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Laurefindel

Attempting a galactic map for a RPG

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[update] version 1 map available in this post.

While creating my Twilight Imperium RPG campaign, I stumbled while making a map of the galaxy. As far as I know, there are no official one other than the preset maps. But even as a 6-player board, the galaxy feels small and leaves so many planets unused… Digging from all the extensions of TI3, I come with a total of 42 systems. With all the empty tiles, the red-border systems and most home systems, I can gather 84 tiles; enough for a (almost) 5-ring galaxy with twelve evenly-distributed home-system slots.

                Struggling with what to place where, I noticed that the races described in the lore book of TI4 were not placed in alphabetical order. Not only that, but their adjacency matches the notes I’ve taken from the race’s description of TI3. Could the races in the lore book been placed in galactic order? Let’s see…

                Starting at the “galactic north” (cause you got to start somewhere) is the first race described in the book: the United Emirates of the Hacan and their tri-planet system. Next, going clockwise is Jord of the Sol Federation. They are described next in the book, and as old allies against the Lazax, it makes sense that Hacan and humans are galactic neighbours.

Next, still going clockwise, is the Barony of Letnev. Quann should be somewhere between Jord and Arc Prime, well within the Baron’s reach but essential to the Federation’s traffic.

The Xxcha are the next race described in the book, and it makes sense that Archon Tau is within the Letnev’s reach as well. It also places the Xxcha relatively close to the humans who will blast the Letnev out of Archon Tau later in the Twilight Wars. So far so good.

Jol and Nar are next in the book and so they are next on the ring. They are the unfortunate neighbours of the following race: the Sardakk N’orr. Again, this is consistent with the Hylar-N’orr enmity during the late Twilight Wars. The planet Lisis should be place nearby as well…

Next would be the L1Z1X, the big bads of my campaign, placing 0.0.0 due south in the galaxy, probably within a few empty space tiles to reinforce that knowledge of this part of the galaxy was lost when the Hall of Cartography burned on Mecatol Rex. This places them diametrically opposed to the Hacan however, who are making first contact with the L1Z1X. But since the Hacan are space merchants, it is not impossible for them to be far from home I guess…

Then we have the Naalu, followed by Moll Primus of the Mentak Coallition. Hope’s End is going to be west of Moll Primus, thus creating a east-west Passage of Tears on the galactic borderland. This places the Yssaril, the next race described in the book, due north from Moll Primus (conveniently diagonally opposite to the Passage of Tears). Somewhere near those two home systems is the Mahact Plateau, which if I understand correctly, is a region of space plagued with asteroids and black holes (gravity rift tile?).

The Winnu are next on the list, normally followed by the Embers of Muat. However, since I have only twelve home system “slots” and I consider the Gashlai a “minor” race, I will instead place them on the outskirt of the galaxy, somewhere near Jol and Nar, the Gashlai’s old slave-masters. This way, the Hylar could invent the War Sun without the rest of the galaxy noticing.

The botherhood of Yin are next. Again, they represent a minor race in my campaign and so I will reserve my twelfth and last slot for one of my favourite race; the Saar (probably among more asteroid tiles on the Hacan’s side since both of them start with the Antimass Deflector technology). Darien can lay somewhere hidden on the outer rim, between Winnu and Ragh to keep the order as intact as possible.

I didn’t want to include the races of Shards of the Throne (Ghosts, Nekro and Arborec) but I’m short one single tile to complete my galaxy (I forgot that Malice would not be part of the map). Among the three, the Ghosts of Creuss have the most narrative potential (I already have the L1Z1X for bad guys and the Arborec are just too weird). The Gate of Creuss will most likely lie somewhere near Moll Primus of the Mentak, not known to the other galactic races but creating a space “Bermuda Triangle” of some sort.

So I’m not sure if the races where placed in that order for that purpose, but it works just fine for me. Now I still have to place all the planets, but at least the big pieces of the puzzle are laid.

