Despite the fact that twelve full Sectors have been officially mapped in the Wing Commander Universe (not counting the map of the Landreich Sector built by members of the Wing Commander CIC community), not a lot is known about the contents of the various individual star systems. The composition of a few systems has been set in the novels, set in the games, or (in the case of the Sol system) is fairly well known in real life. In every other case, all that is known about the system is its name and what systems it connects to via its jump tunnels. It should therefore be quite obvious that in any adventure where specific information about one of these systems is required, it will be necessary for that system to be mapped out.
A cartographer (referred in this discussion as a "creator") has two choices when it comes to mapping out a star system. They may choose to create a full working model of the system in question, which is a lot of work but produces something that is close to being physically realistic. For creators who want to go this route, a full star system creation procedure is provided in the next sub-Chapter. The other option is to fill in only crucial details about the system, such as the locations of any major bases and/or jump points. This kind of system plot is what's known as a nav map. Wing Commander: Privateer utilizes this method of generating system maps. Nav maps have the advantage of being relatively fast and easy to construct by focusing mainly on the "important" areas of the system, which are assumed to be relatively close to one another.
Creating a nav map involves a short procedure that sets (in this order) the locations of jump points, nav points and ambush points, as well as the number, type and location of bases within the system. The process for setting each of these elements involves a series of die rolls. For purposes of this discussion, it will be assumed that the system creator will be performing the indicated rolls. A system creator does have the option to make decisions about the elements of their system arbitrarily, so long as that decision follows the general guidelines of the procedure (i.e. it could have been produced by a die roll).
Placing Jump Points
The first step in creating a nav map is to reference the Sector map that contains the system in order to ascertain the number of jump tunnels that connect to it, and to determine where those tunnels lead. A system needs to have one jump point located in it for every jump tunnel indicated on the system's Sector map and two additional jump points for any indicated "in-system" jump within that system.
A nav map is essentially a square grid measuring 100 line units along each side. Each line unit along the grid is located approximately ten thousand kilometers from the lines immediately adjacent to it (and consequently each square measures out an area of approximately one hundred million square kilometers within the system). Each square on the grid is identified by a set of coordinates, listed as horizontal coordinate-by-vertical coordinate and with 00x00 located in the upper left-hand corner of the map. Use of this coordinate set system allows individual coordinates on the map to correspond to rolls of d%xd%, an essential feature for object placement within the system.
For each jump point indicated, the system creator will make a roll d% to set the jump point's horizontal coordinate and then make another d% roll to determine its vertical coordinate. The creator will need to map the positions of all jump points as they are created. All jump points must have a unique set of coordinates; in the unlikely event that a jump point's indicated position duplicates that of a different jump point, its position must be re-rolled.
Once the creator has set the positions of all the system's jump points, they will make one last d% roll for each point in turn. On a result of 92 or higher, an asteroid field will be present at the indicated jump point; the creator will need to make an appropriate notation on their map indicating the presence of the field.
While not a particularly long or difficult procedure, it still seems fair to demonstrate how to make a nav map from scratch just to better illustrate how it's done. To that end, an example will be provided at the end of each step of the procedure.
In the previous Chapter, our Sector designer had just completed the basic design of the Mantu Sector and was now looking to fill in the details of one of the systems, Cyvuspe. The creator decides to make a nav map of this system as opposed to a full system map. To that end, they print off a clean Nav Map Reference Sheet and consult the Sector map; they discover that the system has nine jump tunnels, two of which make up an in-system jump.
After referencing the Sector map to make a list of the systems that connect to the Cyvuspe system (Nytecu, Canyo, Ausi, Todoly, Atovu, Rochrycte, and Calspespe), the creator begins rolling for the coordinates of the system's jump points. Two d% rolls are made for the Nytecu Jump Point; the results of those rolls are both 27, so the Nytecu Jump Point will be located at coordinates 27x27 in the system. Similar rolls are made for the remaining jump points. The creator numbers the Jump Points as system Nav Points 1-9, records their coordinates in the "Nav Points" section of the Nav Map Record Sheet, and plots their various positions. Finally, they make a set of rolls to determine if there will be any asteroid fields at any of the jump points; these rolls all come up negative.
Once all the jump points have been set, the next step is to determine if the system will contain any nav points, which are used to mark places of interest within the system (in Privateer, they're used to mark the halfway points between two other nav points, to mark out safe routes around asteroid fields, and/or to mark the center-point of asteroid fields). Systems may or may not have nav points.
