Rebooting Arion & Co.

Posted: 7 August 2012 in Arioniad
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I must confess, I miss Arion & Co. Their adventures, although highly experimental and prone to retcon, constitute my favourite solo game.

In this, though, as in all my campaigns, I am never really happy with any maps or settings I create. I think I have been hiding behind this, wanting the Antares Sector to be perfect before I play again.

“The Daring Tales of the Space Lanes adventures aren’t set in any particular galaxy or timeframe — they’re just space adventures. Likewise, the adventures don’t constitute a setting. There is no overarching plot, no timeline, no gear list, no starship catalog, and no definitive list of alien races or factions. Each adventure will add small details, as necessary, to the universe.” – Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Williams, Daring Tales of the Space Lanes Space Pulp Rules.

What’s that you say, Wiggy? I don’t need a setting? Surely this can’t be true – I must need at least a map, for distances and travel times.

“For the most part, hyperspace journeys occur at the speed of plot. That is, the heroes arrive when the GM needs them to arrive. If the bad guys have to reach a location first, then hyperspace fluctuations delay the heroes. Essentially, it’s just a way of getting from A to B, just like the red line in the Indiana Jones movies or the fade outs in Star Wars, and shouldn’t be dwelt upon too much by players or GMs.” – Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Williams, Daring Tales of the Space Lanes Space Pulp Rules.

Oh. Oh, I see. I suppose I have dropped detailed hex maps in every other game, other than as battlemaps. Maybe it’s time to let go of starmaps per se.


However, the justification for Halfway Station as the “base town” is that it is midway between rival power blocs. So, how about this…


Yes, it’s a methane molecule.

The Antares Sector transforms into something like the picture above: Five clusters of worlds, consisting of Halfway and four others – think of them as the vertices and centre of gravity of a d4, if you like. Halfway is connected to the other four clusters by Spike-3 routes.

Within clusters, worlds are mutually at Spike-1 distance from each other. How many worlds are there in each cluster? As many as I need, although four would be easy to visualise, again as the vertices of a tetrahedron. How does that work? Honey badger don’t care.

Of course, if you want a clearer, but less jazzy, view of the sector you could try this:


This methane molecule has been squashed under a heavy weight.


We’ll start with:

  • Central Cluster: Halfway Station itself, the central black globe in the upper illustration, or the letter C in the lower one. Note that for our purposes, it doesn’t matter which of the white spheres (letter H) is which cluster.
  • Cluster 1: Antares, the red giant star. I’ve agreed with the GM of the Balrite Sector that his sector map has a vertical route, out of the plane of the paper and not shown on it, which connects his sector to Antares. Let’s say that is a Spike-3 external link.
  • Cluster 2: The Attica Cluster. Corinth, Makaria, Cyrene, Tainaron and other worlds extracted from previous seasons of the game. This has an external link to Imagoes territory, although I don’t see Arion heading back that way for a long time, if ever.
  • Cluster 3: The Celestial Empire. Zhongguo and its half-dozen satellite states. This cluster has another, as yet undiscovered, link to any future setting I find interesting enough to add in.
  • Cluster 4: The Independent Worlds, that’s to say anything I feel like adding in. These have another external link to the Gateway Sector in the SWN rulebook,  as I want to play in that at some point as well.

I’ll tabulate the world data at some point, and maybe post a better picture if I can draw it somehow. The biggest advantage of this layout is psychological; I can stop worrying about getting the map right, and start playing again. The Arioniad will return next week! Maybe this time I should start giving the PCs experience, eh? Mind you, they’re managing all right without it so far…


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