Traveller: World Stats: Government Types

World Stats – Government Types



The Traveller world generation system wasn’t written specifically for the 3I setting so although the govt. types are fine if you’re rolling up a sub-sector from scratch they’re not tailor made for the 3I – in particular I want a clear distinction between natives and colonies and between standard colonies and contra colonies. On the other hand I don’t want to change any of the canon planetary govt. codes cos it’s a pain.

So instead I’ll make minimal changes to the standard govt. code table so I can still use the canon data and than add secondary tables for the distinct world types so the result will be a composite of the two.


Modified Govt. Type Table

0 no govt
1 participatory democracy
2 company / bureau
3 self perpetuating oligarchy
4 representative democracy
5 feudal tech
6 captive/colony
7 balkan
8 corporate oligarchy
9 bureaucratic oligarchy
A popular autocracy
B unpopular autocracy
C popular oligarchy
D unpopular oligarchy
E totalitarian autocracy
F totalitarian oligarchy

The main changes are

  • swapping “company/bureau” and “participatory democracy” in the table so “company” is slightly more frequent
  • type 2 “company” now includes 3I orgs like research, imperial reserve admin, academics etc
  • replaced “civil service bureaucracy” with “corporate oligarchy” (think “Blade Runner”) at 8
  • changed some of the later labels to be less specific so they can mean multiple things e.g. military autocrat or religious autocrat


Colony Tables

As described in the “Native or Colony” post systems with a pop of 5- are colonies and systems with a pop of 6-8 *might* be colonies. Once it is decided if a system is a colony the next question is whether it is a standard colony or a contra colony. This is subjective but generally the system’s position and world stats point at which:

  • more trade, higher tech -> standard colony
  • less trade, lower tech, remoteness -> contra colony

Once the type of colony is decided there are two tables, one for the contra colonies and one for standard 3I colonies that can be used for inspiration when writing up the system and going beyond the UPP. If the canon govt. type in the UPP maps onto one of the govt. options on the colony table then use that otherwise roll on the table and use the result in combination with the government type in the UPP data.

For example if the system looks like it ought to be a standard colony but the govt type in the UPP is 8 (corporate oligarchy) and a roll on the colony table gives “Free Company” then combining the two results might give you: a Free Company started the colony but was taken over by a corporation when it grew successful – instant conflict if the takeover was recent or ongoing.


Contra Colony Table (pop 5-)

roll D6+pop-4

  1. Backwoodsmen (Fremen) (type 2: participatory democracy)
  2. Charismatic Leader (ideological cult) (type A: charismatic dictatorship)
  3. Charismatic Leader (religious cult) (type D: religious dictatorship)
  4. Charismatic Oligarchy (elders: religion/ideology) (type C: charismatic oligarchy)
  5. Republic (Fremen) (type 4: representative democracy)
  6. Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy (started as one of 1-5) (Self-Perpetuating Oligarchytype 3)


3I colony table (pop 5-)

roll D6+pop-3

  1. Belters (resource extraction) (type 1 Participatory Democracy)
  2. Claim Owners (resource extraction) (type 3 self-perpetuating oligarchy)
  3. 3I bureau (research, colonial office, imperial reserve, penal etc) (type 2: company/bureau)
  4. Free Company (resource extraction) (type 4 Representative Democracy)
  5. Company/Corporation (type 2 company/bureau)
  6. 3I Nobles (type 5: Feudal Technocracy)

where free companies are democratically organized commercial ventures like Belter collectives.


Pop 6-8 Systems: Successful Colony or Stunted Native (or “Elf” Native)

The world stats and position of the system may naturally point to which type a system but as an aid you can give a system a score based on these factors:

pop 6: +1 3I colony, +1 contra colony
pop 7: +1 native
pop 8: +2 native

minimal trade: +1 contra colony, +1 native
low tech: +1 contra colony, +1 native

good trade: +1 3I colony
high tech: +1 3I colony

prime atmosphere + low tech: +1 native
prime atmosphere + mid tech: +1 native
prime atmosphere + high tech: +2 native (Elf)

bad atmos + low tech: +1 contra colony, +2 native (if modified)
bad atmos + mid tech: +1 contra colony, +1 native (if modified)
bad atmos + high tech: +1 3I colony

so for example say a system is pop 6, low trade, low tech and (bad atmosphere + mid tech) then its score would be

  • contra colony: +1 (pop) +1 (low trade) +1 (low tech) +1 (atmos) = 4
  • 3I colony: +1 (pop size) = 1
  • stunted native: +1 (low trade) +1 (low tech) +1 (atmos) (if modified) = 2 or 3

so final score would point at contra colony (or stunted native if modified)

(nb this is just a guide to help the GM make stuff up – if the GM has an idea already then use that.)



If I was doing the whole thing from scratch I’d want to take account of the main points that came out of the “Generic: Government Types” post:

  1. War pushes cultures towards Monarchy/Aristocracy and peace towards Oligarchy/Democracy.
  2. The scale of a society – both in terms of population numbers and physical area – make certain forms of government more difficult to maintain. Technology can counter-act this.
  3. Once a stable state has been reached i.e. where both war and peace and technology and scale are in equilibrium – whether bronze age tech and small city state or industrial tech and large nation state – then human nature tends to generate a cycle of government types due to corruption and revolution.

The last point was called Kyklos by the Ancient Greeks.

According to Polybius, who has the most fully developed version of the cycle, it rotates through the three basic forms of government, democracy, aristocracy, andmonarchy and the three degenerate forms of each of these governments ochlocracy, oligarchy, and tyranny. Originally society is in anarchy but the strongest figure emerges and sets up a monarchy. The monarch’s descendants, who because of their family’s power lack virtue, become despots and the monarchy degenerates into a tyranny. Because of the excesses of the ruler the tyranny is overthrown by the leading citizens of the state who set up an aristocracy. They too quickly forget about virtue and the state becomes an oligarchy. These oligarchs are overthrown by the people who set up a democracy. Democracy soon becomes corrupt and degenerates into mob rule, beginning the cycle anew.

And the table would go something like

colony section:

0 no govt
1 contra colony – freedom
2 contra colony – cult
3 contra colony – belters
4 3I bureau (research, reserve etc)
5 resource extraction – 3I free companies
6 resource extraction – 3I corporation
7 feudal technocracy (3I admin / military)

native section:

8 monarchy
9 tyranny (bad monarchy)
10 aristocracy
11 oligarchy (bad aristocracy)
12 republic
13 democracy (bad republic)

but too much hassle



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