When it comes to placing nav points, the first thing the creator must do is determine how many such points their system will contain. To do this, the creator makes a d% roll and references the result on the table below:
|d% Result||Number of Nav Points in the System|
If there are any nav points in the system, the next step is to place them. The position of nav points is determined in the same manner as jump points; for each nav point indicated, the system creator will roll d% to set its horizontal coordinate followed by another d% roll to determine its vertical coordinate. The creator will need to map the positions of the nav points as they are created. As with jump points, the position of nav points must be unique. In the unlikely event that a nav point's indicated position duplicates that of another nav point or a jump point, the position of the new nav point must be re-rolled.
Once the creator has determined the positions of all the system's nav points, they will need to make one last d% roll for each nav point in turn. On a result of 60 or higher, an asteroid field will be present at the indicated nav point; the creator will need to make an appropriate notation of such on their map.
With the positions of the system's jump points established, the system creator makes the roll for nav points. The roll comes up as an 86, indicating one nav point. The creator then makes the rolls for the position of that nav point; its position will be at 63x45. The roll for asteroids is performed next; the result is 51, so there will be no asteroids at this nav point. After verifying that it isn't at the same coordinates as one of the jump points, the creator makes note of the nav point in the Nav Point section of the Record Sheet (calling it Nav 10) and plots its position.
Placing Ambush Points
With the positions of jump and nav points established, the next step is to determine if the system will contain any areas where a craft may encounter other craft unexpectedly or where there may exist any otherwise unmapped hazards. These areas act as unofficial, hidden nav points, and are known more ominously as ambush points due to the fact that it's not unusual to have some kind of a hostile encounter in these areas (in Privateer, these would usually be unmarked areas with pirates, retros, asteroids, etc.). Ambush points serve much the same function as nav points, and like nav points a system may or may not have them.
As with jump points and nav points, the first thing the creator must do in regard to ambush points is to determine how many their system will contain. To do this, the creator makes a d% roll and references the result on the table below:
|d% Result||Number of Ambush Points in the System|
If there are any ambush points in the system, the next step is to determine their position. The position of ambush points is determined in the same manner as jump points and nav points; for each ambush point indicated, the system creator will first roll d% to set its horizontal coordinate followed by another d% roll to determine its vertical coordinate. The creator will need to map the positions of ambush points as they are created. As with jump points and nav points, the position of an ambush point must be unique. In the unlikely event that an ambush point's indicated coordinates duplicates those of another ambush point, a nav point or a jump point, its position must be re-rolled.
Once the creator has determined the positions of all the system's ambush points, they will need to make one last d% roll for each ambush point in turn to determine if asteroids are present. On a result of 80 or higher, an asteroid field will be present at the indicated ambush point; the creator will need to make an appropriate notation of such on their map.
Next, the system creator makes the roll for ambush points. The roll comes up as a 67, indicating one ambush point. The results of the rolls for the point's position set its location at 56x32. The creator then makes one final roll for asteroids at the ambush point; the roll's result is 26, so once again there will be a lack of rocks. After verifying that it isn't at the same coordinates as one of the other established nav points, the creator makes note of the ambush point in the Nav Point section of the Record Sheet (simply labeling it as "Ambush"; it's not a real nav point after all) and plots its position.
The final step in creating a nav map is the determination of how many bases are in a system, their type and their location.
Determining the Number of Bases
Determining how many bases will be located in a system is a simple matter. All a creator needs to do is roll d% and reference the table below:
|d% Result||Number of Bases in the System|
Should the result of this roll indicate no bases, the system is complete and ready to be used in an adventure. Empty systems like this generally function as junctions between larger, more important systems, but can act as the setting for an adventure in their own right.
Our system creator, hoping for a base or two in their system, tosses the dice and comes up with an 86. There will be two bases in their system.
Determining the Types of Bases Present
If any bases are indicated in the system, the creator will need to determine their type. A d% roll is made for each base in the system, with the base's type determined by the result of that roll as indicated on the table below:
|d% Result||Base Type||Asteroid Threshold|
If the result of the roll is 90 or higher, a "Special Base" is indicated. What happens when this result occurs is somewhat dependent upon whether or not the system in question is the Sector Capital or not. If it is, the base may simply become the Sector Capital (in Privateer, this corresponds to New Constantinople). A Sector Capital may be a space station or a planet, at the creator's discretion. Note that the Sector Capital Special Base must be placed in the system indicated as the Sector Capital, even if different types are indicated for all bases in that system or if no bases are indicated.
