The starting point for the new player group is more constrained: the player characters are all retainers of a scion of a noble merchant house, Maria Josefina Martin y Vargas. Vital to the family's business, Josefina has been sent out to the far frontier to secure business agreements with concerns there which will set up a strategic trading pipeline between the frontier and the core of the commonwealth worlds in Barbican subsector. Action will pick up as Josefina and her retainers arrive at the frontier world where much of the action for the first adventures will take place: the industrial world Hounslow and its agricultural neighbour Becontree.

This setup allows me to hand-wave away a large portion of Traveller's assumed natural proposition for players (the economics of small-scale starship enterprise) so that the player group need not initially be concerned with such matters. Instead, adventures will focus on the challenges that Josephine faces as she proceeds to lay the foundation for her family's business interests to last through the coming decades (using the simple Traveller rule set to resolve activity).

Starting from this simple premise and the choice of these worlds as the principal stomping ground for activity, the next step of preparation is fleshing out the two worlds enough to form the next level of detail as we did with Edgware.

Hounslow

Here's what we know about Hounslow so far from our own sub-sector map and the Near Space [NS] original stellar data on the system:

Hounslow     C51097A/9  Sb, In, Na
HSC0301      BD, Temperate, 010

It's pretty wonderful how compact and suggestive this way of describing worlds is. Here's how we can describe these numbers:

Features. The system has a Scout base, and an asteroid belt, but no gas giants for easy starship refuelling. It has a significant population and has viable industry, but no agriculture.

It has a 'C' class star base, which normally would not be able to provide refined ship fuel; however, the presence of the Scout base does mitigate this. Some refined fuel is available, but in extremely short (and regulated) supply. Likewise, the Scout base presence means that Scouts can have access to service data (i.e. navigation and such).

The main world is a medium sized planet with only a trace atmosphere and no water to speak of (just a little bigger than Mars). Despite this, the main world is within the star's habitable zone and surface temperatures are generally temperate (average temperature between 0 and 30 C).

Its population is order of magnitude billions of people, but only has between one and two billion.

The government level of 7 means that Hounslow's government is Balkanized; in this case, central bureaucracy is weak and loosely organized into a confederation of houses and guilds with strong control over their own territories. There is a Commonwealth Governor for Hounslow, but the office's control over the world's affairs is tenuous and only maintained via a constant state of negotiation and multi-lateral agreement secured with the ruling authority of each house and guild.

The law level of 10 (A) means that one thing that Hounslow's otherwise weak confederation of power scan agree upon is strong prohibitions of weapon ownership. Nearly all weapon ownership on Hounslow is strictly regulated and criminal possession of same is harshly punished. Visiting traders from outside the system are expected to confine any weapons they bring with them to their ships and will not be granted landing permits unless they can demonstrate that they have secured armouries for containing them.

Hounslow's wider system

The real-world star system for Hounslow is HSC0301, a single-star system with a real-world spectral type of BD according to the Near Space [NS] book. Brown dwarfs are not accounted for in the Scouts book, but we can just treat brown dwarfs as just beyond DM classifications. Hounslow is in a relatively empty system; it has only four orbits available, all "outer zone"; two of its orbits are empty, and it has no captured planets.

Hounslow (HSC0301) C51097A/9
Orbit Feature Satellites Feature UPP
0 Hounslow -- C51097A/9
1 --    
2 Asteroid Belt   x000335/8
3 --    

The system's asteroid belt has a relatively high population (order thousands), consisting of mining installations directly controlled by their representative guild owners based on Hounslow.

Travel times. Travel times within the Hounslow system are relatively short, thanks to the small star and close orbits of the system's features:

  • Travel between Hounslow and the belt is about two and a half days at 1G and about a day and a half at 2G.
  • Travel from Hounslow to a safe jump point is about five hours at 1G and about three and a half hours at 2G.
  • Travel from the belt to a safe jump distance is about an hour and a half at 1G and about an hour at 2G.

