Ilford Wargames Group
Cluster Map Items
Systems come in groups that are near each other in space (but still a long way apart). These groups are convenient units for mapping.
A system consists of a number of components that are very close together - generally so close that it is feasible (but not always immediately practical) to move (or communicate) from one component to another through normal space.
Systems are generally found in normal space, but may be found in a nebula of some form or other. Similarly, the field-space around and within a system is generally of normal field-viscosity, but there are areas where the field-viscosity is lower or higher making use of stardrives based on drive fields more of less effective.
System components are a series of regions in space bound by a single star (or very closely orbiting pair of stars) or by the presence of a set of nearby stargates (see Nexii below).
Stars and their ilk are the centrepiece of a system component.
These are the rare examples of forming stars. As they are not stars, they are never the primary focus for a system and are not connected, on their own, into the network of stargates. They may be connected via a nearby partner star. They only form in the middle of young nebulae.
Young Stellar Objects
These are also the rare thing of a forming star, but have started stellar fusion and are thus potentially connected to the stargate network. They tend to have gates that are abnormal by the standards of normal stars. Their gates may be attached to particularly narrow links, or scatter their users across a considerable area when arriving.
Stars and Brown Dwarves
Most stars in the stargate network are main-sequence stars, although some older star types (Giants, etc.) may also be found. Not every star has a stargate. Brown Dwarves are included here because those of spectral types "M" or "L" can have stargates in the own right.
There are 3 forms of remnant that may appear in the stargate network - never alone for they are no longer fusing and thus are no longer able to hold stargates. These types (White Dwarves, Neutron Stars and Black Holes) have one thing in common - as you approach the space around them slowly bends and it is possible to get sufficiently close that the drive systems on your craft will never get you out again!
A system components with no central stellar object are called called a Nexus. Theories exist that these are what is left after a star has become a remnant of some form or other, and that these are (slowly) evaporating. All that remains are a series of stargates in space that are close to each other and (often) not much else.
Giant and Sub-Giant Planets
These intermediate sized objects are of not much commercial use being too inhospitable to land on.
Very Hot Bodies
Any body that is this warm is too hot to sustain a colony and is thus not of any use other than as cover.
Other Planets, Moons, Trojans or Embedded Asteroids
These planets are those capable of sustaining settlements. Planets orbit a star; moons orbit a planet; trojans are small bodies that orbit a star 60 degrees ahead of or behind another (usually giant or sub-giant) body; and Embedded Asteroids are larger lumps of rock that orbit insides Belts.
Belts and Rings
These are regions of space that entirely encircle a stellar object (or planet) that are full of small rocks, dust, gas or plasma. Only Asteroid Belts may be considered as potential colonies.
Clusters and Clouds
These are small areas of space that contain small rocks, dust, gas or plasma. They are usually Trojan to some giant planet, tailing from some planet (as its atmosphere boils off) or as transient features blown off a star's surface.
A note on Gas and Plasma
The presence of Gas and Plasma is of little commercial value, but can degrade sensor, weapon and shield performance.
The normal field-viscosity of space may, in patches, change and drive performance alter as a result. These areas are invisible but can be detected by science instruments or by trial and error.
Gates that allow entrance to the links hyperspace between between stars are invisible but can be found by specialist mapping instruments. These gates come in various varieties by the ease of visiblity (e.g. Beacon, Open, etc.), by the ability to use them (True, False), or by the scattering effect that occurs on exit compared to entrance (Standard, Offset or Scattered).
Except for a Nexus, all gates are assumed to be associated with actively fusing Stars or Brown Dwarves (See notes above).
The links between stars operate from one gate to another with the gates usually in different systems. Gates within a system appear to be rare and only operable where system components are widely separated or where the system is relatively new. (Or possibly they are common but embedded deep in the system's stars)
Links vary by the volume of traffic that may pass safely in a given time period; by the effects observed when the link capacity is exceeded; by the time the transiting ship feels the transit took; and by the time outside observers thought it took. Theoretical physicists think other variables may exist, but they (as yet) have no evidence of these in practice.
Planetary Map Items
Planetary maps are drawn at a scale of 1 planetary hex (pH) = 1000km.