The Expansion Process
Me and a bunch of my regular gamers sat down one night, put on our little fascist thinking caps, and began to plot how one would take over the Universe. We played devil's advocate back and forth working out how to screw money out of backwards worlds, what could go wrong and how to correct for it. It really did feel like being "Evil" from The Time Bandits.
Part of the underlying philosophy was that this is not Star Trek. There is no Prime Directive. While not exactly "The Planetary Exploitation Company" it's quite a challange to work out what one can do if you don't have to be hands off.
Such a setting was designed to present a fertile ground for philosophical debate. My own games tend to be more discursive than combative. Here you have people with a chance to raise peasants from mud to the stars. Yet most of the methods of doing so (supporting autocrats, formeting war, destroying resisting religions, etc) are, at best, morally questionable. Enough hints and game situations are given as examples that might push characters over the edge into "going native". From dilemma, to drama.
But we did make room for the action orientated. "Stage 4: Thinning out the Autocrats" is the perfect setting for a campaign centered around mercenaries. There is always a strategic challange, yet since they almost inevitably out gun and out tech their opponents, there is a low enough casualty rate to keep the characters from dropping like flies. And, since the Imperium is paying, the paycheck is certain.
Pholishie This is a setting from a Traveller campaign that I ran transported to Milieu-0. The "standard microprocessors" used in the phol they visited were 386's, 486's and 586's!
Morinmoss Pirates This was based on a character in my D&D campaign, Stee Jans Morinmoss (with a rather large and unsubtle amount of Gilbert & Sullivan thrown in). At one point his used a "wish" spell to wish his face onto the gold pieces across a several hundred mile are. That was the direct inspiration for the Adventure Idea where he counterfits imperial credits with his face instead of Cleon's.
Santry-Cordova Cluster I lived in Santry (a suburb of Dublin, Ireland) at the time and used this as the capital of the Celtic themed polity. Neva al-Zena was a fighter who took me under her wing and taught me the basics of SCA broadsword fighting. I made her the old Imerial benefactor. Sir Karl was named for Sir Karl, the last Prince of my beloved Drachenwald (which gave its name to the Dragonwood Task Force) who also runs a game shop in Boone, North Carolina. The decimated world of Medomarsh was named after a Drachenwald Shire on a US military base that suffered massive depletions in its population after the troops were rotated out after the first Gulf War.