Monday, August 23, 2010

Stellar Quest: Intersellar Mapping...

Good Afternoon, All:

As Stellar Quest is a game of interstellar exploration, it would definitely help if the system contained rules for mapping out the stars. I envision a new sector map, 20 by 20 hexes, upon which to record this data, but otherwise, the system is very much like that of Traveller. I chose the size based on inspiration from Star Trek, as well as a rough approximation of the size of a quadrant in Traveller, which is a great environment in which to run a campaign.

Interstellar Mapping
Interstellar mapping in the Stellar Quest system charts astrographic data in two dimensions rather than three dimensions. While a two dimensional map is not scientifically accurate, the use of such a map is easy for both Referees and Players to grasp. While an enterprising Referee may undertake to create a three-dimensional map for their particular campaign, rest assured that your game will work perfectly well using the two-dimensional map described in this text.

Within the default Stellar Quest setting, star systems are mapped on sector maps. Inspired by the game’s source material, each sector map measures twenty parsecs across. Sectors can be further broken down into quadrants of ten parsecs to a side, but the most appropriate scale for a campaign would be at the sector size.

World Presence: There is a basic one-half chance normally that a world (and its attendant stellar system) will be in a hex. Systematically check each hex on the sector map, throwing 1d6 and marking the hex with a circle if the result is a 4, 5, or 6. This indicates that a world is present; otherwise, leave the hex blank.

As the Referee, you may elect to alter the normal chances of worlds, making them more frequent or less frequent to correspond to specific regions of the galaxy. A 50% density (no DM) is appropriate for the spiral arms of the galaxy. Apply a –2 DM for ‘rift sectors’, a –1 DM for sparse sectors and a +1 DM for densely populated sectors.

Once the presence of a world has been determined, you can use the Stellar Quest World Creation rules to develop the world’s details. Alternately, you can simply elect to describe each world as you see fit, using your imagination or notes cribbed from the inspirational source material to fill in the details.

The World Creation rules mentioned above are inspired for the most part from Traveller, as well, although the Tech Levels are replaced by Progress Levels from the future/sci-fi rules found in the Modern System Reference, as those are closer to the source material than Traveller's tech level progression. I've made some changes, of course, but all in all, I like the basics I've come up with, and it shouldn't be hard to code a random generator in Java for this system.


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