Monthly Archives: November 2015

Alternative Ship Design II

Attempted mashup of CT and HG for < 5k dtons


  • wedge
  • 0.1mcr/ton
  • min 20
  • 2% min 20
  • 0.5mcr per 100 tons of ship
  • model 1: TL08, 2mcr
  • model 1bis: TL09, 4mcr
  • model 2: TL10, 8mcr
  • model 2bis: TL10, 12mcr
  • model 3: TL11, 16mcr
  • model 4: TL12, 20mcr
  • model 5: TL13, 40mcr
  • model 6: TL14, 60mcr
  • model 7: TL15, 80mcr
  • percentages
  • j-drive 5% mass, min 5
  • TL10 J1
  • TL11 J2
  • TL12 J3
  • TL13 J4
  • TL14 J5
  • TL15 J6
  • Jn mcr / ton
  • m-drive 5% mass
  • TL09 1G
  • TL10 2G etc
  • 0.5Mn mcr/ton
  • power 5% mass
  • TL09 A
  • TL10 B etc
  • 0.5Pn mcr / ton
  • 1xengineer per 15dt drives
  • fuel 0.1MJn + 10Pn
  • 1mcr per 100
  • fuel scoops
fuel purification
  • 1 dt purifies 1 dt per hour
  • 0.1mcr / ton
  • 1 dt holding tank per dt of purifier
  • water -> unrefined = 2dt per dt per hour
  • water->unrefined->refined = 3dt per dt per hour
hard points
  • max 1 hp per 100dt, 100k each
  • add turrets and weapons
  • 1 dt turret – 1hp, 1mcr
  • 4 dt bay – 4 hp, 4mcr
  • 16 dt bay – 16 hp, 16mcr
  • sr 4 tons 500k
  • lb 1/2t 50k
  • life pods 100k 1t
  • TL 7+ 4+4a
  • TL10+ 3+3a
  • TL12+ 2+2a
  • TL14 !+1a
  • planetoid +3/+6
  • max a = TL
small craft
  • < 100 no fittings on ships below 1000 or dist config
  • 130% mass on bigger ships
  • big craft > 100 require 110%
  • launch tubes 40 per turn


Combat Rules

As CT but laser ranges proportional to weapon power

  • ranges 1, 2, 4, 8 (6″, 12″, 24″, 48″)
  • laser01: pen 1 at range 1
  • laser04: pen 4 at range 1, pen 1 at range 2
  • laser16: pen 16 at range 1, pen 4 at range 2, pen 1 at range 4

pen = #hits


  • weapon fires wide beam at one lower power level
  • 30 degree cone
  • laser 4: pen 1 wide beam at range 1
  • laser 16: pen 4 wide beam at range 1, pen 1 wide beam at range 2


  • ships have 1 structure point per 10 dt
  • hits melt armor first
  • hull, turret etc hits do 1 pt if depressurized, 2 pts otherwise
  • fighting depressurized DM-2 plus vaccsuit skill.



(1) 5000 dt warship

  • hull – 5K, 500mcr
  • bridge – 100dt, 25mcr
  • model/4 20mcr
  • 10 command crew
  • J3 – 250dt 750mcr
  • 3G – 250dt 375mcr
  • P3 – 250dt 375mcr
  • total 750 dt, 1500mcr
  • 50 x engineers
  • fuel 1500+30
  • streamlining: no
  • fuel purification: no
  • hard points: 50 (5mcr)
  • 2 x 16 bays
  • 2 x 4 bays
  • 10 x turrets
  • 50dt, 50mcr
  • 50 x gunners

(2) Scout

  • hull 100dt 10mcr
  • bridge 20dt 0.5mcr
  • computer model/2 8mcr
  • 1 x command crew
  • J1 5dt 5mcr
  • M1 5dt 2.5mcr
  • P1 5dt 2.5mcr
  • fuel 10+10
  • streamlining 1mcr
  • fuel purifying 3dt 0.1mcr
  • 1xhardpoint 0.1mcr
  • 1xturret, 1dt
  • 59dt, 29.8mcr


M-Drive Handwavium

Changed to fit new J-Drive handwavium.


