The Libyans are quite the believing conservative Muslims.

And yet, they are not famed for blowing stuff up, slashing throats open, subsidizing jihadi killers worldwide, etc.

There are quite a number of old pagan relics hanging around in their land that would have been razed long ago in Our Ally, Saudi Arabia.

The Libyans had a weird leader who had his hands in blowing up a plane killing hundreds, and in a fair chunk of 1980s terrorism, but was overall far less destructive than Our Ally… and, notably turned away from his terrorism.

The West — a.k.a., the USA and the UK — chose to lure Qaddafi into renouncing all nuclear weapons as well: and then betrayed him, engineering his overthrow (which led to his humiliating death), leaving the nation in chaos, opening an opportunity to the Islamic State… and putting the Islamic slave markets back in business. Something Our Visionary Leadership will never do to Our Ally.

I regret, with great intensity, not so much as my region of space is dominated by Islam: but it is tied to the Islam of Our Ally.

But I shall continue to lie in the bed that I have made for myself. The best stories are grounded in suffering and pain… and, inevitably, the arrival of justice.

Something Our Ally should be watching out for.

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The Rich are Different…

While reading about the financial misadventures of a YouTube founder – has $300 million net worth, facing a lost of ~$5 million in a real estate vanity project.

This loss is the equivalent of having $10,000 saved up… and losing about $170. Annoying, worth grumbling about for a day or two, then forgotten.

I do like LouisDeLaSmart’s comment, though:

For us mortals these figures are immense and unreal, devoid of logic and common sense.
For the wealthy, not so much. From his point of view, he didn’t lose 5 million. He gained a bragging right in the upper class that he can afford to lose 5 million without caring. And that is a statement of financial power.

This attitude may be worth transferring to your favourite Noble or Corporate Executive. A nice storyhook, there.

Now, just rewrite “überswank bachelor pad” to “überswank space station/private colonial settlement/yacht” – or even put that pad on a beanstalk or an antigrav city – and you’re good to go!


When you put a price tag on something, always know that in the Imperium, there’s someone who can pay it.

Travellers, especially free traders, tend to be hungry for money: but even for them, some things should never be for sale, even implicitly.

(I’m specifically thinking about the bloodprice for a life, common in tribal societies like in the Empty Quarter. There will always be Nobles who will kill a man: and when challenged, just write a cheque to the bereaved…

(or to a lawyer… or the police… or to the judge… or to an office-holder)

…and then casually get on with his life.)

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Seven Explorers Who Mysteriously Vanished…

More inspirational jumping-off points for interstellar adventure:

For every Lewis and Clark, there are pioneers who were murdered, abandoned or simply vanished from the face of the Earth during their expeditions. Here is a look at some of the notable trailblazers who set out into the unknown and never came back, with no trace of their bodies ever found.

PCs are most likely to be on the private employ of those — wealthy family, the backing interest (corporate, research, noble, cultural, religious, sometimes even governmental or a political party) who wants to find out what happened. ON rare occasions, they are hired by an agent of an odd-ball patron – perhaps the lost explorer’s final will & testament, or an enemy who wants to KNOW that the explorer is gone for good.

Scouts who are directly serving the Imperial government are quite likely to have someone look for them if they are seriously overdue in sending in an update. This is not always possible, especially in very distant missions or in wartime operations: but when possible, the attempt will be made.

Detached Imperial Scouts are expected to get lost: if the nature of their disappearance is interesting to the Imperial government, there will be a follow-up expedition. Otherwise, the money, manpower, and resources will be spent elsewhere.

(While the Imperial government runs on a budget, and has a hard attitude on such things, your fellow detached Imperial scout — or even a sympathetic Noble — is more likely to do some fieldwork to get answers to the disappearance.)

Colonel Fawcett’s story is the type movies are made of — literally. “The Lost City of Z” was a feature film released in 2016 based on the misadventures of Fawcett, who disappeared in the Amazon while searching for said city. At age 57, Fawcett was on his way to establishing himself as one of the world’s great pioneers — previous exploits included successful map charting trips to Bolivia and Brazil — when he and his two companions, including his young son Jack, disappeared without a trace. An estimated 100 people have died attempting to follow his footsteps, and a few have met the same fate of seemingly slipping from the face of the Earth. notes that as recently as 1996, a team searching for answers was captured by Amazonian natives and only escaped after paying ransom with $30,000 of equipment. Perhaps Fawcett’s fate was the same.

Of course, not all dangers are environmental, and not all fade away in time.

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Racial Maps

  • It’s good to have some updated information on the subject.
  • It’s going to get interesting, after we start creating artificial human racial templates. And exactly where do cyborgs fall in here?
  • Masaman’s own racial map of the world is more colourful than my own racial map of the Empty Quarter, in Stellar Reaches 19, page 6-7. And of course, all the sophonts Masaman deals with are human.
  • The snapshot of young uniformed people (mainly women) at 1:36 is not too bad, as an overview of many East Indian-dominated Solomani worlds in the Empty Quarter.
  • Back in the Confederation, there would be a large African contingent, possibility the solid majority, with a good sized block of East Asians and East Indians. Round it out with North & South Americans: mainly a huge mix-up of American Indians (a racial spectrum in itself!), Europeans of Iberian, British and German descent, and a fair weigh-in of West Africans.
    • Europe may retain more than a remnant White population, but “no kids, no future”, so Europeans in the far future Imperial Era largely refers to the descendants of the immigrant Arab and Black African populations. There’s a good chance that the native peoples left for the stars while they still had the chance, though…
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Just Another Life in the Imperium

Just another ordinary low-tech lifestyle. Not really suitable for the Empty Quarter – wrong culture, wrong ethnic group, wrong kind of environment – but I still find it charming, enlightening, and evocative. “Another time, another place.”

I wonder how such a lad would see a similar boy who lived most of his life on computers, or cell phones, or a networked virtual reality grid.

Perhaps the high-tech kid would be more alien to the Tanka fisherboy than a lower-tech child compared to himself, who has no access to paper or books, and never heard of radio or boat engines.

Note: the father of this boy spent some time sailing around the world, before getting a job in a local ferry so he could stay closer to his family. Not a bad career plan for a Traveller, with “ferry” defined as working only STL shipping in the home system, never farther than a few hours of radio/laser contact with his own family. “It’s no more than a week out and back home: and not a week out in J-space, a week on-world, and a week back.”


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Plate Tectonics

I tend to go more for the large, sector-scale & subsector-scales of adventure, so I will rarely have the time for proper, detailed world design. But if your adventurers are tied to a particular world, or a small group of worlds, then this video is quite useful!

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“Designing Flags for Moons of the Solar System!”

I do like my flags…

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