Castles in the air -- they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.  --Henrik Ibsen

Long before I started selling anything, I wrote background material. Lots of it, for my own amusement. I'm still in the habit of doing so before getting into a writing project but I've learned to not inflict the research on my readers where it isn't necessary. So I usually have a variety of bits and bobs left over from things I publish. But on the theory that some people might want to see them, err, here's some of it:

Sword Worlds

It's been quite a while since I updated this site, partly because much of what I had to say was being posted on my LiveJournal, linked below.

However, development is now nearly complete (barring art and layout, with which I have little to do), and the book -- Sword Worlds, formerly known as At Sword's Point, formerly known as On the Edge -- has been formally announced by Steve Jackson Games. You can see the announcement, and the lovely cover by Wayne Peters.

I have another Traveller project on the go right now, but it's under the wraps of an NDA for now. To the extent that I can discuss it, the development blog is still a going concern, and I also blather on about other things to fill the time. Doesn't that sound enticing?

400 Starship Names

This started out a while ago because I was always running to a variety of sources for naming the space ships in my Traveller writing. After a while I just decided to pull them all into one place. After that I decided to make it generally available for download. 400 Starship Names is the result. I've released it to the public domain, so feel free to download it, place it on your own site, give it away, enhance it with more names and rename it 500 Starship Names, light it on get the picture.

Antares Sector Downloads

A lot of what I do is set in Antares sector of the Traveller universe. Before really getting going on that I spent several weeks cleaning up the Sunbane data for it (particularly the names -- blech). These are the files I use when trolling around for a world to write up (a la Corolane, Sarrebinor, Ogguengan, or Yarkand). I don't wed myself to the Core data's UWPs, but I try to stick to them as much as I can without breaking the story I have in mind. The fruits of this labour:

JTAS-related Downloads

...And JTAS is the primary outlet for writing in the Traveller universe. They've had the good taste to print most of my paying pieces of work, so they get their own page of related items. Head this way for a list of free downloads that relate to articles they've printed.


Esterna is a fantasy setting with (as always for me) realism and originality as the goals. As realistic as you can get with magic and gods and undead, anyway. I can't stand the way the cold hand of J.R.R. Tolkien has lain on fantasy for the last fifty years -- no fault of Tolkien's, but there's not been a lot since that isn't feeding on his literary corpse. Esterna deliberately has no elves, or dwarfs, or dragons. I've also shifted the time period forward a bit, to something like the mid-14th century rather than bog-standard quasi-medieval. Cannon have been invented in living memory, and a few people are starting to look out into the ocean and wonder what might be there.

This is the setting I've been working on the longest, with elements of it stretching back ten years or more. Most of the work was done a few years back, but I'm in the process of updating it and extending it with the knowledge and skills I've gained in the last couple of years. "Good enough for now, going to get better".

Hans Explains Everything

One of my co-authors, Hans Rancke-Madsen, has written a document explaining the basics of the Traveller universe, the area around Regina in the Spinward Marches, and some basics about the space transport company Oberlindes Lines as a quick-and-dirty campign starter. You can see this document in HTML format. A link to a downloadable Word version of the page can be found there are well.

Alternate History

I've an abiding interest in the vagaries of history, despite Harry Turtledove's recent best efforts to ruin it. As well as fiddling endlessly with a crosstime setting (not currently available on-line), I engage in AAR writing. That's short for "After Action Report" and, while not peculiar to Paradox Games products, the term has been co-opted to mean "an alternative history based on a playthrough of one of their games -- Europa Universalis 2, Hearts of Iron, or Victoria. Recently Paradox changed their copyright policy so that they owned AARs posted to there rather than the author, so I've started sticking my pieces up here.

Also see my one published alternate history, Taxila, on the Pyramid website:

What Paul's Reading

The Quantity Theory of Insanity, Will Self. A writer I've been meaning to read for ages, I came across this one in the remainder bin and no longer had any excuses. This is his first book, a collection of four long short stories, vaguely interconnected. Self is an erdudite and very funny Englishman with a truly jaundiced view on the world that keeps his books from being of the laugh-out-loud variety. Most of this book is set in the odd world of psychiatry and mental institutions, and he gets one wincing as often as laughing -- and usually both at the same time, as befits the best satire.



Last updated: November 18th, 2003
Contact: Paul Drye


"Traveller" is a registered trademark of FarFuture Enterprises