'findel

Edited by Laurefindel

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Would the map(s) from the historic scenario in the Shards expansion be of use? If the placement of races match somewhat they could indicate the approximate placement of the other systems. Said maps (one for each amount of players) should be found in the Shards rulebook.

Edited by Fnoffen
for spelling

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12 hours ago, Fnoffen said:

Would the map(s) from the historic scenario in the Shards expansion be of use? If the placement of races match somewhat they could indicate the approximate placement of the other systems. Said maps (one for each amount of players) should be found in the Shards rulebook.

That was my thinking as well. That scenario only covers the "main" races, but looks to be as close as we get to a “canonical” configuration. 

On the subject, though the literature and background (and players) always use the term “galaxy” I, at least, have never thought that the setting encompassed the entire galaxy, just a noticeable chunk of it. Maybe a couple thousand ly across. I, personally, would not feel the need to map everything onto a spiral galaxy image or deal with the galactic core or anything, just a region of stars with maybe one side marking the galactic edge. That way there it’s possible to define unexplored regions for l1z1x, nekro and the like to be located in, instead of just saying there are unexplored areas surrounded by explored areas (except for the Naalu, as I remember, their "thing” is that they were hiding in the middle of the settled regions). 

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On 1/7/2018 at 1:30 PM, Fnoffen said:

Would the map(s) from the historic scenario in the Shards expansion be of use? If the placement of races match somewhat they could indicate the approximate placement of the other systems. Said maps (one for each amount of players) should be found in the Shards rulebook.

Yeah, my first attempts were based on the maps from Throne, and I still used them to some extent, but the positioning of the 6 races don't quite match the set-up I "saw" from the TI4 lore book. The maps tend to vary greatly depending on player count, but there are some constants...

 

In the end I did something similar to the OP, moving homeworlds a bit to break the game's symmetry and balanced placement. At 4 and 1/2 rings, around mecatol, the galaxy feels satisfactorily large and is readily usable for a RPG.

 

 

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OMG OMG OMG.

Hi there!

Been a long time :-)

I was actually asking the same question to the ti3pbf and shattered ascension communities.

I am really interested in the outcome of your research and in your final product (for a potential tabletop RPG too).

 

And yes Stefan, I am interested in your map.

Edited by Grummore

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I would take the shards of the throne Fall of the Lazax 7 player campaign map and start there.

 

In the 7 player game they expand the galaxy further by adding in a 4 hex system that is connected to the main map via wormhole. Sort of like the wormhole nexus but larger. I bet you could put a few other races up in that.

Otherwise I guess start making a 4th an 5th ring and put the other races in there. Good luck with that.

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Yes, recognizing that this was probably the closest to a "canon" map we'll ever get (until a full setting is developed for Genesys, who knows?), that's what I ended-up doing. Or at least it was my main source of inspiration, keeping the relative position of the 6 "great races" around Mecatol Rex.

 

Interestingly, I used the supernova on the Xxcha's side as the galactic center (the galactic core, impassable due to its concentration of high-gravity stars and supermassive black holes). Even with both extensions, There isn't quite enough tiles to make a complete 5th ring (that's ok, it makes for an elliptical galaxy, not unlike our own)

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On 1/30/2018 at 5:39 PM, Laurefindel said:

Yes, recognizing that this was probably the closest to a "canon" map we'll ever get (until a full setting is developed for Genesys, who knows?), that's what I ended-up doing. Or at least it was my main source of inspiration, keeping the relative position of the 6 "great races" around Mecatol Rex.

 

Interestingly, I used the supernova on the Xxcha's side as the galactic center (the galactic core, impassable due to its concentration of high-gravity stars and supermassive black holes). Even with both extensions, There isn't quite enough tiles to make a complete 5th ring (that's ok, it makes for an elliptical galaxy, not unlike our own)

Well there is also the wormhole island separate from the map. I guess if you really wanted to add all the homeworlds it in make a 4th ring around the main area and expand the wormhole island (to the same as a 4 player size area) a bit for more of the races. I can see the L1Z1X and Gosts from Ceres from the Wromhole along with the Nekro virus.

