RPG Styles


Type 1:

I’ve always been a scenario type GM i.e. where the GM creates a scenario with a plot, NPCS etc and the players play through the GM’s plot.

I think that’s perfectly fine: the DM gets the fun of creating worlds and plots and the players get the surprise of not knowing what is ahead.

Type 2:

Some people prefer RPGs where all the players generate the world, plot etc as a group. It’s not my thing but I can see why that might appeal.

However some aspects of it do appeal.

Type 3 – Middle Path:

I like creating worlds, scenarios etc so I don’t want to do it the second way but after listening to the various arguments I do like the more sandboxy style the second method generates.

So basically if you’re a GM type but you want to be surprised how can you do it?

One way is to use random generation; that way you still kind of create the setting – because you decide what gets put into the random generation tables – but the specifics are a surprise.

For example in Traveller there are random patron tables, random animal generators etc – so in a sandboxy game you could set up an area of space with only a bare bones description for each system/world and then let the players go where they like. The GM generates content on the fly depending on where the players go and which the players decide whether or not to interact with – making the game more like a procedural video game.


Generating stuff on the fly out of your own head is fast but you’re rarely if ever surprised.

Generating stuff from tables can create surprises you would never have thought of yourself but can take too long.


After watching Mr Driscoll’s Python adventures for a while


I thought i’d take the plunge and see if using Python to create fast random generators could be a solution and i’d heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to try the compromise sandboxy method and you’re comfortable with programming. It’s a relatively easy language and is perfectly suited for this kind of linear sequence, generating a result from a set of tabular data with a simple GUI.

My first experiment was turning the classic Traveller animal generator into Python and that was pretty painless. (I’m an ex-programmer who hasn’t touched code for c. 10 years so your mileage may vary.)

The only problem I have now is it’s made me want to do a lot more:

– random conflict generation
– random plots
– random sub-sector/system/world generation
– trade
using either/both Classic and Mongoose tables

also Travellerized Dark Heresy / Rogue Trader
– systems, worlds
– Dark Heresy travellerized char gen

also a simplified random solar system generator with pseudo 3D
– everything happens on a 2D plane but with 3D models of planets, star etc
– 2D classic traveller style vector movement
– no real reason but i want to see visually how that kind of movement would feel with all the planets moving in their orbits

anyway – too many ideas, nothing gets done, so hopefully will be able to pick one at a time

(will post examples as I do them)

Imperial Reconquest

There are two types of re-expansion setting i could get into which I’ll call re-expansion and reconquest.


Imperial Re-expansion

One way to get the feel of the original Traveller novels – a collection of worlds that appear largely self-contained without a central authority – is an Imperial re-expansion.

In that kind of setting there has been an empire in the past and that empire settled numerous colonies but then some kind of collapse occurred before the individual colonies had developed to the level of star travel. In the collapse the colonies that survived reverted somewhat in technology and then either stayed there or clawed their way back.

The imperial world recovers and starts to re-expand and the players start on the far edge of that expansion – conquest and naval battles and invasions are happening but it’s happening a couple of sub-sectors away. So it’s a mixture of a frontier type setting and a Star Trek “boldly go, find new worlds” type setting.

The key point with this back story is to create a specific backdrop where most of the planets were settled by humans from the same culture but who developed in many different directions during the Dark Age allowing plenty of room for the imagination.


Imperial Reconquest

Another option is during the Dark Age many of the original colonies developed all the way up back up to jump travel and created their own pocket empires with their own fleets and the new Imperium are conquering them one by one Rome style with the players right at the cutting edge of the war zone.

This kind of setting wouldn’t inspire me much except as the background for a war game or if the players were into being Imperial agents involved in diplomacy, spying, sabotage etc – so basically they’d be given missions rather than random travelling. I’m not likely to ever do it as a i like frontier settings better however I was thinking about the possible backdrop to a setting like this so these are some notes for future reference maybe.



I haven’t looked at the 3rd Imperium timeline yet but I’d use the OTU as the basis for this. It doesn’t have to be 100% consistent with the canon data as this setting will be some time in the past.


Starting Assumptions


Treat “fleet” in an abstract way meaning one unit of military force


Alpha worlds – those with high pop and tech level – are the only ones that matter militarily as they are the only systems that can produce fleets


Exception – the systems needed as refueling stops in between the Alpha worlds


On average there is one Alpha world per sub-sector and they expanded out into their sub-sector claiming worlds in their hinterland for their mini empire


The 3I expanded out in all directions from Capital into Core sector and then beyond


At start the 3I roughly has the eight sectors around Core and a finger has expanded through Corridor into Deneb as well


so say the 3I has c. 120 sub-sectors or 120 fleets – with another 8 in a finger through Corridor and Deneb (which is still in the throes of being pacified) and c. 40 border sub-sectors with a home fleet each leaves around 80 fleets and around ten sector fronts – so say 8 to each front on average.


