Sunday, 28 November 2010

A History of the Rimworlds

RimWorlds Sector Map generated by 'Heaven and Earth' My original “History of the RimWorlds” consists of two and a half pages of pencilled dates and brief notes in a 1B4 School Exercise Book. This list of dates has further additions in the margins and other spaces. A typed version of this list, including all the pencilled additions, is included in the notebook and is titled “Fourth Draft of the Complete History of the RimWorlds” and dated 22 December 1984. It was typed on my Grandmother’s Empire typewriter, the same machine I used for many of the articles I wrote for Grim Reaper magazine.

The typed version of the “History” served as the template for my website “History of the RimWorlds” when I began developing the website Traveller pages in 2008 – 2009. While writing the ‘Accidents in Astrogation’ articles for my blog in 2010, I further expanded and updated this “History” as I developed a few new ideas and personalities.

So, this is where the story of the RimWorlds begins, in the basic organisation of its history as a series of 'chapter headings'.

History of the Rimworlds

Imperial expansion into the Rimworlds has been, from the very first, sporadic and under resourced. Consequently, the Sector Dukes were forced to rely heavily upon their Subsector Dukes and the planetary and subsector navies at their command.

Such Imperial Naval units as were assigned to the Rimworlds Sector from time to time were very much used as a mobile reserve to shore up the various fortress worlds that were used to dominate volumes of space.

Berimar’s Sceptre, Gazolan and Thurgandarn were the most stable of the Rimworlds subsectors and, apart from the confusion of the Seventh Century Civil War and the Sarkul Wars of the Ninth Century, enjoyed an extended period of peace. Kaorin Subsector, after the loss of Riinu Subsector to the Klarthur Confederacy in the late Seventh Century, has also developed a thriving economic and industrial base.

Daltharmai, Gamelea, Nolgor, Miazan and Gazul Subsectors have always been under resourced and have faced increasingly well-organised and technologically adept alliances of non-Imperial states.

