Mapping Matters and Ikon

I notice that Ikon on www.travellermap.com got it’s tech and starport levels hammered in the revised Classic Traveller UWPs: from the original (in both 993 and 1105) C253AC7-E, to C553AC7-C.

(Yep, the size of the world were revised, not just the tech level which made the system such a terror prominent force in the sector, especially when the Imperial Navy is absent. Not that I have anything against having more gravity under my feet…)

Ah well: I always insisted that I’d leave the Classic UWPs to others, as I have my hands full just dealing with one set of worlds (The Empty Quarter) at one point of time (001-993 Imperial).


Space is huge. Vast amounts of space, coupled with vast amounts of time, is nearly impossible to grasp and manage decently.

But if you freeze the time, and fix the UWPs, you have a chance to carefully study the relationships among the systems, and get some interesting background material written. Traveller can get really deep, if you put some flesh on the bones of the numbers, and really work out the implications of all those sophonts on all those worlds, for all that time, from those varied species and cultures and religions and tech levels.

Try it out with just a subsector sometime: 40 worlds (usually), 20 billion sophonts (say), in a small area of space: so not so wildly diverse in history and population, and probably no more than one interstellar state.

Stay out of deep time:

  • just sketch out the history of the subsector for the last 10,000 years on one page
    (“page 1”, ~250 words!),
  • history for the last two centuries on one page
    (“page 2”),
  • and then recent history, over the last generation (40 years), say, on one page
    (“page 3”).

(A.K.A.: “Don’t do as I did with Stellar Reaches do as I say!” At least, if you want to avoid months of work…)

Now that you have the background, you can set up the opposing forces and interacting populations.

  • One page of the major opposing subsector forces (political, military, and economic), with leaders, power base, goals, allies, and enemies; and
  • Two-three pages of the notable planetary or interstellar cultures/races/species/religions/ideologies. Who are they friendly with, and who do they have a grudge with? What do they want, what do they fear? And what is their relationship with the major political/military/economic actors, in the previous page?(To keep it fast and light, I’d keep it to two-three major races/species, two-three major religions/ideologies, and five or so major cultures within a subsector.PS: There are sixteen subsectors within a sector, and over 200 subsectors within the Imperium. Just chew on that for a moment, before going on.)

My attempt at cultural mapping for the Empty Quarter can be found in Stellar Reaches #19 and #20. I suggest that you take a look, see what you like and what you would change… and do it yourself, but on the subsector scale (so it won’t eat up all of your free time…)

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About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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