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[2300AD] Realistic Star Map Project: Part III – The New French Arm (v2.0)

NOTE: This is version 2.0 of the New French Arm – it has been significantly updated from its original version. See here for the full explanation for the change, otherwise read on for the updated Arm!

Following on from my overview of what 2300AD’s Arms could look like on a realistic starmap, let’s take a closer look at my reinterpretation of the French Arm (as well as Pentapod and Kafer space) by starting off with a general overview (and some 3D maps!):

View of the French Arm from above.

3D Map of the New French Arm (view from “above”).

This new 3D map shows what the revised “New French Arm” looks like in the realistic starmap, as seen from “above”. The solid blue lines show the explored and colonised parts of the French Arm, the red/pink section is Kafer Space, and the light pink section is Pentapod Space. Dotted lines are “extensions” that haven’t been colonised yet but provide space for future expansion. Sol is located at the bottom left corner of the network, and Pentapod and Kafer space are “above” Sol, closer to the viewer.

While a 3D map is nice to look at to get an idea of the real layout of the stars, they are a little hard to interpret! Fortunately, the nature of the Arms is such that they can be represented using a much simpler “subway map” (shown below) that displays all of the connected systems in and around the French Arm much more clearly. This map was made using the very handy subway map generator at http://beno.org.uk/metromapcreator/ – it has a few quirks (such as not saving the maps properly – some screen capturing and assembly in Photoshop was required!) but it works pretty well once you get used to it.

Subway Map of the French Arm and Alien Space

Subway Map of the French Arm and Alien Space

The subway map shows the Arms and branches much more clearly. I’ve tried to arrange it so that the lines vaguely agree with reality, though in doing so it looks a little un-intuitive – I had to put Sol at the bottom right end of the dark blue line (with the French Arm extending to the left from it) in order to get the Beta Canum Branch on the same side of the map as the Arcturus Branch.

I’ve also had to move some of the named systems around to get the history working with the new map, and also had to incorporate the systems that were at fictional stars or stars that turned out too distant to be usable. I tried to fit the systems to similar stars, but there may be some differences (that probably matter less in the grand scheme of things than their placement on the arms).

So. What do we have now? We’ll actually start from the top of the arm and work down towards Sol.
Continue reading ‘[2300AD] Realistic Star Map Project: Part III – The New French Arm (v2.0)’

[2300AD] Realistic Star Map Project: Part II – Overview

So what could humanity’s expansion to the stars in 2300AD look like with a realistic star map? It could look like this…

The Realistic Arms of 2300AD

The Realistic Arms of 2300AD (click to expand)

The map above shows all of the stars within 60 lightyears of Sol, though only the stars on the French, Chinese, and American Arms are labelled (as well as those of all of the other space-faring nations and alien races). Obviously there’s a lot to digest in there – I’ll be discussing the arms individually in later posts, but in this post I’ll be providing an overview of what’s going on. As I pointed out in my previous post, this is merely my own personal (obviously non-canonical) interpretation of where the Arms would go – I’ve tried to keep as many systems in common with the original arms as I could given the more realistic stellar distribution, but this is by no means the only path the Arms could take.
Continue reading ‘[2300AD] Realistic Star Map Project: Part II – Overview’

[2300AD] Realistic Near Star Map Project: Part I – Introduction

Realistic Near Star Map with new Arms! Scroll down and play the video!

OK, 2300AD fans – you may recall that last year in my 2300AD Near Star Map post I examined how the Arms in 2300AD shaped up when compared to our current knowledge of stellar distribution and discovered that they were actually pretty wrong, with lots of missing stars and broken links.

Also over the past year I’ve been (slowly) tracking down and compiling Star Catalogues on my Stellar Mapping page so I can figure out where the stars around Sol actually are.
Continue reading ‘[2300AD] Realistic Near Star Map Project: Part I – Introduction’

System Book 2: Xibalba is now available!

Lately I’ve been busy writing a new System Book for Spica Publishing, and I am pleased to announce that System Book 2: Xibalba is now available for purchase!

Xibalba originally started off as a one-paragraph writeup for the (now probably dead) Spica Sector book – but we were looking for interesting things to release as smaller products, and we figured it’d be fun to expand upon it and release it as the next System Book. Quite a bit of science went into designing this system to be as realistic as possible (like System Book 1: Katringa before it, which I co-authored), which is named after the asteroid belt that orbits its white dwarf primary. I evolved the star itself and incorporated the effects of the star’s red giant phases on its worlds – one planet was consumed during the giant phase, another’s surface was completely melted, and all of the planetary orbits expanded outwards as the primary lost its mass during its planetary nebula phase (again, Gravity Simulator proved very useful for this!).

