Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stellar Quest: Filing Off The Serial Numbers...

Good Afternoon, All:

Since Stellar Quest is inspired by Star Trek, yet Star Trek is a licensed product, I obviously can't make mention of what would be considered Product Identity, if not Copyrighted material and Trademarks. For that reason, I have to make a few changes here and there. Most of this is names and certain background specifics. I don't want to make too many changes, so that the material is usable for those seeking a true Trek experience; however, I have to make some changes or I can't offer POD versions of the rulebook. The hardest part, of course, is walking the line between too little and too much. I have heard this process referred to at times as "filing off the serial numbers."

Since we know that the Vulcans in Star Trek come from 40 Eridani A, I'm inclined to call the race modelled on them Eridanites in reference to their homeworld. Using that same logic, the Andorian homeworld orbits Procyon, so the honorable warriors inspired by Andorians would likely be called Procyans or Procyonites. Sadly, this falls to the wayside with Tellarites; Star Trek does not define which star system contains the Tellarites' homeworld of Tellar. The best idea I've come up with so far in these regards to come up with a homeworld name of similar style and/or sound, such as Tolan and calling my race the Tolanites.

The model of history for such a game can be stated in a fairly generic fashion. I only need to provide a page of background, to be honest, and so long as the names and such are changed to protect the innocent, much as Starships & Spacemen does, then I imagine it should be fine. You can always substitute the actual Trek history for the short synopsis I intend to supply for Stellar Quest, or mix and match in your games as you wish.

I will also likely shift the scale of the Star Trek setting down a bit, more in keeping with that of Traveller, for two reasons. The most important reason is that it still takes a ridiculously high Warp Factor to travel the distances involved in a reasonable amount of time. For example, according to the Okuda Scale of Warp Velocities, and assuming the Federation maximum of Warp Factor 5 for civilian ships, you can cover the distance of one parsec in just under a week. A trip from Earth to Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, would take eight days. Travelling 16.1 lightyears from Earth to 40 Eridani A, the homeworld of our emotionless logic-minded Eridanites, would require a civilian ship to travel just over 27.5 days. Now, at Warp Factor 9, that distance only takes 3 days, 21 hours. In order to get from Vulcan to Earth in an hour, you'd have to travel slightly faster than the speed of subspace radio (~ Warp Factor 9.9997). That makes a much smaller universe than Star Trek presents. Given that it takes 21 minutes for a subspace message to travel one parsec, the scale of a Traveller quadrant or sector really becomes a nice viable option. It also implies that messages from Star Fleet Command are pretty much one-way. This doesn't fit with the experiences of the TV series or movies, but this is based on the math used by the guys behind the scenes of the Star Trek universe. Aiming for too high a scale interferes with the math there.

The second reason for scaling down the setting is that it opens up the Traveller System Reference Document as a source for some rules and details.

However, all of this said, it doesn't matter what I publish for background, so long as I keep it light. The material just needs to be useful for those that desire to use the Trek universe on their own, while giving enough to work with for those that want to use the rules as a standalone universe. The core of this kind of project would be the rules themselves, and how useful they are in creating the Trek-style space exploration experience.

Hope This Helps,


Trey said...

Sounds interesting. The old Starfleet Officers Manual and the Star Fleet Maps give a star for Tellar, but I can't recall it at the moment. The Andorian home system in these older works is Epsilon Indii. Procyon is unlikely to have life because its a dual star system, which would limit its number of habitable orbits, and Procyon emits a lot of dangerous UV radiation.

Flynn said...

I had read about Epsilon Indii as well, but thought that Indiians was probably not the best choice for a race name for our Andorian stand-ins. ;)

If you find a star for Tellar, I'd appreciate knowing. I just couldn't find it online anywhere.

With Warm Regards,

Trey said...

I remembered Tellar's star finally--61 Cygni.

Flynn said...

Cygnans, it is. I like it. :)