Thursday, November 10, 2022

Space Viking World and Subsector Generation Thoughts

Art by Alan Gutierrez
I mentioned in an earlier post that the standard world generation in Traveller wouldn't meet my needs for my SV inspired setting.  There are a few worlds I would want to handcraft.  Those worlds that had a high enough tech level for interstellar flight, particularly the character's base worlds.  And the world(s) that they controlled/dominated.  Essentially whatever pocket empires I want in the setting.  I don't envision them being larger than three or four worlds in size.  Other than that I would want to be able to randomly generate worlds that meet the tech level and other requirement that produce the feeling of the setting.

So, planetary generation would need to be modified in several areas.

  • Tech Level Cap (TL 10)
  • Starport Type
  • Bases
  • Planetary Atmospheres
  • Government
The first thing that would have to be modified is tech level.  The tech level cap will be TL10.  Though I'm thinking that I will allow Type J maneuver drives, jump drives and power plants because that will allow for 2000 ton ships.  Space Viking had some big ships and this will allow for a bit more emulation in that area.  TL 10, however, limits the setting to computer type 4 which means jumps are limited to 4 parsecs.  So even small ships won't be wildly speeding through the galaxy.  I plan to designate which planets have TL9 or TL10 so the planets that I randomly create need to be capped at TL8.  My solution is to roll on the Tech Level Table as usual but ignore the starport type modifier.  Technically, this can still yield a tech level as high as 11 but I think it is unlikely.  And the GM can just cap it at TL8.  Or, if they want another starfaring planet they can just go with it up to the TL10 max.

Starport type needs to be handled differently too.  Anything below TL7 will not have a spaceport.  Unless it is in ruins or it is mothballed or on a moon or is a satellite.  TL7-8 can have interplanetary ships so can have one and may be in the process of colonizing its solar system.  The GM can either choose a starport type or roll on the table I've devised below.

Bases won't be present on TL6 or below planets.  Unless, of course, they are ruins or abandoned bases off planet.  They can be determined as the GM deems appropriate for TL7 and above systems

I wanted to modify atmosphere for a couple of reasons.  The first of which is that 10 out of the 13 types of atmospheres listed in the book are unbreathable by humans without some sort of breathing equipment.  I figured that with the loss of technology after the Federation fell that this would lead to planets being depopulated as their inhabitants lost the ability to manufacture and repair the equipment.  The second reason is that I can remember the only planet in Piper's Terro-Human Future History that did not have a human breathable atmosphere was Niflheim. It was from another of Piper's books, Uller Uprising, set centuries earlier than SV.  The only reason that people had anything to do with Niflheim and its corrosive atmosphere was its wealth in metals.  The planet is so hellish that its name is actually used as a curse.  So, in order to give planets a higher chance of be habitable I am going to dropped the tainted designation.

Several of the planets mentioned in SV weren't unified, both the primitive ones as well as some of the relatively technologically advanced worlds.  I wanted to have this reflected in the world generation.  I figured that before the government type was rolled the GM would roll 1D6.  On a 1-3 the planet would be balkanized, otherwise the GM would roll normally.  If balkanized, roll 1D3+1 to find the number of major countries/political units.  Then the GM can either roll separately for each country or the GM could choose.

Here is what the World Generation Checklist would look like.

  • Determine world occurrence (1D for 4, 5, 6 is standard). 
  • Check system contents table for details of world. 
    •     Check for gas giant. 
  • Name world. 
  • Generate universal planetary profile for world. 
    • Planetary size: 2D-2. 
    • Planetary atmosphere: 2D-7 +size. Ignore Tainted designation (unless GM has special circumstances in mind).  If planetary size is 0, the atmosphere must be 0. 
    • Planetary hydrographics: 2D-7 +size. If planetary size is 0, then hydrographics must be 0; if atmosphere is 0. 1, or A+, then apply a DM of -4. 
    • Population: 2D-2. No population if atmosphere 0-3, A+
    • Government: Roll d6, 1-3 Balkanized. Roll D3+1 for # of major political units.  Governments can be roll for or determined by GM. If not balkanized 2D-7+population as usual.
    • Law level : 2D-7+government. 
    • Technological Level : 1 D+DMs from tech level table. Ignore starport modifiers.  TL8 cap unless referee decides otherwise.
    • Determine starport type. See tables below.
    • Determine naval base as appropriate. 
    • Determine scout base as appropriate.
  • Decide if travel zone coded. 
  • Establish communications routes.
  • Note trade classifications based on universal planetary profile. 
  • Note statistics for reference.
Here is the table to generate starport type for TL 7-8  I also included a table for TL 8-10 just for kicks.  In case the GM wanted a little randomness.

Spaceport TypeSpaceport Type
TL 7-8TL 9-10

These are just my initial thoughts.  I haven't tested these world generation rules yet.  When I do I will let you know how it went and and changes that I think need to be made.

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