December 17th, 2011 06:23 PM

Good stuff, I would like to read more. However:

Quote:

...the Cicek live, proud alien warriors who resemble inteligent, warm-blooded (and hot-blooded, too!) tokay geckos with some mammalian an avian characteristics.
As cool as the pictures of the Tokay Geckos are (esp the Vietnamese one), they are quite similar to the Droyne.

Golan2072 December 18th, 2011 02:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dragoner (Post 385986)
Good stuff, I would like to read more. However:



As cool as the pictures of the Tokay Geckos are (esp the Vietnamese one), they are quite similar to the Droyne.

Here is my (amateurish) drawing of a Cicek:
http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/250/scan0001ye.jpg

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Does it look like a Droyne? If so, I might have to revert to cat-like Aslan.

Dragoner December 18th, 2011 02:16 AM

No it doesn't, but it is the description, the reptilian-avian characteristics, which describe Droyne as well.

Golan2072 December 18th, 2011 04:34 AM

I'd make the Droyne more avian, and the Cicek more reptilian. Both would be egg-layers, but the Droyne would have an insect-type caste system (as they have in canon), while the Cicek would be more like the Aslan in terms of social organization.

I got the idea for the Cicek when I read about Tokay Gecko social organization: males are EXTREMELY aggressive towards each other, while females are not so much. So, in order to evolve into a social, sentient species, they'd probably have to rein in this territorial instinct, similar to how the Aslan do it: layers upon layers of tradition and honor to keep males from eating up each other in most cases.

mike wightman December 18th, 2011 05:34 AM

Just a little note - empty hex jumps are allowed in CT - read Twilight's Peak carefully and you will find references to the convoy having to make empty hex jumps.

I'd Like to also suggest that if you haven't done so already you read a few of EC Tubb's Dumarest novels - they don't take much reading and they are an obvious inspiration for a heck of a lot of early Traveller.

I'd also scrap the map - read the library data description of capitol in the early adventures - and make a much smaller version of charted space.

Golan2072 December 18th, 2011 05:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 386018)
Just a little note - empty hex jumps are allowed in CT - read Twilight's Peak carefully and you will find references to the convoy having to make empty hex jumps.

Yea, but having no empty-hex jumps (or making them a last resort) makes astrography matter more. Otherwise 2-jump or 3-jump "gaps" are far less prominent on the map.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 386018)
I'd Like to also suggest that if you haven't done so already you read a few of EC Tubb's Dumarest novels - they don't take much reading and they are an obvious inspiration for a heck of a lot of early Traveller.

I'll try to get my hand on them ASAP (AbeBooks.com, here I come! :D).

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 386018)
I'd also scrap the map - read the library data description of capitol in the early adventures - and make a much smaller version of charted space.

Keep in mind that the map above is three sectors by three sectors (12 by 12 subsectors) - FAR smaller than any official version of the OTU.

Gerry Miller December 18th, 2011 06:20 PM

This is very insightful work and definitely note worthy of some consideration.

Golan2072 December 19th, 2011 02:29 AM

Thanks!


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