The ‘adventure hook’ is that there are strange hauntings and manifestations occurring in the system that have so far defied explanation, and there is plenty for any visting PCs to investigate. I wanted to bring some mystery and a sense of wonder and of the unknown to the setting, but it’s designed to be more “spooky” than “horror”. Inspirations include the movies Solaris, Event Horizon, and the Terran Trade Authority: Spacewreck book. It may be smaller (and cheaper) than System Book 1: Katringa, but there’s still plenty to explore!

Are you brave enough to Visit Xibalba?

Spica Publishing is pleased to announce that its latest product – System Book 2: Xibalba – is now available from RPGnow and DrivethruRPG. This 9-page PDF is written by Constantine Thomas, and is available for $3.99.

Spica Publishing presents System Book 2: Xibalba – a complete planetary system around a white dwarf star. This supplement is compatible with the current edition of the Traveller or any other SF RPG, and can be incorporated into an existing campaign or used as the focal point of an adventure. Inexplicable events plague the inhabitants of the system – are they really haunted by the ghosts of the dead, or is there a more rational explanation for the manifestations?

System Book 2: Xibalba includes:
– A realistic planetary system, based on current astrophysical knowledge.
– Details of the worlds in the system, including the barren worlds of Akabna, Balamna, and Chamna, the Xibalba belt, and the distant gas giant Sisna.
– A description of the small mining community on the asteroid of Nuevo Tikal.
– A brief history of the system and its major events, including the madness that destroyed the Caracol habitat.
– Ideas and suggestions for the strange ‘manifestations’ that haunt the inhabitants of the Xibalba system.
– Adventure seeds to occupy Player Characters while in the Xibalba system.
– Rules for incorporating Xibalba into Spica Publishing’s Outer Veil setting.

Download it today!

“Traveller” and the Traveller logo are Trademarks owned by Far Future Enterprises, Inc. and are used with permission. The Traveller Main Rulebook is available from Mongoose Publishing.

[2300AD] Near Star Map Astrosynthesis DB file

This week I received an email request for the Astrosynthesis DB file that I used to make my realistic 2300AD near star/arms map, and after digging it up I figured I may as well post it for everyone to use. It uses a special version of the realistic stellar databases that I’ve presented elsewhere on this site – it has the 2300AD-specific names for the stars and systems, so it shouldn’t be used for scientific purposes (I think it just uses the RECONS + DENSE + Hipparcos databases). As usual, please don’t redistribute this yourself – just link back to this page if you want to spread the word!

Instructions: Click the image below to download the 2300AD_DB.zip file, unzip it into a local folder, open Astrosynthesis 3.0, and open the unzipped 2300AD.AstroDB file from there. Hopefully it’s some use! 🙂

2300AD Astrosynthesis 3.0 database file



Copyright stuff: The 2300 AD game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright 1986 – 2012 Far Future Enterprises. 2300 AD is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

[Stellar Mapping] The 2300AD Near Star Map

The 2300AD Near Star Map

The 2300AD RPG – originally published by Game Designer’s Workshop in 1988 – presented an excellent gritty, realistic near-future hard sci-fi setting with lots of exploration, mystery, and interesting aliens. It’s also about to be republished by Mongoose Publishing as a setting for their version of the Traveller RPG!

One of 2300AD’s most interesting features is that the setting is built around a realistic (for the 1980s) Near Star List based on the Gliese Catalogue (2nd Version). FTL travel in 2300AD has a maximum range of 7.7 lightyears, resulting in the creation of “Arms” that extend from Sol to connect only the stars that are within this range of eachother (this limit can potentially be extended to 11.55 ly using Stutterwarp tugs, but this is expensive and uncommon).

There are three of these Arms, each colonised by a different political power in the setting – the French Arm, the Chinese Arm, and the American Arm. The French Arm stretches “upwards” from Sol towards Galactic North, ending at the orange giant star Arcturus. The American and Chinese Arms share the same beginning, but split off so that the American Arm heads Coreward/Spinward while the Chinese Arm sprawls around the (galactic) southern part of the solar neighbourhood.

Unfortunately the Near Star List (NSL) has not been updated for the new version of 2300AD. A lot of stars have been discovered in the solar neighbourhood since the late 1980s (as shown on my Stellar Mapping page), and the locations and distances of existing stars have been greatly refined since then too – so how does the updated stellar data affect the Arms?
Continue reading ‘[Stellar Mapping] The 2300AD Near Star Map’

Website update: Further Stars List uploaded!

EDIT: This has been superseded by my new Stellar Mapping page!

I’ve finally added the “Further Star List” to my Realistic Near-Sol Astrography webpage – it’s an excel file containing accurate locations of a selection of major stars (including Vega, Deneb, 51 Pegasi, Spica, Bellatrix and Algol) that are more than 10pc from Sol.

