Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Exploring the Souris subsector

Yeah, I haven't been posting much lately.

Haven't been gaming much, either, and the two are related.  While there's still stuff regarding the Gheron setting I could write about, with the C&C game on hiatus for the last few months, I'm not really feeling the drive to post stuff about a campaign I may or may not get to run again.

As has happened in the past, when I'm not running or playing anything, I found myself pulling out and looking at my classic Traveller books.  There's something about Traveller that's highly conducive to sparking the creative juices - I think it has to do with the 'bare bones' approach to many of the elements of play, which pretty much demand that you fill in the blanks yourself.  It's also easily adaptable to solo play.

The last time I ran a Traveller campaign, back in the early 2000's, it was envisioned as a big, sprawling thing that would see the PC's caught up in the sweep of a flashpoint of the 3rd Imperium's history, weaving elements of The Traveller Advanture, the Fifth Frontier War, and the Shadows/Research Station Gamma/Twilight's Peak/Secret Of The Ancients story arc.  These days, I'm much less interested in over-arching storylines, favoring a looser, sandbox approach.  I also wanted to get away from the Spinward Marches, a setting I've ran and played in for over two decades.

JG's Souris, click to enlarge (like you didn't know that already)
And so, I was flipping through my copies of the old Judges Guild sector guidebooks, which detailed the Gateway Quadrant, four sectors of space that included various client states, pocket empires, and independent worlds that acted as a buffer between the Third Imperium, the Hive Federation, and the Two Thousand Worlds.  In the Crucis Margin guidebook, I encountered the Souris subsector, an area of space where there were no less than four separate polities, as well as several independent worlds between them.  What a great place to set some PC's loose on, to let them wander, scheme, and adventure as they see fit!

Of course, things aren't always that simple.

If you head over to the Traveller Wiki or the Traveller Map, you won't find the Souris subsector, not as such anyways.  The Judges Guild version of these sectors had long ago be de-canonized, and the current Traveller canon has different political entities and borders in the area, with the Souris subsector being renamed as the Outrun subsector.  Also, although the names and locations of the various systems have remained the same, some of the worlds have different Universal World Profiles.  The above pic shows the original JG writeup of the Souris subsector; the digits highlighted in yellow show data that has since been changed (either accidentally or by design) with the current canon, as depicted in the Traveller20 supplement Gateway To Destiny (which is also available here).

As a result, I'm pretty much ignoring the revised data/canon, in favor of JG's original version of the area.  Well, mostly.  The data in Gateway details a time a little over a century before the time of the classic Traveller setting (i.e. the years leading up to and including the Fifth Frontier War).  If it makes sense to do so, I may use the 'official' information on the area as a description of the recent history of any given world.  Then again, I may just ignore it.  In any case, I plan on writing up some short descriptions of each world in the subsector.  I would be negligent if I did not mention the work that is being done over at The Etzina Passage, where Chuck is doing some highly detailed work on some of the worlds in the Crucis Margin sector; his work on that blog has helped to inspire me to do a little bit of writing on my own.  My approach will be different from his (mainly because his approach entails a heck of a lot more work), with a looser style.  If I find myself struggling for inspiration on a given world, I may also refer to the old DGP supplement Grand Census, using that book's approach to give a little extra detail here and there.

To the left is a (hopefully) more visually pleasing version of the original JG map of the subsector, which I based off the the above-linked Traveller Map; I used my rather meager Photoshop skills to rework the political borders back to their original locations, as well as correcting the starport designation for 2206/Inuvik, and adding a gas giant back to the map for 1805/Spry.  That's my starting point.  Let's see what comes from it.

Edit: something I did drop from the JG version of the Souris data is the presence of various Scout bases in the subsector.  It doesn't make any sense for the Imperium to maintain any Scout bases this far outside of its borders (well, any official bases, that is), and I think this is a case where the 'official' data gets it right. 


  1. Great article! I think that you picked a great subsector to work with - the Souris subsector already has all sorts of great adventure possibilities just because of the worlds and governments present - and then you can add in a little GM imagination as secret sauce - I can't wait to see what comes out...

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