The Deneb command has 8 fleets available but they are actively engaged most of the time with unconquered systems, Vargr and rebellions. At any one time any number from 0 to 8 might be available but the larger the number the shorter the time available – plus they could be called away any time to deal with an emergency elsewhere. (If it was a board game the player might get 0-4 imperial fleets each year or something).


The Zhodani haven’t fully expanded into their sub-sectors yet – they have trade agreements and alliances etc but not fully integrated systems so those sub-sectors are mostly neutral at the beginning and the Zhodani aren’t very involved – at least at the beginning.


Trin (and its pocket empire) has signed an alliance with the Imperium and Trin is the center of 3I activity in the Spinward Marches. Trin’s fleet and one imperial fleet are on guard.


The pocket empires facing the 3I are listed below – subject to change if it doesn’t fit with timeline or other OTU stuff. The list doesn’t have to be entirely consistent with the canon data as I’m assuming a lot of these worlds will be severely damaged in the conquest era so their pop and TL stats could have been higher.

  • Jewell
  • Efate
  • Ruie (damaged)(subjugates Regina at start)
  • Algine (damaged)
  • Aramanx (damaged)
  • Vilis
  • Heroni / Natoko (damaged) (confederation)
  • Porozlo (subjugates Rhylanor at start)
  • Mora / Fornice (atmos damaged?)
  • Palique (atmos damaged?)
  • Lunion / Strouden
  • Gram / Sacnoth (sword worlds)
  • Mire (Darrian) (higher tech)
  • Iderati (five sisters)
  • Collace (District 268)
  • Glisten / Tirem
  • Robin? (damaged)(refugees to Dodds?)

so c. 20 fleets in all divided up into multiple small alliances


Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul

The idea here is to treat the setting a bit like Caesar’s Gallic Wars with the pocket empires as similar to the Gallic tribes, disunited and split  into various alliances who are hostile to each other or at least distrusting and competitive.

The 3I’s strategy is to insert itself into local politics, taking sides in disputes and using a combination of diplomacy, bribes, assassination, sabotage and occasionally outright war to take advantage of any opportunities that arise to add new Alpha systems and their retainer systems to the empire.


Dark Heresy Travellerized

I like the Warhammer 40K Dark Heresy setting but dislike the system so I thought I’d Travellerize it so I’d actually use the setting instead of just using it to mine ideas.

Not sure how copyright works for something like this so won’t write it all – just illustrate the general process.


Dark Heresy has a lot of attributes, skills and traits/talents – too many imo so

  • remove the attributes (mostly)
  • simplify the skill list
  • remove most of the talents/traits except those that add career and setting flavor



keep it ultra simple – play like CoC with rocket launchers – focus on investigation – combat lethal – shoot them in the back with rocket launchers or die

  • standard task with skill-0 roll 8+ on 2D6
  • hard task with skill-0 roll 12+
  • standard task with no skill roll 12+

failure by 1 or 2 generally isn’t complete failure depending on task – adds more time or a complication – fail by 3+ is more final

succeed by 3+ is a crit


Physical Traits

characters can have two

  • one fixed choice assigned with career choice
  • one chosen as an advance


  • acute senses
  • strong
  • agile
  • tough (resistance to physical attacks)
  • intelligent
  • strong-willed (resistance to mental attacks)
  • perceptive (social skills)
  • sanctioned psyker (only psyker career)
  • mechanical implants (only tech priest career)

physical traits give a DM+1 on relevant skill rolls



compact a lot of the skills

  • barter (inc evaluate)
  • charm (inc deceive)
  • command
  • drive (pick one specialty – others are one skill rank less)
  • pilot (pick one specialty – others are one skill rank less)
  • navigation

languages and lore – combine into one skill with different target scores

  • lore (common lore 8+, scholastic lore 10+, forbidden 12+)
  • languages (common, high, secret, ciphers)

stealth: urban (inc silent move, concealment, shadowing, security)
survival: rural (inc silent move, concealment, tracking, wrangling)
tech use

inquiry (inc scrutiny, search)
intimidate (success adds DM to inquiry or interrogate)


weapon skill categories

  • melee (inc primitive ranged)
  • pistols
  • ranged
  • heavy

weapon type categories

  • primitive
  • blackpowder
  • slugs
  • las
  • shock
  • chain
  • bolter
  • flame
  • melta
  • plasma
  • power
  • exotic


