Making the OTU “Mine” – part one

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It’s a struggle many Traveller referees face – how to make Traveller’s Official Traveller Universe (OTU) “theirs”, while retaining the core elements which define the original. I’ve struggled myself with this in recent months. Certain elements drive me nuts – the Aslan race, specifically. While I would love to wipe space with the Aslan’s existence, the amount of work required is far beyond my level of patience (adding and detailing new, replacement, races, rewriting history with neighbors, etc).
In addition, “messing” with the classic Spinward Marches setting just seems… wrong. Vilani tradition on my part, perhaps?
And creating a new, original setting is just beyond me at this point in my existence. Perhaps I’ve become traditional in my advancing age, as well, reaching for the familiarity of the OTU… Or perhaps I am merely lazy.

So instead, I’ve decided on a partial rewrite of Gateway Domain, the main campaign region of the Traveller20 [T20] edition of Traveller. If you haven’t seen Gateway To Destiny, and you have a chance to acquire it, I highly suggest you do so. It is an excellent, well-thought-out, well-written sourcebook, even with the frequent typos. There are many excellent ideas in there.

However, while it is a great resource and setting, some things just are… wrong? Inconsistent? Perhaps, or they just bother me. Also, I have a few things I wish to import from other settings (Traveller:2300’s Dralasites, anyone?), and they have to go somewhere…


One of the goals of this project is to redraw some political boundaries, which goes hand-in-hand with a rewrite of a minor human race, the Sydites. In the OTU setting, the Sydymic Empire was crushed by the Imperium in a long war. This occurred right after the Civil War, which occured simultaneously with several other rebellions.

My thinking on this: the 3I should be too damned exhausted after a decades-long Civil War, combined with at least one major rebellion. So instead of being crushed, the Sydites managed to fight to a standstill, although they still lost 2/3 of their systems. Peace was eventually declared, the Empress bowing to the demands of an exhausted populace and Moot. The Sydymyc Empire, later renamed the Sydite Republic, is now a powerful economic state, having become a major trading partner with the Third Imperium. Indeed, some within the Imperium are suggesting the Sydites join the Imperium. Whether that occurs any time soon remains to be seen.


This group of K’Kree (all K’Kree are nasty buggers if you ask me) is a political “offshoot” of the K’Kree state. Zealots clamoring for a return to the Old Ways (extermination of all meat eaters), their warmongering ways did not sit well with the Overlord of Overlords (the overall K’Kree ruler). Being too large a group to easily exterminate (a common K’Kree response to intractable issues), they were instead banished.

The Lords of Thunder have been making a lot of noise lately, and are rumored to be poised to attack at least one human state, located on the Trailing edge of Gateway Sector. If true, this bodes ill for the region.

I have not yet decided if (when?) the Lords have attacked, though with the slow interstellar communications speeds, it would be some time before anyone in the Imperium were to learn of this. Adventurers in the region, however, could be caught in some interesting predicaments!


In the original Gateway setting, the Hive Confederation set up a trading outpost just outside of the Imperial border, for “purposes unknown”. Knowing Hivers, some nefarious manipulations were probably being conducted. This was undoubtedly put in place to make it easier for referees to introduce this sly race into their campaigns. However, I have removed this from my setting. For now, at least… Mwahaha.

That’s it – for now! I will return with another installment at a later point in time – complete with a few pics of the redrawn borders.

Thank you for reading!

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