Ever since reading Lois McMaster Bujold's series revolving around Miles Vorkosigan I've wanted to play or run an RPG in that setting. It's brilliant space opera without the usual drags of a huge cast, ungraspably-complicated political networks, or soap-opera plotlines.
The level of tech varies from swords and ageing energy weapons in the backwoods of some planets to cryo-suspension medical technology and cloning in the more advanced polities. The habitable systems are connected in a wormhole network, and have a lot of within-system and substantial inter-system traffic. The political entities range from feudal to democratic to capitalist anarchy, with subgroups and independent mercenaries in between and among them.
The wide range of tech, political situations, and scales of travel offers a diversity that is rare in a setting and makes it really appealing. As Bujold designed it so that "I can have my swords 'n' spaceships in a way that makes both historical and economic sense."[1. L. M. Bujold, "Putting It Together: Life, the Vorkosiverse, and Everything", The Vorkosigan Companion. Apart from pithy quotes, there are some great notes to be taken about the themes and character arcs that shaped the books and the setting.]
To properly run a game in the Nexus I'd have to re-read the not-insubstantial series, but I wondered what I could find online. For the sake of sharing I've collected the resources I could find together here.
(It should go without saying that the following links contain major spoilers for the books.)
- A timeline of the Vorkosigan books.
- The Vorkosigan Saga article at Wikipedia has a lot of general information on the universe. Subordinate articles have more:
- A fan-made map of Barrayar
- Five preview chapters of the soon-to-be-published Vorkosigan Companion, which I think I'd get if I ran this setting
- "The Mountains of Mourning", a short Miles Vorkosigan story online at Baen Books
- A collection of Miles Vorkosigan fanfiction, which might be useful for pilfering people/places/plot ideas
- a map of the known Wormhole Nexus, with system descriptions
- people and places of Barrayar, at the same site
- Bujold's answers to fan questions in 2000
- chapters one through nine (of 21) of Komarr
- a forum thread about an imminent GURPS Vorkosigan book. I'll have to keep an eye out for its release.
Unsurprisingly, my recent interest in the multi-genre rules of Savage Worlds had a hand in inspiring this rekindled interest in playing in this setting, though I have to thank icedrake @ LJ for getting me thinking about sci-fi settings earlier this evening. The ease of mixing "swords 'n' spaceships" that Savage Worlds offers would make it a good fit.