Traits & Talents

by career


  • chem geld (immune seduction, resist charm)
  • disturbing voice (acts as intimidate-0 skill)
  • electro graft (requires tech-use-0) (effect DM+1 lore, tech use)
  • binary chatter (requires electro graft) (effect boon command servitor)
  • flagellant (DM+1 sv vs corruption)
  • master chirurgeon (requires medicae-0) (boon medicae)
  • orthoproxy (DM+1 sv vs corruption)
  • resist psyker/walled mind/mental fortress (DM+1/2/4 sv vs psychic attack)
  • total recall (requires intelligence) (boon lore)

boon = roll 3d6 and keep two highest



career focus

  • adept : knowledge
  • arbitrator : inquiry & combat
  • assassin : stealth & combat
  • cleric : command
  • guardsman : combat
  • psyker : psyker
  • scum: inquiry & stealth
  • tech-priest : tech-priest


Career Start


  • physical trait: intelligent
  • lore-1
  • language-1
  • choose melee-0 or pistols-0


  • robes, chrono, data slate, writing kit, staff or revolver+6


Available Advances

  • common advances
  • career advances
  • drive
  • pilot
  • navigation
  • 1 archivist: lore, language, melee, pistol, flagellant
  • 2 scrivener: inquiry, tech-use
  • 3 scribe: interrogation, electro graft, shock
  • 4 chirurgeon: medic, master chirurgeon, chem geld, chain
  • 5 scholar: command, binary chatter, disturbing voice, bolt
  • 6 comptroller: barter, resist psyker, flame, melta
  • 7 logister: walled mind, orthoproxy, plasma
  • 8 sage: total recall, mental fortress, exotic, power

nb the character doesn’t get these advances automatically – the advances listed are the ones available to choose




Option 1: Traveller Style

1) pick career – base skills and gear

2) roll above next career rank for promotion on 2d6

  • add 4 years to character age
  • add 3 skill advances or 2 skill advance and 1 trait/talent per rank

example Adept

  • need > 2 roll 4
  • need > 3 roll 7
  • need > 4 roll 10
  • need > 5 roll 7
  • need > 6 roll 6

so four promotions, now Scholar, rank 5, 34 years old, 12 skill/trait advances

  • drive-0
  • lore-2
  • language-2
  • inquiry-0
  • tech-use-0
  • interrogation-0
  • melee-1
  • pistols-1
  • flagellant
  • disturbing voice
  • shock weapons
  • bolt weapons

weapons: bolt pistol and shock mace


Option2: DH Style
  • 1) pick career – rank 1, base skills and gear
  • 2) take free advance
  • 3) one advance per successful mission
  • 4) roll for promotion to next rank after successful mission
  • promotion requires total start skill ranks >= new rank
  • promotion DM+1 per total start skill ranks > new rank

example Adept – Rank 1, c. 20 years old, 1 free advance

  • Archivist
  • lore-1
  • language-1
  • pistols-1


Campaign Start – Void Ship

players are part of the inquisition team on a ship the size of a small town




  • old ships used more fuel, most fuel space reclaimed but base level left for bilges
  • sewage reclamation
  • here be monsters
Engine Room
  • lower deck – aft
  • tech priests and minions
  • large central block – lower, middle and top decks
  • elevators no longer work
  • stevedores lift cargo with chain pulleys
Cargo Deck
  • lower deck fore
  • stevedore town (rough)
  • middle deck aft (imperial: adepts, arbites, players)
Crew Deck
  • middle deck fore (other non officer crew)
Priory Deck
  • upper deck aft (clerics)
Bridge Deck
  • upper deck fore (ship’s officers)



create a bunch of end nodes that contain

  • red herrings
  • criminals
  • heretics
  • mutants
  • cults
  • bilge monsters
  • a chaos thing
  • a xeno thing


  • create set of clues which point to various locations – multiple clues per location
  • eventually players hit one of the end nodes
  • each end node successfully investigated gives an advance
  • first clue leads towards a weak criminal end node but side clues may lead away

extremely useful links for node based design (follow all links)

Three Clue Rule




Traveller Bestiary: Group Conflict

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


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



  • 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


  • 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



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



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



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.


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.”


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.”)



  • 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



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.


Animal Intelligence

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


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


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


Special Level (farmers upwards)

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



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


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.



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


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.


