Traveller ATU: Early Vilani

Early Vilani: Spacers

Vilani colonization is focused on type A worlds with some type B if they are close to Vland or at important jump route junctions where there are no type A. The many mining and other extraction colonies on less habitable planets generally operate on the basis of contract workers living on nearby worlds being jumped in to work for four months and then back home for two on a repeated cycle.

Colonies and stations too far away from a habitable planet can have permanent settlements: belter colonies for instance dug into asteroids or station colonies living in gas giant refueling stations.

Some Vilani living in these conditions are born with Spacer syndrome.

Spacers tend have an elongated skull with exaggerated forehead and narrow chin, very pale, small and slim with thin bones. They are noticably odd looking and non space-faring Vilani are often a little uncomfortable around them. Space-going Vilani are used to them.


Char Gen

Roll 2D6 for str, dex, end, int, soc as per normal except Spacer str, dex and end are limited to 6 not 10. Excess points can be spent on Int and Edu, raising physical stats up to 6 *or* put towards psionic abilities, 1 point per rank in one area of psionics.

Spacer Vilani don’t get the Vilani End+1 bonus.

Spacers have a max. Soc of 8.

Example: player rolls, 6, 10, 10, 3, – , 4. Dex and End are reduced to 6 each giving 8 bonus points. Int 3 is raised to 5. This gives 6 6 6 5 – 4 which sets Edu to 4 with 8 points to spend.

The player might decide to put all 8 points into psionic ranks creating a not too bright rather wild psyker or 7 points into Int and Edu to create a useful crew member and 1 point into 1 rank of psionic abiliy or somewhere in between.

666544 Psi8 or 666884 Psi1 or 666774 Psi4 etc


Spacer psionics is effected by high natural gravity. On a world with natural gravity between 0.6g and 1.2g any psionic skill rank is reduced by 1. In natural gravity above 1.2g their psionic abilities don’t work at all.


Spacers get a DM-1 reaction from non Spacer Vilani unless they are known to them. They get a DM+1 reaction from other Spacers.


Early Vilani: Task System

Attribute Die Modifiers

Attributes provide a DM for all skills associated with an attribute e.g. engineering is associated with Int.

Attributes range from 2-12 with an average of 7 and the DMs are +/- 1 per point above/below 7 so an attribute of 8 gives DM+1 on all skills related to that attribute, an attribute value of 12 gives a DM+5, an attribute value of 5 gives a DM-2.


Task System

Roll 2D6.

Untrained target number: 12

Trained target number: 8

(Trained is defined as Skill-0.)

Each skill rank is DM+2

Example: a character who has Stat-9 and Skill-2 would have a DM+6 and therefore would always succeed at standard tasks under normal conditions.

Normal conditions would be defined as not needing any positive DMs apart from character ability.

“Normal conditions” for a rifleman might be with good visibility always hitting a stationary man-sized target at medium range. Conditions deviating from this would impose negative DMs.

“Normal conditions” for a ship’s engineer might be stable flying conditions, good power supply, fully equipped with tools and spare parts, good lighting etc i.e. normal working conditions.

Chargen should be designed to produce characters who are competent to that degree in at least one skill.



Where appropriate a character with skill ranks in a skill may manage up to their skill rank in assistants. The assistants roll their task roll first and if they succeed they add DM+1 to the main task.


A character with Engineering-2 has two assistants, one with Int 8, Engineering-0 and the other with Int 10 but no Engineering skill . The two assistants roll first. The first assistant needs 7+ (trained target number of 8+ with a DM+1 for their Int attribute) and the second needs 9+ (untrained target number of 12+ with a DM+3 for their Int attribute). Each success gains a DM+1 to the lead engineer’s roll.


Early Vilani: Char Gen

(Updated from previous char gen post.)

Character Attributes

Six stats: Str, Dex, End, Int, Edu, Soc

The possible range is 2-12 but the natural range is 2-10

Roll 2D6 four times in order for Str, Dex, End and Int.

If roll 11 or 12 set the stat to 10 and add the excess points to another of the physical stats.

If roll 2 or 3 assume childhood accident that was treated and add 2 to make the stat 4 or 5.

Roll 2D6 for Soc.