M-Drive works similarly to J-Drive in that it creates a bubble into 5D where the laws of gravity work differently.

In this case the M drive creates an M bubble in the core of the ship which allows the ship to *fall* in any direction it wants.

The power plant is required for the M drive to create the bubble but the M drive maintains the trickle of power needed to maintain the bubble after that.

Once created the M bubble lasts indefinitely with just a trickle of power.

The density of the bubble determines the maximum G.



In CT ships need 10Pn dtons of fuel for the power plant where Pn is the power number needed to to power the M drive for max G.

So a ship with an M drive that can create 4G needs a power plant with a power number of 4 also and so that power plant takes 10Pn dtons of fuel or 40 dtons.

In my handwavium it only takes Pn dtons to create the bubble (plus a trickle to maintain it). The 10Pn fuel requirement allows the creation of ten M bubbles.

So under normal operation a ship leaving to jump would fire up the M drive once (first go) till jump point, switch off (as imtu you can’t have M and J bubbles at the same time) and then switch the M bubble on again after the jump (second go) to port.

So 10Pn of fuel is like the amount considered safe rather than the amount used. If a ship only fires up the M drive twice on a trip then it will only use 2Pn.

Also if a ship has an M drive capable of producing nG then it can create bubbles of lower G that require less fuel.

A 2G scout would use 2dtons of fuel to fire up the M drive to create a 2G bubble or only 1 dton to create a 1G bubble.

A type T patrol ship with max 4G could use 4 dtons to create a 4G M bubble or just use 2 dtons and stick to 2G.


Realism in Sci Fi

sparked by forum thread


Obviously arguing over realism in a sci fi RPG doesn’t make sense any but regardless my preference is that sci fi defaults to everyday realism except where a specific technology explains the difference.

So in “Outland” although the sheriff is in a futuristic space station he has a standard shotgun so in the shootout it still obeys the rules of standard shotguns. If it had been shown earlier that he had a pistol firing heat seeking missile bullets then it could have been different.

So imo, default to realism *except* where the setting’s future technology explicitly negates it.

This is the context behind why arguing over stuff like the existence of pirates in Traveller makes sense imo. My preference is realism can be negated explicitly on a case by case basis by specific technology but otherwise default realism applies.

Hence for me instead of “if you swallow an elephant sized unrealistic premise (e.g. jump) why not just swallow every gnat-sized unrealistic premise?” I prefer to treat each gnat and each elephant individually to minimize the elephants.


Another aspect of the gnat vs elephant thing is individual knowledge might make one thing seem like an elephant to one person while it is only a gnat to someone else.

For example someone who knows a lot about weapons might have an elephant sized problem with something related to weaponry that is a gnat to most or someone who knows a lot about navies or someone who knows a lot about physics might find the FTL / jump thing an elephant while others don’t.


Personally I like “realism” convos as even though it’s just a game I like my handwavium to turn as many elephants into gnats as possible – dunno why but I like it.

For example since watching Interstellar my jump handwavium has become dimensional – the ship slips into the 5th or whichever dimension and in that dimension you can align the line between the point you’re at and the destination point in 4D space until they are in the same spot in 5D space and then you simply exit 5D space at the destination – so you barely move at all let alone FTL, you just slip into 5D space, rearrange the geometry and then slip out again.

Now I’m not saying that is any more plausible than the earlier handwavium but as far as I’m aware no one has yet *proven* that the laws of physics which apply in 4D space apply exactly the same way in 5D or 6D or 10D space.

So for me that shrunk that particular elephant a bit.

Belters: The Maccoils

IMTU wherever a mining operation can make a good profit a corporation will move in and take it but there are many places where there isn’t a good profit but there is a reasonable living for the sort of people who prefer a lot of freedom and here you find belters.

