Star Systems in the Frontier

Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
July 28, 2010 - 6:42pm
I have a problem with the number of star systems in the Frontier.  The map of the Frontier is about 60 or so light years across, and 40 or so deep (and doesn't take into account any extra dimensions, i.e. it only shows systems on an x/y axis, but no z axis, as a three-dimensional grid would), with Prenglar roughly in the center.  This means that most systems are within 30 ly of Prenglar.  A quick check of stars near Sol (our own Sun) shows many more stars within this same range; hundreds of stars, in fact.  While it is true that many of these real stars are unlikely to support habitable worlds, there may still be reasons to place bases and outposts on such worlds.  The number of Frontier systems just isn't anywhere near enough.  What do you think?
Long live the Frontier!
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 28, 2010 - 7:07pm
1. well there is the playability vs reality arguement.  if we had a 2D map with the number of stars you suggest it'd be massively cluttered and have little eye appeal, probably the same for a 3D map

2. On the other hand the AD book does not explicitly state that the Frontier is in the Milky Way. IIRC its sort of vague and phrased in a way that people can read into it what they like.

3. Do you have a sample of how you'd do a 3D map?

4. I'm not apposed to a 3D map but I think that the next step would be 3D combat and that could become complicated. (then there is vectored combat and it just gets messier from there). Admittedly item four isn't really an issue to your openning statement just a possible direction that it could go.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
July 28, 2010 - 7:50pm
Jedion's point 1.) is true for me as well.  I'm happy with the frontier as-is since it's what I fell in love with when first playing.  Too many stars would be hard to wrap my head around.  Even SW that expands a galaxy + only has a handful of planets in the movies.

I guess you could add a third dimension.  First, determine the galactic directions; coreward, spinward, rimward and trailing.  Then (for example) add a star close to Prenglar with the number as follows, 6R which indicates the star is 6 light-years rimward (although it appears to be 1 light-year away 2D.

Is this the type of feedback your looking for?



Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
July 28, 2010 - 9:56pm
I'm not really talking about mapping it all out; that's not even really necessary.  There are ways to do it.  While the SF rulebooks don't state what galaxy (nor even what kind of galaxy) the Frontier is in, the implication most (I believe) players take is something akin to the Milky Way and that there are many stars and planets in the Known Galaxy (something like Star Wars or Star Trek).  Even if one were to make the region sparse (which lessens the chances of the core four meeting), I think it should still contain more stars and planets.

@ w00t: yeah, something like that.  I've been working with the idea of an x/y/z coordinate system, that puts Prenglar as 0/0/0.  Thus other systems are + or - along the x/y/z axis from Prenglar.  I have a formula that allows calculation to any system in light year if you know the x/y/z coordinates of each system.
Long live the Frontier!

Rum Rogue's picture
Rum Rogue
July 29, 2010 - 5:13am
well, it leaves plenty of open room to throw in more systems if you look at it that way.

ALso it could meant that those systems are the only ones worth anything. 

Besides, the original map leaves me with the idea of small the Frontier is.  It leaves me with a sense of finite funding to dedicate to the Fleet and defense.  Compared to Traveller the SF map barely makes up a sector or two.
Time flies when your having rum.

Im a government employee, I dont goof-off. I constructively abuse my time.

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
July 29, 2010 - 7:59am
Gargoyle2k7 wrote:
@ w00t: yeah, something like that.  I've been working with the idea of an x/y/z coordinate system, that puts Prenglar as 0/0/0.  Thus other systems are + or - along the x/y/z axis from Prenglar.  I have a formula that allows calculation to any system in light year if you know the x/y/z coordinates of each system.


