Revisiting/Restarting the Doldrums Setting

Several months ago I had posted I was dropping work on my Doldrums setting. The main factors leading into this decision were, at the time, apathy and interference from the “real world”. Darned real life, getting in the way… Obviously, real life events are far more important. I am continuing to create Traveller content, posting a new, random star system each day for the year 2020 – as long as my creativity holds out, anyway.

But a recent audio blog mentioned this here blog, and specifically stated he liked my work on the attempt to recreate or simulate the Dumarest Saga setting (which Doldrums is heavily based on). Kind words indeed, which are greatly appreciated! That same blog mention also generated a lot of interest in (or, at least, visits to) this blog. So I’ve decided I can’t let a good thing go to waste, or some such statement. In other words, my interest in the setting/project has returned.

So the Doldrums Setting is back on my to do list. I’ll rehash what I am attempting to do with the setting a little here, hopefully without being too long winded.


After I initially dropped work on Doldrums, I made an impulsive year end decision to create and post a random Traveller5 stellar system each day in 2020. As of this post, I have kept my nose to the grindstone, and the goal has been met. My initial reason to do this was, as stated, an impulse. But I think it was also to keep my mind occupied, and creativity (such little as I have, anyway) flowing. And as those real life concerns are still an issue, a distraction through projects is a good thing.

It is obvious that I will be using many of these daily-generated star systems somewhere in Doldrums. Creating systems, even basic, filler systems, is a lot of work, and these are available, so I will Of Course be using them.


In my original workup for Doldrums, I was toying with longer travel times, in order to simulate the “feel” of lengthy interstellar travel those stories convey. But I soon dropped that idea, as it generated a series of other issues. The most notable would have been player boredom and irritation. We can’t have that in a game!

Another issue was the big, big hassle of creating new drive specifications for ship designs. Sure, I could just “wing it”, but I’m an Old School Grognard; I love to design things, and tinker with rules and settings (pretty obvious at times, isn’t it?) And yes, I’ll be creating new ship designs for the setting, but why add so much additional work [redesigning drives] for so little benefit?

So back to the “standard” Traveller jump drives it is. Until I change my mind again. It may happen.


My initial plans for Doldrums was to plot out a basic Sector or Domain [4 x 4 Sector area] map, including basic system locations, then choose an interesting area and run with it. While this seemed like a good idea at the time (I like to have an overview in my head), the work involved with this was a bit much.

I still have a basic overview plotted, but it is rather unimportant to whatever campaign area(s) I use. What I’ll do is generate several subsector layouts, decide which maps spark creativity, then populate them with systems (some new, many already created). Many of the random systems I’ve already rolled are just too interesting to go unused, and this is the perfect place to use them.


Readers of the Dumarest Saga know the setting is a Human Only Universe; no alien/non-human species are mentioned at all in the setting. This is similar to other classic era stories and settings, such as the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov (my personal favorite series, and author, of all time).

Doldrums, however, will have rare non-human species present. Most will be confined to their home system, or a small region. Humans Dominate.

I have yet to generate any of these non-human species, as I have just started to really go over Traveller5’s (T5’s) sophont generation tables.

In addition there will be more than just your “basic stock humans”. Heavy worlders, low-G humans, aquatic humans, and more; these will all be present somewhere in the setting. I have not yet decided on the presence (or lack) of any ‘uplifted’ species. However, they will probably not be used, as this doesn’t really fit the “vibe” of the original Dumarest Saga.


Readers familiar with various incarnations of the basic Traveller rules will know of these rules’ ship size limitations. Classic Traveller (CT) had a design limit maximum of 5000-Td (displacement tons), but later added vessels up to one million Td with the High Guard (Book 5) rules.

The design limits in the T5 basic rules is 2400-Td. This will be the strict upper size limit for ships in the Doldrums setting, as larger vessels do not feel like the correct “fit” for a Dumarest inspired setting. This is directly related to the next design point…


No mention is made of the existence of any large, or even small, interstellar governments in the Dumarest books. There are apparent plot reasons for this (which I won’t reveal; read the series!), but I also like the idea of having only local governments, for the most part. This brings in other potential issues, some positive, some negative. (No protective, or controlling/interfering, government agencies; no large interstellar Navies to avoid; uncertain interstellar banking issues…)


In Dumarest, the major plot point is the main character’s (Earl Dumarest) attempt to return to his homeworld, Earth. However, no one else he encounters believes it ever existed.

In Doldrums, Earth does indeed exist. However, it is located no where near any campaign area I will set up. Indeed, it is far enough away that most people in the campaign areas Don’t believe it exists, or ever existed. And if they do, it’s no big deal; most people just live out their daily lives.


This is a question I keep asking myself: will there be a long-gone “forerunner” species, or (as in Traveller’s Official Universe) the Ancients? For now (and probably forever, in this setting), the answer is No.


These were the main issues or points I needed to address at this point (I hope I didn’t forget anything!) Here’s hoping you find something of interest here. I’ll hopefully see you later as this project progresses.

Remember, Keep On Travelling!