Traveller: Living in Foreven
So what is it like living in the Foreven Sector? Well the simple answer is: It is much the same as living on a comparable world in the Imperium but missing a few of the rules that everyone must abide by. The longer answer is that revolves more around space travel and quite a bit around common assumptions.
Each planet in the Imperium largely enjoys self-rule except for the starport. So away from a startport on a planet, it really is hard to tell the difference between the Imperium and living in Foreven, until it comes to the little things. Frequent contact with other cultures makes those cultures blend while isolation means those cultures will grow distinct. Take Earth history as an example. Long before the Silk Road became an established trade route between the East and West, the east Asian cultures developed very differently from Europe. Once it was established that there were people there that had their own crafts and wares, trade started and people from both cultures traveled to the other side of the known world, taking their culture with them. Over time, this morphed cultures to become a little more like the others, gaining a few of the assumptions of those other cultures have always made.
In the same way, the Imperium is like large multinational continent connected by its own Silk Road. While the average person in the Spinward Marches may own a locally-manufactured gravcar, an average rich person might own one manufactured on Vland or Earth. All of them are probably built with similar controls in mind, similar traffic laws in mind, similar regulations on environmental regulations in mind. That is not to say that local planetary laws do not vary widely; its just that those manufacturers would want to export to as many worlds as possible and build their vehicles to comply with some of the stricter worlds. So if you fly a gravcar imported from afar, it probably has the same standard equipment as on its home planet. A local company will want to compete with that far off company and build their own vehicles with similar equipment, if tailored to the needs of the local economy. This way the local manufacturer can say their products are just as good as the far off (and more expensive) product, even if they do not have the name of the more expensive product.
How does that compare to the Foreven? Well the average person would own a ground car of local manufacture, an average rich person would own a gravcar from the Spinward Marches and the planet’s ruler, and maybe those in his/her close circle of associates, would own one made on Vland, Zhodant, or Earth. However, the local manufactured product would vary quite wildly from anything made in the Imperium. Assumptions that are common Imperium simply would not exist in the Foreven. Something like ‘driving on the other side of the road’ level of different.
What other kind of differences? In the United States today, every car is equipped with a radio so you have something to listen to and keep you awake on a long drive. Would you need a radio if there were no radio station to listen to in your country? Would a car sold there still be assumed to have a radio? Probably not. In the same way a gravcar built in the Imperium would probably be built with some type of live feed of traffic conditions and would plot an alternate route for you accordingly. But in the Foreven Section, it is quite possible that those communication arrays simply do not exist and would not be designed with them included.
Beyond gadgets included with vehicles, what else would be different? It would be rather common in the Imperium for designated highway lanes in the sky allowing those to travel at higher speeds. In the Foreven Sector, it would be far more common to see ground vehicles and grav vehicles would be far less common. So if you owned a gravcar, it would not be unheard of to be able to fly at whatever speed you wanted with little restrictions about where you could and could not go.
What about space travel? Well, the Imperium, having hundreds upon hundreds of worlds to think of would have very specific rules about coming into and flying out of a spaceport. Spaceports probably have an access corridor with a speed restriction to avoid loud noises from ships flying in and out bothering civilian residents. In Foreven, who knows? Maybe the planetary government says you cannot do that. Maybe the government has not gotten around to enacting such laws yet (or been bribed by a large corporation to with an operating budget larger than the planet’s GDP to not enact such laws). More than likely, such laws do not exist for for the last reason.
Now lets talk about some bigger things like protection. While the Imperium isn’t the safest place in known space, it is far safer than Foreven. The Imperium has fleets of ships to combat piracy; systems in the Foreven Sector do not. Sure, they may (MAY!) be able to keep pirates that make their home port within the planet’s territory from raiding in that same territory, but the pirates will definitely be able to be free from prosecution for raiding in a nearby territory. Pirates in the Imperium are afforded no such security.
Wars can spin out of control in Foreven. With no Imperium to prevent genocide to happening, it happens. Peacekeeper troops from the Zhodani Consulate or the Imperium has happened from time to time, but largely the event is already over by the time they hear about it and send in such troops. Wars that drag on for years have the opportunity for meaningful intervention by the major powers, if they choose to do something about it. However, considering how different the cultures are and how little contact there is between them this would similarly be seen as the English invading India, and met with similar resistance.
Which brings us to the former Torres Monarchy. The Monarchy is in Alespron Subsector and has been in a civil war for about a half-decade now. When the Zhodani Consulate sent in troops to quell the fighting and protect civilians, they were seen as an invading force. And thus, you have a new faction entering the fighting. A more technologically advanced, larger and better trained faction, but still another faction. And even when the Zhodanis mean well, they are dealing with a culture that is isolated from them and things have not gone smooth. And it is into this that the players will be inserting themselves on missions for Ms. Klein in the next adventure in the Prelude to War Adventure Path.