Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The setting for my new Star Wars RPG

Troius Sector: A Gazateer


The Troius Sector is a collection of roughly a dozen star systems, located in a remote portion of the Tingel Arm, in the Outer Rim. Its nearest pathway to the civilization of the colonies and the core worlds is the Hydian Way, a trade route that connects the Corporate Sector to the core. It is still a long-distance run to make it to the Hydian Way, though, and there are few safe routes.

The sector has a long history, stretching back to the ancient days of the Old Republic. Its prosperity has crested and fallen a dozen times, and is now, in the time of the Empire, at a low point. Very few worlds in the sector support wealthy individuals and opulent lifestyles. A majority of the worlds support laborers, farmers, miners, and entire cultures of people trying to squeeze a living out of the earth or out of industry. It’s among the lower-classes that thoughts of Rebellion are strongest; for now, the Emperor takes good care of his ruling-classes.

This is a low-priority sector for the Empire. Since there is very little trouble reported by the local governors, the Emperor devotes relatively few resources there. Local militaries and police keep things safe and incidents of rebellion are quickly, and quietly, deterred.

There is very little commerce between the sector and the rest of the galaxy at large. Commerce is managed by a series of guilds (much as it is in the rest of the galaxy). Independent traders thrive; most people in economically depressed locations are more likely to buy their wares from small-time merchants who cannot afford to purchase their supplies and products through high-cost suppliers. Small independent traders support themselves by supplying small merchants on distant worlds with the goods they need, typically while avoiding Imperial tariffs and licenses.

Hyperspace Travel through the Sector

Hyperspace travel throughout the sector isn’t much different than travel throughout most of the rest of the galaxy. Ships’ crew must constantly update navicomputer data to take into account the constant motion and influence of stellar bodies. Miscalculation of navigation data can lead, at best, to a delayed trip or a mis-jump. At worst, a ship can get lost of the aether of hyperspace or be destroyed when its re-entry into realspace comes too close to a star or planet.

Like many other sectors, Troius Sector has a small combination of unique hazards to navigators and pilots must contend with. A nebula dominates the easiest access point between the Hydian Way and the Trois Trade Route (the most heavily used route into and out of the sector). Most pilots plot courses to the mouth of the Nebula Gates, and slowly re-calculate a route through the Opal Nebula Via (the path that feeds into the Hydian Way). This re-calculation point is used as an ambush point occasionally by pirates, hoping to catch a ship’s crew busy with new hyperspace calculations.

The Pearls are another unusual formation. An enormous asteroid belt circles a dying red star. The belt forms a type of ribbon of stone and ore, twisting around the central star. The Mining Guild has been given access by the Empire to mine the materials out of it; however, subspace travel is made somewhat difficult by the radiation emanating from the red sun. A single space station, known by local travelers as “The Spike,” is the sole “public” station. The Empire maintains a small garrison of soldiers there, to assist in keeping the peace and monitoring traffic.

In the days of the Old Republic, a combination of hyperspace beacons, aid from the Guild of Navigators, and the HoloNet kept hyperspace travel relatively safe and direct. The Empire, though, cannibalized the HoloNet strictly for military communication. The Navigators Guild was made illegal by Imperial edict, and had all of its data and resources seized. By the time of the campaign, most pilots and ships’ captains trade navigation data often when they meet. Some would-be navigators collect maps and data, hoping to sell it to travelers. A black market of navigation data has developed around communities of smugglers and pirates, trading cargo for reliable information.

Notable Locations

The Pearls: On the rimward side of the sector, there is a system that is comprised of one star, circled by a string of asteroids and smaller planetoids. Some satellites are claimed by the Mining Guild, though “independent” miners and smugglers make their way through their defenses, occasionally. Besides the small mining settlements on some of the planetoids, the only real significant man-made habitation is the Spike, a 5 kilometer long space station, which services most of the miners and travelers who use the nearest hyperspace route.

The Empire keeps a modest presence there. The occasional patrol ship stops by the Spike now and again, though the largest presence seen is usually a customs frigate.

Strife: Covered by thick clouds, and perpetually drenched by rain, Strife is the home of the Imperial War College. There is also a small garrison on-world. The planet only has two large land-masses; the rest of planet is covered in tumultuous oceans, which are impassable with conventional water-craft.

Eric’s Star: Eric’s Star is a pirate and smuggler haven. Three great domed cities dominate the Habitable Ring near the equator. One is ruled by the Hulma clan of Hutts, and seems to be the most lucrative for the local crime syndicate. One domed city has been re-named “Necropolis,” ever since a freak accident at the power plant unleashed a toxin that destroyed its population.

Argent One: The de-facto capitol of the system only recently rose to any state of prominence. The local sector governor rules from there, and the representative senators gather there to discuss local business. It is closest junction for most of the local hyperspace routes, and boasts two habitable planets, and a ship-building yard. Imperial Fleet Command decided that this location would be the perfect home for the center of Fleet Operations, as well as the seat for the Imperial Governor.

Argent One is perhaps the most cosmopolitan world in the sector.

The White Void: There is a portion of the sector that is dominated by a large nebula. Sensors do not operate well, hyperspace travel is difficult, and subspace travel becomes hindered. Sensor and computer screens go white when the ship is in contact with the nebula. The area is often used as a hiding place for pirates and raiders, though many of the ships that go there are lost.

The Guilds

It is impossible for the Empire to control all commerce in the sector. Therefore, they allow certain guilds to operate with a charter from the Empire. The guilds often operate like a combination of a business conglomerate and crime family.

The Mining Guild is permitted to petition the Empire to mine for ores and other precious materials on any planet in the sector. It isn’t unusual for them to claim lands already occupied by farmers or other types of tenants.

The Bounty Hunter Guild is an exclusive organization. Though it is relatively simple to obtain a bounty hunting permit (allowing one to apprehend criminals and obtain rewards), the Bounty Hunter Guild serves as a clearing house for potential bounties. One reason the Guild operates is so that individual bounty hunters do not wage war against each other and each have a fair “cut” of the action in the sector. They consider non-Guild hunters to be fair game, though.

The Shipping Guild still operates. The Empire offers licenses to carry cargo through the sector, and use the more popular hyperspace routes. Licenses are expensive, and not only allow shippers to carry licensed cargos, but also help in avoiding customs inspections.

The Assassins Guild was outlawed during the height of the Old republic. There are rumors that there are still members operating in secret, acting more like a cult or mystery religion than a guild.

The Navigator’s Guild hasn’t operated since the rise of the Emperor.

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