Early Colonization: Sample Sub-sector (3/32)

see the “World Generation” post


To save rolling for system placement and physical stats I took the Vland sub-sector data from the OTU and ditched everything but  placement and physical stats.


current map:

Early Colonies Map V1


General Points

The aim is a sandbox setting with something for players to do in any direction but instead of detailing everything just have a general picture of what is happening in the sub-sector.



There is no trade in the classic Traveller sense. It is almost all tech and spare parts from the home world to the colonies in exchange for whatever exotics the world produces.



The home world can get all the basic resources it needs from its own system and so there generally isn’t a market for common resources however every world – every settlement colony at least plus some others – will have at least one exotic resource that can be sold on the home world for a decent price – not necessarily a great price but enough to pay for some tech.

In theory the home world can (and often does) produce or simulate anything exotic from other worlds that is popular enough to make it commercially viable however there is always a market for the genuine article as well.

This exotics for tech trade is not yet big enough for home world corporations to bother with but it supports a few Free Traders and subsidized Merchants.

Exotics can be anything unusual: blue wood, pets, giant berries, dinosaur milk etc

A settlement colony of pop 3 or above will have at least one exotic resource extraction site and possibly some processing also.

Resource extraction colonies are generally only set up where refueling is already available for some other reason (as star ships are expensive early on).

A supply colony with a pop code of 1 (C1) will generally mean it is just a supply facility whereas pop 2-3 generally means a resource extraction operation has developed as well.

A secondary colony with a pop code of 1 (D1) will generally mean it is a research colony (with a scout service refueling outpost) whereas pop 2-3 will generally mean there is a resource extraction operation there as well, taking advantage of the scout outpost.


Homo Astralis (Travellers)

Many of the personnel working off home world are engaged with the various home world agencies

  • colonial service, scout service, navy etc

but many of them choose to stay off home world after they muster out.


Free Companies

The cost-benefit calculations for resource extraction in the colonies doesn’t compare well with the wealth of opportunities already available in the home solar system so the big corporations don’t bother (yet) and so a lot of commercial activity is conducted by Free Companies – groups of individuals who pool their mustering out benefits to set up a venture somewhere, for example:

  • take over the contract for a supply colony from the colonial service as the frontier moves ahead
  • set up a resource extraction type operation either on a settlement colony or elsewhere
  • security companies


Filling Blanks

Adventures can be filling in blanks, for example supply colonies that don’t have resource extraction – patrons might want resource extraction possibilities investigated, security provided or sites cleared for a new colony.


Navy / Marines

Destroyers in home system, orbiting B4+ size settlement colonies (common) and orbiting Red zone worlds (common).

Colonial marines based in home system. At any one time an average of two troops may be out on bug hunts – animal threats usually, often insectoid or gigantic – or occasionally larger multi-troop operations on  Shudi or Pyam.



The home world has mega corporations involved in exploiting the home solar system but early on there is no incentive to look outside.

However some of them will buy a jump-capable corporate yacht which travels around the settlement colonies to get early notice of any new discoveries. If a settlement colony reaches size B4 or B5 corporations will often open a small office and base their yacht there instead of the home world.

Ambitious out-system corporate acquisitions executives have been known to get up to shenanigans.


Terra Forming

Prime settlement sites are defined as world stats size 4+, atmos 6-9, hydro 4-8

Some of these will be rejected also because

  • taint in the atmosphere
  • too dense atmosphere
  • runaway global warming
  • ice age
  • erratic orbit
  • jump shadow

and unless they have hostile and dangerous native life rejected prime sites (BF) are assumed to have one of these problems.

A prime site with a potentially fast (c. 100 years) terra formable problem will be terra formed (or initially have a research colony experimenting) by the colonial service. Khula in the sample sub-sector would be an example of this.


Commercial Terra Forming Contracts

Worlds which don’t fit the conditions for a prime settlement with atmospheres 2-5 or hydro 0-1 or 9-A can be sold to corporations or wealthy individuals in exchange for long term terra forming. As the process is very expensive and may take thousands of years to complete there is no near hope of profit so the world itself is not charged for – the planet is signed over in exchange for the contract to provide a minimum level of active terra forming reverting to the home world on default.

The corporations who do it are those who seek future profit in the terra forming field – so in a way it is corporate research.

The individuals just want to own a whole planet.


Noble Titles and Outsystem Law

The first wealthy individual who bought a planet on a  terra forming contract called himself King Gogmagog and wrote his own planetary laws suited to his sadistic hobbies.

As a result the home world added two new clauses to the terra forming contracts.

