Cyborg IM1 wrote:
Star Map - Using a standard hex map doesn't work, so a subway map is needed.
I've played around with using wormholes for quasi-realistic interstellar travel, which is similar to your idea. The problem I run into is that I can't see a good way to form closed loops at all, unless the wormholes are (a) tied to the underlying real-space stellar distribution or (b) deliberately placed by some agency. That is, if a wormhole runs from system A to system B, and another runs from system B to system C, what are the odds that there exists a wormhole that runs from system C back to system A? If it's truly a subway map, divorced from real astrography, the odds should be literally astronomical against it.
Then the network that forms is a branching tree, with only one path from any particular system to any other. Systems closer to the root will have tremendous influence, as they can effectively cut off huge sections of the network from one another. It might be possible to write good fiction in such a setting, but I think it would be hard to use it as a sandbox setting, due to the limited options for escape/avoidance.
System Defense - Since every star system only has a couple of entry points for invaders, those Jump Points become protected by Fortresses (BIG military satellites or Stations) and interstellar invasion becomes almost impossible. QUESTION: How do I make this setting more interesting and allow some kind of interstellar war???
Burnside's Advice: "Friends don't let friends use reactionless drives in their universes."
If your jump points are not on purely gravitational orbits (because, e.g., they don't have mass or there is an inherent tension in the connection between them), it requires reaction mass and constant thrust to "hover" over the point. System defense forces may maintain small early warning satellites at the jump point, but their main squadrons will be positioned some distance away, where they can orbit without expending reaction mass yet still react in time to intercept. Space battles then take place at the interception point -- probably near the mainworld -- rather than any particular jump point.
If you wanted to go this way, I would ditch the jump fuel requirement in favor of reaction mass for the maneuver drives. You can tweak the drive performance to match the distances and velocities involved. You still get many of the same trade-offs between speed and capacity, but it's more about getting to and from the jump point than what happens in jump.
Off the Map - An interesting outcome of the star map is that there could theoretically be more than one Star Web that never touch each other and completely independent stellar cultures could develop and never meet...
If the subway map is largely distinct from the underlying astrography, you could have systems that are far from one another in the network but relatively close in real space. Then, if you had a threat that developed in real space (e.g., nova, Empress Wave, berserker AI using STL drives) it would occur at apparently random points in the network until someone thought to look at the long-neglected real-space coordinates.