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Traveller Bestiary

Traveller Bestiary: Group Conflict

Creating a hook in any context where there are sentient groups – including humans.

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Antagonist and Protagonist

Either decide one side of a conflict depending on world stats e.g. planetary government, and then roll for an opposing force or roll for two opposing forces.

Group Conflict Table

D12 (or 2D6 first 1-3 = +0, 4-6 +6)

  • 1 individual
  • 2 small group / family / gang
  • 3 corporation
  • 4 free company
  • 5 sectional group (i.e. members of a particular interest group like ranchers, miners, fruit sellers etc)
  • 6 political party
  • 7 territorial group e.g. two sub-colonies
  • 8 bureaucracy
  • 9 charismatic leader
  • 10 non charismatic leader e.g. challenge to ex leader’s son
  • 11 charismatic group
  • 12 religious / ideological group

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Sequence

  • roll for conflict group
  • compare with known govt type
  • roll for which is the bad guy 1-2: govt, 3-4 both (diplomatic option), 5-6 rolled group

or

  • roll twice for two conflict groups
  • roll for which is the bad guy 1-2: first rolled group, 3-4 both (diplomatic option), 5-6 second rolled group

nb “bad” != 100% evil (although it might be)

roll until a result sparks imagination

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Examples

Example 1: assign one side of conflict e.g. local authority from world stats and roll on table

  • research colony leadership vs sectional interests
  • roll: neither bad guy
  • some conflict over priority or resources

Example 2: assign one side of conflict e.g. local authority from world stats and roll on table

  • colonial admin vs territorial group
  • roll: colonial admin bad guys
  • conflict over boundaries caused by colonial admin

Example 3: roll twice

  • religious group vs free company
  • roll: religious group are the bad guys

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Alternatives

Use the random person encounter table or the patron table to do the same thing.

Example1: assign the govt type, say it’s the local colonial admin and

  • roll on personal encounter table -> colonial admin vs religious group
  • roll on personal encounter table -> colonial admin vs naval security troops
  • roll on patron table -> colonial admin vs ship’s crew or crewman
  • roll on patron table -> colonial admin vs mercenary

Example2: roll twice on the personal encounter table

  • conflict between religious group and naval security troops

Example 3: roll twice on the patron table

  • conflict between ship’s crew or crewman and mercenary

Example 4: or one roll on each table

  • conflict between religious group and ship’s crew or crewman
  • conflict between religious group and mercenary
  • conflict between naval security troops and ship’s crew or crewman
  • conflict between naval security troops and mercenaries

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Traveller Bestiary: Ancients

I’m using Ancients as the link to Cthulhu Mythos but the form of the Mythos varies with the theme of the setting.

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3rd Imperium

In my 3I the Ancients are like Illithids / Mind Flayers from D&D i.e. a more or less humanoid star faring species with high tech, psionic powers and star ships etc see “My 3I: Ancients.”

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Pulpy Setting

In a setting with a more pulpy theme I am treating them as closer to the CoC game but merged into my handwavium for how Jump drive works (see “My 3I: Handwavium.”)

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Gods

  • Yog-Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath, Tsathoqqua, Ithaqua, Azathoth, Hastur, Chaugna Faughn etc

These are very powerful entities which exist wholly or partially in 5D jump space (or may only be aspects of 5D space that psykers, sorcerors, cultists etc in the past perceived as Gods). They effectively have extreme psionic talents and whatever they actually are they “work” as Gods i.e. sorcerors can use ancient rituals to get Yog-Sothoth to teleport them, even across space

  • servitors

associated with the above gods

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Star-Spawn

These are (or were) the actual Ancients

  • Cthulhu like species of varying size and strength
  • Teleport/Jump across space in psionic controlled pyramid ships
  • Pyramid ships need gravity to be right to operate
  • Often go to sleep when stars aren’t right
  • Wake up, eat everyone, travel
  • Engage in terra forming for some unknown reason (evolve species for food?)
  • Engage in uplift for some unknown reason (increase population density for food?)

Commonly use Chtonians, Deep Ones and Tcho-Tcho as terra formers

Possible Handwavium: Pyramid ships require sacrifice. Death causes the 5D aspect of a creature (soul) to be pulled back so mass death can create a temporary rift which makes it easier to jump – hence terra forming, uplifting etc – seeding planets with life because death is their jump fuel.