IMTU there are three kinds of Belter
– solo operators
– free companies: solo operators grouped up for security and operating by a rough democratic code of rules similar to ancient earth pirate crews or mercenary companies (both of which they occasionally sideline in)
– clan belters: large extended families of Belters who operate small flotillas of rag tag vessels


The Maccoils are a clan belter family of around 100+ family members who operate in the small coreward cluster of Glisten moving more or less on a whim between the eight systems connected to Ffudn by J1.

Their flotilla comprises:

1) type C cruiser converted to home + basic smelter
– M drives removed and replaced with D giving J1 and 1G
– fuel reduced to 100, 90 for ship, 10 for the smelter
– 4 cutters, 3 x mining, 1 x passenger
– 8 turrets
– smelter 100 dton
– 2 x ore bays 100 dton each
– (one bay filled, processed, transferred to second bay)
– 25 SR – roughly 6 families, doubling up
– (clan belter family c. 8 people, parents, grandparents, 4-6 kids)
– 22 dtons spare – nursery, distillery, supplies etc

2) type R converted to main home
– low berths removed
– 4 turrets
– 4 launches
– 32 SR – c. 8 families mostly doubling up
– 40 dtons main dining and communal area, bar, kitchen etc
– 31 dtons cargo
– (people from ship 1 work and sleep on 1 but hang out on 2)

3) 2 x standard Seekers

4) type A Free Trader
– 20 low berths removed
– launch added
– 10 SR – c. 2 families
– 82 dtons cargo hold

The flotilla mostly travels together except when the Free Trader takes the ore to sell or one of the seekers is away looking for a new pitch.


Incidents or rumors of incidents involving the Maccoils

940: Whiskers Maccoil died without teaching navigation to a replacement leading to the hijack of Free Trader Quenya and the kidnap of their navigator. Release negotiated by the Scouts and two Maccoils served twenty years each at Mithras.

992: Suspected piracy after disappearance of solo Belter in Centry.

1015: Ahab Maccoil charged with the illegal supply of distilled liquor, Ffudn.

1042: Suspected piracy, Far Trader, Caledonia.

1085: Cantina gunfight on Bendor over a Maccoil feud with the Macabeens one of the two clan belter families who work the rimward cluster in Glisten over an unpaid dowry for an arranged marriage ending in two Maccoils, four Maccabeens and six bystanders wounded or killed.


Dagon, Deep Ones & Tcho-Tcho


Have a bunch of re-useable modified humans with a plausible back story to make it easier to flesh out worlds on the fly.


The UWP references the planet (or moon) in the system which is closest to Earth-like.

But what does earth-like mean?

If you look at the supposed history of earth

then (very roughly) you get 4.5 billion years split into
– 500 million years of hell world
– 3.5 billion of gradually increasing oxygen
– 500 million years of oxygen explosion

so roughly 80% of the time “earth-like” meant
– barren continents and islands
– carbon dioxide atmosphere
– mildly acidic oceans
– no ozone layer so lots of radiation

with a gradual transition to a more oxygenated world.

So if for the sake of argument potentially habitable planets / moons are often like that but a large majority are in their CO2 phase then that creates a neat and at least game-plausible reason for the Ancients to seed those systems with fire and forget biological terraformers.



So divide the oxygenation process into three stages for convenience and have the Ancients drop some humans modified to survive the conditions with some food source that speeds up the oxygenating process.

Early Stage 1)little oxygen, Dagon
No sea life yet. Large modified aquatic species living in deep water protected from the radiation and growing some kind of native microbial goop around hot vents in volcanic areas. Slow metabolism. Tolerates oxygen but doesn’t use it. No light, blind but mildly psionic.

Middle Stage 2) oxygenated oceans, Deep Ones
More oxygen, more ozone protection from radiation, lots of sea life, microbial goop farming in coastal waters. Come on land to breed in coastal caves or reefs, babies look relatively human, gradually take on Deep One characteristics as they mature.

