Traveller: Early Vilani: Backstory

Early Vilani: Backstory

There is a canon version of Vilani history but i’ll modify it a bit

The world of Vland, while possessed of a hospitable environment, boasted an alien ecology based on its own independently evolved biology, a biology that produced amino acids, proteins, and sugars that were difficult for humans to digest and metabolize. The humans just could not use local plant and animal life for food.

One of the oldest occupations in Vilani society is that of shugilii (Anglic: shugilii) (which translates roughly as miller). The shugilii was a person who could transform raw food into edible food through special aging and chemical treatments. The shugilii position was more akin to that of shaman or witch doctor than that of cook. Since virtually no food on Vland was edible without some treatment, shugilii were powerful members of society.

The alienness of land was reciprocal: humans were unsuitable as food for predators, parasites died because humans provided no nutrition, bacteria could not infect the human system, and even viruses were unable to invade and take over human cells. Consequently, the primitive human society found no need for medically oriented shaman.


Change this to Vland being especially hostile to human life in every way from nutrition to bugs to predators. Vilani engineered by the Ancients to have greatly improved immune systems to compensate. This gives Vilani long life on less hostile planets (including Vland once Vilani tech developed enough to suppress the threats.) The “Angels” (Ancients) of the Vilani religion taught them how to treat native foods to make them more edible via the Shugili food-priests.

(Vilani +2 bonus to con.)


Vilani medical understanding was very slow to develop because of this.

Opposite. Make the food-priests superb doctors because it was the only way to provide a reasonable lifespan on Vland. This led to the priests also being the scientists of Vilani society.



Vilani legends are full of accounts of the wars of the gods, terrible destruction, and occasional intervention in human affairs by the gods. Legends exist of early explorers who found lands with great living stone-metal gods possessed of immense magical powers. Modern archaeologists now believe these “gods” were actually great robot warriors and juggernauts used by the ancients in the Final War.

Vland a major Ancients naval base so when their fleet AI went rogue Vland was the venue for major battles leaving Ancients tech scattered across the world. This sped up Vilani development gaining them a head start on other species.



Early Vilani society was dominated by three groups: the shugilii, the aristocrats, and the merchants. Aristocrats were the natural leaders of society, the shugilii were the all important food processors, and the merchants controlled trade.

Change this slightly to be: food-priest caste, conservative tradition-bound and hearth-centric, aristocrats warrior / elite caste, merchants – hostile environment including burrowing predators leading to Vilani settlements being scattered and built on top of rocky plateaus safe from attack from below – the merchants therefore are more scouts / rangers / caravaneers plying trade routes across the wilderness slightly disreputable and slightly outcaste.


The Vilani discovered intelligent lifeforms on other worlds within 60 parsecs of Vland. None of the races had progressed enough to have begun interstellar travel. The Vilani found it easy to dominate these less technically advanced races. The Vilani were able to impose Vilani culture and law on these other races among the stars. However, the Vilani conquering was not of a militaristic nature, but was economic subjugation.

Check. *Some* military conquest and subjugation of critical worlds but mostly economic.


As their sphere of influence was expanding, the Vilani found it difficult to maintain control across such great distances with jump-l their maximum rate of travel and communication. At the same time, each of the three power classes of the Vilani society found themselves threatened by the forces around it.

Maximum J1, check.


Three bureaus were established, each independent of the other two, and each assigned a territory among the stars for which it was responsible. Each of the three bureaus was effectively identical, but they initially espoused different philosophies, which were based on their origins. The bureaus maintained their own governments within their territories.

Scrap this part. The three bureaus are the three castes. The merchants caste are the initial explorers and scouts. They find and colonize settlements first in the Vland system and then outside. The warrior/elite caste follow behind, they maintain military power and use it to take away the most important settlements from the Merchants. The Merchants houses are very non heirarchical and independent so they are constantly looking for new systems and colonies but always have the best worlds they discover taken off them by the warrior/elite. The merchants thus always have more ships and colonies while the warrior caste always has the most militarily important industrial ones with the big warships. Individual merchant houses rule many systems / worlds. The nobility – still Republican at this point – are hereditary like Roman senators but are given governorships of systems temporarily for fixed terms of office as Praetors and Proconsuls in a way similar to the Roman republican model.

The food-priests are just that – a priesthood that follows the colonies and tries to keep the peace between the aristocratic families and merchant houses. They are also the scientists.


Sharurshid: merchant houses

Makhidkarun: aristocracy / warrior caste (the only route into the aristocracy is through military service)

Naasirka: priesthood / later scientists also


In Classic Traveller terms the aristocrat / warrior castes would be a mixture of Navy and Marines career. The merchant houses would be a mixture of merchant / scouts / other. The army would be for regular citizens. The priests would need a unique medical / scientific / diplomat type career.


The friction between the merchant houses and the aristocracy leads eventually to Vilani downfall. When they come across Terrans the merchants feed them Vilani tech and try and use them as an army against the aristocracy.


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