Traveller: In the Run
What has gone before
Mankind ventured forth to the stars and found waiting for him other Men. Long ago one or more ancient alien civilizations scattered settlements of primitive humans across the galaxy for mysterious reasons of their own. As Men will do, they warred against each other and raised up great empires which collapsed and were built anew. After a Long Night of nearly 2000 years, the Third Imperium has arisen. The 3I is a massive, feudal space empire that encompasses over 10,000 worlds of humans and minor alien races. Member worlds are largely left to govern themselves as long as they pay their taxes and acknowledge the 3I’s supremecy over the spaceways, though this is more of a guideline than an unbreakable rule.
As for the ancient alien Forerunners (or ‘Ancients’ as some call them)? Whether one race or many, they have long since vanished. Their legacy, however, remains.
You are in the stellar region known as Campos’s Run, an isolated cluster of stars on the far frontier of the Third Imperium’s power. The 3I began moving into the area slightly over 100 years ago, easily dominating local primative worlds and planting colonies in many systems. However, the the forces of would-be Duke Hamada found themselves stymied by several of the pre-existing interstellar powers, most notable the Triune Pax Empire, a “pocket empire” of seventeen worlds. For 75 years or so a tense balance of power endured, with numerous small clashes flaring up and dying down between the distant great space empire and the much closer small one. The Third Imperium as a whole could have crushed the Pax at any time, but the Duke was able to garner only limited support from the far-off core worlds, and her own Subsector navy could barely hold the line.
Then the Warp was discovered. The Warp is a region of space with special properties, where a starship can take a hyperspace jump not just to nearby stars, but also to unimaginably distant regions of the universe. Perhaps even other times. It is created by (or at least controlled by) a Forerunner artifact of unimaginable technical sophistication. And it was in Triune Pax territory. Thus, for the past 25 years (most of your adult lives), the Imperium has waged a war to take that territory from the Pax. A year ago, a ceasefire was signed.
Now thousands of adventurers and opportunists flood the cluster to take advantage of the Warp. The Triune Pax still snarls in anger and broods bitterly over its lost worlds. The local Imperium totters unevenly, the Duke having overstretched her resources and loyalties.
And running your own starship is a license to print credits. If you survive. Welcome to the Run.