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The Maranan Cluster

[Editor's note: The Maranan Cluster is an alternate setting, like the Shavian Empire/Foible Federation, rather than an alternate history, like Wounded Colossus. The author of this setting created it with the Classic Traveller rule set in mind; discussions of modified rules presume familiarity with Classic Traveller.]

ASTROGRAPHY

The basic regional unit is the subcluster, instead of the subsector. The subcluster map is also known as the Jump-6 Radius Map. It has 127 possible locations for a star system, of which roughly a third actually contain a star system.

There are 127 subclusters in a cluster. This region of space is 169 parsecs across (about 551 light-years).

A supercluster consists of 127 clusters, making for a region of space that is about 7162 light-years across. This is the size of a small galaxy, and has not yet been completely mapped.

All stellar type are possible; from black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs to type L & T stars and nebulae. The only effect of traveling through a nebula while in jump space is to maximize time in transit. Black holes (X0 stars) have a 0.01% chance of existing, with an increasing 0.02% chance for each star type {X0,X1,X2,...,T7,T8,T9}.

When determining the contents of a system, roll 1D. 1-3 is empty (50%); 4-5 is a star system (33%), and 6 is a nebula (17%). Multiple star systems have been generated, some consisting only of M, L, and T-class stars and their planets. Class-X stars could prematurely precipitate a ship out of jump (D6:1-3), or cause a misjump (D6:4-6).

12 systems within 3 parsecs have been surveyed and catalogued by the Scout Service. The infrastructure for 3 colonies has been laid down by the Navy. Exploration beyond the immediate stellar neighborhood continues. The Torasians currently have no knowledge of the Ancients, Droyne, Hivers, Solomani, Vargr, Vegans, Vilani, Zhodani, or any other familiar races. Some of these may turn up in future adventures, but that remains to be seen.

PC's HOMESYSTEM

Primary: "Luz", a main-sequence yellow-white star. F8-V, 6200K, L=10.00S, Mv=2.34

Orbit Name   UPP Remarks
* Luz   F8-V Solitary, F8-V, Mv=2.34. One asteroid belt, two marginally habitable worlds, two habitable worlds, one gas giant (with five satellites of its own).
0 (various)   X-000-000-0 Asteroids, Vacuum, 0.25AU, 45.7 d/y (avg). This asteroid belt is thick enough to be seen as an equatorial line across Luz.
1 Gaton   Y-300-000-0 Non-Ag, Non-Ind, Poor, 0.50AU, 129.1 d/y. Tide-locked to Luz, habitable only along the terminator between night and dark sides.
2 Timor   H-444-186-0 Colony/Mining Research. 0.88AU, 301.5 d/y. Rich in rare-earths and heavy metals. Primitive life forms in abundance, especially fungi with medical applications.
3 Toras   F-867-784-9 Rich, 1.25AU, 510.5 d/y. Homeworld of Torasian people. Not much social history is known before Year Zero - not much history at all previous to y50 BME (before modern era). It is now y300 (modern era).
3a   TS-1 F-S62-386-7
NS
Artificial Space Station. 0.09LU, 0.75 d/m. Actually a cluster of artificial satellites in geosynchronous orbit. TS-1 is the admin HQ for Naval Space Ops, including dry-docks, research, residential, system defense, etc.
3b   Minos X-100-000-0 Planetoid, 0.57LU, 13.0 d/m. Small spherical asteroid run through with labyrinthine tunnels. Access requires military approval and security escort.
3c   Aden G-510-4A6-0 Penal/Mining Colony. 1.41LU, 47 d/m. Rich in crystalline minerals, with many technical and industrial applications. A person with a 'hard-labor' sentence is usually sent here. There have been no successful escapes.
4 Od   G-752-366-3
S
Colony/Military Research. 2.00AU, 1033.1 d/y. Location of the "Lost Colony of Year Zero". Military Opsec has recently intensified in Od's Tall Mountain range, with Code Blue access for military, and Code Violet access for scientists, engineers, and technical support.
5 Agiru   SGG (Size: 80) Hydrogen-Rich. 3.50AU, 2391.6 d/y. Orbital hydrogen mining, Naval presence. 5 moons.
5a   Separ X-620-000-0 Volcanic, barren. 0.34LU, 1.17 d/m. Abundance of low-grade Sulfur compounds, with little or no commercial value.
5b   Runi X-514-000-0 Barren. 0.50LU, 2.21 d/m. Basically a big, frozen rock with some commercial value.
5c   Ilim X-83A-000-0 Ice World. 0.68LU, 4.06 d/m. Water and methane ices. Complex hydrocarbons have also been found. Ice crust covers an Ammonia-laced ocean (possible life?).
5d   Simid X-705-000-0 Barren. 13LU, 8.27 d/m. Basically a big, frozen rock with some commercial value.
5e   Feled X-200-000-0 Barren. 1.52LU, 13.19 d/m. Eccentric orbit - may be a captured asteroid. No commercial value.