Late Stage 3) early land colonization, Tcho-Tcho
Oxygenated oceans, beginning of microbial colonization of coastal land. Tcho-Tcho adapted for very thin atmosphere with lots of CO2 and limited oxygen. Short, barrel-chested, hyper efficient breathing – either dark-skinned, burrowing or nocturnal for the radiation (maybe all three). Grow native microbial goop.

Planets that were part way between 1 and 2 when they were seeded could have been seeded with both Dagon and Deep Ones with the Deep Ones ending up treating the Dagon as gods due to their psionic ability.

Low population density in all cases.


The names come from Cthulhu but the names of various of the canon minor races that fit could be used instead.



The terra forming process could gradually kill off the terra formers:

  1. The growth of sea life could lead to burrowing sea creatures who kill off the microbial mats except in certain locations.
  2. Some Deep Ones could adapt to hunting sea food.
  3. Some might die out leaving primitive underwater temples, carved corral reefs etc behind.
  4. Deepwater Dagons left behind.
  5. Various breeds of Tcho-Tcho adapted to local conditions separate from the atmosphere e.g. taller and spindly, short and stocky, furry.
  6. Tcho-Tcho may gradually retreat to high altitudes as oxygen increases



  • Deep Ones: stronger, tougher, rubbery skin, claws, bite, low to medium intelligence – C7C500, capable of using nets, coral daggers etc. If successfully breed with full humans – difficult but possible – they can be made smarter.
  • Tcho-Tcho: generally short, thin, barrel chest, membrane nose, ark skinned with other variations depending on other conditions – 575600

I’m going to treat some of the canon minor species as connected

I’ll say Luriani are standard Deep Ones and Aquaan and Nexies were created by Solomani / SuSaG breeding humans with remnant Deep Ones.



very thin and very thin tainted atmospheres

maybe thin and thin tainted

rare above that except remnant populations


World Stats: Earth-Like Planet

The standard Traveller world generation only generates one world per system and IMTU i’m taking that to mean the generated world is the closest to an “earth-like” planet in the system.

So what does earth-like mean?

I take it to mean a planet in the habitable zone of a star that is going through the same long process that resulted in earth however it might be at the start of the process, at the end or anywhere in between.

So where the world stats can be fitted into this earth-like sequence (not all can) the stats represent a planet similar to earth at the same stage of the process.


The Earth-Like Sequence


Hadean Era

4.5 billion years ago (1/3 of universe age apparently)


Solar Nebula

Load of gas and stuff swirling around, majority congeals into a star, the rest settles into orbital rings





Planets form by accretion of this swirly stuff into planetisimals

ALMA - HL Tauri

(ALMA – HL Tauri)

The distinction between creating planets or gas giants is gas giants form beyond the snow line where water freezes.


Volcanic Outgassing

So big ball of stuff, volcanic activity pushing gases to the surface creating an atmosphere – no oxygen yet.


(Public Domain Pictures)

Lots of stuff still in the orbital rings so lots of collisions and bombardments.

Big collision with another protoplanet possibly creates moon.


Archaen Era

3.5 billion years ago

no ozone layer -> lots of radiation



fewer collisions, cooling, solid crust, less volcanic.

small tectonic plates.

lots of small continents.

liquid water on the crust.


Microbial Mats

microbial mats around hot water vents underwater.

microbial mats can be flat, blocks, spherical, towers etc


(Donnie Reid)

microbes evolve to feed on whatever chemicals are available – including carbon dioxide to oxygen


Proterozoic Era

2.5 billion years ago



Once photosynthesis gained then oxygen starts to be added.

Simple single celled organisms.


Snowball Earth

Some phases of almost total glaciation: general idea as proportions of various gases goes up and down can get colder until runaway glaciation – reversed eventually most likely by volcanic eruptions gradually adding more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.