+1

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 29, 2010 - 10:27am
Gargoyle2k7 wrote:
  I have a formula that allows calculation to any system in light year if you know the x/y/z coordinates of each system.


do tell; or are you going to leave us in suspense?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
July 29, 2010 - 12:57pm
Oh, sorry: D=sqrt((X1-X2)^2+(Y1-Y2)^2+(Z1-Z2)^2).  D is distance in light years, X1/Y1/Z1 are the coordinates of the beginning star, and X2/Y2/Z2 are the coordinates of the destination star. 
Long live the Frontier!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 29, 2010 - 6:05pm
So basically you assigned coordinates to all the stars on the map and by default the jump routes got longer? 2 axies would stay the same by adding the 3rd axis would necessarily increase the distances for a jump.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
July 29, 2010 - 6:14pm
No, I'd have to adjust the existing map if I were to keep the standard SF map (which I am not using).  To use the existing star map of the Frontier, you'd have to move many of the stars closer to Prenglar on both the X and Y axis, and then assign the Z axis + or - to get the same distance.  The map I use is one I just made on my own, and have placed systems more or less approximate.
Long live the Frontier!

Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
July 29, 2010 - 7:22pm
I had already just assumed the systems were not on the same Z axis as each other and the ones mapped were the habitable ones. Why build a colony at a star with no habitable planets, they're only good for mining operations and dangerous research. No one else would bother venturing near such a system.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

iggy's picture
iggy
July 29, 2010 - 9:33pm
I used the same distance equation when I built my spreadsheet to tweak the z-axis positions of the stars to make my Celestia 3D starmap.  I tweaked all the stars such that their distances round to the distances as published in the Zeb's map.  See the past thread here for details.There is a link to the Celestia add-on about half way down the thread.
It is quite enjoyable to fly around the frontier and view it from other angles.  I'm still working on this in the background, but summertime scouting activities have taking my spare time.
-iggy

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
August 2, 2010 - 12:55pm
Well keep in mind that some of the stars in the area would have no planets at all.  There are star systems like that - possibly the majority.

Of course, garg, what you are saying is true.  So therefore, if you need to chart out a star system for a campaign that you are running then do so.  That way you don't have to go to Scree Fron or Zebulon to have adventures "Beyond the Frontier" (although for some reason I actually enjoy going to Scree Fron...)  There can be unexplored systems right by Cassidine or Prenglar, for example.

Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
August 3, 2010 - 2:02pm

@ImperialLord: yes, my point exactly.  With the number of star systems that should be in the region, one could adventure for years without ever leaving the Frontier.  Not every system will have habitable worlds, nor even interesting/useful planets, but adevntures could still be found within.

Long live the Frontier!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 4, 2010 - 6:46am
Gargoyle2k7 wrote:

@ImperialLord: yes, my point exactly.  With the number of star systems that should be in the region, one could adventure for years without ever leaving the Frontier.  Not every system will have habitable worlds, nor even interesting/useful planets, but adevntures could still be found within.



This is quite true. However, the idea that you never leave the map may tire for the players. The idea that they've left uncharted space is exciting- "Here there be dragons"
and uncharted systems that fall within the Frontier are simply one jump away from help while being 5 jumps away in sathar space has a whole other level of tension.

All I'm says is that yes you could run adventures for years on just the AD map but dont forget the possibility of the potential excitement in leaving the map.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
August 4, 2010 - 1:53pm
You can still do that too; just because there are (should be) many more star systems within the Frontier, eventually the GM and players will want to go off the map, into uncharted territory.  There's nothing wrong with that either.  :)
Long live the Frontier!

jacobsar's picture
jacobsar
August 5, 2010 - 7:20pm
I had the same problem with the lack of systems years ago. At the time I found a "Amazing Engine" supplement called Bughunters and used the map of earths local space as the frontier. I used the frontier map as an overlay and renamed the stars to fit in with the SF setting. Contrary to your intinct Jedion357, I don't feel the star map is too crowded, even though the three dementions have been squished to two there is still enough room for captions, etc. I will try to scan it and add it to the port loren library.

I have not yet played any starship battles in three dimentions but i would like to. One of the things that attract me to SF is its respect for real space travel (using acceleration instead of speed, generating artificial gravity with inertia etc.)
Reasonable men adapt to the world around them; unreasonable men make the world adapt to them. The world is changed by unreasonable men.
Edwin Louis Cole

Gargoyle2k7's picture
Gargoyle2k7
August 18, 2010 - 12:42pm
I also have a bit of problem with the 5 neutron stars in the Frontier.  In reality, neutron stars (of which there a several varieties) are very, very rare.  Additionally, the 14 binary systems (and no trinary or quadrary) seem to be considered useless and/or uninhabitable.  Again, such is not the case.  There is every reason to believe that binaries can support habitable worlds given the right conditions.  Most companion stars are distant enough that they would be little more than bright stars in the sky.
Long live the Frontier!

