Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
signoftheserpent

The Expanse

Recommended Posts

As a setting it is unique in that it has to be both defined (to a degree) and undefined (so it can be explored). But how big is it? Is it the size of the solar system (i presume it encompasses many systems). Is it the size of the Jericho Reach? Roughly what scale are we talking. Does it count as a sector or a sub sector for the purpose of astropathic communication?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 At present, it's roughly the size of a subsector, comparing the Calixis Sector and Koronus Expanse maps with the Maw as a common reference. However keep in mind that the bulk of the Expanse is quite badly wracked by warp storms and other phenomena that **** with psychic powers quite badly so it can be quite difficult to get a message to where you intend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Size is tricky to get a handle on - Sectors have been traditionally described as being cubes roughly 200 Light years on a side, but this is inherently misleading. One Sector could have a thousand habitable planets and be 25 light years cubed, but another might have 35 habitable worlds but might be 500 light years cubed. 

Sectors are administrative units more than anything else, and as such vary in size. And size of sector alone is a poor guide to its importance or wealth. The recent Badab books from Forge World hint at a far greater variety among Sectors than the FFG books, which adopt a fairly standard, static approach to Sector size. 

One way I like to think of sectors is as an empty room filled with dust, gently swirling away, caught in a beam of sunlight. Each individual dust mote is a world, most of them uninhabited. The walls of the room define the (arbitrary, political) edges of the sector. Humans might control 100, maybe 200 of the dust motes, but there uncounted thousands of motes they have never even seen, let alone explored. And that's within the boundaries of the Imperium itself, let alone a frontier region like the Expanse! 

Based upon the picture in the RT Core Rulbook of the Calixis Sector and Koronus Expanse as little green boxes at opposite ends of a gap between two warpstorms, I'd tentatively say that the Koronus Expanse is nominally the same size as the Calixis Sector. The proportions of the Calixis Sector has never to my knowledge been definitively described in terms of its size, but 200 x 200 x 200 light years seems a fairly safe ballpark figure. 

Ultimately though, the vast number of worlds within the Expanse makes definitive statements as to its proportions slightly beside the point: no matter how big its size in light years, it is so big internally that the human mind struggles to grasp its scale. And there is enough adventure within it to last forever!    happy.gif

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

signoftheserpent said:

Therefore size is important.

Not as much as you might think.

When you're dealing with interstellar distances, ease of transit through the Warp is a far more significant factor than actual physical distance. A short hop between worlds half a dozen lightyears (a distance of around sixty trillion kilometres, remember) apart may only take a few days on a well-travelled, stable route... but it could take a few weeks to cross that same distance across turbulent, uncharted expanses of Warp.

In practical terms, if it takes a long time to reach somewhere, you can consider it a long way away, particularly when you're dealing with the distances between stars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I think Lightbringer has about the best explanation of the size. However, since its not 100% set in stone anywhere, there is nothing that would stop you from making it large enough to fit your vision of what it should be like. The other thing to keep in mind is that while warp travel in the Calixis sector is relatively fast and common (having charted warp routes and all that), the Expanse is mostly uncharted. This makes it "artificially larger" than it is due to the fact that travel times vary widely and take much longer. I think that aspect of the Expanse should always be used when describing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

signoftheserpent said:

 

It is important to me that the Expanse is large, dangerous and mysterious. Not just the equivalent of a municipal district (which essentially is what Calixis is).

Therefore size is important.

 

 

If by "municipal district" you intend to imply that Calixis is a safe, clearly defined and thoroughly explored region of space, then Calixis is by no means a municipal district. Calixis is 100-odd worlds in a frontier sector of space surrounded by tens of thousands of unexplored worlds that sit even within the boundaries of the sector itself. There's even an entire Xenos empire (the Slaugth) operating somewhere within it's boundaries. 

A "Sector" is really just an arbitrary term used to designate a collection of worlds controlled by the Imperium. The only real difference between the Koronus Expanse and the Calixis Sector is that the Imperium has decided that Calixis has fallen sufficiently under Imperial control to designate it a "Sector." Koronus isn't there yet.

Your view of Imperial space as "municipal" is probably shared by many Imperial bureaucrats, but it's a misleading view. I blame maps. 

40K maps are, by necessity, abstractions, designed to communicate spatial position to the (relatively) feeble human brain. It is hard to grasp that the spaces between each of the the worlds on the Calixis Sector map could swallow the Sol system thousands of times over. Because it's got "Calixis Sector" written all over it, it's easy to assume that the Sector is one coherent and "safe" area of space, but really it's a fragile cobweb of trade routes and islands in the void stretched over unfathomably vast distances.   

I'm not suggesting for a second that Koronus isn't large, dangerous or mysterious; I'm just saying that the RT core rulebook appears to suggest it's roughly the same size as the Calixis Sector. This need not preclude it from being an exciting setting; quite the opposite.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmmm wasn't the Calixsis sector first known as the 'Calixsis expanse' when it was discovered by the Harlock line? From the map in the book it looks about the size of a sector. If the Calixsis was ever 'civilised' I would say it would become a sector in itself, as it seems to be one practical unit. I always assumed that the 200 light year rule was to do with a unit of space that covered most of the Imperial worlds in a area (expanse?...) and that only subsectors were not measured because they were determined more by practical patrol distances, with planets lying between the subsectors and sectors called interzone/frontier worlds

However I have read somewhere that in the eastern fringe where stars are less clustered the sectors sizes may be larger, but cant bring to mind where (Matt Farrer novel I think...)