Ozone Layer

Oxygen -> ozone layer -> protection from radiation


Cambrian Explosion

580 million years ago

Oxygen tipping point – multi-celled organisms

lots of complex creatures in the oceans – trilobites and arthropods

continents barren apart from microbe mats

hotter, less oxygen, more CO2, high sea level


plants colonize edges of continents (related to reduced radiation from ozone?)

arthropods gradually colonize continents from edges inward





Max Oxygen

When hit max oxygen -> giant plants and creatures




evolution of trees – reduced CO2

meteorite impacts

generally lots of wobbles are possible as the atmosphere components shake out



There are a lot of different stages the most earth-like orbit in a system goes through and it takes a lot of time and even when it reaches the habitable form it may go through erratic cycles of cooling and heating leading in and out of ice ages etc.


Game Translation

In game terms this sequence can be broken down into six stages.

Stage 1: Solar Nebula / Accretion

Not very suitable for adventuring.

Stage 2: Volcanic Outgassing

This stage would start at hell world, volcanic, surface radiation, bombardment followed by cooling and a transition to continents and seas with extreme surface radiation.

Stage 3: Underwater Microbial

Microbial mats develop underwater around hot water vents along the edges of tectonic plates, carbon dioxide to oxygen – first life, extreme surface radiation.

Stage 4: Photosynthesis

Microbial mats spread, feed deep sea creatures, plankton, photosynthesis adds oxygen to atmosphere, ozone starts to reduce surface radiation -> gradually leads to teeming oceans.

Stage 5: Pre Earth-Like

Starts with teeming oceans, barren continents and low-medium radiation -> microbial life gradually colonizes the edge of the continents, then plants then arthropods -> eventually teeming continents

Stage 6: Earth-Like

Starts with teeming life on both land and sea -> cycle of heating / cooling as gases get out of balance leading to ice ages and global warming also occasional wipe outs from asteroid strikes. If sentient life develops to the point of climate control and orbital defenses then these get negated.


World Stats

What world stats fit a particular stage in the earth-like sequence

  • stage 1: planetary size 0-2 and no atmosphere
  • stage 2: exotic atmosphere, fluid or hell world
  • stage 3: exotic or maybe trace atmosphere
  • stage 4: very thin atmosphere
  • stage 5: thin atmosphere
  • stage 6a: standard atmosphere, taint might mean almost standard
  • stage 6b: dense atmosphere could indicate the gases are out of balance in some way, global warming / ice age

This doesn’t have to be applied strictly however it provides a quick rule of thumb for visualizing worlds particularly with thin or very thin atmospheres as being barren rocks in the process of becoming earth like.



This sequence also relates to the type of terraforming that might be ongoing on a planet.

Stage One and Two: assuming forming or speeding the formation of stars, planets and moons is very high tech this won’t apply.

Stage Three: barren continents, barren seas, radiation protected habitat: orbital, underground, or underwater where terraformers propagate microbial mats under the sea near natural or artificial hot water vents

Stage 4: barren continents, pregnant seas, radiation protected marine habitats propagating photosynthesis, plankton, sea life

Stage 5: barren continents, teeming seas, radiation protected habitat propagating life around the coasts of the continents

Stage 6: last stage either propagating life to the interior of pregnant coastlines *or* the process has completed a runaway atmosphere (too hot / too cold) is being rebalnced


Ancients Terraforming

If you have some kind of very high tech Ancients race there may be evidence of their earlier terraforming, for example

  • artificial ozone layer
  • underwater facilities
  • bio-engineered plants and creatures with high radiation protection
  • bio-engineered terraformers i.e. creatures that naturally terraform


Cthulhu Connection

If your Ancients are connected to the Cthulhu Mythos some of the Cthulhu races could be connected to terraforming.

