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Old December 27th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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Default Reading a subsector - Regina

One of the things I like to do as a GM before I start a campaign is an activity I call "reading a subsector". What I do is look at the basic information provided (usually by official subsector data but can be a freshly generated subsector) and make a lot of assumptions based on the "facts" as presented before me.

It's really quite a fun and creative exercise. And, the "background" it develops for a campaign is priceless. When gaming, the suspension of disbelief is paramount, and the devil is in the details.

The best "official" read of a subsector I've seen is in the Traveller Adventure. It's spread out, but an attentive GM can find a gold mine of details that tells him what living in that area of space is really like.

For example, the Aramis subsector is divided into three astrographical regions. There's the Aramis Trace, the Towers Cluser, and the other worlds (spinward) in the subsector called the "Scatters". Sabre rattling is deafening in the region as the Zho's and the Imperials prepare for the Fifth Frontier War. The Empire has placed a price ceiling on lanthanum, which effects much of the mining in the subsector (not just Patinir). In contrast, a subsector initiative is on to increase trade with the Vargr coreward, and on several worlds, Vargr Trade stations have been established.

One large corsair band from the neighboring coreward subsector is creating havok with the worlds in vargr space. It's even swallowed a rival band recently, and the combination of these two events has led to an influx of vargr refugees into the Aramis subsector--most gathering on worlds in the Towers cluster. And, this has led to growing resentment against these non-Imperial vargr immigrants...hampering the efforts to increase trade with the Extents.

There are more details like these, but you get the idea. These are all exceptional things to place in a GM's tool bag--something he can rely upon, almost by instinct, as the game progresses. Knowing the lanthanum ceiling is in effect, for example, may color the GM's portrayal of an NPC belter that the players meet in a bar. Worlds begin to take on the feeling of real life (and not just be stops on a dot map).

"Aramanx? Naw, ya dunna wanna go there, sonny. Civil war is about to break out. They won't even let you leave the high port.

Or...the GM could portray an NPC from the world of Pysadi. This NPC is probably a bit of a religious zealout. Backwards (not unlike some third world countries in the real world), to the tune of TL 4. And, weak as hell. Puny. Standard gravity on the world is about half a G.

Last edited by Supplement Four; December 27th, 2007 at 08:29 PM..
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