Sydney’s not the only one who’s been spending too much time designing, in exquisite detail, things that aren’t real. My excuse is, it’s my job. This is the first really finished sector map that I’ve done (I’ve also built Sector 311, where Taramai is located, but it’s not presentable). This is the sector where my newest story will take place, all the way on the eastern end of the Phaesian arm. The edge of the Void. A place crawling, not with worms, but with their human analog… the fearsome Outraiders. These are the brigands of the deep, who swoop into the open frontiers of the Iron Empires, burning, pillaging, stealing everything that isn’t nailed down before vanishing again, into the black unknown. For those of you who have copies of my home-brewed campaign rules “Vaylen Wars”, this map is perfect for trying them out. I do have unit lists for some of the houses listed on the map which I’ll post when I get the time, so you can try your hand at your own internecine war.
While it is totally awesome, the font is inhibiting my ability to read some of it clearly – I think it’s the stencil-y gaps in it. Also, waaaaaay down in the right hand bottom corner it looks like one world name got kind of squished or double printed or something.
(Not to just complain or nitpick or anything.)
Unfortunately, the Comoran Mapping Guild only has one type of stencil. It drives the other houses insane. I’m guessing you’re Gonzagin, Anya? the Gonzagin are always bitching about the stencils…
Awesome work. Are you still actively sharing your house rules/homebrew stuff?
If so I would love to take a look.
Also love the Outraiders idea, sounds a bit like the Reavers from Firefly (although more Human I guess).
Send me an email and I’ll send you the rules. Yeah, they’re not so much Mutant Cannibal Reavers as they are Vikings. There you are, minding your own business, tending your sheep and all of a sudden screaming guys in crazy-looking Anvil armor are falling out of the sky burning down the your barn and chasing your sister. Then, before the Forged Lord’s forces arrive, they’re gone. And you sister and your sheep with them.
holy freakin’ cow, chris! wow
distortus vicis is iron empire speak for light year? distortion year?
value? planetary value? level of tech?
Chris, Site 10904 (just south of Astragon’s Shield in the upper left corner of the map)…hmmm?
One question arising from this totally awesome map (and the one in Sheva’s War) - can you only travel between systems that are connected on this map?
For example, can you go from Supia to Koradika (in the upper left corner) directly, or do you always have to go via Harajhan? If you don’t have to go via Haralhan, is it slower to go directly (compared to how long it would take if there was a route marked)? Or do the lines merely show the common trade etc. routes, and anyone with their own ship is free to fly whereever they want?
Thanks in advance :).
My understanding is that it’s like sea travel pre-GPS. You can theoretically go anywhere, but in practice the best route from London to Mexico is to follow a standard trade route across to the general vicinity of, say, New York, then head south along the coast, then across the Caribbean.
I am also given to understand that, like sea travel, merely because you have followed the London-New York route does not mean that you end up at anchor in New York Harbor. It is relatively simple to know that you’re now near-ish to New York, but well out of sight of land, and to skirt around. This does make you more vulnerable to New York-based forces (I’m sure there’s some kind of brine joke to be made here) but not drastically so.
But that’s all gleaned from Sidney and Chris’s Hammer discussions, not from close analysis of the wargame rules (which I don’t really remember and should have another look at) or from reading Chris’s mind or possessing exponent 6 Distortion Drive Engineering and Navigation skills.
The transit routes on the map are those in general publication (which is why the key refers to them as “Published Transit Routes”). These are well known, tried-and-true navigational routes that all good mercators use. The routes that aren’t shown are those that were commissioned privately, either by merchant guilds or powerful nobles, and which are top secret. Others are old routes that have been closed by interstellar dust clouds and never re-scouted. Others are old routes that have been forgotten, between planets that fell off the grid, or were quarantined for some reason.
As with everything else in the Iron Empires, knowledge is power, and old knowledge is the most powerful of all. Finding the navigational charts for a long-forgotten transit route (particularly one that cuts light-years off of a popular trip) is a good way to become wealthy beyond dreams of avarice.
There are also freelance scouting operations that seek to map new routes between un-connected worlds. These are expensive, dangerous and time-consuming, requiring, potentially, thousands of micro-hops through particle-dense regions of space, trying to find the one straight path (or series of straight paths) that will allow for an efficient, safe passage.
So the short answer is that you can’t travel off of the indicated transit routes unless you have access to knowledge that isn’t in the public domain. If you do? Feel free to pencil in that route. Forgotten-Transit-Route-wise 6 for the win.
Just to get into the fictional physics for a moment – and Chris, correct me if I’m wrong:
A “transit route” is a region of extremely low particle density, which allows hyperexpansion (HEx) drives to reach their optimum efficiency and thus maximum speeds.
In theory, you could travel between stars off a transit route, but particle density would be so much higher, your distortion efficiency so much worse, and your speeds so much lower – little better than you could make with HEx in-system but outside the “disk” – that you’ll take vastly longer to reach your destination and probably burn through all your fuel first.
Using a poorly-mapped transit route – one that hasn’t been regularly re-surveyed since Federation times, or that was mapped out sloppily to begin with – or just having a really inept navigator raises the charming possibility of moving along at a brisk clip in a low-density area, only to suddenly run into an uncharted or unnoticed high-density area. That means a sudden drop in distortion efficiency that crashes you out of hyperexpansion to subliminal speeds – with nobody in their harnesses or even halfway prepared for the shock. This can leave you light-years from nowhere with half your crew incapacitated, the rest sick as dogs, and a bunch of critical systems burned out. Which is a big, big reason to stick to well-charted routes!
That’s pretty much it, Sydney, but there are a few subtle points: First, outside of big nebulas and gas clouds, space is pretty empty. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take very high density to knock a ship in HEx out of HEx, with all of the nasty side effects you mentioned. So transit routes are scouted gingerly. Yes you can try just plotting a transit between two stars and crossing your fingers. The chance of you crashing out of it and hurting yourself is pretty good, particlarly once you start putting lightyears behind you. That’s a lot of kilometers in which to hit a stray clot of matter. The statistics of making it in one shot start to go down exponentially the farther you want to try.
So this implies that the “transit routes” would be through old sections of utterly desolate space – no clouds, stars or planets. Does that sound right?
Inside a nebula or dust cloud (the Tiger’s Maw for example is a giant dust cloud… “dark matter”), transit routes would be really tough to find and take years of trial and error scouting. Many transit routes involve direction changes along the way. For the sake of simplicity, they’re shown as straight lines.
Herr Moeller is your homebrew still availible for perusal? Go away from the forum for a bit and you and Sydney bring teh awesome.
It is, Mr. Jeffe. Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it to you.