Step Five in the process of developing a sandbox setting for the Traveller Sandbox Experiment is to define ten worlds as Exploration Sites. These worlds contain ruins, abandoned colonies, and similar sites that can serve the need for exploration-based adventures in Sci-Fi games. In terms of gaming experiences, these worlds exist to provide plenty of options for greedy merchants, adrenalin-junkie mercenaries and similar entrepreneurial spirits to pursue within Beta Quadrant. These are, in essence, the Dungeons or Ruins of a Traveller campaign setting.
Using the fantasy sandbox building methods suggested in An Echo Resounding and adapting them to a science fiction setting as we have been so far, the elements attributed to Ruins locations can be easily implemented here, with new tables to reflect an interstellar setting, of course. Ruin Natures should become Exploration Site Origins. Ruin Traits would transform into Exploration Site Traits. Ruin Obstacles could conceivably use my System Challenges table, but I think there's enough interesting challenges unique to Exploration Sites that I could probably create an Exploration Site Challenges table. I'll have to wait and see how that last one pans out, though.
First, though, we should identify our candidate Exploration Sites. While I have made a big deal about Red Zones over the last few posts, those are not the only source for Exploration Sites. Looking at the map and identifying any backwater sites far from any of the worlds we've currently outlined as Cultural Hubs and Resource Worlds could point us to other potential candidates. First, I should create a list of Red Zone worlds from the UWPs I've already generated. Once we look that over, we'll expand our search as we see fit to cover other star systems.
Looking over the UWPs for Beta Quadrant, I see the following worlds are noted as Red Zones:
Thoth 1702 X410200-8 De Lo R 703 Se M0 V M3 V* Tajimamori 2608 X410244-8 De Lo R 304 Ks M4 V* M8 V Malsumis 2814 X410232-8 De Lo R 123 Tj (K6 V M2 V) Hibrea 3115 X300355-8 De Lo Va R 300 Na M9 V
Interestingly enough, there are only four Red Zones in Beta Quadrant (right now), and three of them are claimed by an interstellar polity. Given the relative duplicative nature of each of these worlds, it appears that something in this sector makes worlds with physical characteristics of 410 highly desirable for worlds to Interdict. However, after searching through the list of UWPs, there are easily a dozen or more inhabited worlds with those characteristics. This, of course, makes sense. These worlds are roughly Mars-like, which makes for fine worlds to choose for settlements when an Earth-like world isn't present in the system.
So, I've got to find six other worlds that should be included as Exploration Sites. Looking at the map again, I start to contemplate options. First, I look for interesting isolated worlds (with a Class D Starport or worse), to give player-characters an excuse to travel across Beta Quadrant. These worlds seem like good options:
- 1820-410 (Segin 1820 X410000-0): Because it's isolated in the spinward-rimward corner of Beta Quadrant.
- 3120-300 (Segin 3120 X300000-0): Because it is isolated in the rimward-trailing corner of Beta Quadrant. Let's make the party travel, because that's how sandboxes work best.
- Mirasen (Segin 3209 E540337-5): Because it's in a small cluster near a non-human homeworld, and I want more excuses to deal with a non-human race.
- Mudhava (Segin 2414 E526330-6): Because I wanted a second Exploration Site in Litha Subsector (Subsector G), and it has one of the worst Starports in the subsector.
- Prishiboro (Segin 2810 E596568-5): Because it has one of the worst Starports in Koyane Subsector (Subsector D), and it's a Garden world. This lets me add more wilderness elements to any adventures that happen on that planet.
- Tefnut (Segin 2005 D410204-8): Because it's fairly isolated at the end of the short main it sits on, buffered by an uninhabited world, and because I wanted a second Exploration Site in Gleti Subsector (Subsector C).