There are two types of re-expansion setting i could get into which I’ll call re-expansion and reconquest.
One way to get the feel of the original Traveller novels – a collection of worlds that appear largely self-contained without a central authority – is an Imperial re-expansion.
In that kind of setting there has been an empire in the past and that empire settled numerous colonies but then some kind of collapse occurred before the individual colonies had developed to the level of star travel. In the collapse the colonies that survived reverted somewhat in technology and then either stayed there or clawed their way back.
The imperial world recovers and starts to re-expand and the players start on the far edge of that expansion – conquest and naval battles and invasions are happening but it’s happening a couple of sub-sectors away. So it’s a mixture of a frontier type setting and a Star Trek “boldly go, find new worlds” type setting.
The key point with this back story is to create a specific backdrop where most of the planets were settled by humans from the same culture but who developed in many different directions during the Dark Age allowing plenty of room for the imagination.
Another option is during the Dark Age many of the original colonies developed all the way up back up to jump travel and created their own pocket empires with their own fleets and the new Imperium are conquering them one by one Rome style with the players right at the cutting edge of the war zone.
This kind of setting wouldn’t inspire me much except as the background for a war game or if the players were into being Imperial agents involved in diplomacy, spying, sabotage etc – so basically they’d be given missions rather than random travelling. I’m not likely to ever do it as a i like frontier settings better however I was thinking about the possible backdrop to a setting like this so these are some notes for future reference maybe.
I haven’t looked at the 3rd Imperium timeline yet but I’d use the OTU as the basis for this. It doesn’t have to be 100% consistent with the canon data as this setting will be some time in the past.
Treat “fleet” in an abstract way meaning one unit of military force
Alpha worlds – those with high pop and tech level – are the only ones that matter militarily as they are the only systems that can produce fleets
Exception – the systems needed as refueling stops in between the Alpha worlds
On average there is one Alpha world per sub-sector and they expanded out into their sub-sector claiming worlds in their hinterland for their mini empire
The 3I expanded out in all directions from Capital into Core sector and then beyond
At start the 3I roughly has the eight sectors around Core and a finger has expanded through Corridor into Deneb as well
so say the 3I has c. 120 sub-sectors or 120 fleets – with another 8 in a finger through Corridor and Deneb (which is still in the throes of being pacified) and c. 40 border sub-sectors with a home fleet each leaves around 80 fleets and around ten sector fronts – so say 8 to each front on average.
The Deneb command has 8 fleets available but they are actively engaged most of the time with unconquered systems, Vargr and rebellions. At any one time any number from 0 to 8 might be available but the larger the number the shorter the time available – plus they could be called away any time to deal with an emergency elsewhere. (If it was a board game the player might get 0-4 imperial fleets each year or something).
The Zhodani haven’t fully expanded into their sub-sectors yet – they have trade agreements and alliances etc but not fully integrated systems so those sub-sectors are mostly neutral at the beginning and the Zhodani aren’t very involved – at least at the beginning.
Trin (and its pocket empire) has signed an alliance with the Imperium and Trin is the center of 3I activity in the Spinward Marches. Trin’s fleet and one imperial fleet are on guard.
The pocket empires facing the 3I are listed below – subject to change if it doesn’t fit with timeline or other OTU stuff. The list doesn’t have to be entirely consistent with the canon data as I’m assuming a lot of these worlds will be severely damaged in the conquest era so their pop and TL stats could have been higher.
- Ruie (damaged)(subjugates Regina at start)
- Algine (damaged)
- Aramanx (damaged)
- Heroni / Natoko (damaged) (confederation)
- Porozlo (subjugates Rhylanor at start)
- Mora / Fornice (atmos damaged?)
- Palique (atmos damaged?)
- Lunion / Strouden
- Gram / Sacnoth (sword worlds)
- Mire (Darrian) (higher tech)
- Iderati (five sisters)
- Collace (District 268)
- Glisten / Tirem
- Robin? (damaged)(refugees to Dodds?)
so c. 20 fleets in all divided up into multiple small alliances
Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul
The idea here is to treat the setting a bit like Caesar’s Gallic Wars with the pocket empires as similar to the Gallic tribes, disunited and split into various alliances who are hostile to each other or at least distrusting and competitive.
The 3I’s strategy is to insert itself into local politics, taking sides in disputes and using a combination of diplomacy, bribes, assassination, sabotage and occasionally outright war to take advantage of any opportunities that arise to add new Alpha systems and their retainer systems to the empire.