The format is a bit raw (and I’m not entirely sure why I selected those specific stars to list!). The dark red X/Y/Z columns show the distances in each direction (Sol is the origin, +X is Coreward, +Y is Spinward, +Z is “above” Sol). If you have trouble interpreting it, let me know!

You can doublecheck the stars too – you can use the Convert spreadsheet in Section 1 of the mapping page to convert the RA/Dec of any stars into X/Y/Z coordinates. If you have astronomy software like Celestia, open it up and activate the Galactic Grid and rotate it so that you’re facing 0° latitude and 0° longitude – you’re now looking directly along the +X axis. Turn to look at 0° Lat, 90° Lon and you’re looking directly along the +Y axis. Look at the Galactic north pole, and you’re looking directly along the +Z axis. You should be able to find your stars using this (e.g. Aldebaran is pretty much directly along the -X direction, and down a bit on the Z axis. Look towards 180° Lon direction and -20° Lat, and there it is!).

I’ve been sitting on this for six and a half years (!!) and finally decided that I’m never going to draw hexmaps showing these stars, so I may as well just release the data and let other people figure it out! Enjoy! 🙂

The link is at http://evildrganymede.net/wp/rpgs/stellar-mapping/.

System Book 1: Katringa is now available!

I’ve been spending the past few months working for Spica Publishing on a new supplement for the Mongoose Traveller RPG called System Book 1: Katringa, and I am pleased to say that it is now available for purchase!

There’s actually some science in it too, since I used my realistic planetary system generator (which is based on the latest research) to make the system, and I made the physical details of the young A8 IV primary star, its planets, their orbits and Katringa itself as realistic as possible (I even figured out the orbital evolution of the moons of the gas giants in the system!). So if you’re looking for an interesting new planetary system for your SF games then please do check it out!

Welcome to Katringa!

Spica Publishing is pleased to announce that its latest product – System Book 1: Katringa – is now available from RPGnow and DrivethruRPG. This 30-page PDF is written by Richard Hazlewood with physical data by Constantine Thomas, and is available for $6.99.

System Book 1: Katringa is the first in a series of books from Spica Publishing that describes a complete planetary system and its society, and is designed for use with Mongoose Traveller or any science-fiction RPG. Katringa is a former corporate mining colony that is gradually being allowed more independence over time, although corruption still pervades the government. Conditions are harsh in the asteroid belt close to the system’s energetic primary star, but the riches are worth the risk.

System Book 1: Katringa includes:
– A realistic planetary system, based on current astrophysical knowledge.
– Details of the worlds in the system, including the mineral-rich Idowa Belt, the gas giants Accra and Yendi and their moons, and Olufemi and the Outer Asteroids.
– A planetary map of Katringa showing major landmarks and settlements.
– A full physical description of Katringa, including a detailed breakdown of its geographical features and timekeeping system.
– Katringa’s unique African-influenced society, history and government.
– Important NPCs that may be encountered on Katringa, from all walks of life.
– Adventure seeds to occupy Player Characters while in the Katringa system.
– Detailed asteroid mining rules.

Download it today!

“Traveller” and the Traveller logo are Trademarks owned by Far Future Enterprises, Inc. and are used with permission. The Traveller Main Rulebook is available from Mongoose Publishing.

RPG and Science pages now online!

The new Science and Roleplaying Pages are now fully online on the new WordPress site, and everything seems to be working fine.

I’ve updated, consolidated, and removed some of the material from my old RPG Hub:

  • The Continuum has now been updated (I added the Dyson Virtual, and The Vanguard supplement) and spelling errors and typos have been corrected. The Continuum is also now only available as a single (1 MB, 85,500 word, 160 page!) PDF file.
  • The Caine Files have been merged into a single HTML file.
  • There is now a single Old World of Darkness (oWoD) page. It’s not too fancy since that edition is no longer supported by WW. I’ve also removed some of the files that were here before – I just wanted to keep the material that I like.
  • The Blood Bowl files haven’t been updated, but I’m linking them here because they’re rather entertaining (if I do say so myself) and you should read them :).
  • I added a SLA Industries page containing some Player/GM Aids I made a while back. If you’re a SLA player you’ll probably find these useful!
  • The Stellar Characteristics and Evolution document on the Worldbuilding page has been updated and turned into a PDF. I’ve added a section on Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams to help explain things a bit better.

    The Science page is essentially the same as the old Work Hub, and contains a downloadable PDF version of my Ph.D. thesis, as well as the science posters and abstracts that I wrote during my scientific career.

    I haven’t done anything with the 3D Artwork pages, but I’m hoping they should be up and running in the next few days. Stay tuned for further updates!

    If you see anything amiss (or have any comments), please leave a comment below or send me an email!