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
August 19, 2010 - 8:49pm
I reckon that any map of the frontier, whether it's the original AD map, the Zeb expansion, or the kool 3D concepts, are ultimately campaign driven. Once my players developed spaceship skills and got their own ship, they always wanted to go to the edge of any map I put in front of them. Lucky for me that space is endless AND I have a ton of graph paper, but no matter how many new systems (with  adventures of course) I created, there was always an edge to the map. I "think" that my players were intentionally looking for the Sathar/Zuraqqor territories, but they also might have only been trying to make my hair fall out while making more maps.  Money mouth ~Rags

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


jacobsar's picture
jacobsar
August 21, 2010 - 8:32pm

The worst thing about the 5 neutron stars is they would make the frontier sterile. N-stars tend to go through a stage in there evolution when they belch out electrmagnetic storms capable of blasting atmosperes off planets a 1000 lightyaers away, and here we have 5 of them! The frontier must be recently teraformed or else there is something equaly strange is happening.

Reasonable men adapt to the world around them; unreasonable men make the world adapt to them. The world is changed by unreasonable men.
Edwin Louis Cole

iggy's picture
iggy
August 29, 2010 - 9:48am
I've thought this before but never researched it.  What was the general populace's understanding of neutron stars in 1980?  This might help explain why the game designers put so many in and might help us adjust things to keep the feel of the frontier and be scientifically accurate.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 31, 2010 - 7:26am
If the game designers in the '80s made such a big mistake, no doubt from pure lack of data (ignorance), then I'd say just change out the 5 offending stards for calmer quieter ones. its an easy fix.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
August 31, 2010 - 9:04am
I used to think of neutron stars as collapsed dense things with no effect on their environment.  Kinda like a neutron in an atom, no charge, just there.  Then I went to college......  Got a brain, a heart, and some courage Smile.  I suppose the layman used to think of neutron stars as dead inert stars with burned up remnants of worlds orbiting them.  That is what I would have put around neutron stars before I got educated enough to be bothered by their presence on the frontier map.  I'm thinking to go read up on small stars and protostars to see if their life cycles would produce a result that would fit the bill.
-iggy

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
August 31, 2010 - 12:09pm
Nope small stars and protostars wouldn't give you anything even close to neutron stars if that is what you mean.  Neutron stars are the result of the death of massive stars that go boom in supernova.  Even the smallest neutron star is 1.4 times the mass of the sun and that's only what was left after the supernova.  For there to be neutron stars in the Frontier, it would have hade to be sterilized several times (once for each neutron star's supernova) in the last few billion years.

That being said, you could find burned out planets around the neutron stars.  In fact, the first planets ever discovered around another star were discovered around a neutron star, not around a normal star like all the ones being found these days.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
August 31, 2010 - 12:30pm
What is the definition of a "burned out planet"?
Can they be mined?

iggy's picture
iggy
August 31, 2010 - 1:43pm
I was focusing on the burned out planets orbiting the star.  Players are interested in the planets to visit, not the star.  What I am thinking about is another star type that can not support a habitable zone and is not harmful to the neighborhood.  This way we could put "rocks" orbiting a dim star.  I am guessing that the 1980 layman TSR understanding of a neutron star was some collapsed star that didn’t do much anymore because it was dead.  So I am looking to pick a boring star that can’t do much for it’s planets nor bother the neighbors.  What I have not read up on is the life cycle of these small stars.  No sense picking a star that still goes boom before the others around it get a chance to support life.
-iggy

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
August 31, 2010 - 3:02pm
The small stars last forever.  As you get to the later M stars their expected lifetime approaches 100 billion years.  So they would fit your needs just fine.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine