The rpg 2300 A.D. was the first place I saw this concept explicated for science fiction, but it made a lot of sense to me, and I see some of this in the UFP - the Maquis are colonists, Earth is a Core world. It's kind of like the old west and the eastern city slickers concept. Joss Whedon used it to great effect in Firefly. Well, I've never sat down and worked out the spectrum from ultra-liberal, high-population, highly-urbanized, soft-living intellectuals on a major politically powerful world down through the back-of-beyond, thinly-populated, barely-settled, hard-scrabble colony with minimal education facilities. But there'd be a lot more variation than the original concept implied, and I'm running a Traveller game now, which has a galaxy full of planets, with wide variation, and damn-all for details about the societies. Between that and wanting to work with the concept in some of my Trek fanfic when I get a chance to start writing again, I want to flesh out the idea and give some details to the variations. Large, older colonies might not qualify as core worlds yet, but would sure seem like it to someone from one of the smaller colonies. OTOH, a small society settled by reactionaries from a homeworld might have been settled long enough and be built up enough to be a core world, but has rougher, more frontieresque attitudes, laws, and mores. So, any suggestions to help build this? The idea is to give a thumbnail of a realistic, feasible society and where it fits in this spectrum, not to write up L. Niel Smith's body of fiction as UFP colonies. While I do enjoy his writing, his people and world seem too artificial, and the good guys win a little blatantly solely because the laws of physics favor libertarianism. I want a guide that can help make each world my players visit seem different, without a month-long background. Traveller uses a few metrics to differentiate a planet: Population level, law level (mostly concerned with privacy and weapons), tech level, and the planet's characteristics, such as atmosphere type, size (gravity), water percentage, etc. I guess I'm thinking of a kind of Cultural sophistication level and survivalism level, but not as linear as Traveller usually does it. Any input?