Table of Dates and Events

-3410Maasubi Religion founded by the Prophert Ragarn
-609Droyne colony ship reaches Yuar/Cabria.
-143Aslan colonise Yuwe/Lymethius.
103Thongaloros Empire falls to the Outrim Barbarians.
323Ftaioiaftew/Gazul settled by Aslan of Huiha Weakhayuwikhye.
497First Imperial presence in the Rimworlds in Kaorin and Berimar’s Sceptre subsectors.
540Sector Duchy of the Rimworlds established with its capital on Raelmar/Thurgandarn. Kolin I Venuraeki is first Sector Duke.
552 - 5571st Rimward War. Sector Duke Kolin II extends Imperial Rule into the Gazul Subsector against the opposition of the Rimward Coalition.
557Admiral Alleen hault-Hikisaku appointed Governor of the Trans-Nolgor Territories by Sector Duke Dentian I.
572Ftaioiaftew/Gazul joins the Rimward Coalition.
573Korbal/Gazul is settled by Aslan ihatei from Huiha Weakhayuwikhye of Ftaioiaftew/Gazul. Korbal is renamed Ikhyowou as the ihatei consolidate their hold on the planet.
593Act of Recognition passed by Sector Duke Dentian I reorganising the Trans-Nolgor Territories as Gazul Subsector, and confirming Governor hault-Hikisaku as Subsector Duke Alleen I of Gazul.
594Sector Duke Dentian I is forced to abdicate. The Sector Duchy passes, by Imperial Writ, to House Zenartoria of Heriem/Thurgandarn.
602 - 610 Civil War. Death of Sector Duke Dentian II in 610 and fall of House Zenartoria. House Maranth of Daltharmai/Daltharmai becomes Ducal House and brings stability to the Rimworlds.
652Colonisation of Kasmir/Gazul.
690 - 699Reign of Sector Duke Morthar II the Weak. Imperial control of the Sector, disrupted during the Civil War of 602 – 610, continues to weaken. Morthar is assassinated by his cousin, Deserai, who succeeds him as Neal Zuro II. During Morthar’s reign, Riinu Subsector is mostly lost to the Klarthur Confederacy.
768House Hikisaku of Gazul/Gazul succeeds House Maranth as the Sector Ducal House.
793 - 7942nd Rimward War in Gazul Subsector. A cease-fire establishes a Demilitarised Zone through Ftaioiaftew/Gazul, Gorth/Gazul and Dathyna/Gazul.
794Battle of Dathyna. Final battle of the 2nd Rimward War. Sector Duke Karthundal Hiksaku is killed when his flagship is lost with all hands.
800 Arkuru Sethlemarl, Fleet Admiral of Miazan Subsector, is made Governor of Celephais/Miazan.
810Sector Duke Liarb II Crensea is killed in fresh fighting in the Lymethius Subsector against the rising Outrim Alliance.
841The Sector fleet revolts against the policies of Sector Duke Neal-Zuro III.
842Death of Sector Duke Neal-Zuro III and the outbreak of the Sarkul Wars.
842 - 906Sarkul Wars
844Colonisation of Tulvan/Gamelea.
845Battle of Sleipner. Sector Duke Admiral Konyor Tiable is killed. Grand Admiral Stalmar Carlslein reigns as sole Duke until 847.
847 - 850The Dual Sector Duchy. With the proclamation of Admiral Kranan hault-Lerneister as Sector Duke by his fleet, the Sector is split between hault-Lerneister and Stalmar Carlslein. By 849 each has successfully put down all rivals within his Domain.
851The Pilgrims, a religious sect, purchase and settle Omega Vasalai IX/Miazan. Sector Duke Admiral Kranan hault-Lerneister, the last of the Sector Admirals, dies on Rorena.
852Emanon/Gazul settled by colonists from the Dathynan Concordance capital Dathyna/Gazul.
8823rd Rimward War. The Rimward Coalition takes advantage of the Sarkul Wars to expand its borders. By treaty, the Demilitarised Zone now consists of Kralkor II/Gazul, Ikhyowou/Gazul, Arnak/Gazul and Emmanon/Gazul. Ftaioiaftew and Dathyna rejoin the Rimward Coalition.
884Governor Arkuru III Sethlemarl of Celephais takes the title of Viceroy.
885 Odinite discovered on Tulvan/Gamelea.
906Leonid I ‘the Great’ Trumer of Ulvar/Kaorin receives Imperial support as Sector Duke of the Rimworlds. In a rapid campaign of bluff and intimidation, he pacifies and unites the Imperial portion of the Sector. Chi’leur Geyukthi, Leonid’s aide de camp, is made Duke of Miazan Subsector. Lanyard I Sethlemarl is confirmed as Viceroy of Celephais.
925 - 9301st Outrim War. Nearo/Lymethius is devastated by nuclear and biological attack.
954 - 962 2nd Outrim War.
959Colonisation of Solaris/Nolgor.
975Colonisation of Feor/Gamelea.
