Before I drill too much into individual worlds, let’s make a few assumptions and see what we can deduce from the map and the SWN world generation rules. Quite a bit, as it turns out…
NEW WORLDS AND NEW CIVILISATIONS
Now that I’ve reinstated the double stars, there are 59 systems on the map; 2 Homeworlds, 8 Primary (naturally habitable), 39 Secondary and 10 Tertiary. For this first pass I assign Homeworlds a population of billions, Primary millions, Secondary hundreds of thousands and Tertiary no population at all.
Statistically in SWN, one would expect 59 systems to include 3.28 with populations of billions, 11.47 with millions, 26.22 with hundreds of thousands, 11.47 with tens of thousands, 1.64 with alien civilisations, and 4.92 with either outposts or failed colonies. So we’re a bit light on high population worlds and a bit heavy on uninhabited ones, but not unbelievably so. About a third of the Secondary systems should have populations in the tens of thousands, but as you’ll see it makes very little difference at the sector level.
Meanwhile, I already know that I want to use rakashans and saurians as well as humans in this campaign, and statistically that is already slightly too many alien races for this many worlds, so that’s all I need.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
I derived the cultures for the systems by looking up the world names in Google and selecting the closest culture in SWN for the world concerned – you’ll see the details of that reasoning later as I look at each area of the map in turn, but for now we get the following:
- Arabic culture: 8 worlds, 1,002,500,000 inhabitants (49.84% of the total).
- Chinese culture: 3 worlds, 300,000 inhabitants (0.01%).
- English culture: 15 worlds, 700,000 inhabitants (0.03%). Six of these worlds are N1-N6 in the Dark Nebula, and another two are tertiary systems outside the Nebula; perhaps those should not be counted.
- Indian culture: 5 worlds, 1,400,000 inhabitants (0.07%).
- Japanese culture: 2 worlds, 1,000,000,000 inhabitants (49.71%). One of these is a tertiary system with no inhabitants.
- Nigerian culture: 7 worlds, 1,500,000 inhabitants (0.07%). Again, one is a tertiary system.
- Russian culture: 11 worlds, 3,600,000 inhabitants (0.18%). Two of these are tertiary systems.
- Spanish culture: 8 worlds, 1,600,000 inhabitants (0.08%). One of these is tertiary.
The only inhabited world with a definitely Japanese name is Kuzu, and we already know that is inhabited by aslan – errm, sorry, rakashans. So it’s tempting to do what I did with my last 2300AD campaign and have the aslan – sorry, rakashans – be a life-form genetically engineered from human and feline DNA by Japanese scientists. That would explain them having a vaguely Japanese culture and let me use the Japanese name tables, because no other worlds will need them.
You can see from the table that over 99% of the sector’s population is concentrated in the regional hegemons.
It’s actually quite hard to find out how many speakers a language has in a given country, so I assumed an even split between them by culture. This gives me the following, in descending order of speaker base:
- Arabic: 1,002,500,000 speakers.
- Japanese (or whatever the rakashans actually speak): 1,000,000,000 speakers.
- English: 3,600,000 speakers, of whom 81% speak it as a second language.
- Russian: 3,600,000 speakers, as many as English but more concentrated.
- Spanish: 1,600,000 speakers.
- Hindi: 1,400,000 speakers, most of them on Gazzain so this may be an overstatement as that’s where I’m going to park the saurians.
- Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba: 233,333 speakers each.
- Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese: 150,000 speakers each.
SWN states that all PCs speak English, certainly all the players do, and there is a long tradition of English as the language of air traffic control which it seems reasonable to extend to space travel as well. So the idea occurs to me that a disproportionate fraction of ship crews are English-speaking people, with enclaves at most starports; this gives the players a reason to work together, as they are members of an ethnic minority, much like gypsies or Sephardic Jews.
GIMME THAT OLD-TIME RELIGION
It’s always a bit risky including actual religions in games – one reason most of them don’t do it – as you may offend potential players; but made-up ones have never felt right to me in science-fiction games, especially if I’m using real-world cultures.
So I assumed religions in the sector are split roughly along cultural lines, again with an even mix in cultures that have multiple religions, as finding the actual numbers of worshippers is more work than I want to do. This gives me the following:
- Islam: 1,003,310,000 worshippers.
- Buddhism: 500,410,000 worshippers, of which 500,000 are rakashans on Kuzu. Maybe they picked it up from Japanese genetic engineers, maybe I apply a trapping to make it less obviously human.
- Shinto: 500,000,000 worshippers, all on Kuzu. Same comments.
- Christianity: 6,560,000 worshippers.
- Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism: 350,000 worshippers each.
- Traditional Nigerian religions (assorted): 150,000 worshippers.
- Confucianism, Taoism: 60,000 worshippers each.
It’s amazing how much the campaign unpacks itself just from the map and the names, no?