Deep Ones

For example say the Deep Ones are a terraformer species – either natural or bio-engineered. Each colony has a breeding pair they call Dagon and Mother Hydra with soldiers (Star Spawn) and the Deep Ones themselves. The Deep Ones artificially farm microbial mats near hot water vents for food thus speeding up that process and when it becomes possible they farm plankton and then later coastal seaweed also. Oxygen is a taint to them so as the world becomes more oxygenated their population drops. They can move onland for a short time using a kelp water mask. If a sentient species develops they can sometimes interbreed with them.


Tcho-Tcho could be an inland variation on this theme – live in caves or tunnels underground, high radiation resistance – for the stage where life has spread to the edge of the continents but hasn’t spread to the interior yet. Small, fast maturing and breeding, cannibalistic farming some kind of oxygen producing goop with high radiation resistance, too much oxygen is a taint – originally coastal, pushed up into mountains as world oxygenates to get away from the oxygen basically goblins.



General page for stuff about critters.


Earth Domesticates

simple list to go through on a planet to imagine what local alternatives there might be

cats – vermin control, companion
dogs – hunting, companion
chickens – meat and eggs
sheep – meat and clothing
pigs – meat
cows/goats – milk and meat
horse/oxen – riding, racing, carrying, pulling
hawks – hunting


Sentients From Traveller Animal Creation System

If the native sentient evolved from an animal then creating  a random animal and trying to figure out why it would be sentient can help imagine a world nb first level of sentient here is just apes, dolphins, ants etc

  • if nothing higher the sentient will be top of the local food chain
  • sentience from social complexity – social animal – language
  • sentience from tool using
  • omnivores


Terrain Type

Take the world stats and decide which terrain type from the book to use.

  • pick wet, dry or sea if world stats indicate that
  • on standard world pick according to mood or D6 1-2 wet, 3-4 dry, 5-6 sea



  • 1-6: river valley, clear, forest, jungle, marsh, swamp, special
  • special: 1-2 chasm, 3-4 gorge 5-6 caves/ruins


  • 1-6 desert, badlands, prairie, foothills, mountain, special
  • special: 1-2 crater 3-4 gorge 5-6 caves/ruins


  • 1-6: bottom, depths, shallows, surface, coast, special
  • special D6: 1-2 coral, 3-4 sargasso, 5-6 underwater caverns/structure

note the type and size DMs


Critter Base Type

  • D6: 1 scavenger, 2-4 herbivore, 5, omnivore, 6 carnivore

Use the base type and the type DM from the terrain table to get the actual type from the book’s animal type table

  • Gatherer, Chaser, Grazer etc


Animal Tables

  • roll on the Animal “Attributes”, “Size”, “Weapon”, “Armor” and “Characteristics” tables

if the end result doesn’t kick start the imagination, try again.



  • neutral sentient needed
  • world phys stats 646
  • treating atmos 4 as earth-like in the barren land / lively sea phase points at the sea table
  • roll Sargasso for terrain (type-4, size-2)
  • roll omnivore for base type
  • roll eater for actual type (DM-4)
  • roll triphibian on attributes (size-6)
  • roll size 3 (DM-8) for 6 kg
  • claws
  • no armor
  • attributes A1 F9 S1

the attack on 1+ doesn’t fit the already rolled neutral sentient so make critter an extremely aggressive and voracious triphibian piranha however for some reason they don’t trigger on human scent (unless it is masked somehow…)

if evolved on the sargasso then need giant floating islands of it with these highly social creatures nesting inside the mats like maritime Meerkats – with Piranha like tendencies.

Triphibian but don’t really fly so much as leap and glide to catch jumping fish, birds etc.


