The Venturi Cluster is the name of my new foray into a space opera setting of my own. My intention is to lean closer to the 3rd Imperium side, but to not go quite so far. I need some rubber suited aliens and planetcrushing superweapons to make a sci-fi setting really sing to me. Rather than start a new blog doomed to inactivity (cough, 6 Islands, cough) I figured I could just work out some of the details here. Basically, the V Cluster is meant to be a space setting roughly on the order of magnitude of the Spinward Marches, but with the following differences:
- Although meant to be compatible with Classic Traveller (especially Books 1-3), it owes no particular allegiance to the 3rd Imperium setting.
- The setting should also be largely compatible with Savage Worlds, SpaceMaster, and Mekton Zeta. Some functional compatibility with Star Frontiers would be nice as well.
- Instead of Traveller's 'mainworld' approach to stellar mapping, I am interested in spacemaps with actual stars and such on them.
- GURPS Aliens is to serve as my primary resource for the major races of the Cluster.
- Unlike the Spinward Marches, the Cluster will be largely isolated from the rest of space, at least for the historical eras in which actual play would occur (see below).
- The basic shape of the Cluster is taken from the old Avalon Hill boardgame Amoeba Wars, allowing Cluster-wide wars to be fought on that mapboard.
- Other board wargaming would be supported, particularly Starmada and non-canonical BattleTech.
- Different eras for the Cluster would be outlined for different uses. For example, full on Mekton Zeta robot throwdowns would be reserved for a single period in history. That way adventures could be run without giant mecha. Similarly, psionics could be a Big Deal in one or more periods, but be unknown or supressed as 'mind wizardry' in others.
- Star systems will have a Z coordinate. The basic shape of the cluster will be a flat disc, but it won't be perfectly flat. Stars in the center of the Cluster can have a Z rating of up to +5 or -5 lightyears from the Cluster baseplane. At the edges the variance drops off to +1 to -1.
- For the most part, FTL travel and communication will be as described in Traveller, but hexes on the subsector maps will be one light-year apart. This means that travel in the Cluster will be 3.25 easier because Traveller hexes are measured in parsecs. A jump-6 drive can take you 19 hexes! I'm considering introducing a "jump-1/2" drive that allows travel to adjacent hexes.
That's a quick rundown of the basics of the Venturi Cluster. Next time I'll talk more about my approach for building the stellar cartography using a "from the ground up" approach.