One: no historical titles that implied completely separate sovereign legal authority like: King, Emperor etc. The maximum title allowed was Duke and the Duke remained a citizen of the home world owing loyalty to the home world.

Two. if a planet created its own set of laws some legal minimums were required to be inserted

  • homicide had to be illegal with a self-defence, defence required
  • sex crimes had to be illegal
  • slavery had to be illegal
  • etc

A lot of latitude was allowed under a general clause saying home world authority could be re-asserted if “natural justice” was transgressed on a regular basis.


Sub-sector Gazeteer

Aim: a comment or two about each world as a potential hook


Home World (A)

Used Vland as home world – system code A (reduced TL)

  • 1717 Vland A967A9A-A

home world uses standard UWP

hook: patrons, contracted cargo and passengers


Colonial Service UWP
  • colony code letter-physical stats-native code-full colony code
  • example B-797-0-B4


Settlement Colonies (B)

Nine other worlds satisfied the conditions for prime worlds – 7 succeeded on their rolls and became B colonies, two failed their rolls to become BF worlds.

rolling for native sentients and population produced the settlement colonies:

  • 1718 Kirma B-797-0-B4
  • 1719 Sazisi B-586-0-B3
  • 1915 Giinam B-565-0-B5
  • 1918 Kusheggi B-596-0-B4
  • 1920 Inkha B-797-2-B1
  • 2113 Ishala B-866-0-B3
  • 2211 Irila B-568-3-B1

(re-arranged some populations to be highest, nearest the home world)


  • Giinam (B5) is, or is in the process of becoming self-governing (pop 5)
  • Kirma and Kusheggi are stable colonies (B4) probably with a subsidized merchant or two now the population has grown (pop 4)
  • Sazisi, Ishala (B3) run by the colonization service; some resource extraction (pop 3)
  • Inkha and Irila (B1) too small for resource extraction – Colonial Service supply ships (pop 1)
  • settlement colonies of size 4+ eventually get a couple of Navy destroyers on station and a ground base with spare crew etc
  • Inkha and Irila have neutral and friendly sentients respectively

Irila’s sentient: sea surface dwelling man-sized (100kg) insectoid triphibian social grazers, friendly, claws, no armor, life cycle involves land somehow: swim eating krill, wings to escape sea predators, migration to land sites for breeding.


BF colonies

If a prime colony site has been rejected it will be because there is something seriously wrong with it – hostile sentients if they exist or otherwise environmental.

  • 1919 Khula B-575-0-BF Amber
  • 2319 Shudi B-766-4-BF Red

If sentients are the problem the colony is marked as a Red zone.

If the environment is the problem the colony is marked as an Amber zone.


Supply Colonies (C)

there are three supply routes from the home world to the settlement colonies

  • vland-shinla-kipii-giinam-isbudin-ishala-irila
  • vland-tauri-kusheggi
  • vland-kirma-sazisi-dusu-inkha

these routes require the following systems as supply colonies:

  • 1816 Shinla C-560-0-C3
  • 1817 Tauri C-430-0-C1
  • 1819 Dusu C-9E4-0-C1 Amber
  • 1916 Kipii C-430-0-C2
  • 2013 Isbudin C-9C5-0-C1 Amber


  • Dusu and Isbudin have exotic atmospheres, Amber zones
  • Shinla has resource extraction (pop 3)


Secondary Colonies (D)

eight secondary colonies rolled, D1 generally means a research colony with a scout service refueling outpost especially if there is a native sentient, D2 or D3 generally means a resource extraction site also – eight have native sentients

  • 1716 Enaa D-300-A-D1 Red
  • 1813 Khusher D-646-2-D1
  • 1820 Kha D-86A-8-D1
  • 2016 Zurrian D-563-3-D1
  • 2019 Lobode D-554-2-D1
  • 2120 Pyam D-799-7-D1 Red
  • 2314 Dangasha D-550-5-D1
  • 2416 Liisurkhish D-562-8-D2

Enaa is a Red Zone for a hostile weird; Pyam for a hostile sentient.


all eight have native sentients which implies a research colony is likely

  • Liisurkish has (pop2) so research colony and something else, probably resource extraction
  • Liisurkhisn and Kha: neutral specials
  • Pyam: hostile special – red zone
  • Lobode: neutral sentients
  • Zurrina: friendly sentients


Dangasha: D-550-5-D1

earth-like atmos 5 -> dead land, live seas -> underwater or coastal  -> but hydro 0 so -> underground -> generally need water for standard life -> world mostly glaciated, dry sea separates poles near equator -> giant caverns under the glacier edge at the equator created by melt water -> giant lakes and seas under the ice -> mini climate in the caverns evolved life -> native hunter gatherers evolved from small amphibian omnivore eating cavern goop and fish -> gorges carved out into the central zone by erosion and cavern collapse allows access to outside -> radiation -> groups near outside evolved sentience fighting each other -> hunter gatherer level + primitive goop farming -> spears -> less evolved groups (ape-like intelligence) deeper in the caverns further away from radiation.


