T5 Second Survey
T5 Second Survey is an ongoing project that is overhauling and cleaning up of the world and stellar data published primarily in the 1980s and 90s for the Official Traveller Universe (OTU). This is a background article about game design. For the in-universe article by the same name, please see the Second Survey article.
With the emergence of TravellerMap (2006), a team led by Robert Eaglestone (with Gruffty, Jim Fetters, Mike West, and others) identified and corrected consistency errors between Sunbane and AOTI astrographic data. CotI Discussion Leading to T5SS, starting around page 16 (March 2006), and more or less done by page 40 (June 2006). This effort produced a report serving as an input to fixing those errors.
With the publication of the playtest version of the Traveller 5th edition core rule book (2008), Don McKinney, Robert Eaglestone, along with Marc Miller engaged in a project to collect and update the known astrographic data. Since the original three members, others have joined and left this ongoing project.
The T5 Second Survey project takes old data, rewinds back to just what was in AOTI, picks and chooses some later additions, then starts expanding the dataset with T5'isms and additional sectors. It is then shared online via TravellerMap and used as the basis for new products.
This project has several goals:
- Update the astrographic data to the current Traveller 5th edition rules, including the new extensions.
- Address several shortcomings in the generation of the data in previous versions, including stellar data and UWPs.
- Produce a consistent and known set of data for current and future Traveller publishers. All of the Mongoose Traveller books published since 2009 have used this data.
T5 Second Survey Adjustments
In order to make the collection of legacy astrographic data more consistent, the project took the approach of overwriting the the previous versions if the new changes made sense. While basing T5SS data on previously publications - to preserve the history of the setting - has generally been a consideration, revisiting and wholesale replacing developments done in ways we consider offensive takes priority.
The T5 Second Survey adjustments to the previous versions of data includes, but not limited to :
- Fixing stellar data to match the current understanding of stars. Specific changes would be:
- Replace the dwarf (D) class stars with M class stars
- Reduce the size of some giant stars (OBAF) to more reasonable sizes (GK)
- Fix the M class stars to a minimum of M4 if the world is habitable
- World generation changes include
- Increase the size of worlds with thin or better atmospheres to match the physics that small worlds can't hold atmospheres
- Adjust the TLs of the worlds:
- All worlds in the Imperium to be a maximum of 15
- Worlds with un-breathable atmospheres (tainted, trace, vacuum, exotic) to support the equipment required to keep the population alive.
- Adjust the TL and populations of worlds in several sectors to ensure each sector economy falls in a specific range of values
- Apply automated tools to ensure UWP values are within T5 generation ranges, including the new Ix, Cx, Ex values.
- Ix calculations note that the OTU has multiple base codes which mean the same thing from T5's perspective. The most direct example is that S is used for Imperial scout bases and V for non-Imperial scout bases, but both codes refer to what T5 just calls a "scout base". The full rule for Ix from base codes - with parentheses added to clarify the order of operations - is, "+1 Ix if the base codes (contain at least one of (D, W, and/or X)), and/or (contain at least one of (K, N, and/or T) and at least one of (C, M, R, S, and/or V))".
- Trade code changes would include:
- Fix the trade codes to match the rules in the T5 Core Rules
- Add the sophont codes to worlds where they are known
- Add the O: (owned worlds) or Mr notation to worlds that are Gov 6
- Apply automated tools to verify the Trade codes are correct.
- Naming, including the names of sectors, subsectors, and worlds. Many of the names used outside of the Imperium were generated by one or another of various word generator programs. The review adjusts the names so they are reasonably pronounceable and do not contain, or are apparent synonyms with, any of a long list of offensive terms. Duplicate names are allowed and in some cases encouraged.
State of the Imperium (email from June 2, 2006)
An email from Don McKinney regarding the state of the sectors known in the Imperium and discussion the state of review at the start of the T5 Second Survey process.
These sectors are published, owned, or managed, and therefore aren't part of the regen process:
- Spinward Marches (Marc is taking suggestions)
- Solomani Rim
Massilia will largely remain as-is. Being published, I see a large portion of these systems as having amnesty, though some might be regeneratable without bothering people much.
- Massilia (Some base codes fixed)
These are 'published' or managed, but I think Jim and I will check them and prepare them for regeneration anyway.
- Spica (Gruffty)
- Deneb (Daryen?)
- Trojan Reaches (Daryen?)
- Reft (Daryen?)
- Ley (QLI)
- Glimmerdrift (QLI)
- Gateway (QLI)
- Crucis Margin (QLI)
Here are the ones we're done with.
19 Sunbane sectors which have been "primed" to where their data agrees with the AOTI baseline (and amnesty worlds have been marked) in order to regenerate them:
- Alpha Crucis (Jim)
- Antares (Jim)
- Daibei (Jim)
- Delphi (Jim)
- Diaspora (Jim)
- Empty Quarter (Jim)
- Fornast (Jim)
- Magyar (Jim)
- Old Expanses (Jim)
- Reaver's Deep
Selected T5 Second Survey Members
This not comprehensive lists includes members, both past and present:
- Joshua Bell
- Dan Burns
- Randy Dorman
- Robert Eaglestone
- Andrew Ford
- Roger Howe
- Thomas Jones-Low
- Donald McKinney
- Marc Miller