One of my New Year’s resolutions is to focus on one solo game at a time, which should mean I become fluent in the rules more quickly. The first one was intended to be 28 Months Later, but that requires a table, and the dining room table is otherwise occupied tonight. So, I continue with the Arioniad, and it feels like time to flesh out the setting a little more. I considered dumping the setting and using a published subsector to save preparation time, but decided to go with the original idea of 7th century BC Greece as an analogue, as generating world data is faster for me than generating history and cultures.
Step 1: Starmap
I find a map of the Mediterranean on the internet (the Britannica’s map of the journeys of St Paul, as it happens) and print it out, scaled to fit on an A4 page. I find a blank Traveller subsector grid on the internet and print that, scaled to fit on an A4 page. I place the map on top of the grid and hold up against a strong light so I can see the grid through the map, and take notes. Eventually I will create a subsector map; one subsector will probably be enough. I use names of the period, sometimes the less well-known ones, and come up with the following key worlds; I’ll flesh the rest out as necessary.
- Tainaron (hex 0405): The place Arion has just left, current location of Schrodinger. An Exotic location.
- Syracuse (hex 0502): To be confirmed.
- Laconia (hex 0504): Homeworld of the Laconidae, or Spartans as we call them. In this time period they are balkanised and suffering from civil unrest, but they will shortly become a rising military power. I will probably use Larger Than Life Nazis as an analogue for them. They are right next to Corinth, which should mean they will be prominent in the campaign.
- Corinth (hex 0505): Controlled by Periander, who historically was the real Arion’s patron.
- Athens (hex 0506): To be confirmed.
- Sardis (hex 0508): Capital of the Lydian Empire, probably the closest superpower, and one in trouble as we shall see.
- Delphi (hex 0605): Exotic location.
- Makaria (hex 0606): Arion’s homeworld, equivalent to present-day Lesbos, which has connotations I don’t wish to explore in this campaign. He must either be a naturalised Corinthian, or Makaria is a colony of Corinth. Possibly he enlisted to gain Corinthian citizenship. I’ll stew on this for a bit before deciding.
- Tarentum (hex 0703): To be confirmed.
Arion’s recent travels have taken him from Syracuse to Tarentum to Tainaron, and he is now en route to the Exotic location of Delphi (he has information to gather, where else would he go?).
Step 2: Timeline
I arbitrarily add 3000 to the historical date to get the campaign date of the event. As yet I haven’t decided whether 2300 is 2300AD or not.
- 2300: Time frame begins.
- 2313: Gyges becomes Lydian Emperor. Consolidates empire and makes it a major military power.
- 2343: Arion born.
- 2346: Gimirri incursion into Lydian Empire. First Lydian-Gimirri War begins. (Gimirri is an alternative name for the Cimmerians, which is a name that also carries connotations I don’t want.)
- 2348: First Lydian-Gimirri War ends.
- 2356: Gimirri briefly occupy Sardis.
- 2361: Arion joins Corinthian Scout Service.
- 2363: Second Lydian-Gimirri War begins.
- 2368: Failed coup in Athens, led by Cylon, a nobleman. (Probably have to change that name at some point – connotations again!)
- 2373: Campaign begins – Arion is 30.
- 2374: Second Lydian-Gimirri War ends in Lydian victory. Gimirri scattered and destroyed as an interstellar power.
- 2399: Time frame ends. Arion will be 56; I’ll retire him if the campaign is still going at that point.