Potential Aliens / Critters

List of critters from Traveller, other games or sci fi art that might make good sentient or weird science species,



  • critters
  • native sentient (ape-like)
  • hunter gatherer
  • special (farmer upwards)
  • weird science



  • vargr, aslan (good hunter gatherer candidates)
  • droyn (cthulhu worshipers)
  • hiver, k’kree (don’t like much – maybe like more as non star faring)
  • darrian (bit bland)
  • solomani, zhodani (could also be factions from same home world)



  • animal: shantak, byakhee
  • sentient: cthonian, shoggoths
  • hunter gatherer: deep ones, tcho tcho, night gaunts
  • special: elder things, mi-go, great race, star spawn (illithid), flying polyp, serpent men
  • weird science1: formless spawn, servitor, dim. shambler, star vampire, hound of tindalos
  • weird science2: color out of space, flame vampire, hunting horror
  • no?: ghouls, ghasts, moon beast, dark young
  • jump space: tsathaqqua, ithaqua, yog-sothoth, shub-niggurath, azathoth, hastur, chaugnr faugn

possible terra formers

  • volcanic phase / ice worlds: chtonians (encourage eruptions, earthquakes)
  • trace / very thin atmosphere with water: deep ones (microbial mat farming)
  • trace/ very thin / thin atmosphere: tcho tcho (stromatalite farming)

interstellar/vaccuum encounters

  • Byakhee (hune acts like m-drive handwavium)



lots of great critters

  • salu/acubon, bronth, woffen, crugar, tologra
  • blount, cleash, corastin, croid, ramian, scarmis, shantha, thivin, thriddle
  • beagre, bochigon, corondon, crill, dichandra, dreglamon, duradon, durlig
  • farg, giggit, grey mandare, harns, losht pods, pibber, scrade, scragger
  • slutch, talmaron, tarro, thombo, vintch, vodra, white mandare, lothern


 Warhammer 40K

  • korunus bestiary for Rogue Trader – particularly flora, fauna, xenos **generators**


Fantasy Creatures

  • chaos, mutants, beastmen, orcs, skaven, dwarves, elves, halflings
  • giant rats, giant spiders, ants, apes, bear, dinosaurs
  • ogres, giants, trolls
  • harpies, manticores, griffons, pegasi, hippogriff
  • dryads, treemen
  • banshee, demons, spirits, vampires, basilisk, blink dog
  • dragons , hydras, wyvern
  • etc

pick up any fantasy book and flick pages


Star Frontiers

  • Yazirians  (space monkeys)
  • Vrusk (insectoid)
  • Dralasites (playdoh)


Star Wars

  • wookies
  • ewoks


My 3I Aliens & Modified Humans



Aliens in syfy are good at providing visual variety but generally suck as actual aliens i.e. they are either humans in rubber suits or they have a silly physical or cultural gimmick that makes no sense.

In the Traveller OTU aliens are uncommon in the published materials compared to a setting like Star Wars.

There are a lot of them

but their home worlds are scattered and given the slower travel it’s quite plausible each species is mostly found near their respective home world.


The only aliens I am bothering with in the Marches are

  • the human variants: Imperial and Vilani (common) and Zhodani (rare)
  • Vargr (uncommon) and Aslan (rare)
  • Darrian

plus those specifically mentioned as being native to the sector usually made low tech and single planet if not already.

  • Ebokin (Yebab/Aramis) (static)(octopi)
  • Keo Neseb (Penkwar/Lunion) (extinct)(insects)
  • Larianz (Byret/Mora) (static) flyers
  • Llellewyloly (Junidy/Aramis) (static)(dandelions)
  • Shriekers (567-908/District 268) (static)
  • Chirpers (Vanejen/Rhylanor) (static) (flyers)
  • Droyne (Andor and Candory/Five Sisters)

Aliens also provide a neat solution to the occasions where Traveller’s random world generation creates a world that doesn’t seem to make sense e.g. a world with a high population and a problem and a tech level too low to build the solution to the problem.

However, as well as evolved sentient alien races the Ancients are said to have uplifted various animal species and seeded the galaxy with them and humans.


Minor Human Races

These minor races of human are divided into unmodified humans and those considered variants – bio-engineered to suit specific planetary conditions.

Like the alien races, the unmodified humans are scattered across known space and can be mostly ignored if desired (which I do) unless specified as being in the Marches sector (like the Darrians).