Actually in a fit of geekdom I one decided to number crunch some of this stuff on a Imperial scale. The problem is that the canon has changed somewhat. A lot of the old information was in that venerable old game 'Space Fleet', which while it isnt canon was suprsingly consistent in its figures. 

"The Imperium is approximately 75 thousand light years from edge to edge. A journey of this length would take between 75 and 300 days in warp time, and between 6 years and 40 years real time." (Spacefleet)

"The Space Commander has direct command of a portion of the Segmentum's warfleet. A typical command comprises about 50 interstellar ships, although the number would obviously vary depending upon the needs of the sector. Fifty ships is very few when you consider that a typical sector has between 30 and 40 thousand stars forming a cube with sides approximately 200 light years long! (Spacefleet)

so...

30000/40000 Stars in a sector
 

"Less than 1% of systems have planets orbiting a solitary star in the manner of ancient Terra" (Battlefleet Gothic)
 

Therefore 300/400 possible planets in a 'typical' system

"In the gothic system there are 200 inhabited worlds and tens of thousands of other planets." (Battlefleet Gothic)

If we take the Gothic sector as typical/average sector then between 2/3 and 1/2 of systems with planets have a presence of some sort

"One million Imperial worlds" (Oft repeated canon...too many references)

Which would mean there are 'about 5000' Sectors in the imperium, (though this is a wide guestimate)...

Question that has always puzzled me are the relative locations of the Iaxianid and Scarus sectors...


 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like debating "typical" sector size too, Captain, as I've always enjoyed worldbuilding, and a Sector is a good place to start.

You're right about the canon changing slightly, too. BFG was the first attempt to define a "Sector" as far as I can recall, and it seems to have been used as a precedent for a lot of the FFG stuff about the size of sectors. Scarus, Ixaniad, Calixis, Koronus and the mysterious "hidden" sector in the DH rulebook (Mandragora, IMHO) are all pretty similar in size...according to the star maps. See above for my view on the reliability/veracity of star maps! 

However the Badab War books seem to suggest that there are a number of different types of sector: the Badab Sector, for example, is never clearly or neatly defined in those books, though it does appear to be treated very much like a "proper" Imperial Sector. It is surrounded by other star clusters of varying sizes, all of whom appear to autonomous Imperial admiistrative regions that fall a bit short of full Sector Status. This would normally suggest that they're subsectors, but they seem to be independent of Badab, so the whole position looks a bit more complicated...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The number of habital or inhabited planets can go much higher as well.

Take into account xenos with different requirements and transforming by humans and xenos and that a planet does not actually need to be habitable in the traditional sense to have people/xenos living there.

As a side not most sectors I have ever seen (that had details to them) such as Calixius, Scarus(when accounting for the lost subsector), and the various sectors described in the BFG campaigns had around (slightly under) 100 imperial inhabited worlds in them (on average).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Captain Harlock said:

30000/40000 Stars in a sector 

"Less than 1% of systems have planets orbiting a solitary star in the manner of ancient Terra" (Battlefleet Gothic)
 

Therefore 300/400 possible planets in a 'typical' sector

"In the gothic system there are 200 inhabited worlds and tens of thousands of other planets." (Battlefleet Gothic)

If we take the Gothic sector as typical/average sector then between 2/3 and 1/2 of systems with planets have a presence of some sort

"One million Imperial worlds" (Oft repeated canon...too many references)

Which would mean there are 'about 5000' Sectors in the imperium, (though this is a wide guestimate)...

Question that has always puzzled me are the relative locations of the Iaxianid and Scarus sectors...

Several comments.  First off, that boinging sound you hear is a reality cheque bouncing.  (I'm sure this is the first time that's happened in the 40K universe.)  lengua.gif  Anyway, per the latest 3rd millenium astronomy, "terrestrial" pattern solar systems are quite common.  There are still plenty of things that can make a system not have a habitable planet, but this is astronomy - the numbers are mind bendingly humongous.  Further upping the possible planet count, some binary systems (like, say, Alpha Centauri) also have planets that are potential life candidates. 

Second, I agree that a typical sector has about 200 inhabited planets, though obviously this can vary widely.  There are also regions of wilderness space between sectors that are far, far larger.  I've always pictured the Imperium as islands of humanity in a vast sea of darkness.

Third,  the Ixaniad and Scarus sectors are officially on the map.  I Know I've seen a published graphic showing them relative to Calixis.  (Also, with a third sector that is presumably Mandragora.)  Unfortunately, I've been unable to find it...  I think the Calixis sector is bordered by the Koronus Expanse to rimward, Ixaniad to spinward, Scarus to coreward, and the Fydae Great Cloud to trailing.

Cheers,

- V.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just keep in mind that distance in space is mind buggling. What you consider "Short" or "small" would take  ~billions of gallions of year to explore in STL (slower then light) speed. Heck just our neigbour is extremely far.

 

 

SPACE IS GIGANTICENORMUSIMPOSSIBLYEMORMOUSLIMITLESS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...