LIFTOFF - Production Diary 02

Update on LIFTOFF, Crowdfunding, "Did you know"-Challenge

This diary entry has long been overdue but we were busy improving the rules.

So, what has happened and what is going to happen?

Like I said Donald, Martin and I were working on improving the rules, making them easy, understandable and clear but also very lightweight at the same time. Many of you have been providing us with ideas (Milou, Ozz, Thesmith, Sigg name a few) and it really comes together. There will be one more major update in the coming week or so to include your feedback from testing combat rules but all in all I am very pleased with how the rules look. They are easy and fun to read and play. That doesn’t mean we will stop making changes until the end of July but they will most probably be minor, changing a DM here, adding a skill there, that sort of thing.


Also the “Did you know…”-Challenge is coming to an end this weekend. We had plenty of fun facts submitted by you and it is hard picking the ones that will make it into the box. Nevertheless, we want the best of the best to inspire our youth, so keep sending your brilliant fun facts (maybe those that can be combined with an adventure hook) and you will enter the Challenge. Just send your ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you might get one of five all new, one-of-a-kind Crew for Hire PDFs.


Our crowdfunding is drawing nearer. I had a video shot last week to promote the box. I am not sure if anyone wants to see my head in this, so we have included a lot of artwork from our German Traveller Core Rulebook Limited Edition, to give you a hint of how the inside(!) and not only the cover of the LIFTOFF books will look like. The video is currently in post-production.

The box will be awesome, I can promise you this. Even if you are not up for the easy rules and like CT the best, we will try and make it worth your while. Besides the rules you will find 6 or more adventures in the box which should be easily adaptable to play with CT rules (or any other version of Traveller for that matter). There will be a map of Charted Space and full color deckplans of the most favorite starships. All in one box. So keep looking out for further announcements the coming week and I hope you all support this crowdfunding the best you can.


And just to show you what I meant by a map of Charted Space, following up is the production diary of Martin Panusch, the artist.

Keep travelling!




Design Notes from the Local
Bureau for Interstellar Cartography and Astrography.

Welcome to this little collection of hints and notes concerning the map of Traveller Charted Space. I have to admit that the map is quite finished so I can only give a retrospective report how it was made. The following notes will give you some insights in the process that resulted in this map.


Three years ago Rouven Weinbach wrote a message to the cartographers guild bulletin board that the extraordinary useful software Campaign Cartographer is able to fetch data from Joshua Bells fabulous webpage to build Sector-maps. The appendix of his message was a nice map of the Spinward Marches. Many years ago I wrote a not so small and cryptic tool for building a postscript-file from a sectorfile to print handouts for my players, so I was hooked up at once to build with Rouvens template a beautiful map for my Starlane Drifters Campaign. The result was pleasing and with Rouvens help it became a commercial publication.


While designing the Spinward Marches Map it became obvious that a pretty map needs sidebars with keys, annotations and some additional information. I had to include many logos and icons of institutions, interstellar governments and big companies like the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service, the Domain of Deneb and the Megacorporations.


But even more important was a map showing a broader overview. I needed a minimap on a sidebar, representing the neighborhood of the Spinward Marches to be integrated into the sector map. And this overview developed to a map-project of its own.


I drew some inspirations from the Cartographers' Guild and maps found in previous publications of  Classic Traveller and Megatraveller. I found templates for the logos in the DPGs Megatraveller Journal and in several GURPS Traveller publications.


Using the data from as a pragmatic cosmographical standard I started with a large set of small sector snippets (225px × 325px) and merged them to a big pixel map. Some of the known borders of the Big Five Species are partially outside of the area that is covered in the public data. Especially many sectors of the K’kree and Hiver territory are lacking detailed information, so I had to build a vector map for the borders to use it as an additional layer.


The two other secondary elements on the map are the diagram of our galaxy and the Local Arm. My inspiration was drawn from pictures I had seen in the “Security Leak“ magazine many years ago. I like it because the vastness of space and the huge number of star systems become visible: “That's a hell of a pile of real estate“

For the Local Arm I used a zoom from I stenciled the voids and rifts and filled it with correct astrographic names found on You can see on the Galaxy Overview that Charted Space is a very tiny area in the Orion Spur between the Perseus Arm and the Sagittarius Arm, that are main arms of the Milky Way galaxy. This very tiny area lies on the local arm that is part of Orion Spur and stretches in spinward-trailing direction. On the Meso-Galactic Overviev you can see the names of the neighboring regions that are larger than Charted Space and that are lying in the Gould Belt.


The tertiary element of this map is its background. It is a blend of several elements. The inspiration was a portulan chart, a polynesian stick chart and a stereographic projection map. Spiced with some astrological glyphs and fixed on a photo of the Pleiades this gives a dense astrographic background. The background combines strict geometric patterns with ancient mapping and celestial symbols.


In the next entry I will give some explanations of the used logos and icons.


-Martin Panusch


The final result which you will find in the LIFTOFF box.