So the neatest answer to

  • wanting a solution to world generation problems
  • providing visual variety while avoiding the need to be “alien”

are the modified humans who could have been settled on the planet by the Ancients or could have moved there at any other time since.


Modified Humans

If the Ancients ever wanted to seed a world where humans weren’t suited they would have to either

  • terraform the planet
  • provide protective tech
  • let high casualties speed evolve humans to the planetary conditions
  • bio-engineer humans for the conditions

They may have tried all four options at different times and places but the advantage of bio-engineering would be every time a tailored species was created they would have a DNA blue print for any similar world they came across in the future.

So instead of having to build the same protective tech on dozens or worlds or wait centuries for speed evolution or re-engineer a variety of tailored human they could just re-use a DNA blueprint from a previous world.

Imagine an Ancients Ark with dna samples of scores of engineered races that could be spliced and cloned for a new world.



Bio-engineering for specific world types would leads to recurring needs:

  • water
  • desert
  • cold
  • heat
  • high G
  • low G
  • thin and very thin atmosphere
  • dense atmosphere

plus hundreds of possible taints, some at least might be common

(plus potentially exotic atmospheres and vaccuum)


Mammalian Adaptations on Earth

(could be more extreme non-mammalian options)

Water World:
  • mermen, gills, closable nose, webbed feet
  • warm – scaly skin
  • cold – body fat
  • long eyelashes, closeable nose, large surface area to volume
  • fat humps, nocturnal, clothing, solid urine, sweat substitute
  • large ears, large surface area to volume, nocturnal, underground, torpor
  • fur, layer of fat, small surface area to volume, hibernation
High Gravity:
  • short, stocky and strong
Low Gravity
  • slender, graceful
Thin Atmosphere
  • barrel chests, efficient breathing, small
Dense Atmosphere
  • hotter (greenhouse), more stable climate across globe
  • if more oxygen then bigger?


Character Stats

Various things connected to character stats – some may not apply in all settings.


Genetic Screening

Say physical stats below a certain minimum value x represent fixable medical conditions then an optional rule could be

minimum pstats = min (x, home world TL-5, Soc)

minimum Int = min (x, home world TL-6, Soc)

where min() means take the lowest of the three values

and pstats = Str, Dex and End

if the minimum value was set at 7 then

  • a character from a TL10 home world and Soc 6 would have minimum pstats of min (7, 5, 6) or 5 and minimum Int 4
  • a character from a TL12 home world and soc 8 would have minimum pstats of min (7, 7, 8) or 7 and minimum Int 6

so basically if the home world has the tech then Soc determines minimum physical stats – assumed to be the result of gene treatment – up to a value of x


You could go for the full transhuman thing and increase the value of  x above 7 but 7 is fine for me.


Medical Repair

Stats that are reduced during the game can be repaired on high tech worlds in the same way up to

  • pstats: min (x, planet TL-6)
  • int: min (x, planet TL-7)

so if x is set to 7 then

  • a TL12 world could repair pstats up to min (7, 6) or 6 and Int up to 5
  • a TL15 world could repair pstats up to min (7, 9) or 7 and Int up to min (7, 8) or also 7


  • pstats 100K per point
  • int 200K per point


Max Edu

max Edu = Int

  • a character with Int 7, Edu 7 would need to raise Int to 8 before raising Edu to 8

max starting Edu = min (Int, Soc)

  • a character with Int 8 and Soc 4 would have a max starting Edu of 4
  • a character with Int 4 and Soc 8 would also have a max starting Edu of 4


Max Skill Ranks

max skill ranks = highest stat + lowest stat

skill-0 and skill-1 count as 1 rank, skill-2 as 2 ranks etc

character with UPP 777777 would have max skill ranks of 14 which could be:

  • 14 x skill-0 or skill-1
  • 4 x skill-2 and 6 x skill-1
  • 2 x skill-3, 2 x skill-2, 4 x skill-1
  • or any combination that adds up to 14