So now I've got a deadline. I sent out an e-mail to seven prospective players (and I've already gotten one response) setting a date to start on January the 23rd. That session should be mostly character generation, but it still means I need to have some idea of what's going on in my subsector by then. None of this "I'll start recruiting when I'm ready" nonsense that doomed last semesters attempt at a Traveller game.
Every game I've ever run successfully, that actually lasted for a couple months and had a good time with, I had up and running in less than two weeks. Any more time to plan than that, and I start getting unfocused, and usually find something more interesting to work on. I don't have nearly the problem keeping my mind on the game once the players start getting up to interesting hi-jinks.
Traveller's a good game for a two week start up, since I don't need to do a whole lot of planning to get started, and I've already done a fair bit of the work. Thanks to the Traveller System Generator I have the basic details of all the worlds worked out. I want to give names and a bit of character to the half that don't have either yet, and more detailed write ups to the planet I've picked to start in and the worlds nearby. NPCs, conflicts, trade tables, maybe a bit on the local wildlife -- nothing too fancy, but enough to get a game going.
Because that's my goal. Get the game started. That's, ultimately, why I decided against the other contenders for next semester's game. As much as I like Swords & Wizardry, and as intrigued as I am by the new World of Darkness games, neither of them give me the same "get up and game!" feeling that Traveller does. (Thanks, ChattyDM!) I know I can generate a lot of space adventure and fast, and I have a lot more confidence that the players will all be on the same page as me. Those other systems have their own two weeks in the future, but this time it's all Traveller.