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Animal Intelligence

  • Shantaks – have a home world somewhere, transported to others occasionally

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Ape/Dolphin/Ant Intelligence

  • Cthonian – transported to many worlds as terra formers (up to one per subsector)
  • Shoggoths – used as guard dogs so transported to many worlds and often one or more are left behind

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Hunter Gatherer Level

  • Deep Ones – transported to numerous worlds as terra formers (one per subsector possible)
  • Tcho-Tcho  – transported to numerous worlds as terra formers (one per subsector possible)
  • Nightgaunts – home world, transported in breeding quantities occasionally

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Special Level (farmers upwards)

  • elder things, mi-go, great race, flying polyp, serpent men

special

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Weird Science

Creatures that are somehow connected to 5D so don’t behave in a “natural” way in 4D

  • formless spawn, dimensional shambler, star vampire, hound of tindalos
  • color out of space, flame vampire, hunting horror etc

creatures don’t necessarily look how they are depicted – the form is how they are perceived to be in 4D

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Natural Space Travel

Byakhee – their “Hune” is like a natural anti-grav / m-drive / j-drive device

Shantak and Nightgaunts have a partial anti-grav “Hune” that reduces their weight making it possible for them to fly.

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Frequency

Don’t want to overdo the Mythos aspect – max 3-4 sites per sub-sector

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Knowledge of Mythos

Many worlds will have no knowledge of the Mythos so if the players are from such a world there won’t be any ancient books like the Necronomicon – that world would only learn about it through exploring.

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Anomalies

There are generally three types of encounter / player obstacle.

Conscious Physical: involving humanoids, robots, animals, aliens etc

Environmental: storms, solar flares, volcanoes, mechanical failure etc

Anomalies: these are the sort of encounters you get a lot in shows like Star Trek, another example would be 2001 Space Odyssey. In these encounters an away team has to figure out what the anomaly is before figuring out how to deal with it.

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5th Dimension Handwavium

In my Traveller handwavium what we percieve as gravity is only the 4D representaion of a 5D phenomenon and both the Jump and Manouver drive work by manipulating these forces.

Psionic talents like teleportation follow the same logic, except instinctively i.e. Jump is a kind of teleportation.

The Cthulhu Mythos is integrated into the universe in the same way.

This background handwavium can provide the rationale for a lot of anomaly type encounters so exploration type campaigns aren’t all bug hunts.

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Navigation Hazards

As gravity is required for both Jump and Manouver drives this allows for gravitational navigation hazards: the equivalent of storms, whirl pools, rip tides, turbulence etc.

Part of scout service initial exploration is finding this sort of anomaly and marking them. They mostly can’t be fixed, just marked as a hazard (but some can e.g. enter a tesseract in space, press some buttons and its gone).

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Planetary Anomalies

Anomalies also exist on planets – places where the 5D is intruding onto the 4D universe.

Example: Space Ghosts

Some site is registered as an anomaly on a scout survey and an away team is sent to investigate. It could be a cave or an abandoned base or orbital station.

The ghosts are dreaming 5D creatures who display as slow moving white translucent humanoid figures. They are sentient but dreaming so can’t be rationally communicated with. Telepathy indicates dreaming. They are not intentionally hostile but curious – they move to contact the players and reach out to touch with their hands. Hands unnaturally cold: produce frost bite on exposed flesh, make any equipment brittle so it cracks and falls apart. They will follow players (slowly) but won’t cross the site threshold.

Space ghosts are immune to physical damage but sensitive to emotional projection: anger, hate, rage – once figured out firing a weapon with rage and anger can wake the 5D creature up and the ghost disappears; burst fire adds a DM, autofire adds more (ammo might be a problem).

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With this 5D handwavium any supernatural monster from any game can be used as an anomaly encounter as well as Cthulhu creatures.

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Dagon, Deep Ones & Tcho-Tcho

Aim:

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

Premise

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.

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Stages

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.

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

http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showpost.php?p=521497&postcount=4

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Consequences

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

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Stats

  • 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

http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showpost.php?p=521497&postcount=4

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

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Use

very thin and very thin tainted atmospheres

maybe thin and thin tainted

rare above that except remnant populations

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Bestiary

General page for stuff about critters.

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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

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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

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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

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Wet

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

Dry

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

Sea

  • 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

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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

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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.

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Example

  • 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.

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Potential Aliens / Critters

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

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Categories:

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

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Traveller

  • 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)

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Cthulhu

  • 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)

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Jorune

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

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 Warhammer 40K

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

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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

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Star Frontiers

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

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Star Wars

  • wookies
  • ewoks

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