Domed colonial service research colony in equatorial zone near cavern entrance. Scout outpost with landing pad adjacent.

Hook: something valuable far back in the caverns under the ice? (heart of darkness) or transport something way back in the caverns (Fitzcarraldo)


Enaa D-300-A-D1 (Red Zone)

Adjacent to home system, explored early, best planet is a small airless rock, system marked as no value and not fully surveyed until later. Anomaly discovered – planet has a massive crater from an asteroid strike, a hole in the middle of the crater and a mass of tunnels under the crater surface. Anomaly first investigated by a scout pathfinder who was killed, followed by two members of a scout away team sent to investigate his loss followed by three members of a colonial marine troop sent to investigate what happened to the away team.

Current status is watch mode – destroyer and a research ship from the Navy’s secretive xeno research branch – weapons division orbit the planet with various kinds of sensor. They have seen the creature but want to observe.

Creature is a color out of space that crashed with the asteroid and is stuck because it can’t feed. Built the tunnels as a defensive nest. Say, draining the blood of the six victims so far has got it to say 6 psionic power out of 12, needs 12 to jump.

Hook: maybe color is strong enough to mentally manipulate research leader in orbiting ship to bring bait – the players – to feed it.


Khusher D-646-2-D1

research colony / neutral sentient

earth-like world in thin atmosphere phase -> sea life, barren continents -> use animal encounter method -> sargasso seas -> large floating islands of photosynthesising microbial mats and seaweed -> small 6kg social triphibian eaters (marine meer kats) -> nest inside mats -> developed basic sentience through complex language -> highly aggressive and voracious flying piranha however don’t recognize human scent -> sargasso mats can be walked on except where they can’t -> fall covers human scent -> oops

research colony has main site with scout outpost and separate small projects including preliminary terra forming test by farming more sargasso mats

hook: if ship, hired to transport some equipment / a boat to one of the research groups


Refueling Outposts (E)

the systems needed to join the main routes to the secondary colonies are

  • 2017 Tahaver E-769-0-E0
  • 2117 Uri E-313-0-E0
  • 2216 Ashbakha E-672-0-E0
  • 2316 Kagush E-736-0-E0


  • Tahaver, Uri, Ashbakha, Kagush: E0 – all automated


Remotes (X)

1811 Anaam X-424-0-X0
2115 Zedu Gisla X-533-0-X0
2320 Gidapisek X-200-0-X0
2412 Ansin X-563-0-X0
2419 Nasha X-200-0-X0



Early Colonization: World Generation (wip)

generating a sub-sector that fits the early colonization theme


Campaign Sector

My baseline is  the standard rule that ship needs major maintenance annually and if it goes beyond that limit it starts to take increasingly difficult drive failure rolls every month (or every jump) and at the start of colonization (and for some time after) only the home world has the facilities to do this. This gives an exploration limit of 6 months out and 6 months back (or 12 jumps) or 12-72 hexes depending on drives and as a lot of the early ships involved will have J1 and J2 drives the limit is more like 12-24 hexes.

There will be various ways round this in individual cases but let’s say 24 hexes is a reasonable approximation for the extent of colonizable space available for early colonization before bases / colonies capable of large ship overhauls are built.


A close approximation to this amount of space would be a 6×6 grid of subsectors with the home world in the center – actually in one of the corner hexes of one of the four sub-sectors that makes up the core – which creates three rings of sub-sectors around the home world: the central core and an inner and outer ring of sub-sectors around the core.

outer outer outer outer outer outer

outer inner inner inner inner outer

outer inner corre corre inner outer

outer inner corre corre inner outer

outer inner inner inner inner outer

outer outer outer outer outer outer


Pick one subsector for the campaign start, this could be one of the core subsectors or one of the inner or outer subsectors depending on preference – note direction to home world.


