Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Galaxy Building...

As I've alluded to in the past, over the last couple months I've been slowing getting my notes and ideas in order for a Rogue Trader campaign. I'd ran a Dark Heresy campaign last year, and while it was entertaining for me (and hopefully for the players), I wasn't super keen on the whole "GM-PC" inquisitor who mandated what the players did and where they went. It smacked a bit too much of obvious railroad-ism, though to be fair it was an easy way to keep the players on task, what with the whole "your other option is to be mind-scrubbed and/or killed" mentality. That being the case I think a Rogue Trader campaign has the potential to offer much more latitude to the players as far as their goals and challenges since the Rogue Trader is controlled by a player with his own motivations, unlike the GM-controlled Inquisitor in the DH system. Of course one of the important parts of any Rogue Trader game is a map of the expanse in which the players will be exploring (warning, stupidly huge picture):




Besides the charts and tables and miniatures and whatnot, I've also been slowly working on an interactive galaxy map of the Koronus Expanse (the locale detailed in the RT rulebook) utilizing the AstroSynthesis toolkit from NBOS. It's not the most user-friendly interface in the world, and there's definitely some things that it doesn't do that I wish it did, but it's the best tool I've been able to find so far. The nice thing about it (other than the full 3d animated, interactive map) is the Gazetteer that it generates based on the sector information - a handy guide for players on one hand, and a separate version that includes all the GMs notes and special info for me. I'm planning on kicking off the game in mid-january, so I still have a month or so to get it all finished up. Once it's done I'll make the sector files available to anyone who may want to make use of it.

6 comments:

James said...

Exceptional map! You should just put these together as a hobby. Wow.

Mordian7th said...

Thanks, but I really can't take credit for the look, really - other than supplying an input file with the star locations and names, the program created all the graphics. It does look cool in full rotational 3D though - I'll have to see if I can do a video of the animation once I get the map a bit more polished.

It's a surprisingly powerful program, and some of the demos they include are pretty neat - there's a spherical map with all the stars within 20ly of Sol that's just fascinating.

Rabidchild said...

Interesting, I'm planning a Rogue Trader game as well. I discovered this random star system generator that gives you a bunch of raw data with the push of the "create" button. http://donjon.bin.sh/sf/system/

Does the AstroSynthesis toolkit give you any information or just make the map above?

Mordian7th said...

The Astrosynthesis program has the capability to manually or automatically create a vast number of different planetary systems including all the planets/moons/asteroid belts/space stations, and some seriously in-depth statistics for them as well as player and GM notes, and fractal-generated surface maps based on the stats the planet has, and apparently there's another program that ties in to Astrosynthesis that will generate seriously in-depth planetary maps all the way down tot he character-scale level (though I haven't purchased that software package yet). For the $20 I paid for it, AS2 has been a sweet program. Definitely a bit of a learning curve to get started, but there's a lot of fan-made plug-ins and addons that have really made populating the map a breeze. I'd say I'm about half done with the map so far, and it's really starting to look cool, as well as being very handy for me as the GM to plot out the campaign!

Richard said...

Just stumbled across this, I've had AS2 for a while now and was thinking of actually getting around to doing something similar to this for my campaign! Did you ever manage to finish the whole Expanse? Either way, think you could send it my way?

Mordian7th said...

I have work-in-progress versions of both the Koronus Expanse and the Calixis Sector. I'm happy to share them, if you want to drop me a line with your email address (your blogger profile is set as private and does not provide an email address for me to send to at the moment). You can contact me at moonlight (at) cold-moon.com.