999Alexuv III, the last Trumer Sector Duke, dies. House Geyukthi of Miazan/Miazan inherits the Sector Duchy.
1007Colonisation of Auru/Lymethius.
1022Klorin Asteroid War. Varch/Gamelea is conquered by Kalar-Wi/Gamelea. Viceroy Odulu Calon Sethlemarl-Geyukthi of Celephais/Miazan and Subsector Duke Petron III of Gamelea/Gamelea are killed in the fighting.
1025 - 10383rd Outrim War. Fall of House Geyukthi.
1025Subsector Duke Tolarman of Gamelea/Gamelea is killed in the opening weeks of the 3rd Outrim War.
1031Fleet Admiral Yuri Sethlemarl, Viceroy of Celephais/Miazan, is elected Sector Duke by the Fleet and charged with winning the 3rd Outrim War.
1031 - 1032Rivokul War on Kamperel/Miazan. The People's Justice Army overthrow House Rivokul, Siridar-Barons of Kamperel, exposing their corrupt practises.
1037Siege of Gamelea/Gamelea by Outrim forces during the 3rd Outrim War.
1039Colonisation of Breknor/Cabria by the Hunt of Rronurl, a Vargr band.
1041Death of Sector Duke Yuri Sethlemarl.
1042 - 1044 Rimbaud War.
1044Duke Olgarthi Ulanor of Nolgor/Nolgor becomes Sector Duke of the Rimworlds following the abdication of Sector Duke Arkuru Sethlemarl (Viceroy Arkuru VI) of Celephais/Miazan.
1046Birth of Iroioah Foesplitter, Patriarch of E’kho Tlanoweas of Khekheawaoh/Cabria.
1051Ektran Rebellion. An uprising against Kamperelian businesses dominating the economy of Ektra/Miazan leads to Kamperelian military intervention and the annexation of the system.
1053Birth of George II Fairweather von Lukaskow of Kartivia/Gazul.
1054Birth of Ezra Weinbach.
1062Birth of Bulgor Ramon.
1072Anoth/Cabria colonised by the Hand of Ssra’ka Aissr, a Tsalur warrior clan.
1079Zhodani mercantile base established on Eurl/Cabria.
1080 - 1085 4th Outrim War.
1082Conquest of Florana/Miazan by Kamperel/Miazan.
1084Rebellion of Pheidos/Gazul. Subsector Duke Calib IV of Gazul/Gazul is assassinated during a state visit to Pheidos.
1085Battle of Anthorann/Gamelea. Grand Admiral Odg’tal Alveuk leads the Kalar-Wi Planetary Navy to a crushing victory over Outrim Alliance forces (4th Outrim War). The Black Comet Organisation (B.C.O.), a loose federation of pirates and revolutionaries, rises to power in the aftermath of the war.
1087Kerak/Gamelea is abandoned in the aftermath of the 4th Outrim War.
1089Hasku/Gazul is opened up for settlement.
1090 - 1095 Zoni Wars.
1090Count Liarb X of Daxam/Gazul is killed in a Zoni attack on Kartivia/Gazul. Colonisation of Fiona/Lymethius.
1091Battle of Pheidos. Count Yohanus VII of Daxam/Gazul is killed in battle against the Zoni Raiders. Count Dana of Daxam/Gazul is killed during the 1st Siege of Lur/Nolgor.
1092Annexation of Thrisk/Nolgor by Lotarf/Nolgor.
1093Declaration of Independence by Naos VI/Nolgor.
1097Death of Sector Duke Edenar Ulanor and the end of House Ulanor of Nolgor. A Black Comet Organisation Starfleet defeats the 112th Imperial Task Force at the Battle of Waldak/Nolgor. Later this year, battles at Sleipnir/Nolgor and Jotham/Nolgor occur before the B.C.O. pirate fleet is finally defeated.
1098Death of Jarmata Zaparino, leader of the B.C.O., in a gunfight in Canblyne Startown, Canblyne/Gamelea.
1099Annexation of Gaidon/Cabria by Kalar-Wi/Gamelea.
1100Death of Jan Brenlsky, nominal head of the B.C.O., on Vanvlack VII/Gamelea.
1101Nuclear war forestalled on Feor/Gamelea by Imperial intervention.
1103 - 1105Kalar-Wi War. Following the defeat of the Kalar-Wi, the systems of Varch/Gamelea, Anthorann/Gamelea and Rimbaud/Gamelea are reclaimed by Imperial authorities. Warlord Vran’kal Youka of Kalar-Wi flees into the Outrim and Kalar-Wi is forced to accept an Imperial garrison.
1105Death of Duke Adryos Urzov IV of Gamelea/Gamelea.
1106Occupation of the Kalar-Wi colony world of Kidan/Lymethius by the Huiha Esoyatre.
1107Death of Sector Duke Mekal Hendrian and the accession of his brother as Akansair II.
1109Major war breaks out on Welthor/Lymethius. Subsector Duke Mah’radys IV of Miazan is deposed and executed by a military junta. Civil war breaks out on Miazan/Miazan. The Imperial garrison on Kalar-Wi/Gamelea is withdrawn and Warlord Vran’kal Youka returns to power.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Design Notes