Subsector Generation

  • blank subsector
  • if the chosen subsector is th eone with the home world then add home world system in the inner corner of the sub-sector
  • use standard UWP for the home world with class A star port, prime physical stats e.g. 767, TL10 or TL11, pop 9 and whatever govt type and law level you want
  • roll for presence of star systems in other hexes as usual
  • initially mark all systems as X
  • roll physical stats for each system

colony UWP form: name-system code – physical stats – native sentient code – colony code

name is initially just the hex number

system code is first letter of colony code

e.g. 1415-B-666-0-B2


System Code
  • A home world
  • B settlement colony
  • C refueling colony
  • D secondary colony
  • E refueling outpost
  • X nothing


Subsector Population DM

applies to all rolls for settlement colonies and colony population in the subsector

  • core subsector DM+1
  • outer subsector DM-1
  • early DM-1


  • early: core DM+0, inner DM-1, outer DM-2
  • late: core DM+1, inner DM+0, outer DM-1


Native Sentient Species

roll 2D6 for native sentient species

  • atmosphere 6-9: 2-5 none, 6-9 sentient, 10-11 hunter gatherers, 12 special
  • atmosphere 4-5: 2-7 none, 8-10 sentient, 11-12 hunter gatherers
  • atmosphere 2-3: 2-9 none, 10-12 sentient
  • size 0-3 DM-2
  • hydro 0 DM-2
  • hydro A DM-2
  • else 12+ sentient

sentient species on world with atmosphere 0-3 or A-C are either underwater (if possible) or weird science natives

  • sentient: ape-like
  • special: could be basic farming or herding or something exotic


Native Sentient Reaction
  • 2-5 hostile
  • 6-8 neutral
  • 9-12 friendly


UWP Code
  • none 0
  • hostile sentient 1
  • neutral sentient 2
  • friendly sentient 3
  • hostile hunter gatherers 4
  • neutral hunter gatherers 5
  • friendly hunter gatherers 6
  • hostile special 7
  • neutral special 8
  • friendly special 9
  • hostile weird A
  • neutral weird B
  • friendly weird C


  • hostile: 1, 4, 7, A
  • friendly: 3, 6, 9, C
Settlement Colony (B)

select prime systems (where size 4+ / atmosphere 6-9 / hydro 4-8)

roll for settlement colonies 8+

  • atmos 6: DM+4
  • atmos 7: DM+2
  • atmos 8: DM+2
  • atmos 9: DM+1
  • hostile natives: DM-2
  • friendly natives: DM+2


  • D6-1 population
  • 0: marked for colony
  • 1: advance team
  • 2: colonial service base
  • 3: first colonists
  • 4: stable colony
  • 5: self-governing


UWP Code
  • settlement colony B + population code
  • rejected prime colony site BF

rejected colony sites are still classified as B as BF colonies have special rules



  • settlement colonies that form a chain you may want to re-arrange population numbers so population decreases as you move further from out


Refueling Colony (C)

Once the settlement colonies are identified select the systems that make up the most logical route between the colony system and the home world that would be needed for refueling stops.



roll D6 for population code

  • 1-3: 1
  • 4-5: 2 (small alternate colony also)
  • 6: 3 (large alternate colony also)


UWP code
  • C + pop code


Secondary Colony (D)

other types of colonies mostly not intended to develop into a self-sufficient world

for example

  • research colony
  • resource extraction colony
  • terraforming colony
  • military base
  • penal colony
  • reclusive colony

select the systems that aren’t already marked as A, B or C

roll 8+ on 2D6

  • n = number of hexes away from A, B or C system -1
  • (adjacent hexes DM-0, 2 hexes away = DM-1, 3 hexes away DM-2 etc)
  • DM+2 native sentient
  • DM+2 adjacent to home world
  • DM+1 exotic atmosphere



roll D6 for population code

  • 1-4: 1
  • 5: 2
  • 6 3


UWP Code
  • D + pop code


Refueling Outposts (E)

In the same way that colonization service refueling colonies are used to link the settlement colonies; the scout service is used to provide refueling services to alternate colonies – at least the official ones.

Make a chain of refueling outposts to D colonies.



roll D6

  • 1-3: 0
  • 4-6: 1

pop 0 outposts are are automated


UWP code
  • E + pop code


Amber/Red Zones (wip)

option 1: Space Survey Level:

  • base astrogation data – needed for jump, short survey – pathfinders
  • full astrogation data –  needed for safe in-system travel, longer survey, main astrogation anomalies marked
  • complete survey: all astrogation related anomalies investigated and/or marked – rangers

so red could represent the first level and amber the second maybe

option 2:

  • red: systems with a hostile native lifeform, BF systems with hostile sentients are likely to be active combat zones
  • amber: any system with an exotic atmosphere or any BF system without hostile sentients – rejected prime settlement site implies some kind of unusually hostile environment

Red zones don’t imply travel to the system is restricted although if there are active military operations underway specific planets or regions might be restricted.


