In the beginning, I defined the third step of this process as choosing five to ten worlds that will serve as the cultural centers for the setting. Two will be the major hubs, and the remainder will be minor hubs. In a traditional sandbox game, these would be cities and towns of importance. In Traveller, given the vast differences in scale, these are worlds and star systems about the Quadrant.
In order for a system to have significant impact in interstellar society, it needs to have the means to maintain starships, if not build them. In Traveller parlance, that means the world generally possesses a Class A starport, since these are the only starports that can produce starships. Class B starports may do in a pinch, because they at least have facilities to do major repairs on starships, but I imagine we will find enough here to warrant restricting our cultural centers to Class A starports without an issue.
Looking at the map of Beta Quadrant, we can observe the following:
- Sutekh (1707 AADA746-B): The only Class A starport in the Seshat Empire, it is the de facto Imperial capital. Seshat's population is larger, but it doesn't have the starport needed to support being a motivating force for an interstellar Empire.
- Abrakos (2108 A66876B-9): An agriculturally rich and politically independent garden world capable of supporting interstellar travel, the only reason Abrakos isn't a major player is because the available worlds around it are controlled by the Jengu Alliance. Interestingly, Abrakos has a colony or captive government, so I will need to explain this in combination with its Independent status, or I'll need to give the world a different government code to maintain its independence.
- Jengu (2407 A79A89C-B Amber Zone): Another waterworld, Jengu is an impersonal bureaucracy whose oppressive local laws have earned it the designation of Amber Zone.
- KOYANE (2706 A5699EF-B Amber Zone): Possessing the highest population on the list so far, Koyane is very likely going to be one of the major cultural hubs for this setting. It is governed by a religious autocracy that will likely taint the culture that I design for the polity it governs.
- Litha (2016 A7678A9-A Amber Zone): A world very similar to Terra, Litha is a paradise controlled by a charismatic dictator. Given the size of the polity, I don't see Litha being any more than a minor cultural hub in the scope of the setting.
- Tabaldak (2813 A6878CE-9 Amber Zone): The ruling family of Tabaldak hold jurisdiction over this system and an adjacent system only one parsec away, although Malsumis (2814 X410232-8 Red Zone) is little more than an interdicted outpost at the moment.
NOTE: Zinsu and Haligan were not included in the list above, despite having Class A starports, due to their low populations. Zinsu is home to 60,000 people, while Haligan only supports 20,000 permanent residents. It's hard to imagine these two worlds influencing interstellar culture significantly when their combined populations are less than one-tenth of the metropolitan area where I currently live. They could serve the role of resources in a fantasy sandbox, though, so while I felt I should mention them here, I will more likely consider them for the next step in the design process.
In addition, less-advanced worlds with a high population, such as Gleti (2205 C664976-6) or Kangiten (3001 C664AFD-7), might make for other options for minor cultural hubs. Large populations means the potential for a higher presence in interstellar society, so long as they have the opportunity to get out there. With their Class C starports, the population of these worlds have access to interstellar space, but I couldn't justify to myself any more influence than being minor cultural hubs.
Okay, after some thought here, I've decided to identify the following cultural hubs, selecting primarily high population non-aligned worlds to round out the minor cultural hubs: Jengu (major), Koyane (major), Abrakos, Ghandi, Gleti, Kangiten, Litha, Milamapar, Sutekh and Tabaldak. We'll visit some of these worlds in the next post, as we write up some details reflecting their role in the setting.
As an aside, I really should name this sector. Does anyone have any suggestions?