If roll 11 or 12 assume character is from the *family* of a Knight or Baron and put the result in brackets. Treat the character’s Soc as 10.

Set Edu to be the character’s Soc+2 to a maximum of 12 unless this is higher than the character’s Int+2. In other words Edu is whichever is lower of Soc+2 or Int+2. (This means a character with high Soc and low Int would have their Edu limited by their Int and a character with high Int and low Soc would have their Edu limited by their Soc.)

(nb Traveller uses hexadecimal notation so 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 are written A, B, C, D, E, F)



Character rolls 8, 4, 12, 5 for their physical stats. End is reduced to 10 leaving two spare points. Add one each to Dex and Int to give 8,5,10,6 or 85A6.

Character rolls 10 for Soc. Soc+2 would give an Edu value of 12 but the character’s Int of 6 limits it to Int+2 or Edu 8 giving a final result of 85A68A


Career Stat Increases

Increases that bring stats up to 10 apply normally. Physical stat increases that take a stat above 10 can also be applied normally if the GM wants or alternatively if the GM wants to keep that range for special implants and alien technology then reroll the result.

Edu is not limited by Soc once in a career but is still limited by Int+2. If a player rolls Edu+1 but Edu is already at its max for the character’s current Int score then increase Int+1 instead.

If a character is already Soc (B) or Soc (C) then assume a Soc+1 result is inheriting the family title and take the brackets away. The character is now treated as Soc B or C. Any future Soc+1 results are either re-rolled or alternatively roll on a special benefits table for rare and expensive high tech equipment or implants.

A Knight can stay in their career but a Baron should probably muster out and / or switch to a Noble career.

If a character has a Soc below 10 and gets a Soc+1 during their career then apply normally. If a character is already a Soc 10 and gets a Soc+1 result then ignore unless the character is a high enough ranking officer e.g. Merchant Captain, Marine Colonel etc. Generals and Admirals should automatically become Knights on mustering out if they weren’t already.

Alternatively simply re-roll all Soc+1 results that take the stat above 10 unless the character is a high ranking officer.

nb Assuming the nobility are hereditary there will be limited scope for promotion between the ranks because a title would only become free if the title holder died without heirs which given the high tech nature of the setting is unlikely. Only civil wars or rapid expansion into new territory would provide lots of opportunities for Barons to become Counts and Counts, Dukes. Another possibility would be if the campaign stipulates that the noble houses are constantly assassinating each other in which case this rule might need to be changed.


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.


Early Vilani: Campaign

An alternative to the early 3rd Imperium idea is to take the time back even further to the early Vilani expanding out of Vland.


Say the basic tech sequence is fusion -> grav -> jump drive

(Assuming jump drive is somehow connected to manipulating gravity.)

Seeing as humans (and earlier pre sapiens hominids) have supposedly been around for 500,000 years (or whatever the actual number is) and only had agriculture and everything that spawned from that for 10,000 years or so and before sentient stone age humans there were supposedly chimps for however long we’ve only been at like TL1 for 1% of our total history or less so it seems to me the species who got to jump drive first would likely expand dramatically while most other species were either pre sapient or stone age sapient. The Traveller setting has that with the Ancients.

So you have your “angels” (or demons) from the skies, responsible for uplifting some species e.g. maybe even chimps to human, maybe keeping them as pets, maybe enslaving, maybe eating who knows. Then they collapse for some reason – maybe a virus, maybe they develop AI and it turns on them. Their AI fleets take over space and destroy all the Ancient’s planets that have any industrial capacity leaving surviving Ancients trapped on backwater planets where they revert in various ways – immortal space vampires, brain in a box, whatever. That provides a say TL15 to TL18 layer scattered and buried across thousands of planets. Then one of the uplifted species develop (Vilani in this example) and reach the fusion / grav / J1 spot and expand out.

This way you can have the players in a say TL10 to TL12 setting on the frontier of an expanding civ – say the Vilani drive tech only does J1 to maintain the frontier feel with deep space stations to cross gaps and lots of unexplored planets with weird ancient’s tech, occasional working ancient’s killer battle droids, maybe a working TL15 ship somewhere with a defective AI (i.e. it only occasionally tries to kill the crew), mostly low tech aliens, individual Vargr / Aslan planets but not space-faring yet, ancients ruins etc.