In all other Special Base cases, a d10 roll must be made to determine the base's specific type, with the result of the roll determining the type as follows:
|d10 Result||Base Type|
The creator has two bases in their system, so they'll have to roll for base type twice. The first roll comes up as a 23, indicating an Agricultural Planet, while the second roll comes up as a 79, a Pleasure World. Our creator takes the time to name these bases; they choose to call the Pleasure World "Usoso", and they decide to give the Agricultural World the same name as the system, "Cyvuspe".
Placement of Bases and Asteroid Fields around Bases
Once all base types have been determined, all that remains is to determine the position of those bases within the system. The determination of base position is done in the same manner as jump points, nav points and ambush points; for each base indicated, the system creator will roll d% to determine the base's horizontal coordinate followed by another d% roll to determine its vertical coordinate. The creator will need to map the positions of bases as they are created. As with jump points, nav points and ambush points, the position of a base must be unique. In the unlikely event that a base's indicated position duplicates that of another base, an ambush point, a nav point or a jump point, the position of the base must be re-rolled.
Once the creator has determined the positions of all the system's bases, they will need to make one last d% roll for each base in turn and compare the result to the base type's Asteroid Threshold. If the result is higher than the indicated number, an asteroid field will be present in the vicinity of the indicated base; the creator will need to make an appropriate notation of such on their map.
With the number and type of bases determined, all our creator needs to do at this point is place them. They elect to set the Agricultural World first; it will be located at 96x87. The position of the Pleasure World is then rolled and set at 29x68. The creator then rolls for asteroid fields at the two base points, checking the chart for the threshold values. They note right away that the threshold value for the Pleasure World is 99, which means that no matter what value they roll, there will be no asteroids there; this saves the creator from having to make a roll. The threshold value for an Agricultural World, however, is 93. Even though the chance of rocks there is remote, it is non-zero and so a roll is still necessary. The dice are rolled and come up as 16; there will be no rocks at the Ag base either. After verifying that their coordinates aren't the same as all of the other nav points or the ambush point, the creator makes note of the bases in the Nav Point section of the Record Sheet (labeling the Agricultural World of Cyvuspe as Nav 11 and Usoso as Nav 12) and plots their positions.
At this point in the procedure, the nav map is functionally complete enough to utilize. The system creator may choose at this point to add a few more details to their system. If they haven't done so already, names should be assigned to the bases in the system (and for that matter, the system itself should be named if it hasn't been so already). Available facilities (ship dealers, guild offices, commodity exchanges, equipment outfitters, etc.) may also be assigned to each base at this point, though it's also acceptable to leave it as is and let the GM who ultimately utilizes the system to set facilities prior to the onset of an adventure. Again, it's all a matter of how detailed the system creator wants to be at this point.
Our creator is just about done with their system at this point. Since they've been naming things as they go, they don't have to worry about naming their bases or the system itself; they do want to go ahead and set the types of facilities that will be present at the system's two bases. To do this, the creator creates a short list of facilities (Ship Dealer, Merchant Guild, Mercenaries Guild, Commodity Exchange, Bar, General Store, Military Outfitter, and Police Outfitter; obviously, the creator has based their list on Privateer but also wants to include the opportunity for the purchase of character-scale equipment). They then roll 1d2 for each of the possible facilities on this list, with 2 indicating a simple "yes" and 1 indicating "no". Using this method, they determine that Cyvuspe will have a Merchant Guild, Commodity Exchange, General Store and Bar. Usoso will have a Ship Dealer, Mercenary Guild Office, General Store and Bar. Our creator notes the facilities along with the names of the bases in the Bases/Facilities section of their Nav Map Record Sheet. Satisfied with their completed system, the creator moves on to build nav maps for other systems in the Mantu Sector...
The Cyvuspe System: An Example
The following is the system nav map for the Cyvuspe System as it was created in the example steps of this Chapter. This map is fairly generic and may be used by GMs for any system with nine jump points if they so choose. Note that the creator plotted the Nav Points in the system to take up a little more space than the individual square in which they would ordinarily be located and has denoted which point is which through the use of varying shapes and off-map lines. This is an acceptable practice if it helps to better illustrate the position of objects (admittedly, the plot area of the Nav Map Record Sheet can be hard on the eyes otherwise). Other acceptable methods of plotting include using various colors for different Nav Points or types of system objects, or confining objects to single squares.