Traveller ATU: Early Colonization: Sequence

Early Colonization: Sequence

Taking the conclusions in “Historical Notes” as the template then an early colonization would follow a specific sequence.



1) Scouts
  • jump to unexplored system
  • set up basic scout outpost for refueling and repair
  • basic astrogation survey – can jump to unexplored system
  • full astrogation survey – mark space anomalies
  • investigate space anomalies
  • orbital planetary surveys
  • mark planetary anomalies
  • investigate priority anomalies
  • survey sites for settlement colonies
  • set up base for ground teams on potential colony sites
  • investigate everything around colony sites
  • if settlement or supply colony site accepted then colonial service takes over
  • if site of or route to secondary colony then maintain scout outpost
  • else withdraw

this sequence will generally be ongoing in multiple systems at once

large numbers of TL10 scouts are built early on and although some get upgraded a large number end up surplus leading to the phenomenon of “detached duty” scout in later eras.

there may be scores of anomalies marked in the surveys in each system but not all anomalies are investigated at first – space anomalies in systems designated for colonies are first priority and ground anomalies near colony sites are second – lower priority anomalies are just recorded and investigated as and when personnel become available.


Space Anomalies

Traveller doesn’t have much in the way of space hazards but my Jump-drive gravity handwavium allows for the possibility of maritime like gravity hazards i.e. space is like a sea of gravity and as such there can be gravity based

  • tides
  • storms
  • whirl pools
  • dead zones

etc. The first part of the scout service’s job is to find, explore and mark these space anomalies. This can be very dangerous and space is littered with scout ship wrecks.

Warhammer 40K’s “Rogue Trader” is a good resource for this.

So IMTU space maps – with all the gravity eddies marked – look a bit like old nautical maps.



2) Research

If an investigated anomaly merits further study it is marked for a research team. Initially the highest priority are anomalies related to exploration and colonization and these teams are usually academics recruited by the Scout or Colonial Service. This continues to be the case on the frontier but near the home world over time research teams are more likely to be funded by academic or commercial institutions. If there’s a potential military application the research team may be from the navy.

  • activate mothballed refuel/repair outpost if system explored but left behind as unsuitable
  • set up research base around anomaly
  • space station or ground station
  • research may be ongoing / automated after setup / mothballed if complete

Having lots of small mothballed government surplus bases makes them available to be sold or leased to non-govt groups later on.


3) Colonial Service

Once the first potential settlement colony site is decided on the colonial service takes authority over that system and the supply systems en route to it and work to turn it into a self-sufficient colony that could survive a home world catastrophe.

  • upgrade the scout outposts (E) along the route to supply colonies (C)
  • start shipping colonial service personnel and equipment to colony site (B1, B2)
  • start bringing in colonists to make colony self-sufficient (B3 to B5)
  • colonies generally can’t build or maintain orbital facilities yet so ships have to be able to land


4) Navy & Marines

In the early days the home world Navy is mostly orbital and planetary based with a few picket ships available to detect and destroy asteroids. The Navy has a lot of personnel but is focused on the home solar system and the number of interstellar naval ships is very low.

  • Destroyers
  • Colonial Cruisers (with colonial marines)
  • various supply ships

Stable settlement colonies often get a one or two “Destroyer” class ships for asteroid duty.

Naval security tasks are initially handled by the pre-existing Navy Shore Patrol (military police) and dangerous anomalies are initially assigned to Scout Service away teams but it soon becomes clear that some situations call for heavier weaponry and that leads to the formation of colonial marine battalions built around the colonial cruiser design.


Common Ships

The campaign starts at TL10 so limited size ships initially.

  • Scouts: 100 dton scouts and outpost ships, 200 dton planetary survey and supply ships, 400 dton mother ships.
  • Colonial Service: 200 dton supply ships and 400 dton colony ships
  • Research: 200 dton supply and 400 dton lab ships
  • Navy: supply ships, 300 dton destroyers, 400 dton colonial cruiser
  • Corporate: 200 dton yachts

large numbers of these TL10 ships are built early on and they eventually find their way into private hands as surplus e.g. the early 200 dton supply ships become the ubiquitous “Free Trader” design and the 300 dton “Protector” class destroyers are later upgraded to the “Gazelle” class close escort.

the colonial cruiser carries a complement of marines for “bug hunts”

ships are often used as first stage bases e.g. the scout service outpost class ship acts as a temporary base for scout surveys and the colonial service “Brood” class colony ship is designed to land on the colony site and provide power, admin, comms, shelter and security while the colony is developed.





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