Mentack, Nalu, Ysarli and Sarr and Muat in the 5th Ring. Especially with the Muat being close to Jol Nar since the fluff is that they were enslaved. Good luck.

I need to get my copy out of storage and i don't know film a stop motion history of the Fall of the Lazax Empire.

Edited by Marinealver

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So I finally came up with a version of the galaxy that I like. I'm still hesitating between two or three slightly different versions, but I one for show, if only as a proof of concept. It uses every tile published in all basic game and extensions with the exception of the home systems of the three Shards races (Arborec, Nekro Virus and Ghosts of Creuss), one Ion Storm and one supernova. It's 9 tiles wide in one direction, and 11 tiles wide in another (not unlike our galaxy is more elliptic than perfectly circular).

The "core" of the map is taken from the 7-player Fall of the Lazax scenario from TI3: Shards of the Throne, with the following alterations:

- The supernova next to the Xxcha home system is moved one tile closer to Mecatol Rex. Rather than being a supernova per se, this sector represents the galactic core and center of the whole map; an impenetrable concentration of gigantic stars and supermassive black holes. People commonly refer to it as the "supernova", perhaps for poetic reasons, but everyone knows that it isn't really so.

- The supernova system shunts the Quann/B system one tile "up" toward Jord; Quann is an important part of the Federation history in TI, and I wish to represent that proximity geographically as well.

- The empty system moved by Quann goes "down" one tile in front of Xxcha home system. I later replaced that empty system with a nebula because I wanted a central anomaly, but that could easily be reverted to an empty system.

- Two empty system tiles receive the "empty" A and B wormholes; Malice takes the place of the satellite galaxy from the scenario.

- Winnu takes the place of Arinam/Meer, which in turn takes the place of Saudor. Saudor moves in proximity of Jol and Nar to represent the Hylar's last line of defense against the N'orr.

 

The galaxy is then extended with the Shattered Imperium and Shards of the Throne tiles. This distribution is pretty arbitrary at this point, but the Arcturus, Rigel and Vega systems are placed near Jord to represent their proximity to Earth in galactic space. Distances are way exaggerated, but it works for a sci-fi/fantasy game.

Close attention is also given to the galactic "west" where the Mahact Plateau (the gravity rift tile) is located. Both Muat and Moll Primus of the Mentak are described as being "past the Mahact Plateau", which I took as "on the other side" from Mecatol Rex's perspective. Since they were able to operate in such secrecy, Muat should be relatively close to the Hylar home system, so the whole Mahact Plateau thing is going to be close-ish to Jol-Nar.

The Ysaril home system is also said to be located "near the Mahact Plateau, but in a richer part of the galaxy), so Shallok and Rectilon are going to be somewhere there as well, surrounded with wealthy and influential systems. "Diametrically from the Passage of Tears" implies directly above the plateau from the present Gravity Rift/Moll Primus juxtaposition. Hope's End is also said to be the last stop on the Passage of Tears, so behind Moll Primus it goes. This region is getting crowded...

[edit] Oops, this is the "player version" map that hides the L1Z1X home system. Should you try to recreate this map with your TI3 tiles, you'll be one empty system short to make-up for the L1Z1X. Without much surprise, it stands near Perimeter in the galactic "north-west"

Anyhow, that is the result

 

Comments, reflections and suggestions are welcome

 

credit to the Map editor at Astral Vault for the tile images.

 

 

Edited by Laurefindel

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21 hours ago, Fnoffen said:

Would be amazing to play an actual full all-races game of TI on this map! Probably somewhat unbalanced but VERY thematic. Great work!

I can only imagine the nightmare! Half the players would probably be eliminated by round three. With Death Star flying Muat, trigger happy Mentak and techno-dreadnought Hylar as neighbours, Ysaril better jump on that diplomacy card ASAP!

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