I've had a lot of long-winded posts of late, so I've pared this post on influences and inspirations re: the Space Pioneers setting down.
The gist of it:
I wanted to make a new setting for X-plorers that was a little more wild and wooly and allowed for more than the regular space opera (big evil empires!) and the current X-plorers (companies as government) settings. X-plorers is about "galactic troubleshooters" and space operas always have an "us vs. them" feel. I wanted an "us vs. everybody" feel to my universe! So I opted to keep those elements as possibilities to be explored without making them the default settings.
I didn't dispose of the idea of space corporations entirely. Instead, they're catalysts for making space travel cheap enough so as to become accessible to just about anybody--and that was the key: anybody can explore space.
I also was wary of making it too much like the wild west (Firefly!) I wanted it to be more like the 1950s when the baby boom was in full swing after WWII and the US was in it's heyday of living the American Dream. Something seemed fun in a "gee whiz" sort of fashion that pioneers could load up the space RV and go camping on Ganymede like it was Yellowstone. This was another boom--a way of pushing everyone out into the unknown with gusto. I even thought "let's make the family truly nuclear!" Okay, that last part isn't true. ;)
At the same time, I wanted there to be a real Ad Astra, Buck Rogers feeling that anything can happen out in the "wilderness" of space because there's no National Guard or space marines to come save your ass if things get rough. Basically, you're on your own save for your equipment, and possibly a few friends. Yes, there's the CSC, but they're far away, and they're overworked/understaffed. They employ a kind of space ranger meets park ranger meets tax auditor to look in on you from time to time. And maybe you get a visit from the loan officer or spaceship repo man who's coming to find out why you're behind on payments (hint: everybody is).
And these are just sidebars to the real dangers like alien invasions, human marauders and pirates, radiation storms, asteroid collisions, corporate espionage, and rival settler saboteurs that will do everything to see you fail and die horribly.
Life is rough out here in space, and you'd better be ready to shoot first and hurl insults at their corpses later.
Anyway, here are a few of my inspirations:
Click the "pioneers" tag below to see all posts on this new setting idea and class.