Step Six in the process of developing a sandbox setting for the Traveller Sandbox Experiment is to define a number of worlds as Interstellar Threats, or locations where setpoint adventures focused on aggressive attackers can take place. These worlds are home to the ubiquitous pirate dens, rogue colonies and other aggressors that occasionally harass their interstellar neighbors. In terms of gaming experiences, these worlds exist to provide plenty of options for themed random encounters and widely known bad guys in the Beta Quadrant. These are, in essence, the monster lairs of a Traveller campaign setting.
In addition to identifying the worlds of origin for these interstellar nuisances, this section also allows me the chance to create a list of potential encounter types, in a manner similar to the Encounter Scenarios I've created for previous settings here on In Like Flynn. As an interesting side note, in the original sourcebook for fantasy sandboxes that inspired this experiment, An Echo Resounding, lairs often had a 33% chance (5+ on 1d6) of attacking a nearby site (a settlement or resource) between sessions. I think that keeping this element may add to the feeling of a living, breathing setting in the minds of the players. I'll probably devote a post to that at the end of Step Six.
Now, in adapting the fantasy sandbox building methods suggested in An Echo Resounding to a science fiction setting as we have been doing so far, the elements attributed to Lairs locations can be easily implemented here, with a new table implemented to reflect an interstellar setting. In essence, the Lair Natures table should become the Interstellar Threats table.
First, though, we should identify our candidate Interstellar Threats. This is perhaps the best opportunity so far for freehand selection. Aside from those worlds that have Pirate Bases, of course, the Referee is pretty much able to select systems as they please. I would suggest that the general thought process focus on the following points:
- Interstellar Threats should be within two parsecs of one or more Cultural Hubs or Resource Worlds. After all, if the threat doesn't impact people, then it won't get attention on an interstellar scale.
- Non-aligned worlds, or worlds aligned with a different polity than the ones they are attacking, make for great systems from which to launch an Interstellar Threat.
- You probably should consider worlds with a Class D or Class C starport (although other types work as well, I suppose), because those have a rough frontier feel and less traffic, which allows Interstellar Threats to propagate.
- In general, you definitely want a world with TL 9 or higher, if one is available. That's to make sure the bad guys can repair their vessels using local tech, when push comes to shove. Of course, if they are using a Low Tech world as their headquarters, then that may be the reason they're raiding nearby worlds.
First, I look to see if there are any Pirate Bases that have been generated for Beta Quadrant. Sadly, I didn't find any (aside from the one we gave to Mudhava), which makes me question my UWP generator, but that's beside the point. For now, I'll let that go and move forward with evaluating worlds for possible Interstellar Threats. Ultimately, I think I want to make sure that at least 75% of the Resource Worlds and 50% of the Cultural Hubs are covered by Interstellar Threats. It would help if I could look at a map that has all of them marked so I could make some judgement calls... And lo and behold, thanks to TravellerMap.com, here one is:
Looking at that, I begin to put together some options:
- Aseramachi (Segin 2214 C300678-8): Because it is in a great position to strike on the worlds of the Litha League, as well as the majority of the worlds on the short Orvil-Heujava Main.
- Bastet (Segin 1908 C558534-5): Because it can strike at Abrakos, Sutekh and a number of other great worlds. The low Tech Level tells me this is a more temporary base camp, and that the Interstellar Threats require external sources for all repairs and starship supplies.
- Daruma (Segin 2605 D7CA211-A Amber Zone): Because it is a Class D starport within two parsecs of both Koyane and Suijin, and has a wide host of other targets, too.
- Djinn (Segin 3212 C658311-9): Because it is within two parsecs of a number of great worlds to hit, including Milamapar.
- Fujin (Segin 3103 D410200-8 Amber Zone): Because it is a Class D starport within two parsecs of Kangiten (and even Chedenoma, Minamoto and Ninigi) and three parsecs of Jizo.
- Loko (Segin 2207 C69A316-B): Because it is a great place to attack three different target worlds (Abrakos, Gleti and Jengu).
- Lutasas (Segin 3118 C759848-8): Because it is within two parsecs of Umikeo, Malen and four other great worlds to plunder.
- Mantis (Segin 2712 C500343-8): Because it is the only non-Jurisdiction world within two parsecs of Tabaldak.
- Pakhet (Segin 2111 C620300-B Amber Zone): Because it is in a great position to do privateer work against Ghandi and Mami Wata, in addition to a few other non-Empire worlds.
- Qetesh (Segin 2003 C100348-B): Because it has a great location, with a lot of smaller targets to hit, as well as Nayame.
- Sadyra (Segin 2319 C9B9300-9 Amber Zone): Because it is two parsecs from Desa and three from Tesla, although Seshalama (Segin 2417 DA79422-8) may be better for Tesla.
Okay, that looks like eleven different worlds (or twelve, if we decide to go back and include Seshalama.) That's plenty of potential adversaries to build into the campaign setting to start with, and a lot of job opportunities for a military or mercenary campaign. Now that we've identified the Interstellar Threats for Beta Quadrant, in my next post, I'll create the Interstellar Threats table, and I'll start making some notes about our future antagonists.