RimWorlds Sector map c. 1984
The series of basic overviews of the six developed subsectors of the RimWorlds, collectively known as “Accidents in Astrography”, has been a lot of fun for me to write. I have taken the opportunity of both revisiting these subsectors after many years, and gleaning information for my website – in particular Languages and Library Data – as well as creating some new material, such as some historical and Astrography details.

What is interesting is that I can still see the early development layers, and what Science Fiction was influencing me, as I wrote up the three original subsectors of Gamelea, Nolgor and Miazan. Gazul Subsector came next, but was only partially developed (and only one game was set there, from memory). Lymethius Subsector was developed to provide a little background for the Outrim Wars, and for a late period Esra Weinbach game – so named for the longest serving character in the RimWorlds - while Cabria Subsector was fleshed out to provide a bigger battleground in which to resist Imperial expansion. A recent, abortive, attempt to run a PBeM game resulted in me expanding the Hunt of Rronurl and Huiha Khysokhou.

One of things that enrich a campaign, in my opinion, is a deep background. Things on the surface happen for a reason; and the reason, or reasons, lie back in time. Like creating a character for a novel, a lot of this material will never see the light of day, but if the novelist or Referee has worked out this detail, he/she will know why things are happening that effect the Player Characters.

I’m a firm believer that a campaign needs both a chronology and a macro-map. The former can be just a series of bullet points collecting together significant events, or it can be an in-depth account of all events that have gone before, while the latter can just shows a high-altitude view of the campaign area, or a meticulous survey of the all regions surrounding the campaign area.

A chronology fixes the game in time, and gives reference points for the character – if the players know that the Imperium defeated the Kalar-Wi Empire in 1105, and they encounter a Kalar-Wi warship in the Border Worlds in 1109, it is possible that this ship is a relic of the war. The Kalar-Wi lost three systems to the Imperium in that war, as well as having their homeworld occupied. If the ship is wrecked it might have a treasure horde, looted from one of the worlds the Kalar-Wi lost, but if it is cruising, it could be an “unsurrendered” raider bent on revenge attacks. Likewise, a sector map showing subsector capitals allowed me to write up the likely course of the Sarkul Wars of 842 – 906 when I came to that section of the Imperial History of the RimWorlds. Up until that time, I had no idea what the Sarkul Wars were about; except that they were some form of civil war and that they disrupted the RimWorlds for sixty years. The character of Principle Secretary Lissa Sarkul only emerged as I began to write that section – and my love of Byzantine History allowed me to create the Byzantine levels of that conflict – where the clannish Subsector Dukes and Admirals actively resisted the centralising Sector Duke. The seeds of the war were planted two centuries prior to Lissa Sarkul, but her policies in the name of her Sector Duke revived the centrifugal nature of the original ‘gentleman-adventurer’ nature of settlement of the RimWorlds.

For my next series of articles on the RimWorlds, I’m going to look at the history of the region, and possibly do a little exploration into the Outrim Void to map the worlds I’ve hinted at in my accounts of Lymethius and Cabria subsectors.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Accidents in Astrogation – Cabria Subsector #2

Cabria Subsector - where languages collide. Image used without permission from GURPS Traveller: Alien Races 1 by Steve Jackson GamesCabria Subsector is home to four Minor Races; the Kiang of Gaidon, the Ly-ly of Gyven's World, the Gdemiar of Naird, and the Ta'tero of Wyern; as well as systems settled by migrant populations of Aslan, Vargr, Purvions, Tsalur, Kalar-Wi, Solomani sub-lighters, Zhodani merchants, Darrian exiles, a Hiver Society, Sword World miners, general misfits and Droyne. With such a collection of divergent races within such a small amount of space, a variety of languages are spoken within the Subsector:

