And yeah, don't hand me map colors. I will use them.
In working on my latest Traveller maps, I took a hint from Flynn and started looking on the quadrant level, getting a good feel for a region before zooming in on a particular subsector.
After dorking around with dice, I realized that I needed bigger guns, and used automated generators to build my quadrant. Heck, it even made up randomized names. I figured those names would be ancient names from original surveys of the First or Second Imperium, and that by the Third Imperium, they'd have names that the players could pronounce. :)
So, armed with my trusty map colors, I printed out multiple copies of the quadrant, combed over my world data, and began thinking.
First I looked at Tech Level, with an eye for high population areas. The colors indicate a star-faring level of technology, the letters indicate capabilities of the starport, and a line around the star's hex indicate billions of inhabitants - all of which can be used to indicate the level of hustle and bustle in a system.
The next map I call the Law and Chaos map. Purple and pink with purple lines indicate the really big interstellar powerhouses of the quadrant. These are additionally highlighted with a black line around the hex. Then, I determined the zone of influence of these powerhouses using the jump drive rating from their technological profile, and created 'borders' showing how far their cultural influence would dominate, modified by their neighbor's proximity. Yellows indicate colonies and greens indicate corporate held territory. Systems outside of the zones of influence would typically be on their own, as far as culture is concerned. Red areas indicate lack of government, or zero level law enforcement, so those are the really wild areas. Those would definitely be Amber Zones. Like I said - Law and Chaos.
|Law and Chaos|
|The 'Go Away' Club|
I need some new map colors, though.