STARGATES

There is a 1% chance per subcluster for a stargate to exist. This is an Ancient artifact that allows travel at distance greater than jump-6. They are usually found on worlds that are more than 3 parsecs from any other world. Very few stargates allow the user to select the destination; others connect with a limited number of destinations, while most connect with only one pre-programmed destination. There is no guarantee that conditions will be entirely hospitable when the traveler reaches the destination. Roll 1D; 1-3 is a single destination stargate; 4-5 is a limited-destination stargate (roll 2D for number of possible destinations); 6 is a stargate that allows unlimited destinations within the stargate network.

NATIVE TECHNOLOGY

No current race has developed jump drive technology that is greater than jump-3. This is due to an interstellar war that occurred about 250 to 300 years previous throughout the entire cluster. Most cultures during that time were bombed back into a TL4 condition, or less. Many of these did not recover. Some did not survive. The players start off on a TL9 world, thus limiting their jump drives to types A through D.

WORLD UPP's

Any world with a POP rating of 0 automatically has a GOV, LAW, and TEC rating of zero as well. This assumes that where there is no population, there can be no government, law, or technology. This does not take into account those worlds that used to be inhabited, especially those worlds whose population achieved a high TEC rating before they were wiped out.

CHARACTER CLASSES

Character service of "Other" includes "Criminal" - whether rehabilitated or an active member of an organized crime "family". To enlist as a Criminal requires a roll of 3+, with no modifiers (survival roll is 8+). Criminals do not have Advanced Education, and do not roll on those tables. "Covert" and "Diplomat" are two other possibilities. Covert operatives and Diplomats require a 9+ to enlist. Covert modifiers for enlistment are +1 for INT 9+, and +2 for EDU 9+; while Diplomat modifiers for enlistment are +1 for EDU 9+, and +2 for SOC 9+. There is no ranking within these services.

NATIVE RACE APPEARANCE

The Torasians can be treated as identical in all respects to pure-strain human. Adult height is 160 to 170 cm, adult mass ranges from 60 to 80 kilos. The usual appearance includes black hair, brown eyes, swarthy complexion, though some variance may be noted (blue or green eyes; and blonde, brown or red hair occur somewhat infrequently). Torasian society accepts differences in appearance.

TORASIAN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY

There are about 97 sovereign governments on Toras, and a few more throughout the system. They co-operate in a global Federation - with certain acceptable standards for justice and development.

TORASIAN RELIGION

The people's religious philosophy is equally balkanized, with much superstition and non-canonical belief. There is one major global ecclesiastical authority, based on monotheism, with many regional and local variations. The "Holy See" serves only to establish and maintain religious cannon - it has no more authority outside its sovereign reservation than does any global commercial concern. The religion is called "Bahala", which can be translated as, "That which is beyond mortal influence or control".

TORASIAN TRADE AND TAXATION

There is free trade within the federation. Members of the merchant class enjoy the "Good Life". Anybody with a product or service to sell is free to do so, within moral and legal limits.

Bribery is an acceptable means of income. As long as it is voluntarily offered, the bribe is merely considered "tipping in advance" for services to be rendered. (This is similar to both the middle-eastern custom of "Baksheesh", and the Philippine custom of "Legai".)

Taxation is a flat 10% on all income, with no deductions.

TORASIAN POLITICS AND SOCIAL CUSTOMS

Everybody earns the right to vote, run for public office, and own real estate by serving honorably in the Federation military for a period no less than 4 years. If you are unable to serve, then you become a tenant citizen - you must pay your way or live on the dole (some tenant merchants own corporations, which in turn own real estate, thereby allowing the tenant merchant to bypass this law).

Generally, the people believe that the ability to get along with others is more admirable than any personal accomplishment. It is not unusual for people to say, "Yes" to a request, only to cancel the agreement at a later time. To forgive such an act is socially acceptable; to demand that the original agreement be met is a social blunder. Only written contracts are considered legally binding, while a person who always honors their spoken word is considered an oddity.

PSIONICS

Psionics happen. The average Torasian responds to suspected psionic activity is per the usual reaction roll, at -3 on 2D. Persons suspected of being psionically-endowed eventually "disappear" anyway, so they are of no great concern to the general public. Conspiracy theorists propound that the government engages in psionic research and development for it's own purposes, deploying deep-cover psionic agents ("Psi-corps") throughout the population to ferret out subversive and seditious elements, as well as psionically-endowed individuals (those who seem to eventually "disappear"). The government does not officially acknowledge the existence of psionic ability, nor does the government officially confirm or deny any rumors of psionic activity, yet they persist...

ALIEN RACES AND CULTURES

Other cultures and races are extrapolations from familiar forms in nature, and from literature in the public domain.