Now entering – The Doldrums!

No, I’m not sad nor depressed! Doldrums is the name for a new Traveller rpg campaign setting I am creating. While the name is lackluster, at best, and the setting isn’t even that original (far from it; true originality is difficult to attain these days, alas), it will at least be full of adventuring opportunities!

This setting is *heavily* based on the classic Dumarest saga, written by E.C. Tubb over several decades. There are NO non-human intelligences. Worlds are mostly independent, and must be self-sufficient for most basic resources, as trade can be spotty. Most space vessels are tramp ships (free traders), usually under 500-tons displacement (Td). Ships over 1000-Td are rare, indeed, and ships over 2000-Td are almost unheard of. New ships are rare, with most ships being hundreds of years old, and in various states of repair (or disrepair…) and maintenance.

Humans have expanded out for millenia. Indeed, as in Tubb’s classic series, the home world is lost or forgotten; few people even believe humans derived from merely one little planet. And frankly, most people don’t really care. Besides, who would name a planet “Dirt”?

Technology, in Traveller terms, hovers around TL (tech level) 8. Most backwater worlds (where players will spend most of their time) vary in TL from 4 (post American Civil War/pre WW1) to 7 (Korean/Vietnam War era).
Most starships are around TL 9, with the possibility of a rare TL 10 item or two. Rumors of higher TL gear are probably just that – rumors. Really. You listen to rumors? 😁

Tech development is extremely slow, if it advances at all. It certainly isn’t increasing on the fringes. It almost seems as if it has come to a stop, as has human expansion and curiosity. Thus the odd setting name…

Terraforming was widely utilized in many human expansion eras, so much so that almost every world inhabited by humans has equivalent, Terran-based lifeforms. These may have completely overrun the local ecology, may exist in harmony with local forms, or may fill small niches locally.


This setting will NOT be using the classic Traveller jump drive. In sticking with a Dumarest-style setting, FTL drive is more similar to a hyperdrive. These drives will require no significant fuel, but will be much larger; they are also subject to greater gravitational interference. Rate of FTL travel is about a light year (LY) per day. Some ship engineers may know a few tricks to shave some time off these totals. These little secrets could save time, but may also involve significant danger if not performed properly…

Ships will almost always travel along known routes, where the chances of navigational errors and gravitic anomalies are lowest. Travel to new/unknown systems is *dangerous*; few sane ship captains will risk their vessels on such journeys. Player characters, however, are known to be risk takers…

Systems not listed on the normal space charts could contain ‘anything”. Most will be empty systems, containing little more than rocks. But there’s always a slight chance of a lost colony or outpost, hidden pirate base, and other such fun. Smart players will do significant investigation before making such forays.

I could rattle on and on, of course, but that’s boring. Suffice it to say I have given myself another largish project to fill the upcoming winter nights with plenty of creation and die rolling. 😁

I am always interested in ideas from others! If you have any idea which might fit in with this setting, or improve it, leave a comment!

Keep on Travelling!

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4 thoughts on “Now entering – The Doldrums!

  1. I read the first 3 Dumarest novels last year. While I like to have lots of aliens, I think your setting sounds like fun. Keeping tech levels relatively low makes it a bit easier to really challenge PCs, I think. Looking forward to hearing how this progresses. Would appreciate session reports and maybe a document for the cast of characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure when I’ll get to actually run it, sadly, but it’ll be a few months anyway before I get things finished and ready to use. (Though the busy season at work is wrapping up, so there’s more time… 🤔)


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