Sector Construction Guide
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2023 issue.
Sector Construction Guide. Geir
Mongoose Publishing https://www.mongoosepublishing.com
Boxed Set, multiple components (see description in review)
The first thing to be aware of is that this isn’t a set of rules/mechanics for constructing a sector. Instead, it’s mostly a discussion of what the referee should think about when doing so, and how to apply existing rules provided elsewhere to doing so. For the most part, you’re expected to have a Core Rulebook, and several other products are noted as potentially helpful. In other words, the mechanics are scattered all over the place, and this guide is more about applying your own ideas as to what the nature of the sector is to those mechanics.
The core of this product is a 64-page softbound book of the same name as the product. This book mostly doesn’t provide actual rules/mechanics for generating sectors or systems; rather, it discusses in detail, and with a step-by-step procedure, how to develop a concept of a sector and apply that concept to the already-published rules. For a few concepts not well-defined in other rules, this volume does provide some mechanics, but a Core Rulebook is, naturally, required, and several other numbers published by Mongoose are strongly recommended.
The process of developing the sector down to polities on individual worlds is presented systematically, starting with defining how the worlds are distributed within the sector, and proceeding through selecting the important mainworlds within the sector for detailing, detailing them physically and socially, and defining cultures and polities. Although the presumption is that most sophonts in the developed sector will be human of one flavor or another, an example of working up nonhuman sophonts is included.
The boxed set contains, in addition to the eponymous Guide, the following:
- a 16-page “Charts and Forms” booklet; this contains a listing of the worlds in Foreven and the UWPs that were generated by Mongoose for the Guide – they’re not canonical, explicitly, and do not override the designation of Foreven as a Referee’s Preserve. It also contains three one-page forms: for notes detailing a world, for notes detailing a faction on a world, and for notes detailing a specific personality/NPC. Or PC.
- a pad of world maps. These are marked with a compass rose and the presumed direction of rotation; in the event that you want to detail a tidally-locked world, with a hot/day side and a cold/night side, or a world with an extreme axial tilt, you might want (or need) to ignore those particular elements. As provided, they allow for 35 hexes circumference at the equator; this is given as the equivalent of 1,000 km for a size 8 world. If you want to use these maps for worlds of other sizes, you’d have to adjust the size of a hex (for example, a size 1 world makes each hex only about 146 km); an alternative proposed in the Guide (and which, to my recollection, is in other works) is to scale the number of hexes to the world size to leave the size of each hex at 1,000 km.
- Finally, there is a poster map (~70cm by 1m) with the Guide’s version of Foreven Sector on one side, and a blank map on the other. The blank side more-or-less assumes that you’re building your sector in the central-spinward area of Charted Space; there’s a small map which on the Foreven side shows where Foreven is, but on the blank side is just Charted Space excluding the corwardmost portions of the Vargr and Zhodani territories, the rimwardmost portions of the Aslan Hierate, and all of Solomani, Hiver, and K’kree space, and almost all of the mixed client state area between the Hivers and K’kree and the Imperium.
Overall, this is slightly disappointing for the price. It does provide the creative referee with a useful guide to building a sector that’s more than just a pile of stats (which really did seem to be the default for most of Traveller’s existence), but it doesn’t gather the actual mechanics together in one place; instead, it points you to other products – most often the Core Rulebook, the Deep Space Exploration Handbook (from the Great Rift boxed set), or the Traveller Companion.