Aerrghvi: – Vargr dialect of Gvegh, one of the major Vargr language groups, spoken by the Vargr mercenary clan settled on Lo-Taisang/Cabria and who trade regularly along the Miazan Main.
Arrghoun: – Ancient Vargr language, spoken by Vargr of the Hunt of Rronurl, indicating that their ancestors left the Vargr Extents some 2,000 years ago.
Dwerk: – Dominant language of the Gdemiar Minor Race of Naird.
Fahlok: – Dominant language of the Ly-ly Minor Race of Gyvern’s World.
Igzgal – Vargr dialect spoken by the Vargr mercenary clan settled on Tonivar/Cabria and who trade regularly along the Miazan Main.
Kassuriik: - Main language of the Purvion Minor Race of Lithia/Miazan and spoken on the Purvion colony worlds of Pythor and Klearo.
Khasikha: - Vilani dialect used as the official language of the Geithurian Republic in Lymethius Subsector.
Mersim: – Vilani/Solomani language spoken by the inhabitants of the Khedivate of Nutharal, settled on Nutharal and Brol.
Miazan Imperial Basic: - Dialect of Imperial Basic spoken along the Miazan Main, and on worlds to trailing of the Uedhkinthuez nakhae Rift.
Oynprith: - Main language of the Droyne colony of Yuar/Cabria.
Rur’ur’lm: – Main language of the Ta'tero Minor Race of Wyern/Cabria.
Shtanzhret: – Dialect of Zhodani spoken by the small Zhodani enclave settled on Eurl/Cabria.
Te-Zlodh: - Main Darrian language as spoken by the Darrian exiles settled on Withor/Cabria.
Trade Lingo: - A pidgin language commonly used by merchants moving to and fro across the Imperial Border. Using base words from Imperial Basic, Gvegh and Trokh, Trade Lingo can convey basic concepts around buying and selling goods and passing news.
Trokh Khysokhou: - Dialect of Trokh spoken by Aslan of Huiha Khysokhou of Awakea, Khekheawaoh and Heaohwiy in Cabria Subsector and Salau and Kahuai in Entorth Subsector.
Trokh Esoyatre: - dialect of Trokh spoken by Aslan of Huiha Esoyatre in Lymethius Subsector.
Tsalui: - Native language of the Tsalur Minor Race of Xcothal/Nolgor and of the Hand of Ssra'Ka Aissr Pocket Empire in Cabria and Entorth Subsectors.
Vriok: - the main Kalar-Wi language spoken on Kalar-Wi/Gamelea and the worlds of the old Kalar-Wi Empire such as Loa-Wi, Gaidon and Yolurlund.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Aslan and K'kree

GURPS Traveller Alien Races 2 - Aslan and K'kreeGURPS Traveller: Alien Races 2
by Andy Slack, David Thomas and David L. Pulver

The second in the GURPS Traveller line of Alien books examines the Aslan and K’kree Major Races in some detail. Having recently read the Mongoose Traveller Aslan book, I was interested to compare the two works, particularly as I still refer to the original GDW Aslan Alien Module for guidance for the Aslan character I am playing in a Classic Traveller PBeM.

Of the three works, the sketchiest is the original Aslan Module – the Aslan were still in a state of development and, consequently, were treated in a broad-brush fashion. Andy Slack appears to have been the lead writer on the GURPS version and, as he says in his notes on the Steve Jackson Games support site, he was very conscious of both the Classic Traveller Aslan, and the reworked Aslan of Digest Group Publications MegaTraveller. With the latter material subject to copyright issues, the GURPS material had to walk a fine line between regurgitation and rewriting, while still offering something new for players who had moved on to GURPS Traveller from the earlier versions of the game.

And I think Andy and his co-writers pull it off. There is a warmth about the telling of the Aslan story that indicates to me the writers know their subject well and have an affinity for it. There are nice, new little cultural touches, as well as broad-brush considerations of the Hierate, its politics and why Aslan in this book may differ from earlier accounts. Some nice starship deck plans round out the Aslan section.

The K’kree section, in contrast, feels a little more mechanical. A species of militant claustrophobic vegetarians who dislike technology but who are bent of galactic conquest does take a pretty big hit on the believe-o-meter. While the material from the original GDW Alien Module is worked over nicely, and there are some good tips for Refereeing K’kree (like being careful the K’kree player doesn’t treat his compulsory entourage as a skills grab bag), I find that I would probably only use K'kree in my campaign as NPCs as there are a number of downsides to them that could make them very frustrating to play as Player Characters.

This book concludes with two minor races, the Inyx and the Devi Intelligence. Of the two, the latter – a dimorphic intelligent fungoid species – actually interests me the most and is a race I would seriously consider adding to my game. The Inyx, on the other hand, a race of aquatic ergovoric parasites, don’t interest me as much. In some aspects, they are so alien that I can see very little scope for interaction between them and Humaniti or any of the other Major Races, which for me lessens their usefulness as characters in a Traveller game.

Finally, comparing GURPS Aslan with Mongoose Traveller Aslan, I find myself wishing to graft the cultural elements of the GURPS version onto the Mongoose Version, and this is simply for story telling reasons, as I do like what Mongoose has done with Aslan.