Becontree

Here's the basic details for Becontree:

Becontree       E676765/3  Ag, Gg
Beta Trianguli  A5IV, Temperate, 014*

Becontree, by contrast, is quite different to Hounslow. The narrative description for Becontree falls out of these numbers like this:

Features. The system has no bases, but it does have four gas giants and an asteroid belt. It has a smaller population than Hounslow, but still has tens of millions of inhabitants, and has viable agriculture.

It has an 'E' class star base, barely more than a landing area with no facilities to speak of. One of the many ways in which the guilds and merchants of Hounslow attempt to preserve Becontree's captive status is through a carefully applied dearth of infrastructural investment and the quality of the start base is an example of this policy.

The main world is a medium sized planet with a standard, although slightly tainted, atmosphere and 60% water coverage. From the Near Space [NS] book we find the main world is generally temperate.

Its population is order tens of millions, but only has between ten and twenty million inhabitants.

The government level of 6 means that Becontree has a Captive Government, in this case, the confederation of merchant families and guilds of Hounslow exert direct control over the governance of the Becontree system. Becontree has been partitioned into a number of regions, with each region having a Governor that reports directly back to the Hounslow confederate council.

The law level of 5 puts Becontree a lot more in line with what you might think of as a large, agricultural region; personal concealable firearms are prohibited, but long arms for hunting and vermin mitigation are controlled but not prohibited.

(Note that, unlike the Near Space book's data, I used the random procedure to determine how many gas giants the Becontree system has and arrived at four; the Near Space book specifies only one.)

Becontree's wider system

The real-world star system for Becontree is Beta Trianguli, a single-star system with a real world spectral type of A5IV according to the Near Space [NS] book.

Becontree (Beta Trianguli) E676765/3
Orbit Feature Satellites Feature UPP
0 --    
1 Sheppey 3 x2000
-- -- i   x1000
-- -- ii   xS000
-- -- iii   ring
2 Gale   x2000
3 Rugby 1 x7900
-- -- i   x3000
4 Annesbury   x7203
5 -- belt   x0005
6 Woodward   L gas giant
-- -- Becontree 1 E676765/3
7 Arden   S gas giant
8 Ellerton 7 L gas giant
-- -- i   ring
-- -- ii   x1000
-- -- iii   x3100
-- -- Ellertion station   x2003
-- -- v   xS000
-- -- vi   x4000
-- -- vii   ring
9 --    
10 Ivyhouse   L gas giant

The system's asteroid belt has a relatively high population (order hundreds of thousands), consisting of mining installations directly controlled by their representative guild owners based on Hounslow. Likewise, Annesbury and Ellerton station (on Ellerton's fourth moon) both have materials research installations (population thousands) controlled by guild owners on Hounslow.

Travel times. Travel times in the busy Becontree system are much more complicated than Hounslow, but luckily, although there are lots of features present in the system, habitation is spread rather thin.

  • Travel from Becontree to a safe jump point is complicated by the gravity well of Woodward, the gas giant around which Becontree orbits. Its about seven days at 1G and about five days at 2G. Travel from Ellerton station to a safe jump point is about the same.

    Travel from the station on Annesbury to a safe jump point is about six hours at 1G and about four hours at 2G.

  • Travel between Annesbury station to the belt is about four days at 1G and about three days at 2G.

  • Travel between the belt and Becontree is about five and a half days at 1G, and just under four days at 2G.

  • Travel between Becontree and Ellerton station is about two weeks at 1G, and about nine and a half days at 2G.

While there are plenty of opportunities for raw refuelling, there are no sources of refined fuel in the Becontree system, and the distances in the outer system, especially the safe jump system to Becontree itself, make system entry and exit a gruelling process and not without risk.


[NS](1, 2, 3, 4) Near Space, https://rpggeek.com/rpgitem/211119/near-space
[GG]Gas Giants in Traveller, http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Gas_Giant