In Starter Traveller you begin the creation of the universe on a more local scale; the subsector. Consisting of an area of space 8x10 hexes. Each hex represents one parsec, or 3.26 light years. There is a 50/50 chance that there will be a star in any hex with a potentially inhabited planet. Once you determine of there is such a star & planet combo you follow the check list to roll up the world. Like characters, worlds are described by a series of letters and numbers. These represent, in order; Starport type, planet size, atmosphere, water, population, government, and law. You also determine the tech level for the planet, which ranges from stone age to basically godlike power. It's funny how it scales through the list. For example tech level 5 resembles 1900-1939. 6 is 1940-1969, 7 is 70-79, 8 is the 80's, 9 is the 90's, and then 10 is Interstellar Community.
Did you know that we're a decade into our interstellar period? Go us!
Once you have your worlds figured out, the next step is to plot out communication and trade routes. It does not tell you how to do this.
World building in Traveller can be... weird. You may end up with an airless asteroid with no population, but a corporate government that's pretty strict with it's laws. In looking over the world generation system, there do seem to be a few minor adjustments I'd make, just to help things make more sense.
Here is an example world I rolled up today. It is in hex 0101. The world is Munduan - A30069A-C. The first digit stands for the Starport, in this case a Class A Starport. Next is the planet's diameter, atmosphere, and water level. for Munduan it's a small planetoid of 3,000 miles, which for reference is about the size of Mercury. It has no atmosphere and no water. The next 3 digits represent the population, government type, and law level. Munduan has somewhere between 1 million and 10 million inhabitants. It is ruled by an Impersonal Bureaucracy, and they are very strict - no one is allowed to own, let alone carry a weapon of any type. Walking sticks without a doctors note could get you brought up before a magistrate.
The final notation represents the worlds technology level. C stands for Average Imperial.
Munduan is obviously a vacuum world, non industrial, non agricultural. It needs to import just about everything. In fact, the only thing it has going for it is that it is the link between this subsector and 3 others, and has a large if somewhat older starport. It also hosts a Scout Base, and it shares it's star with a gas giant, which is where the Starport harvests it's fuel to sell to those passing through the system.
Since Shinobicow of The Dump Stat is posting characters for the rest of the year, I'm going to give them a subsector to inhabit and explore.
The Classic Traveller Starter Kit is currently available for free from RPGNow. It contains all you need to play Traveller including rules for character, world, sector, starship and encounter generation as well as two complete classic adventures to kick start your own exploration among the stars. Go get it!