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)
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.
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:
- 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)
- 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
- short, stocky and strong
- slender, graceful
- barrel chests, efficient breathing, small
- hotter (greenhouse), more stable climate across globe
- if more oxygen then bigger?