Character Skills

Changes to the base skills



four categories: melee, guns, lasers, hvy wpns

when a character has a skill rank in a category they pick one weapon as their preferred type of that category (they are assumed to practice with that one most) but they are assumed to have one rank less skill in all weapons of that category

  • a character with Blade-1 is assumed to have skill-0 with all other melee weapons
  • a character with Rifle-2 is assumed to have skill-1 with all other slug weapons
  • a character with laser rifle-3 is assumed to have skill-2 with other energy weapons

simplifies character sheet



A skill rank in a specific vehicle confers skill in other vehicles at one skill rank lower

  • ATV-1 gives Raft-0 for free
  • Raft-1 gives ATV-0 for free

simplifies character sheet



Taken to be mean skilled in a particular type of electronic equipment.

Pick one of [computer / comms / sensors / drones / robotics] etc

Assume one skill rank less in the others

  • a character with sensors-1 has skill-0 in comms, computer, drones, robotics etc


Name Changes

  • Mechanical -> Mechanic
  • Electronics -> Technican
  • Broker -> Trader



  • survival
  • wrangler (animal handling)
  • science (not realistic but i like minimal character sheets)



  • forgery requires streetwise
  • bribery requires streetwise or trader


Early Colonization: Character Stats

see “Traveller Character Stuff” category


Genetic Screening

minimum physical stats = min (7, home world TL-5, Soc)


minimum int = min (7, home world TL-6, Soc)

in this setting the home world is TL10 so that reduces to min (5, Soc) and min (4, Soc)


  • minimum value for str, dex, end = min (5, Soc)
  • minimum value for int = min (4, Soc)



max Edu = Int

max starting Edu = min (Int, Soc)

so a character with Int 8, Soc 4 would 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


Early Colonization: Careers

scouts, colonial service, navy, marines




Career DMs

Each career has two stats that give a DM+2 and a DM+1

These DMs apply to all stages: enlist / survival, promotion, commission.


  • enlist (first term only)
  • basic training (first term only)
  • gain term skill
  • survival (if fail then roll on survival table)
  • roll for commission *or* promotion
  • if commission gain commission skill (once only)
  • if fail commission then roll promotion
  • if commissioned or promoted gain promotion skill

muster out if not promoted or commissioned in the term


Survival Table 2D6
  • 2-3 dead
  • 4-6 stat-2
  • 7-9 stat-1
  • 10 scars
  • 11 medal (Soc+1)
  • 12 scars and medal (Soc+1)

scars: first result is cool scars, second is scarred, third is hideously scarred

stat loss:

  • roll 1D6 for stat
  • if Edu long recovery no promotion roll but not mustered out
  • if Soc then some kind of scandal – no promotion, mustered out
  • if soc 8+ or scout then stat loss-1 replaced with cybernetics
  • if soc 8+ or scout then stat loss-2 replaced with stat loss-1 and cybernetics
  • duplicate cybernetic roll is stat loss-2
  • stat loss-2 no promotion, mustered out

cybernetics 2D6

  • 2 eye
  • 3 hand
  • 4 elbow
  • 5 shoulder
  • 6 arm
  • 7 spine
  • 8 leg
  • 9 hip
  • 10 knee
  • 11 foot
  • 12 skull plate




  • career DM+2: dex 8+
  • career DM+1: int 8+
  • Basic Training Skill: Joat-0
  • Commision Skill: JoaT-1
  • enlist 8+
  • survival 8+
  • promotion 6+
  • commission 8+ (min Edu 6+)


Colonial Service
  • career DM+2: Int 8+
  • career DM+1: Str 8+
  • Basic Training Skill: vehicle-0, steward-0
  • Commission Skill: Admin-1
  • enlist 6+
  • survival 6+
  • promotion 6+
  • commission 8+ (min Edu 6)
Skill Tables

personal table:

  • pstat (max 8)
  • mstat (max 8)
  • mstat (max 8)
  • melee
  • gun
  • streetwise

service skills:

  • vehicle
  • steward
  • guns
  • mechanic
  • technician
  • ship’s boat

advanced service skills (min edu 6)

  • survival
  • vacc suit
  • comms & sensors
  • medic
  • trader
  • admin

advanced service skills (fleet) (min Edu 8)

  • ship’s boat
  • gunnery
  • comms & sensors
  • engineering
  • navigator
  • pilot

commissioned skills

  • laser
  • leader
  • tactics
  • trader
  • admin
  • Soc (max 8)