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In My 2300 Universe Discussion of non-canon ideas for use in your 2300 Universe

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Old June 17th, 2014, 03:30 PM
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Default [Project_SN]Summary of Game/Setting


Creating a 2300-esque setting via VBAM (Victory By Any Means) for a modified Heavy Gear/Jovian Chronicles RPG mechanics system.

AKA... I’ve been having a blast!! Check it out!


When it comes to science fiction, I used to always say that I had never found a system or setting that really made me do cartwheels. In the past few years, that has changed since I discovered 2300AD and Silhouette (Heavy Gear, Jovian Chronicles). The more hard aspects hurt my brain but provide a setting that is more imaginative and entertaining for me. I love FTL, exploration, the idea of remote colonies on their own out there, the freedom of space and expansion. The lack of truly amazing technology (beyond FTL) but advanced tech nonetheless. The importance was that the technology should never outstrip the people and their capabilities. Technology is a tool and not a plot in and of itself.

The feel I am going for is 2300AD/Heavy Gear on the planetary side and more space action like Jovian Chronicles. The combination of stutterwarp and warfare makes space rather boring for combat reasons, I wanted fleets of fighters and such as in Jovian Chronicles. Also, I like orbital colonies, stations and infrastructure that is based on those objects. So I wanted a bit more Jovian Chronicles in place complete with nomadic asteroid colonies and free traders.

I call my setting “hard-candy sci-fi” since I don’t think it really qualifies as hard science fiction and yet avoids super-tech like in Star Wars.

The primary things I wanted in my game setting:
-frontier regions and “core” regions
-its own history and feel
-controllable and limited FTL so that stellar travel is easy but subject to distance/fuel restrictions
-no FTL comms
-Small ships over large ships
-diversity of political entities, organizations, cultures
-colony politics, instability, low-intensity conflicts
-a loose framework that supports mercenary and free trader operations
-minimal aliens (none as PC’s), I like the 2300 treatment of aliens where they are distinct but want to avoid the Star Wars feel. Also, I’m not nearly as imaginative enough to create truly unique alien races ala 2300.
-Looming threats
-cluster astrography to make clusters of systems distinct regions with their own “feel”
-Powered exo-armor (Heavy Gear, not mecha)
-orbital colonization and infrastructure
-Genetic modification (2300esque not totally transhuman)
-rugged feel, like 2300 feels at the edge of the Arms.

I am generally discussing the construction of the setting below but will be using Heavy Gear/JC (2nd edition) for RPG mechanics. It has a robust construction system, great space combat rules, and mechanics that are far more interesting than Traveller. And hey, it still uses d6!!

I am making a Lifepath character generation system using a hybrid of 2300 (original)/Mongoose and the Silhouette system. I really like the way its looking.

I’ll post more on that later.

Learning that 2300AD was created by the Great Game just made me drool at the possibilities. The discovery of Victory By Any Means made it possible. Project_SN is basically a new version of the Great Game in a different setting with different entities.

Project_SN is an attempt to emulate that creative process and create a setting that has some guidance from me, as an architect, but also developed organically over time. Inspiration often strikes at odd times and places and so I figured that the slow creation of a system would inspire that creative process. That assumption has been correct. Instead of having to rely on pure creativeness for every system, event or historical progress, using this method has given me a framework on which I can build a more detailed setting. It’s still guided by me but I’ve stayed relatively true to letting the dice fall where they may as the game has progressed. It has also provided the seeds for inspiration into background, historical events and the flow of the setting.

The setting for Project_SN was originally designed to simply be written up and used in the RPG. I had already begun work on it when I was inspired to do the Great Game version of things. I knew, in a general way, certain directions that I wanted to go but not with any definitive detail. The parameters of the setting remain the same but the overall makeup is, I’m learning, going to be vastly different.

I wanted to get away from the known space around Earth but still have the Earth connection. Essentially, a 2300-esque expansion into space but one where I was not tied to known astronomical data. Since I would be building the stellar environment through the use of Astrosynthesis and imagination, I did not want to be tied down to the NSL or anything else. For that reason, I looked into other galaxies and discovered the concept of super-clusters.

With Earth resting in the Virgo Supercluster, I decided that the Centaurus Supercluster was as good a location as any.

See here:

Project_SN takes place in a section of the universe distant from Earth. It is connected to the Virgo supercluster by the existence of an alien Torus Gate. A donut-shaped device kilometers wide that instantly transports anything moving through it over 120 million light-years to the Centaurus Super-Cluster. The construction, materials and science behind the Gate are unknown but humanity has dived into it.

The Centaurus region that the Gate opens up is made up of numerous sub-clusters of systems. These subclusters are in place for a few reasons:

One, I wanted to ensure that there are distinct regions which are alternately easily accessible or isolated based upon stellar routes. These same restrictions allow regions to progress in different ways so I would be able to build a region that was heavily commercial or dominated by one or two polities etc. I could build each region with a certain character integral to it.

Two, I was building the setting using Astrosynthesis and the various clusters are much easier to manage for purposes of mapping and cataloguing. Anyone who has used AS knows that building a thousand stars is something that your computer groans at and the idea of zooming around a map of that size gave me headaches. Also, with smaller clusters, I was able to build the makeup of them individually instead of having to go through star after star in a larger map to alter it to my ideas. This way, I could build a cluster that I knew was only going to have a few systems or one that was heavily populated. I could also ensure that the different clusters would have accessible routes between them. Playing with a hundred stars at a time was a lot easier than a couple thousand.

Three, I wanted to create a setting where (as I mentioned above) travel required specific routes and paths. Each cluster connects to another one by a specific means or several means. Some are large and others are small. Some are fly-through regions where no systems or value are located but they provide asteroids and barren planets for criminal outposts, orbital colonies and other setting elements.

Four, I had in mind a number of these clusters and how they connected but realized that exploration would likely go in directions other than those planned. Small clusters make it possible to add a cluster here or there.

To be continued
"What's the point of watching out for assassins?" Floyt grouched. "The underhanded bastards are always sneaking up on us anyways."
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