Some of you have known me for a while. You know that I have gone to great pains to generate plausible solar systems (thanks to some sterling work by @Agemegos) for my SF games, to learn enough orbital mechanics to calculate realistic delta-V budgets and mission profiles, to format a true 3D star catalogue into the jumpline network for my universe.
I still like this approach.
But I’ve just run a session of Firefly/Genesys, i.e. the Firefly setting and the Genesys rules engine, and it was remarkably liberating. We’re going from here to there? It’ll take about ten days. Want an encounter en route? Sure, no problem, “there’s a drifting ship in your path, do you want to stop to investigate?” We should have multiple habitable planets and moons a few days’ travel apart? Sure, sure, why not? See TVTropes, “Space Is An Ocean”.
(I’ve done this setting/rules combination before with Whartson Hall, but then I was running a pre-written adventure; this time I put it together from scratch.)
It probably helps that I’m not a great fan of Firefly the series: I love the ideas it promises, but I’m largely unimpressed with the execution, which puts me in a position where I want to do something better. But as a substrate for space traders trying to stay out from under the foot of the Empire… yeah, I’ve played Traveller, let’s do this thing.