Sadly, GURPS Traveller Alien Races 2 appears to be out of print from Steve Jackson Games – I seem to recall that I picked up my copy through eBay UK – though it is available as a pdf from Steve Jackson Games’ e23 e-shop and would make a valuable addition to a Traveller Referee's toolkit of ideas.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Accidents in Astrogation – Cabria Subsector #1

Cabria SubsectorSpinward of Miazan Subsector and Rimward of Lymethius Subsector, Cabria Subsector consists of the Tonivar and Suarya Clusters, the Crown of Brol and the Par Vera Main constellations.

Lying across the Trailing border of Cabria Subsector, and Jump-2 from the Kalar-Wi Cluster, the Tonivar Cluster consists of the Imperial controlled system of Tonivar, the Kalar-Wi colony world of Yolurlund, and Gaidon, homeworld of the Kiang Minor Race and a member world of the Kalar-Wi Pocket Empire. At the Rimward end of the subsector the six-system Suarya Cluster, controlled by the Vargr-dominated Hunt of Rronurl, sprawls over the Rimward border into Kfukskho Subsector. Suarya, capital of the Hunt, and Breknor, colonised within the last century, lie within Cabria Subsector while Akhvooel, Ingvouks, Rigvinghue and Taghdo lie further Rimward. The four-system Crown of Brol runs in an arc from Pythor on the Spinward border of the subsector, through Klearo, Naird – homeworld of the Gdemiar Minor Race, to Brol, part of the Solomani dominated Khedivate of Nutharal.

The most dominant astronomical feature of Cabria Subsector is the Par Vera Main. From Wyern, homeworld of the Ta'tero Minor Race, on the Rimward border, the Main passes through Heaohwiy, Khekheawaoh and Awakea (with a side spur to Hteiwekhoi in Entorth Subsector), member worlds of Huiha Khysokhou; then the independent worlds of Gyvern’s World, homeworld of the Ly-ly Minor Race, Juchis, Eurl and Withor; before looping through Nutharal, capital of the Khedivate of Nutharal; and Par Vera and Anoth, member worlds of the Tsalur-dominated Hand of Ssra’Ka Aissr. From Par Vera and Anoth, the Par Vera Main turns Spinward, running into Entorth Subsector for six parsecs before terminating at Sh’tok.

The second most dominant astronomical feature in the subsector is the Uedhkinthuez nakhae – the Black Beast – a Rift running to Rimward from Gyffd and Gaidon into Kfukskho Subsector. At its narrowest, the Uedhkinthuez nakhae is Jump-3 across, and this has historically restricted trade and communication across the subsector.

Cabria Subsector contains twenty-seven worlds with a total population of 13.198 billion sophonts. The highest population, 9, is at Par Vera, Yuar and Gaidon, and the highest Tech Level, E, is at Par Vera. Only two systems, Lo Taisang and Tonivar, are under Imperial control and are administratively part of the Duchy of Miazan; thirteen worlds belong to no interstellar polity – either due to choice, as in the case of the Droyne colony world of Yuar or the mixed-race colony of Waystar, or due to poverty or lack of technology; and twelve worlds belong to either the Aslan-dominated Huiha Khysokhou, the Vargr-dominated Hunt of Rronurl, Kalar-Wi, the Human-dominated Khedivate of Nutharal, or the Tsalur-dominated Hand of Ssra'Ka Aissr. Most systems in Cabria Subsector have been, or are still, members of the Outrim Alliance and have been involved in the various Outrim Wars against the Imperium.

Cabria Subsector is home to four Minor Races; the humanoid Kiang of Gaidon, the octopedal desert-dwelling Ly-ly of Gyven's World, the diminutive Gdemiar of Naird, and the hexapedal Ta'tero of Wyern.

Purvions from Lithia/Miazan established colonies at Pythor and Klearo during the Long Night, while Kalar-Wi colonies were established on Loa-Wi and Yolurlund within the last eight hundred years. Darrians, Zhodani and Hiver have also established relatively small and weak colonies at Withor, Eurl and Julchis, while the ancient Droyne settled world of Yuar enjoys both population and tech level superiority over many neighbouring worlds.