February 28, 2023

Tales From the Forgotten Moon, Season 1: Sector Building with Stellar Adventures

I recently printed out and spiral bound a copy of Stellar Adventures, the Science Fiction RPG toolkit based on Advanced Fighting Fantasy from Arion Games. The back of this book, starting on pg 112, has a method of building a galactic sector” and each of the star systems within primarily using die-drop a method.

First, I started with procedure for generating the sector. You start by rolling 2d6 to determine the number of stars in the sector, my result was an 8. I then rolled 8 six siders (using a digital dice roller) and got this result:

An image of 8 different six sided dice spread out over a rectangular area. The dice face have results of 6, 5, 5, 4, 2, 2, 2, and 1.

Each die is the position of a star system and the die result is the number of planets that orbit that star.

I used this die drop result with OmniGraffle to generate a vector image that was easier to work with. Following the procedures on pg 113, I measured the distance between each of the dice in inches (rounding down) to determine the distance (presumably this is used to factor in jump difficulty, fuel usage, or time… I’m not sure yet.) The book doesn’t give a Traveller like table to determine whether a route exist or not, it just says to draw lines between neighbouring systems.” I decided to wear my GM hat and made some judgement calls about whether a connection would exist or not.

A star map of 8 different star systems with connecting lines between the stars to show the connecting star routes.

There’s no name generation tables in Stellar Adventures so I’ve turned to my usual collection of tools: a custom system that builds names in the style of the old Elite computer game and a series of phonetic tables from the Wizard of the Coast book Star Wars Galactic Campaign Guide the builds natural sounding Star Wars words.

There’s a die-drop similar procedure for laying out the individual systems. I decided I would start with what I assume is the core systen given its central location, Rylin. Rylin has 5 planets - although it turns out this is really more like 5 stellar objects of note because your die results may determine that it is not a planet but an asteroid or something strange.” Here’s my die drop from the Rylin system:

Five six sided dice are randomly located in a rectangular area. The die faces show a 5, 3, 2, 1, and 1.

Each of these dice is the location” of an object orbiting the star in this system. Results of 1, 2 or 3 will be planets, 4s are Gas Giants, 5s are Asteroids, and 6s are strange” things. Each of these results has their own sub-table you roll on. There’s also a random table for determining if the planet has lifeforms and what type of settlements exist. After working with those procedures I’m left with this map I created in OmniGraffle again:

A system map with a star in the center and 5 stellar objects orbiting the star.

Obviously I’ve used some GM fiat to adjust the positions of things - mostly for readability. Also, here’s the outline of settlements across the various planets:

  • Rylin, Ocean world
    • Anisis Point, Starport
  • Enlid-1 & Enlid-2, Twin ice planets
    • Enciso Town (Enlid-1), Surface outpost
    • Zodai Outpost (Enlid-2), Surface starport
  • Riscornaan, Lifeless tidally locked world
  • Talrinnal, Desert Planet
    • Aoredle Depot, Surface starport
    • Meridian Dock, Space station
  • Duras-1, Asteroid field
    • No known outposts (pirates? smugglers?)

This was a fun exercise. As much as I love Traveller this was way more fun than doing subsector layout although there’s still a certain charm to the Universal World Profile method of generating a planet. In another post I’ll use the Places” procedures on pg. 99 of the book to stat out each of these settlements. That will start to give us a richer picture of their size, technology, society, military presence, and resources.